Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you can invite someone to join you in this week?
Throughout the past 48 hours I feel like I’ve been operating in a deja vu kind of world. I’m not having the same experience over and over again, but I keep getting the same message, so much that I feel like God is trying to plant a seed and tell me something. It’s not new content or a new idea, rather it’s one that I stand firm in and is the foundation on which iGnite was created, but non-the-less, when I get these kind of unsolicited and continuous memos, I feel there’s a reason and I need to share.
For starters, on Friday, after our San Diego iGnite workout I was motivated and excited to take a class at the gym I attend. I had just finished leading a fun, challenging and high-energy outdoor class and was inspired by how awesome everyone did, and I wanted and needed a challenging workout that would leave me feeling mentally and physically strong and confident as well. In addition, given that I had just led a workout, I wanted to turn off my brain and have someone to lead me. So, as I walked in the gym with my almost 4-year old side-kick Malaine, I was greeted with the news that their childcare was closed. Frustratingly, it became quickly apparent that if I wanted to workout, I would have to muster up the discipline to do it on my own–UGH!! As a result, I went home and immediately began the workout. Sadly, I was only able to get half way through it before I threw in the towel. This workout was very hard, but there was no doubt that if I had at least one friend do exercising with me, I would’ve been able to finish. Better Together Reminder #1
Then, on Saturday afternoon I had two, back-to-back phone calls that blew my socks off. One was with the peppy and never-met-a-stranger iGnite member, Mary Carlise Crehorn. Mary Carlisle moved to Austin in August after graduating from Vanderbilt. In November, she just happened to be working out at Mt. Bonnell while Molly was leading our Friday Cardio Blast class, and Molly invited Mary Carlisle to join them. The rest is history. So, as Mary Carlisle and I were talking about how we believe that we were called and created for community, she told me about a fascinating loneliness study by the University of Chicago. In the study, researchers found that loneliness triggers cellular changes that can cause illness. The study was based on adults ages 50-68 and shows that loneliness leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling, which can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells. As a reminder, white blood cells are essential because they are the cells of the immune system that are involved with protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders.
The study examined loneliness in both humans and rhesus macaques, a highly social primate species. The human subjects were participants in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study, a longitudinal study that began in 2002. Previous research from this group had identified a link between loneliness and a phenomenon they called “conserved transcriptional response to adversity” or CTRA. This response is characterized by an increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses. Essentially, lonely people had a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people, which increases the risk of premature death by 14%. As we are all learning, inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Better Together Reminder #2
Finally and within minutes of finishing my conversation with Mary Carlisle, I hopped on another call with the wonderful, Jenni Thurow, another iGnite member and awesome substitution leader for us who is currently helping to teach our Wednesday evening Cardio Strength class. Jenni mentioned that her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just she and her dog, Packer. When I asked her how it was being alone, she said, “There are always noises, but when I’m alone, they just sound different.” At that moment I stopped Jenni and said, “Whoa Jenni–that is powerful and so true!” I then shared the conversation that I had just had with Mary Carlisle about loneliness and the need for constant connection and community. Better Together Reminder #3
Feeling alone, isolated and lonely intensifies everything. It makes a workout more challenging, has a negative physiological affect on our body’s immune system–making the incident of disease more likely, and it makes everything seem bigger, scarier and more powerful than they really are.
Regardless of the scenario or whether you are an introvert of extrovert, we all need human interaction and support because that’s how we are designed. And, despite technology’s attempt to replace humans, there is no robot that can adequately do so. We are purposefully created for one another–for human touch, interaction and love, and in his book Love Does, Bob Goff says, “There’s nothing like feeling included, so invite someone to do something with you.” And, as our passionate yoga and Pilates leader, Amy Younkman, often reminds me, “everyone loves an invitation”, and that is so true! How do we know this? We’ve done our own iGnite research. On average, our class attendance increases when you receive an email or text message invitation to attend class from our class leaders. The data is indisputable.
With April being iGnite’s Friends for Free month, I encourage you to invite or re-invite a friend to attend class with you to be part of our special community. We would LOVE to meet them and love on them with you. Here is our designated class days throughout April to bring friends for free:
- April 3-8: All Monday and Saturday Classes
- April 10- 15: All Tuesday Classes
- April 17-22: All Wednesday Classes
- April 24- 29: All Thursday and Friday Classes
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self confidence and inner-healing.” – Jean Vanier