Posted by: Marie | April 12, 2013

(831) Who’s steering this thing, anyhow? – Part 2 of 2

Post #831
[Private journal entry written on Friday, April 6, 2012 – continued from previous post]

We began our tour with the ellipticals . . . we played around with pushing my heart rate up and then letting it come back down . . . what effect the different resistance and incline levels had on my heart rate and breathing . . .

Then, we went to the rowing machine . . . then we toured all the different types of stationary bikes, including one with a “video game” screen attached . . . you can go on all kinds of tours . . . long, short, curvy, mountainous, flat, steep . . . and you see where you are going on the screen . . . it calculates all your stats . . . it was pretty cool.

I was very busy checking out all the features and was not really paying attention to where I was traveling on the virtual race track. At one point, my virtual bike was skidding along the side of the racetrack. Kyle reached over and turned my handlebars so that I went back onto the middle of the track.

I laughed . . . and asked if it made any difference to my metrics if I was in the middle of the track or if I was skidding along the side . . . I mean . . . I was wondering, if I went off the track, would I head out across the grass and run into a building and “die” or would my bike basically stay on the track and keep going . . . ??

Kyle said my bike would stay on the track and basically keep going . . . it wouldn’t affect my metrics.


Photo by Martin Chen

I debated for a few seconds . . . the thought crossed my mind that in earlier days, I would have turned my attention away from exploring the cool features and focused on keeping my bike in the center of the track. The reason I would have done that is because I was locked in compulsive perfectionistic behaviors – because I thought I was loveable only when I was perfect, so I tried to demonstrate to everyone how perfect I was by doing everything perfectly . . . folding and stacking the bath towels . . . organizing my calendar . . . organizing my clothes by season, type and color . . .

I’ve worked so hard to relieve myself of the burden of having to do all those compulsive behaviors. I’ve gotten quite good at identifying when I’m getting ready to do something that is really a waste of time and energy, and I’ve gotten quite good at giving myself permission to not do it.

I quickly identified the task of keeping the bike squarely on the track as one of those unnecessary behaviors and I quickly decided it was something I was not willing to do.

I went back to checking out the cool features.

A minute or so later, Kyle reached over and turned my handlebars again in order to return my virtual bike to the center of the track. That’s when I realized that it really, really bugged him that I wasn’t keeping my bike on the center of the track. It bugged him so much that he was having a hard time not helping me steer.

That put a new spin on things, so to speak . . .

I realized that, in the not too distant past, I would have shifted my focus from checking out the features to keeping my bike centered on the track for a reason different from the first reason . . . because the man whose attention I had in the moment was indicating disapproval of my behavior . . . because I felt beholden to conform my behavior to whatever would gain his approval.

That’s when I realized that I was not at all concerned about his approval in this matter.

How interesting is that! I mean . . . he is a really neat guy . . . smart, really good looking, successful, charming . . . so . . . why was I not worried about his disapproval? It has become clear to me that many of the lovely ladies who hang out in the gym really want his approval and attention . . . why am I not driven to do whatever it takes to gain his approval?

Hmmmmmmm . . . very interesting!

I debated how to handle this . . . if it were simply a preference thing . . . for example, if he preferred that I contact him via phone rather than email . . . no problem, I’d be happy to oblige.

Or was this just a preference thing? I preferred to not steer the bike, he preferred I did steer it. I mean, it’s not like it would offend any moral code of mine if I steered the bike . . . should I do it if it makes him more comfortable? It seemed to me he was dealing with his own issues around a need for order . . . should I have compassion for him and do what I could to cause him to be more comfortable?

Then, I decided that, while it certainly was not a matter of morality, it was a matter of core values for me. I hired him to help me design a cardio program. This time is about me, not about him. Also, I have worked so hard to detach myself from my need to be so perfect in order to be loveable . . . if I did steer the bike, it would be taking backward steps, returning myself to an earlier way of thinking and behaving.

I decided I was not willing to steer the bike in order to appease his need for order. He would have to figure out a way to deal with his anxiety around that . . .

And then . . . I came up with a compromise that would not offend my core values . . . I made him an offer . . .

“You are welcome to steer the bike for me while I’m messing around with the screen . . . I can’t do both, but you could do the steering . . . it won’t bother me at all . . . ”

He laughed . . . and declined . . . and said he would just stand on the far side of the screen so he wouldn’t have to look at it . . .

Anyway . . . as I was riding the “video” bike, I was pushing myself pretty hard and Kyle kept reminding me to back off . . . but, I was feeling really good . . . but, he was right . . . I shouldn’t overdo it, so I backed off . . . but, I was sweating like crazy . . . and Kyle commented that it was probably the first time I’ve sweated like that in this gym . . . yup, he was right! It was the first time I’ve felt free enough to go “there” in a very long time.

Anyway, in our last few minutes together, he took back into one of the yoga rooms and gave me some pointers on exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc. that I could do at home. He was very careful to demonstrate them for me and not ask me to do them . . . I’m really glad because I think I would have been very uncomfortable for me . . . sitting and lying on the floor when someone else is around feels very unsafe for me . . . even when I fully trust the other person . . . well, except for with Edward, I guess . . . but it took a long time before I felt safe to do that with him.

In order to show me the pull-ups, we had to go back out into the main room where other people were around us. He was using a low-to-the-ground pull-up bar that is designed to be used while the person is nearly prone on the ground . . . kind of like a reverse push-up.

I got a little freaked out thinking about doing that exercise with other people around . . . even though it was Kyle who was doing it and not me, just the thought of me doing it at a later time was freaking me out a bit. I started focusing on my breathing . . . telling myself that I’m just taking in information, not committing to using it . . . I’m not committing to doing this exercise, I’m just taking in information . . . no one is requiring me to do this particular exercise . . . it is my choice what to do with the information . . .

All of the sudden, Kyle said, “Okay, you’re getting that overwhelmed zoned out look on your face, so I think we need to stop for today . . . ”

That pulled me out of my freak-out and I laughed . . . and thanked him for being aware and responsive to what was going on with me. I assured him that, while his assessment was accurate, I was actually doing okay with it. And yet, I told him, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and wouldn’t mind stopping anyway . . .

That’s when I noticed we had run 15 minutes over our allotted 60 minutes . . . I guess it was a good place and time to stop! I thanked him for spending the extra time with me . . . and thanked him for such a great first session . . . and told him I felt really great about our fit.

We wrapped it up . . . and I headed back to my studio to get cleaned up and dressed up for the talent show . . .

Quotes 741

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