This Is Like Planting Seeds

At the beginning of all things, we tend to feel quite silly. Picture me, chubby girl, jogging through my neighborhood. I’ve got the shoes, the shorts, a water bottle and of course the required music blaring in my ears. At this moment, I can’t brag about my pace. My GPS phone app clocks me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which they won’t. By the time I get a mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of walking and running in, I’m sweating like crazy. My calves burn, and my knees are weak. I am no picture of athletic prowess.

Of course, it won’t always be like that. Eventually, I’ll build up enough muscle to finish in half that time. Hopefully, I won’t be as sore. My stride will look stronger, and my run will be more fluid. I picture myself as a leaner version than now, running like a gazelle through the neighborhood. Onlookers will be in awe of my agility. I wonder, should I take my hair out of the ponytail? The wind could blow it as I run. I would also be in color-coordinated clothing. Shoes, shorts, and a tank top all coordinated. Yeah, I look like I belong.

It’s humorous because when I started with my old tank top and 10-year-old shorts and shoes, I felt awkward. I was pretending to be a runner because it’s cool. And I hate being trendy.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

I’m not sure where this started except possibly in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out of date shoes, I felt awkward. So to legitimize myself I purchased official running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, I know, it’s really 14% and I’m exaggerating, but they are skinny girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is a higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Now that I have my running gear, at least I know the shoes are not going to injure my knees and shins. With time, I will develop the strange quirks that go with being a runner. I don’t know if I will ever feel authentic because my mental picture is unrealistic; no real person could meet it. I think we do that with a lot of things. Even being an adult, which is something that comes with age, and we don’t genuinely earn, the mere act of not dying brings us to it, we can feel like we are a fake. At the beginning of every attempt, we step one foot in front of the other until we’ve trained our senses to become familiar with our new task.

Adulthood, parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees your stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not reach gazelle-like grace in my running, eventually even I can become comfortable jogging and running about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes.

This is an edited repost.  Taking Up Running from June 9, 2013 

The image above was provided by Wade Harris ”Door, New York City”

My posts might be sparse for a few weeks since I have a cervical spine surgery scheduled, which will make it challenging to write. Wish me luck!

Best Practices

We’re rushing headlong toward a new year, and that means new resolutions with new false promises. Why set ourselves up for puffed-up expectations. Instead, let’s take a look at what we have that’s working. Let’s keep our hopes tied to what we are loving now. We don’t need to fling our energy out into the new year like a scattered seed when we can keep it close and grow more. We can grow stronger.

Take Inventory

You have skills. Ideas float in your head. Do you know how far away you are from success? Where is a success? Is it a place? A feeling? Will it find you? Or do you put on your hiking boots to climb the mountain, kissing the hand of the King that grants special favors?

Keep Yourself Together

Can you name one thing you do rather well? What about five? This week it would be good if you could find the time to grab some paper, any paper, even the back of an envelope, and a writing implement. Write the numbers one through five in a list format. Put this list on your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator, somewhere you will see it. We are going to list our best skills.

The List

Let’s start. Write five skills.

  • Do you keep your promises?
  • Maybe you’re on time.
  • Can you write a moving speech?
  • Do you care for children who love you?
  • Taking care of your body with good food and walking is a real achievement.
  • Have you recently learned a valuable lesson for life?

These are items and others like them could be on your list. What do you do well? What is going right? This is the foundation upon which you can build a better life. If you remember, place the paper in a prominent place.

I’d love to hear some of your achievements.

One Thing List

If you find yourself not finishing projects and you want to retrain your mind, here is a tactic. Make a list and do one thing a day to keep yourself accountable. By practicing daily, we climb out of the ruts where we are stuck. We can make short, easy to complete tasks such as reading one paragraph or dancing five minutes. Continue until you relearn the pleasure that comes from your accomplishments. Feel the pride. It’s your thing.

Be Strong

Your mind will try to protect you from this but know you are safe. You’ll have enough energy left over, enough time, and even enough inspiration. You won’t run out of fuel. Your mind is locked in scarcity and is protecting you by holding that mode.

Did I Do This?

The product you have in front of you is the result of years of practice. If you like what you see, keep going. Otherwise, it’s never too late for improvement.

Feel the breeze. Notice what you like and enjoy it. Make it happen again.

Permit yourself to be happy today. I have not always allowed myself to enjoy my current progress. I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. How will I ever appreciate more if I can’t see today’s beauty?

Today, find your sunshine.

Do We Create or Channel?

I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.

I DO ME

Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?

Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.

The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.

Zola Jesus

CRUNCH TIME

Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.

Fan Stuff

Have you liked my posts? If you’re a fan of my writing or even a casual reader please take a look at my Patreon account. I promise not to zap you when you stop over. It is the fiction side of my writing.

What To Know

I’m completing a novel currently titled I’m In Love With A Gangsta. Not the final title obviously, but I had to start somewhere. Come and see the status. Check up on it periodically. I’ll let everyone know when it’s off to editing.

Patron

If you wish to become a part of the process, dive in with me, become a Patron. Otherwise, your cheering on the sidelines is also much appreciated.

Thank you for your support! You are the best.

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Make Peace With Your Life

When I read self-help books, I feel all jazzed. They excite me, but I find them lacking in one aspect, application. I’m thinking of one type in particular, which refers the reader to visualize their perfect day, to help make it real. I picture myself waking up at 8:00 in the morning and eating a healthy breakfast. Work on my writing. Hmmm. Sure, I can do this.

I know a man who cleans floors for a living. He’s a janitor at a middle school in town and has been for many years. He’ll probably retire there. He sweeps, mops, waxes, and buffs those things until they shine perfectly. It brings him great satisfaction. He likes the solitude. And the immediate reward. His art is not the Mona Lisa, but it’s his. At one time he was a contract painter for a local business, painting walls. He enjoyed that also.

I’m missing the feels

Why do I mention this? Because I have to remind myself, there’s a reason for work. Am I working for big dollars? Or hoping for fame? (good luck for either of those) Truthfully, I long for the same feeling as that man, and the same as anyone who finishes with an end stroke, be it an ink pen or a sewing needle. Yes! I did it.

Being satisfied in life is vital. It brings joy and meaning into our life. Some jobs have no end in sight. The gratitude level is too low. You need outside support or the chaos becomes more than you can bear. How do we handle these things? If you’re a mother or caregiver, the work can overwhelm you. Where can you find purpose? A caregiver for an elderly parent is one of the most thankless responsibilities, and our society undervalues caregiving.

We can only live one life, and that’s our own. Each day is ours to choose and a new day to live.

Exercise For Lazy People

You’re not terrible if you forget to exercise. Or even if you remember and don’t get off the couch. Or drive to the gym, change into your shorts, and do all of those foreign movements for only 10 minutes. Unless these activities were already a part of your normal day, your body is going to scream, “unsafe!”

It’s not glamorous, but the way to win the exercise routine is to have a lifestyle which includes activity organically. Carry more packages. Walk a little further. Use the stairs. And yes, we’re familiar with this strategy, but do we live it? Recognize the small things. They add up.

Handicaps and hindrances 

Oh, this is my sputtering out point. Believe me, I know handicaps. I’ve envied runners and great athletes all of my life. It isn’t happening with this body. My goal is health and not to become a lady with flabby arms.

Here’s the key: increase your safety zone. You have a standard comfort level and once you’ve reached that point each day, your body says, “level complete.” Tomorrow, try pushing the edge, but do it early in the day. If you wait until evening your resistance will be too strong. Besides, if you have an early win, you can enjoy the high all day.

How can we change our lifestyle to make them healthier? Is there a small grocery store we can walk to pick up a few items? A park nearby? Let me know if you have any ideas. I’d love to hear them.

I live upstairs. Yes, this was intentional. I also take the stairs at work. But, there’s always more.

Chasing Cars

Are we chasing cars like a tiny, dog?

I am driving with a friend the other day in this small town. It was one of those places where kids ride their bikes on the streets, so when you drive it’s like playing a video game only it’s real. Cars are parked randomly along the way. We watch for kids, but we aren’t ready for the sudden yap, yap, yap of a dog leaping toward us, chasing the darn car for way too long. All I am thinking is, what parasite has infested this dog?

I know people who continually date. They hop from one relationship to another, not pausing long enough to evaluate why the last one ended. Sometimes there are painful endings but other instances, nope. It’s a thing we do in life. Pursue our goals. Chart the course to Nirvana. Are you chasing cars? Do you have the parasite?

I wonder if I’m unhappy because my job is wrong or if I don’t understand happiness. There’s the song, Chasing Waterfalls, which talks about people who push through life too fast. Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers you know. Is it possible to have the perfect job or the ideal relationship? Would I know it? There’s no test I can take to tell me YOU ARE HERE, so I am the little creature chasing–something.

“Chasing waterfalls” song

The little dog when he’s chasing cars, is he scaring them away or trying to catch one? Slow down fido! Take a roll in the grass. And go find that chew toy you lost.

Ithaka poem

As you set out for Ithaka, hope your road is a long one. full of adventure, full of discovery…

(for absolutely no reason at all)

Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

(so many delights you forget why you came on your journey)

….And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(boys and men and relationships will not for chasing. Life will be a pleasure.)

BY C. P. CAVAFY. (parenthesis added for my delight)