When things go up and when they fall down

I don’t always love the journey, but I respect it as a process.

I began training with kettlebells in 2013 as a way to get more engaged in weight training. At the beginning, I did not appreciate the technical side of learning to use kettlebells. Often I would get frustrated when the trainer would have me practice minor drills over and over again. I wanted to try more advanced moves and test my knowledge. It was when I learned to let go of my naive understanding of progression that I leaned into the process and learned so much more.

Four years later, in some respects I am still a beginner. I may always be. There are parallels to my professional work as an architect in this. There are parallels in the ongoing art of parenting… and friendship… and family.

One of the most important lessons I have learned this year is to celebrate the small wins. Sometimes it is enough to show up. I have also had some big milestones this year. (I’ll keep this list to myself.) When I’m not careful I forget that life is not made of big moments. It’s the accumulation of small, conscious acts. When we face adversity or loss, a small win is getting through the day.

This describes something I encountered this week while at a kettlebell class. I got on the ground ready to do a move I have done a thousand times (not exaggerating) and was stuck by a bout of vertigo*. Room spinning. Bearings out of whack. There was no way any weight was going over my head.

I took a break and focused on making sure my body was not going to fall over. Sometimes things can go up and sometimes our focus is to make sure we have a soft fall. This was a good reminder for me to pause and celebrate just being… not doing, just being.

Life is a continual process. I am not the person I was a year ago and will not continue to be the same person a year from now. As I go into the new year, I am reminding to embrace this change, listen to prompts around me, and to work with what I have. Enjoy the journey more… that’s the best advice I can give myself.

*What I experienced was diagnosed as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is when the small crystals in your inner ear get dislodged and migrate into places they should not be sending false signals to the brain. It is a temporary (and very dizzying) experience.

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Emily is an Architect, Mother of 2, and Somerville, MA resident.

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