Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hit the ground running

Until about six months ago, I leapt from my bed each morning, dashed into the shower, jumped into my clothes, ran out the door and worked 12-14 hours before stopping. I had a hard time finding committed time to go to the gym, though I was still on my liquid diet. Part of it was an enormous amount of energy that came from being clean, clean, clean and free of excess carbs. I was in a losing mode and felt fantastic.

The lack of quiet time weighed on me, though, and I reached a point of feeling really frustrated with work, hating the long days, wanting to have some time to be able to sit and be quiet and think without my brain dashing off in all directions.

I started getting up an hour earlier and sitting on the deck, back when the air was breathable and refreshing. It was a pleasure. I continued the practice on the living room sofa, looking over the front garden, once it became too hot to live. I took that hour, just for me, and the result was that I found other hours in the day, just for me.

It helped immensely not to go straight from the cocoon of my feather bed to frenzied activity in an instant. I found my thoughts slowing down in general. I developed a plan to reduce my business so I could spend more time living. Started remembering that my real goal is to work less and live more.

Much progress has been made in finding balance in this life and in filling up my reserves of peace and serenity, those reserves that vanish in the face of 60 hour weeks and constant stress. On this morning, though, I got up at 6:30 and felt stiff and sore.

I've been back at the gym this week and am loving it. Went last night though I did not want to and I love that. But this morning I got up and I was pretty stiff. Went right to the kitchen to start the coffee, then was joined by my little dog Bill.

When Billy gets out of bed, he stops and shakes himself. He then stretches his back side up all the way, while reaching forward with his front legs. He streeeeetches this way as far as he can, taking all the time he needs. Then he reverses the process and lowers his rear end, raising his head and shoulders high, stretching his back as far as possible. He sits, looks around, licks something. He finds one of us and presents himself for scratching by making eye contact, then turning around and backing up while looking over his shoulder. He invites a moment of scratching, a little massage, then he collapses and relaxes.

This is how Billy naturally starts his day. He didn't have to learn this; he knew it from puppyhood. I tried it. It felt fantastic. My stiffness was instantly cured. How have I missed this? In the rush to do more more more, I've missed taking care of my body in so many ways. I've made up for exhaustion by eating to excess, I've treated every physical symptom with food. I think of all of the years I've spent missing out on this life by working too much, thinking about work too much, being so tired from work that I live in a fog. It occurs to me that this day I am closer to living like Bill and I'm happier for it. Life feels full of possibilities this morning.

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Blogger Pam said...

I've just discovered your blog today (linked from Allan's). What a wonderful post to read first. Thank you for the reminder to live more, to appreciate the quiet times and to be more like Bill. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your blog. :)


August 16, 2006 2:53 PM  
Anonymous asphodel said...

what a lovely post. :) i keep meaning to give myself some time in the morning before the rush, but sleeping an extra half an hour always seems so much more attractive at the time.

August 16, 2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger One fabulous bitch said...

My dogs do this too and they just luxuriate in their stretching! Like everyone else, I have a few yoga tapes and the poses "upward facing dog" and "downward facing dog" had no relevance until I saw my own dogs doing it. They're so damned smart, those doggies. They instinctively know how to manage stress, stiffness, and just about everything else.

I'm catching up on your blog and I'm loving it. You write beautifully and your thoughts echo so many of my own.

August 19, 2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Da Nator said...

Thank you for the reminder. When I was little, I stretched every day when I woke up. Now I don't. I often don't even stretch after a workout!

Part of it is being afraid that after stretching I will collapse back into sleep (my cats and partner do not make this easy, by looking so darn sute and sleepy). Thanks to your post, I think I will take a few minutes to stretch in the morning tomorrow, even if I have to do it on the living room floor!

August 21, 2006 2:48 PM  
Blogger Thora said...

I love watching my doggie first thing in the morning; he's so bouncy and full of energy. I imagine he's saying "Good morning Mom, life is beee-yooo-tee-full!" (You know, the Dane Cook routine where the angel flies out of the cereal box? Yeah. That one. Heh.)

August 21, 2006 6:30 PM  

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