Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I didn't want to do it.
I didn't want to get dressed, stretch and go walking. I didn't want to fool with it at all. I decided in my heart-of-hearts that I could "get by" without one day of hiking. Plain and simple. Whatever. Yada, yada and yada. Then I saw the box of donuts that Brian had bought for his lunchbox. Hmmm. Looking around, not seeing anyone, I took a step closer. Pinching my bottom lip between my thumb and index finger, I toyed heavily with the thought...no one would know. No one.
Then my brain started blaring.
"What's this?! You get on Spark and tell everyone to do their best, to BE their best and you're gonna SNEAK a DONUT?!"
"Shush, annoying little one. What do YOU know? I've worked hard. I deserve it."
"You are a hypocrite."
"WHO'S a hypocrite?!"
"YOU. Wahhh, you don't "feel" like walking today. Whatever! How many times have you told someone to put one foot in front of the other and the rest will take care of itself?"
Then it seemed, as if on cue, the old man came around the corner. His face lit up then suddenly frowned when he saw me hovering near his goodies. Tsk-tsk-tsking me, he scowled and removed them from my presence.
"Have you hiked today?"
"Uhhh...no. Not yet..."
"You're usually out the door."
"Yeah well what?"
"I was getting ready to go."
"Really? In your house slippers?"
Fifteen minutes later, I was "appropriately" dressed and mumbling to myself. It's chilly outside. It's too "breezy." I'm "not feeling it" today. Grabbing my iPod, I crammed the ear pieces into my ears and took off out the door. Just one trip through. That's all I was willing to put into it.
"Shut up, brain."
I put on Alter Bridge, my favorite band, and the song "One Day Remains" came screaming through. Atop the hill, ready to begin my ascent into my woods, the phrase "And I ask you, why do you question the strength inside?" enveloped my ears. Hmmm. Then another, "When the distance to your dreams starts being reached, don't lay down and die."
What? Oh no, I'm not going to lay down and give up, not when I'm THIS close...
Then Myles, in his beautiful voice, bellowed out, "You need to know how it feels to be alive!"
Then, suddenly, as if something kicked me in the rear, I took off. My heart raced, my legs burned and something sat my heart on fire. With each drop of sweat that I felt running down my back, I pushed harder, climbed harder, breathed harder. I could feel the muscles pulling in the back of my legs, growing stronger with each forceful step. Then I realized something...
I wanted more.
I climbed, descended, climbed some more, almost at a running pace, until I could breath no more. Laughing, I plopped to the ground and massaged my legs, breathing in deep breathes and exhaling with jubilation. Checking my watch my eyes grew big. One hour and fifteen minutes?! No kidding, I just started a few minutes ago...
Then Myles said to me, "I see in you more than you will EVER know..."
Closing my eyes, I removed my ear pieces and listened to the air around me as my heart rate and lungs returned to normal. My stress was spent. My irritation, gone. My slothful temptation definitely silenced. I was left with calmness and a peace that can be described with no words.
I returned to the house where there was a lone donut laying on the table and a note from Brian which said, "Did you get lost? Leaving for work. Here's your donut. If you still feel like eating it."
Throwing it in the trash, I surmised that it would be one less donut for him to eat when he got home. He didn't need it either.
"Well, now, looks like you proved yourself wrong."
"Thanks, brain, I did it!"
"And you did two and half more miles than your norm! High five!"
"How do I high-five my brain?"
"It's time to stop talking to yourself now..."
There's going to be days when you don't feel doing jack-squat. Perhaps those are the days when you can break through your own barriers. When you can prove yourself wrong? Your thinking CAN be tragic to your state of mind... or it can be magic, surprising you with your true potential.
Which is it? Only you can decide. But let me tell you something...I don't want to be a hypocrite and tell you to do something that I am not willing to do myself. I proved a major point to myself today. Unless I am physically ill or have a handicap or broken bone that prevents me from doing something good for my body, then there are NO excuses. NO EXCUSES.
Don't question your strength.
Your dreams are within your reach. They are.
God bless. You are loved...more than you'll ever know.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I was trying to clean my bathroom last night when I realized I didn't have enough space for "my stuff." When I say "my stuff," that means lotions, creams, serums, oils, shampoos, conditioners, the usual things that women accumulate here and there for a "youthful glow," "younger-looking skin" and "bouncy, youthful hair." (I'm a junkie. I should have bought stock in Avon years ago.) I've got banishing creams, dramatic firming creams, tonics, spritzes and sprays. Got crow's feet?? Heck, I got a cream for that! Discoloration under the eyes?? Well, I got something for that, too.
One evening a few weeks ago, as I was getting ready for bed, I slathered on my concoctions and the Old Man walked by. He has this somewhat-annoying habit of crowding into the bathroom with me, pretending to look for something, when he turns, with hands on hips, looking at me.
"What's that one for?"
"What? This?? Firming lotion."
"What's it firming?"
"My th...can't you tell???"
"Ya know, one of these nights you're gonna slip outta bed like a fish." Picking up the small vial of eye serum he squints to read the fine print. "Hydra...hyda...dicapryl...pfff. CARROT SEED OIL??"
"Don't squint. It's bad for the eyes."
"That's okay. I'll just eat some of this because carrots are good for your vision. Right??"
I didn't mind his quips. He has given me a "hard time" for this since we got together over 20 years ago.
We went out to dinner Saturday evening. He was sitting across from me and we began reviewing the menus. I was trying to decide what I wanted to order and happened to glance up at him. He had laid his menu down and was staring at me. I apologized for taking so long and he shook his head slowly, reaching across the table to take my hand.
"You need to stop."
"I am 52 years old. Do you realize how many of the guys at work think you are my daughter???"
"Your picture. I have it on my locker door. I think that you need to cool it now and just age gracefully WITH me. Do you realize how pretty you would be with gray hair? Why do you try so hard? You don't have to. I was smitten with a twenty-year-old beautiful girl. I'm in LOVE with a 43-year-old mother, grandmother, wife, woman. There's nothing you can do with the crow's feet, honey. Between you and me, they are, well, just sexy."
And there I sat, in the middle of Olive Garden, amidst the all-you-can-eat-breadsticks, with alligator tears in my eyes. He looked at me and winked.
"Do you know when I think you're most beautiful?"
I strangled out a, "When?" through my touched heart.
"When you first wake up in the mornings, hair all over the place, free of make-up with those great big gorgeous brown eyes, then you smile. It makes me a giant jittery mess." And then he feigned shaking...
The dinner was wonderful. Amazing.
I went home and washed my face. I dabbed a little cream on the corners of my eyes. I wanted to do more but...
We went to bed and I felt his hand caress my hair. Then it wandered to my face. He must have caressed my cheek forever...and I heard a sleepy voice say, "Ah, so soft..."
I'm probably not going to give up my hair dye anytime soon but today I bagged up alot of the potions in my cabinet. I have kept a few essentials, just regular lotion and face cream (sorry, Brian, but me and Oil of Olay cannot part at this time). But perhaps I need to just "cool it," like he said. There is nothing wrong with trying to look your best, I believe, but there IS such a thing as over-kill, too.
I believe, as well, that beauty is more than skin-deep. Some of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen are the ones that are just simply smiling. From the child that has gotten all dirty and sweaty from a day's worth of play outside. From the face of the elderly woman across the street who's face has a hundred wrinkles...but each one has a story to tell. From the face of the one who has seen adversity and blazed through it with grit and hard-core determination.
That is TRUE beauty through and through...
I want THAT.
Hey, do me a favor and look in the mirror today. Don't fret over the pimple on your forehead, the crooked nose, the little lines forming around your eyes or mouth. Look at the beautiful, unique, one-of-a-kind individual that you really are and OWN it. You are wonderfully made. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, you are just the way you were meant to be. Don't you realize that when you smile, it is a gift? To yourself? AND ESPECIALLY others?
Do your best to be healthy and happy. Exercise. Eat right. But most importantly, be confident that your true beauty comes from WITHIN. That's what people will remember the most.
Not if you used Miss Clairol No. 20, Deepest-Darkest-Brown.
God bless you today. You are loved. And most importantly, you are gorgeous. Just the way you are.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
It is my haven. My meditation. It makes me feel some sort of connection to everything that is on this big blue ball of life and energy. I feel what it is like to be away from the noise, chaos, interruptions of the every day. I get to be comfortable in my OWN skin, my OWN little world of, well, ME. I learn alot about myself in these 45 minutes. Sometimes I hike longer just for the heck of it. Sometimes I sit down on the rock beside the pond and just listen. To what? Nothing but the sound of nature. There are times I stand still, closing my eyes, letting the breeze caress my face. Then there are times I allow the moment to spark me, spur me, and I set off ablaze, deeper in my woods, deeper down the hills until I am spent. But happy. Very very happy.
There is nothing like returning to my starting point at the top of the hill and looking down on the fields around me. I feel like a conqueress. A lioness. Strong. Enabled with a grit and determination that has claimed the territory around me. But yet, I am not too strong as to be able to reach down and caress the small and fragile beauty of the caterpillar that is making its way beside me. I am bold. But not too bold as to frighten away the small bird that has landed to stand beside me only a few feet away...
This is the moment that defines me. This is the small piece of world that is mine and mine alone that gives me wings and a spirit of "can do." I am beautiful. I am a woman of many colors, many textures, many layers. Yet, this moment, this little carving of space, reveals to me who I TRULY am. I am fragile, yet determined. I am small but a crucial piece to the make-up of the world around me. When I breathe, I don't just breathe in air or push out air. When I breathe I am making a difference to myself and, hopefully, to others.
There are times I decide to go back into the enclosure of the trees while my heart is winding down. I grab the low-hanging limbs and put my face into them, smelling the color of fall that is slowly changing them. At times I smile, finding little patterns in the veins and observing how intricately they are woven together. God's paintbrush is gentle, strong and decisive. The Painter gave each stroke, each line, His careful consideration. That is what He did with me as well. AND you. Can you imagine that? Someone who loves us all so very much that He made us beautifully, lovingly and with careful detail? That no one in this huge world is just like me? Just like YOU?
I whip out of the enclosure with a newfound sense of belonging. I am unique. I have fears, setbacks, imperfections. However, I don't have to limit myself because of them. I can break out of my own self-imposed ideas and get to know myself all over again. I am older. But my heart is as young as the small fawn grazing across the fence, waiting on its mother to return. I am wiser, but still willing to be taught more lessons in humility and forgiveness.
Hiking is my euphoria. My tunnel, my path, my drug of choice. It sends me to a different level of being that is yet to be touched by anything else.
I am me.
I love me.
I am strong. I am determined. I am YOU.
God bless you all so very much today.
You are loved.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Seriously, would someone PLEASE remind me that other social networks don't compare to SparkPeople?? That although the "other" social network might OFFER fun, encouragement and a good time, it doesn't necessarily mean the fun, encouragement and a good time that is normally associated with OUR ideas of fun, encouragement and a good time? Several months ago I joined a network that promised these things and I got "bidded" on. Some guy from New Mexico outbid several competitors and gleefully sent me a bulletin stating that he now "owned" me. You should have seen me trying to find the "delete account" button. I was knocking over plants, spewing the drink from my mouth and pounding my keyboard, chanting, "No, no, no, no, no, no...."
Soooo, not learning from my past mistakes, I happily joined an "Over 40" site that promised me everlasting friendships with people my age, a "site where you can build relationships, play games and have the time of your life" with other "oldsters" like me! It looked benign. Sniff, sniff...it smelled benign. So, I cautiously joined. I called myself "SteelChipper."
My first friend was "Bert" from the Netherlands. He was 73-years-old and married to his lovely wife for 53 years. He was ecstatic that he found someone else to send pictures to of his beautiful countryside and wanted to know if I liked old-fashioned churned butter. How sweet. He had cows, goats and sheep. Did I like cows, goats and sheep?? Why, yes, Bert, I do! Do you like walking outside, enjoying the scent of the dewy grass in the birth of the mornings, relishing in the soft caresses of the gentle wind, breathing in the promise of a brand new day? Oh my, I thought. A fellow poet at heart...why, yes, Bert, I do! Do you like meeting new people, perhaps someone who is willing to send you a plane ticket, pay for your hotel room and answering the door in a blindfold??
It took me three minutes to delete my account. Dial-up sucks that way.
Then there was the time I joined some weight-lifting site. I called myself, "SteelBabe." I learned early on that these people were hardcore fanatics. I knew I could be like them! Two days into my weight-lifting regimen I dropped a ten-pound weight on my big toe and just about knocked myself out on the overhead bar on the weight machine. All in one fluid motion. With stars rotating around my head and drool mindlessly falling from my mouth, I deleted my account. SteelBabe was SteelClumsy and SteelNotReadyToBeBuffLikeBuffy.
I didn't think anything was wrong with the artsy website I joined awhile back, either. What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that? I joyfully posted my paintings and sat back waiting for friend requests, charming banter with fellow artists and fun feedback. Nada. What the heck was going on here?? Upon closer examination I realized that everyone was painting nudes. Of themselves. And some of them weren't so perty...OR perky.
Other websites have not been as colorful but I've found them not to be a good fit for me, for some reason or the other. I've had the usual Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Tumblr accounts but I couldn't find my groove or find the support that SparkPeople has offered. There's just something different here.
Like you guys.
You've put up with my whining, my lectures, my rants, my raves. You've become my family. Like, REALLY. If it wasn't for you, I would have lost my marbles I long time ago. I don't think I could have lost the weight or found the strength or incentive to keep it off. You have helped guide me through some tough situations along the way and because of YOU I am HOME. Here, I am STEELKICKIN. Here I am not afraid to be ME. It is with SparkPeople that I have found love, acceptance and friendships that will last me a lifetime.
There's "steel" no one like you. Sparkies are the best.
God bless each and everyone of you tonight. You are loved.
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