Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Perfect Plank and Stories We Tell Ourselves

Yesterday my spin/strength instructor said, "That's a perfect plank position."  She said it TO ME.  I know she did, because I was the only person in the room holding the plank position.  Otherwise, I'd have assumed it was someone else holding a perfect plank.

Those of you who have no trouble holding your bodies close to the ground but slightly above it will wonder why this is such a big deal.  It's a big deal because I've never done it before for long enough that anyone noticed.  I held it for 45 seconds, also a record for me.

I'm the person who can't do much in the way of push-ups, even with my knees on the floor.  I'm the person who attempts the plank position and promptly topples over.  I'm the person with my rump stuck far too high in the air.  My arms don't always support me, my abs are weak . . . these are the stories I tell myself.

But maybe I should change that story.  Clearly, I can hold a plank.  I just need to concentrate and to breathe.  I need to believe I can do it.

It makes me wonder what other stories I've told myself that aren't true.

The instructor yesterday told us to think of our backs as a table.  She told me that people could have eaten dinner off of my back with no problem.

I imagined my back set with beautiful pottery dishes, a vase of flowers, glasses of bubbly beverage.

I thought of the e-mail that I sent to my faculty last week:

"I realize how dizzying these past few days must have been, with e-mails flying from a variety of people, and much of the information changing daily, if not hourly.  My spouse Carl had a brilliant suggestion last night as I was decompressing after work; he said, “Why don’t you make a table for your people.”

At first I had a vision of a lovely dining room table, set in the style of Southern France, where we would all dine on delectable treats as we relaxed in a warm, golden light with a vineyard surrounding us.  But Carl is more practical.
So, attached you will find a table that details what must be done by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, September 2."

I have set a table of task lists--how much more wonderful it would be to set a table that holds a wonderful meal for us to enjoy.

But I would not require anyone to eat off my back.  They'd have about 45 seconds before it all came crashing down.  It's not the metaphor of care and hospitality I want to foster.

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