Ten Weeks of Fitness

Warning – This post will be lengthy and it might come off as being kind of ‘know it all’.   So for the record – I am sorry and I don’t know it all. This post is written with my grandkids in mind, the ones who are old enough to read my blog.  I am writing it because I love them, I want the best lives possible for them,  and because they are more likely to believe what they read in a blog than what some grey haired Grandma tells them. 😊

It is ten weeks since I started my spring fitness plan.  I have been meditating every single day and dancersizing almost every day.  (I did substitute a healthy dose of snow shoveling a few times.)  I haven’t been terribly consistent about having a glass of red wine every evening but since we got our new pup  Molly, I have had one Caesar and another one is sounding good.

The bottom line is things are going really well.  My fitness level is amazing and I have no doubt that it will get way better as my program is working and I cannot imagine giving it up anytime soon – or ever.  It is a lifestyle – my lifestyle going forward.

I have realized so many things since mid-February, that I decided to share a few today. 

1.  Living a good life depends on  having  physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial fitness.  The best fitness level in all categories possible. It is bizarre how little effort we tend to invest in our overall fitness. Especially, since it takes so little time and effort to make noticeable improvements.

2. Fitness is  so important  that we  believe everyone deserves it.  And somehow because we  feel everyone deserves it, we often feel entitled to it.  Feeling entitled to anything is bad, because then we feel we shouldn’t have to work for it.   We have to work for the things that are worth having, and we have to maintain them, and we have to value them – even if we receive them freely from family, friends, or the universe.    If we do not earn them, or maintain them, or value them – we lose them.   And then we sit around being miserable because we do not have them and it is ALL so unfair because we feel entitled to them! 🤦

3. At any point (even when we are really old – like almost 67) we can turn things around.  And, if we start working on one manner of fitness – physical fitness, or mental fitness, or emotional fitness, or spiritual fitness, or financial fitness – it affects the other fitness categories that are important to us.    It is amazing how that works! 

4.  Everyone  can do something to improve their  fitness levels – excuses won’t do it, worrying won’t do it, blame games won’t do it, and  pity parties won’t do it.   It has to be something constructive – something like physically working out, meditating, praying, getting out in nature, breathing fresh air, reading self help books or websites or seeking professional counseling, making and following a healthy diet plan, making and following a financial budget, spending time with loved ones – or spending time alone. We are all unique, so we all have to find what works best for us. Others can help us, advise us, or inspire us, but no one can do it for us.

5.  Trying TOO hard is counterproductive.   If we are trying and trying and giving it our all and it isn’t working, we are doing the wrong thing or we are doing the right thing wrong.  I did this physically for my entire life – and people told me I wasn’t trying (mostly phys-ed  teachers, but… whatever).   Nobody told me that I was trying too hard, that maybe I was not like everyone when it came to how I was built, that maybe I had to approach physical fitness in a different way.  Finally, as a senior,  I decided that I had to get physically fit – at least fit enough to get some enjoyment out of our approaching spring.   I knew I felt best when I put in my earbuds and cranked up the tunes from my  youth  to do dishes or other household chores so I decided to put in my earbuds and do a bit of dancing each day.  I have asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis.  I am overweight.  Due to a genetic collagen issue and a lifetime of ‘trying too hard’ I had the muscle tone of limp asparagus.   But I finally took the right step in the right direction (for me).   I will probably never be an athlete, but I feel better AND I have muscle tone in my arms and my back and my core and my legs.  My flexibility, my circulation, and my balance are all better.  I breathe easier and I  have started to lose weight.  And I have moved up from Buddy Holly to full on Zumba.   My physical fitness has improved! Because I stopped pushing my body to do what it couldn’t, and I allowed it to do what felt right for me. This trying too hard can be detrimental to whatever type of fitness you are striving for – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or financial. Sometimes you have to ease off and rethink what you are doing and how well it is working for you.

6. One interesting (and totally unexpected) side effect of  improving  my fitness levels, is that while I am focused on improving MY fitness levels,  I am way less concerned about judging or changing or fixing other people.   🙄

7. Finally, no matter how fit or unfit we are – life happens.  The good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  Life happens.   The fitter we are, the better we handle it all. The good times are better. More opportunities come our way and we are ready and able to make the most of them. We are in the right mindset to appreciate and cherish them.   The fitter we are, the less we stress the bad times – we are in a position to deal with them quickly and easily.  And the downright ugly times ….  There will be heartbreak, disappointment, pain and grief….  When the ugly happens – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial fitness makes all the difference  – for us and for those nearest and dearest to us.  We have what it takes to get through such times and to help others through them. We get past them and move on to better times.

Getting and staying as physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially fit as possible  is the most important personal responsibility that one has in this life.   We deserve health, happiness, love, faith, peace, and financial security. But we have to work for it.   It is never to early or too late to start or expand our efforts to empower ourselves through fitness.    Do it – Your life will be brighter, your future self will thank you, and your loved ones will thank you. 💝

That’s it for today.  Take care and have a great life!

Four Weeks….

It has been four weeks since I looked in a mirror and decided that I had work to do to be ready for the arrival of spring.

“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” – African Proverb

I wasn’t a complete mess, but I was not good. I had allowed winter to wear on me. I was feeling funky – mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was tired of being cooped up indoors. I was feeling the strain of ongoing family issues – offspring issues. I was tired of being bombarded by bad news – locally and globally. I was tired of the years of Covid – especially the division of those pro caution and those pro ‘freedom’. Division over everything – health, government, economy, environment. It had all taken a toll.

With my favourite time of year on the horizon, I knew that I had work to do if I was going to get to fully appreciate the return of sunny days, fresh air, green grass and leafed out trees, planting seedlings in the warm rich soil, cleaning up the yard and preparing for the indoor/outdoor living of summer, and a return to regular walks with Kat (my little dog) sniffing along beside me.

With where I was, and all of the incentive to be in a better place by the time spring sprang, I decided to get to work. I started by dancersizing ALMOST every day. On a few days when I got a good workout moving snow, I may have let that slide a bit. I have worked on our diet – it’s not perfect, but it is better. And… I have been meditating, relaxing, and renewing mentally and emotionally.

Four weeks later… I am doing better. While I haven’t really lost any weight at this point, my energy level is UP, my oxygen level is consistently up three to four percent, my pulse is down six to eight BPM, and I am feeling pretty good. Mentally, I am getting sharper. My memory is better, I am doing better at word puzzles, and my reading comprehension is improving. Overall, I am more focussed. Emotionally, I am also feeling much better – happier, calmer, stronger.

I still have a ways to go, but I am impressed with how far I have come in four weeks. 🌞

And NONE to soon! Yay spring 🌸

Time to get my dancing shoes on. Take care and have a great day!💞

September 28th – Empath

My sister Lorraine shared another post with me on the weekend.  This one was relative to ‘Empaths’ and it got me thinking about sharing ‘a piece of my mind’ on the subject. 

The term empath was originally coined by  Scottish sci-fi writer JT McIntosh.  In his 1956 story ‘The Empath’ McIntosh writes of paranormal empathetic beings who are used by the government to oppress workers.   By the 1990’s science fiction writers regularly  used the term ’empath’ to denote a highly sensitive person.   In the 2000’s the term went mainstream with psychologists, spiritualists, and self-help and lifestyle authors.    Everyday people took to self-identifying as empaths.

There are a number of traits common to ’empaths’ as we know them today.

  • Strong empathy
  • Easily overwhelmed
  • Dislike of crowds
  • Easily overloaded
  • Love of nature
  • Need for rest
  • Solitude
  • Trouble fitting in
  • Aversion to conflict
  • Deep caring
  • Problem solving
  • Boundary issues
  • High sensitivity
  • Unique view
  • Strong intuition

When I first became familiar with the term ’empath’, it resonated with me. I could relate to virtually every trait commonly listed.

I sense the emotions of others. I assume all people do to some degree. On a one to one basis, I notice it more with negative emotions – particularly strong negative emotions such as anger, fear, or grief. I have had a couple of experiences with random people where I felt their grief so strongly that it was gut wrenching. People I barely knew and yet they knew that I felt their grief. It was the strangest, deepest, most intimate of ‘shared’ moments.

I am intensely uncomfortable in large crowds – especially crowds of ‘excited’ people. The worst for me is parades. When the band strikes up or the airplanes do their fly-over, I am overwhelmed by emotion to the point of struggling not to burst into tears. I have a friend who once told me that for her, the most overwhelming moment was hearing the first ‘batter-up’ at a baseball game. No worse than parades I guess. 😂

Needless to say, any prolonged or overwhelming contact with people is exhausting for me. I want to flee to a solitary refuge, preferably in nature, where I can rest and recoup. I am so fortunate to be at a place in my life where much of my time can be spent just being alone, in nature.

High sensitivity, aversion to conflict, boundary issues, deep caring, problem solving are all enter-twined for me. Being sensitive to the emotions (especially negative emotions) of others tends to make one overly vested in their problems. It is difficult not to want to push boundaries and meddle to relieve the emotional tensions. It doesn’t make it right or particularly helpful but it does help to know why one does what one does!

I am not sure about the unique view. Dan does tell me that I am ‘so wierd’ on a regular basis, so possibly.

I do have strong intuition. I feel serious discomfort when someone close to me, typically family, is having a major emotional experience. I don’t necessarily know who it is, or what it is – I just feel it. I have learned (somewhat learned) to send up a quick prayer and then ‘let go and let God’ protect my loved one in such situations. I usually get a call after such events and the situation is typically resolved or at least emotionally uncharged.

In some ways, considering myself an ’empath’ has been somewhat helpful in understanding myself and learning to modify my experiences and reactions to them. In that way I think it is a good thing.

Where I have trouble with the concept of empaths, is when I read certain social media post. Many of them seem to make ‘highly sensitive empaths’ out to be superior or special beings. I think we all have emotional traits as individual as our physical characteristics. I don’t think it is so much which traits we possess but how we use them that matter.

One of the things about empaths that is often noted, is that as an empath one must distance one’s self from others – especially energy vampires or those who bombard us with negative feelings and emotions. I get that to a point. Over the years, I have come in close contact with some people who gave me seriously creepy vibes. (They may have been men and it may have been their tendency to stand way to close to me, look down my shirt or up my skirt. 😳) Those people, I do believe in distancing myself from.

But the other people, those that seem to suck the energy out of us or bombard us with negative emotions – fear or anger or grief, aren’t those the people who need us? Aren’t we given this gift of empathy so that we recognize these people who need us, so we can offer our support and caring and kindness? Obviously we need to understand what is going on in a situation like this and we need to take care of ourselves and replenish our strength and energy, but if we push away anyone who needs us, how does having the power of being an empath make us better than anyone? If we were physically powerful, wouldn’t we be inclined to help someone struggling with a heavy load? If we were wealthy, would we not think it right to help those less fortunate? If we were intelligent, wouldn’t we be expected to assist anyone struggling to read or write or understand a concept?

Personally, if I do possess any magical empath powers, I am more than willing to use them to help others. If I can absorb anyone’s grief or anger or fear, if I can share peace or light or hope, I am more than happy to do so. In my mind, I wouldn’t possess such powers if they were not meant to be used.

That is it for today. Those are my thoughts on being an empath.

No idea what Kat’s magical power is, but she does have a unique ability to sniff out the peanuts that the squirrels hide in our garden planters.

Take care and have a great day! 💞

Getting Started

With retirement mere months away, it is time to start preparing for this new phase in my life. My original plan was to start by reading a few books by the experts . It turns out that most of the experts writing books on this subject are focused on the financial aspect of retirement. No doubt this is important, but it is not my biggest priority. If I start stressing and obsessing over finances, we will never have the means to feel secure. We are not wealthy but we will keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We are in a position to manage financially .

What I want to focus on right now is building a new lifestyle, finding who I am at this point in my life, who I want to be and how I want to live this new chapter of my life. I cringe at the thought of spending the next thirty years or so in front of a television set, watching pretend people living pretend lives while my own slips away. Life is precious, life is priceless and I want to live every day of mine to the fullest – especially now that the time is mine to live as I choose.

I want to focus on how to make the most of my life. I want to work on getting into the best shape I can physically and find ways of maintaining my physical wellbeing. I want to focus on keeping my mind strong and stimulated. I want to focus on ways to keep emotionally healthy. I want to focus on finding ways to serve others, to give as long as I am able.

I am anxious to begin this new phase of my life. I know I have much to learn and much to do in order to be as ready as I hope to be. I guess that is how I start.