Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spinning Classes and the Creative Life

I've joined the Wellness Center at a hospital near my work. It's a small gym, along with 2 classrooms, where I hope to take Yoga and Tai Chi. I got a great deal: no initiation fee, and only $25 a month, and I can take all the classes I want, except for Spin classes. Spin classes are extra, $7.00 for members, $10.00 for non-members.

At first I shrugged. I had no intention of taking Spin classes. I'd heard that they're hard beyond belief. But then I got a coupon for a week of free Spin classes.

My inner cheapskate was thrilled: something for nothing. So, I decided to give it a whirl, so to speak, even though I thought I might last 8 minutes, tops.

I went on Friday and lasted the whole class. I'm sure I wasn't working out at the levels of the people around me, but I completed the most vigorous workout I've ever had. I endured. I made it to the end of class. And I went back again on Monday.

This whole experience made me think about my creative life, about what I'm willing to try and the road blocks I put in my way.

For years, I wouldn't have been caught dead in a gym. I was one of those snooty runners, logging long miles on open roads and scoffing at people who stayed indoors. And yet, I've found myself really excited by the thought of taking new classes and trying new things. I've felt a kind of energy that I haven't felt in past summers as I slogged through the heat and humidity. I've already tried new things.

I see a similar dynamic in my creative life. I get comfortable with what I've been doing and so, I see no reason to change. Eventually, I become a bit ossified. Yet when I try something new (a new poetic form, writing a poem a day in April, anything that breaks me out of my routine), I find myself exhilarated and I push to heights I haven't seen before.

Sadly, all too quickly I return to my ossified ways. That's why I'm always on the lookout for ways to break out of my routine in my writing life, like the postcard project I mentioned a few posts ago.

I think about the rest of my life and wonder if this lesson applies to other parts of my life, not just athletics and writing. I suspect it has a broad application; I'll contemplate it as I sit in traffic on my way to work this morning.

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