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
4. Downhill Skiing
5. Watching a good romantic comedy
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.
I’ve been in Downward-Facing Dog for awhile. My legs and arms are starting to shake. I’m always a little embarrassed when this happens.
The teacher walks by my mat and slows down.
“Feel that shaking?” she asks.
“Uh, yeah,” I say.
“That’s good,” she says.
“It’s your body’s energy.”
I stay in position and think, My body’s energy? Nope, I’m pretty sure it’s just my muscles on the verge of collapse!
“You may have the urge to try to control the shaking,” she says.
Yes, I think.
“Or you may feel the urge to let go and shake uncontrollably,” she says.
I nod upside down. Giving in and letting the shaking take over sounds even better.
“Find the balance between the two. You don’t want to block it, but you don’t want to over-indulge it.”
She talks more about the body’s energy, and I’m not sure I completely understand all she’s saying. But as my body stretches, strengthens, balances, and shakes, I stay with it. I stay true to the moment, sensing the balance between control and lack of it. Suddenly the shaking doesn’t feel so embarrassing; it actually feels kind of good.
Here’s a little secret: I practiced yoga for 12 months before I finally washed my mat . . . okay, 18 months . . . um, maybe more like 24. Yep, I’m pretty sure it was over two years before I grabbed a washcloth and filled a bucket with warm soapy water. For the record, my mat wasn’t too dirty. I tend to prefer the Iyengar approach to yoga over styles that involve a heated rooms or a lot of fast movement, so I’m usually not dripping sweat during classes. But despite that, and regardless of how often I’d wash my feet before sessions, I began to notice soiled circles where my heels pressed into the mat. I should wash this, I would think to myself during Downward Facing Dog. Yep that’s definitely dirt, I’d say to myself as I gazed at grime during Plank. After class I would roll up my mat, take it home, and promptly forget my pledge. Finally one day I plunged my hand into a bucket and went to work. It’s very easy. Following these directions, I unrolled my mat on a clean tile surface, washed it with a cloth (two cups of water to four drops of dish soap), and then rinsed it by wiping it down with a damp cloth followed by a dry one. Much better. Next class, I practically felt like I was using a brand new mat. It’s funny – sometimes when I take the time to care for something external, it feels like an internal cleansing.
We’ve been making this lentil soup* all winter. We finally have it down:
I pour 5 cups of organic, low sodium chicken broth into the big pot.
Ron chops 2 celery stalks, 1 large carrot, and minces 2 cloves of garlic.
I chop 1 medium onion, 1 red pepper, and 1 green pepper. Then measure out 1 cup of dry lentils.
We toss this first batch of ingredients into the pot and stir. Turn on the burner and, after it begins to boil, reduce it to a simmer for 40 minutes.
While it’s cooking, Ron and I are back to the cutting boards.
He’s got 3 red potatoes.
I have 1 zucchini.
He measures out the curry powder and basil (half a teaspoon each).
I measure out a half a cup of organic tomato sauce and drain a can of diced tomatoes.
Our second batch of ingredients goes in the pot for an extra 15 minutes at the end.
We keep sourdough bread in the freezer, and Ron thaws it out and toasts it up so we can dip it in the soup.
It’s the only part of winter I’m gonna miss.
*recipe from a Pritikin book I found on my parents’ bookshelf