One of my favorite things about working out in my gym is the gym itself. They have a strict policy of radical inclusion! Everyone is welcomed! There are many signs up in the gym expressing that they take all kinds….No Judgements. This welcomes people of all ages and fitness levels. Going to a gym can be quite intimidating. The ‘power lifter’ types can make anyone feel inadequate from time to time. And I would bet that older people are intimidated from gyms too…All those young kids in tight clothes running 21 m.p.h. on the treadmills seems tiring just to even think about…and I am not even old yet (36 next Sunday!) But at my gym they are all welcomed. And I love that. Today as I am doing my best to get through and hour of cardio on the eliptical machine I see a man in a dress shirt and slacks walking on the treadmill to my right. He is younger and clean cut…and he seems to be with an older woman. I am thinking it is his mom. Odd that they are both not in work out clothes. But hey…No judgements. As I finish my torturous cardio session and wipe down my machine I see him out of the corner of my eye struggling to do a pull up on the pull up assist machine. I walk over and ask if he needs help. “No. I think I got it…thanks.” No sweat…well not really. Anyway. I start rowing on the set of machines next to him with my headphones blasting Lamb of God’s latest album. A few minutes later he comes over and asks ‘Can you show me how this thing works?’ “Sure, my name is Josh” I say. We talk for a bit and I show him how all of the machines work and how they all usually have a fail safe so that he doesn’t get hurt. He tells me that he and his mom just joined the gym today. “Good for you” I say. “Have fun with it. If it seems like a chore you are doing it wrong…” we laugh. He is super appreciative that I help him out. His mom is sitting at the table near the lobby. As I walk him to the front I stop at the cooler and by him and her a Gatorade. They can’t believe it and ask if I work here. “No, just being neighborly. See ya next time you are here.” And I walk off, replacing my headphones. Lamb of God take me away.
Flamingos are odd birds. Like seeing Ken in the gym with his workout clothes on. But they are birds none the less. One the things I like so much about about my gym is that radical inclusion. Burning Man is the same way. It is open to everyone. Young, old, big, small, normal, weird, sad, happy,…..everyone. That is not to say that everyone who goes loves it. I have even taken people that hated it the whole time. But at least the doors are open. You can be there and be yourself. No matter what your journey is….it is like a big crazy truckstop on your trip. Stop in….sit a spell in some great theme camp. Meet someone. See art. See the world you live in a little differently. This project is partially a ‘Thank You’ note to the Burning Man community. Like passing on a tradition…it pays homage to the ones who gave it to you and you pass it on to the ones you give to. Take care.