Get Physical

I joined the Y about five years ago because our bathroom was so disgusting ... that is, my husband had renovated it but I am very sensitive to the leftover emotions in buildings (ok, so get out your "she's too flaky" signs), and something very bad had happened in that bathroom at some point, and I just couldn't go in it. (We moved and our new house is fine.)

Anyway, back then, I joined the Y. 

I grew up an hour from the Rockies, so all winter was skiing and all summer was hiking. As soon as I was able (too soon in fact, I was only fourteen), I was off in the mountains on my own, hiking and wandering. I am no stranger to physical fitness. When my husband and I were done with trekking through the African continent, we started a farm in Italy where I was his main builder's helper, so I not only took care of four small children and maintained the household, but I also dug in the garden, hoed the potatoes, shovelled out the chicken coop, split wood, carried water from the spring, and hauled cement.

I was no stranger to physical exercise but my years as a suburban mother in a dingy outpost in Montreal had softened me. Just imagine my joy when I discovered that the Y has a running track suspended above the gym, where no one ever goes! I could run to my heart's content, all alone, and get into the zone without having to listen to music, other people, or CNN.

Last year we had a crisis and I decided that the gym membership had to go. It was a luxury. I could easily run outside until it was too cold, and use weights in the basement, and go cross country skiing.


By last week, I felt awful. Flabby, tired, sleepy (different from tired), crabby, bitchy (different from crabby). Disillusioned (little voice saying, you are an idiot and you don't really make any difference at all).

I decided to get my membership back. That was three days ago. I went the first day and ran four k. The next day I did a yoga class that was actually not real yoga; it was punishing in its insistence on the core (as if the human body was a nuclear reactor). Then I took a day off. Yesterday I ran again. Since I started exercising again, I keep waking up in the morning. At seven. And wondering why I feel so good. 

So, of course, the answer is that I felt good - feel good - because I was using my physical body. Yes, I would rather be in the garden producing food for my family, or splitting wood that we had just brought in from the forest. But right now that's not happening, so do need to admit that the gym is where I get my exercise (champagne problem, yes, I realize that too)....

Whether we are born naturally, by cesarean section, with or without drugs. Whether our parents loved each other, or not, or even knew each other; whether the act of conception was desired or not, we all came from a home that looked a little bit like this:

We all come from the same elements, the same language of blood and oxygen runs through our veins and arteries.We are pinned to the material world with our bodies. And they are flesh, blood, bones, and muscle. Among other things. And we need to use them, actually we need to test their limits, like a child does, we need to run so hard we get tired. We need to lift things that are too heavy, so that we have to put them down. We need to jump higher.

Ride a bicycle. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Run. Lift weights. Use your body, and your body will be happy.


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