Last winter I did a workout video series called T25. I was about to get married, so exercising climbed the ranks of priorities in those dreary cold months. T25 is glorious because each workout is only 25 minutes long. It is also brutal, fast-paced, and it required way too many squats and jumps for me to do in my tiny, dark basement I was living in at the time. I took a little break for a while and have returned to the world of intense at-home workouts lately because my wife is an excellent baker.
There’s a certain irony about Sean T., the high-energy, muscular guy who leads the workout series. While I am sweating and cursing at him in agony while I barely complete the moves he does effortlessly, I realize… I need this guy. Even if he does refer to himself in the 3rd person while motivating me to do “JUST FOUR MORE” ridiculous abdominal exercises. Without him, I’m an average neighborhood jogger at best and a tea-drinking, documentary-watching couch potato at worse… with a bowl of my wife’s cookies on my end-table. If there’s one thing I know for sure, there is absolutely no way I would push towards my physical potential without him. I have a gym membership collecting dust; when I do use it, there’s a better chance you’ll find me in the sauna listening to podcasts than you will pumping out reps bench-pressing.
I may scream at Sean T. while I complete his vicious workouts, but if it weren’t for him… there’s no way I’d get in shape. I need a motivator and a guide. I need somebody who knows what the heck they’re doing. I need a reference point.
This reminds me of so many other areas of life. I need help. I need other perspectives. I need you. We all do. If there’s anything we can collectively agree upon, maybe it’s that we are often wrong and misguided. This is why we need other voices, perspectives, and experiences.
Shitstorm would be a very generous description of our nation in the last year or so. My social media timelines scream “US VS. THEM!” Everyone wants to win… I worry the gap between “sides” is widening faster and deeper than ever.
It is so tempting to join the outcry for justice and unity but not want the commitment that will come with listening to one another. To know how I ought to work out, I need Sean T. to show me. To know how to navigate the world, I need a variety of reference points. I need yours.
How freeing would it be to hold loosely enough to our personal convictions that we could have a civil conversation with someone we knew we disagreed with?
“I will talk to anyone about anything” is probably the most powerful sign I have read in the last two years. Can we sit at each other’s tables again? Can we care more about togetherness than rightness? We may actually be able to talk about anything if that were the case. That’s what I want my table to look like. I’d love if there were lots and lots of open seats.
If I relied only on my immediate emotional response to events and ideas, I would create quite the inconsistent and confusing mess. My mind changes so much that I may not even agree with what I’m writing by the time this paragraph is over. Sometimes a new perspective challenges me and leads to discovery. Sometimes a new idea further confirms the place where I already was. My T25 workouts always leave me sore and aching.
The interesting thing is… these workouts don’t leave me feeling changed right away. I don’t complete “DYNAMIC CORE 2.0” and see much of anything, really. I guess we’re all still looking for that video series, huh? Maybe that’s the beauty in the whole process, though. It’s a process. And often… a painful one.
If I keep letting Sean T. lead the way, maybe I’ll feel stronger over time. Maybe I’ll see some results and feel healthier and more energetic. Maybe if we engage in the uncomfortable dinner conversations with our family members we disagree with… we’ll see some growth over time, too. I think we’ll at least see fewer empty chairs at our table. The tables that prioritize connection over rightness will begin to fill up faster and faster.
I hope you’ll sit with me.