Sometimes you need a push to get your act together. It’s been another few days of half-hearted exercise, but something is better than nothing. The gym is now closed until early March and judging by our Facebook posts, we are all feeling the absence of structured workouts. In my current messed up state, I have done nothing more than a couple of early morning plank sessions. And when I say sessions, I mean five minutes of activity. In case you don’t know it, here is the plank in all its glory:
I have discovered that instead of holding it for as long as possible – usually two minutes – I get more benefit from three bursts of one minute each with a brief rest in between. You can really feel the core tightening up, so I would recommend it as a good start to the day that only needs five minutes less sleep. Marvellous! A good start to the day, even if the rest of it is a disaster. Ideal lazy bastard exercise for the less motivated among us.
Life is still a flippin’ mess, so I am being kind to myself. Unfortunately, the end product of this is a tightening in my Levi’s. I think most women have a pair of jeans that are our marker for weight gain; if they get a bit snug it means we are in trouble. Mine are still fastenable, but with an unflattering muffin top caused by too much wine and too much bread, which is my go to food when I can’t be arsed cooking. Toasted cheese anyone? Several pancakes on Shrove Tuesday didn’t help either. Sigh. Why are pancakes so good? I didn’t go to this level of pancake loco (warning, gratuitous food porn shot), but how amazing does this look?
I blame the child, I did it for him, and scoffed a few along the way. One of the perils of motherhood is eating stuff you don’t need while you make it for them, or clearing a child’s plate when there is something tasty left. Like their leftover sausages. Who am I kidding, I cook an extra one when I am making his. Damn those sausages.
However, I am not here to ponder the joyousness of pancakes, or indeed sausages, for you already know that. Back to the push. I am finding more and more that I need to take help and support wherever I can get it. That can be from friends, or from people that I don’t know that well, but who have similar goals or fears. Or even from people that you pay to help you in one way or another, nothing wrong with that. It’s easy to get staid as you get older and rely on the same group of people you have always known. With busy lives and stress, it’s easy to close down and struggle away quietly. It’s hard to open up.
What I have found is that when you do, it reaps benefits. Without the structure of the gym, I need people to work out with, even if I don’t know then very well and suspect they are super fit types that will show me up. I am no longer worried about it. I am starting to care less about what people think about me and just do what will benefit me. Today I spent a lot of time shifting heavy stuff and building some furniture, so that counts as a workout. I got manky and sweaty and tearful: what more could you want?
To compensate, I will go for a massage tomorrow morning. In other words, pay someone to hurt me a bit to make me feel better. On Saturday morning, I am trying something new and overcoming one of my many fears – of nuns. Yes, nuns. Here is a pointless, yet amusing picture of a nun behaving in a manner that makes me think of Father Ted, but not any real nuns that I know.
For the first few years of my education, I went to a convent school. And that was enough to give me a lifelong weirdness about nuns. None of them were especially abusive or nasty; I just have a thing about them. Which is actually ridiculous, as they gave me a good grounding in spelling and collective nouns that I still remember to this day, my favourite being a murder of crows. My experience was not unpleasant. They were kind and educational.
Yet, possibly due to my growing atheism, it has scarred me in some way. As a teenager I rebelled against Catholicism and religion in general, although I did harbour a secret wish to be Jewish, no doubt fuelled by my neighbours, reading Anne Frank and numerous other books about being fugitives in hiding during World War II. But that’s another post, for another day. This led to a mistrust of spiritual matters that has lasted until now.
Despite this, on Saturday morning I am heading to a workshop on meditation led by a Buddhist nun. I happened to pick up the leaflet in the sandwich shop last week, of all places. Thus far, I have failed to achieve any sort of any zen feelings, although to be fair, I have not really tried. It’s the same thing as exercise: sometimes you can get into it easily, but other times you need to admit that you need a little help. Even though I am not a fan of religion, I am not scared by this. Or at least, my need to develop some kind of mental capacity beyond numbing my anxiety with wine, is greater than my cynicism. And when you look at pictures of Buddhist nuns, they somehow look happier and more free than the scary catholic version. This woman looks wise and happy and I hope to learn something.
So I am putting my faith in the unknown. A bit like Blanche Dubois, who put her faith in the comfort of strangers. Mind you, that didn’t end well, but I have higher hopes. I will let you know; even if zen is not on the horizon, hopefully some clarity of mind will be. I end with a song that I love, that sums up that feeling of being lost and the need to reach out to others to get found again. It’s live and wobbly and not perfect. A bit like me.
Until next time,