As another Halloween ends, the costumes and masks put away, I am reminded of a book called "Presentation of Self in Everyday Life". Written in 1959 by sociologist Erving Goffman, he compares our everyday lives to stage craft. By using this metaphor he keenly describes the multiple ways in which we present ourselves to different people (other actors) in different places (stages) at different times. This can, and does for many people, create a sense of interpersonal superficiality and emotional tension. If we are always playing multiple roles - as father, son, brother, mother, daughter, sister, co-worker, friend, boss, civilian, officer, student, teacher and so on - then when do we find time to unravel all of this and discover our true self? Or, to put it another way, is our true self defined through an amalgamation of all these roles?
Some people have no trouble switching from one role to another. For many others, however, the process can be stressful. For example, we often hear of people "taking their work home with them". I once knew someone who was a police officer for 20 years who had this very problem; he couldn't make the switch from cop mode to family mode. To cope with all this, he became more cold and distant around the people he was once closest to.
Goffman came to believe that the various roles, overtime, can take their toll as the "individual [increasingly] maintains a show before others that he himself does not believe." Eventually, "he can come to experience a special kind of alienation from self and a special kind of wariness of others." To prevent this from happening, Goffman suggested that we all need a cloak room for our various roles - a place to temporarily hang up our roles and seek a deeper meaning lying far beneath the superficial face-to-face interaction that dominates day-to-day life. For some of you that place might be at home spending time with your kids; for others it might be spending time with whomever you are closest to in this world; some will find it in volunteer work, religion or, if you're lucky enough, your job; and yet for others it might be found in the simple quietude of spending time alone, listening to music or hiking. The main point being, find the place where you feel you can really be, well, you. For me (and I assume for many of you reading this) that place has been in the box. During the middle of a workout I often do find a quiet place in my head, and for a brief moment all external worries evaporate. It is often easiest to find our truest self when the mind is not reaching into the past or concerned with the future, but only focused on the exact moment. It is somewhat paradoxical to say, but when we are less focused on our selves, this is when we are most in touch with who we really are.
I am happy to say, CrossFit Santa Cruz is like my second home. It is like a sanctuary in many ways. It is a place where egos get left at the door and people can just be themselves - no stage craft or acting here. In a society that is dominated by hedonistic individualism, it is a place where we all share a common focus and a mutual goal: to become the fittest athletes possible - both physically and mentally. Sometimes the best things in life are indeed the simplest.
"Fight Gone Bad!"
Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute.The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. On call of "rotate", the athletes must move to next station immediately for best score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.
Tonight we start our new Friday night competition! 5-7pm will be running a special team workout. It is sure to be fun and challenging.