I have a client who is a woman in her early 60s. Since childhood she has believed herself to be uncoordinated, unathletic, incapable when it comes to physical activity. I don't know the entirety of how this self-image formed, but I do know that at age 8 she was criticized by her teacher for the way she skipped on the playground.
She has struggled her entire adult life with many aspects of her physicality.
I have worked with this woman for almost 4 years and she has come to trust me, knows I have her best interest at heart. We have come to love one another like family. We are kin.
Slowly, slowly, through our twice weekly sessions, she is becoming stronger, reaching beyond her comfort zone.
Today while watching her squat, clean and press, my eyes filled with tears. I had never before seen her work so hard. And I knew she was doing it for me mostly, because I have been encouraging her lately to push harder. She resists often, but today she just went for it.
My eyes filled with huge tears. She was beautiful to watch, her devotion, her ease, her total embodied-ness.
Five minutes later ~ while in the middle of her workout ~ she started crying.
"Is this from muscles?" she asked. "Why am I crying?"
"Because you're disproving a lot of stories you've been telling yourself about who you are and what you're capable of," I said. "It's a big deal."
"I think you're right," she said.
She kept moving and eventually her tears stopped and there she was: Just a middle-aged woman lifting heavy ass shit like it was no big deal.