Last week, as I was headed to the gym on base (Langley) to invoke my warrior-goddess/Lara Croft energy (45 minutes on the elliptical), my husband wrote to let me know the ellipticals were moved onto a basketball court because the cardio room was being renovated and that there were only a fraction of machines available during the reno.
I wasn’t worried though, I told myself: Things always work out in my favor. Besides, the day was gorgeous and I felt pretty sunny myself.
I got an excellent parking spot and headed in. Flashing my I.D. as required, I strolled past the front desk and headed back to the basketball courts. I noticed two ellipticals in the hallway and thought to myself, “It’s really nice they squeezed some extra machines in wherever they could during the renovation.” I turned a sharp left towards the basketball courts and began unwinding my headphones. I didn’t even slow down as I approached the machines.
Eventually, I lifted my head up from untangling my headphone wires to find that every last elliptical was in use. Every. Single. One. Even the shitty one that people move off of after about two and a half minutes. I almost began getting irritated when I remembered those couple of ellipticals I’d seen in the hallway on my way in. Maybe there were just one or two more farther back. So, off I went, determined not to lose my warrior-goddess focus. I strolled back out into the hallway and ventured into the very back of the gym, where I’d never been before.
There were no more ellipticals. Damn!
Coming back up the hallway, I checked one more time on the court to see if anyone even looked like they were finishing up. Nada.
I took a deep breath, settling deeper into my present state of being—peace; things always work out in my favor.
Ten years ago, I would have been on fire by now, at least on the inside. Completely livid that things were not going according to plan and being all Lara’d up with no machine to work out on. It may sound silly to you, or me now, but, it is all relative. #Truth You may also be asking, why not just get on the treadmill, or go run? A) You missed my Facebook post about 1 of 3 engines (snaps) being out on my bra the week before; B) I already walked 40 minutes with Bronco, our dog, that morning, and C) The elliptical IS MY PLAN.
In a flash of inspiration, I remembered that there is what looks like some sort of Family Room right inside the front doors. I make my way there, eager to get started. Before entering though, I carefully inspect all signs on, and around the door. I'm not really a rule-breaker.
Besides a sign about picking up after your children, the only thing I see regarding usage of the room is a gold plaque announcing: Multipurpose Room. So, seeing nothing to indicate that this is a family room “only”, I charge in thinking I’ve struck gold! There are a couple of ellipticals and treadmills among other machines and weights. All I need, perfect. There is only one guy in there, feeding a baby.
I hop on an elliptical, which is much crappier than any of the others in the gym, by the way, and am relieved to be finally starting my workout! How much time have I wasted already?! Geez.
This crappy elliptical is really burning my quads just a few minutes in and I think, I better pump up my jams before I give out, so I do. Off and on, I watch a man, probably in his early forties, cleaning the room. I immediately think he’s probably a medically-retired vet--hearing aids, a cast on his arm and a bad limp, and working here in the base gym. I continue on… 9:27 in, he approaches me. I take out my headphones to see what he’s saying…what the hell is he saying? He is talking so softly compared to Lady Gaga who was just loudly exclaiming I was born this awesome.
Between my workout mode and sheer disbelief, I can barely comprehend what he is telling me. I can’t be in this room? What?? WHY?! Oh, I feel it now…the fire…rising though my core. I’m shaking my head, only briefly touting back that this was ridiculous when this room is not marked “family only”. I didn’t ask him why he waited 9 minutes and 27 seconds to tell me. I knew why. His bosses at the front desk insisted he boot me out after he had avoided doing so for nearly 10 minutes. As I walked back past the front desk, I remarked it to them how ridiculous it was that empty room couldn’t be used when all the other machines were full.
Back down the hall I went, my fire still raging. More wasted time, even after I checked that damn door for “families only” signs. Far from a full-on bitch mode they would have gotten several years ago, my casual remarks didn’t raise an eyebrow, but I still didn’t like the way I felt. I was so angry. Why, exactly, was I so angry? Because I was wrong about the door? Because my time was wasted?
I continued down the hall and onto the courts where there were now several machines free. I don’t get angry like that much anymore and when I do it, it shakes me. I was shaking as I climbed onto the elliptical and started again. Now, I was frustrated at the fact I was so angry. I thought I was past this. I’d come so far, right? But here I was again…even though I’d all but held my tongue, I still felt the wrath. The destructive fire. I had no reason to feel so angry towards that man.
As my timer began counting up once again, I drifted, detached, just like I coach people to do:
What now? I am in the moment. How do I transform it?
The moment these words echoed through my body, mind & soul, a story I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer tell came flooding back to me. I don’t remember all the details, but he was visiting some poor country and had to use a less-than-nice bathroom where he encountered a man and had a short exchange with him. As Dr. Dyer made his way back to the group, quite a long walk, he was contemplating that exchange with the man and feeling regretful for something he said or felt. He decided the best way to correct the ego was a do-over. This would cause the neurons in his brain to light up new pathways, rewiring his old patterns of reaction. So, he went all the way back to bathroom and “corrected” his energy exchange with this man.
I had a sinking, yet compelling feeling between my stomach and heart, knowing I had the same opportunity to put my ego in check.
Not five minutes later, that man who had kicked me out of the Multipurpose Room came onto the courts and was in and out of storage rooms on the far side. As I considered what I was going to do, I knew it was quite possible that my apology could collapse into tears. I am extremely empathetic and just the thought that my ridiculous reaction could have hurt someone caused tears to well in my eyes. It didn’t matter. I had to teach my ego a lesson and direct that fiery energy to illuminate new pathways in my mind!
I saw him lock up the last door and begin to make his way back towards the court doors. I stepped carefully off of the elliptical with shaky legs and trotted over to meet him. Just as I’d coached myself, I made no excuses and plainly apologized for how angry I felt when speaking to him earlier. I told him there was no reason for me to be so upset and I certainly shouldn’t have taken it out on him. He gladly accepted my apology and said that he’d hoped I wasn’t angry at him. We talked for 10 or 15 minutes and at some point, my ego finally surrendered to the time ticking away on my watch.
It’s quite easy for us to keep participating in the human drama (rather than witnessing and rising above it), the time ticking away in life, if we are “right”, if we’ve been “wronged”, all the extraneous circumstances we attempt to control in order to make life flow according to our plan. The issues we push on others. The pain we refuse to let go of. And depending on where we are in our spiritual journey, we may have few or frequent opportunities to “scare the shit out of our ego” as I like to say. Seize those opportunities to teach your ego a lesson and rewire your neurons with a do-over!
When your ego shrinks, your Soul has space to soar.