If you are anything like me, and have a plethora of children around you all the time, you may be familiar with the phrase, “Just worry about you.” Let me be clear, I don’t condone this phrase in a worldly sense, just in a, stop trying to parent your siblings sense.
It wasn’t until yesterday when I stepped a little out of my comfort zone, that it became clear how often I don’t follow my own rule. I do not care to parent any more people, thank you very much, but for some reason I have spent way too much time caring about what they are doing.Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that initial curiosity somehow transforms itself into, what are they doing and how is it different, okay, better, than what I am doing? This single thought can manifest itself into a question of, how are they doing it? And then right down the journalistic model of newspaper speak to, why am I not having the same results? Which can, on our taupe colored sky days, become, what’s wrong with me? I just wish I was….You know this road, right? I know I can not be alone because I have seen lots and lots of footprints as I am walking down this particular path. The problem is how quickly the path becomes dark and branches of comparison trees reach toward you, like in the Wizard of Oz, stealing your joy.
My ah-ha moment came from an adventure to a Barre3 class with a friend of mine. She had told me she was planning to check out it out and I had heard great things about it, so I basically invited myself along. Thankfully, she obliged.
Not knowing what to expect, what you are in for, can make you a little hesitant. Its like inviting a family of termites into your log cabin, to eat away at your confident places. The fear of the unknown can make you seem different. If you aren’t careful, it can deplete your joy and strengthen your comparison muscle.
Being in the studio felt exciting and terrifying. My friend and I agreed we didn’t want to stand out, we wanted to be in the back, which turns out was really the front, our awkward movements magnified by the full length mirror where our expression seemed to be taunting us. At first we could keep up and then it became a little breathy, soon I glanced up in the mirror and saw eyes staring at me, not my own overtired mom eyes. Eyes of someone younger, more energetic, newly married (she just was telling us she had gotten married, I am not making assumptions, at least not on that part anyway) without a care in the world. I smiled, I was not going to show weakness. I was not going to admit that maybe the weights I picked were too heavy for 653 shoulder presses. She smiled, but I continued to catch eyes glancing my way and I started down my shadowy path.
Why is it so easy to tell my children to, basically, mind their own business, worry about their tasks at hand, their mission, their choices, their consequences, and so hard to do it myself. Once I became distracted, wondering what the other Barre3 professionals were thinking, wondering how I measured up, I faulted. I fell behind in the count of reps, I was shaky, unsure of the movements and then it hit me. The famous quote, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” came to mind and just like that it was as if i was alone in the studio. Nothing to prove, to myself or others, just appreciating the movement of my body, feeling the music and thinking about the “have and have not” idea so much differently. That Eleanor was one smart lady.
For the rest of the class, I had fun. I laughed when I rolled off the ball, not carrying that the serious atmosphere didn’t seem to appreciate my comedic performance. I stopped thinking about how I didn’t have the routine down or the strength to squat as low as that lady over there, or how I couldn’t keep my heels together and rise up on my toes like everyone else. I thought about how I had a morning free to try something new. My have not, a full time job where I wouldn’t be able to attend a 10:30am Barre3 class on a Monday. My have, a hardworking hubby who is supportive of my position at home and my desire to travel, explore and try new things. My have not, a day full of chores. My have, a friend and meaningful conversation. My have not, loneliness.
When I, just worried about me, all of the blessings and opportunities, all I had to compare were my own “have and have nots.” Funny, through the lense of gratitude, they are all a win.