Sports Moms – When It’s Your Turn to Be Inspired

football benchAbout two weeks ago I was brought to my knees by sharp pain and then was overcome with panic.

I thought I had a heart attack.

A little thick around the middle, and always in the kitchen, I made a quick decision to become more active. Not running-marathons-and-and-eating-kelp-sandwiches-active, but more active.

Flashback a billion years to all of the summers, winters, springs and falls that I sat on the sidelines cheering on my athletically gifted kiddo. I drank a lot of tea from drive-thru windows and kept the company of other parents doing the very same thing.  As he ran and played, I was plopped in a lawnchair, making sure that when he looked up, Mom was there. I also spent a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking at 11pm after late baseball games so he went to bed with a full tummy. So my  butt got a little chunky.

I have been all of the following; a baseball mom, a football mom, a cricket mom, a basketball mom, a curling mom, a badminton mom and  a did-you-do-your-homework-mom.

During the past two weeks, I have developed a greater appreciation of my child’s experience during his childhood of sporting.  How much did my presence feel like pushing? How much did it feel like support? I guess I’ll never really know.  What I always hoped was that he was doing something he loved, that made him feel good, and made him feel proud of himself. I wanted my boy to have confidence.

What I do know is that pushing through the discomfort of new levels of physical movement takes some grit. Trust me, I’ve had to have grit a’plenty during my lifetime, but it’s been a mental grit. A determination to get through one day at a time. Physical grit, not so much.

My body has always had a comfortable ease about it. I was built for hugging, cuddling, and lounging during long, philosophical conversations about religion, politics and gender equality issues.   Wine adores my body. So does chocolate, champagne and puff pastry.

So I’m swinging a golf club for the first time, and running my ass off, and sweating. Like a man. It’s not pretty, and parts of me actually hurt.

I can’t help but think of my son. I think of how hard he as worked to accomplish the things that he has. He’s on a national sports team, plays a bahzillion sports, and maintains his grades, and also puts up with a rather flamboyant mamma.

My old bones ache in places where I forgot it could possibly hurt in the first place, and it reminds me of how hard my son has worked and what strength and grace he’s had to develop in order to accomplish  it all.

Running at my little gym, I have an extraordinary view of a public play-space and just beyond that a beautiful lake in the middle of our bustling city. I watch parents come out and play with their kids, some of them shooting baskets, and others, likely tired single-moms like I was, sitting in a chair and keeping an eye on their kids as they play.

portable locker roomI want to go out there and tell those weary parents that it’s all worth it; that team sports and athletics are worth every early morning, every weekend taken up with tournaments, and all of the leaving early and working overtime that has to happen to make it work.  Not because it just keeps their bodies healthy, but because it develops character and forms strong bonds of friendship. I want to tell those parents that gaining an extra ten or twenty pounds is not the end of the world. Missing your kids’ childhood is.

So, this afternoon, when what I really want to do is nap with the cat. I will likely be running my little 30 minute marathon, because my son sets a damn good example and if he can push himself to do it, damn it, so can I.

When you raise an athlete, there comes a turning point where you are no longer their inspiration. Instead, they become yours. It’s a very hard feeling to describe. Pride doesn’t quite cut it, but joy comes close.

 

 

I Need Your Help: Podcasts & My Fat Ass

rsbushesBefore I go on a rant, let me point out that the purpose of this post is to get your feedback…

This morning, on my day off, my precious day off, I woke up early to annoy my kiddo before he set out for school and maybe, just maybe get in a nice walk and some writing.

So, it’s raining, and some big goof ball in a blue shirt just walked all over my daffodil greens while using his  leaf blower. Not only do I subscribe to the theory that the use of the leaf blower is evidence regarding the downfall of civilization (I’m sure Donald Trump has one to shoe away the leftover talcum powder that he spritzes his undies with apres shower).  I also subscribe to the theory that some giant lanscaping a-hole should know enough to not be blaring that ridiculous contraption prior to 9am outside of bedroom windows.

Anyway, with the drizzle and the bad atmosphere at my little writing window, I decided to make my way to the treadmill next door and walk a bit while my laundry was laundering.

Why? Well, because I’ve been unwell and rather inactive lately. Walking is easy exercise, and frankly, I need it.  I’ve done classes, punished my body with hard workouts and long runs, but I just can’t seem to work up the chutzpah to spank myself into fitness submission lately.

I’m more in the mode of loving the goddess. Which means my taste in music has changed. In fact, I want to listen to stories. As a writer, I do believe that we are nothing but the stories we tell ourselves, and that sharing our stories is the spiritual equivalent of excellent nutrition.

Which brings me to my latest fascination; Missing Richard Simmons. It’s a Podcast about the theories surrounding the disappearance of Richard Simmons.

Not only am I fascinated with this story, I’m a big fan of Mr. Simmons. Despite a terrible relationship with my late mother, I fondly remember her telling me to get off my fat, ugly, ass and sweat to the oldies with her. Ah, yes, Richard Simmons.

I’ve listened to TEDtalks and CBC writing podcasts, but there’s something about this one that has me hooked. Maybe it’s the anticipation of an answer about why such a charismatic man decided to duck out.

But I’m almost finished with the series, and I want more really great stories; nothing sinister or dark, just a really, good story and a sincere desire by the storyteller to enhance our lives. With this, I feel like I could walk forever. Fitness could be my bitch.

Please share your podcast suggestions to keep my butt and my heart in shape. Also accepting DVD copies of Sweatin’ To the Oldies. Not kidding.

PS – To GK – give up your argument about massive amounts of leaves, give up the wasted fuel and instead give the neighbour kid thirty bucks and a rake.

 

 

 

Three Little Birds: In My Head

There have been a few things rolling around in my mind lately.

What would the new year be if we  weren’t inundated with media pimping health and wellness gimmicks?

squatI’ve never been a skinny chick, and I don’t know that I’d be that comfortable being all angles and bones, but I don’t really dwell on it. I haven’t always loved my curves, or my height . As a young woman I struggled against the unrealistic messages that bombarded me via the media.

But I grew into my body, and I learned to love it and rollick in sensuality.

With a partner who finds it necessary to grab my love handles while asking, ” Are you going to the gym?”, the last thing I need is to second guess my own chutzpah. So this brings me to the first thing on my mind; why do people obsess over fitness and diet instead of trying to incorporate healthy habits?

bruce-trailPersonally I find it hard to seek support because people go overboard with it all. I need a workout buddy who can make being active fun. I also, like most women need less housework, a shorter commute, and a thyroid that works.

I need a workout buddy like the person who came up with this quote; I found out today that you can’t get a gym membership, ‘Just to watch’.
I don’t do well with being uncomfortable taking my clothes off in front of a man. My solution: be good to myself. Not to feel sorry for myself, but to rejoice in my over-the-top voluptuousness, sense of humour, joie de vivre and to get my groove back. I’m even going to try some reading material; The Self Esteem Coach, and the classic, The Art of Seduction. 

I honestly hope that something fun and delicious interrupts me so I don’t actually have to do the work and I can cop out, but I likely should do the work.

Honestly, I’m over 40, and I’m convinced that at this age women ought to be comfortable in their own skin and totally owning their goddess.

So that was my first one.

The second thing on my mind has been the take over of mocking Donald Trump in social media. Satire (and this is proven) does not change politics. Humour makes it funnier in a sad and apathetic way, but it’s ineffective as a tool to use against change.

It took a man with true leadership skills to cut the bullshit;

If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with them in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.

protestQuit whining and gather in the streets. Don’t just bitch there darling, do something about it. If you’re not willing to do something about it, please shutupinski.

The third thing that’s been on my mind is the incredibly fast pace of doing absolutely nothing meaningful. Go to work, pay the bills, eat what you’re supposed to, take as many steps as the latest gadget deems healthy, measure every single aspect of your life until you’re too tired to enjoy it. Oh my gawd! What a wonderful life! Pass the lorazapam and tuck me in for the next decade. This sucks.

moomooUm, no thanks. Burn my bras and send me a moo-moo. I don’t really buy in, and I never have. I do find it incredibly more exhausting to be surrounded by people who do.

So, I beg of you. Get off your ass and have some fun. Call me (please!!!) so I can do that with you. When we’re having fun, being creative, laughing and working together toward a kinder, more gentle society, I believe that changing ourselves and the world will happen, just a little more organically and way more joyfully.

P.S. Seriously, I need this moo-moo.

 

Benefits of Overeating

      “Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

“Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

I bet you thought you’d never read an article sincere in its praise of overeating during the holidays. I’m not talking about binge eating, or eating food that’s not good for you.

What I”m talking about here, is using the abundance of the season to enhance your social allure, and mete out kindness via gastronomical consideration and the resulting silence.

It sounds almost too good to be true right? Well, it’s not.

This holiday season I have attempted this practice with success. It was a kind of meditative exercise, with little talking and thorough enjoyment of my meal.

When you’re surrounded by friends and having a great time, that’s the time to exercise restraint and consider your caloric intake judiciously.

As much as I love the get-togethers during the holidays, the obligatory show stoppers don’t really do much for my Christmas spirit, or for my tolerance of idiocy.

You see, if it weren’t for these events, I would be blissfully baking cookies in my kitchen, or quietly working away in my office, or perhaps enjoying a nice, long, snuggly lie in with my cuddly-wuddly-sex-pot-of-a-younger-man or perhaps a new-older-man-crush.

Alas. one must, at times attend unpleasant events, put on a good face and show up.

This is where the benefits of overeating can be reaped, and the motivation to burn calories sowed.  You see, I figure, if your mouth is busy chewing, full, or sipping a cold glass of ice water, it is less likely to speak the god’s honest truth.

Speaking the truth is usually not so refreshing in the company of mere acquaintances and tends to get you kicked under the table, slapped in the chops, or fired.

As we all know, Christmas is certainly not the time to be anything but painfully and irritatingly politically correct. I know that you wonderful ladies skirt the lack of authenticity demanded by said political correctness.

You  offer the world a colourful burst of candid truth-telling, unashamed honesty and the gritty authenticity that makes you so gosh-darn attractive.

But not at events that you feel obligated to attend.

In these situations,  I urge you  my socially desirable readers, enjoy every course and pass nothing up. Enjoy the cheese and dessert courses. Order a nice espresso and sit back, quietly meditating on the abundance set before you.

Nod, smile politely, and keep chewing.

At the end of it all, utter an enthusiastic compliment about the meal, wish everyone a merry Christmas, Kwanza, or whatever the celebration might be called at that particular table,  and then smartly and without fanfare, get the hell out of there.

I highly recommend the extra calories be burned smooching under the mistletoe, making passionate love by the fireplace/christmas tree/window so the neighbours can have a peek.

Wishing you a tasty, politically correct holiday celebration, followed by unabashed revelry and a dash of hedonism.

Hot & Sour Soup for the Cynical Soul

“A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it”
~Arthur Baer~

I don’t jump on every pseudo-spiritual band wagon that rolls through town claiming to reveal some mystic secret of the universe and ways of “being” that the great faith traditions of the world have somehow missed.

As a religious studies scholar, I think the great faiths have got it covered.

We just happen to live in a world where people look for quick fixes, whether it be weight loss, relationships or spirituality.

It was with some hesitation that I picked up one of the “Chicken Soup for the blah-dee-blah-dee-whatever Soul” books.

To summarize, the story was about a man (let’s call him Dick) who was shocked upon hearing about a neighbour’s suicide.

Let’s call the neighbour  Mr. Rogers.  The neighbour was a retired fellow whom everyone loved.

Dick reported that his young daughters often were at Mr. Rogers’ to have their bikes fixed, colouring in chalk on his driveway, and generally doing stuff with him because Dick was too busy.

Dick also said that Mr. Rogers was wonderful because every time anyone asked him for help, Mr. Rogers obliged. Dick also reported that Mr. Rogers never complained about the leaves blowing from Dick’s lawn (Dick was too busy to rake) onto Mr. Rogers’ own, just raked lawn.

As a matter of fact, Dick couldn’t remember a time when Mr. Rogers wasn’t a pleasant wonderful man. Perhaps Mr. Rogers  wasn’t thinking of what wonderfully selfish neighbours he had when he climbed on top of the step ladder, wrapped his handi-work noose around his own neck, and took a leap into the great here-after.

After the lovely funeral service, at the reception (hosted by Mrs. Rogers at their home), Dick learned from the neighbour’s friend, that the blowing leaves from Dick’s yard did in fact irritate the living hell out of  Mr. Rogers.

Read that last paragraph again;  I mean come on! Poor old Mrs. Rogers had to host her own husband’s funeral reception?! Where were all of these neighbours who loved Mr. Rogers so much?

Standing outside, looking at his own messy lawn, the leaves swirled in the wind around Dick. A tear came to his eye. Reaching for a tissue inside the pocket of his suit jacket, Dick pulled out a tissue, and low and behold, there was a leaf in his pocket too ! Dick  thought this was a sign. Oh my!

Yes, surely this meant that Mr. Rogers with his stretched, snapped, neck  was smiling down on Dick. This leaf was a message to say that Dick was forgiven for being such a knob of a  neighbour.

B.A.R.F.

Perhaps self-centred, egotistical Dick who had no time to rake his own yard or look after his own kids needs to not just pull the tissue out of his pocket, but his head out of his….deep, dark pocket.

Perhaps the leaf  meant nothing at all. More likely it was a message from Mr. Rogers  to let Dick  know that it was being surrounded by  un-neighbourly neighbours who took advantage of his kindness which  pushed Mr. Rogers over the edge. Hmmm?

As I have said before, many people like Dick mistake kindness for ignorance. We know that you know we’re doing you a favour and you really don’t appreciate it.  Don’t let leaves in your pocket convince you otherwise.

Too often our spiritual nutrients come in the form of ‘spiritual gummy bears’; a sugar rush that doesn’t last, leaving you feeling depleted. More specifically, causing us to swing from tacky ‘signs’ to hocus pocus and back again as we grasp at the spirituality our hectic lifesyles sacrafice.

So, never underestimate how much you irritate the crap out of your neighbours, even if they never complain and only smile and nod.  Does your selfishness/lifestyle impact another person’s enjoyment of their own home? If  so, you’re a Dick.

I have one piece of advice for you if your neighbours are Dicks. Don’t let your silence and kindness push you take your own life like Mr. Rogers.

Surely to everything that’s holy, a bit of a rant and maintaining firm boundaries might save you, possibly curbing your Dick’s destructive pattern of self-indulgence and spiritual negligence. Accepting nothing but respect from your neighbours may actually fertilize their spiritual growth.

Again, as I’ve said before, the moral of this story; Don’t be a Dick.