It’s incredible that we're in October now. I'm in my 8th month in New Zealand having not been able to get back to South Korea after Covid hit in February.
While spending this time in New Zealand has been wonderful, I’m ready to be thinking further than one day ahead. Although I’ve lived in South Korea for over a year, I’ve only spent 4 months there. And of course it was THIS trip home that I decided to practice minimalism and bring as little with me as possible!
There is so much to be grateful for. To spend time with my family. To have the ease of living in New Zealand and not wonder whether a food is chicken or something unknown without being able to read the label. To be safe where we are living/ doing as we were pre-Covid. (However, I wouldn’t say we are ‘being’ as we were pre covid).
But I’m missing the stimulation of Asia. The daily challenges of going to the bank, buying groceries, navigating unfamiliar territories—having to figure stuff out on the daily.
One brilliant thing that has happened since being at home is I finally took the leap to start dancing again.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for years, but work and training always came first. Not to mention the fear of looking like a fish out of water.
This dance class fills my whole life with so much goodness. I have so much fun, it feels good, I feel freedom in my body and my mind—but, I mean, we learnt Crazy in Love by Beyonce so how could you not?! (In my dreams I dance like Queen B. The reality is far from this. Trust me.)
But it amazes me that my fear of what other people would think of me was the thing that held me back from this joy for so long.
So many of those thoughts we have around our body that are stopping us from stepping into our true potential and finding joy are built on fears of judgement from others.
BUT here’s the thing: everyone else is so focussed on their own stuff to think about you.
You‘re amazing, but you’re not the main thing on everyone else’s mind. Are you thinking about them? Probably not. You’re thinking about you, right?
Byron Katie talks about three kinds of business.
God’s (the universe, things that are not able to be controlled) business.
The only thing you know to be true is what is true for you. You literally have no idea what others are thinking and even if you did everything you could to be and fit the ideal of what you think is acceptable, you still can’t guarantee what others will think.
You just can’t.
This is not only true for my dance class but for how you show up when you workout too. When you’re worrying about what your body looks like in the gym, you’re leaving a lot on the table for what is possible:
You’d finally PR your overhead press because you’re squeezing your lower body as hard as you can to produce as much force as possible to get the bar up. You haven’t been able to progress with this because you get self conscious about the cellulite showing when you squeeze your legs hard.
You’d have less lower back pain because you’re breathing properly when you lift. You brace 360 degrees breathing fully into your belly and back, letting your stomach expand, rather than being conscious of how your stomach looks and sucking in.
You’d make better progress with your push ups because you’re paying attention to the pain in your shoulder. You actually let it rest and heal rather than feeling like you don’t have time for that. You hate having to do something that seems less than.
If you weren’t stressing about your tights stretching across your butt when you squat you’d probably get that last rep in the heavy set of 5. But instead you just don’t have the juice because your mind is elsewhere. You call it for the day even though you know you can do it.
You make running suck less because you’d quit subbing it for rowing all the time because you hate the way your legs feel when you run. You curse yourself when you wear shorts rather than tights.
And this is what you’d definitely gain if you stopped worrying about what your body looks like when you workout:
Liberation from the shame you’re holding around your body.
Freedom from the oppressive constructs of society.
Appreciation for your badassery.
Awe for the capabilities of your body.
You don’t have to love your body. You don’t even have to like it. But you can appreciate what it does and respect it.
Worrying about how your body looks because of how people might judge it is energy that can be spent on how well you’re moving, how focussed and present you can be with your workouts, how much joy you can create, how much better you can get in a single session by rising to physical and mental challenges.
That’s stuff worth thinking about. Do you think?