POTENTIAL RIGOR WARNING
By: Lauren Anderson
A few Christmases ago, my mom, my step dad, and myself were about to head over to my step-grandparents house to celebrate. We had been tasked with bringing a dish to share.
My mom got this great recipe for cold cheese tortellinis that you dip in this special sauce. It was a twist on finger food and they were delicious.
Since it was Christmas, we thought it would be extra festive to make tri-colored tortellini. Red ones dyed from beets, green ones from spinach, and classic white from, er, noodle flavor.
They turned out gorgeous, festive, and pretty tasty too.
So now it was time to plate the tortellinis, and this is where my family really shines.
We are a house of visual artists. My step dad was a creative director at an ad firm for years and a water colorist. My mother is in marketing, specifically dealing in print work, and can draw draw draw. And myself? I like to paint and perform, and lets just say that if the law allowed me to JUST WEAR FLAIR, I would.
I wasn’t raised to value beauty over substance, but aesthetics are important to us. I was taught that wrapping a present is part of the gift! A home is not a home until there is art on the wall! And for god’s sake, always group your tchotchkes in odd numbers because it’s more pleasing to the eye! (And it is… trust me. Unless you’re going for symmetry. Then it’s a different thing altogether.)
Well wouldn’t you know it, the three of us spent almost a half hour plating that dish of tortellinis. Making sure it looked just so. Making sure it was evenly dispersed. And if colors overlapped it was cascading. I even remember popping a tortellini into my mouth, because we just couldn’t make it work on the plate. THANK GOD I WAS THERE TO TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM.
We did the work joyfully. We had intention and purpose. Knowing full well that it was taking us more time to plate the dish, than it would for the family to devour it. And yet, we soldiered on.
Because I was raised to believe…Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
Notice how I didn’t say “perfect”? Yeah. Cause seriously, who has time for perfect? Not me, and certainly not my family. I’m talking about attempting to do things well. To the best of my ability.
Whether it’s my life’s work, yard work, or just getting to work on time–there is satisfaction and joy that can be mined if I endeavor to do my best. Somedays that “best” means just showing up. Somedays that “best” is damn near transcendent.
Regardless of any actual achievement, I can celebrate the effort and walk away knowing I gave it my all. Because I believe there is reward in the effort alone. There is art in the discipline.
There is something to be gained in every attempt I try in earnest.
And no, I’m not talking about lame Participation trophies. I’m talking about committing myself to something fully and following through, and discovering who I am on the other side.
I like to think about it this way— if I set out to do my best, it’s kinda like I’m saying, “I’m committing myself fully to such n’ such for X amount of time, and I’m going to give it all I can.”
It’s almost like a vow. And I don’t know about you, but how often do we VOW to do something? Not that often I’ll bet. Vows nowadays are pretty much reserved for weddings and avenging a father’s death. (Say it with me now: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.)
So, like, vows are kinda a big deal right?
Now try this… Vow to make yourself the best turkey sandwich (er whatever) you can possibly make for lunch today. Now go and make that sandwich with this intention set. What changes?
The tastiness of that turkey sandwich aside, there is something to be gained here. And it’s not just a full stomach. Often it’s a lesson. Or a sense of accomplishment.
For some of us that have had some therapy, the word or feeling of “mastery” might come to mind. It’s not really “mastering” anything. But it’s the feeling like you gave it your all, that can have some positive influence on your day/week/lifetime. Because it gives you some control.
I may not be able to control the outcome of most things I choose to do, but I can control how I approach any given task, etc. Y’know, that kind of stuff. Just the effort I put into something alone can change how I feel about it.
So you can imagine my delight when I walked into Solcana this last week and I saw that the owners and staff had posted their mission statement proudly for all to see. It reads as follows:
BOOM. Now that’s quite a mission! Not only was I jazzed to see this bold mission, clearly stating values that I also think are important… I kept going back and re-reading this sentence:
“We believe that rigor and discipline are essential to safety and sustainable growth.”
And this one:
“[Our Members] Practice Rigor and Discipline”
RIGOR. Often defined with other hardcore words like, “Strict, scrupulous adherence, accuracy.”
DISCIPLINE. These are not everyday words. These are biggies. A lot like that word VOW we were just discussing. I thought this was an interesting use of TKO-type verbiage considering the general atmosphere at Solcana.
Meaning, we have fun there. We learn. We are encouraged to be ourselves and bring our whole selves into the gym. We are encouraged to give things a try. To fail! To try again! I mean, it says that right there in the mission! But then there are these more daunting words like RIGOR and DISCIPLINE. And those puppies don’t mess around.
Before I started spiraling and thinking I could never live up to this expectation of RIGOR and DISCIPLINE, it hit me. Fun and Rigor are not mutually exclusive. These two seemingly different things can exist in the same space. And do beautifully, at Solcana.
And I think that’s why they struck me so hard when I read that Mission.
We have fun, but we make every effort to keep our bodies safe. In a lot of different ways. By declaring our own pronouns, setting personal boundaries/goals/modifications, and being coached on good technique, we are rigorous in our mission to stay safe.
We try things and fail at things EVERY DAMN TIME. But it’s not about the PR’s. It’s really about being rigorous in our pursuits. Discipline doesn’t just mean how many times we show up, or counting macros (although that stuff has value!). It also means every day we are encouraged to bring our whole effort in. And the discipline comes with trying to do that every time.
The attempt is as important as the accomplishment. Because the attempt is a vow I make to myself. And whether I’m setting up a glorious tortellini tray, or deadlifting over a hundred pounds, anything doing is worth doing well.
When I’m there, I see many different bodies and genders. I sweat it out with races and religions different from my own. Where everyone with an open heart can learn, thrive and grow in an inclusive community. Where we can consider ourselves and our efforts worthwhile. And worth doing well.
We have fun. And we also have discipline.
And we are rigorous in our pursuit of both.