Overcoming Sofa Inertia

photo (7)After several weeks of the flu working its way through the family, I realized that we had all become far too comfortable on the sofa. Instead of hiking, riding bikes or going to the mall we were stuck on the sofa looking for yet another movie or television series to watch on Netflix. I recall a saying that I learned in college physics class, “Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.” In the Nelson house these bodies were stuck at rest.

How was I going to get everyone moving? I decided to schedule a family hike each Saturday through my meetup group to get myself (and the rest of the family) to commit to some sort of activity on the weekend. Instead of a ‘gym buddy’ or ‘workout partner’ we will have family accountability. For some reason no one wants to get up early on the weekend. Therefore my approach is heavily reliant on peer pressure. If I am going to get up and get dressed to go hiking, I want everyone else to do the same (and suffer the same sleep deprivation).

I know my strategy may seem a bit extreme to some people, but it isn’t like I am scheduling the kids to make a 10 mile trek or even make the steep climb up Camelback Mountain. Instead I planned a few easy hikes to get the family ‘in motion’ and my hope is that once everyone is moving, they will keep on moving and possibly even help me find more activities for the family to try. Are you stuck on your sofa? And if you are, what are you doing to get off of it?

Sick of being sick

It is day 3 of the flu and I realize I am tired of being sick. I just want my head to stop spinning and my nose to stop running. Thank goodness for Costco-sized boxes of Kleenex and an old bottle of Ibuprofen. I lost count of how many shows and movies I have watched on television. I am definitely getting my money’s worth from Netflix this month.

My 7-year old daughter lies on the sofa across from me covered in her kitty blanket. Every 5 minutes she is asking for something to eat or drink. I think she forgot that I am sick and I don’t want to get up off the sofa any more than she does. We are fighting over the remote because she wants to watch a cartoon about a dog name Kipper and I want to watch Sleepless in Seattle and Runaway Bride. All the shows are lame, but you have to watch something when the thought of sitting upright or taking a shower seems like a chore.

I have been trying to rest this week but it is so much harder when you have other people to wait on. My boyfriend is far away in Tulsa, Oklahoma, otherwise he could help me. Maybe. If he was here he might also be sick, making one more sick person clamoring for a drink with ice, a cracker, or a sandwich. Hopefully flu only strikes once a year, because I am not sure I could take another week of this. My mind wants me to get up of the sofa and do something, yet my body has another agenda. I expect a few more days and I will be resembling my old self again. Flu season is about surviving whatever way you can and it may not always be pretty. There are dirty cups and mugs everywhere, the laundry is not done, and your hair is sticking out in all directions. How are you surviving the flu this year?

Eat This!

At the beginning of the year I had an AlCAT food sensitivity test that checked my food sensitivities to 200 foods. I am sensitive to 39. What does this mean? Well, some foods I can’t eat at all while others I may be able to eat after avoiding them for a period of time. Sometimes if you avoid a food for a while (6 months), you can eat it again occasionally. There is some hope for my taste buds.

The worst part was finding out I can’t eat chicken, rice, vanilla, and maple sugar. These had become staples in my diet, so it actually wasn’t a surprise that I developed food sensitivities to them. It doesn’t make going out to eat easy, that is for sure. When you can’t eat wheat, chicken and rice, what can you eat? Salad? Did I mention iceberg lettuce and romaine were also on my ‘do not eat’ list? The other complication, is that it is recommended to eat all foods only once every 4 days. If you eat barley on Monday, you can’t have it again until Friday. To manage this I have a chart on my refrigerator that has the foods I can eat each day listed by food category. I also carry a list in my purse for dinners out or when I go to the grocery store. How do you remember not to eat 39 foods? It isn’t easy.

It has been almost 2 weeks since I started this journey (or some would call insanity). I have been reading a lot of food labels, searching for simple recipes, and eating a lot of obscure foods (like brussels sprouts). As I try to navigate my food selections day by day I have found I like a lot of these foods but somehow forgot about them. Some I never tried cooking from scratch (black-eyed peas) others I cooked and ate for the first time (lamb). Although I have spent endless hours asking myself the question,”What am I going to eat?”, I have discovered that I like to eat almost everything on my “ok to eat” list. One night I actually craved broccoli. Who does that? You are only supposed to crave Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or a Crispy Cream Doughnut, or at least that is what advertisers hope. I am starting to see food differently according to the motto, “eat to live”, not “live to eat”. I am not sure what the next weeks and months will bring as far as meals go, but I am eating healthier than I was before. By eating more vegetables, fish, nuts and fruits I feel better already. What are you eating on Monday?

Resolution or Returning to Normal

Tonight was the first time I had been to yoga class in about 2 weeks. The holidays definitely disrupted my exercise schedule. Before the break, I kept thinking about the 2 weeks I would have off from work without considering I would have a different type of work to do. There was extra cooking, cleaning, entertaining, buying presents, wrapping presents, and of course putting all the Christmas stuff away after the holiday.

During the holiday break, instead of exercising or traveling more, I found myself exhausted from all the extra tasks I had to do. This week the kids are back at school and work is ramping back up to a normal pace. Suddenly now I can finally get in that workout or even have time to write a blog! I finally feel like life is returning to normal.

Most people make resolutions each year to change their bad habits from the previous year – smoking, eating, watching too much television, or drinking too many soft drinks. As I look at the past year I feel pretty good about my accomplishments – hiking, running, yoga classes, learning Italian, and traveling to Italy by myself.

Instead of resolutions I just want to get back on track. I want to return to the old (yet positive) routines of last year. I expect I will just be hitting my stride by mid-February, while everyone else abandons their resolutions. Sure there is always room for improvement and new goals for the upcoming year, but resolutions are not actions. Why not keep the momentum of good habits from the previous year and just make some adjustments? What good habits are you continuing from 2012?

Easter Hike: A New Perspective

View from on top of the worldI sit atop a high point on the National Trail above Telegraph Pass. Here I feel I am on top of the world. Strange how a little exercise and elevation gain can change your view. From up here it seems that I can only see opportunity and the possibilities of life.

Here in the middle of what looks like nowhere, orange flowers can bloom on an ocotillo cactus. Can I too flourish in the desert? Can I flourish where sometimes it seems there is endless nothing?

What you think is endless nothing, may actually be hiding the beauty of the desert. The birds, the cacti, the unusual fragments of rock shattered over time are here. In a place like this, time takes its toll, but ever so slowly. The gentle breeze at my back keeps small bugs from bothering me. A fly or a gnat is kept down by the wind. Yet, to me, the wind is my friend. Time is also my friend. Time to grow, to heal, to love and to look at life the way I look at the desert at this very moment. A chance. An opportunity.

To Plan or Not to Plan?

Sometimes the best laid plans are better off thrown out the window. On Saturday I learned (or remembered) that the best things in life are unplanned. I recalled a trip from several years ago where I stumbled upon a national park in New Mexico called El Morro. It was a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere that provided amazing views and a memory for a lifetime. So what fun did I discover in my spur of the moment Saturday? Spontaneity? A feeling of freedom? Or just plain fun?

The day started with a last-minute decision to go to the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix. It was a place I learned of months prior. The gardens provided an oasis of peaceful energy nestled between high-rise apartments and athletic fields. I sat meditating quietly overlooking the waterfall while the sun bathed me. A foreign woman asked to take my photo. Maybe my true bliss and happiness were evident to her or maybe I just blended into the peaceful environment. I guess I was supposed to be in a stranger’s photo album that day. It was only 10 AM and there was a lot of daylight left, so where to next?

A drive to Canyon Lake was the final decision as the next stop after the White Tanks and Squaw Peak ideas were thrown out. The drive to Canyon Lake along the winding roads and single lane bridges was beautiful. After arriving at the marina and exploring the possibility of kayaking I discovered that a warmer day, warmer lake temperature, and a swimsuit were required for a fun kayaking experience. Now what? The conveniently located Boulder Canyon Trailhead at the marina enabled a journey to a very high place above the canyon and a 360 degree view of the area. It was amazing. A return trip down the trail and a discussion about going to Blue Wasabi made the trip back to the car quick and painless. Thoughts of sushi danced in my head as my feet scrambled over the rocks in the last section of the trail.

What seemed like only minutes later I arrived at Blue Wasabi. It was almost happy hour. How could I be so lucky? Numerous sushi rolls later it was evident that the activities from the day had tired me. All that was left to do was to head home for a relaxing evening on the patio as the sun set. With vodka and orange juice over ice, the sun set and my energy waned further resulting in canceled plans for salsa dancing. Did I really care? No! The unplanned activities ruled and were more rewarding than anything I could have planned.

When you go with the flow and yield to the day’s opportunities, you really feel like you are living. Instead of scurrying around to meet the schedule of the clock, you work with the moment. What better way to live? Imagine if every day could be so carefree. Next time you have the opportunity, you may want to ‘unplan’ your day and see what adventures you find. You may surprise and exhaust yourself. Living life to the fullest has a way of doing that.

Sunshine, Freedom and Love

What is sunshine, freedom and love? It is not a hippie saying from the 1970’s (I don’t think?) or a slogan for Arizona. It is actually part of a quote from the back of a necklace that will inspire me for the upcoming year. While everyone else is contemplating what presents to buy for Christmas during December, I am reflecting on the past year and contemplating goals for 2012. What do I want in the next year? How do I want to feel at the end of the year? Where do I want to focus my attention so I can be happy? What will my life look like in one year? Will I feel fulfilled? Will I feel happy?

Last year when I thought about my life at the end of 2010 I came to the sad and frightening conclusion that to accomplish my goals (to be happy) something was going to have to change in my marriage. At the time I didn’t know it would actually come to an end. I had an inkling, but I didn’t know it would actually happen within the year. I also had no idea that a new love would fill my heart so quickly. So many things that happened during the year were driven by my goals, yet many things happened unplanned. Sometimes the unplanned things are the sweetest. Even though I am goal driven, I recognize that you cannot plan everything. Life has unexpected twists and turns and you have to accept those and smile about them.

Like most people who are single, I have the desire for a relationship. As I step back and look at the road ahead, I realize that how I have lived in the past probably will not be the same in the future. Instead of searching for someone to make me happy, I am looking to make myself happy. I really just want a companion to share life’s trials and tribulations with. I hear a lot about the ‘last call’ of the day to share ups and downs with. I realize that ‘last call’ can be with a friend, family member or a romantic interest. It doesn’t really matter which one. All three make me happy. The big realization from last year was that I have spent most of my life trying to make other people happy – but now it is my turn to make myself happy. Sort of a departure from my previous view of life. Everyone I know seems to be looking for ‘someone to make them happy’ or ‘someone to love’ or ‘someone to marry and have children with’. As I look at life from a new perspective, I am awed at the way I incorrectly viewed life before. Is it a result of a divorce or simply reaching a certain age that makes you see things this way. I seem to be looking at how to enjoy the 2nd half of my life instead of like the first half which was spent accomplishing things (careers, love, marriage, children). Now that I see life is so short, instead of accomplishments, I want happiness. I choose life over things. I choose relationships with people over money and success.

The quote on the necklace I wear around my neck is,”To live one must have sunshine, freedom and love”. I found this necklace in the oddest of places. I was passing through Denver airport during a layover and stopped in a jewelry shop. The necklace called to me. The necklace has a picture of a sunflower (reminiscent of my favorite flower, the black-eyed Susan) and on the back was the quote. As soon as I saw the quote, I knew the necklace was destined to be mine. Rarely do I have these ‘aha’ moments, but I felt it right then. The necklace (and quote) would carry me into the new year and beyond as I identified how I was going to accomplish happiness in the next year.

Not to say that the last year was not filled with happy moments, happy times, a love I will never forget as well as emotions of sadness, regret, and fear. To have emotions is to live – regardless of the type of emotion. I guess for the next year, I don’t want just emotion, I want happiness. As if my life depended on happiness. In reality, life does depend on happiness and my road to happiness will be paved by my goals. I don’t know why this necklace found me. Sometimes strange things like that happen to me. Like when you desire a solution to a problem and the solution appears at the exact time and place you need it. Funny how that this happens to me with people also. Strategically placed in the space-time continuum forever changing the course of my life – just when I need them.

For next year I have a vision of what I want. It is just a question of when and how the universe will give that to me (or how I will go and grab it!). I don’t know if I believe in divine intervention, but there seems to be some sort of intervention happening in my life these days. Maybe it is my positive thinking. Maybe it is good karma. Maybe it is just chance and luck that I see as something bigger than me. One thing I do know is that inspiration comes in strange forms, and this one happened to be a simple quote on the back of a $29 necklace. What will inspire you this year and help you reach your goals in 2012?