Thursday, September 3, 2009

Exercise Guide for Older Adults

Editor's note: In these tough times we need to take extra good care of ourselves, so here's some sage advice ...

  • Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.
  • With a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand, extend your arm straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can.
  • Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.
  • Each day, you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
  • After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks.
  • After a couple of more weeks, move up to 50-lb. potato sacks.
  • When you have mastered this, try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms staight for more than a full minute.
  • After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

Spirit Lightener

It has been known that I can get caught up in visions of the past (the happy, the miserable, or just the excruciatingly embarrassing) and plans for the future (a great trip, or just now, do I really want replacements of both knees and all the risks that brings?), caught up to the point where I can be almost oblivious to the "now".

And yet, that now is all we have. It is only in "the now" that we even have any of the past (and by now it's often so reinterpreted as to be unrecognizable to anyone else who was there).

Heck, the universe itself started with a huge "now" - the Big Bang - a Big Bang which we are simply riding in the middle of, as it spreads itself out, rather like one of those red explosions behind the tumbling lead actors in a TV adventure. We are travelling on one of those bits of wood chips in the middle of the flame, so to speak. It is always "now".

Which reminds me of this great poem by William Stafford in "The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems"

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval
you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life -

What can anyone guive you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn

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