Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Watching Parliament at the Gym - Really?

When I am at the gym, trotting on the treadmill or rowing to nowhere on the rowing machine, I need something at which to direct my eyes.  Even if I mastered listening to music while I work out (and I hope I don't have to hire a trainer to help me with that), there is still the view to be considered.  Sometimes I look at people but it's tricky to know when it gets closer to leering than looking and I'd rather stay away from that if I can.

Frequently, I find myself watching the tvs.  There are three of them.  With a visually interesting show, like Ellen, or even a sitcom and the correct distance from the closed-captioning, watching tv can help to pass the time and add some fun.  Some people, however, must have very different ideas about tv viewing at the gym.  They choose stations with shows that I have to describe as boring.  Boring.  That's not a word I like to use much because I find life anything but boring.  Some tv stations manage to assemble a good bundle of boring, however, and there are people who choose to watch.  Earlier this week, I saw Parliament.  Yes, Parliament on tv.  How can watching that possibly enhance the gym experience?

I suppose the solution to the problem of what I consider to be poor tv channel choices at the gym is to change the channel.  I've seen people do it.  But I am not a person who wants to impose her choices on others or I'm just not that assertive.  I have seen someone walk in, look at the tv, and change it without regard for anyone else there.  That won't be me.  I will just keep on running or walking or rowing and pondering the minds of people who find parliament or business news or never-ending news interesting.

I might end up having to watch attractive men working out, again.  If that's what's required of me, I will accept the challenge.  Oh, the demands of physical fitness. 



Monday, September 19, 2011

Bridge to Euphoria

The Terry Fox Run is an excellent fundraising event.  It continues the legacy of a Canadian hero.  It is an honour to participate in it.

My friend Kim and I chose to walk.  That's ok - nobody has to run.  We raised a little bit of money and started off yesterday morning on our trek, among a crowd of runners and walkers, young and old, human and canine.  It was a nice morning and we enjoyed walking and chatting.

At some point, I noticed that people ahead of us were crossing a pedestrian bridge.  Most people would barely notice.  It was not a high bridge or a precarious-looking bridge.  But it was a bridge and it crossed the river at a location where it is fairly wide.  To me, this presented a crisis.  If I was going to continue on the walk, I would have to cross the bridge.

It was very difficult for me to get across but I did it.  My friend Kim helped greatly by letting me hold onto her and by speaking gentle, supportive words.  I will never forget her kindness.  I hope that her hand was not seriously damaged by my grip.

After the crossing, and once we'd gotten what I considered a comfortable distance away from the bridge, I was proud.  It was embarrassing to have been upset so I wasn't overly proud but I was really pleased with my accomplishment.  It hadn't seemed possible.

(Here we'll gloss over the fact that we soon realized there was another bigger, higher, more open bridge to cross to go back over the river.  I chose not to try that one and, long story short, we took public transit back to the other side.  It wasn't a timed race, we did make it back in our own way, and you don't get memories like we have from sticking to the official route.)

By the time we went out to lunch after the walk, I felt euphoric.  There was a new richness to life, friendship, conversation and food.  Although I wouldn't have asked for the event to go the way it did, I felt great and it was a very satisfying experience.

I don't often challenge myself to try new things, and things that terrify me.  I did this by accident.  Maybe I should challenge myself more.  Maybe we should all reach out and conquer new things, face our fears.  It may seem easier to sit back and try to stay safe.  But safety doesn't lead to a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of euphoria.  They're nice feelings and I think I'd like to have them more often.  And even if I have to feel like I felt on that bridge, it's worth it to get to those feelings on the other side.

Thank you to Kim.

Thank you to Terry Fox for the journey he began.  He did so much more than cross a bridge.  He started running and the world joined in.  Thank you, Terry.


Friday, September 16, 2011

When Anger is Ablaze

I understand anger.  I know its strength.  It can lead us to say hurtful things.  And act irrationally.  It is a very powerful emotion and I suppose if we can experience intense joy and love, we can also feel intense anger.  It's part of the package.

I have been having more trouble understanding how someone sets a multi-family dwelling on fire because of a fight with one's spouse.  This happened locally this week.  I don't mean to suggest that setting the spouse's home on fire would be a good idea if it were single-family.  This is a horrible action to take but I choose to believe that it was meant as an act of property destruction and not murder (it was not in the middle of the night).  To go beyond the notion of revenge on someone you're mad at, though, to the point of destroying other people's homes and belongings and risking a lot of lives, takes some heavy duty anger and a lot of irrational thought.  Also, it was after the initial disturbance so this person had time to think.  It's awful.

Actions have consequences.  Even if this person thought he would not be arrested for the crime, he had to know that there would be damage, inconvenience and major upset for the other tenants.  Was he so blinded by his own own problems that he didn't consider these repercussions?  Was he abusing some kind of substance and his judgment clouded?  Does he feel so wronged by the world that he wants to get back at more people than just his spouse?  What made him believe this was the best course of action?

Nobody wins here.  He's arrested.  His spouse has no home.  A lot of people have lost their belongings and homes and found out that there is more reason to be afraid than they may have realized.  But he was angry and he acted on his anger.  I guess he did what he set out to do.

I wonder if we can teach children to handle anger better.  Would that be enough?  We also need to consider the effects of our actions on others if we are to live peacefully.  Can we teach that?  And who are we?  Who does and who should do the teaching?

I don't know.  I wish there were ways to ensure that people don't do things like this again.  Individually, I can try to understand my own anger and help people around me to process theirs.  And maybe being kind and courteous when interacting with strangers can help a little bit.  Rather than stoke the fires of people's anger and hurt, I can add some pleasantness.  I don't think it can hurt.  But I don't really know how we can stop people from taking such terrible actions.  I wish that people put their energy into making things better rather than so much worse.  I am happy when I think of how much better the world would be, and I am trying to hope will be, when more people do that.


Monday, September 12, 2011

My Trainer - The Poor Soul

I wonder how ugly it's getting over at my local gym as the trainers sit around and argue over who will take on the task of working with me.  Despite everything I have said in the past and my own fiercely independent approach to most things, I have signed up for 1 1/2 hours of fitness training.  I want to learn what exercises are useful and I want to learn how to do them right.

It will be a challenge for the trainer.  I can't possibly understand how the right person for me can be chosen randomly.  That person will require a certain temperament.  Physical skills will not be enough.

It is a little discouraging not to receive a call in the promised timeframe.  I will try to be a good trainee. As long as my list of warnings, limitations, and rules is understood and respected.  Oh, this does promise to be interesting.  I wonder who will draw the short straw.