Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jenny's "Patterns for Living"

My friend Jenny has a blog called "Water's Edge: Reflections on an intentional life," which I read regularly.  I asked her if I could reprint one of her posts because also reflects my own aspirations.

"As someone who strives to live in the present, it may seem contradictory that my  daily practice is rich with patterns.  Am I spontaneous?  Often.  Is my behavior predictable?  Quite regularly, yes.  Do I have patterns of operating that lead to success in my chosen endeavors? Sometimes.  How about patterns that set me up for failure? Uh-huh; got those too.

Pool pattern, San Jose, Costa Rica, 2006
I'm choosing to focus on the good stuff these days and selecting practices and behaviors that promote my health and well-being.  One way that manifests for me is in listening more closely. 

Less internal chatter and talking allows for creating space for listening, both internally and externally.  What follows? A palette of choices and a most stunning view!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rethinking exercise

In my previous post, I talked about increasing my exercise to 4-4.5 hours a week.  Sounds great, right?  And perhaps if I were retired, it might be possible.

How I thought I could train twice a week, walk two days (minimum) a week, and fill out the missing hours with one or more of three yoga classes is beyond me.

Last week my trainer was away.  I did walk three mornings, but I did not make any of the yoga classes.  My walking was off the charts, but the classes fell victim to the work I was actually doing on the streamlined version of the website.  And the reading and preliminary writing I was doing on a presentation that is due a the end of this week.... other parts of my regular workday...overseeing contractors finishing up work on the house....and planning for my husband's birthday dinner last Friday evening.

So while I think it's good to post my intentions as a way of holding myself accountable, I will always fall short of big goals when I set them.  And that's okay.  I'll keep trying.

This week, in addition to work deadlines, I'm getting the house ready for a large party on Saturday evening.  I trained yesterday, and walked this morning, but missed my favorite yoga class last night. I'll shoot for restorative yoga tomorrow morning, but I recognize that I am doing the best I can at an especially busy time. 

Listening this morning to Springsteen ("This Train" and "Land of Hope and Dreams") and a variety of brass pieces by Canadian Brass ("Red White & Blue" album) convinced me I'm in the right place.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So what are you training for?

My friend Jenny's photo of me in 2008
So the other evening as we began our fall yoga class, we were asked what our intentions were for our practice.  It's a version of a question I often get when someone hears that I work with a personal trainer -- "what are you training for?"

I have a number of professional goals for the rest of this year, and I know that each of them is enhanced when I am physically fit.  After all, I started this blog in 2007, and its name is "3daywalkcountdown," because I set it up to chronicle my ups and downs as I learned to walk 60 miles for a cause larger than any one of the walkers.

Today, my intentions on physical fitness can be handled inside a goal of 4-5 hours each week of training, rather than the 17 or so hours of training each week before the 2007 and 2008 walks. 

Work with my personal trainer twice a week = 1 hour
Warm up for the trainer twice a week = 1 hour
Jasyoga, Monday evenings = 1.25 hours
Morning walks = 2 hours
Restorative yoga = 1 hour
Stretch yoga = 1 hour

I won't always make all these sessions each week because I'm sometimes I am working with a client or on the road.  But if I can hit a minimum of 4 hours  each week then I will consider myself as having significantly ramped up my fitness. 

I started wearing a pedometer a couple of months ago, so I am also able to clock how many steps I get in each day, which is another way to measure how I've spent my day. 

There's two more reasons to throw in three opportunities for yoga each week:  you learn how to breathe, and it quiets the mind.  Less chatter, fewer distractions, more focus.  Stress reduction.

So the answer to "what are your intentions in these months?" is actually the same as "what are you training for?"

I aspire to balance and flexibility in my body as well as my mind. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

We remember

Every September I have two pieces of writing to do -- one for ASA News and Notes, where I write a monthly column; and the other, since 2007, here on this personal blog.

We are a country that has, with notable exceptions at Pearl Harbor and 9/11, never had planes flying overhead, crashing into buildings or ships, and/or dropping bombs on us.  Until that Tuesday in 2001, we had not really been tested.  Like Pearl Harbor, our collective memory is long.

I remember and salute the first responders who gave everything that day, who brought out those who lived, and to those who dug through the rubble to bring out their brothers and sisters.  Many of them have since died from the effects of the rubble they searched through for their comrades.

We hold up photos, then and now.  We remember as best we can the thousands who just happened to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time that day.

I am still waiting for the Ground Zero Museum to be finished.  Until then we have a large plaza with trees and two fountains on the site.  While the policeman in the first photo is saluting the fountain that outlines the base footprint of one of the two World Trade Center buildings, the hand in this last photos holds up an outline of the lost buildings on an overlay.

We will never forget what happened that day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tweaking myself

Labor Day dinner by lamplight.
Tomorrow kids go back to Seattle Public Schools, and that always signals a change of pace for me.  Last week was so satisfactory in terms of the work done on our home and gardens that I'm determined to slightly reset my own personal clock for the fall as well.  Wearing a pedometer this summer has shown my daily levels of activity, for good and for bad.  The goal now will be to even out the burst of high activity across all seven days a week.

Right now, I work with a trainer at the University Y twice a week and try to walk another couple of mornings a week, along with my daily practice of Chi Gong.  I've been intermittent in my ability to add one yoga class per week this summer.

Starting this week, I'm adding that restorative yoga session at 6:30am Wednesdays and a stretch yoga class at 6:30am on Fridays.  Both are at the University Y.  Then starting next week I'll also add another yoga class at 6pm every Monday, from Jasyoga Athletica.  My travel this month is light, but this level of focus on fitness should be excellent preparation for the last quarter of 2012 and the speaking appearances I have lined up.  

I've thought several times about renaming this blog, but I continue to think of myself as a thinker-walker, at fewer miles per walk than in the past.  Adding more yoga makes sense for both mind and body. And notching up the fitness goals benefit both me and my work. 

The photo on this post is from our spur-of-the-moment dinner by darkness last night, at the end of a very relaxing weekend.  Though the fare was simple -- hot dogs and potato salad -- it tasted wonderful by lamplight, with the most interesting man I know.