A random life fact about me. Apart from my day job as a lawyer, for the past four years I have also been a part time group fitness instructor.
The reasons for me taking up instructing were many. I wanted some extra cash while putting myself through law school, and I also wanted to maintain a decent level of fitness, in order to resist going completely bat shit crazy while studying. I enjoy staying fit and training, so I saw this as an opportunity of doing something that I already enjoyed, while getting paid for it. Additionally I wanted to prove it to myself that I could actually do it – that I could get up on a stage (however small, still a stage) and take a group of people through a fitness experience. I wanted to prove to myself that I not only had it within me, but that I could do it well, and look good doing it. It’s a hang up I have from growing up a fat awkward gay kid in the suburbs and in a culture where being the sporty guy is everything (I still wouldn’t consider myself ‘sporty’ but would use the ubiquitous ‘gay’ adjective of ‘gym-fit).
Four years on, suffice to say I have proved it to myself that I can do it, and do it well (at least judging from the feed back I received from one of my gym managers last week).
I still teach a couple of classes during the week, though I have turned the focus back on my own personal fitness, training with a training more often these days rather than doing the teaching. While teaching is fun and keeps me fit, the classes have never been (nor should they be) about me. It is about the people that are in the class. The aim is for me to take them through an experience that they aren’t able to have on the gym floor by themselves in their own training this is an important aspect of group training and something that I have only just realised through my own personal training.
So why am I writing this here?
I have never considered my fitness regime as part of my spiritual practice. It has always been something that I have done with roots deeply embedded in the physical, here and now, the ego state of myself. So I have never really made the connection to the divine, and to the higher realms of being. While I have considered a necessary component of life, to maintain health and balance, it has never been something that has directly fed my spirit.
Now the next thing I am about may make me sound like an absolute wanker–massive-dick-face, but today as I was training with my trainer, my gym session took on a completely new spiritual dimension.
I never actually thought I would hear myself not only think those words, but say them out loud and the write them. But in all truth it was!
Having a trainer myself now, I have been taken to a place that I have never reached while training by myself. This morning however as I was being pushed through some really simple but tough exercises, at the moment of absolute failure, I felt I was one with – well with something larger then myself. Despite sounding like a gender essentialist I dare say I was one with the larger divine masculine.
At that very moment I tapped into that primal warrior masculine energy that resides within all of us. At that moment, I was Achilles, Herakles, Leonidas, Ramses, Alexander the Great. At that moment I was Ares!
I was every man that has and will struggled, that has and will bear a great weight, that has and will fight in his own battle, that has and will made heart wrenching decision.
I know this sounds egotistical given that all I was doing was moving some weights around, and in the grand scheme of things, I am far from the struggles that my forefathers have experienced. However I feel as if for the first time in all my life, I felt connected to that divine masculine energy, that energy that burns bright and strong within each of us, the energy that propel us forward, the energy that our culture has labelled and associates with the divine.
This has left such an impression on me mainly because I have been going to the gym for a long time. It’s not that I have being ‘doing’ it wrong, it is just that this time, with the extra push from my trainer, the exercise transcended into something much bigger, greater than myself.
As I came back from that place, where I was one with the masculine divine, I realised that I was ok. While I am not sure if I will go to that place again through training, slogging it out at the gym, I have gained a little kernel of knowledge in that moment.
I know that there will be times that I will have self doubt and fear. But now at least I have the knowledge of that experience to reassure me….
To reassure me that I have nothing else to prove, that my masculinity is enough.