GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Adventures in Cycling

I am now almost into a month of cycling.  I’ve had my 1st dropped chain (had to walk the bike back home to fix it but now I have some techniques for a fix on the fly).  I’ve hit a few minor distance goals and a few major ones.  Well, major to me at any rate. I still have some goals to go (ride a total of 10 miles, save for a road bike, get a proper hitch and bike rack)  but I see progress and that’s encouraging.

I also had my first attack the other day.  By a bird. A Mississippi Kite to be exact.   I was riding on a lake trail, a short 6-mile ride.   There’s a small hill coming back from my turn-around point, and I’m all over achy.  I’m repeating my mantra “You don’t have to go fast, you just have to keep going” as I’m pushing all I can to get up this very tiny incline.

Then…  WHAP!!   I thought “WHAT THE HELL, SOMEONE THREW A FRISBEE AT ME.”  Then I think “but there’s not a disc golf course nearby…” WHAP!!  Hit number 2. I see the bird as it’s flying upwards on my left and perches at the top of a nearby tree.   He/She is glaring at me. I’m pedalling as fast as I can to get out of this bird’s area while bracing for attack #3.   Luckily, there were only 2 flybys (and not the Strava kind) but I’m not sure I’ll ride that area of trails until I am faster and manage inclines better.

Today is a rest day.  I’ll stay off the bike and mow the back yard instead.  Hopefully, I won’t draw the ire of any more birds.


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Facing Fear

I turned 50 recently, and with that, thinking about what I miss out on because I’m afraid.

  • Afraid of what people may think
  • Afraid it will be too difficult
  • Afraid of being uncomfortable

I’ve seen 2 rabbits in less than 24 hours.  One last night in a yard as I was riding my bike (facing a fear) and one this morning while driving to work.  The one this morning was laying in the grass easement next to a busy divided highway.

A quick search on the metaphysical meaning of Rabbit mentioned facing & flushing out fear.  Wow… that’s exactly what I’ve been contemplating lately.

I had taken some Soulodge courses with Pixie Lighthorse 6 years ago or so, and I’m certain Rabbit was one of them.  I’m sure I have the lessons saved on my external hard drive at home.

This past weekend, I put my fear aside.  I went alone to a knitting group for the 1st time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured if worse came to worst, I can sit in a corner and focus on my knitting.   I really had a great time. It was a small group and everyone was friendly.  I managed to get a good chunk done on a sock (now finished).  I’m planning on what I want to start for the meeting next month.

Then in the afternoon, I went to a writing group.  I know I’m a sporadic blogger and would like to change that.  This group was very inspirational and I had a lot of ideas brewing for upcoming topics.  Maybe I’ll adventure more and try my hand at poetry.

In the evening – still the same day – I went to a wine tasting for cyclists.  I’m not actually a cyclist, but I do plan on getting there.  The women I met were very encouraging, which instigated my 1st ride last evening, where I saw Rabbit.  Facing my fears after stories of falls and crashes.

Everything comes back full circle.


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Lessons from the Mat

We’re approaching the end of the month and the last few days of Dedicate – Yoga with Adriene.   I’ve experienced some good days and more challenging days on the mat, but on “Drop” I couldn’t finish the video.

I have retrocalcaneal bone spurs that have caused bursitis.  A large one my right heel and a smaller one developing on my left.  Then 1 ½ years ago I broke my right foot. 6 weeks in a walking boot cast cause my left knee to get a bit weird.  And I have a bit of arthritis. I’ve never felt my age as much as I do with my ankles and knee.

Drop had a lot of standing and balancing positions.  I can do them for a bit, but one-legged downward dog, with my weight on my right foot wasn’t not going to happen no matter how much I peddled through my heel.

I stopped the video, frustrated with myself for being in pain, and cried on my yoga mat.  

The theme of the day was Drop something that doesn’t serve you.  I wasn’t dropping anything but holding on to it as my identity. The girl with the bone spurs, the girl who walks with a limp until I stretch out or my body no longer registers the sensation of pain.

I skipped the next day “Power” because I decided I needed to embrace self-care and give my ankles a rest day.   I returned this morning with “Dedicate”, luckily no downward dogs or balancing poses. I feel back on track again.  I guess I wasn’t technically off track, just pulled into a depot for a few days for repairs.

I don’t expect this to be the only lesson I learn on the mat.  Just the first of many.

 

Namaste.


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My First Diet

 

I went on my first official diet when I was around 13 years old.  Until this time, I wasn’t worried about what I ate or how I looked.   But my mom had other ideas. “Boys don’t chase after the chubby girls.” she told me and I was signed up for Weight Watchers.   

If I am remembering correctly, they didn’t normally take children my age.  I believe 16 years old was the youngest they would accept but my mom was a lifetime member. An exception was made.

I don’t remember much about the meetings.  A group of ladies in a shop in the City of Moore Shopping Center back in the early 80s.  I remember the large sliding weight scale like that was in the doctor’s office. I remember the books what how much and what to eat.  Cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, canned unsweetened peaches. The typical diner “diet plate”.  I remember hating it.

I didn’t really want to lose weight but I had learned to eat to avoid facing a situation that, as a preteen, frightened and confused me.   I had experienced sexual abuse, and was told that I had misunderstood the situation. “That’s probably not what was meant…” my mom told me.  I had been mistaken. That’s not REALLY want had happened.   

Stuffing my feelings with food along with being prepubescent girl, did cause me to get a little thick in the middle.  I started riding my bike regularly and I grew about 6” over the next few years so my body redistributed the weight to my hips and bust.   By the time I graduated high school, I was a healthy weight.   

That was a long time ago and I still eat my feelings.  I’ve learned to recognize when I am eating out of boredom, frustration or celebration.   I’m looking for other ways to express myself and not keep emotions and feelings stuffed down because no one wants to hear them.  Or they tell me my experience was wrong.

I can’t control how other people respond (or react) to me, but I can determine how I will handle experiences.  With food, with words, with yoga or meditation.

I choose self-care and love.

 

Namaste.


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Dedicate – Halfway

We’re just past the halfway point in Dedicate, a month-long Yoga With Adriene yoga practice.

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with this for over 2 weeks straight.  I’m still working on the best timing for me to meet the mat.   Mornings are better than evenings.  I don’t like getting up at 5:00 am so I’m going to work on switching up my normal morning routine.  Instead of taking care of the dogs, coffee and toast while browsing online and doing my DuoLingo language lesson, I’ll try taking care of the dogs, yoga, coffee while getting ready for work.  I’ll see if there will be time for DuoLingo before getting ready for work or I can do those after work or on my lunch break on my phone.

I’ve noticed I’m less sore in my ankles and knee but more sore in my arms and shoulder.  I think about my posture as I’m standing in line at the store, and how I’m moving as I walk through a store.   My flexibility is slowing getter better, but it will be months still before I’m as flexible as I was when belly dancing.

I feel more patient, content and less rushed through out my day.   I’m less anxious about things, I think.   Guess I’ll see how that is when I’m faced with something that causes me anxiety.

I’m looking forward to finding more of her videos and sessions to work on once January is over.   She has so many on YouTube, it’s just a matter of where do I want to begin!

Namaste.


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Hungry Vs Habit

The other day my mother-in-law was in town running errands, so in the evening after I came home from work we all went out for dinner.

I was fairly hungry at dinner and ate way more than I should have. I’ve been working on mindfully eating so I was aware of my indulgence and embraced it.

The next morning when I woke up, I was not hungry but started my normal routine of making coffee and toast.    Luckily my brain was awake enough to realize what was happening.

Brain: Why are you making toast? You’re so NOT hungry!  Why don’t you wait until you’re actually hungry to eat

Me: Well, I just usually make toast when I wake up.  It’s a habit.

Brain: But you’re NOT hungry right now.

Me: You’re right.  I’ll take some peanut butter crackers to work and I’ll eat them when I am hungry.   And I’ll take my left overs from dinner for lunch.

Yes, there were leftovers even after eating an enormous amounts of food.  American portion sizes are ridiculous.

Anyway… I caught myself in an eating pattern out of habit rather than out of hunger.   It’s a small victory although I did mindfully mindless eat a whole small (4″) chocolate cream pie while watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Today I have a geocaching group meet up at one of my favorite restaurants.  I’m not hungry right now and I don’t expect to be hungry at the restaurant.    Being aware right now is a huge accomplishment.

Doing daily yoga has helped with being aware and connected in the moment but I’ll save that for another post.

Namaste.


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Use it or Lose It

Use it or lose it…

I’m not referring to the paint tubes I still want to go through and ditch the duds.   I’m talking my body.

I signed up for Dedicate, 30 day yoga journey with Adriene. Today is day 4 (Jan 1st was a Welcome Day).  The yoga sessions are gentle, and mindful.  There’s opportunity for modifications.  It’s all very self-centered, meaning I’m constantly checking my awareness of my body and how does this feel, can I move deeper or is this my limit for today.

After Day 1 I was kinda sore but not bad.  This morning, the bottoms of my heels hurt as I was laying in bed.  My butt was cramping as I was driving home from my cousin’s birthday get together last night.   My body is screaming  “What The Actual F*&K!!”

I think about how my mom was at my age, and how different we are.  I can sit on the floor and play with the corgis, no problem.  I lay on the floor with them when they’re in a chill mood sometimes.   My mom never sat on the floor. “I couldn’t get back up”   She had back problems, degenerative disk disorder, so I know there was pain.  But she never moved for the sake of moving.   On the weekends she’d “go shopping” (browsing) at thrift stores or Walmart.  That was the extent of her exercise.  No daily walking, particularly after she retired. She couldn’t do it.   Her mindset was “I can’t”.   I see myself falling into it at times, but I’m able to recognize it and think “is this me or my mom speaking through me?”

I wonder if Mom had started a practice of walking around the block, or at least up and down the street for 30 minutes regularly if she may still be around.

I’m going to start moving more and keep moving.  I may be sore, but it won’t stop me.