Oh, Crossfit. I stare at my jump rope for a minute before the workout starts, hoping I will have some sort of epiphany. I mean, after 6 years, one deserves an epiphany, doesn’t one? Double unders – getting the rope under my feet twice for each time I jump – have been my nemesis since the beginning. There have been some ugly moments that include crying, throwing the jump rope across the gym, and threatening to choke my coach with it. On the (questionable) recommendation of a friend, I even slept with it under my pillow for a while and spoke sweetly to it. If you ask me to do single unders, I can do them till the cows come home. Doubles? Not so much.

But let’s be honest: I wouldn’t be doing Crossfit in the first place if I weren’t a masochist, so I resign myself to fate and wait for the “GO!”


But guess what…I actually had an epiphany. It started with working really hard in my horseback riding to balance tension with relaxation. You see, if you are too tense, you bounce around on the horse’s back and lose balance. If you’re too loose, you bounce around on the horse’s back and lose balance. So there’s this sweet spot where you hold dynamic (changing, movable) tension in your core while letting other areas relax and go with the movement.


So today as I started the double unders, I thought, “Oh my god. It’s the same thing!” There’s some dynamic tension happening in the core of the body, while the rest of me (including my brain) is chill AF (that’s what the kids say, right?).


Bingo. Double under nirvana. Well, there was that part where I couldn’t breathe and had to take a break after 25, but that’s cause I’m out of shape, not because of lack of skill.


Because I’m me and I have to overthink and poeticize everything, I had another epiphany:

Life is the same way.


If you’ll allow me to mix a metaphor for a sec, when we hold too much tension, it sends us bouncing all over the backs of our relationships, our jobs, our family life. We hold our breath and stay tight in areas that need flexion. We turn into a ping pong ball, at the mercy of circumstances.


Conversely, too little tension looks a little like giving up; and oddly, it has the same effect. We’re bouncing around, no control over our circumstances.


So I asked myself: where am I bouncing around? Where do I feel tight and anxious and out of control? Am I holding too tight and not letting myself let go of things that don’t matter? Or is this an area where I need to use some tension– maybe speaking my mind or holding my ground on an issue? PS, am I forgetting to breathe and laugh and not take things too seriously?


One thing I’ve noticed from both Crossfit and riding horses is that sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you accidentally stumble on what just feels right. There’s no wrong answer here – in sports, in relationships, in life – we have to play around with the tension balance.

Then we can find our sweet spot.