Exercise and Power
I’ve been thinking about power. What you might call inner strength or personal agency, or confidence.
Like many people at this moment, inequality and unfairness has been on my mind. And like many people, it bothers me. It bothers me that it happens and it bothers me that I contribute, or that through my inaction I am complicit.
I came up with a scenario.
I’m sitting in a restaurant and I overhear hurtful remarks being said about a group of people.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t do anything. I would sit there and maybe judge the speaker and think uncharitable thoughts about them, but I would be too afraid of exposure, and compromising my safety, or too afraid of appearing self-righteous. So I would just ignore it as best I can.
But then I thought, “What if there is someone from that group of people also hearing this? What if this is tormenting them and they just want it to stop so they can get back to enjoying their dinner with their loved one?”
In that situation I would want to stand up and gently ask the speaker to stop saying those things. I can assume that they don’t know any better, as I sometimes don’t know any better myself and say thoughtless things.
This is what gets me to thinking about power…that feeling of invincibility that comes out of the center of ones chest and makes our shoulders square and helps us take up all the space we take up in the world or in a room. It’s also the kind of power that helps me speak up in a group, or state clearly what my ideas are to someone who represents authority to me.
I feel more powerful when I connect with my body through some kind of vigorous movement practice. Some kind of strenuous movement that makes me tired, but feels very satisfying.
It occurred to me how important it can be for us to access our own power, and that we can access our power through exercise, or movement.
The importance of exercise shifted, from something that I might do for myself, to something that I might actually be doing for other people.
I don’t mean pumping myself up and becoming aggressive. I’ve never liked the idea of fighting against what we think is amiss. But rather becoming powerful enough to find my courage when I need it. To tap into my own strength so that I can act calmly and confidently in a provoking situation.
I think it could be helpful if people like me, and people like you, made a point of thoroughly connecting to our own power. And I know that when we feel strong in our body, we feel strong in other ways as well.