Last fall I started a new fitness regime that cycles participants through a series of stations with the help of a trainer. Every day the stations are different, and the exercises are as creative as they are tough. This is wonderfully interesting, but it presents a new challenge for me as well: I am person who is used to crafting my art, whatever the art may be. It takes courage to learn something new every day.
I’ll admit that I enjoy many of my hobbies simply because I am good at them. If I cannot make myself excellent at something, I usually drop it. For many years I was a good painter, but when I moved in with an accomplished artist, my paintbrushes collected dust in the closet.
Being unable to predict my ability to do something is difficult for me. I prefer to be learned. Capable. Knowledgeable. Confident. These days I walk into the gym and I am never fully learned, which leaves me feeling exposed, embarrassed, and awkward. Shame lurks around every corner.
Yet I know this new exercise routine is good for me, both body and soul. Learning a new exercise every day means I have to show up open and ready. It is a lesson that ripples throughout my entire life. I need to be humble, and willing to ask for help, receive instruction, and make mistakes. I have to have the courage to do something imperfectly, over and over again.
The benefit of courage is that it makes life exciting and enriching. There is more fun to be had when the expectations for excellence are put on hold.