The Art of the Comeback: Resilience

Shania Twain is on the cover of AARP this month. Yes, I’m a member, and, yes, I read the magazine. I hadn’t known what happened to her, but I certainly remember her meteoric rise in country music and can sing several of her toe-tapping, female-empowering tunes. She truly did make me feel like a woman even if I was just mopping the floors in my domestic household.

She disappeared from the music scene. I didn’t notice. My life went on. After I picked up my magazine this morning on the front porch, I eagerly turned to the article to put the pieces together. She is making a comeback after a series of life blows including the loss of her instrument — her voice. The article is about comebacks of celebrities over 50, but it made me think about my own reinventions and the people I know who have made comebacks in their lives.

If we are lucky, we get the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. Yeah, yeah. I know it’s devastating when something bad happens that ruins your life, but it’s the only time that we usually take the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and take a new look at where we are headed and where we might want to end up.

It’s the reinventing that makes life worth living. I have reinvented myself after divorce, after recovering from an addiction and in my career. I feel another reinvention coming on. Something inside is telling me that a new way of being is percolating. I can ignore it and wait for the wrecking ball of change to make way, or I can choose to make the change willingly. I’ve done it both ways and both have their gifts.

The AARP article provides some tips on making a comeback, but I’ll give you my version here. The first thing I do is accept where I am and grieve the loss of what once was. I literally spent two years after my second divorce in this spot. I spent that time evaluating who I was, identifying the issues I brought to that marriage and considering my choices for the future. I also spent time taking care of myself. I started running. I changed my diet. I got back to practicing yoga and meditation. I practiced healing my codependency issues. I had to lean in to the destruction and understand its anatomy before moving on to the next stage.

It’s this stage of grieving and evaluation that people want to skip. They want to get to the next step. Sometimes, you do have to get to the next step if you’ve suffered a job loss (that’s happened to me, too) as you have to eat. But if you move on too quickly, you just end up traveling down the same path and end up with the same pile of rubble somewhere else down the road. Besides, there’s always something you are bringing to it that needs to be corrected. If you don’t identify that, the broken cog keeps on tripping you up.

Exploring was the fun part!

The second step for me was the exploration. I made myself sit in exploration for awhile. I wouldn’t let myself date because I knew I’d just end up in another relationship. I explored my life as a single person. I took up camping. I got a dog. I made a list of things I thought I’d like to do and tried them. I learned to budget and take care of myself better. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I liked being single and that maybe, for me, that was a better way to be.

It’s a humbling process to look at your own shortcomings and start over. But when we are most humbled, we are much more open to the possibilities. The job that doesn’t pay as much is a necessity. The vacation that is not extravagant actually seems quite interesting. Keeping up with Joneses begins to look kind of frivolous. A different kind of life that never appealed to you all of a sudden has some attractive elements. Faith, which may have seemed weird before, may become the only hope you have.

When I am more open to change because I need something, I see more options. It’s my openness to change to that matters. Life provides. We either pass on the options or we grab one or two. And in grabbing the options and exploring them, we will find our way back. “Back” may look totally different than the successes of the past.

I have known so many people that have made comebacks. Every single one feels better about where they are now. As humans we are very resilient. We fear change, job loss, the loss of a partner, a debilitating illness and a myriad of other tragedies. We can choose to adapt. Or we can choose to wallow in the ruins and decry our bad luck. The irony is that what we feared most can become the most important story of our lives.

From my experience, the steps to being resilient in the face of tragedy are:

Take the journey to acceptance. Grieve the losses. Identify your part. Understand yourself and what truly happened. Try humility on for size. Sit in the rubble and pick through it.

Explore the options to move forward. Go wide. Resist hasty or desperate choices. Be open to the synchronicities that bring you to new realizations. Resist just rebuilding the same structure to ease your anxiety.

When a path begins to feel right, keep exploring it. Go deep. Meet people on the same path. Do what they did to get where they are. Take some classes or get a mentor. Learn and take some risks.

Enjoy your new life. Mentor others coming along the way. Appreciate the new landscape. Write or record your journey. Someone else needs the encouragement.

Did you make a comeback in your life? What are the steps you took?

The Insistent Kitty

I committed to my friend Alayne that I was going to complete my assigned drill workout this morning before work. My pledge was to get up and get ‘er done before I even drank my tea. I got out my clothes last night. I set my alarm 30 minutes early. I got my mind right.

About 3:15 AM, my elderly cat Buster started meowing. His meows are piercing and insistent. He does not care about anyone else’s sleep, and I have often been embarrassed when I have guests. He wakes up everybody in the house with his insistent communication. I knew what was wrong. I bought the wrong cat food this week, and he will eat some of it but not his full portion. He was hungry.

Buster and Ashok…

When he gets hungry, he throws up bile. While it won’t kill him, I do have to get up and clean it up before Ashok decides to eat it. He’s old. I don’t want him to be hungry. But I also wanted to sleep. If I was going to get up and run and then go to an all-day Monday work marathon, I needed to be rested. I pushed play on a guided meditation and tried to ignore the situation before me.

“Release any tension you feel in your shoulders.” Meeeeoooowww!!!

“Breathe in, breathe out.” What if he throws up again?

“Relax your neck.” Buster climbs up on my chest and commences staring at my face.

“On your exhale, let all of the tension flow into the surface underneath you.” Whiskers tickle my face. I will not win this standoff.

After taking care of pet feeding duties at the unruly hour of 4 AM, I warmed up enough inside to fulfill my commitment to myself and brave the cold. While Alayne really wouldn’t give a flip whether or not I checked the box, I did. I have a long Monday ahead of me, and I can’t start dodging workouts on Day 3 of my program.

Once I got outside and started walking, I felt fine. I was a little sleepy and sluggish at the beginning, but with the help of an interesting podcast and some pavement pounding, that subsided. I did drills today, so the distance and time required was short but fairly intense. It was fun. I made myself do the full 10-minute cool down even though I just wanted to get inside. The discipline to follow instructions has its own reward.

Buster is contentedly laying in my lap now. He’s full, and he’s asleep. While I can’t sleep I can meditate, and I’ll get to it in just a second. Thanks to his insistence, I actually get a little extra time this morning to drink tea and post a blog. It’s not so bad getting up this early, but I’ll feel it later. I feel accomplished and proud of myself that I accomplished my goal this morning. I feel kind of badass actually. 🙂

Listening to What I Need

There is magic in yoga and meditation. Our bodies speak. As we consume life’s traumas and joys, our body takes those in. And as we move creaky joints and lazy muscles, those lessons and memories gently (and sometimes not so gently) stir to the surface. And in the quiet of a yoga or meditation practice, we can hear the whispers.

When I wrote A 2020 Commitment to Me at the end of last year, I committed to one goal for the new year. I knew that a 30-day practice of yoga would guide me into what I truly wanted and needed for this year. At first, the practices felt mechanical and I got nothing more than a check-the-box satisfaction.

I went to Tennessee for business trip. The first night I practiced my usual practice and then my yoga mat went unrolled for the rest of the week. Business dinners, too much coffee, not enough sleep, restaurant food and mental exhaustion got in the way. By the end of the week I was a wreck.

Saturday I got right back on it. I did my yoga, and I decided to also commit to doing 20 minutes of meditation following every yoga practice. I spent some time Sunday trying to figure out how to squeeze in exercise, yoga and meditation every day. My highest priorities are the yoga and meditation because they impact my sleep, my eating and my mental state the most. I decided they are my first priority. So, they come first thing after I have my morning tea.

Last week I felt so much better, and I slept well every night. I picked up where I left off on the 30-day yoga journey, and completed my 20-minute meditations like clockwork. I was calmer and less reactive. By the end of the workday I felt like running or working out after work. The workouts helped me feel energized and ready for sleep. I noticed that when I had too much caffeine in the morning, I had less energy. This weekend I shifted to green tea which provides a little lift, no crash and a lot of healthy benefits. I feel so much better this morning. And I know that I’m setting priorities on these things because I want and need them to be my best self. I didn’t reach for a goal because I should, or I’m trying to fit into a new lifestyle. I did it for me.

Last year I didn’t run. Ashok wasn’t into running, and I had to come to grips with the reality that she’s not up for it anymore. We worked through that emotionally and physically and our joint exercise became walking. I tried to run a few times, but I honestly didn’t like doing it without her. It was a year of grieving and acceptance that our running days together are over. We ran together for a decade.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to run again. I miss it. I miss the outdoors. I miss the way I feel after a run. I’ve been thinking longingly about the social running that I did in Memphis before I adopted my dog. So, I signed up for a Jeff Galloway training program on my Garmin, joined a local running club and signed up for a target race. A few of my friends are going to run it, too. I ran the first two workouts of my training plan at the end of last week, and it feels so good to be running again.

So I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want for 2020 in this first 30 days of paying attention. I could have just set some goals on January 1, and they would likely be history. But I feel like my goals spoke to me while I was listening in the silence. This is what I heard.

  • I want to start running again. I want to enjoy running. I don’t want to focus on a time goal unless I decide I want to put in that much effort. I want to run in beautiful places, and I want to make some running friends. I may even take a run every now and again at Ashok’s pace which might be super slow with lots of walk breaks. I may look for some trail runs where I can run leisurely and takes lots of pictures.
  • I want to continue a 20-30 minute daily yoga practice followed by a 20-minute meditation. Honestly, for me, this is life-sustaining. It resets everything.
  • I will continue cross-training with the Daily Burn, long walks with my dog and with other things that might interest me. I need the regular exercise, but I’ll let it be a complement to my running training.
  • I want to run outdoors. I canceled my gym membership. I can go to the YMCA and pay a daily fee if I really have to, but I’d like to get back to running in the rain and the cold and whatever else the weather dishes up. It’s part of the deal, and I want to commit to that.
  • I will continue to be consistent with healthy eating, managing my caffeine consumption and staying sugar-free most days. These are also game-changers for me, and I’m worth the effort.

These goals feel transformative even though they have all been part of me for a long time. I want to love being healthy. I know if I feel good, I will start to want other things. I may have more energy for writing. I may decide to find some new hobbies. I may make other positive changes in my life. The most important thing is they are doable, and they feel like me. I’m not forcing myself to change. I’m providing guidelines for me to show up as my best self.

How are your New Year’s goals progressing? Have you thought about setting some new ones after a few weeks of learning?

Road Trip: Historic Bridge Park

Saturday was a wash. It literally rained and rained and rained. I finally got stir-crazy and packed up the car in the hopes of finding a drier landscape with a trail. But as soon as I got on the road, the freezing rain started. I was a little hesitant about taking a long drive to an unknown destination. Sunday I was determined to get out.

The North Country Trail was calling me, so I pulled up the online map and pinpointed a destination about an hour and 15 minutes from me. Battle Creek is the home of all things cereal, but it is also a trail town for the NCT. With a high of a balmy 29, cloudy skies and little likelihood of precipitation, I packed up the car for a hiking trip.

The Historic Bridge Park is on the NCT, and I thought it looked like a lovely place to park my car. With wistful visions of the Bridges of Madison County in my head, we arrived about 1 PM. There was one other guy with a dog in the park, and it was truly lovely. The Kalamazoo River flows straight through and other small streams spoke off the main river to create several opportunities for bridges.

The park is the first of its kind in the United States and is basically an open air museum for historic truss bridges that have been replaced for more modern bridges in their original location. They originated in either Michigan or Indiana but now rest in this beautiful little park where their rivets, vintage steel and primary colors meld naturally with the forest and several mesmerizing water flows.

Initially my romantic heart longed to walk a covered bridge from the Bridges of Madison County, but I found myself transfixed by the vintage bridges made entirely of steel. I imagined noisy, cantankerous, smoke-blowing automobiles crossing over in another time. Flappers with ornate dresses held on to their hats as they enjoyed the local scenery with their man. Honk, honk …. These bridges were born in time where life was slower but probably no less complicated for different reasons. I wondered who made the decision to take them down and what precipitated their journey here. Thank you to the person who envisioned this place.

We walked up a rock staircase and headed down the NCT for a couple of miles before turning back. The park is in close proximity to a couple of nature preserves. With just a bit of snow on the ground, we enjoyed a lovely walk through a forest and into a brushy, dry wetland area. We saw several runners and chatted with a couple on the trail. Just before dark, we packed up, said good-bye to the park and the weekend and headed home.

If you want to know more about Historic Bridges, click this link for a presentation.

Dancing with Addiction: Coffee

In Louisiana children are served coffee-milk for breakfast. It was this milky, mildly coffee-flavored drink sweetened with lots of sugar that got me started on my most dysfunctional and impossible-to-sever relationship. No amount of negotiation, compromise, boundary-setting or re-navigation seems to make this relationship easier.

In 2003 I became a supervisor at Starbucks. My email address was coffeefreak@hotmail.com. All of my life I had pounded coffee all day long with seemingly no ill side effects. But my anxiety had become debilitating. No amount of medication could keep my depression at bay. An acupuncturist told me I had to stop coffee. She said it was contributing to my depression. It took a year to wean myself off and learn to love green tea. And she was right. Anytime I drank coffee, the surge of energy was followed quickly by depression. I learned to take the edge off by drinking a cup of green tea but the message was clearly received. Coffee was not good for me.

Unfortunately my on-again, off-again use of coffee was just beginning. I know it impacts my sleep. It ramps up my anxiety and fuels my depression. It is a drug that I should not take. It is also my teacher. If you google this blog page for coffee, you will see that I love it as much as I hate it. I’ve quit it, loved it, obsessed over it and tried over and over again to dance with this dark and lovely devil. I love coffee, coffee mugs, coffeehouses, half-and-half, cafe au lait, cappuccino and dark roast coffee. I own an expensive electric espresso machine, an Italian stovetop espresso maker, an electric drip machine, an aeropress, several french presses and a pour-over coffeemaker. It’s not a drink. It’s a lifestyle.

At the end of last year I threw out all of my coffee. For months I drank a lovely oolong chai or a green chai for breakfast. It was delicious. I made homemade almond milk and enjoyed a new ritual with a cast-iron Japanese teapot. With a sense of accomplishment, I took all of the bags of coffee that I had – decaf and full-strength – and threw them in the garbage. I started to read about tea in the hopes that a new lifestyle would attract me.

I signed up for a monthly tea club and stocked up on my favorite chais. I bought pounds of raw almonds for my home-made almond milk. For months I was satisfied. I allowed myself coffee but only if I went to a coffee shop to buy it as a treat. And I slept. Long nights of restful sleep and gratifying days with minimal anxiety piled up. My Chinese herbs sat unopened on the shelf. I had energy for exercise and hunger between meals abated. Life was good.

I ended up in a coffee shop in Grand Rapids between Christmas and New Year’s Day intending to buy a pound of decaf coffee “just to keep on hand”. Some part of my subconscious talked me into a pound of caffeinated coffee just to balance it out. For the last few weeks I’ve been having a cup of 1/4 full-strength in the morning. I have limited my coffee intake to the morning, and if I need more caffeine, I use tea. But I’ve lost the taste for my lovely chai and almond milk. And today I’m up to half-caf. What am I doing?

I’m back on my Chinese herbs because my anxiety has increased, and I’m having trouble sleeping. Airtight containers of oolong and green chai sit patiently on my countertop. The teapot has been stored for weeks. The last container of almond milk I made went bad before I drank it. Wake up and smell the coffee. What am I doing?

Winter Diary: Good Morning Saturday

It’s early. Rain pitter patters on the metal frame of my picture window. My still bedecked Christmas tree twinkles a reflection in several windows. I could be in a lighted forest except I’m warm and cozy under this Michigan-made red plaid blanket. In a real forest I’d be hating the sound of the rain on my tent and wishing it would stop before daybreak. Tucked in here among my cats and Ashok, it could rain all day for all I care. Twinkle away, beautiful tree. Pitter patter, rain. I am content.

I slept well last night. I have insomnia often enough that I feel great joy when I awake after a good 7-8 hours of shut-eye. I feel the same sense of accomplishment on getting a full night’s sleep that I feel at running a half marathon. I remember months and years where a good night’s sleep was elusive. I treasure the more consistent success I have now. Thank you, acupuncture, Chinese herbal supplements and meditation. Sleep is the foundation of a beautiful day and good health.

Ashok snores softly beside me as Buster purrs. My two elderly pets’ days are numbered. Sometimes I’d like to have a heads up on how long we have and other times I’d rather be blissfully unaware. I know it is entirely possible both will have many more years with me. And, right now, they are both healthy and happy.

A weekend with no commitments floats before me. It’s supposed to rain and then turn to freezing rain and snow overnight. It’s so weird for January to be snowless. Lake Michigan storms eat away at the beaches without ice banks to protect them. Mud clings to my boots in the place of slush. Last night’s muggy run felt good but oddly out of place.

It’ll be a good weekend for writing, visiting a coffee shop or two, chatting with friends and catching up with chores. Maybe I’ll nap a little. I have to pack for a business trip next week, but I don’t want to think about that now. Right now I’ll sit for a bit sipping on a homemade mocha and treasuring the effects of a good night’s sleep. I’m not sure what I’ll do today, but I’ll worry about that when it gets here.

Have a good weekend, y’all! Maybe I’ll feel like writing again before it’s all over.

A 2020 Commitment to Me

It’s the time of year again to reflect on the past year, identify some things you’d like to change in the coming year and commit to doing them. Unfortunately that reflection is usually a cursory look in the mirror with horror at the state of your body. The decision is made through a haze of sugar, alcohol or caffeine withdrawal. Or maybe it’s a reflexive decision based on the pain of your most recent embarrassing moment. None of these lay the foundation for successful change.

Yes, an embarrassing event can make you WANT to change. In the moment, it’s as clear as day that I need to stop eating sugar or drinking wine. But as sure as January 1 rolls around, that desire to do what I committed to not do again will bubble up. I may not cave the first time, but I will eventually give in. You know it. I know it.

I was actually never a fan of New Year’s Resolutions except when I had no idea how to control cravings and say no to myself. Back then it seemed like a noble promise to myself to do better but I had no clue how to accomplish that. That commitment would pile up on the trash heap of broken promises and unrealistic expectations I had set on myself. I finally just quit doing it. In the meantime, I started learning how to take care of myself, and January 1 just became another day of the year.

For the last 3 years I’ve committed to a 30-Day Yoga Challenge with one of my favorite yoga teachers, Adrienne. It’s a small commitment of 15-30 minutes per day of showing up on my mat and looking inside. Some days the practice is cozy and relaxing. Other days kick my butt with power moves. But every practice is over in about the same amount of time it takes to cook steel cut oatmeal. And I’ve never regretted doing it. Not one day. Not ever.

Yoga cuts through the haze of addictive behavior. It walks me compassionately through the regrets of broken promises to myself. It cuddles me when I’m tired. It helps me accept my weaknesses with less judgment. The 30-days helps me find my footing so I can decide what – if anything – I want to change. I notice if I’m down regularly. It’s apparent when I’m not sleeping. If I’ve gained weight, I can tell. I can also see my progression of getting stronger. I can move through difficult emotions. In being gentle and loving with myself, I learn how to be present and deal with life as it is. It is grounding for me.

This year’s challenge is called Home. It’s free. You don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t even have to put on a bra. The only thing it takes is a commitment to show up for yourself. I promise it will give you time to learn what – if anything – you want to change.

When I am practicing yoga regularly, I eat better and I am calmer. I can sit with my anxiety or depression and know that it’s not going to kill me. I notice when sugar from the day before impacted my sleep, and I notice how coffee actually makes me feel. And when I really notice what is happening, I do better.

Won’t you join me? You can sign up here! And there’s a free group where you can chat with participants all over the world.

The Magical Hats of the Monaco

There’s no snow on the ground in Southwest Michigan. For the second year in a row, we are moaning about the snowless holiday which makes it seem more like September than Christmas in Michigan. And to make matters worse, temps soared into the upper 60s yesterday. Sweating in my sweater seemed less appropriate than it sounds as I would have loved to have been warming up to an eggnog latte, warming my hands in front of a fire and curling up under blankets with a good book. Instead I was sweating… and wishing I wasn’t.

But the holiday started looking up when I purchased a new car the day after Christmas (Merry Christmas to me!) and packed up a girlfriend and her dog to head to my favorite magical holiday vacation spot, the Hotel Monaco. Ashok couldn’t have been happier to race down Wabash into the arms and the treat dish of the top dog hotel in all of my world.

I’ve watched the Monaco evolve in 2019. Their lovely rooms with riverview window seats were remodeled in quirky, whimsical fashion, and the entire lobby and front desk area transformed a little more each time I visited. I was a little worried about where they were headed earlier in the year, but now the look has come together. It’s as if the personality of this former women’s millinery bubbled up to permeate the art deco of a vintage Chicago hotel.

Colorful and quirky, this functional and homey lobby features period hats of all kinds. Making these lovely hats was a project of the fashion students at the local Columbia College. What fun it must have been to look back to old-time Chicago when women wore hats not for function but for style. None of these hats would keep your ears warm, but they would definitely create some heat!

Us four gals – Pumpkin, Autumn, me and Ashok – are enjoying listening to the big band music in the lobby by the fireplace as we finally relax into the spirit of the season. We were excited for it to be cold today as last night’s warm temps created a dirty, muddy walk in the city streets. Frozen it should be this time of year. While we aren’t quite frozen, we are definitely headed in the right direction.

All of my old friends are here at the hotel and a few new ones. This place reminds me of The Love Boat, a magical place where the staff transforms hearts and minds by simply being present with good cheer. All of my wishes may not be granted while I’m here, but I will definitely leave feeling like they were. The coffee is good, the hot chocolate bar awaits this afternoon, and the wine and hot cider hour this evening will prepare us for dinner with a little socializing and fun.

And my personal favorite….

I’m looking forward to relaxing and meeting some new folks as well as enjoying my old friends in this lovely, historic place. Perhaps a nap in the window seat overlooking the city might be in order. There is magic here in this place for me. Enjoy the photos of these lovely hats, and if you decide to come take a look for yourself, tell them Ms. King sent you! They’ll know exactly who you mean.

A Meaningless Life

“Read Ecclesiastes,” my friend said. “or as much of it as you can take. The message: Everything is meaningless. For me, that’s it. Full Stop.”

So I read Ecclesiastes – or as much as I could take. I didn’t remember this chapter from my early Bible studies, or maybe I just didn’t understand what meaningless meant in the context of a life. In my younger years I would have seen it as a hopeless slant on all the work and bluster we need to bring to an illustrious career, an epic romance and a life full of adventure. “Malarky,” I would have said. “My life won’t be meaningless.”

Ironically, it feels a bit comforting to understand that life is meaningless. Like a pebble on the shore of Lake Michigan, I will be washed back into the sea one day. I will not be remembered nor will there be much left of my existence that will endure.

I’m reading a book called The Dalai Lama‘s Cat. It is an exquisite tale of a Himalayan cat who lives with His Holiness. This salty feline learns new lessons from Buddhist philosophy in each chapter. I don’t know why it’s hitting me in such a beautiful way, but it’s encouraging me to get out of the daily rumble and reflect on my thoughts and actions. Snow Lion listened as one of the teachers discussed the brevity of a life and how, in the context of the many lives we reincarnate, this life is just a small piece of a larger whole.

I try to be objective about the times we live in now, but I find it really painful. I don’t like the arguing and the division. I see that as meaningless and a waste of time. Don’t we have other problems we need to be working on? Anger begets more anger, and this emotion is not productive when applied to each other instead of the issues at hand. I’ve never seen an argument change the world or even one person’s mind. Much like Snow Lion’s experience, a mind is only changed in an environment of support and acceptance of one’s self and others. And, mostly, we change a little at a time.

In response to a listener’s question, Dan Harris (from the 10% Happier Podcast) suggested a meditation to contemplate death. Many cultures find ways to contemplate death so that the proper perspective is put on life. I have been practicing this meditation and even bringing it in to my daily life. I bring up a face of a deceased person that I loved and meditate on the fact that they are gone. I imagine the face of someone I know now, and remind myself that they will die. I then remind myself that I will die, too. I imagine the world going on without me. It will, you know? I am only here a brief moment in time.

Morbid, you think? That’s not the results I’m getting. I feel comforted realizing I don’t have to do anything world-changing to be successful. In fact, I don’t have to be successful at all. I just have to be. All pressure is removed. When I talk to others, a little voice now reminds me, “They are going to die.” Compassion bubbles up. Being present with this person becomes more interesting than driving an agenda.

When did meaninglessness become a bad thing? If life is meaningless, maybe it’s okay to enjoy it. Perhaps messing up or not living up to someone’s expectations is perfectly fine. It could also be okay to be wildly successful and famous if I just remember it’s only for a moment. On the other hand, if this is one life in a series of lives, then I’m just setting up my next lesson in my next life. There is plenty of time to evolve.

So, the next time I see you please note that I’m thinking of your death. But I’m also thinking of mine. What could the world be like if we all interacted on that level of truth? I would like to experience that.

Now, I must go because my boss actually doesn’t see my success as meaningless. I haven’t quite won her over to this philosophy, and I do have to eat or my meaningless life will be over much more quickly than anticipated.

Winter Diary: Just Move

The biggest challenge for me in the long winter is continuing to move. It gets dark much earlier, and, let’s face it, it’s cold outside. In order for me to have the most success with exercise, I have to do it in the morning. I will do it in the evening sometimes, but there’s always a 50% chance that I’m going to be too mentally or physically tired to get it done. And, I’m sorry, I don’t really feel like getting out of bed and running outside in 20 degree weather. Yuk.

This is the thing. In order for me to beat SAD or my depression, I have to exercise vigorously at least a couple times per week. Last year I decided to take a more seasonal approach to exercise. I’d run and do lots of outdoor activity in the warmer months, and in winter I’d go to the gym and focus on strength-training and yoga. It worked out great for me. So, this year I’m planning a similar approach but with a little more variety.

I’m not running as much this year, so I’m trying to find another workout that will help raise my heart rate. I did a trial period with the Daily Burn, and I liked the 30 minute cardio/strength workouts so much I decided to join. At $150 per year, it’s super reasonable, and the people and the fun classes put me in a good mood. Once I signed on to their Facebook page, I liked it even more. Since the workouts are only 30 minutes a day, it’s easy to do one every day. (Not that I’ve ever done one every day.)

So, this morning I did a Barre workout, and I plan to do a yoga practice tonight. I sleep so much better when I do that at night. I took Ashok for a walk which is a great shake-out for my mind and my body after working all day. My cold-weather plan is to move every day. I have a variety of options between running, walking, the gym, Yoga with Adriene and the Daily Burn. Somedays I need something vigorous to get me going. Other days, I can relax with some yin yoga. And I don’t even have to leave the house if I don’t want!

My Barre workout this morning!

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