A few weeks ago, Doug was meeting with a new client at the gym while I was trying to coral a rowdy group of ladies into their exercise routine.
I was explaining goblet squats and kneeling pulldowns as six different clients were cracking jokes, egging each other on, and asking me to repeat myself.
“You guys are going to scare away the new person,” I said, mostly joking, but also sneaking glances at the new client to make sure she could still hear Doug over the laughter (that’s never a problem - unlike me, Doug’s voice carries).
Later that night, I hopped into Spurling’s private Facebook group to find the following greeting from one of those noon client:
“To the new person who met with Doug today at noon:
I hope you noticed how much fun we have at Spurling. We laugh, we get silly, we support each other and the coaches are wonderful people and the best at what they do. You will soon make great new friends, laugh until your sides hurt and love every minute at the gym. You can workout anywhere, but you will only get the sense of community and family here at Spurling. Welcome!”
I know we have a strong community at our gym - but I often struggle to put into words what makes it so special. I think the above quote sums it up best. Connection and kinship is healing - so much so that the most recent book from Father Greg Boyle is titled “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”
I saw that healing connection first-hand last summer when our local community lost a beloved friend, wife, and mother.
Connection is sharing your story with a client on her first day. It’s getting down in the trenches with her and saying yes, I was down here too. It’s tough at first, but it gets easier. And you won’t have to do it alone. Connection is discovering that your kids go to the same school or that you were both in the same sorority.
(Have I ever mentioned that I was a sorority girl? Phi Sigma Sigma. I left it to join the convent. Ask me later…)
The root of that connection and that laughter though, is openness. It’s optimism. It’s the quote I read the other day that “those with a positive view of old age lived on average more than seven years longer than those with a negative view.” (From the book the Pursuit of Perfect” by Tal Ben-Shahar.
Connection and kinship starts with an open-mind. With the optimism that things can be different. That, despite every sadness you might have one day, you can still laugh the next. That despite the fact that you’ve put on weight and tried every diet out there, that you can still make changes and feel better.
It’s putting your skepticism on the back burner long enough to believe that with patience and persistence, good things can happen.
That client who met with Doug that day did join the gym. I believe she heard, along with the sounds of clanging weights and 80’s rock, the sounds of laughter, connection, and kinship.
And if you come to see us, I hope you’ll feel that too.