Archives for category: health

I’m doing that thing that I do. The thing that from the day I discovered my ability to make a list I’ve anticipated, longed for and agonized over. After 2010’s novel-writing debacle it’s the one thing I pinky swore with myself I’d never, ever do ever again. But here I sit, craving it the way a former four-pack-a-day woman of a certain age might crave a Virginia Slims.

It’s the last week of December. I want to write my resolutions. That’s right. ResolutionS. Because I’m never satisfied with one.

A symbol of Jainism consisting of a hand and a...

A symbol of Jainism consisting of a hand and a wheel reading “ahimsa”, the Jain vow of non-violence.

(Yet as I do this I’m thinking about ahimsa. Ahimsa is non-violence. Kindness and non-violence towards all living things. Wait a minute. I’m a living thing. It means me, too. Kindness and non-violence towards Mimm. Huh.)

So there you have it. With a flash of unanticipated insight complete with the cartoon lightbulb shining brightly above my head: as an act of kindness toward myself, I am not writing ANY resolutions this year. And I am definitely not going to drop any hints – that is, if I was going to write a list of resolutions – of what they might be. Nope. Not gonna do it.

Because when I write resolutions – which I’m not doing this year, by the way – I usually begin by breaking down the categories. What changes would I like to be a witness to in my life? What will I do to improve my health and fitness? My finances? My love life?

The categories are then broken down into sub-categories. There’s physical health, mental health and spiritual growth. There are bills to pay down and savings to build up. And the love life? Weeelllll…there are on-line sites to explore, real life avenues for meeting people, dates to arrange and not cancel at the last minute. Don’t forget about my intellectual life. There are books to read and graduate school papers to submit…ahead of schedule, of course.

After the categories and sub-categories are established, we begin creating a time line.

  • How soon do I want to lose fifteen pounds? In time for the opening of Samyama Yoga Studio at the end of the month? No problem. Two pounds a week. Any ninny could do that.
  • Oh? You’d like to run a 10-K in March? Easy-peasy. Haven’t run ten feet in ten months? Pishaw. No worries.
  • Meditating for an hour each day beginning January 1st? Consider it done.
  • Car paid off and retirement secured by April? Piece of cake. While you’re at it, have that down payment on a house saved by July.
  • Subscriptions to the dating sites Flirty at Fifty, Is it Hot in Here or am I Just Happy to See You and Trading Up established in time for Valentine’s Day…ok…that’s never going to happen.

In fact, it’s safe to wager that none of this will happen. Would I prefer that my life move in this direction? Of course. And I’d like all my classes overflowing with students, a beautifully furnished Craftsman home to call my own, an agent, a publishing contract – oh, and a recording contract while were at it (dream big I always say) – a swept-off-my-feet romance and a dog. Preferably a dog named Roscoe. Oh, and I’d like to sail through graduate school. And have financial security.

But isn’t setting a dozen bars impossibly out of reach an act of violence committed by me, towards me? Though perhaps it’s an act of kindness to choose the one bar that supports all the other hopes and dreams. And then to set that one, lone bar within reach.

Because, at the end of the day, despite all the whines and complaints and wishful thoughts I write about on this public forum – the truth is I’m a very happy woman. I live a simple life in a simple apartment. I have everything I need and very few things that I don’t need. I’m healthy and whole. There are friends who love me and friends I love. It’s a good life.

And yet…and yet….I’m human. I’m a human who does not write New Year’s Resolutions. Except maybe. Maybe this year I’ve the one resolution that will be the true catalyst for change. Maybe this year I’ve discovered the one idea, one habit, one way of walking on this path that has the potential to change the way I experience the entire journey? Do I have the strength and will power to see it through?

Of course I do. It’s just one resolution. And I’m not even going to wait for the New Year.

Beginning now, this moment, I resolve to be kind. I resolve to be kind to all living things. I resolve to be kind to me.

787 words in about an hour with a bit of revision.  My intention was to take twenty minutes each morning charge up my writing batteries with two-hundred words or so.  Ever the overachiever, this personal challenge is now eating up an hour.  Yes – I’ve written eleven posts in ten days.  But I have a real deadline for a real writing assignment and this is morphing from fun challenge to agent of procrastination.  Typical. To that end, I resolve to consider an end to this challenge.

Advertisements

Dental floss 日本語: フロス使用例

I’m having my teeth cleaned today. I’ve only just woken and haven’t checked news reports but last I heard Australia was unscathed. So I figure I might as well enter the holidays with clean teeth.

While I like having clean, shiny teeth, I don’t enjoy visiting the dentist. Who does? They mean well – dentists – but the anticipation of learning how I’ll atone for my toothly sins gives me nervous stomach. One look in my mouth and my dentist knows every bit of mischief my teeth and gums have been up to since my last cleaning in April. She just knows. Every cup of coffee, every glass of red wine. Every cube of ice I’ve cracked with my molars, every pistachio shell broken with my canines. Every hair pin pried opened with my incisors.

She’ll know, of course, that my flossing is on the more random side. At the last visit she even knew that in the rare moment that I did floss I was using wimpy waxed flossing tape designed for the flossing challenged and not a brawny, blood drawing, gum tenderizing cable of rope thick enough to moor a small dinghy.

Big deal. So I don’t like to floss. I’m also not a fan of the lecture about flossing the hygienist will deliver when I’m at my most vulnerable: trapped in a chair with a bright light aimed directly toward my gaping mouth which at that moment is so filled with cold metal tools and warm wiggling fingers that I’m unable to say, “Please don’t give me the lecture about flossing. I know. I don’t floss regularly. I know. Consider it a lifestyle choice.”

I’ll leave the office forty-five minutes later with a new toothbrush – soft to protect my delicate gums and with a petite bristle head as to not crowd what my dentist said was a small mouth. I have a small frame (with a hefty amount of flesh supporting it). Small frame – small jaw. Small jaw – small mouth. Who knew?

On the way out the hygienist will slip me a cute little sample sized box of dental floss. Mint flavored. I’ll even promise to use it. Because despite my reluctance I understand the importance of flossing. Really. I do.

When I arrive home I’ll admire my pearly whites in the mirror and consider sipping red wine through a straw. I’ll tuck the new toothbrush into the overnight bag I use when I’m house sitting and set the dental floss on the table by my bed.

“Every night.” I promise myself. I promise.

405 words/20 minutes and maybe another ten minutes of quick revision

English: Bird on a Persimmon Tree. A Nuthatch ...

They arrived in a plastic bag. Five orange orbs hard as rocks.

“They’re from my tree. Aren’t they beautiful?”

They were beautiful. They are beautiful. Persimmons are beautiful.

And the most painful test of patience known to humankind.

Six weeks later and the five persimmons on my kitchen counter are settling in just fine. One or two yield slightly to my fingers. The others refuse to show any indication that they intend to ripen anytime this year. Or this century.

Still, if I can just hold on a few more weeks. If I can wait until January. Oh! What a treat I’ll have!

But I never do.

I am a woman of limited patience.

And I know that in a few days – in a weak moment on Sunday afternoon – I’ll cradle each persimmon and gently press. I’ll fool myself into believing they’ve given in to the decay that calls them and their beautiful fruit has turned into a sweet, gooey pudding. I’ll choose the one that I know – I just know – is ready, and I’ll slice its top off.

One look indicates that now is not the time. That my patience failed me again. But I’ll refuse to admit that this was a bad idea. I’ll take a spoon and scoop a bit of reluctant persimmon flesh into the spoon’s bowl. As it heads toward my mouth I plead to the Goddess of Goodness for the taste of sugar.

Anyone who has ever eaten a persimmon too early knows what happens next.

Instead of sweetness, my mouth puckers. The saliva that could help me complete the process of mastication has disappeared. Drawn up and away. It’s not sour, nor bitter. Just vile. I spit the fruit from my mouth.

Another year. Another wasted persimmon. Another tragic gastronomical moment. Because if I had waited, I would have tasted bliss. The effects of an unripe persimmon on the mouth’s mucosa are despicable. But a ripe persimmon? It’s like tasting heaven.

As I clean up the mess I promise myself and the four remaining persimmons that I will wait. I will wait. Because some things are worth waiting for.

And then it occurs to me. Persimmons are late bloomers. Just like me.

374 words, 15 minutes, very limited revision

Sloth in the Amazon

“You have no discipline.”

I laughed at the suggestion. Me? No discipline? Say what??

I was visiting the same friend with whom I’ve shared meals with over the past few months. It was an offhanded comment, tossed out to me as I bundled up for the drive home.

But it sat with me, the comment. Right there in the passenger seat. It noodled its way into my brain, burrowed through my grey matter, interrupted a few dreams and is now, here it is again:

My Morning Vexation.

Seriously. Me? Undisciplined?

Our intention was to follow Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man (or in this case – little ol’ me) healthy, wealthy and wise.”

But I always have been an early riser. I love mornings. I’m one of those people lucky enough to be able to jump out of bed ready to start the day. For the past year, on most days, I’ve been waking between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. When I was working on the manuscript gathering dust in my storage locker I made it to the desk by 5:00 AM. So what if want to hit the snooze button a time or two? I’ve paid my dues.

Nope. My friend insists the day should begin at 6:00 AM, seven days a week. I, on the other hand, believe there ought to be allowances for days when our work schedules keep us busy until the early evening. For me, that’s today.

So when I seemed non-committal about rolling out of bed in time to put the Rice n’ Shine on before sunrise I became an undisciplined sloth. He was teasing (and for the record, never called me a sloth – that’s my doing), but clearly I must believe there’s some truth in his pronouncement or else it wouldn’t be nagging me so.

After all, where’s the meditation practice I promised myself? Why is my manuscript in a storage locker instead of Amazon’s bestseller charts and climbing? What about those ten pounds I’ve allowed to settle around my bottom half over the past two years? The pounds I lovingly call “writer’s ass” but are more likely a consequence of mid-life hormones running amok because I don’t have the self-control to say “no” to the occasional salted caramel (or evening bowl of ice cream). Finally – what about the medals for all the marathons I’ve run? Where are they? Well – there would be a few if the marathons I ran weren’t all in my head.

(Excuse me while I grab an ice pack. Do I know how to beat myself up for a fantasy life unlived or what?)

The truth is this: I do the best I can. There are days I shine. There are days I could live better. There are days I fail. We dream, we set goals, we make resolutions. And sometimes we have to set the dreams aside for a while, change the goals, abandon the resolutions. It’s not because we lack discipline or focus or drive or ambition. It’s because life happens. Sometimes life lifts us and we scale great heights with ease. And sometimes it grabs us by the…well – it grabs us by the you know what.

But here is another truth: Impermanence.  Moments pass.  Circumstances change. Happiness will turn to sadness just as surely as sorrow will turn to joy.

So maybe it’s not about demonstrating exemplary discipline after all. Maybe life is about living. Sleeping when you need to sleep, dancing when the mood strikes, eating with good health in mind but never forgetting to eat a few bowls of ice cream and some salted caramels along the way.

 617 words, 25 minutes and a few minutes of revision.

Rice n' Shine with goat milk, toasted coconut flakes and banana...yummy!

Rice n’ Shine with goat milk, toasted coconut flakes and banana…yummy!

Over the past few months I discovered the joy of having sit down meals shared with a friend. Let’s face it. Meals taken in a cramped studio apartment aren’t ideal. Until I found two TV tables at a garage sale “Dinner at Mimm’s” meant one of us at my desk and the other with a plate of food balanced on their lap.

But I digress.

On our road to attempted good health (gluten free, organic, limited GMOs) my friend and I began to shop for our groceries together. Rather than split the bounty we kept everything at his house. His was the bigger kitchen – it even had counter space AND space for a table and four chairs.

And that’s why my alarm has been pulling me away from dreamland at 5:30 AM. If I want breakfast I need to make the three-mile journey down the road and up the hill to his house. Crazy? Maybe. I’ll confess: at first it was torture. But when I decided that I could sleep in sweats and a tee-shirt rather than my Nick & Nora Monkey Pajamas rolling out of bed and behind the wheel of my CRV became much easier.

Add a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a few blueberries....

Add a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a few blueberries….

Lunch and dinner meant coordinating strange schedules. But we managed. It was worth it. Preparing food, sharing meals and even sharing clean up with an open heart and mindful attitude is lovely. It temporarily changes the pace of life and offers us a chance to savor each moment and each morsel.

IMG_1667

Fresh pressed juice featuring beet root, carrot and ginger. A ruby glass of goodness!

My friend and I don’t always get along. We’re like family that way. But sitting down and slowing down to share home-cooked meals has been one of the highlights of this year. I kid you not.

And that’s why I better get my rear in gear. It’s ten minutes past six. If I don’t face this frosty morning soon I’m going to miss breakfast!

310 words, 14 minutes this morning and a bit of evening revision