Posts Tagged ‘body & mind’

Loop-y Path to Clarity

 

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Because of the constant rain this past month, walking hasn’t happened much. Only twice have we made it to the red cinder track behind the high school.

Funny, I never thought I’d enjoy walking an endless loop like that but I do. For two reasons—my feet love the give of the rubbery red cinder surface and It’s like a loose loopy labyrinth—you walk until you stop.

The first loop is when you pay attention to what’s going on. Traffic beyond the track. Inhaling the sweet of the birch trees on the hillside close by. Greeting others using the track and making sure the marked lane you’ve picked is empty. And then there are the rabbits. Of every color and size and personality. All busy doing their rabbity stuff on the grasses surrounding the track.

But something happens near the start of the second lap round. Everything beyond your two lanes disappears and it’s as if you two are the only ones. At least until the body, or Man-Wonder’s handy dandy lap clicker, tells you you are done.

Sometimes we talk. We pull out the things prickling us, throwing them back and forth until either a solution is agreed upon or our tongues bleed. Other times, we fall into silence. Happy to just walk — him in his lane; me in mine.

In that silence you can feel each foot striking the ground and you fall into a rhythm. The unravelling of knots in your lower spine allows a deeper swing of the hips, a stronger stride and you are grateful for the grace of walking well.And, at this time of year, as the wind nibbles at your cheek,  a sense of Ahhhhh spreads because you’ve recognised that tiny hint of warmth under the chill. Spring is tiptoeing in and suddenly you are feeling more than just okay. You are alive. Life is good.

Does it get any better?

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And isn’t it funny how a boring endless loop can help straighten out one’s mind.

Here’s to purpose and answering one’s calling

You know, blogging is a way of expression; a way of sharing. I started this blog way back whenever to make sure I wrote. But basically, it’s just me—yabbering.

So, here’s my latest thinks:

I’ve been looking over my life lately and there are a few things I’ve come to understand.

  • I’ve been a loving presence to some.
  • A tragic disappointment to others.
  • An annoyance to many
  • A shameful figure to a handful
  • And a moment of sunshine to some.

In other words I’m human. And after a careful study of my life so far I’ve figured out why I chose to come into this world as me. Not to be a noble example of excellence. No. I’m here as a noble example of  what not to be.

And, strangely enough I’m pleased to recognise what it is that I am really, really good at.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Finding one’s passion, one’s sense of purpose, and becoming the best damn example of it that you can be. So—having figured out why I’m here—I plan to truly enjoy every last moment I have of this existence. Yep—I’m giving it undivided attention from now on.

So ……………here’s to breathing!

Lazy Days

There hasn’t been a whole lot happening around here; other than we began The Plan on October one after weekly reports from our neighbors as they worked their way through it. Weight loss and a kissing goodbye to half his medications for diabetes and all of her high blood pressure medication.

the plan

The Plan, created by Lyn-Genet Recitas, is a way of eating to better understand your body and its reactions. You start off with a three-day cleanse—but a very mild, filling kind of cleanse.

And believe me, it cleanses! I felt like I had a low dose of flu for almost seven days as my body detoxed. Did I mention there is a lot of greens in this plan? Try facing saute, raw or steamed greens with a queasy stomach. . .not for sissies!

You begin by following her plan of the least reactive foods and each day, or every other day, add one new type of food to the diet. This allows you to see and feel how your body is reacting to a certain food.

So far my blood pressure has dropped from the mid 140s to an  average 110-115. Getting off blood pressure medicine is my goal (losing weight a big bonus). Man-Wonder is watching his blood sugar numbers slowly drop too. And both of us feel so much easier in the joints and the mind.

Impressive.

But, as with any high part, there is a low part. I have never prepared so many meals so religiously and washed so many freaking dishes!

On another note:

walking home

Just finished Sonia Choquette’s book—Walking Home. It’s about her life falling apart and how she took a walk to think things clear. An 800 kilometer (500 miles) walk. She walked the Camino de Santiago trek over the Pyrenees and northern Spain.

I couldn’t stop reading it which means I finished it waaaay before I was ready to. Reading it made my soul ache to cleanse the way hers had by the end. Excellent book.

And finally,

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we went to the movies last night and saw The Martian with Matt Damon. We left the theatre feeling thoroughly entertained.

It’s all good stuff eh . . .

Speaking of gymnastics. . .

Getting older is an unfunny funny thing when it’s happening to you. Kneeling is a prime sample of this.

When you’re younger, it’s down and up with a spring. Middle age is down and up and maybe not so springy; and definitely less quiet. Old age is a whole new experience—it’s more of a cranky slow train of communication between body parts.

Let’s say you’ve just finished painting a bottom cupboard and want to stand up. So your brain tells your knees to hop to it.

. . . The Knees yelp, “Are you shitting us?”

Your brain tries commando, knowing Knees have been a bit whiny lately. “Rise dammit.”

Knees yell back to Toes, “A little help here amigos.”

Toes, sounding apologetic, kick back with, “Sorry Knobs but we’re busy helping Arches. The poor buggers are cramping up with us bent like we are.”

Knees squirm and call up to Brain, “Hey, Command Center, Knees here. It’s a no go unless Arms stop hanging like hypnotized chimpanzees and help. Maybe mouth could give a shout-out for help.”

Brain gives a sigh. “C’mon everybody, let’s try working this out like a team. One for all, all for one, right?”

“Yeah—well tell that to Thighs. A little pushing action from them babies would have us straightened right out. But do they bother to tighten up? No, they just hang there putting more pressure on us. It’s not fair.”

“Yeah,” Thighs jiggle in disgust, “we’d help you two overgrown knuckles  but it’s all we can do to keep these pillowy pads in motion. We’re as overworked as you two.”

Knees snort in derision. “Like roll us in jelly—we wouldn’t mind your cushy positions in this life!”

Brain breaks in with, “BODY! You’re behaving like children. All this sniping and complaining isn’t helping. Let’s try working together. Arms—reach out and grab the counter. Toes—curl back and pull that kneepad in under Arches. Knees—get ready to straighten out. Toes are going to push, thighs are going to lift upwards ,and arms are going to pull everyone forward. Everyone ready now? Okay, on the count of three. . . one . . .WAIT. . . what?”`

Brain is silent for a second. It comes back to tell the others,  “Mouth wants to help by grunting. Kind of like cheerleading for the team. So—okay gang, we’re going for uplift now — one, two, three . . . good. Good! Annnd . . .  we’re up and mobile again. Excellent job everyone! And see, no crane needed.

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.  . .Arms, you can let go of the counter and, uh, Mouth—is that heavy breathing really necessary?”

 

 

 

Marching right into. . . well, something.

September is the month of changes; Adventures and learning curves, even for those well beyond school age. September is when the old farts club’s newsletter arrives brimming with pages of new classes to sign up for.

Yehaw!

As I perused the pages I imagined myself trying out for all kinds of new challenges  but I wore myself out reading the descriptions and in the end, signed up, for a fourth time, in the ‘Tai Chi for Beginners’ class and only one new one—Fitness Level 1. And that one was for two reasons only—it had been a hot lazy summer, and the course was labeled as a class of gentle stretches to increase flexibility along with proper breathing and relaxation techniques to energize.

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Bald-faced lying old farts!

Gentle stretches my ass! Remember the medicine ball in high school? Divide that in four and you’ve got what they use as balance balls. Sure, if you’re lying on the floor and it’s resting between your feet.

And those cute-colored, stretchy ropes I was told I’d need from the equipment closet. No one mentioned they were color coded for easy, medium and popeye-arms. Guess which one I grabbed?

Then there was the instructor arrived—trim build, white hair and, wow—no moobies. I admit I was impressed with his body but his footwear puzzled me. He wasn’t wearing rubbery-gym shoes. He was wearing big, brown, round-toed hiking style boots. I didn’t get it until he cranked up the music and yelled, “MARCH!”

Those puppies were floor thumpers. We’re talking lift those knees and slap them shoes to the ground boots. March to the front, then march back again. Stomp those feet to one side then stomp to the other. Side to side — left-right, left-right, left-left, right-right, left-left-left, right-right-right.

You know how shock empties the mind? By the time I remembered which foot was left, everyone was right. By the time I flapped out two, they were on three, or back to one. OMG!

Then the nasty instructor starts telling us to turn our feet and legs this way and that way while we’re still doing the side humps. Crap on a Crayola—let’s just say my legs turned in directions they weren’t meant to, even when they were flexible.

Yeah, it was a tough class but, luckily, I had this nice European woman who leaned close after spotting the fear in my eyes.

“Don’t worry” she said, “look how well I’m doing. A year and a half ago I was just like you.”

Oh, yeah, that was encouraging! And, at the end of all those ‘gentle’ exercises, did I feel I’d learned anything?

That I hate exercising? No, I already knew that. I learned that, even if you think you’re heading into a lay-on-the-floor-gently-stretching-apendages-here-and-there class, don’t wear flip-flops.

Why?

Because, during certain exercises those tight elastic ropes will slip out from under flip-flops and whatever body part is closest is gonna’ get whacked. And, when that happens, if you have to swear – be aware that Murphy’s Law will stop the music a split second before.

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I have until next Monday to decide if I want to go back.

. . Hmmmmmm

Good read: Soul Shifts

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Dr. Wayne Dyer (bless his recently departed soul) describes this book as ‘a brilliant, authoritative, practical guide to higher awareness. Every page brims with highly specific suggestions for shifting to a more enlightened way of being. To waking up our consciousness, to get to know, deeply know the vibrating energy field that makes us who we are.’

‘’No shit Sherlock.” I say to that.

I have been reading Soul Shifts by Dr. Barbara DeAngelis for over a month now. It is one of those books—read a paragraph, maybe a page or two. Might even manage a whole chapter before the mind yells, ‘S.T.O.P. It’s chew time.’ Things must be mulled over, processed, digested thoroughly before proceeding.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had to stop reading because all that’s twirling through my gray matter are the words, Holy shitting Christ (sorry to offend but that’s how the gray goop talks). It’s like Dr. DeAngelis has peered into my soul then yanked out a less-than-sparkly hunk of it and tossed it up onto a page for discussion.

We are vibrational beings. Science has shown this to be true. We are cosmic energy vibrating in a certain pattern that makes up what each of us consider to be “us”. We must transform at the vibrational level if we want to transform “us”. Dr. DeAngelis says deep inside of us is everything we could ever need. She talks about how a tree needs to spread its roots deep so it can grow tall. So do we she says. We need to have a deep soul connection to our consciousness. This book helps us build ourselves strong and steady from the inside out.

This is one hell of a book and I know, without a doubt, as soon as I come to the end of it, I’ll be starting it again. It’s like getting an exciting big gift box. When you open it you find a dozen little boxes inside, each one wrapped around a tiny treasure. And, because each one is so precious, the very minute you’ve gushed over the last one, you’re back to the first one, then the next and . . .

Try it—it might have your brain potty-talking too!

 

Feeling the ‘ick’ factor

Okay, I confess, I’ve been testing the soap made a week ago.

I ran out of patience and the twice-daily looky-sees weren’t cutting it so I snuck down one of the smaller squares. Yeah, Man-Wonder has been on my case about it but I don’t care because, even at one week old, the soap is nice. It’s creamy and soft to the hands—which was all I was willing to risk for the first day or so.

Just in case. . .And, when no fingers burnt up or fell off, I charged in and washed my all-overs. Nice. Nice enough to begin researching out the next batch.

But, until the soap-curing shelf space is available, I’ve been concocting other types of soap—like foaming hand soap—which is so OMG-osh easy I was finished before I’d barely  started.

Then I remembered the comments posted over last week’s blog by writeknit about how she liked her lemon-scented bars of soap for her kitchen and that led me to thinking about dish soap. In the end I followed a lemon-cinnamon scented liquid dish soap recipe and again—easy-peasy. And at first, I was impressed with the sudsing it produced.

That lasted about two minutes – roughly how long the suds lasted.

Without suds I was hands deep in foggy water and staring down at the many, many bits of mealtime flotsam and jetsam twirling amongst the silverware and plates. I admit I was rating the ‘ick’ factor fairly high. Until I thought about it. I mean, I was staring at what has always been there, only I hadn’t seen it before. Now, without suds, I was able to judge when to change the water, or if it needed changing. Nothing was hidden under a pillow of white suds.

It’s kind of like slapping on a thick layer of makeup to hide the wrinkles; or turning underwear inside out for another day—it doesn’t work; it’s not healthy; and the only person it fools it the one doing it.

So what did I learn this week? Suds, wrinkles in ridges and non-reversible reversed underwear. . .all filed under ick label.

. . . Another day, another learning curve. . .

 

Cleaning up

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We are running out of soap.

And even though I have been buying hand soap and creams locally from Sharlene, a creative genius, at http://thesoapfarm.com  the urge to make my own bars of soap has been growing so I decided to give it a try again. I did learn about making soap years ago at a local herb farm but decided it was too much work until recently when I figured out that I didn’t have to make 40 bar batches.

But, let’s not call me slow okay.

Still, there was the burning issue of working with lye and since I tend to rush in and clumse (new word) about, the thought was unnerving me. I decided to ease myself into it and started out by making a hand lotion. Orange-scented jojoba oil lotion to be precise.

Oh my! It goes on like silk and soaks into the skin like magic. The orange scent is  yah-okay. I would prefer something with more oomph. Something more exotic. Maybe a deep lusty scent to bring out the beast in dear old Man-Wonder.

*Snort*. . . . okay, maybe just beef up the pussycat in him. (Good thing he never reads these blogs.)

Anyway, Man-Wonder, more to shut me up than anything, made  a delightful soap mold for me from an old pine shelf unit he was dismantling.

IMG_2106  Hinged the sides for easy removal.

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Then I gave it a one-sided paint job and, using my super skills at sewing, whipped up two elastic straps (first photo) to hold the sides and lid tight during those first 24 hours.

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Still, I was hesitating about making the soap, even with Man-Wonder now giving me the stinkeye until I spent more time (to the point of burning eyeballs) online watching videos and reading articles on how-to before I screwed up the courage to make a small batch.

It turned out surprisingly well during the saponification stage (look Ma – no lye burns or exploding volcanoes). It poured into the mold nicely. And even though it killed me to do so, I covered it up, tucked a small quilt around it and left it be for twenty-four hours to solid up. Then, with great delight because it was looking so normal, I cut into bars.

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Which are now sitting on a shelf in our closet curing for the next four-six (oh hell, let’s say five) weeks.

Mind you—I am keeping the step-stool in the closet so I can climb up to smile down at them and I gotta’ say—this waiting period is going to be tough. Waiting isn’t one of my strong points.

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Like, not uncovering the soap during those first crucial twenty-four hours.

Yeah. No. I peeked.

For shame I know, but, in my own defense—it was just a super-sonic, one-eyed peek before snapping the quilt back around the soap box. And it didn’t hurt the process one bit. . . . I hope.

Want to make soap? Here’s a few juicy sites to check out:

http://www.soapqueen.com/

http://beckyshomestead.com

http://www.brambleberry.com

http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com

That old ill wind

We’ve been most lucky here on the west coast of Canada; especially Vancouver Island. The wind doth blow most ill winds away and bringeth the rain so we islanders are naturally fresher and have fewer cobwebs in our heads.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit la-la landish—but I like it so I wrote it.

This week, those winds have failed us because of a high pressure ridge that’s been hanging around since May. Dry, dry days breaking out into a batch of wildfires. And, for the first time in a long time the smoke has not been blowing away.

When I woke Monday morning I had no idea of what was coming. It was still dark and the night air was pleasingly cool. The urge for a paddle had me cajoling Man-Wonder into action and within thirty minutes we were slipping the canoe into the refreshing cold water  of the harbor.

We paddled around the harbor’s edge, sliding between openings in the barnacle covered rocks and wove through the sleeping boats at anchor before heading toward the strait side of the smaller of the two islands fronting our harbor. Pretty brave of us considering we aren’t skilled paddlers and the waters beyond the islands can get darn choppy darn fast.

Hoo Hoo—another big-little adventure for these mobile home dwellers!

A big part of the adventure came when we realized, halfway around the island dawn wasn’t happening. It was like Day wasn’t planning on showing up! Sure, the night sky was lightening but only slightly and instead of the usual pale pink and blue, we were drifting under burnt orange and gray.

Freaky.

Freaky enough that it had our total focus and  we failed to notice the rollers coming at us from the first ferry heading past. We ended up taking them sideways instead of head on.

So, truth time here—we are pussy-pants about rough water. In fact I’m not sure who panics bigger.) Even worse yet—Man-Wonder suffers from motion sickness? Yep, my big tall hunky west-coaster is a regurgitator.

Trust me when I say, I know think we have the ‘paying attention’ part well memorized . . .

However, I’m still glad we did it, it was an experience and also because waking up Tuesday morning was kind of like waking up with your face hanging over a cold, damp, fire pit.

Today it’s a pale gray sky with holes where the sun is poking through.

Life is good and the clouds are moving.

The Garden grow-ith and I collect-ith

The old black file cabinet turned solar dryer got a sweet new paint job this year. Soft sage green. Which I thought was too common so I added purple door knobs and white vents. I think the dryer felt the love too — it’s been outdoing itself this year.

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Right now all there is inside is a rack of tarragon.

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Hopefully, another week and I’ll have a good crop of spearmint to dry for winter teas. Oh yeah!

Also solar infused four jars of extra virgin olive oil with different ingredients: rose petals, plantain, lemon balm, and of course my standby — stinging nettle.

Trouble is I’ve forgotten why the stinging nettle infused oil was created. Somewhere I read something juicy about it, how good it was for something, but by the time I had the ‘how to’ done, I’d forgotten the ‘why’ part and now I can’t remember the ‘where it came from’ part either.

The brain just ain’t what it used to be. . . or maybe it never was . . . I can’t remember. . .

Seriously, I’ve never had much of a memory. I know I grew up. I know I came from a fair-sized family. I know I went to school, married and had a child and I know I exist today. But anything before high school (and not much there either) has long drifted away.

So, either I have a suckass memory,or my life has been totally and completely un-memorable.

I choose suckass.

Good thing I have two jars of tincture brewing: stinging nettle and elderberry flower. Maybe a daily shot of vodka-infused stinging nettle will shake up the fog bank. And if it doesn’t, well, after a hefty shot (or two), I won’t really care. . .will I?

sucking herbal tincture

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