Well, my experience of my first week in ‘blog-land’ has been pretty wonderful.
I’ve connected with some lovely people, visited your amazing blogs, and been inspired by your thoughts, poems, photographs and more.
Thank you for the warm welcome each of you have extended to me in some way or another by visiting my blog, liking posts, leaving a lovely comment, or following my blog.
I’m so thankful to have connected with you all, and look forward to more blogging adventures to come.
Happy blogging, friends! 🙂
Life as it happens to be today has included getting in a couple of workout routines.
Now, let me clarify…amongst my friends and people I know, there are a lot of very sporty, healthy and fit people. Their pursuits range from swimming, skiing, snowboarding, long distance running, rock-climbing, weight training, hillwalking, playing football (‘soccer’), canoeing, assault courses, working out at the gym and cycling! They do sponsored events….for fun! The point I wish to clarify, is that I am not one of these people. I like walking. I like cycling, but in a leisurely way, and it would help if I had a bike, which I haven’t had for years. I also very much like the idea of being a cool pole vaulting, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding chic – but as much as I like the idea of it, my body doesn’t seem quite to have a natural inclination towards sports and fitness in the competitive sense. Ok, I hated gym class in school – not so much because I didn’t like the exercise – I loved the hurdles, because I could do that well, and I felt as if I was flying. But because my fitness and stamina was pretty average, and with sports in school there is quite a competitive edge, or there can be, and average doesn’t really stand for much. There are also all of the ‘cliques’ that go along with that kind of world. Well, my school days are long behind me now, but I do wonder if perhaps my inclinations towards sport and exercise as an adult have been influenced by the certain dread felt in those younger days?!
Now that I have the freedom to be my own person in the adult world, I find that fitness is a very personal thing, and a personal journey. And it really doesn’t matter where you are starting from. What matters is that you have decided to take better care of your body and physical health, which in turn has a positive impact upon your mental health. I went to the gym for a while several years ago, but I don’t go now. Growing up I’ve always been quite ‘petite’ in my frame, but as the years progress I find that I can no longer take that for granted, and I will have to work at it to keep in shape and stay as healthy as I want to be.
For me, one of the things that keeps me motivated is breaking big goals down into smaller more manageable pieces, and making lists! I’m a big ‘list-maker’, me. I find that that helps me to focus. And while I don’t go to the gym, as perhaps I have the ‘self-conscious bug’, I have set myself tasks and goals that I try to keep a track of.
I do walk a lot, however, and I have also started skipping (‘jump rope’) and keeping a track of how many I can manage over time. I love being able to exercise at home without all of the social fears and anxieties that go along with being in a gym environment and the natural self consciousness and comparison traps that result. I love the fact that there are so many health and fitness videos on YouTube and I have started to do some simple weight training and cardio amongst other things. I am not well versed in the world of fitness, but I’m making a start and keeping going.
Of course, there are days and weeks when I don’t actually manage to get anything in. And I think that’s ok. What works for me is to have a goal, write it down, break it up into smaller steps, have a way of encouraging myself and tracking my progress. So the fact that I might metaphorically slip off the treadmill from time to time isn’t such a big deal, the main thing is I got on to start with and will keep going and if I slip up here and there, I’ll simply get back on and aim to keep going, without external pressure.
I know we all work differently, and some people find the external pressure a driving force and a catalyst for change. I don’t think I’m one of those people, but I’m sure there is still so much more for me to learn about myself and maybe if I stepped further out of my comfort zone I would find that that actually helps.
I know someone who wasn’t particularly fit, but took up running and participating in marathons and now does them with alarming regularity! 🙂 Initially he trained on a treadmill in the gym but thought that he didn’t like running outside or with other people (the marathons being the exception), but later joined a running group and is loving the mutual encouragement and meeting people at his own stage and fitness level when previously his mind had been closed off to the idea. So …who knows…we learn and we change and new opportunities can take us to new places.
I believe that the process of habit formation, for me at least, is most effective by incremental gains. Small and consistent changes building up over time. Some people like to throw themselves into things, and take on big challenges, and find that they do great that way.
You might be a ‘super fit’ person, someone somewhere in the middle like me, or someone who feels very unfit and wants to make a change. I think an important thing is to be kind to yourself. To know that who you are right now is wonderful and although there are changes you want to make in your life, you are no more or less deserving than the next person of having a healthy life. Start from where you are, find out what works best for you, and encourage yourself and other people.
And don’t worry if you’ve slipped off that treadmill….you can always get back up on it again, or leave the gym and take a walk in the park. Whatever works for you…find it, start it and keep going. You can do it! 🙂
And if you’d like to share, I’d love to hear what works for you, so please feel free to comment below! 🙂
You’ve been here before. Looking out to the horizon, the wide expanse of sea and sky reaches forth to meet you, where right now you feel the sand and grit between your toes, as gentle waves lap around your feet. A gull wails in the far, far distance, and other seabirds respond with their own distinct cacophony of cackles.
You spy a razor shell covered with sand. You desire to reach down to smooth off the sand from between its intricate ridges. But the presence of seaweed draws out your hesitance, and you simply stare. You are lost in the reverie you find in the rock pools around you. A crab scuttles into view, distorting the patterns of your peaceful daydream. You lift a foot, shaking off the sand, and begin to walk away.
People come and go all around you, and yet this is your beach. You hold fast to your solitude even in this multitude. You look back to see your trail of footprints, and forwards at the untouched sand. Around you there is the vibrancy of life. Children run and play, weaving their way in and out of the patterns on the sand, splashing in the water and squealing with delight. Sandcastles are built and gleefully demolished. A red and yellow kite catches the wind, falters and then soars high into the bright blue sky as a gust triumphantly lifts it. Somewhere in the distance you can hear the clip clop of horses hooves. People walking dogs come and go, and life goes on and on in this one vibrant unfolding shared story on this beach, where everything is now.
You pull the kite string of your mind to try to both tether yourself and to fly free as you catch a fresh breeze. But this tension within you constantly flutters. Why does it seem that everything you long for is always in the distance, beyond a horizon that you can never quite arrive at?
Perhaps it is because you yourself are distant. Never fully allowing yourself to be here and now, present in the life you are living, the life that other people’s dreams are made of…..? (c).
Recently I took a short break to Amsterdam. As I do most of my travelling ‘alone’, I often make use of coach tours, mainly for practical reasons such as saving money and my own personal safety, as I find with coach tours there is less to worry about as transport, accommodation and food is on the whole taken care of. Some people don’t like the idea too much as they perhaps view it as something older people would do – admittedly I do tend to find that I am generally the youngest person on these tours, but that is not always the case. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter too much to me, as a person’s age does not matter and I like to meet new people of different backgrounds and life experiences, and I do not tend to categorise people as much as I take people as unique individuals, so it works for me. Added to that, you do have the freedom to just ‘do your own thing’.
Travelling this way also has its drawbacks in that I’ve found that I have got used to it as a ‘safe’ way of doing things. I guess I would like to branch out a bit more as a solo traveller, but really I don’t know where to start. I’m hoping that over the course of my blogging adventure, I will be able to discover new and innovative ideas from you and others I come across who are more experienced in travelling.
Anyway, back to the story! 🙂 I took a short break to Amsterdam not long ago. Two full days were spent travelling by coach and by ferry. It was a good opportunity to relax, and get to know other people a bit, and to catch up on some films on my Kindle Fire!
That left less that one full day in Amsterdam. However, I have been there once before, several years ago as a child. This time I was alone as I adventured through Amsterdam on my own as we each dispersed our own way from the coach. I had longed to visit Anne Frank’s house, but unfortunately I didn’t realise that you had to book well in advance in order to be guaranteed entry. Thankfully, I was able to walk the street where she lived, along a canal, hear the nearby church bells ring, and remember the vivid scenes from my childhood/teenage imagination after reading her published diary when I was around twelve or thirteen years old. Amidst the noisy queues of tourists I took a moment to appreciate the many freedoms that I had that day that Anne and so many other victims of the holocaust had snatched away from them.
I also enjoyed a lovely canal boat cruise and tour, similar to the ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours with audio commentary that there are. It was lovely seeing the city from a watery perspective! There are some beautiful ornate buildings, and of course lots of bridges and lots of bikes!! 🙂
I’m having trouble uploading photos just now, so I will create a subsequent post with photos from Amsterdam…watch this space! 🙂
Following last night’s tragic news http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-40148548
I’d like to pay my respects to all of those who have lost their lives, to the families and friends now in mourning, to the people around the world living in fear, and to the emergency services who reach out with bravery in dark times like this.
It is a sad world we live in when this is the kind of news we wake up to with increasing regularity. There is so much suffering and violence across the world that it is easy to become overwhelmed and to lose hope.
However, let’s encourage each other to believe that all of our small acts of kindness and love add up to stem the flow of such hatred in the world, and let us keep being lights in the darkness where we can.
I’d like to offer a prayer in this sad time.
“Gracious God and Loving Heavenly Father, I praise You for You are Good and You are LOVE. I know it breaks and grieves Your Heart to see Your creation, who You created to be vessels of love, instead *choose* darkness and hate, and leave so much pain and suffering in their wake.
Heavenly Father, I pray that You will shine Your Light into this dark world. I pray today particularly for what is happening in London. I ask that You will forgive us for all the ways we turn our backs on Your Perfect Way of Love and Truth and Peace, Kindness and self-sacrifice for Your glory and for the good of others. I pray for salvation for all of us in this lost and troubled world, and that You will bring good out of this tragic situation. I pray for protection over the city of London, over the country, and over this world. I pray that you will restrain the works of evil and that you will bring hope to those in darkness. I pray for healing and comfort for those who are suffering physically, mentally and in grieving for the loss of loved ones. I pray for those who are in critical conditions in hospital or elsewhere, that You will save their souls and restore their lives.
I pray for wisdom, discernment and strength and courage for all of those who are in positions of responsibility, whether they are our emergency services, politicians, leaders or community figures. I pray for all of us individually, that You will soften our hearts, and give us a desire to reach out to You and to hear You, that we may be the men and women You desire us to be in this generation, speaking out in Truth and Love, and bringing comfort where we can to the hurting.
I pray for wisdom for the leaders regarding the UK’s upcoming general election.
I pray for anyone reading this right now who has in some way been affected whether directly or indirectly by these events. Heavenly Father, please surround them with Your Love and protection, help them see Jesus and know Him as their Saviour – the Only One Who will never leave them nor forsake them. Keep them safe. Comfort them with Your love and Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Give them strength and courage to overcome fear and draw them to a place of safety where they can be healed and comforted and restored, and that You may use their lives for good in this world.
Heavenly Father, please intervene and intercede for us, keep us safe and shine Your light and love into this dark world. I love You and thank You for the hope that You bring, in Jesus. Amen.”