Category Archives: New York State

Message from ZVRS

The Practice of Pause

In the most recent issue of Newsweek magazine, Robert J. Samuelson wrote a column titled The Sad Fate of the Comma.

He says:

I have always liked commas, but I seem to be in a shrinking minority. The comma is in retreat, though it is not yet extinct. In text messages and e-mails, commas appear infrequently, and then often by accident (someone hits the wrong key). Even on the printed page, commas are dwindling. Many standard uses from my childhood (after, for example, an introductory prepositional phrase) have become optional or, worse, have been ditched. If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don’t have time for that. No pauses allowed.

My husband came home from work a few hours after I read the article and mentioned that a yoga instructor had visited his office as part of their Wellness Program.

“Did you learn anything?” I asked.

He said he learned that if people took ten minutes out of their day to sit quietly and relax, scientific studies show stress levels reduce drastically. In other words, he learned it’s important to pause.

He had a worksheet from the Mind/Body Medical Institute. Click here for the full set of instructions, but in a nutshell it simply says to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe (the easy part), as you clear your mind of active thoughts (the hard part).

Summers seems like an especially good time to incorporate the practice of pause because schedules can get so busy. You might be thinking: “That’s precisely the problem. I’m so busy I don’t have time to relax for 10 minutes.” But as the yoga instructor who visited my husband’s office mentions on her website, pausing will calm you down and clear your mind for better decision-making, ultimately giving you much more time.     Š

Healthier Options

My trip to LA is winding to a close. I’d love to post a couple of healthy new recipes I tried this week, but I haven’t been cooking (unless you consider slicing apple and dipping it in natural peanut butter cooking). Instead, I’ve been eating out more than I intended. But I guess I have re-learned one lesson on this road trip: it never hurts to ask. The other day I was ordering an Ahi tuna burger from one of my favorite spots – a roadside seafood shack. I was sure they didn’t have wheat buns – I looked everywhere for the small print in the menu indicating customers had that choice and couldn’t find it. But when I asked, turns out they could serve their burgers on wheat. And the breakfast place this morning – though the menu doesn’t specify, you can request fruit on the side instead of home fries. Of course options like that aren’t always available. The Chinese place I stopped by the other night didn’t have brown rice as an option – only white. But I’m going to keep asking, cuz you just never know.

Sunday Crowds

I don’t know what I was thinking. Hmm. I guess I was thinking that I had a few free hours, so why not sketch out a menu for the week and stock up with ingredients at the grocery store? Off I went – the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend – and as soon as I walked in the door I realized my mistake.

What a zoo.

I tried to practice my yoga breaths as carts jammed the aisles and children blocked my path as they played handheld video games in front of the eggs while their parents taste-tested the artichoke dip. I tried to remember I had just come from church and I should be patient and kind and gentle and not cave into my mounting frustration. Breathe. Breathe. BREATHE!

Egad.

I do not do well in crowds.

The trick to grocery shopping (at least the one I go to in my town) is to hit the store early Monday morning. It’s empty and open and I can take my time reviewing my list and making sure I have everything I need for the week. When I had an office job with less flexible hours, I’d go to the store late at night. I’d have to step around boxes of fresh shipments, but it was better than being piled in an enclosed space with too many people. My goal is to get away from stores almost entirely – next season I’m signing up for a CSA subscription. And I’m continuing to explore year-round farmers’ markets (for some reason crowds don’t bother me as much when I’m outside) and buying local food through other direct methods. But I’m in transition, so for awhile I’ll be heading to the store at least once a week. On Monday mornings. Š

Happy

The other day, I was in a “blah” mood due to my seasonal affective disorder (self-diagnosed). To snap out of it, I came up with a list of ten activities that are fun. Not just enjoyable, but playful and lively. The kind of activities that make me happy, happy, happy.

10 Fun Activities
1. Rollerblading (I can’t help but grin like a fool whem I blade – I absolutely love it more than just about anything)
2. Dinner out with my husband
3. Waterskiing
4. Downhill Skiing
5. Watching a good romantic comedy
6. Tennis
7. Jumping on a trampoline
8. Throwing a Frisbee with my dog (she can leap in the air and catch it)
9. Riding rapids in a river
10. Snorkeling around coral reefs

Reviewing my list, it dawned on my how many were linked to physical activity – things that get my blood flowing. (Yoga isn’t on there because while I do enjoy it – love it, actually – I think of it as more of a calming practice.) I don’t know where the trampoline came from – that one just popped into my head. Well, I’m so getting a mini tramp for my bedroom. When it’s cold and windy and rainy I’ll get some physical exercise and make myself laugh while I’m at it.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Š

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