Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The White Space in a Zen Spin

July 21st, 2010

Imagine my surprise today when I went into the indoor cycling class and discovered our favorite instructor speaking in quiet, monotone sounds. When Charlie Campbell offers an endurance class where he focuses on breath work and speaks meditatively throughout the class, I am in a state of bliss. Almost two years ago, he approached me and said he had thought of me when he had an idea for an endurance class: something quiet, mindful and focused. “You mean like a ‘Zen ride?” I inquired? He nodded and knowing that we were speaking the language of mindfulness, I was completely on board.

Charlie first suggested this morning that we silence the inner critic. He spoke about the “white space,” to which we all have access; the space that is not just reserved for athletes. White space is noiseless; chatter-free, distraction-empty. All is tuned out as we are tuned in.

Yesterday I was off my game. Way off. For a person for whom positivity is a daily goal, I couldn’t find white space to save my life. Talking with a loved one last evening was really helpful in that I was able to let some of the inner critic chatter dissipate. Allowing myself to be OK with that noise, the restlessness, the resistance I felt internally, was instrumental to acceptance and going to bed to start the day anew. When I awoke this morning, I still felt the disquiet, yet still went to the gym at 5:30. And it was this action – and the acceptance that the mind and body were not in sync – that paved the way for me to trust that perhaps, I wouldn’t remain in a state of resistance for very long.

So was it completely fortuitous and serendipitous that I came to THIS particular class? This “Zen Ride,” on this day, when the last time I was in a Charlie Zen class was over five months ago? When I came down the hall and turned the corner into the room, I literally froze. That’s when I noticed an immediate attitudinal overhaul. That whole mind, body, spirit thing completely shifted for me.

After observing this obvious disparity in my own internal workings, I wondered about the disquiet, the distractions, and how the lack of white noise in our daily lives contributes to our interactions with others. And it got me to thinking about this newsletter: what are some of the things we can do to right our emotional status? For me, it was a fearless allowance and acceptance of the disquiet that led to the rather quick turnaround. It was also the action and implementation of a routine – (going to the gym) – that led to the wonderful surprise: a “Zen Ride.”

Had I given in to the restlessness, I would have missed a magical time, and an experience that has completely shaped my day in positivity. My interactions with colleagues, co-workers, clients, and personal friends, was very different than I might have thought they would be a day ago. Prior to starting our day and interacting with others, what can we do to check in with our internal workings to find out if we are able to find white space?

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