picture of a sloth peeking at children

I’ve been resistant to exercising for what seems like forever. I mean, I was a competitive swimmer in high school, and that was a four year-long grueling workout! But since then, I’ve effectively rebelled.

Sure, there were phases where I’d go to the gym. I used to say that I loved lifting heavy weights, even. But if I’m being honest with myself, I didn’t. Not really. I do not care for gyms. That’s actually an understatement. Like, they don’t speak to me. At all.

Yoga studios are an improvement. I mean, they are serene places where breaking a sweat is (generally) enjoyable, and post-yoga bliss is a real thing. But even then…I don’t like music when I’m doing yoga, and I’m not really into Westernized vinyasa, which is what most studios offer.

It’s great, then, that I’ve completed 500 hours of yoga teacher training so that I can effectively guide myself through a sequence…except that I rarely do. I rarely want to. And this is despite how much my body loves the way I feel after I do yogasana.

Which is a shame, because my joints aren’t happy with me. A few years ago, it was my left shoulder. I still haven’t regained full range of motion with it (I’m at maybe 90%). Now, it’s my right shoulder. And my inner right knee. Plus, my IT bands are insanely tight, and my inner left groin protests whenever I sit down to meditate.

I’m 47, not 77…and I know that it’s time to start treating my body better than I have.

But I refuse to force myself to do things that are in stark contradiction to what’s in integrity with my true nature. Which means it’s time to Wayfind.

Using metaphor to explore my resistance

So, I decided to use metaphor to explore my resistance to exercising. I want to increase my mobility. And I definitely don’t want to be that older woman who struggles to get around.

[Note: I share how to use metaphor in this post, so I’m going to skip that part here.]

The imagery I received almost instantly was a cute AF sloth. How appropriate, right?

Sloth was initially clung to a tree, as we all know sloths to do. But quickly, she was being cradled in my arms like a baby. Smiling big at me. So adorable, so lovable. And this comes from someone who’s never been sloth-obsessed.

Sloth wants to be nurtured. Sloth doesn’t like heavy exertion. Sloth seeks pleasure. Sloth explores, but with curiosity, not speed. Distance isn’t the objective. Sloth leisurely climbs hills, meanders down to the creek, rests, and simply enjoys herself immensely.

This was powerful imagery, but then things got comically strange and downright playful! Sloth hopped out of my arms and started shimmying! Sloth was belly dancing! Then sloth was doing a down dog. As I type this, sloth is riding my beach cruiser bicycle (without a helmet!) and is waving and grinning as though she’s Miss America! Before that, she was swimming (if you can call it swimming) in the Pacific ocean. 

Sloth was engaged in pure pleasure. She wasn’t “exercising” and yet she was moving. Nurturing her joints. She didn’t spend all hours of the day in her fuzzy pink chair or at her desk. 

Curiosity, pleasure, wonder and awe, intoxication, sensuality. These were here drivers.

Today, Sloth showed me that I’ve been approaching movement in a way that’s never been aligned for me. You see, I’ve always approached moving my body from the exercise lens – you know, as something I “should” do. I’ve never been able to disentangle the word “exercise” from the equation, and that’s led me to dread (or at least avoid it).

And now, I can see that the word “exercise” needs to be stricken from my vocabulary all together. Instead, I’m being invited to approach movement through Sloths eyes; to focus on brining in the qualities that Sloth exhibits naturally.

I’m invited to BE the person who is curious, seeks pleasure, wonders, becomes readily awed, is intoxicated with life, and gravitates towards the sensual.

[Note to self: it’s so much easier to do these things when my ass isn’t glued to my pink fuzzy chair!]

Scheduling time to do these things instead of “exercising” seems to be the takeaway. When I frame it this way, I find myself wanting to move my body.

Thank you, Sloth.

That is all.