Every year I make a plea to my students and friends to read the declaration of independence. See last year’s blog post here. To me this is one of the greatest documents in history. It is a bold statement that created a whole country out of nothing. Every year when I read this declaration I am recommitted to my goals and my life.
Independence has new meaning to me this year. A few months ago I left my partnership with the owners of the Black Box. When I left it meant freedom. I felt free to pursue Virtuosity. I felt liberated. However, by removing myself from the Black Box community I started to feel isolated. That sense of freedom was fleeting.
There is a romantic notion that freedom is a man taking off into the wilderness by himself and living alone and apart from the rest of the world. If you read Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer then you realize that that notion of freedom is totally false. People that sequester themselves like that are recluses and far from free; they are outcasts of society.
In truth freedom lives inside of relationships. I am recently engaged. And while many men will joke that marriage is the end of freedom, I feel the opposite. Being so deeply attached and committed to another person gives me unprecedented freedom to move deeper into this relationship and gives us both more power and freedom to explore the world together.
Independence is a product of community. Our founding fathers didn’t break from England so that they could be hermits and live in the mountains. No. They wanted to establish a new country based on tolerance of different ideals. When a group of people that share common ideals and objectives come together and stand as a group they create a community that gives them power. Within that community people experience a sense of freedom much greater than outsiders. Our founding fathers realized that they could create a country where many of these communities could live in harmony. Compared to other parts of the world, we enjoy a high level of tolerance for different ideas, religions and cultures.
Our freedom and our independence is measured not by our distance from others but rather by how many people share our vision. Shortly after leaving the Box I found a new partner: someone that shares my vision for CrossFit Virtuosity. I have come to understand that my vision grows when I share it. If I horde my ideas and dreams I risk never having them realized. It is in the sharing of dreams and ideas that they are given wings. My dream is to cultivate and nurture a community that is committed to excellence in training, discipline in eating; and generosity of spirit. My dream is that CrossFit Virtuosity will be the best gym in New York and on the East coast.
Coming to a CrossFit class is an amazing experience that embraces the sense of independence that comes from being in a community. It is in stark contrast to working out in a commercial gym where you walk around anonymously, “independently” and are “free” to read your magazine while on the elliptical machine or to do curls in the squat cage. In a commercial gym there is no camaraderie, just people isolating themselves and their muscles. While working out with people in a CrossFit class you are free to try, to fail, to laugh, to grunt, to cry, to scream, to curse, to sweat, to bleed, and to reach higher than you have ever reached before. It is a freedom born of acceptance. A freedom that comes when you give up your fear of being different and being ostracized. It is in CrossFit where we not only exercise our bodies but also our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.