Exercise: it’s a great way to cry

A few weeks ago a great friend posted the above-titled thought on her Facebook page. It stopped me in my tracks and I just stared at it.

For a long time.

I read some of the comments from others and I think perhaps the consensus was different from that which I had interpreted.


Isn’t that the magic of the written word? We are all able to pull from it what we need most at that particular moment in our lives.

This was helpful to me, and I’m grateful.

Obviously I’ve talked about our kids (A LOT) and you know that Nick is back in Hyde Park and bouncing off our familiar walls while singing at the top of his lungs. It’s great to spend this brief moment of eternity with him.

He joined Ann and me on our latest trek to the psychiatrist’s office in Salt Lake last week.

One of the first things he noticed was the amusement on our doctor’s face as I blew into the office as, well, only I can.

I stood first on the scale and dutifully reported the number; then ushered everyone into their pre-assigned seats; and finally handed the doctor my typed-up notes since our last visit and said we’d be quiet while he read.

Of course the look on my face clearly indicated that all would not question but simply obey.

Nick knew I kept trying to command the room at home, but hadn’t realized that I was pretty much that way most places.

It probably cemented into his mind that we were indeed being herded into the right medical professional’s office.

That’s okay; the doctor, Ann and I had no doubts that I was exactly where I should be.

notes-1420553-1280x960After the doctor dutifully read my rambling ramblings we began to talk. I’ve become pretty good at keeping control of my emotions in situations (what else would you expect from a control freak?) but I knew I was a little closer to the edge than I liked.

I kind of joked with the doctor that he better not push me too far today, or I’d start to cry.

Mercifully, while everyone in the room knew that I wasn’t really joking, they laughed anyway. We were able to cover all we needed to cover while keeping it a pretty positive experience. The emotion in the room was good.

Part of our conversation touched on the small amounts of exercise that I manage to get to now and then (wait, did you hear that shriek? It was Ann, Alex and Nick loudly protesting at my slight downplaying of my relationship with exercise).

I will admit that I spend a reasonable amount of time exercising (perhaps you should just plug your ears, because that last sound was louder than before at the audacity of my statement).

body-building-1246043Okay, I exercise.

A lot.

At least that’s what everyone else thinks.

I’m still a bit discouraged that I don’t spend quite enough time on it. Certainly part of it is that I see something different than what perhaps you may see when you look at me.

But I think there is something more to it.

So does Ann.

I listened as she told the doctor that since I refused to be violent with others (well, wouldn’t you?) and that I had done really well on not harming myself (yes, I’ll just take a bow on that one, thank you very much), that exercise was my way of pushing out all that screaming in my head.

She’s right of course.

Each bicep curl replaces a harsh word, each leg press refocuses the urge to pound my head, each increase in speed on the bike or elliptical leaves the tendency for violence behind.strength2

At least a bit.

I realized in that office that exercise was, to put it simply, my own personal way to cry.

Each of us has learned through experience that a pot of water which continues to boil has to release some of the steam. It’s just a law of nature.

There are a few ways this can happen:

We can do it proactively and move the lid partially to the side, thus letting some of the steam escape. The boiling pot remains controlled and does exactly what we need it to do: take something inedible and make it nourishing. This feels like a healthy release.

Or, we can take our eyes off of the pot, knowing that it will boil, but not exactly sure when. Invariably, our back is turned when we hear the loud clank of the lid and hear the water cascade down the side of the pot, only to sizzle again when hitting the burner.

If you are like me, you curse under your breath as you drop what you are doing and run to clean things up before it hits the floor.

It’s about 50/50 that we make it time.a-boiling-pot-1508110-1279x986

Or, we just leave the room altogether and let things go unnoticed until the pot has boiled dry and flames erupt from the stove. It’s not long until the house has burned down.

I’ve learned throughout my life just how easy it can be to find ourselves standing in the ashes, with that heavy rock lodged in the pit of our stomachs, and the strangling cry in our throats.

And feeling there was nowhere to go.

What about you?

boiling potEach of us has our own particular heat and pressures that raise the temperature of our lives to a boiling point. It can be frustrating because it takes time and patience to keep our eyes on our pots.

A lot.

Do it anyway; everyone knows that a watched pot never boils.

Or, at least never boils over.

Take the time now to find the hot pad that fits your hand the best, then reach with confidence into the flame to adjust the temperature and move your lid.

yoga-1159968-1279x1808While you may get warm, you will keep yourself from getting burned.

Along with all around you.

I think for me, exercise has really become a great way to cry.


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