change exercise

Chaos at the Barre

Ever since my neighbor asked me, at the end of a five mile run, when my baby was due, I’ve been ever so slightly more self conscious about the weight strapped around my middle.

I’m in training for my fourth marathon and despite all the food logging and daily resolutions, (whatever) I can’t seem to rid myself of this food-baby. And that might have something to do with the fact that all I do is run.

But all that is changing. I treated myself to a month of classes at Barre3, with the lovely and kind Brenda. Today, as I inched my hammies up and down again, barre is about small movements, as I felt my muscles burn, Brenda said something. She said”

Feel the chaos. Notice the chaos of change. Work through that chaos.

Oh, I notice it, Brenda, and not just in my transverse abdominals.

I love the language of groups and how they are acquired. Brenda referred to the muscles that quaked as they responded to controlled motions. She talked about the warmth in our bodies, and a spicy feeling after ten thousand repeats. And more than once, Brenda called my attention to the chaos.

I usually have no trouble finding chaos. But respecting it is an altogether different idea.

Change feels threatening. Change seems hard. When we go through change, we have to learn new languages, meet new people, maybe release some others. I usually resist change because it means these things. Change changes us, and it usually is uncomfortable. When my kids went through growth spurts, I rubbed arthritis cream on their knees and shins to help with the pain.  When they started new schools, we walked on tip toes through the first few days. When I started working outside the house again, I experienced a lot of change. Nothing major, but I had to learn to manage new routines, new people, new demands.

Usually, at a transition period, what I focus on is storming through the change, diving headlong through the challenge, hoping it doesn’t take so long I get accustomed to the scenery. I treat it like a high intensity workout or a sprint: let’s just get this over with. Chaos always struck me as something to be avoided.

But I kept thinking about what Brenda said, about noticing the chaos of change, and working through it. Would it be so wrong for me to not just notice but to relish the intensity, the wonder, the pain of change?

I’m wondering if walking through a storm with senses intentionally set to notice and experience will alter how I experience change. Will focusing on every part of the process, not just the before and the after slow me from a sprint to a nice, easy pace?

When I run marathons, I prefer to run without music. I take a special interest in the people who have come out to cheer us on. I notice signs and banners. I hear the music and eavesdrop on other runners. I take my time to savor the experience because, heck, I might as well. This might be what it feels like to notice the chaos of change.

 

3 Comment

  1. Yes. Chaos. Living in the discomfort, not because discomfort is ideal, but because it’s unavoidable. It’s part of life, it’s where all the good stuff happens. Well, the good stuff comes after that, maybe.

    This is a great reminder for me right now. Thank you!

  2. A helpful word. I long for the routine but it never stays long. Even when it does, boredom finds me and I long for the new and the different and the next. How strange to realize that we live in the midst of chaos and change.

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