Last night I watched an interview with Steven Pressfield the author, “The War of Art.” I have yet to read the book, but it’s based around busting through creative blocks. First conceived of his own experience as a stymied writer, he realized his advice is applicable to anyone trying to conquer Resistance, create meaningful change, and elevate themselves to a higher level in any area of life.
The phrase that stuck with me was his maxim to “put your ass where your heart wants to be.” In the journey to be bien dans sa peau, movement is essential, though hard to start. My wonderful workplace, Google, offers a variety of fitness classes, and today Zumba was on offer at 5:30. Leading up to the hour, I was running through every excuse to not go.
“Too much email, I’m too tired, I should stay at my desk with the rest of my team.” With Steven’s charming voice running through my head, at 5:15pm I got my butt out of the chair and headed to Zumba.
Getting there is a great first step. There were a few other Googlers (the affectionate name for Google employees) already gathered, and the perky, vivacious instructor. As we started the warm-up, it felt pretty good. Moving and stretching and jumping, “Hey, I can do this!”
15 minutes in our instructor called out, “OK guys, we are warm. Are you ready to do ZUMBA?”
Oh, crap. And the “War of Zumba” begins.
Off-beat steps, hips that are impossibly rigid, arms that can never move in the same direction as the group, nearly knocking my fellow Google Zumba-er to the ground in a misguided effort to Salsa. I met Resistance with every look in the mirror. Judging, comparing, chiding myself for being too sweaty and to jiggly and, “DEAR GOD WHY DIDN’T YOU WEAR A SPORTS BRA THAT ACTUALLY HOLDS THE GIRLS UP.”
But I made it through . Our lovely instructor even called for a “love-train” in the middle of class where we put our hands on the hips of the person in front of us and stepped in time around the room. There’s nothing like getting hands-ey with your fellow co-workers to break the ice, and soon after everyone was giggling.
I won’t say it was all smiles and sweaty laughter. But to enjoy moving your body for the sake being able to move, being alive (if only for short glimpses between judgement) is a good step forward.
Sometimes putting your ass where your heart wants to be isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to shimmy your hips and shake it too.