I think gyms are ugly.
And for me, ugly is a life shrinker.
I need Beauty. Whatever Beauty means to me, which may be completely different from what it means to you.
I need for my eyes to be pleased in order to open up, to say yes, to be ready, to create.
I have found Beauty in the mud of a refugee center, I have found Beauty in the toothless smile of a very old man, in the orange-ness of a sunset and in the shiny-ness of a new pair of shoes.
I have never found Beauty in a gym.
In my occasional path-crossings with gyms, I have pushed myself to suck it up and focus on the work at hand.
I have run on treadmills facing rows of TVs, I have pushed bars over my head next to sweaty strangers.
I have never enjoyed it.
(I particularly don’t enjoy doing very personal stuff next to strangers and good god working out feels personal to me)
Also, as much as I’ve wanted to find my zone when running I seem to only get there when running on a treadmill. Weird and slightly disappointing to me, but there I have it.
So I’ve worked out from my home - or not worked out all all.
Until this past week.
When my sister was here, she and I treated ourselves to a day pass at the pretty darn fancy local beach club. We swam in the infinity pool, laughed like silly girls when asked to leave the dreamy VIP beach tents (turns out these cost 50 times the price of the day pass), and ate delicious French cheeses from our poolside couches.
While sipping a pinada, I noticed a small, wide open room with some exercise equipment, facing the beach.
Specifically a treadmill.
I went to take a look.
Now that was a gym that knew a thing or two about Beauty!
Just a few machines, open air to the breeze on three sides, no one else around and did I mention: a treadmill facing the ocean?
I promptly found out that for less than thirty dollars a month, this could be mine.
I said yes. Yes, please por favor. And gracias.
For less than thirty dollars a month, I now get to walk past the infinity pool (very specifically not included), step barefoot onto the machine (probably not allowed in regular gyms for all kinds of reasons but this is still Mexico) and run, run, run ... my eyes and heart filled by the sight and sound of the waves and the pelicans and the occasional surfer. And I get to do this with no one sweating next to me.
It has been a magical cherry on top of a delicious cake.
AND it has asked my busy mind to keep its opinion to itself, too.
To which I answer:
Maybe but I don’t care.
I LOVE it.
I love the running, I love the Beauty and yes, I love the luxury.
Also, I love the contrast.
I love leaving my little tiny house, getting into my big dusty car, driving through dirt roads and parking in the “special people” parking lot.
Then slowly walking into the magnificent, five stars looking lobby of this amazing place, on my way to giving my body some strength and life force.
Because we are made of contrasts, and when we allow ourselves to embrace them, to not let ourselves be identified by a tight label, we start to feel whole and bold and strong.
Here’s to Beauty, whatever it is for us - and here’s to daring to say yes to unusual, life-celebrating invitations.
SCARED OF THE SACRED