I was leading some ladies through some self-care exercises, teaching them how to use tennis balls to release their feet. And I said something like, “now don’t grind into them, just lift up and away and let your foot curve around the surface of the ball. Don’t make it intense, don’t be a hero.” And one of the ladies said, “I like that...don’t be a hero.”
I like it too. You see, it’s a very interesting thing but really the best way to create change is not by dramatic, sweeping strokes or an intense, to the bone, muscling on through. Nope, it’s best done by gentle, patient pressure over a great length of time. If you grind that ball into your foot you’ll just inflame it. Whereas, if you just let it rest on the curved surface it will release. You don’t need to be a hero. You don’t need to endure (or enjoy) pain to heal.
Now this, of course, got me to thinking. And at our Kid’s Intro to Oils class I said to a mom how I was working on a blog that I was going to title “Don’t Be a Hero.” And she said..."like don’t be a martyr?" And, though not the original thread I was following I said, yes, that would certainly qualify. It’s really not that much different. It’s dang near an epidemic, this idea that in order to show our love, we hand over all that we are and have to another. And then, not so unlike how proud we are of what we will endure to release our physical pain, we put our sacrifice out there as a measure of our worth. But mighten it not be better if we just quietly slipped in the support and love where was needed—not hauling people up the mountain on a rope but providing footholds along the way? Don’t be a hero.
And then I got to pondering on this cultural phenomenon of the warrior. It’s not good enough to run a 5k or even a marathon. We are going to do a double marathon, through mud and barbed wire while carrying bricks in our backpacks. We are going to make people endure physical conditions that, given time and no medical intervention, would kill them. And we are simultaneously going to put them inside a vicious Lord of the Flies experiment. And we are going to do this for our entertainment. Do you remember learning about Sparta in gradeschool and thinking how horrific it was? A city so determined to create the superior warrior class that their children were taken away from their parents so they could be raised up without attachment? Or to give you a more modern take - Districts 1 and 2 in the Hunger Games. We certainly seem to be preparing for the dystopian future that we are so fond of reading about.
Now that above paragraph is pretty fiery. Take it for what it’s worth...I’m a thinker, I go down rabbit holes and whatnot. But here is a less esoteric take on the above. There are warriors among us. I know a few and I respect what they do - mud, barbed-wire and a rucksack full of bricks and all. But most of us aren’t. We are better suited to other endeavors. Yet we are fed these ideas of worthiness. We are supposed to be tough and strong, cut, perfectly toned without a jiggle in sight. We are apparently preparing for some bizarre combination of societal collapse and beauty pageant. I weep at the images of bodies of worth that some of my lady friends post on their walls as inspiration. Nestlings! Not only is fitness these people’s full-time or part-time job, but most of these women are warriors. I say to you...don’t be a hero! Move your molecules, as my mamma said. Get your heart rate up, sweat, strengthen up your core a bit, including your glutes (they are important). And eat good food more often than not. You know that something that comes from land, air or sea is better than something that comes from a box. Be able to keep up with your kids - at least for most of the day; those creatures are unnaturally energetic. Know that you can walk 10,000 steps a day without noticing. Find some activities to enjoy that have you up and about and living life. Let the doctor check out your numbers, your heart and your lungs and if they are ok,
trust that you are ok. If you need to drop some pounds so that your numbers, your heart and your lungs are ok, go for it. And yes, every once and a while push your envelope just to remind yourself of what you are capable of. And be patient. Embrace the idea of gentle, consistent effort spread out over a lifetime.
Really, if you think about it, that’s how diamonds are made - gentle, patient pressure over a great length of time. (See what I did there?)
And with that heavy handed metaphor I shall take my leave.
Peace and good things!