Sunday, July 26, 2009

learning lessons

i've got this cool magazine cut out on permanent display on my bulletin board.
It shows a picture of a fluffy looking couch.
This is the caption:

and squishy,
like you're going to be
if you don't

For ages I ignored this thing i cut out
I knew it was right,
but i had a million excuses. . .
i work full time
i'm tired
i don't have time to exercise
i don't feel like it when i do have time
its not fun
i have asthma
i have degenerative arthritis in my upper and midspine
i have a protruding disc in my lower spine
i'm getting older
the gym's class times aren't convenient
my gym closed
i need to be motivated by someone else
no motivation
my dance class folded
i miss it and i don't like anything else

I discovered something important
excuses are ridiculous

i can motivate myself
i DO need to get up
i don't want to be big, soft, or squishy
i don't want to be limited, despite my limitations
i will not be held back by them
they are not the boss of me

things like eating properly and exercising are not things anyone can really afford to think of as optional
i have discovered that since i HAVE to do these things
i might as well pick things that are fun

i discovered something else on the way to having fun
sometimes despite being fun and rewarding
things that require consistency, effort, exertion, dedication and discipline
are not fun at first.
when we bought our bikes last year, we took them out for that first spin
i thought i was going to die after 2 blocks.
my legs burned
my lungs hurt
i begged to go back home
so i could collapse
i did.
right on the living room floor
flat on my back

things didn't seem to improve much on subsequent rides.
hills were my nemesis
my city is full of hills
its easier to name the streets that aren't giant hills
than it is to name the ones that are.
great going down
hell going up
walk the bike up
lungs bursting
legs burning
feeling like i'm going to puke
I thought my asthma was to blame for my lack of ability to go up hills
it kept triggering
i'd honk
and cough
and wheeze
Rob said to me one day after a brutal ride: "I think your bike is too heavy. Try riding mine for a while."
The angels sang. .
I felt like i was in bike heaven
it had shocks
it had a light frame
i was using the wrong kind of bike

After that lovely epiphany my husband went out and bought me a bike like his
I adore it.
and him.

Then we began to get serious.
Getting out.
Checking out the trails.
Finding routes.
There were only so many places that were flat.
We had to make our peace with hills.
We tried to choose the easier ones.
Just kept going out,
Clocking kilometers.

winter came
we got l a z y
we did nothing
we had no back up plan.
i had my many fitness DVDs. . but they weren't nearly as exciting as being
there was no destination
there was no beautiful scenery
just counting and loud music and drudgery
winter chub, that Canadian phenomenon
i was becoming just like that fluffy couch. .

when we started up again for this season
it was like starting all over
winter robbed all of our progress
we let it
no endurance
burning legs

i've learned that you cannot ever stop
you can't think that you can afford to.
or you'll be sorry
i've also learned that you must plan when circumstances change
if you can't do 'this',
do 'that'
but do something! (heading out to get a pool membership, so all that conditioning does not disappear through the fall and winter)
Now, we look for every opportunity to get out
a short ride for us is now at LEAST an hour.
yes, its hard work
yes it takes a lot out of you
but it gives a lot back to you.
its such a feeling when you've just given it all
wrung yourself out and climbed tough hills and gone LONG
and you THINK its gonna kill you
and your mind tells you things
'you can't do it'
'its too hard'
'you should stop'
and sweating
and feeling like you can't go on
to see your 'reward' up ahead. . .
a beautiful, huge hill
going DOWN.
ahh. . . its amazing.
you get to fly
into that delicious wind
you don't have to do a thing
gravity does all the work for you

when you go far
you learn that you can farther every time
2 hours
3 hours
4 hours
15 km becomes 20
then 25
then 30.
you learn new routes
you see new things
you get faster
you shave time off your rides
you go faster
you stop complaining
and start enjoying

you sleep like a rock
you 'earn' your *food* treats
and you really ENJOY them!

i've learned the paradox of energy expenditure
you think you don't have enough to spend
but when you spend what you have
you get more
and more.

thank you, magazine ad cut out
thank you for telling me to
get up.

it took me long enough
but i've realized
that you're so right.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

the f word

no, not THAT word.
the word I have in mind is considerably less popular.
i think its safe to say that it isn't popular at all
because it requires so much from us.


this word is like a burr in my saddle
a splinter under my skin
it refuses to leave me in peace
it hounds me
i stubbornly put off yielding to it.

when you need to forgive and you don't
you suffer to a ridiculous degree
such a degree that you'd think that you'd want to say 'uncle' already.
still you cling to your right to ruminate
and you and everyone around you suffers
when something trips the switch and sets you off

why hold something so destructive?
is it really too hard to surrender to forgiveness?
it isn't.. .
yes! it is.
pride won't bend
oh, why won't it bend?
i've been hurt.
i'm justified.
i have a right to be angry.
i am angry.
how can i forgive people who pretend there is nothing to forgive?
how can i forgive when they're not sorry
and I'm left with all this damage?

I'm not God, after all.

God has a metaphorical 'sea of forgetfulness'.
Which in my mind could also be called the 'ocean of forgiveness'
Its capacity?
When he forgives, its as if he tosses the offense into the depths and it never surfaces again.
He doesn't forget because if he did, he wouldn't be God.
He knows what's in there.
But he knows how to forgive.
He can leave it there and never bring it up again.
Maddening thing is, he forgives those i can't seem to forgive
and he expects me to do the same.

I have a 'puddle of i'm not going to forget-fulness'.
Everything i try to throw in there piles up.
I can still see it.
and i do not forget it.

it goes against all my inclinations.
but my inclinations are all inclined wrong.

i want it for me
but i don't want to extend it.
and there it is,
laid bare and obvious.
this will never work
a puddle will never do.
limited capacity is nowhere close to adequate in the face of that maddeningly gracious infinity.

This quote from the book 'The Shack" by William Paul Young, I can't say i love it, but it certainly got my attention and its on my mind...a lot.

". . . I'm stuck, Papa. I can't just forget what he did, can I?", Mack implored. "Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It is about letting go of another person's throat."

Monday, July 06, 2009


sometimes when you really hope something will change you may see possibility where none really exists.
Then you have a moment where you realize the truth.
no change is going to happen.
and you feel like an idiot for thinking that it even could.
and you're angry
and you're sad
and something in you just snaps.