It all begins with packing for one night in the Bahamas at a resort hotel. I examine my body in the mirror and see the bulge just below my belly button. Then my eyes skim across the side view of my upper thighs. Whew. These are not the legs I used to have. I should go for a run... and I do. Unhappily I am pushing myself to just continue. Count my breaths between the power pole.... "one more pole, then I can walk. I'll walk fast," I tell myself, still feeling disappointed with my performance.
It continues... I jump in a pool to swim and cool off after the run. "Laps, I should probably do laps," I think.
In the morning, I struggle to complete my asana practice, wanting instead to just rest. Meditation. The mind wandering and my attempt to just surrender seems futile. Flashes of my son running around the field with his lacrosse stick just throwing the ball. My neighbour's little girl just tossing a ball with no objective except to see it bounce. The thought rolls in like a wave, 'when did exercise stop being play and become something you 'do' to lose weight or firm up the thighs?' Do we force this ideology on children? When kids just play, are we the ones who turn the play into something productive - winning - by making up a way to compete?
I wonder, "when did play stop being play for me? When did it become about doing something?"
As I think back to my lazy summers of youth, I recall just swimming and diving at the pool. All day I could just splash around and be completely swimming. I remember when it became about getting badges and eventually being a lifeguard. I can remember when running became about my time. That was about the same time my body became more feminine. I remember when paddling stopped being about just being on the water and it became about getting somewhere... fast.
It was not some imposed idea of a coach or parent. It was a self imposed idea of being productive, proving myself. That was when I started worrying about whether I was good enough. When I started worrying about what others thought of me. Funny how some things stay with me and seem to rise up when I am tired and feeling vulnerable. I guess the answer is to surrender to just being who I am.