Change Through Community (Or Why My Gym is My Church)

"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something." - Sandra Day O'Connor

I used to be so proud of my ability to "go it alone". My independence was something of a badge of honor, a chip on my shoulder, an aura I wore on my being like an overpowering perfume. I don't know how I got that way or what made me so dang proud of being able to do everything on my own and not needing anyone. In some ways it was magnetic to others...people could sense my vibe of confidence and my ability to just go solo into the world. However, at some point in my twenties, the success of my extreme independence began to crumble. Relationships failed because, in the end, I didn't "need them in my life" to be ok. I couldn't argue that, it was true.  I realize now that to be so rigid in my self-reliance, I must have built these huge walls up as to not risk vulnerability. Sadly, to not allow vulnerability meant I never really got close to anyone.

Over the last seven years, I have discovered the sweet, awesome, badassness that lives in a community. The first time I recognized this was as a teacher, when I tried to work alone and failed. Miserably. Success in that arena literally meant I had to open up, ask others for help, and lean on friends when I needed to (which was alllll the time). Reluctantly, I let down some barriers and found that it was ok to need others and for others to need you. It made relationships more meaningful and much harder to blow off. My heart became softer, and I was able to empathize in a way I hadn't been able to since I was a kid. It was a painful journey, but a necessary one.

In January of 2009, I discovered a new kind of community. One that buzzed with energy and support. I began to connect with people of all different walks of life, to truly understand that deep down...we are all the same! We want to be loved, to be accepted, to feel successful and to make a difference. I met some of the goofiest, smartest, most passionate people I know. Here was a place that every single time I walked in the doors, I was able to drop all the "life/work stress" and just be me. Here was a place that people greeted me and took time for me whenever I needed it. Here was a place that when others looked at me they saw the best of who I was, and who I could be. No, it wasn't a church or a support group (although it very well could be!), it was a gym.

Crossfit Verve crew in Los Angeles, July 2011
The Verve community has been incredibly influental in my life over the past two and a half years. I've been pushed to be my best and have learned that the boundaries of what I can do and be are so much broader than what I knew them to be three years ago. I can't say enough about the amazing presence of this organization and these people in my life. Not only have I learned how to do olympic lifts and sled pushes here, Crossfit Verve has taught me how to be better at life. I think once you begin to get a hold of your potential in one area...it pushes you to consider the possibilities in other areas in your life.

Verve graciously posted my budding blog on their website yesterday and as I came in for my workout, I had countless people come up and talk to me about it. I received so much encouragement and reminders that support is always there when needed. My family and friends have also been very supportive. Among the support and suggestions were the following:

"If you ever are craving sugar and just want to go on an adventure instead, call me!"   I like this idea.

"You should have chugging wars when you go out. You know, you with ice water versus someone with a margarita. First person to stop because of brainfreeze loses!"    Ouch! It's probably going to happen.

"When you really want to go out and need a non-drinking buddy, call me. Seriously, anytime." =)

"I know you can do it."    I hope you're right.

"You could be a life coach."   Yes!

"Holy sh*t, girl, you are crazy."    Tell me about it.

"Let's see how drunk you can get on water."    Haha!

"Call me anytime you're about to break."    Thank you.

And tons of others who gave me so much positive feedback, encouragement, inspiration, and belly laughs. That's truly how I'll be able to accomplish this...a tapestry of laughing, interactions, and people who believe in me.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in even the idea of this journey! It starts Monday, August 8.

No comments: