Enjoying the tranquillity of my early morning walk last week I was almost bowled over by a boot camp squad running past with an angry trainer yelling at them to ‘harden up’ and ‘push through’.
If this wasn’t bad enough the trainer then ordered them in sergeant fashion to do push-ups and lifts whilst he proceeded to humiliate one of the guys (of a mixed group of men and women) by swearing down his throat that he was too f***ing soft.
When did military style abuse and bullying become an acceptable part of fitness training?
If this is how people are exercising what does it say about all the other forms of abuse they’re saying yes to in their lives?
Can you imagine what this does to every cell in your body when you push yourself in drive and hardness rather than true flow? An image of a wilting flower springs to mind; and like a flower our bodies are equally delicate and precious.
So why are people fighting so hard not to feel how naturally tender they are? Could it be that when we came into this world so beautifully fragile and open we didn’t like the feeling of the lovelessness around us so we learnt how to put up walls of protection?
Everything we were ever taught confirmed our deepest fears that the world isn’t a loving place, that people hurt you, that you need to compete to succeed, that you need to defend to keep safe and at above all costs that you need to protect your heart.
Enter one of many great remedies to shield yourself from getting hurt – harden your body with exercise so that you don’t have to feel just how tender you really are.
But what if in an attempt to protect your heart you’re actually disconnecting from the one thing you’re longing for the most ~ LOVE. In hardening your heart to others, you harden your heart to yourself; and equally in hardening your heart to yourself, you harden your heart to others.
So if our body is the vehicle through which we express love in everything we think, say or do then could we take it so far as to say that exercising in a way that is rough, hard or imposing on your body actually affects your ability to let love in and out? Would that change how you choose to connect with your body?
If love became the focus of how we exercise no one in a million years would sign up for boot camp or tough mudders.