Lasting Change Requires some Sweat

“Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!” ~Zora Neale Hurston

For those of us who live in Arizona during the summer months, sweat is inevitable. Just walking to our car will cause our freshly pressed clothes and styled hair to look like we dressed in the shower. We endure because we know it is temporary. Soon the cooler temperatures will be upon us and we will, once again, be able to walk to our cars, take our dogs for walks, or plan outdoor events without the risk of succumbing to a heat stroke. For those Arizona natives, like me, who have survived many hot summers in the Sonoran desert, it never gets easier, but we know we will make it through the brutal months and enjoy our autumn rewards. Having survived July, we pray for monsoon storms in August, but even they can deliver false promises. What appears to be a cool scene of refreshing rain behind windows that seal in the cool A/C, is an illusion. With one cautious step outside-BOOM-we are blasted in the face with a hot, humid blanket of air that shocks and suffocates us. So, we hustle back in and watch the warm rain fall while our electric bill surges. Then, eventually, the triple digits begin to drop, a few degrees at a time, until finally we can walk barefoot across our concrete porch without having to tend to burnt and blistered feet.

As I was reminded yesterday during a high-intensity workout class, where my sweat was ignited by a hot walk across a parking lot and then intensified by my own choice to follow a fit Zumba instructor, to what felt like my death, actions required to create lasting change are not temporary. For lasting change to shape me I need to not only expect sweat, but I need to make peace with perspiration, and know that it is the outward sign of inner discomfort, and in that discomfort transformation begins. Unfortunately, I can not sweat for a few months and then relax while I enjoy a change in temperature, in this case lasting effects to my fitness level.

I have been writing about sweat, literally. The uncomfortable sweat I experience living in Arizona during the summer months, and the sweat that covered my body after an hour workout class, but what I did not include was the 20 minute sweatfest I experienced while sitting in a dry sauna earlier in the day. Sitting in a dry sauna in the middle of an Arizona summer may be viewed as an absurd, risky choice, but here is what else I believe about sweating profusely – it reveals a body functioning properly and it can also serve as a detoxification, a cleansing. While I cannot recite the physiological stages of this detox process, I am certain about one thing: every time I push myself beyond what is comfortable and produce some “sweat” in the process, I am releasing limiting self-views and growing in the process.

Copyright © 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

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