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Monday, July 30, 2012

Fear In The Sun

Each morning I awake to overcast skies and a chill in the air.  HELLO....where is our summer?  Actually I am thankful because I don't have to rush to get on my river walk for fear of getting too hot to enjoy my exercise.  For the past few weeks I  wake up naturally, prepare my salads for the day, sip a cup of vanilla creme brule' flavored coffee with two teaspoons of coffeemate and enjoy the view from my glass sliding doors.  I'm dressed in my leotard, cami, tee shirt and long sleeved sweater with hood hoping the air is not going to be too chilly.

When I get down on the river the Oregon uniform year round rain or shine looks like this.
Google photo of hiker with sunglasses and hat
Yes being wired means you are "with it"  about your exercise.  The other look is dark glasses with a straw hat and that look is more about I am "with it too" by having listened to all the ads and following my doctors advice and all my friends doctors advice that protecting myself from the sun means I am smart. Unless you are the young running athletes and they have the latest dark glasses that now is more of a fashion statement than neon colored shoes.  I don't know what is more blinding to them, the color of their running shoes or the sun behind the clouds.

My opinions are always experiential unless otherwise stated.  From a very young age I decided I did not like looking at my world through dark glasses.  I want to see the true colors in nature for one thing.  Why would I want everything to look like shades of grey or brown?   Also when young I ran across a book extolling the health benefits received by the sun with some scientific studies believing the nutrients of the rays enter the body through the iris of the eyes as well as the skin.  That confirmed my innate wisdom for me it would be just fine to enjoy my sunshine.  But why do I stick out more and more these days like I didn't get the memo?

Follow the money.  Now the fear of the sun is rampant.  Billions of dollars in advertising spurred on by the American Academy of Dermatology go into big pharma sun screen products, every high fashion designer has their logo all over the sun glasses industry and I am sure the sports industry will be setting up studies that prove every athlete no matter what sport will have to wear sun glasses indoors and out to have an edge up on their opponent and then of course the hats have to be included for the total package.

If anyone is interested in checking out studies on the benefits of the sun for personal health all one needs to do is Google about it.  But most are satisfied to go along with the crowd.  If one percent of the population are like me and enjoy the feel of the sun and find it to be healthy and one percent feel the sun as evil to their well being  what are the other 98 percent doing?  AHA.....the power of advertising.

Friday, July 27, 2012

What Are Your Notes To Self

Every so often I injure myself stretching.  I thought it was because I have a loose body type and easy to over do.  But in Runners World magazine I read most injuries happen when stretching.  After my walk on the river this morning with my rib cage hurting with every little breath I take I appreciate seeing the goslings carry themselves so gracefully with perfect posture.  I use them as a visual as I work on my own form.  I have had a sore right hip for a few weeks now and my rib cage for about a week and it feels like it is taking forever to heal as always.

When I walk I use the opportunity to commune with nature but also to work on my body alignment.  Today I added feeling my whole face as a beam of light illuminating my walk and a beam of light over head.  Over the years with my yoga teaching and taking 5 ballet classes a week I find the practice of correct posture and directing my own dynamic lines of energy is a priority for overall health and well being.
Google photo ballerina in chair
Many years ago with three children and two divorces I was a mess with no direction and basically barely able to limp along with no thought about how I carried myself whatsoever.  I remember being at one of my best friends and seeing her teenage daughter sitting at the kitchen table looking regal.  I told her how beautiful she looked and asked her what she was doing?   She told me studying classical ballet.  Note to self, I want to take ballet classes.

I enrolled at Marylhurst College with my intention to get a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Pastoral Ministries to help rehabilitate people in prison.  My adviser asked if I wanted to take a dance class?  I did not see the connection to my major but she said I could earn 3 credits and thought I would enjoy it.  I had forgotten all about my note to self.

Luckily Joan Harmony was a special teacher.  Since then I have learned very few teachers really know how to teach.  Joan did not teach class she taught me.  It was not at all fun though and I was not going to continue but received an A just for attending.  No books to read, tests to take, papers to write or oral reports so decided to take a second term.  From there I studied African Jazz dance, yoga, and more ballet and changed my major to Social Sciences with an emphasis in physical education.  It has remained my number one passion in life and when injured I need to find ways to be mobile.
Google photo Dick Andros
Dick Andros wrote an article about his life in dance.  He said because of age and arthritis he had to teach sitting in a chair.  I'm sure he had the best posture at one time.  I've heard the athletes that make it to the Olympics are all born with perfect posture just as some people are born with perfect skin, teeth, hair, etc.  What is possible for sustainable posture?   Muscle co-ordination?  How much of it do we have control over and what is pre-destined?  So many questions when it comes to health care.

Note to Ryan Seacrest.  Yes the opening of the London Olympic games is creepy and so annoying and boring I have to turn it off.  Looking forward to watching the athletes tomorrow. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Improving With Age

Photo from Google
Summer in Oregon is a runners paradise. Overcast skies and temps in the mid-sixties you could run forever.  Unless you are me.  I run one block and I'm done.  Then I walk and run another block and soon only walking.  Reading Runners World magazine I enjoy the personal stories of those who are addicted to the sport.  Their exercise routines sound brutal to the body yet they seem to thrive on it.
Peter Sagal photo from Google
Peter Sagal, a middle-aged marathoner wanted to improve his race time.  I understand that mind set because I like to push the envelope when confronted with age getting in the way.  It is uncharted territory because we have only a few senior athlete role models.  Is there a way for physical excellence to improve with age?

Not according to Professor Ray Fair at Yale University.  His studies show after the age of 35 everyone will see their best running time decrease by almost one percent per year.  But, Michael Joyner M.D. at the Mayo Clinic said, "Slowing the ravages of time is possible, but only with intense effort."

So Peter set out his new routine of a diet and training and in four months, wah-lah.  He accomplished his goal of getting faster while getting older.  At least for one marathon.  Will he want to continue is the question?   He admits he has lost his desire to train that hard again for now.  My theory is we do not get slower with age rather our desires change.  The intense effort to speed up may not satisfy as it once did.  Consider how one's sex drive transitions nicely over the years.  Instead of thinking or feeling a loss it is a natural change of focus to new and different passions that give us even more meaning and pleasure as we mature.

This transformation is just as thrilling and inspiring in my opinion.  It is how you choose to do it.  In Peter's words, "Time and age are not walls but fences, and fences can be jumped. "
Photo from Google
Does anyone have personal goals and fences they want to jump?   Are you your special project?  Or does it sound like more work than fun?  Is it possible you may improve with age in a special way?

Friday, July 20, 2012

When Plans Don't Matter

When you go to work each day I do not think you ever plan on being let go.  That is what happened at my workplace last week to twelve of my co-workers.  It was an unexpected loss and I will miss them.  

There are no projects at work for awhile so early this morning I took a long walk along the river and it was incredibly serene.  The trees rich and over flowing with green foliage, the goslings look like they are plentiful and loving life, and the river, no matter what, old man river, just keeps rolling along.  When I came home I did some yoga stretches, ate some fresh strawberries,  then wrote out a post for this blog titled "Let's Move On".

I turned on the news at 5pm and my computer to write my blog.  As soon as I heard the Colorado story I knew my post was not appropriate as planned.  I keep thinking that after each massacre or high profile killing people will rise up together and just say NO to guns.  Now I know the NRA is powerful and money equals guns and money equals prisons and money equals everything that rules our country but I wonder if we would ever be brave enough to live without guns.  Not in my lifetime I am sure.

Many lives were changed today that I am sure were not planning on it.  Yes guns kill people and people kill people and it will never be a perfect world.  The police chief said we cannot plan for these tragic events.   Is it possible to plan on learning something from these tragedies?   Then if it matters  let's at least make it harder to kill people than going to a gun store and placing an order online.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer 2012 Photo Shoots

"As Time Goes By" is just one of the songs playing at my birthday party.  We decided to have a "Woody" celebration with songs from the soundtrack that made Woody Allen movies great.

My outfit of choice was so plain I added a few strands of silver icicles bobby pinned in my hair for some party flair.   What am I twelve?  Sometimes.   An athlete in training I want to keep dancing through life.

Lauren my "Next Top Model" granddaughter had her photo shoot on South Padre Island.

This athlete in training wants to be a surfer girl, play volleyball, and live in a penthouse at the beach.  It is our hearts desires, dreams, challenges, and the fun we experience in the present moment that inspires us as time goes by.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On The Road Of Life

 Yes, this athlete in training had a Birthday celebration given by my great friend Rita.  Her card read,
          "On the road of life it's not where you're going but the friends you make that really matter."

Me and my "great" friend Ms. Rita
I awoke this morning to my daughter and granddaughter and friends singing Happy Birthday to me over the phone.  Then she said, Ryan wants to talk to you. He is my five year old grandson that always refuses to talk to me over the phone.  I heard, "Hi Barbie, Happy Birthday."  I talked to him for a few minutes.  I asked my daughter how she got him to talk to me and she said, "He asked to talk to you."  OHHHHH the sweetest gifts are indescribable!!!!!!
Let's talk about maybe, could be, The Greatest Athlete In The World....Ashton Eaton.  On his road of life he is headed to the Olympics.  Just like me he was born in Portland, Oregon.  Just like me....okay I guess we can stop there Runners World he is quoted as saying something that I think I agree with but not sure how to describe IT either.

Ashton Eaton, possibly to be "THE GREATEST ATHLETE IN THE WORLD" photograph by Gregg Segal

Ashton says,  "I firmly believe the body is smarter than the mind.  As much as you try I don't think you can trick your body."  That interests me because most of the athletes out there speak about preparing yourself mentally because 99 percent of your performance comes from the mind.  Yet always the books say, "Listen to your body".  But what does that mean?  I think the body is smarter than the mind but the mind is more powerful.  In order to pay attention to my body I need to quiet my mind on the road of life.  What do you think?  Any thoughts about the Body/Mind Spirit to share?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Agony And The Ecstacy

About a week ago I started feeling my right hip feeling stressed but so what?  I was taking more and harder ballet classes than ever so of course I was going to feel it.  Over the years taking class I have had many injuries.  Once I broke all the blood vessels in the bottom of my foot and when I went to class my teacher told me to go home and not come back until healed.  What feels like every few months for years on end I have had foot issues, calf strains, Achilles tendons strain, and sciatic nerves problems that shoots pain from my hip down my leg.  The worst happened about 4 years ago with a compound fracture of my right wrist which did not happen in ballet class but falling while just walking down the street.  Three surgeries and almost a year off dance I returned to start the cycle over again.
Google image of injured dancers
 Being pain free for several months now I began wanting to UP my athletic endeavors.  Entertaining the idea of quitting my job and becoming a full time exercise consultant.  Last Friday evening in class I really noticed my hip hurting and ignoring when my body talks is my conditioned way of responding.  Returning to class Saturday morning I knew I was not feeling well but stayed for the entire class and doing the final jump in the grande allegro almost fell into another dancer.  Did I come home to rest?  No I told myself I had to keep moving so I went on a walk along the river.  Sunday I rested until evening and then went for another three mile walk.
  Worrying about not being able to go back to class the next day gets all consuming.  I was reading the latest Runners World with the focus on the strong, fit and healthy Olympic hopefuls wondering what ever possessed me to think I could live in the dance studios and gyms full time when just a simple little injury puts me out of commission.

I went to class tonight and was able to have a good class and made myself leave for the jumps.  One never knows if the ballet barre and center is going to be therapeutic or a push too far in the wrong direction.  Tonight it was a joy to learn even more about my body/mind/spirit while dancing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How To Live

Yesterday I celebrated Fourth of July trying to stay out of sight and sounds of fireworks.  I am the most unpatriotic person on the planet at least that I know and so my treat is when I can find a friend who also has no interest in the holiday.  I went to her house and we had a yummy cook out on her lovely deck among the forest and it was all so beautiful.  Then we finished watching the American Masters 4 hour documentary on Woody Allen. "He is totally UNIQUE!!!", we both exclaimed at the conclusion of this excellent life story film.

Woody sums up his interview reiterating how his life is a huge mystery like all of life.  He said he wanted to be a writer and he is, he wanted to play the clarinet and he does, he wanted to act in films and direct films and he does, and in being able to do all of the things he ever wanted to do he still feels like he got cheated somehow.  His honesty is beyond measure.  I can totally relate to how he feels.  It does not matter to what extent what you want to do happens one will always feel that there is something missing!!!  Human nature is amazing.

A few of my friends and I are contemplating our next move.  Do we go for it or wait?  Some say if you do not jump off the cliff and risk everything you will always be on the fence.  Others say do not seek happiness there is no such thing just enjoy each moment you are in and stop thinking it is not good enough.

I quit my job at Lewis & Clark College that I hated to become a teacher for Creative Dance For Children that I thought I would love.  I was warned that I would not be able to support myself doing it but I thought because I would love it so much I would make it work.  So I jumped off and after two years discovered it was not paying my rent and I had to face it.  With that experience in my background my next jump seems to be just a little if not a lot harder.

I found this writing in my journal that I wrote down somewhere along the way that I would like to live by:
             Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet.
             As something is being passed around it comes to you;  Stretch out your
             hand, take a portion of it politely .  It passes on; do not detain it.
             Or, it has not come yet; do not project your desire to meet it; but wait 
             until it comes in front of you.
                              So act toward children,
                               so toward a wife.
                               so toward office,
                               so toward wealth.
                           Epictetus 50 - 100 A.D.

Is this really too Idealistic?????
Google image