Two excellent articles: one about the disorientation you may be feeling, and another about how to start feeling better fast about the body you inhabit
It's Saturday, a day when I am usually out hiking and getting LOTS done. Instead, I was nursing a very sore body and a headache, which I finally got under control by early afternoon. I also had a hangover from reading an awful lot of doom and gloom online.
Call me crazy. I woke up to a perfectly lovely day, the mess under my trees cleaned up and the happy text from my neighbor telling me how gorgeous the flowers are in my yard. Yah. They are. Then I went online.
I have no idea what possessed me to scroll, but I did, and I felt ill. It didn't matter where I looked, it was all ugly news. Another excellent reason to edit where we spend time. It is enormously difficult to climb out of a hellhole of hard times, the worries we all have which are intimate to us, and the challenges that rising inflation are causing.
We all need better news. To that I fired up my fireplace, settled into the couch, and decided to take the day off to write, think and put off the long list of chores until such time as my body said HOWDY to the world.
One of my favorite productivity experts put out a nice piece that landed today. Brad Stulberg doesn't bang the extremity drum, which is why I like his material. He's even-tempered, sane, sober and reasoned. I published a piece the other day which spoke to why it's been so hard to reset lately, and this is a nice followup to it:
Regular readers of mine will appreciate the fact that the theme of allowing ourselves boredom (my weekly Hump Days) and also the critically-important periods of being completely effing clueless (what Dr. William Bridges refers to as The Neutral Zone) are not only part and parcel of life, they are part and parcel of recovery, critical thinking, creativity and the all-important ability to reset.
Here's what he writes about his own process:
For someone who is accustomed to being on, to having things under control and figured out, disorientation, disorder, and even just rest can be discombobulating. These are the phases that almost always look better once you are on the other side of them. It’s easy to talk about the merits of disorientation and disorder from a place of reorientation and reorder. It’s much harder when you’re in the thick of them and feeling lost.
As Bell says, the natural tendency is to fight being lost; or perhaps to shut-down altogether in the face of disorientation and disorder. Generally, this isn’t helpful. Decades of psychological science shows that suppression and repression have negative effects.
This is superb. I struggle with being out of control, and who doesn't? One way of dealing with it resulted in my spending endless weeks this time last year clearing blackberries out of land which wasn't just not my own, but a far reach from my property line. A part of me was aware of it, and another part just needed to DO something. That helped my neighbors and helped trash my hands.
This year, as I slowly but surely put my chess pieces back on the board, I have begun to truly appreciate the long wander in the woods that the last several years have been. I've resisted being forced to let go of things that worked in Denver but don't work in Oregon. I've had trouble, as do we all, with letting go of being identified as this badass traveler even as my beleaguered body demanded repairs.
Letting go has finally allowed me to start rebuilding. I don't like being lost, but those Hump Days did precisely what Stulberg notes above: allowing myself to get lost allowed me to get found. For example, this next Hump Day I am hiking with a friend whom I found while lost on the coast. That willingness to be vulnerable and available is precisely what Bridges emphasized works best in The Neutral Zone.
I am returning to travel, slowly, even as I still have several surgeries planned. What those mean going forward is unclear. However, borders are opening and I plan to cross my fair share. It might be while before I do some of what I love to do, but my immediate concerns are to heal what's not working and stay in shape while I recover.
To that, then, the body.
This next piece is sent out to Karen and others who were asking for exercise ideas outside the gym. As I've stumbled along trying to find my feet again with a new regime, a new gym, a new town, I've had trouble establishing a routine. That said, I also wanted to try some new things which would directly impact a body which, this time around training for Kilimanjaro, is ten years older and carrying the impact of many more injuries.
I found this article very useful in that regard. While I will do far more than this recommends, I liked the ease of the exercises to get started, as well as the emphasis on balance. For those of us who are aging, the simple reality that the inner ear hardens the older we get, NOW is the time to do balance work.
I also like that so many of these don't require gear. The whole idea is a limber and balanced body. We still need to do the cardio and strength work, but these struck me as a good program to mix and match during the day. I can do most if not all of them in a hostel or hotel room, which appeals immensely.
There's a lot of core work here which is superb.
I also like that the link takes you to many other similar articles which are worth investigating.
At any rate, I hope these are useful for you. It's hard to throw yourself a lifeline to start exercising, or keep exercising, when the world feels so threatening. I stopped scrolling, looked out my window at the robins bathing in my birdbath, listened to the soft rain on the roof and settled into my pillows for a read.
I am sending you what I found which made me feel immediately better. I can't stop the war. I can't stop the real estate market from going bonkers. I CAN, and will, stop my own sense of balance and safety from being hijacked by fear-mongering by folks profiteering on our gullibility.
Fear sells. Positivity isn't popular. I want positivity, solutions, and good news. That doesn't mean I don't know the news or understand the world. It does mean that I do what I can to deal with it as best I can, and am committed to sharing what works with others.
So for those of you Kind Readers who lend me your eyeballs, I hope that tapping into Saga allows you to gain ideas, strategies, suggestions and resources which help us all renew, support one another and provide an oasis from what isn't working. Those issues will always be there, just as there will always be a choice to point our attention to what you and I can do to have a fuller, better, richer life, perhaps even because of what's not working.
As always, your feedback is precious and I am listening. I've got lots more in queue but first, I am watching Aragorn win the battle for Middle Earth once more. I watch Lord of the Rings for one primary reason: to be reminded that one person really can indeed make a difference. You and I can. Whether that's showing love to someone who is lonely, or as I did yesterday, sending a gift card to someone who needs to eat.
Those small gestures transform us. When we are lost, that is what causes us to be found. It is always and forever the small daily gestures, the time out for a bit of balance work while making a salad, time out to call a friend who needs to hear our voice, time out to send a neighbor a note that her rhodies give her pleasure: these things push back the darkness.
Thank you for reading.
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