Yesterday morning, still feeling a bit bleary-eyed from Sunday's long day of travel back from the retreat (more details about that retreat in this blog post), I went to the gym. The sign said, "Spin class cancelled."
At my gym, we can use the spin room if it's not being used for a class and if we're experienced spinners. So I got myself set up, turned on my iPod, and . . . complete quiet.
Full confession: I haven't used my iPod since a grueling New Year's Eve cross-country flight, and I'm fairly sure I haven't charged it in 2 years. So, I wasn't really surprised when it didn't work.
I had spent the whole week-end eating very high calorie food at the retreat center. I needed a work out. I thought about ditching the spin bike and getting on a treadmill or some other machine. But in the morning, I hate being surrounded by all the screens broadcasting news shows. I decided to hop on the spin bike anyway, even though I've never done a spin class with no music. My goal was to last half an hour.
At first, I spent time saying (to myself), "I can't believe I'm doing this with no music." I decided to keep the door open and the lights on. For part of the time, another member of our class joined me, and we were mostly quiet--just the noise of our bikes, spinning away.
I expected to hate it. But it was OK. And then, I started to really appreciate the experience. Time didn't pass as quickly as it does in a normal spin class, but it wasn't torturously slow either. And I even approached a semi-meditative state once or twice. I tried to pray, as I often do throughout the day, and because there weren't very many distractions, I was able to stay focused on praying.
In the end, I spent an hour on the spin bike. I left the room sweaty and happy.
And then, after my shower at the gym, I realized I forgot to pack a top for work. Yes, a skirt, but no top. I thought about going home. I was supposed to have a 9:00 appointment, so I worried that rush hour traffic would mean I'd miss my appointment. I thought about the stores that are on my way to work.
So, I put my work-out shirt back on and said a prayer of thanks for microfiber that hadn't absorbed too much sweat. I stopped at Ross, but they don't open until 8. There was a dollar store next door, so I popped in and asked, "Do you sell t-shirts?"
Yes, they do, and yes, they only cost a dollar. I bought the extra large, although I did wonder if it was a youth XL. The tag seemed to say that it was an adult XL, so I bought it.
That shirt will leave my closet as quickly as it entered, but it worked for one day. Happily, the appointment that I had was not an appointment where I needed to be wearing interview type clothes--and it got rescheduled several times, so I needn't have worried.
I was pleased at my capacity to just keep rolling even as I encountered situations that could have sent me catapulting into a bad mood. And because I could quickly strategize, I improved my mood.
It's not a skill I always have, but it's a skill I often have, and it's one of the coping skills I'm most grateful to have.