Pi-Lot-es

pilates-3799327_1920I love Pilates. Once you learn the movements, you can do Mat Work anywhere. Bedroom floor, back yard, hotel room. I consider that it saved my life.

I’m convinced that I developed bursitis in my hips from an often-prescribed medication. I won’t name it, in case Big Pharma starts poking into my life. Let’s just say most cardio docs want you to take it. I can’t prove that it happened, but it coincidentally occurred right after I began taking it. I stopped the prescription quite a few years ago. The constant pain in my muscles and joints was not worth the small risk of not taking it. I had to stop exercising because of the pain.

And then I discovered Pilates. The manager of fitness programs at our rec center suggested I try it. The teacher was phenomenal and taught the Classical version. When I began the lessons, it was hard work. I was still on the drug and didn’t have a lot of muscle strength. I still had pain. Some in-depth research made me stop the meds and within three months, everything changed. Sure, I adapted to the routine, but the biggest gain was no more pain.

I love Pilates.

It’s been eight years since I first laid down on a mat and stuck my legs in the air. (Yep, most movements are like that.) You will hear that Pilates is all about core strength. They are not kidding. I am often amazed how much I now have. Why core strength? You might think it’s all about the abs. That is part of it, but it is so much more. From your neck to your knees, everything is connected and has the most impact on your daily life. Getting up out of a chair takes core strength. Good balance requires core strength. Lifting your arms in the air requires strength in your shoulder girdle. Without it, you might become one of those rounded-shoulder, shuffling elderly that we too often see.

Going to a class is fun. Since you are laying down most of the time, you can’t really see what anyone else is doing so there isn’t much competition. However, it is really impressive when you see someone do the inversions so effortlessly. You can do it by yourself. You can do it with a friend. (Sounds dirty, but it’s not.) You can do it however often you want. I try to do a short routine every night before bed. It helps to “untwist” me, so to speak, from my day. You don’t get all sweaty and cardio so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

A whole lotta Pilates is really good for you in every which way. Anyone up for the “Hundred”?

I Wants It

barbecue-2098020_1920You remember Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”. An emaciated creature who craved an empowered gold ring. A craving so intense that nothing else mattered. I doubt that even a junkie would be that far gone.

Cravings are powerful. I’m sure you’ve experienced them in some form or another. Like OMG, nothing will do but you have to have a bag of chips before you die of starvation! Not likely, unless you are on “Naked and Afraid”, and even then they would rescue you before death.

If you are of average weight and maintain it, cravings are fairly normal. They typically signify unmet needs for fun, excitement or love. Basically, you are bored and food fills a hole. If you struggle with being overweight or are a chronic dieter, then food cravings and overeating signal unmet emotional needs. Overeating often springs from anxiety or depression. I am not a doctor, nor am I providing a diagnosis, but if you struggle with these issues please see a doctor or therapist. Life is too short, and you are missing out on too many good things so make your overall health a priority.

Real physical hunger comes on slowly and your stomach tells you it needs fuel. Emotional hunger swirls in your mind and triggers taste sensations in your mouth. Poor nutrition, blood sugar swings, alcohol and drugs mess with your brain chemicals – especially serotonin – and cause even more cravings. Give your body the proper fuel and in return, it will provide you with energy and feel-good chemicals so you want to get out and enjoy life. Good trade-off, I’m thinking.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been overeating. Nothing extreme, but I’m looking a little poochy. Ick. And not for anything in particular as that points to different needs, such as salty-crunchy for anxiety. So I decided I needed to look into my need for food.

Sometimes we overeat for simple reasons: obligation – someone brought cookies to work and you don’t want to hurt their feelings; not wasting – you ordered the food at a restaurant and don’t want to leave a full plate, although a doggie bag is always an option; taste – it’s damn good!; boredom – snacky foods give you something to do; true hunger – eat too fast and eat too much; tired – hoping it sparks energy. These are a few of the reasons we shovel in more than we need.

Well hmm, I think those are my reasons.

I’ve b*itched about my work plenty, but it is a long day from waking to coming home. I have plenty of responsibility that goes from all-out-balls-to-the-wall to sitting and waiting. Anyone that does accounting work understands those cycles. During the boring times, I eat. During the stressful times, I work through lunch, go home tired, eat to refuel and have a drink to unwind. The perfect combination to build tummy fat. Because of all that, I have set aside some activities that I would normally enjoy doing – like I don’t have the time and energy for them. I know, practice what you preach. Eating has become the new enjoyment. Therein lies the problem.

Using food as a replacement for getting your needs met is a bad idea, but instead of focusing on food as the enemy search for the root. Give yourself permission to have fun. Schedule some free time in your day, just for you, to do something you love. Practice self-care. Give your relationships some attention. Hug your friends. Get out in nature and soak up a little sun. Maybe do some energy work. The third chakra – Solar Plexus – is at the navel. It governs personal power, so it may be said that a little tummy fat protects your power. Maybe your personal boundaries need a little work. The second chakra – Sacral – is directly below and governs pleasure, emotions and addictions. A definite connection. If you sit at a desk all day, like me, then the two probably get squished into one muddled energetic glob.

Hmm. Addictions ending up in the stomach. Better get up and stretch, but not for another cookie.

I wants it. . .

 

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Storm-ward Bound

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DENVER, CO – MARCH 13: 16th Street Mall of Denver is covered by snow on Wednesday. March 13, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Yesterday, March 13th, Colorado experienced a “bomb cyclone”. WTF?! A meteorological term for a drop in barometric pressure that exceeds 24 millibars in 24 hours. Another WTF. The radar picture does look like a cyclone. All I know is that it was an awful blizzard to drive in. Never mind that major highways were closed. Never mind that stoplights were covered in snow or not working. Never mind that the Governor called out the National Guard to get stranded motorists.

What was I doing on the road in a blizzard?

Because my workplace decreed that we all needed to show up for 3 hours of work. And then get sent home in the midst of the blowing snow. WTF.

Unless you are having a heart attack and need to get to the hospital, there is likely nothing you need to go out in a blizzard for. If you need to get home from someplace, then you probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with. Starbucks and most liquor stores were probably closed. You probably don’t need them either.

What is it that compels people to hop in their cars in the midst of wildly blowing snow? Last week, the news stated “the mountains are CLOSED”. That means don’t go there or you can’t go there. An avalanche took out I-70, the interstate highway that goes over the mountains. People were caught in that. People ski in that. With an avalanche pack that becomes a balloon. Might I say once again, What. The. F*ck.

When there is a blizzard or any other serious weather disaster, employers please tell your people to stay home unless you are in the business of saving lives. You just make it difficult for those who do to get to those people. If you are an adrenaline junkie, stay home and surf Facebook. There is plenty enough adrenaline-boosting juice obtained from reading troll comments.

Stay home, it is not worth endangering your life for either a momentary thrill or to read a bunch of time-wasting emails.

Soooper Bowl Sunday!

football-3814958_1920It is almost Kickoff time and by now, most people are drunk, stuffed with food or wide-awake and ready for the game.  Whether you are rooting for the Rams, the Patriots, or the “ahem” Saints (sorry guys) a fun time is sure to be had by all.

Remember boys and girls, it is a game to entertain you this afternoon and not something worth driving your car off a cliff for.

They say traffic is especially bad after a Sunday football game loss.  People get way caught up in the NFL, and why not?  It is millions of dollars of revenue for many companies.  Do you think about buying Budweiser when you see a cute Clydesdale colt romping around?  Or do you develop a taste for Doritos?  Whatever your pleasure or poison, the advertising will have you thinking about a purchase.

And then there is the legendary “star”-studded (you sure that was a malfunction?) half-time entertainment.  I doubt anyone will forget the beautiful purple rain of Prince.  R.I.P.

What is it about the Super Bowl that compels us so?  Aside from just sports fans, I think it is fun and excitement in the midst of winter.  If you can’t afford a beach getaway, a championship football game is one way to take your mind off artic weather and piles of snow.  Although it is 61 degrees in Denver today.

Maybe you don’t care about football at all.  Okay.  Maybe you are stuck at work and hope for a few moments to check the score.  Maybe you got carried away and put down a bet (make sure it is legal) and are worried that you might not have enough to pay the rent.  Shame, shame, fun stuff always comes AFTER necessities.

How ever you are spending the day, just remember that winning always comes from putting in the time and effort and the belief in yourself.  Go team!

You’ll Believe It When You Say It

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Photo: Pexels

Affirmations.  You’ve heard the term quite often these days.  Repeatedly saying phrases to make yourself feel better, yet many of us don’t quite believe in them.  But words have power.  Did you know that affirmations are really just training your brain to new beliefs?  It’s like doing yoga to train your body to be more flexible.  When you first begin you think there is no way in hell you are ever going to bend like that.  You might even laugh when you can’t get your butt in the air for downward dog.  Just like you might laugh when you tell yourself that you are wealthy.

Like yoga, if you continue to practice it eventually gets easier.  You can do your downward dog with straight legs, instead of bent knees, and you can hold it for a minute or more.  (Until you get that crazy head rush from being upside down.)  When you keep speaking your affirmations, your brain absorbs the statement and begins giving you ideas about how to make the statement happen.

Maybe you have been stating “I am wealthy”.  You’ll get ideas on how to increase your wealth.  You’ll explore investments, open a savings account, seek a higher paying career, stop your daily Starbucks fix, whatever it means to you to be wealthy.

Affirmations should always begin with “I Am” or “I Have”, never with “I want”.  The Universe hears I Want and keeps you in a state of wanting.  I Am or I Have says you are already there so you will manifest it into a physical state.

You can put affirmations in a list.  For example: you are looking for a home and you have specific items that are important to you.  Write them all down and at the bottom of the list, write “this or something better”.  Fold the list and put it in a place you remember, but won’t look at every day.  Seeds grow faster if you don’t poke in the dirt.  Practice your other affirmations and watch your desires manifest into reality.

Saying is believing.

Give Thanks

pray-2408038_1920-1Tomorrow, November 22nd, is the US holiday Thanksgiving.  A time to celebrate abundance and sharing, but shouldn’t be limited to an American celebration of eating.  Thanks-giving should occur every day of the year.

Give thanks for the big dinner you will eat tomorrow, even if you gain 10 pounds, because it represents the abundance of nourishment.  Nourishment fuels your body so you can perform physical activities.

Give thanks for the people you are having dinner with, even it is just those on the television, because it represents the abundance of social connectivity.  Social connections enrich your life by opening your heart to love.

Give thanks for the horrid family member who pushes your buttons at every opportunity, because without them you would not have the opportunity to develop personal boundaries and honor yourself.  When you respect yourself, others will too.

Give thanks for the money you have earned, because it helps to provide you with food, shelter and material comforts.  Self-sufficiency builds self-esteem.

Give thanks for your physical body, even if it is damaged or missing parts, because you are a miracle.  The body is an amazing machine.

Give thanks for your children, even those not of your making, because you are capable of love and caring for another.  Give them a hug.

Give thanks for your significant other, partner or spouse, because you are lovable.  Give yourself a hug.

Give thanks for the planet, because you have an opportunity to experience a variety of climate, cultures and terrain.  What a wondrous place it is!

Give thanks for your very existence, because being human allows you to not only experience abundance but create it.  Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

The more you give thanks for all the wonderful things in your life, and about your life, the more abundance you will experience.

Sliding In To Home Plate

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Photo: Pixabay – KeithJJ

I know nothing about baseball, nor will even attempt to make comparisons other than our Rockies have been in the news quite a bit as a wild card.  They will need to do a lot of sliding into home if they aspire to the championship.

You may have heard the expression that is something about life and sliding into home, worn out and used up.  Not to be abusing your body, but I think that is a damn good way to think about your life – in that you lived it to the fullest.  You can go to your grave with the pennant in hand, maybe even singing “We will, we will rock you!!”  (Shake it, Freddie!)

I talked to some friends the other day who are experiencing serious health issues.  They never thought life would come to oxygen and artificial limbs.  (Love you, P & T!)  I reminded my friend to think of how well they lived their life.  She agreed and she said they had a lifetime of fun.  In the 10+ years I’ve known them, I’ve had an enormous amount of fun with them and I almost think in those 10 years more fun than in the rest of my life altogether.  That’s kind of sad.  However, it was one of those moments that you view your life through someone else’s eyes.

She has poor health, but lived life to the fullest.  I have good health, but much of my life had small moments of happiness.  Who has it better?

Difficult to ponder, even as I write that.

I guess maybe it comes back to baseball.  I’m going to take a metaphorical swing at that, so forgive my sports ignorance.

Life is a game.  You step up to bat and you really never know if you’re going to score big or strike three and you are out.  Then what?  You could whack yourself in the head with the bat and take yourself out of the game forever.  You could spend some time in the outfield, catching balls that someone else drives to you, and occasionally send them back to the bench.  You could take time to study the game, better yourself, work yourself free of some bad habits and step back up to the plate.  This game is too much fun to give up on, and you are game enough to do it better.

So step up to the plate, extend that first finger to the outfield, swing that bat like you want to win the championship, and slide into home plate with everything you’ve got, because you are the champion of your life.

Gone Viral

monster-426995_1920A couple of weeks ago, I came down with some sort of virus.  You know the kind, lack of energy, and just wanting to sleep.  With it came several days of internal rumbling and not too interested in putting food inside me.  Had no resulting weight gain, damn it.  It’s still lingering and I’m getting a bit depressed.

Or maybe it is just because summer is coming to an end.

Maybe I need some sunshine.  I could go outside, lie down on the sectional and take a nap.  Then I’d likely wake up with a sunburn on half my body, a-la Close Encounters.  (Please say you remember the scene when Richard Dreyfus looks out the window of his truck and, um, “sees the light”.)  I take vitamin D, so I don’t think I’m lacking there.  But then, sunshine always makes me happy.

Whatever the cause, isn’t it interesting the things our bodies do in response to an internal threat?  Often far better than the anti-virus software in your computer.  Without getting graphic, it is rather astonishing how the body goes into all-out war in eliminating the monster that invaded it.  I, and likely many others, am not very patient during the siege.  It takes a lot of effort to fight viral take-overs and the body likes to shut you down during the process.  I’m torn between sleeping and weeping.  Yesterday, I went shopping for a couple of hours, came home and washed the car, and I was just done for the day.  WTF.

It’s that time of year when viruses start gearing up for an attack.  Kids go back to school and we all know that is one gigantic bacteria factory.  You go to the doctor’s office and you get sick just breathing the air around the building.  Last year, my sweetie and I managed to avoid catching anything.  Yay!  I attribute that to our twice daily dosing of vitamins D, C, zinc sulfate and turmeric.  I had a bit of a sniffle in February, but it died off in a few days.

We owe it to ourselves and our Creator to take care of our bodies.  Eating well, sleeping, vitamins, exercise, play, relaxation and mindfulness.  Figure out what works best for your body and not just what someone else says.  Life is meant to be enjoyed and taking care of yourself contributes greatly to this.  Because if you don’t, you’ll end up with some mutated germ that wipes out half the planet.

And then you won’t be able to post some amazing video that Goes Viral.  You know, like that cat. . .