Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thoughts...Some are Whimsical

On our walkabout, I could not resist taking a pic of the fairy's swimming pool. Although it was a lovely sunny day, it was still too cold for swimming...even for fairies. I'll have to check back when it gets warmer.

Last week I had a wonderful yoga experience and spent the rest of the week wanting to re-create it. I want yoga to become a part of my workout routine. I struggled with the word "workout" here...because I've found yoga to be incongruous with the word. Yoga can absolutely help with toning muscles and promoting balance and all things physical. Yet, it's a somewhat mellow and introspective activity. 

I have this "story" to share and I feel like there is something I'm supposed to learn from it...but I'm struggling with exactly what. 

I've been making a concerted effort to add exercise to my schedule. With that is an almost unintended result of leaving the office (and work) earlier. By "earlier" I mean "on time". I tend to work beyond "normal working hours", which is not necessarily a bad thing once in a while...but I believe to achieve my goals I need to be disciplined in not allowing work to consume my attention at the expense of life affirming activities. --You know like sweating and wheezing on a stationary bike. --That kind of thing.

Anyway, I signed up for a yoga class for Thursday night. It sounded like such a relaxing class (candle light) and such a nice way to "enter into" Friday as the weekend approached. I signed up online and paid my drop in fee and was quite excited about what awaited me. My thought was this: Change into my yoga clothes in our gym's changing room. And drive to the yoga studio ready to walk in for practice. I budgeted my time to allow me to get there on time.  --Not early, like I meant to...but on time.

I should mention that the studio is 31 miles from my office. Because the class was in the evening, I thought I would miss evening rush hour traffic just breeze up the highway. I pretty much "know" how long the ride should take. Except...for when there's an accident. When there is an accident all bets are off. When I was a commuter using this highway, I always checked the traffic report (on the radio) before getting on the highway. If there was an accident, I found an alternate route.

I didn't expect there to be an accident this long after rush hour. I guess you can see where I'm going with this. There was an accident...and all three lanes of traffic was just stopped. A complete standstill. 

I called the studio to let them know...I'd be late (if I made it)...I wanted to be sure that they didn't think I was just a no-show. After a lane opened up I continued on my trek. I kept going thinking...maybe I'll be able to come in late. But, alas, I was too late.

So, I now had to drive 18 miles home a little dejected and a lot disappointed. Here's the thing (one of them, anyway), my night was no where near as horrible as the people that were in the car accident. There was an ambulance and no less than four state troopers on the scene. It was dark, so I couldn't see much but I hope beyond hope that no one was critically hurt. 

As I was driving home I kept asking: "What am I supposed to learn from this?" I turned on the radio and found a new station that plays '80s music at 8:00. So, I got to rock out on the way home. Joan Jett sounded so so good. The music certainly helped me enjoy the ride home.

But really, what am I supposed to learn? I think I'm supposed to learn that I don't live "there" anymore. What used to be just 15 minutes out of the way on my way home is now almost 50 miles! What was I thinking? I can not think I will be able to make the wonderful studio "my" studio. Not during the week anyway.

So here's the other thing: I'm kind of disoriented. I lived in the SW portion of town for over four years. But what's more, I lived on the same side of town for my entire youth (until I got married). I love our new apartment...but I don't think I've completely gotten acclimated. Where we live is now closer to Raleigh than it is to Durham. But also, where we live is relatively newly developed. There is a fantastic shopping center 5 miles away. But so far, all of the yoga places I'm finding are closer to downtown...which feels foreign to me. It also seems far. And, I may be a little intimidated.

I feel like home is sort of like Winnie the Pooh's middle stair in a staircase:
It isn't really Anywhere! It's somewhere else Instead!   

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Autumn Afternoon in the Middle of Winter

The weekend before last was absolutely lovely. Sunny, in the low 60°s and blue skies. Saturday was a day that was meant to be outside. So...that's what we did. We went on a walkabout. 

We moved into our new place last Fall. The surrounding neighborhood is vast and lovely. There is a walking trail that goes into the woods and runs along a stream. So on Saturday, Jordan and I decided to explore the neighborhood that surrounds us and also explore the trail.

I took my camera (the good one) so I could get back in to photographing. Walking around neighborhood was a treat. I could not resist taking a picture of the porch with this weathered rocker.

There are several things I enjoy about where we live. There's a neighborhood "center" that has a park like quality. It's basically open space with some outdoor art. This on the main road of the neighborhood. I usually take a sort of back road in and out of the neighborhood because its closer to my place. But at least a couple of times a week I drive by this area. I love, love, love the "birdhouse tree". The whole thing is sculpture.

How cool is that?

As you can see, I got distracted on the way to the trail...but we did actually make it to the trail. One thing we should have done (but didn't) was to actually look at the trail map at the entrance. That way we could gauge where we were in relation to where we were going. But, it was also nice not really knowing where the next bend would be. It allowed us to stay in the "now" and not think ahead to what's next on the map. 

It was really quite a lovely day. It was nice to feel the crunch of the leaves under our feet and see the sun backlighting trees that still haven't let go of their leaves. It felt like Autumn...and not mid-January.  I'll take sunny, blue sky days anytime. Especially when there is a nice breeze too.

I'm glad I took my camera along. And since we were up and out and walking...not strenuously...but not just sitting on the couch either...I get to count this as part of owning a workout habit.

My goals for 2015? They are totally happening. 

Hope you are having a great week.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Owning my Workout Habit

Credit: DaPino-Colada
I had plans for blogging all week. I wanted to share more about how my goals are going. Well, as you can see, I was pretty much MIA for almost a week. Oh well...you know how it is...roads are paved with good intentions, and all that. 

Anyway, about my goals. I've felt good about how I've embraced them. I know I didn't share my goals until last week, but they had been in my mind since the beginning of the year. I just wanted to make sure I framed them so that I can be encouraged and not have a fear of failure attached to them.

For example: Own a Workout Habit versus Go to the gym "x" times per week. Of course, going to the gym can very much be part of owning a workout habit...it can also be limiting. I don't want the "gym" connection to defeat me. What if I don't make it to the gym? Am I finished? Am I off the hook? Nope. It's a habit I'm forming. And I have to OWN it. So if I miss the gym, I own deciding if there is something else I want to do instead. And because I've given myself the power to choose in the moment....I have a higher sense of commitment. I don't want to let myself down (so to speak).

Here are the things I've done for the Workout Habit so far this month. I have worked out 3 x per week since the first Monday of the year. We have a workout space here at the apartment clubhouse. We also have a workout space at the place I work. I started out by going to the work gym after work and doing cardio before going home. I've alternated between the treadmill, stationary bike and the elliptical. A lot of folks use the workout space on their lunch time. I have chosen after work for a couple of reasons. The number one reason is that there are fewer people (typically just two others) there when I go. --I'm new to this workout thing. So I'm not keen on being seen when I'm all sweaty and wearing work out clothes and just hoping I don't die. I sort of hope they don't hear me wheezing as I push myself on my machine. 

I went to the work gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the first two weeks of the month. This week I changed it up a little. 

I had Monday off as a holiday and signed up for "Yin Yoga" and a local studio. It was a 75 minute class and I loved every minute of it. I'd never heard of "Yin" yoga before. It is a wonderfully smooth practice with poses that are held for several minutes. The first pose felt foreign to me. Several minutes in, the teacher said, "Remember to relax into this pose. Don't clinch your glutes. They should be relaxed too." And I realized in that moment that my glutes were indeed clinched. To my surprise, I was able to relax them. And slowly I was able to deepen into the pose. 

I felt so relaxed and refreshed after! I kept thinking, "When I can do this again?"

It seems like kismet that I chose the word RELAX for 2015. Monday really allowed me to relax in more ways than one. I went home from the yoga class feeling calm and content. The day just seemed to embody the word "relax". 

How is your new year going?