This summer it was brought to my attention that I did not “dance with exuberant joy” , did not unabashedly celebrate, or express with delighted elation. Ironically, about that time I got a newsletter from Katie and Gay Hendricks (http://www.heartsintrueharmony.com/) a couple I follow who’s speciality has been working with couples for over thirty years. In their newsletter they briefly chatted about “upper limits”, how everyone has been taught along the way to subdue their reactions, hold back, keep joy and love in check. I purchased their audio book, “Hearts in Harmony” and listened with eager openness. When they discussed the “upper limits” phenomena, I was shocked to realize that’s me!! I stopped being joyful and outwardly expressive like a kid when I was young – why? I stopped going for it with complete unbridled passion early in life, why? It was funny to realize that all these years I had thought I was actually really good at being expressive and passionate, for relative to most people I knew, I was, and yet.., watch a child, one that has not been told, “don’t get too excited, don’t sing too loud, don’t be so rambunctious….” We put a lid on our expression of joy, love, happiness, passion, zest, sadness, pain – capping off our sincere truth in life’s precious moments. Do not cry in public, do not express anything to extremely, is the message we get.
Now, how does this connect to the gym? Well, I began to notice that I was often choosing to do the same old thing, didn’t want to look silly trying something new, didn’’t want to push myself to hard or need to ask for a spotter to move to the next level. I had upper limits I set for myself even at the gym. I even caught myself giving excuses to my psyche as to why it was okay to not go to the next level, or do more reps, or stop early on a cardio machine. Seriously!! I was choosing mediocrity and limiting behavior even in the gym – why? We certainly can be creatures of habit, of staying within a comfort zone that does not push us out of the box and into new territory. Don’t draw attention to yourself, don’t embarrass yourself, just fit in.
Why do we smile when we watch children play? When we listen to them sing at the top of their little lungs, or dance with wild abandon? Be honest here, don’t you find yourself wishing you could join them? That you could be that free, that expressive, that in the moment??? I know I do! At times I do allow myself this joyful expansion, to embrace the moment for all it is. When I do, I can feel how perfectly in line I am with doing and being my WHOLE self with TRUTH. The picture below (for the video, you will have to go to https://www.facebook.com/Walkingnkdtruth/) is one of those moments, I did not know these two little girls, I just watched them wanting to dance as they watched the band. I made the comment to my boyfriend at the time, who said, “why don’t you?”, so I did. What delighted fun I got to share!!
I know that I am drawn to and admire people who go for it!! People who are not afraid to live large and “out there” with their passions, joys, sorrows – true realness. As I look with truth at the “upper limits” I have set in many arenas of my life, I make the choice with conviction to push up against them. To stretch my bounds and move out of the comfort zone. Why not? I already know what it is like to live in the zone of limitation. How exciting and exhilarating will it be to push joyfully against the “fear of being seen” to embrace the moments with open vulnerable expression.
I invite you to join me. Come dance and sing, cry, love, go for it with all that you are! What are you afraid of? Someone might think you’re crazy, might judge you, might not like you?? Don’t they do that anyway? Hmmm…, what if the opposite happened and they were totally inspired by your willingness to be real and truthfully expressive? Well, off to the gym I go to see what limits I can push up against. Today I wonder how many people I can smile at to break the bubble of isolation?
Afterward note – I got to make eye contact and smile at quite a few people at the gym, it was beautiful to feel the energy shift as human connection was made. I pushed my upper limits in smiling at others, doing reps until the muscle hurt versus stopping at a certain count. Have fun today exploring your upper limits – if you A.C.T. (always choose truth) it can be simply fun!!