Monday, February 9, 2009

"Beauty and the Beast"



I have been thinking a lot about space lately;  not "outer" space, but our spaces through which we walk every day.  The spaces we consider "ours": our personal space, our work space, our home space, our sacred space.  More accurately, I have lately had a heightened awareness around the points in time our individual spaces intersect.  These may be the times we invite someone new into our space, or these may be the times we feel someone is infringing on our space.  And, then, I am forced to question, is it really "my" space, or is it just an illusion of ownership? Whether invited in or not, when our spaces intersect, it can leave us feeling a bit vulnerable.  Not surprisingly, during this time, I was handed the following passage by Joseph Campbell in "The Power of Myth," in which he speaks of having a sacred place:

"This is an absolute necessity for anybody today.  You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you.  This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be...At first you may find that nothing happens there.  But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen...But our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended.  You are always doing something that is required of you.  Where is your bliss station?  You have to try to find it."

So, what does this all have to do with Spinning?  A few things.  Sometimes I get the awareness that this is the only hour during a day that a student has to him/herself. Sometimes, like in a recent crowded Tuesday night class, I can feel the release that has happened in the room.  I have no idea why, but that night, the emotions were so heavy, hanging in the air, that I commented on it and encouraged everyone to leave them behind in the room.  I was not the only one who felt it...others commented. Maybe it's simply the first time in a while that someone has relaxed their shoulders and just let it flow.  Maybe it's the sweat, the detox, the sensation of letting it all roll off the back of the bike.  I think the experience is individual each time we get on the bike.  It's not always this deep, but it can be.

The other reason I've been thinking this way is that I recently taught my first "tandem" ride with another instructor.  We were teaching back to back classes and he asked me how I'd like to teach the 2 hours together, alternating taking the lead.  We put two bikes up on the platform (talk about space) and switched off, taking the mic every 10-15 minutes.  He put the playlist together, choosing songs that highlighted our strengths and allowed us to have some fun playing off each other.  We called it "Beauty and the Beast."

When I think back, I think I should have been more intimidated than I was.  He's a great instructor with a great reputation, and years of experience on me.  But, I was confident enough that we would work well together, and we did.  It was an empowering sharing of space, and I notice improvements in the way I ride after that day.  Above all, it was so much fun, and went so fast.  We had a handful of riders that rode both hours, and have already planned the next one.  

I've been a bit lacking in creating completely new playlists and profiles lately, but I'll have some coming soon....In the meantime, I invite you to create your sacred spaces, however they look. 

Songs I've added in lately and have loved (both borrowed and brand new):

O...Saya/AR Rahman & M.I.A. (from Slumdog)....warm up
Peace, Love and Happiness/G. Love and Special Sauce....warm up
Going Out of My Head/Fatboy Slim
This is Your Life/The Killers
Poker Face/Lady GaGa
Don't Call Me Baby (Bimbo Jones Club Mix)/Kreesha Turner
Right Round/Flo Rida
No Stress (Club Mix)/Laurent Wolf
Gives You Hell/The All-American Rejects
Where are We Runnin/Lenny Kravitz
Yellow/Coldplay
Break on Through (To The Other Side)/BT vs. The Doors
Stand Back (Ralphi's Beefy-Retro Mix)/Stevie Knicks
Lovers in Japan/Coldplay

Happy Riding! 
Jen