Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist


Graceful is a ballerina.

Elegant, slender, trim and lean.  When the ballerina walks, she’s grace in motion.  Effortless, sleek, like poetry floating in air.  Every movement is smooth, every motion is mesmerizing.

When I see grace is motion, I find myself thinking Wow, that was grace in motion.

Now that we got that out of the way, let me just say…

…that’s so not me.

Just so we’re clear.

I dribble food on my shirt constantly.  If there’s a crumb hanging, I slurp it up. 

Just because, you know, waste not, want not.

My most favorite sweatshirt that I sleep in is thread-worn and quite faded.  It doesn’t matter to me that I have to wear another sweatshirt with this sweatshirt.  It’s just so comfortable and soft.

And not even Zen Master can get me to toss that lovely item away. 

My sneaker size is a 8 1/2. 

Yup, I’m a big foot.

And I don’t dance.

I have absolutely no rhyme or rhythm.  When I dance, people think I’m twitching. 

Enough said.

So, with my rhymeless, twitchy self, I walked to my new gym and shuffled into a Zumba class.

I know it’s dancing, with hips-shaking, butt-wagging, arms-flaring movements but I need the cardio.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I needed the cardio, I wouldn’t even touch Zumba.

What you gonna do?

When I walked into the room, it was packed with anxious and eager ladies who were ready to get rolling.  There were so many of them in the room, that it left little personal space around me.  And when the lights dimmed and the instructor walked onto the raised platform with her microphone and headset on her head, she pushed a button and the music began. 

This was my first Zumba class and I checked my inhibitions at the door.  I was resigned to the fact that it was useless to be embarassed about my twitching because I just needed the cardio.

I couldn’t see the instructor so I followed the ladies in front of me.  Let me just state for the record that there are so ladies who take their Zumba quite seriously.  They mimic their movements just so, toss their hair back just so, and reach their arms out just so.



It was ok.

Because it was so packed with people, I ended up in a corner right under the speakers.  After an hour of jumping, doing grapevines, strutting forward and back, doing endless butt wriggles, arm flares and lots of twitching, I left that place soaked with sweat and winded.  I think the sweat was more from heat that came from that mass of bodies waggling in that room.

And my left ear was deaf.

At the start of the class, I overheard someone say that the more you do Zumba, the better it becomes.  I would become more familiar with the movements and the instructor who was commanding such a packed house was top-notch. 

All good to hear.

Would I go back?


Because my twitchy self needs the cardio.

And it was fun.

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Took Myself to the Gym

So I finally did it. 

I finally took myself to the gym this week.


Considering the fact that it has been three months since I’ve gone, that’s not too bad. 

Except for the part where I can’t lift my arms.

Let me start from the beginning.

Faithful readers will know that I have two gyms that I go to regularly.  Except for the two gyms and regularly, everything else is true.  Some time ago I ended my membership to my gym at work because it became too much.  Then recently I ended my membership at my favorite evening gym because I’m an old hag now and I can’t handle the intensity of the workouts. 

Because I’m an old hag now, I enrolled into a larger gym that offered more low impact workouts.  And I made up my mind to just go.

Just do it, like Nike says.

That was my motivation when I was younger.  Just do it.

My motivation now? 

I’m not getting any younger, my skin’s beginning to sag in obvious places, and my butt is hanging.

Enough said.

So I took myself to the gym this week and the first class I jumped into was Body Pump.

I love Body Pump.

It involves weight-lifting, music and plenty of squats.

Before class:  me in my sweats and a baggy gray T-shirt and high on adrenaline.  I’m psyched and thinking Yeah, finally back in the gym.  I’m gonna work out and get my baggy butt in gear.  I’m gonna be boot-ilicious real soon.  I’m gonna be cut and fine and prime.

After class:  Sweat-drenched and stinking, thinking OhmigoodnessIcantfeelmyarmsgetmeouttahereImfortyyearsoldIcantdothiscrap.

Dragged myself home and couldn’t lift my arms for the rest of the week. 

And they call this good pain?

What did I do next, with my aching arms and sore thighs?

I went back the next day and met Zumba.

To be continued.

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An Ounce of Pain

Last Friday while at my daytime gym, I made my gym instructor quite unhappy with me.  And as a result, she took it out on the entire class.  I apologized profusely but to no avail. 

Just because I was going to eat a fried chicken sandwich with french fries after her class.

I ask you, is that really so wrong?

Fast forward to this week.  I took her Spin Class and she was particularly tough on me.  I might have been hallucinating, but it seemed that she was singling me out.  Every time she passed my exercise bike, she would check the amount of sweat that was dripping off my face. 

Okay, so I wasn’t dripping sweat, but I was indeed glistening. 

And then it hit me.  That damn tasty fried chicken sandwich.  Those damn tasty french fries.  With ketchup.

I asked her if that was the reason for her being particularly harsh with me, and she answered my question with a question.  I hate when people do that.

“How did it feel eating that after my class?”

“Just great.”  I couldn’t lie.  “It went down just fine.”

It’s not like I eat badly every day.  Usually just Fridays, because that’s my treat to myself for having been good during the rest of the week.  It’s just one day. 


“Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat badly, you know.”  She reminded me.

And then she moved the class off the exercise machines and destroyed us with her killer abs exercises.

I didn’t take any of this personally, though.  I still adore her and her killer ways.  I believe that this ounce of pain, this exquisite torture, is the only type of pain that is good for me.

I think.

Let me ponder that over a fully loaded chicken cheesesteak.

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A recent conversation between me and Zen Master:

Zen Master:  You’re looking a bit round.

Me (shocked):  WHAT?!

Zen Master (shrugging):  I’m just saying. 

Okay, I’m always good with constructive criticism from people, most especially Zen Master and Zen Mum.  If it’s a valid observation, I would stew and ponder and worry it until I figured out how I could make myself better than what I was before. 

But round?

Excuse me, but I happen to be voluptuous, thank you very much.

So I stewed. 

And then I pondered.

The thing is, I love being active.  I also love the wonderful endorphins that happen when I keel over from exhaustion.  I really do.

I work out at two gyms, one at work (at a really low fee) and the other off-hours.  I attend regular sessions with very fit and lovely instructors because I have zero motivation doing it on my own.  Zero.  Nada.  Not even.

Okay, let’s put things into perspective first before we go on.  Being a member at two gyms should excite no one.  You gotta use it to lose it, and I usually clock between 3-5 hours a week.  If I can’t do it at work then I do it off-hours.  No biggie.

Then why two gyms?  Three simple reasons, really.

  1. I have no life.
  2. I’m going to hit the big 4-0 soon and supposedly when that happens, it’s all downhill from there. 
  3. I must be ready for my dream dates.  No telling when they’ll happen and it’s always good to be ready.

The key to my workouts is by participating in classes.  I need someone to holler at me, to push me for that extra lunge or that last jump.  I absolutely love their motivational techniques that are inherent with these wonderful instructors.

“Come on, Sally!  Kick your knees up higher!  Tighten your flabby abs!  You can do it!”


“Drop and give me fifty pushups and no on-your-knees crap!”


“If you want that J-Lo butt, you gotta squat all the way down!  Now give me hundred more!”

Thank you, but no.  Thanks for asking though, Teach.

Now I’m round.  After all this, I am round.

Excuse me, please.  I need to go get some cheese curls.

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