What is your vision of heaven? Have you ever thought about it? I do. I find it motivating. I want to get there. I wish I could find it here. Aren’t we all attempting to create our version of heaven on earth in small ways? Trying to create an environment around us that makes us and others happy?
I’ve discovered such a place recently. I get to go there every day for an hour! It’s a gym named Next Level Extreme Fitness. Don’t worry, this is not an advertisement. I don’t get a referral fee if you choose to join. I actually have a saint related point to share here. Please stick with me.
I joined this gym as part of my becoming less of a “big fat fatty” strategy. I liked it from the first time I walked in. I was greeted with a smile and a welcome. No sales pressure to join immediately. I was there for a trial class they offer in-between their eight week programs.
The gym is a huge open space. Room enough for a hundred people to workout together without crowding. I walked in and was greeted by other participants just as warmly as I had been at the front desk. Wow, what a friendly place. I had been working out at a traditional gym where everyone wears headphones and ignores each other. No eye contact allowed! Here everyone was smiling and interacting with one another. They appeared to be authentically happy to be there. Interesting.
This is not a place where you come in and do your own thing. It is built around classes. One of the regulars told me that there would be two instructors. One tells us what to do. The other shows us how to do it. Simple and mindless…right up my alley.
Before class started I surveyed the room to see what I was getting myself into. I did a quick inventory of available fitness equipment. There were roughly five hundred dumbbells of various weights, and a similar number of resistance bands. In addition there were around fifty kickboxing bags and benches and rowing machines. And lots of other things to run around and jump over like rope ladders, steps, cones and jump ropes. I was getting a little nervous.
Get over it, time to get started. Five minutes into the workout I was struggling to catch my breath. Only 55 minutes left…You can do it! As we all attempted to do as instructed the trainers walked around to make sure everyone was using the proper form, to provide the most benefit in the safest way. I got to spend a lot of quality time with them over the next hour. And they both remembered my name from the initial check-in at the front desk. Amazing!
I was impressed to watch the interactions of the trainers with participants, and participants with each other throughout the workout. Everyone was working hard individually, and encouraging each other as well. Pushing each other to give it our all. To go beyond what we would do on our own. To strive to become our healthiest physical selves.
This was the most intense workout I’d done in years. At the end, I was out of breath and lying in a puddle of sweat. The word “Extreme” in their name is not hype. After finally catching my breath, I stretched out in order to increase my odds of being able to get out of my car when I got home. As I left, the trainers again called me by name, told me how well I had done and said they hoped I would return. Still no pressure to join. Nice.
I got home feeling exhausted. It was 11:30 in the morning. I told the dogs it was time for a little nap before their walk. At 2pm I woke to a dog licking my face and a puddle of drool on my pillow…ugh. Apparently the workout wiped me out…and I’m destined to be wet all day. Had I taken a shower yet?
So what has all this got to do with heaven? Well, in my heaven everyone is always happy and friendly. That probably goes without saying since by definition everyone in heaven is a saint. It is full of people working to be their best selves. Helping each other to reach our full potential. We are all in it together, rooting for each other’s success. Encouraging, motivating and inspiring each other. Competing in a healthy way to push each other to go beyond what we would do on our own. And celebrating our success along the way.
Yes, my heaven still has us working. We need something to do for an eternity. But we will be free to do what we are best suited for given our talents, interests and the needs of others. We won’t be constrained by the need to make money. We already paid for everything through our faith and works on earth. So do whatever you want. As long as it’s something worthy of being the saint that you are now.
I experience a bit of my heaven at the gym every day. Happy people trying to be their healthiest selves. Working hard individually, and encouraging each other as well. Everyone is physically exhausted by the end of each session. But we walk out every day knowing have we have pushed ourselves and each other to overcome the workout challenge of the day. It’s a great feeling of community and accomplishment.
Again, the purpose of this article is not to get you to join the gym. Rather it is to get you thinking about creating places for yourself that give you an opportunity to spend a little time in your heaven each day.
What is your heaven like? Do you have such a place in your life? If so, get there often. If not, get busy creating it. I think we owe it to ourselves and others to find our slice of heaven here on earth. It will help to keep you motivated to strive to become the saint you are meant to be, and eventually make it to the real thing.
And who knows, you may create a place for others to enjoy as part of their heaven as well. Ryan, the founder of NLXF did just that (far left in photo). Thank you Ryan! And Sarah and Carl, trainers extraordinaire! Check it out here. And have a heavenly day! Scott