Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Water to Port Clyde

Living in Maine, the Vacation State, doesn't mean that (a) we're on vacation all the time or (b) that we don't head out on vacations to other parts of the world.

My husband and I have place holders on our calendars for trips to take when the conditions are just right.  Yesterday's sun and a forecast with two few nice days in a row, put our boat trip to Port Clyde to the top of the list.

This was our first overnight trip together on our boat.  Now, out boat isn't big - just 26 ft - and isn't decked out with lots of luxury or life supporting technology.  There is a toilet, covered space to sleep - so it's a little like camping on the water.

We stowed the sleeping bags, the camp stove, a change of clothes, and instant coffee, and set off across the water for an overnight trip.

For our water camping we need a place to sleep that provides a mooring or slip (we don't like to anchor - too many rocks!), someone who will come get us from the boat and take us ashore (we can't bring the dingy with us on a long trip), and available food (we can't store food or cook!).

Port Clyde fit the bill! It had all these requirements, and, of course, it's a lovely place to spend the night.

We're home now, refreshed, a little sleepy - and ready to take on all the non-vacation commitments facing us in the coming week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tales from the Aerobics Studio - 2

Chapter 2: Breaking a Sweat

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but one of my “reasons” for not exercising was - I just don’t like to sweat!  Then, if you add that my face turns bright red and stays that way for an hour, I think you can see why I prefer leisurely hikes through the woods and walking around the track. 

I certainly wasn’t ready to push myself to create sweat!

After a month of aerobic classes, however, I think I’ve had a breakthrough in the domain of sweat.  It’s really not as dangerous or distasteful as I was imagining.  I do live a life style that includes ready access to showers and laundry facilitates, for gosh sakes! And, I haven’t driven anyone away in horror with my red face (am I really not the center of the universe?). 

I’m traveling today, and, with some extra time in my schedule, I grabbed my I-pod and hit the fitness room at the hotel, and worked up a sweat!  I still don’t like it, and still resist  pushing myself to work hard, but I did it.

As many people know, music helps, so I just want to acknowledge the UNCG Sapphires - my workout music. When I was ready to quit, their song “Not Giving Up” was just right to push beyond my limits.  

Check them out on YouTube here

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tales from the Aerobics Studio

In the Georgetown Leadership Coaching program, we ask our students to start a new body practice as part of their learning experience. The purpose is to become a beginner again (how long has it been since you were a true beginner at something?).  Every few years, I sign up for that part of the class, too. Usually I do this in secret, just in case my usual resistance and lack of follow-through show up. I don’t want the students to see that I, too, struggle with this assignment.

But this time, I thought I’d go public.  I’m taking step aerobics classes at my local Y, and, while I can feel my body getting more fit, my mind is also enjoying the beginner's journey as well. 

Chapter 1:  The journey begins with the “Never”

A few months ago, I was taking a walk around the track at the Y and saw a friend working out in the aerobics room. She was sweating and breathing hard, and, I have to admit, having fun, too.  “I could never do that!” I told her and explained all of my excuses and reasons.  

That word “never” began working on me that very day until I finally realized that my leisurely walks around the track weren’t going to get me where I wanted to be. The next thing I knew, I started asking about the classes, checking out the schedule, finding the right clothes.

Two months later, I’m in there with her, sweating and breathing heavy too!

Question: Where in your life is there a "never" waiting to begin?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Go Into the Woods

A friend and colleague recently asked a provocative question - How to you "retreat"?
My family would probably tell you that I can (and do) "retreat" frequently by becoming silent and turning inward. True enough, but the most sacred retreat for me is walking in the woods. I do this whenever I can and whenever I need to. 

Even in my “soccer mom” days, I would wander off to find a trail or path through the woods, abandoning the crowd by the side of the field.  I have memories of being in the woods from when I was a girl, secret places I would go to cry, to be alone, to restore my soul to be ready to face the world again.  Now, every once is a while, I just know that it’s time to go to the woods.

I now live in a place where the woods are close-by, in a home town chosen for the proximity to trails and woods and water.  Here is what that experience is like for me.

Go Into the Woods..

Deep breath and relaxing into the spirit quality of the air in the woods.

Listening to the sounds of the woods - wind, leaves, birds, silence, water.

Watching my step and seeing the moss, mushrooms, wildflowers, ferns, rocks, twigs and roots along the path.

Stopping, raising my eyes to the sky, feeling the dappled sunlight on my face, squinting to see the leaves and branches above me.

Crunching through snow, slipping on ice, mucking through mud, snapping twigs and rustling leaves.

Coming to a clearing with a view of a valley, water, a clearing, or an outcropping of majestic stone. Stopping here to release my worries, to say my prayers, to honor the landscape, remember the power of nature.

Detecting signs of human habitation, curious about a life that is now long since gone and overgrown.

Breathing hard now, feeling the pull on my muscles from the hills and broken path, relishing the feel of the wind on my skin, grateful for the warmth of my woolen mittens.

Emerging now to parking lot, pavement, cars.

Rejuvenated by the light, air, sounds, and spirit of the woods.