Ever take personal training at the gym? The trainer ignores all your moans and groans, loads you up with free weights and says, “Push, push, push” and then when you’ve pushed ’til the cows come home and your tongue is purple, they say “release.” Feels pretty good, right?
My week is like that. Monday and Tuesday I work really hard seeing clients. Push, push, push. Hard use of emotional energy. Then Wednesday comes and I say, “Ahhh.” I also teach classes for my local university online. I work really hard Monday through Friday, answering emails, grading papers. When Friday night comes, when I have pushed through the week, I can finally say, “Ahhh.”
We need both the push and the release. I had a friend several years ago who had a terminally ill partner. She devoted her life to keeping him alive: doctor’s visits, alternative treatments, special diets. Even though she knew the ultimate result, she couldn’t stop pushing. Push, push, push, with no release. My heart when out to her, and I crossed my fingers that she’d survive after he passed away. There was no release built into her 24/7; she couldn’t afford it, and her own well-being suffered as a result.
One of the most demanding Olympiad events is the biathlon. The Scandinavians excel–they ski at top speed for miles and miles, then stop and shoot for marksmanship with a rifle that they’ve had slung over a shoulder. They have measured the physical ability of these competitors: the best in the world. They are able to go from the adrenaline rush of high-speed skiing to the absolute calm of marksmanship, in other words, the push and release.
I like to go visit the beach; do nothing but walk the sand, feeling in every core of my body the push and release of the waves crashing against the shore. We originally came from the ocean. I am wondering if the push-and-release instinct is hardwired into our psyche.
If so, we need to pay attention to what our body needs. Physical or emotional exertion, and then that relaxation release when we reach the end of the required effort. We need it; we crave it.