Sunday, March 15, 2020

CrossFit Dedication Goes Viral...I mean, VIRTUAL!! -- a learning journey begins

What makes CrossFit what it is, exactly, and can it be done virtually? Being a theology prof in an institution that has asked and answered this question in the affirmative for spiritual things, I'm smiling to say YES...it can be...by the right folks, with the community already in place. Which is what we've got right here.

Not all CF boxes could do this, after all. Each ‘box’ is different, with different emphases grounded in the coach’s/coaches’ temperaments and proclivities. Today, as the gym wisely closed for the ‘social distancing’ era of Coronavirus and Covid-19, I found myself driving home musing on CrossFit in a virtual or digital expression and how remarkably appropriate--even fit--CrossFit Dedication is for this challenge. So what are these butterflies in my stomach this morning? What is the deep belly smile about?

The smile first… My gut says that our ‘box’ is particularly well placed, staffed, seasoned, and innovative to cruise through the challenges with a sense of calm and leadership. Not without its panics or overwhelms, to be sure—it is a strange shift to move into virtual spaces when you and your body have thrived so in a shared common space/rhythm. The economic scare of it is real for them/us, I’m sure. While facing unprecedented circumstances here, I still have a deep-belly-smile for what we will learn along this way… One of the newer coaches, long-term members, posted today in the vein of the ‘problem into opportunity’ wisdom of Chögyam Trungpa, after all. (quote below, from a ‘daily’ I enjoy).

I would be remiss, however, if I did not at least name my own belly full of butterflies at the prospects of my not having access to my new CF home, peeps, snacks…the utter levity and impassioned seriousness, both. I’ve not upheld the discipline and rhythm my body loves on my own before, or in my immediate family before. I’d been moving toward a body-centric awareness for the last 15 years, but not like I get to know now. My own motivation and discipline come from within me, yes, but sometimes it feels more ‘pulled from out there.’ Getting to see my ‘peeps’ and enjoy the banter of an early morning class. (That would be 8 a.m., as 5:30 a.m. are not really up for banter at that time in the mornin’). I love enjoying the movement in a circle of others, whose practice deepens my own. (Buddhists have known this for centuries, after all). Working out at home, on my own, will not have the same ‘pull’ or sense of invitation, aligning of energies, that pushes me further, deeper, stronger. So that’s one butterfly—honoring it will be different and finding the gift in it too.

This time-out-of-time could be an answer to my sense of a writing project beginning to push its way into my awareness, my professional commitments. My best writing times have historically been ‘as soon as I awake until about 9:30/10 a.m..’ I’ve been aware of the conflict rising in me, as I am an 8 a.m. regular by now and unwilling to alter that course. In this new era, I could actually work out at 5:30 a.m. without ever leaving my home. Done by 6:15/6:30 a.m., moving right into writing til breakfast, say 10 a.m. Huh. Has potential.

My husband has even acknowledged his own interest in maybe working out with me here at home. My eyebrows went up in surprise, as he has largely avoided anything CrossFit related for himself. I have invited him repeatedly to Community WKO on Saturdays, with nothing but crickets in response. Interesting. Second butterfly, then…a different workout partner. A partner with whom I’ve wanted to find new and different ways to connect in our now twenty-years of life together. At least different than what he historically prefers and I all too often acquiesce into—food, cocktail hour, video escapism of some kind. Working out together? We haven’t done that in forever...

The largest butterfly is simply fluttering around within me, necessarily being returned—forced into—a much more localized, family-centric life for a period of weeks or months. Home-bound living has always felt claustrophobic for me. One of the reasons my husband and I chose to not have children. I simply never had a desire to have them, to be at home with the kids or feeling guilty for not being home with the kids. Not my calling or purpose in life, for sure. I put over 25000 miles on my car every year. I work in two cities, two different jobs, connecting with webs of relationships and circles that share my values. I love my life and all the complicated webs of relationships I get to flit into and flit back out of. I even moonlight in my husband’s job—preacher’s wife, which you can imagine how well that goes most weeks, as blunt as I can be sometimes J—and now I get to live at home for weeks on end with my husband? I love him, but c’mon…I don’t do home-bound very well, even when I try not to project it or take it out on anyone. So…gift could be…? The nature preserve across the street from my home. Regular morning runs or afternoon runs, if the 5:30 a.m. workout happened. Creating space ‘away’ in the upstairs bedroom (Check!), for writing and reading, learning and napping. Long nature walks with him and our dog, Nala. Easier, more comfortable times of simply being together, reading, knitting. (I would be the knitter here :)).

Even so, for both our sakes, it’s a good a thing this public-health-civic-effort to “flatten the curve” is temporary. We will learn a lot together, some we want to learn, some we would wish we could avoid. Both will be fruitful in the end, with gifts and graces all around. I have the WOD book/calendar that I got at Christmastime down in the home-gym space. He could choose one he wants to try and we could explore it together. I have various dumbbells and a ‘power-tower’ that I can use toward my pull-up goals. I am blessed with a nature preserve to do both trail and easy-paved ‘loop’ running. I even got the deck of Get Fit cards to play with too.

Whether it’s three weeks or three months or maybe even six months, this is a peculiar time with a peculiar invitation for each of us, all of us. What creative things might arise because of it? (And I don’t mean the 2033 ‘quaranteens’!) What new things will be tried out of necessity that would never have been imagined without it? Will human beings learn to face themselves, the quiet (and not so quiet) noise within, which we usually keep at bay through media distraction and Facebook, Twitter, our favorite news cycle? Will more of us learn to stop projecting our fears outward onto others, and face our own fears inside, actually finding a deep peace right there, that we never knew we had?

In the meantime, I’m already heartened by what is rising… 5:30 a.m. virtual class. CFD Open silliness about teams (Go Team Gray!!) for the now defunct, or at least postponed, CFD Open. Reminders to reach out to coaches with questions and to stay connected in the challenges of our own goals, fitness hopes. All will be well and all manner of things will be well. (Julian of Norwich, she’s a fierce and calming one, 14th century mystic).

When the curve has been flattened, when the health system is robustly confident in what it can offer, we human beings will return to gathering for class at our gym/box, connecting with our CF community and encouraging each other in the challenges and often counter-cultural values of fitness. I’m already looking forward to finding out how each of us will have changed by then. Just get better. Yes ma’am (and Matt :)). We’re ON it. Together.

Chögyam Trungpa, Ocean of Dharma:

One actually experiences mind as fundamentally pure, that is, healthy and positive, and “problems” as temporary and superficial defilements. Such a viewpoint does not mean getting rid of problems, but rather shifting one’s focus. Problems are seen in a much broader context of health: one begins to let go of clinging to one’s fears/neuroses and to step beyond obsession and identification with them. The emphasis is no longer on the problems themselves but rather on the ground of experience through realizing the nature of mind itself. When problems are seen in this way, then there is less panic and everything seems more workable. When problems arise, instead of being seen as purely threats, they become learning situations, opportunities to find out more about one’s own mind, and to continue on one’s journey.

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