Dear Woman on Treadmill #4,
I saw you get on the treadmill this morning. You were quiet (I mean it was 5:30am) but got right to work, doing your own thing. You were in a zone and not bothering anyone. I don't know why I became so consumed with how you showed up this morning, but I did and I am sorry.
As the class started, you began running and I couldn't help but notice that you were going at a slower pace than the rest of the people around you. My subtle awareness took a turn and I began to recognize that in the drills you were almost a step behind everyone else. They were all out running you.
And in this awareness of your performance, I admittedly began to judge you.
I am not proud of it.
It is not easy for me to own these feelings let alone share them in this way.
But for the sake of transparency and walking my talk, I felt called to formally and publicly apologize to you and ask for your forgiveness.
And sadly, it didn't stop there.
I saw your face get red and your breathing grew heavy. I began to think, "wow, she must be really out of shape", yet I know I have seen you here working out every week. I began to judge the grimace on your face as you focused on the workout. And as I continued to move about the class, I am embarrassed to say my judgments got worse.
I found myself questioning what you are doing here. When we moved to the weight workout, I caught glimpses of how your belly rolled over your yoga pants during the crunches. I was surprised by the breaks you took during the burpees. I noticed your arms shake during the plank holds. I tried to turn away and focus on the workout and not on your presence but my thoughts got away from me and I clearly became fixated.
I feel awful, embarrassed and most of all truly sorry.
Because when I saw you leave at the end of the session, you were tired but you made it. You didn't crumble or cry, you walked out and went on with your day. You looked strong and had purpose. And in that moment, I realized that I spent my entire workout passing judgment on you rather than focusing on your strengths.
So dear girl on treadmill #4, I am so sorry.
I am sorry for thinking you had to be like the rest of the women in the class.
I am sorry for mistaking your slower pace for lack of determination.
I am sorry I was so quick to look at your body as a thing to judge and compare rather than celebrate.
I honestly haven't passed this kind of judgment in a while. But I do know why I found myself in this spiral of judgment towards you. In hindsight, I realize it is because for some reason an old story of mine was triggered and I took it out on you. And I think we both know how old fears can sometimes be sneaky and find a way back into our lives. Even though I have done so much heart work, sometimes our human shows and old wounds are triggered and that fear resurfaces.
I don't have any excuses.
All I can say is that fear got the best of me today and caused me to show a dark side of myself. But this experience served as an important reminder for me: that doing the work to live soul connected doesn't mean I am going to achieve perfection or enlightenment. It's in the shadows of my fear where I am tested to flex my courage and ignite my personal power to shift. With the commitment of living aligned with my soul comes great response-ability. And what I have found is that it is in these moments of darkness is where my soul strength is rekindled.
Because it doesn't matter how you look, it's about how you feel. It's about showing up and doing what's best for YOU, nobody else. It's about being able feel all your feelings, no matter what rises and truly feel it without judgment. That is when we can activate our choice to shift from fear to love.
The kind of love that I am offering you right now.
Love that looks like honesty, forgiveness and beginning again.
For in these moments of fear, I am able to see just how resilient I am.
You know the stories that created a fort around my power and took hostage of my light for so many years. In the past, this experience would have sent me into fear cruise control all day. However, when you stared back it me today in the mirror, it's clear just how much dedicated time and work has gone into healing and resurrecting from those stories. Yet when these judgments appeared, the woman staring back at me wasn't the same as the girl from the past. Although fear may creep up in unexpected ways, who I saw staring back at me is a strong, powerful woman who isn't defined by her speed or rep count. She is in hot pursuit of showing up authentically and loving herself unconditionally.