I train and have trained with a lot of people. Some thrive, get stronger, faster, smoother, leaner, happier. Not everyone manages so well. Many things get in the way.
An important one is that people forget what they are because they are too busy trying to defend who they are.
What are we? Basically hairless monkeys. I’m more hairless than most.
All our wonderful human qualities are carried around in this amazing monkey body. It can climb, swim, jump, dance, posture, fight, throw, play, balance all of it.
Yes, your monkey body may never beat Yusain Bolt at sprinting – he has the best genes and is a specialist. Still your monkey body can still run, skip, swing even if it’s muscles have atrophied from desk life and the skills have never been developed.
However if you want to keep doing all your wonderful human activities, like writing poetry, telling jokes, falling in love, conceiving children, educating children, and constructing grand philosophies you need a body to do it in. That body requires activity to stay healthy.
When people tell me they ‘are not sporty’ or physical most of the time I read that as ‘I have never learned to enjoy physical activity’ often ‘I compare myself to people like …and I’ll never be that good so what’s the point’ or ‘I was humiliated during sports as a kid and I never want to repeat that’.
Underneath those shifting thoughts, justifications and mirages I see a tangible body that learned the unlikely skill of being able to stand and balance on just two little feet, not just stand walk and run.
It’s true that some people have injuries, or non standard bodies. That does make a difference. Ask a para-olympian.
Others have lived through more years. Bodies respond to exercise whether young or old, and maintaining that strength is vital for health and independence.
Put it this way, if you can enjoy a massage, or a kiss, the sun warming your flesh, slicing vegetables with a sharp knife, sighing deeply, swaying to music, drawing an elegant line you are already enjoying the sensuality of your body.
If you can take pleasure in any of these things, you have the capacity to enjoy an exploration of movement that makes you stronger.
So take a step back from those stories that you learned to tell about ‘who’ you are.
Say thank you to the monkey, take it out to play. Play safe, play curious. What will really help if you do not know what to do play with other friendly, encouraging monkeys. Do this and you’ll soon be rewarded.
Who are you going to play with next?