Called To Skip
There is no doubt about it. I was called to skip. The first time I got the call, I pretended no one was home. The second time, it has taken all I have to be able to skip to keep up. I feel extraordinarily blessed to have discovered my spiritual path. Skipping has truly changed my life and I believe with all of my heart that the concepts behind it can positively impact the rest of our world as well.
The first time I skipped as an adult, I was out with a couple of friends when one of them spontaneously said, "Come on, let's skip!" Before I knew it, I was bounding down the sidewalk after him and my mind was full of inspiration. It felt so fun and free. It had to burn a lot of calories. I wondered why most adults stop skipping. The idea of trying to start a national skipping craze zapped me like a lightning bolt.
All But Forgotten
For the next several months, I shared my idea with as many people as I could. I talked and talked about how it would be possible, but I never took any action toward making my idea a reality. As had been the case with so many of my grand ideas before it, skipping eventually faded to the back burner and was all but forgotten.
That is until a couple of years later, when I made a firm commitment to make fitness a regular part of my life. I decided that running would be my activity of choice and optimistically headed out for the first time. It didn't go well. I made it three blocks and almost collapsed in a heap. Other joggers seemed to effortlessly breeze by as I stood on the street corner gasping for air. It was an incredibly frustrating experience.
That same morning at work, after despondently telling someone about my failed attempt, my second call to skip arrived. My co-worker told me a story about how her four-year-old daughter had taken her by the hand at a shopping mall and said, "Come on Mommy, let's skip!"
My mind raced as I listened to my co-worker finish her story. I heard her say that she told her daughter that adults don't skip and I knew exactly what I was going to do. If I started skipping and encouraged others to join along, it would help me achieve my fitness goals. It would give me a system of accountability for making fitness a regular part of my life. It was time for me to skip.
That conversation with my co-worker was the first in a string of incredible "coincidences" that contributed to the incredible growth of the "happy" movement. A friend created the iskip.com logo and my brother designed the web siteboth pro-bono. I started skipping every day, documented my progress in a journal, and encouraged everyone I could to give it a try. When I started organizing group skipping events, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story that's headline read, "She'd Like to Teach the World to Skip." As a result, nearly fifty skippers came to the first "Happy Hour Skip" through the financial district of San Francisco.
As it turned out, there were a lot of people in the world already skipping. But many were too embarrassed to do it in public. I encouraged people who contacted me to become "head skippers" to lead the skipping charge in their hometowns and our skipping community quickly blossomed. There are now over 30 cities with a head skipper who is encouraging others to get in shape and reconnect with their childlike spirit. The story has received national coverage in places like Time, People, CNN, and the Donny & Marie Show. The head skipper in Atlanta even skipped over 100 miles to raise awareness for a nonprofit where she volunteers. Skippers of the world are uniting!
The physical benefits of skipping are undeniableit burns twice as many calories as walking and is better on the knees than running. But that isn't why it is generating so much national attention. Instead, it is the social envelope that is being pushed by the concept of adults skipping down the street, freely expressing joy. There is currently an unspoken rule that says, "Adults don't skip." That is what the skipping movement is dedicated to changing. When you ask adults why they don't skip, the answer usually has something to do with not wanting others to think that they've lost their minds.
But stop and think about that for a moment. Skipping is spontaneous, joyful, and free. What kind of a person would make fun of someone for doing it? I, for one, was tired of letting that kind of negativity dictate how I live my life. Now I know I am not alone.
I'm happy to report after two years of skipping that there is a presence in our world that is much kinder and more accepting than I ever expected. I'm almost always greeted with a nod and a smile when I skip down the street and the support of the movement on a national level has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. It's incredibly exciting to think about the kind of change our positive, like-minded skipping network will be able to create as time goes by.
The Skipping Spirit
We all enter this world as bright shining spirits. Then life gets a hold of us to varying degrees and we build walls and defenses to protect our inner light. It's that protected self, or ego, that worries about what other people think. In order to skip down the street, we have to move past our ego and fear of judgment and into the present moment. When we can find the courage to do so, our unique spirits are free to shine. Skipping is to the spirit what weightlifting is to the body. The longer you do it, the stronger your spiritual muscle becomes.
An incredibly renewed sense of spirit is what skipping has added to my life. Not surprisingly, that spirit holds the key to many wonderful, child-like traitsspontaneity, creativity, courage, and joyall of which have helped me see the world in a new and more delightful way. And I'm not the only one. I receive e-mail after e-mail from other skippers whose lives are being touched in a similar way. Skipping is truly magical and I strongly encourage you to try it for yourself.
I'd like to challenge you to skip at least 10 steps every day for a week. If it is too hard for you to skip in public, do it in the privacy of your own home. But give your spirit 10 skips a day, and see what happens when you create that space for it to do its thing. It can't hurt and the very least you will have done your part in making the world a happier place one skip at a time. Skip on!
10 Laps To A Healthier You!
Originally published on inch-aweigh.com