Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 2011 Countdown to Hallowe'en

And... I'm back! Much sooner this time. This is another little something I'm getting involved in - this year's countdown to Hallowe'en sponsored by The Whimsical Cottage. I have some ramblings brewing on why I chose to participate. But, since this is just a quick post for now; I will get into more details when I post about what I'm doing for the countdown.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Get Off Your Broom: A Witchy Fitness Challenge

It seems I have been absent from my blog longer than I had intended - well, that's not exactly accurate - I had no plans for my blog, except to, um, blog occasionally. It just seems that my blogging is far more occasional than I had foreseen. Basically, I hadn't realized that it's been over a year since I last ranted my deepest, darkest, innermost pain.

Which is also not what I'm going to do today. Well that is, again, not exactly accurate. I am in pain. I have been in pain for a very long time and as I've gotten older, that pain has started to become physical.

Like many, I began eating my pain, and hiding. Hiding is not conducive to long walks in the countryside, or short jaunts to the mini-mart. Hiding, let us say, is not conducive. So when one is hiding from "the beast under your bed, in your closet, in your head", one finds oneself locked in the house with the refrigerator like a giant medicine chest. And all the food in the refrigerator just wants to be set free. What is one conscientious householder to do? I set it free.

And in so doing, I trapped myself. I have become someone I never anticipated, never foresaw. I make decisions I used to not make and I am still not sure how I got from there to here. I used to take walks, long, long, really long aimless walks, just to get out and move, see things, for entertainment. And then something happened. Even now, after so many years and so much self-examination, I still don't know what it was, but something happened. I stopped walking; I don't take walks any more and for a long time, I even forgot that it was something I used to willingly do.

How did I get from an enthusiastic walker to someone who believed she had always disliked walking? Well, damned if I know. Not for lack of trying. I've tried to rip this thing apart over and over, with no luck for twenty years. I hope that knowing the cause is not the solution - or else I'm doomed. I'm hoping I don't have to know why I changed, or what changed or why I started making the decision to sit instead of to walk. I do know that trying to make the old decision, to get up and walk is harder than I ever imagined. What changed, changed profoundly and leaves me lugging around a huge weight, one I cannot seem to see past. But, as I often do when I find myself butting my literal head against a metaphorical wall, I eventually wake up and realize that the Universe is speaking to me.

Finally getting the message that my approach was not the right one, I tried to look at the situation differently. Now this is incredibly hard, but as Einstein said, "we cannot solve problems at the same level at which we created them". So, I'm trying to see my problem from a different angle, any angle that I have not viewed it from before. So, I disconnect myself from it, it's sort of like choosing to look down on it, rather that around at it - the difference between seeing the city from Lookout Mountain or from a crosswalk downtown. Well, let's just say I knew the downtown view as if I had built it, but from Lookout Moutain, the problem was very different. Larger, maybe, but also simpler.

So, I started kicking around the idea of just changing - that quick, that simple. That amazingly difficult. It became not about trying to alter my deepest self, or anything rooted in Jungian darkness, but just deciding to do things differently, to literally make different decisions. And the hardest thing about that is learning to think in unfamiliar ways; in order to make different decisions one has to realize that a decision can be made and re-made at any moment.

It's thinking about things that have been on autopilot for decades and, let me tell you, it hurts. First - realizing where one has been on autopilot. One has to learn to see where those opportunities for new choices emerge. The truth is that decisions are always being made but we tend to fall into a habit of making the same ones. We have our small pool of choices and, given similar situations, we pick the same ones, over and over. It becomes so automatic, we no longer realize we're choosing. We're on autopilot. We can cruise there until our dying day.

So, the painful bit has become taking off the autopilot and looking at everything with the freshest eyes possible. Is there a decision (any decision) to be made at this moment? What do I usually choose? Is that choice still right and proper? Would I like to make another? What other options are available? Which one is best? Which ones haven't I tried before? Even if one decides to do what one has always done, one is now more deeply involved in the process. One is being mindful and one is in pain. This is because thinking new thoughts is difficult. Realizing that new thoughts can be thought is a revelation. Trying to figure out what those new thoughts could possibly be can make it feel as if sanity is slipping away.

Second - one is going to feel incredibly uncomfortable. Nothing will be smooth or easy and one will feel awkward and out-of-sorts. This is as it should be. One is learning to think in new ways, see with new eyes. Birth is painful.

What does any of this have to do with a fitness challenge? I'm glad you asked. See, I have chosen to make new decisions about my body and my activity level. My decisions involve whether to watch some TV or go for a walk. To sit or jump on my mini-tramp. To put in a movie or a belly dance DVD. And if I put in the belly dance DVD, will I attempt it or just watch it? Left to my own devices I make, well I won't say the wrong decisions, but I do make decisions I no longer wish to make. I need to remain conscious of the choices I have decided to make and I need some help to continually make them. So, I'm joining The Domestic Witch in getting off my broom.

I will make better decisions, healthier decisions and, in so doing, show my toddler more of the world than our living room and let her experience more of the wonderful things that a body can do. After all, we chose physical incarnation for a reason and (better late than never) I've chosen to choose to honor my physicality.

Dear Reader, in case you missed it, here's an opportunity for you to make a new choice.