This Sunday I decided to do something for my soul.
I turned to my spiritual side... by tuning into Oprah. If you haven't watched Super Soul Sunday, you should. Each week, the "Big O" sits down with the top thinkers, teachers and spiritual leaders to discuss life's big questions. Admittedly, I don't always understand their answers (they are a bit above my enlightenment level). But every once in awhile, I experience a little flicker of light from their insight.
As was the case with this week's Super Soul Sunday guest, Jean Houston. She's a scholar and philosopher who's spent a lifetime motivating people about the human potential. She just wrote a new book called The Wizard of Us. I haven't read it. But, thanks to Oprah, I got the Cliff Notes.
Houston's book conjures up some of the vivid imagery from the Wizard of Oz.. If you think the story is all about The Emerald City and flying monkeys... then you never read between the lines. Houston touches on the BIG events that blow through our lives -- forcing us to reassess and reset. She asks, "What is your tornado?" For me, right now? It's my upcoming 45th birthday (and it has me spinning).
So, what's a girl (with a little dog) to do if she wants to make a big change in her life? Apparently there is no need for witchcraft. According to both Jean Houston and Glinda, the Good Witch, "You always had the power." It's the Ruby Slippers Principle. In order to get what you want, you first have to recognize what you have.
What do I have? Soul Sisters. Friends who have offered me tons of support as I try to lose some weight. One of them is my KTLA co-worker, Liberte Chan. She's like a little sister to me (except she's much skinnier and she's Asian). She's also a devotee of SoulCycle -- the latest fitness craze in LA and NY. She suggested we give it a spin.
Now, this is not your mama's spin class. SoulCyclers ride by candlelight to the pounding beat of whatever they're playing at "da club" these days. The exercise is, at its most basic, "bike dancing." After a spinning and sweating in the compact class (where you are literally rubbing elbows with the other bikers) I began to see why devotees consider this a religious experience. There's a carefully cultivated soul behind SoulCycle. The class feels more like a community (where a lot of people with great abs live). Everyone gets a pair of special shoes that clip onto the bike to offer enough stability to close your eyes during class (so you can set your intention). And instructors are hired because of their ability to inspire (knowing how to spin cool tunes is a bonus).
SoulCycle promotes more than just a "riding with the pack" mentality. It wants to come full circle -- by toning your body -- and getting your spirituality into shape. Words like "WARRIOR," "RENEGADE," "ROCKSTAR," "LEGEND," are printed in block letters across the walls of the studio to remind that YOU could possibly go down in history for the Best. Sculpted. Ass. Ever.
As I peddled madly up my imaginary hill, (to the sounds of Miley Cyrus screaming that she "came in like a wrecking ball"), I saw my tornado barreling towards me. Just like Dorothy, I began to pedal faster. And you know what? As the sweat rolled down my face, the debris of my cluttered and chaotic life seemed to lift. I was almost giddy by the time class was over and the enthusiastic instructor praised us for being such good "pedal-ers." I honestly didn't think I could make it through an entire class, but Glinda was right. I did, indeed, always have the power.
With my new found strength, I'm also reminded that there's no point to try to outrun this birthday (at least, not in these shoes). But I do plan to follow the yellow brick road to SoulCycle more often. Because after all, it's good for my heart, my soul (and my ass).