Saturday, April 20, 2013


One of the things I promised myself I would do on this journey is exercise. For over 25 years, I exercised a lot. For 15 years of that, I worked out 6 days a week, between 2 and 3 hours per day, learning and teaching taekwondo, juijitsu and other martial arts. It was my job, and an all-consuming one. Owning a business took some of the joy out of it for me though. When you're worried about keeping students, safety, inventory, rent, and all the other things that go with owning a business, sometimes it's hard to just enjoy the art, the workout, the people.

So, when we closed our dojo, for 12 years, I just stopped working out. Of course, back surgery did cut into my desire to exercise much. But I just walked away from it. And my body is showing the results of that decision. At age 60, getting back in shape is a lot harder than it was at 30. A LOT harder. I decided that gentle exercise was the way to go. Walking and yoga were on a very short list. I had done yoga on and off over many years, never actually as my only workout, but often as the adjunct. We used a lot of yoga asanas to stretch in martial arts classes as well. When I was young, I had watched Richard Hittleman on TV, and he introduced me to hatha yoga.

I started with a seated yoga sequence at home. It was nice, a good workout, but lonely. I am kind of used to a class environment. It's good to have companions on the journey, and a teacher to offer encouragement and tips on improving. When I started working at my new school, I found out that one of the other Spanish teachers was also a yoga instructor at a local gym. I just needed to get settled a bit before we got started.

When the Little Yoga Studio opened up, they were offering a class in "Yoga for Stress Relief". Oh yeah, sounded about right. So, about 6 weeks ago, we started classes. Kathryn Rhodes, you are a fabulous teacher! I can see improvement every week. I'm feeling more flexible and stronger already. My posture is improving. It's all good. I'll be sharing more yoga info in posts to come, talking about benefits, styles, etc. But for now? I'm enjoying the first, small changes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


One of the most important changes I'm trying to make is to live with less. I don't mean to live in poverty, not physical, emotional or spiritual poverty. I'm just trying to make a smaller footprint, use less resources, and think twice before bringing anything else into the house.

So, over spring break, instead of heading to the beach like many of my colleagues, we headed north to our house to de-clutter. I used to have nightmares that I'd open my door and Ms. Neicy from Clean House would be standing there, telling me what a "hot mess" my house is. And she would have been right. My house was cluttered.

It used to be less of a problem, as when we were in the military, we moved frequently. Every couple of years, we de-cluttered, got rid of anything that was broken, worn, useless. We were only allowed a certain weight for our goods. But the seeds were there. Books always had priority!

So, we're going through everything we own. Do we love it? Does it have value? (That value can be intrinsic or extrinsic.) Do we want to pay to have it transported? At a certain point, everything has to be judged. There are two bags and a box wherever we're working. Throw away, give away (or sell) and pack. So, during Spring Break, we completely filled the truck with books, and took them to the used book store. Then, we completely filled it again with clothing, and gave that to Goodwill. And sadly, it barely made a dent. It's going to be a much longer process than I had hoped. But, it's that small change again, a start.

The small rental home we're in just now has shown me just how little I actually need. It's been lovely. There are a few times when I want something that's still in the other house, but I can make do. Cleaning is quick. I run the vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, and I'm done. The dishes are done every night, no soaking till morning. The clothing is in order, and laundry is done once a week. It's folded, and put away immediately. Building new habits, one little bit at a time.