Wednesday, February 01, 2012
"Hello Mahalakshmi! Your birthday month is here and so am I. Let the celebrations begin. Been away from Spark for many months. Hope all is well with you. Happy to see the photo of Swamiji on your page again. A blessing on my day.
Love, Usha xx"
This lovely note arrived on my SPage this morning from a special California SFriend, BRIGHTSPARK7, and caused this wimpy Pisces to ruminate (again/more) about the advent of my 70th birthday (Feb 23).
I may gift myself with a road trip to the ashram for the Memorial Day weekend Krishna Das kirtan (devotional song) retreat. And I hope to find a way to get over to Maui to visit my dear friend Diana!
And on a more practical level I can think of no better way to welcome The BIG SEVEN OH(!) than with mindful eating and consistent movement. I started tracking (yet again) on Jan 30, and among the gifts I'm offering myself for Feb 23...and beyond, of course I intend to~~
track nutrition and exercise daily
do strength training Mon, Wed, and Fri, with sit-ups Sat or Sun.
do something aerobic for at least 20 min. five days per week
It's such a simple thing to ask of myself considering the huge pay-off, but dang it, it's hard. I refuse classify myself as a lazy, do-nothing, just-get-by kinda' person. I CAN DO THIS.
Here's an anticipatory, poignant birthday poem:
Life is tough.
It takes up a lot of your time, all your weekends,
and what do you get at the end of it?
...Death, a great reward.
I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you should live twenty years in an old-age home.
You get kicked out when you're too young,
you get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work for forty years until you're
young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You go to college, you party until you're ready for high school,
you become a little kid, you play, you have no responsibilities,
you become a little boy or girl, you go back into the womb,
you spend your last nine months floating.
And you finish off as a gleam in someone's eye.
-- Norman Glass
Here are some photos from wonderful times at celebrations for my 69th birthday, which remind me how deeply blessed I am with special local friends:
A delightful brunch on Feb 20 with Sandra
Out-and-about on Feb 21 with Jean and Gail
Birthday dinner on Feb 23 with Victor and Fritzie
The remaining are miscellaneous photos of a party Feb 26 at Gail's home:
Judy, me, and Johnye laughing so hard we're crying! Judy turned 60 last year and her mom Johnye turned 80! So I'm literally right in the middle!
Camille checking out some of the wonderful food fare brought by everyone.
Gail and Sandra
Leslie, Beth, Jean, and me
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Am I ready?
When I left for the summer in Ecuador and Colombia I weighed 131. Here are some exquisite reminders of last summer with my Latino family:
My dear friend Adelaida, as we trundled through Putumayo, a state in the jungles of Colombia
Amrita (my god daughter, Adelaida's daughter) and I enjoying oranges after harvesting many, in San Agustin, Colombia
German (Amrita's dad) and I enjoying a delicious lunch at a friend's house in San Agustin
I'm sad to say that, far from the 131 lbs. I began the summer with, the scale saw me seriously flirting with 150 lbs. today.
The sirens go off, red lights come on, anxiety levels increase...I feel out of control!
I know that tracking food intake again is the key to reversing this disaster-in-the-making. AND, I'm surprised to say that I actually logged in my food while uploading the photos. I did well on all fronts, calories, fats, and carbs. As always, my protein is a little low, but I don't subscribe to the protein level that SP does. So, for today at least, I AM ACCOUNTABLE.
I had a sumptuous salad for lunch today -- a big pile of arugula and romaine greens, with chopped celery, cucumber, red peppers, strawberries -- all organic, sliced avocado and feta cheese. Here's what it looked like:
I enjoy Annie's Naturals dressings and tried a new one today on the salad:
I am becoming more regular with exercise finally. I'm beginning to feel a consistency with strength training. I'm not doing as well with aerobic activity, although TODAY my special friend SANDRA5898 and I met and went bicycling. It was a beautiful day and her company was JUST what I needed. It was perfect in every way.
Yep! Here we are leaving Panera's where we enjoyed coffee and catching up!
So, I hope this is the beginning of moving back into balance in the midst of it all. I'll keep you updated!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I am struck dumb by my teacher, Mary Oliver --
Straight Talk From Fox
Listen says fox it is music to run
over the hills to lick
dew from the leaves to nose along
the edges of the ponds to smell the fat
ducks in their bright feathers but
far out, safe in their rafts of
sleep. It is like
music to visit the orchard, to find
the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the
rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself
is a music. Nobody has ever come close to
writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot
be told. It is flesh and bones
changing shape and with good cause, mercy
is a little child beside such an invention. It is
music to wander the black back roads
outside of town no one awake or wondering
if anything miraculous is ever going to
happen, totally dumb to the fact of every
moment's miracle. Don't think I haven't
peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons
making love, arguing, talking about God
as if he were an idea instead of the grass,
instead of the stars, the rabbit caught
in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought
home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is
responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not
give my life for a thousand of yours.
~ Mary Oliver ~
I poured over, and then posted on, my friend Sandras' blog about forgiveness earlier this morning: tinyurl.com/754rhbd Because of a rough period I've been traversing recently (as well as habits and behavior of a lifetime), reading, digesting, and responding to her heart's outpouring was not easy.
And then to segue to Fox's "straight talk" -- truly struck me dumb for a long spell, sending me into self-reflection. Since returning from the holidays month in California I've sunk into a shadow place that has been seemingly holding me captive (dumb I know, but that's how it has felt). The deeper I have sunk into the darkness, the more impotent I've felt. I don't feel the necessity of going into detail, but suffice it to say that the end result has been chaos in every part of my daily life.
I believe my lack of movement has been the major culprit in adding pounds to my body, and as I near 150 pounds, all the red lights and alarms have started going off, because that is the No-Woman's Land that I never want to enter again, a place in the downward spiral from which an increasing slide out of control has inevitably resulted. In the years since I've released the 203 pounds, and mostly "lived" close to 130 pounds, 140 has historically been the place when I'd again "get serious" about roping in my habits, but yesterday I was 148.7, a scary place that I want to quickly move away from.
Yesterday, a little gleam of light somehow found its way into my spirit and, dressing warmly for the 32 degrees morning, I jumped on my bike to cycle the five miles to campus. This is my second instance of *serious* movement (late last week I completed upper body strength training) since my Jan 7 return from San Francisco. These two victories may seem puny, but they feel very important in my battle with the dark side of my nature.
I need a many-pronged approach to begin the climb out of this dark place, and this morning's return to another session of strength training will be part of today's intention. So here's what today looks like~~
~ strength training
~ complete unpacking luggage (do I sense a lack of *grounding* here?) from Jan 7 return
~ store suitcases (is there some symbolism here?)
~ finish course assignments for tomorrow
~ complete two parts of job tasks
~ head into town for haircut and shopping
~ a large dose of joy!
...and VOILA! Here I am world, ready-or-not, beginning the climb once again into that "place just right:" tinyurl.com/7mruj47
UPDATE on this gray, rainy afternoon --
~ strength training and village chores completed
~ suitcases unpacked and stored
~ bed made with fresh flannel sheets
~ class work begun
~ job tasks being carried over to tomorrow through the weekend
~ tasty food prepared:
A kale and rainbow chard saute, heaped upon roasted potato, the greens bed topped with pinto beans, cottage cheese, and salsa, all heated, smashed avocado spooned on last.
And what about this for dessert: Fresh organic strawberries sliced into Fage 0% Greek Yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup and a handful of toasted organic walnuts thrown on top? Do I hear a resounding YUM? Now to begin tracking food again.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I had it in mind to blog again when I have the last of the photos from my sojourn on the west coast, but this...THIS transcendent Oliver needs to be shared with my SparkFriends. I hope it bathes your soul in shimmering light as it did mine.
IN THE STORM
Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing
hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,
five inches long
with beaks like wire,
snowflakes on their backs,
in a row
behind the ducks --
whose backs were also
covered with snow --
they were all but touching,
they were all but under
the roof of the duck's tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,
for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away
out over the water
which was still raging.
they came back
and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
crouch there, and live.
If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?
Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned --
if not enough else --
to live with my eyes open.
I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness --
as now and again
some rare person has suggested --
is a miracle.
As surely it is.
~ Mary Oliver
peacefullpresence.blogspot.com/ --such an amazing link!
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