Monday, 15 March 2021

Time Marches On

Sorry about the pun, but the truth is that time simply keeps flowing (like a river... into the sea...). We, today, would say we are mid-way through March; any Romans in the crowd would know today as day 74 of the year, the Ides, as it were, of March. Bad day to be a Julius Caesar. Free Roman factoid: among other things, you were supposed to settle up your debts by this day.

That said, the seasonal cycle has swung around about 2065 times since Caesar bought it at the Theatre in Pompeii. Time has not stopped and, unless my physics is misinformed, it hasn't even really sped up or slowed down. It has just relentlessly marched on.

Which brings us to mid-March and the question, "What am I investing in my wellness now?" I say "now" because at least some of us were deliberately paying attention to and investing in our wellness last month (February) because we were challenged to do that. Now that the band has gone home and we're on our own, have we been able to keep our momentum, to sustain the effort we made last month?

I often talk about challenging ourselves in the same way I might prod myself, or someone else might prod me, to get moving. The immediate goal of that prod is to initiate motion. It is a fine balancing act to prod others because - and I assume this is globally the case - no-one really likes being prodded. Another day I might write something about that, because I think our response to being prodded says a lot about our character, but... another day.

For this day, the point I want to make is that how we respond to being prodded serves as one indicator of personal growth. I mean not so much our literal "reaction" in the moment, but rather the level of resistance we put up over time. To illustrate the concept, consider this scenario:  school day, 30 minutes before bus, kid still asleep. The parental unit will often, in such a situation, administer a "prod" to the kid, who, undoubtedly, will react to this prod in some manner [Sidebar: I'm not really interested here in that immediate reaction - I'm interested in growth over time].  Whatever transpires between the prod and the kid getting on the bus (or not) is the measure of interest: Response to being Prodded over time. And one day's data is not sufficient to document growth - or lack of it.

Personal growth over time on the part of our young person here would be reflected in: a) a decreasing negative reaction to the prod, and b) a reduction in the number of prods required. To make the extension... if we are growing in our wellness, we will, over time, react less and less negatively to various prods to make wellness investments. And we will require fewer and fewer prods to begin with. My objective for this wellness challenge has always been GROWTH - to have us move ourselves further along in our wellness journey - to be increasingly "well-er" because we are living more and more "well-ly".

I think you get the idea. The grammar police have surrounded the building and I'm being called to surrender myself, so I'll leave you with this thought:

Each time you are prodded to act - say in a wellness challenge like this - you have a growth opportunity. Your reaction both influences and reflects your own internal state, so don't work yourself up into a lather that simply foments (but I like "ferments" better) resistance and bitterness. Take the prod seriously. Act on it. Invest in your wellness. Struggle through some challenges. Keep at it. Allow yourself to grow.

If you don't, you won't.





Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The 2021 Kettlebell Challenge Is In The Rear-View!

It's official! We have completed our 2021 edition of the 10,000 Kettlebells for Parkinson's wellness challenge.

I want to thank you if you participated in a wellness activity. I trust that you have moved farther down the road toward wellness as a result, and that you are that much more inclined to continue doing wellness activities.

I also want to personally invite you to make a donation to support Parkinson's research. We support the Royal University Hospital Foundation, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. You can find all the contact information on the "How To Donate" page, but I also know a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a couple thousand words:

Thank you in advance for your support!


p.s.  I don't know what's next for you, but I think this year I'm going to do arms/upper body stuff and maybe some burpees again. Some weights, and some sheer torture high-intensity cardio. Maybe I should see how many burpees I could do in a month...

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Day 28 - Perspective

At last... it is February 28th. We've made it to the end of February and to the end of our wellness challenge! I am happy to report I reached my target. Having done this kettlebell challenge for a number of years now, I look at it differently than I did the first time. My perspective has changed.

What I mean is that, the first go around, it was all about the finish line. It was a crazy goal - could I do it? And as we went through the challenge and finally finished it that year, it was amazing.

What is different about this year is that I find myself less concerned with the final result. That struck me as rather odd, but as I think about it, I realize that my perspective has totally changed since that first year's kettlebell challenge. Or, perhaps, I have gained perspective.

Now, I see February not as a crazy month of "wellness activity", but as just another part of the year. It has 11 other 30-ish-day-long compatriots in which we can live actively. About a week in to this year's challenge, I found myself thinking about what to do after February. Well, that and I found myself thinking about how I could make some technical improvements to my kettlebell workouts.

My perspective has switched from focusing on a single February goal to a broader consideration that activity just should be part of my life. All the time, not just during a special month. I enjoy, from time to time, particular challenges (like the kettlebell swings), but I think I have shifted to just always being aware of trying to do something active. If the lake isn't frozen, then it's kayaking adventures, or swimming, or zipping around on my old Supercycle bike, or walking out in the bush. And, aside from a few spells when our pool has been quarantine-closed, we make a point of going to the pool a couple of times a week.

These days, I'm taking a wider-angle perspective to see that wellness really has more to do with adopting a "well" lifestyle than doing some special wellness activities now and again. Having said that, those activities are a great place to START. But, really, it is about being more wellness-oriented this year than you were last year. It is about making progress and cultivating an attitude of daily wellness.

As we wrap up February 2021, and this year's wellness challenge, I encourage you to Be Well, to adopt an attitude of wellness, and a perspective that sees you moving forward on a journey to ever-increasing wellness. 

Well done! And done well.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Day 24 - Maintain

We are rounding the last corner before the finish line on our annual February challenge. This year, my wrist has not bothered me, and I was able to get down to business on my kettlebells. In fact, I was able to crank out my final 40 while on video-chat with my Mom last night. 10,000 Kettlebells are in the history book! It was great to have her in the "crowd" as I crossed the finish line. I'm not sure how many times that has actually happened, come to think of it! It was nice to have some company.

As February winds down, though, it occurrs to me that I don't want to erratically follow some yo-yo kind of activity program; what I really want is to more or less stay in the active zone. Without being extreme, either. Just... active. That brought to mind the idea of maintenance. And that, of course, brought me back to the realm of words.

If you research the history of the word maintain, you will see that it comes from the Latin manu tenere - "to hold in the hand". And before English got ahold of it, Old French had a go with maintenir. Essentially, that also meant... "to hold in the hand". If you think about holding something in your hand - not just for a moment, but continuously - you will have a richer sense of what it means to maintain something.

And that is what I have been thinking about these days. If we mobilize ourselves to do something worthwhile, how do we maintain that forward progress? I am certainly not here to prescribe some magical formula for you. As much as I can encourage you, you are basically on your own when it comes to how you will maintain any progress you have achieved this month.

At the risk of giving advice, here is my advice:

1. Be aware of your choice - we choose the degree to which we maintain (or hold onto) wellness gains. Think about it:  how likely are we to "accidentally" keep up our efforts. Things in the natural world move away from organization toward chaos; we must actively exert an effort to reverse that trend because if we don't, we naturally move toward randomness and chaos.

2. Set worthy goals - even if we don't reach the goals we set, we generally end up somewhere in the ballpark of those goals. Put some quality thought into what you aim yourself toward.

3. Develop an Inner Circle - we all need some key encouragers who know us well enough not to be overly-impressed by our smokescreens, yet who are still on our side, in our corner, behind us all the way... pick your cliché. These folks are not our adoring "fans", but rather our butt-kickers (well, as needed, and apologies to my mom for that comment. She raised me better than that).

Three points are enough. You know what you need to do.