on the fringe
Valentine's Day is around the corner of this week and the build up has sparked some reflection. This Holiday is not everyone's cup of tea, but I try to use it as, you guessed it, a yearly reminder. A nice little red stop sign inviting me to look in multiple directions of my marriage.
I keep coming back to this theme of "showing up." It has revealed its face in various forms lately. This is not a new concept. Countless rom-com's and love tales, which will run rampant on cable TV this weekend, point to the notion that just showing up, being there for your partner is a large pillar in maintaining a relationship. Showing up isn't always easy; it can actually be strenuous or difficult at times. It may be out of your normal routine. It may not peak your interest or keep your attention. It might even hurt a little.
Two weeks ago, Ben and I traveled to the town I labeled home as a young buck to visit friends and family. The trip was long overdo. Since I've been gone, my good friend, Ann, has dived head first into the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of yoga. Experiencing this activity was top on my trip to-do list. Her journey is one to follow. Trust me. I draw strength from her commitment in my own blog explorations. Her home base, Evolution Power Yoga, have these beautifully lit studios in Lancaster and York. A band of us participated in a Vinyasa Yoga class together on a Friday afternoon in downtown Lancaster. This group included my weary husband.
Ben was nervous. That is an understatement. Hell, I was nervous. I am not the most flexible gal on the block, I can't even touch my toes. Sad, but true. Experiencing this strong force in Ann's life, however, was important to me. Therefore, this yoga class became meaningful, even if subconsciously, to Ben. This route wasn't direct or easy. There were excuses explored and jokes made. Once in class, there were times when Ben's shoulders and arms shook like an earthquake measuring 4.0 (often felt, but only causing minor distraction to those around him). His curly long, in need of a trim, hair hung in his eyes. Those eyes giving me glances of discomfort. When we exhaled our final deep breath, his humorous sense of relief was entertaining to us all.
But, he showed up. He got through it.
My love for him was beaming in that lighthearted moment. Okay, maybe I was just pouring sweat, but you see the picture. Ben participated in an activity that wasn't top on his list that day. To me, this yoga class was a small ask. To him, it was big request. It was an unfamiliar activity and unfamiliarity can breed fear. With no personal comparisons, predetermined thoughts, doubts start to build one by one until this mountain of worry is formed. That mountain, no matter how big, often keeps us from joining, from showing up. What helps one scale that self-doubt aggro crag (do-do-do-do-you-have-it?) of a mountain? A power stronger than fear?! Ah, you guessed it, love. Tooting my own horn here; but Ben showed up for me. Toot. Toot.
That small act of love was an hour total. It not only bettered him, it improved us, even if only a pinch. Moments such as this, they can easily be overlooked. Those simple snippets, however, are the puzzle pieces that contribute to the success of the overall picture. This Valentine's Day, don't linger on the fringe, just show up. Or next week, just show up. Maybe even a year from now, just show up. It doesn't have to be for your significant other. It could be for a friend, a family member, a teammate, a colleague. Show up for yourself. Get to the gym (That's for myself so I get my behind to that torture device known as a step machine.) Your presence is powerful. And, your loved ones, they will be romanced by it.
Much love this week, folks! Next week, I'll show up in my husband's jacket.