I wrote this a while ago, after Hurricane Irene… I felt inspired by the young, fresh trees that survived and the older, harder trees that were uprooted. Strength is useless without flexiblity. Sometimes we build strength and try to prepare for any situation. But life is unpredictable, so we have to be ready to bend.
Let this be a reminder that we are hardly as in tune with our bodies as we would like to think we are.
We are not synced with nature.
Mother Nature needs no man.
We try to bully her.
We want to leave her with two black eyes, begging for a painless death.
We think we are the force of the Earth. The only.
We have arrogantly claimed this Earth as our own.
Mother Nature as an unwilling servant to man.
And even though we have abused and desecrated her, she lets us remain.
The truth is, we secretly tremble in Mother’s ominous shadows.
Inevitably, She crushes us.
We try to mirror Her intensity, Her form, Her courage.
Her brutal passion and commitment leave us weak and in awe.
Helpless but hopeful.
We panic in premature despair and anticipate an ironic destructive beauty.
We long for a softer mother to cradle us.
But Mother is fierce.
We imagine Her blood in our veins.
Feeling the heartbeat of the Earth beneath our toes.
Her sweat and tears flooding us with feelings of heaven and hell.
We can only attempt to emulate Her instinctive perfection.
Perfection through flaws and conflict and err.
But She thrives and we fail and we must learn from Her.
It is not only imperative for our survival but for our success.
For our future.
We must take Her message into our bones.
Pure strength as a victor, as an undefeatable foe?
Stiff thin bones would snap and crush under our forlorn awkward weight.
Flexibility is key!
Soft, strong, pliable.
We must learn to bend and curve and sway with the everchanging winds.
Winds of hurricane strength.
We must learn to look at the contrary point of view for guidance, and for completion of truth.
We cannot rely only on what is known to us as fact.
We must flex.
We must trust Mother.
Only the sturdiest trees with shallow roots and little room for breathing will snap under terrible pressure.
Too steadfast in your ways and you will uproot and break someday too.
Flex and you’ll breathe free.
Flex and you’ll survive the storm.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started “getting physical,” it was that every small thing you do adds up. You read on websites that “15 minutes here and there make a difference.” So you add in a 15 minute walk 1 or 2 nights after work. That’s not a bad start, but it’s true that they mean these quick bursts of exercise to happen much more frequently. I aim for 3-4 a day, because that then means I’ve added one hour of physical activity in each day! That’s the kind of time that will make a difference.
Doing my best to remember this, whenever I find myself shunning my workouts, I start adding back in a few minutes here and there of simple movements until I begin craving an actual more intense workout. That’s where I finally got back to today. The winter time is especially hard for me to keep up with working out. It’s not necessarily the cold, it’s more the lack of sunshine. I lose my motivation. I’m not good at being active inside. But I’m going to make an effort. It’s my goal to get my body strong enough and my mind confident enough to bike wherever I need to go in the city by the spring. In fact, it’s supposed to be like 45 degrees tomorrow, so I am promising myself I am going to get a bike tire pump and get on my bike, for at least an hour tomorrow.
There are two things which I think really pushed me over that barrier into saying, “Okay, it’s time to seek out a workout.” First, I’ve been consuming a large fruit smoothie every day this week with a greens powder and almond milk. I haven’t had any fruit in a really long time actually. This was a great boost to my overall well being the last few days, so I’ve been feeling physically ready to do a workout. No fatigue, good digestion, free from aches and pains. The second thing that really got me itching for some endorphins was when I went out to sweep the front porch. Sounds strange right? Well our front porch and stairs and sidewalk all connect, and I kind of started getting carried away. When I went to return the broom to the backyard, I decided the whole thing needed cleaning. So, I went to work. My heart rate definitely picked up and I could feel the muscles in my arms and back working. It felt great.
So, to ride that high, I decided I’d download some Workout of the Day Apps on my phone, and I went through the Arms and Butt one, both the 10 minute versions. They were definitely a good reminder of why I need to get back to working out, haha. But really, even though I was feeling a little shaky, my muscles were almost screaming out with gratitude.
Then I did the 45 minute Crunch: Candlelight Yoga on Netflix Watch Instantly. If you’ve never checked it out, I highly recommend it. It’s very soothing and easy and it’s a great full body stretching workout. It always gets me feeling significantly more limber after just a few days in a row, and you’ll become motivated to maintain this type of stretching in your daily routine. Not to mention, you’ll sleep better and be in a better mood. Or at least, that’s what it does for me. My muscles get so angry at me if I add yoga back in regularly and then take it away. But once you remind yourself the difference it makes in everything from posture and weight loss to digestion and stress management, you won’t deny your muscles the privilege either.
Let me perfectly clear. There are plenty of days that I do not want to work out and there are plenty of weeks that go by that I do not. The same with unhealthy eating, the best way to break it is slowly. Like I talked about at the very beginning of this post, a little bit here and there makes you crave more. It really is exactly the same as the process of incorporating whole, nourishing foods. Give your body a little, and it will ask for much more. It’s a great cycle to be in. The more I continuously exercise, the more my body continues to avoid empty calories, and literally, those foods do not taste as good to me. If you’re taking the time and making the effort to work your body hard, why negate all that? Healthy foods lead to a quicker recovery rate (that means less sore for less time, but still able to work hard!), healthier digestion which aids endurance and overall performance, and it also allows your body to develop muscles and shed fat with more ease (and you’ll have more of a shot maintaining it.)
Everything I’ve said, of course, is just my personal experience. In fact, I’m thrilled that I’m finally writing it all down because when I’m feeling that the last thing I want to do is get off my butt and do 10 squats, it will help motivate me. Eventually, remembering these positive feelings, and embracing the feeling of being strong, limber, and fit, will help me maintain a consistent exercise schedule. At least, the gaps between times when I’m working out consistently and times when I’m spotty are getting shorter in length and less frequent. Victory!
How do you motivate yourself to stay working out or get back on the wagon if you’ve taken a little too much time away? How do you feel when you consistently maintain a workout schedule?