Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sedentary? Not !

     For many years now I have made a regular daily practice of walking for exercise every morning. I found it was the most economical and effective way to get my exercise for the day. I started with walking about  a half hour in the mornings when I was in my early twenties and then expanded it to a full 45 minutes then to an hour later on, encouraged by a weight loss of twenty pounds. I was nearly too thin for my frame.
     After that, I became very fitness-minded and have incorporated other exercise for cross-training. The idea behind cross-training is never allowing your body to get indifferent to a single activity. By continually evolving in your daily practice, every muscle of your body is at least contralaterally exercised if not literally. Covert Bailey wrote, "The more trained muscle a person has, the greater the crossover response in unused muscle...Muscles that are heavily used in ( a )  sport produce lactic acid, which can then be processed by aerobically developed muscles that are not being overused during the sport."
     What this essentially does is make your body more efficient in burning fat which is the usual reason people exercise. You see, no matter your activity, you burn fat all day long. People who are overweight to obese are simply not efficient fat burners.
     I have a favorite Conrad quote that I think about, occasionally, when I walk.
          "Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions."
     I suppose that the more thoughtful, sedentary part of myself is chiding the restless spirit which says, "Don't just sit there, do something." I know, however, that with all the hours I spend writing- not moving, mind you!- I am very justified in giving my body the proper amount of exercise to balance my life, spirit and physical being.
     Apparently Conrad took a view that people of action really didn't put much thought into it. However, Nietzsche wrote, "Only thoughts reached by walking have value." There are many writers who took long solitary walks- many were English- The Brontees, Alexander Pope and many more.
     I have personally found that walks can be inspirational but often they just seem to have a calming effect which is essential to being able to write well and clearly. Most recently studies conducted in France, Sweden and the U. S. are indicating that regular exercise- by elevating cardio-respiratory fitness in study subjects- can also correlate with improved brain function because it stimulates the manufacturing of neurotransmitters (hormones). These would, in turn, make a better environment conducive to writing and reading since a clear, receptive brain is always better than a mind bogged down with worry, cares or emotional upheaval. I guess you could say that walking is the opportunity to cross-train for excellent writing ! Writing is a rather lonely profession, but if you enjoy being alone with your thoughts then both walking and writing are a path to pleasure and enlightenment. I highly recommend both !
Pour ton plaisir, embrasses et bisous! The Castle Lady

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ne vile velis

     Well, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer and once again I'm backlogged in so many simultaneous projects I don't know quite what to get at first! When I have to quit at night to sleep, I'm faced with where to start back up again the next morning. This is all amid the daily work a summer household requires- including my personal care- and fitting in work that I'm paid to do, presently.
     In short my life has become one long rollercoaster ride of trying to accomplish the impossible by myself, get it sold and get to the bank before it closes. This aspect of my life has become a wild-goose chase which only saps my energy and then disorients me to the work that I started prior to the "emergency interruption" which is important but certainly not important to my work. If I am competing with anybody it is only myself and I can't tell which part of me is losing. Maybe the exhausted "me" at the end of the day loses. 
     If any young women out there think life is smooth sailing once you've achieved a certain level of success, I want you to know right now that life won't get any easier- it will become more difficult, complicated and time-consuming. Money has nothing to do with ease but simplifying your life is a given. That requires ending the competition with the Joneses and learning to prioritize your life to match your true (and most selfless) goals along with some selfish reasons as well!
     My title literally is Latin for "form no vile wish" but is better put as "refrain from evil desires". Since many people seem more motivated by greed and competitiveness in the 21st century than ever before this is a wonderful credo to live by more than any other. I am thinking of my great grandparents (none of whom I ever met but have heard many stories about !) as I write those words. That credo taken into practice is a positive aspect of democracy and free enterprise. It also happens to be a better way to live.
     Trying to match someone's lifestyle has never been an aspiration for me nor does trying to look good, drive a better car or outdo my so-called peers in any aspect. I'm more concerned with my inner person and how she's doing. Even when I am at my most stressed I think of ways to ease up on myself but I wasn't always this way. I had to teach myself to pace my day on any given weekday and learn to be content with my best efforts. That's a real test for a perfectionist like myself. Maybe I don't compare myself to others but it is disheartening to see someone make gains at my expense when they don't share my integrity, work ethic or sense of excellence. 
     ne vile velis is more about making sure that you are the right person not whether you're better than someone else. It is about keeping your desires in line with a God who watches to see if you will do the right thing when put to a test of nerves, will or strength.
With strong kisses, The Castle Lady !
So much is a man worth as he esteems himself.- F. Rabelais