Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – March 30

3-Way Leg Swings (for balance, joint mobility, range of motion, core stability, single leg strength) Note: In the beginning, perform smaller swings to maintain balance. The whole point of this exercise flow is to improve your mind-body connection and enhance muscle activation to improve your balance.

3 way leg swings

Source: RedefiningStrength.com

3-Way Leg Swings (in bare or stocking feet); Perform 10 – 20 repetitions, 1-2 sets daily.
NOTE: In the beginning, do each swinging leg exercise (i.e. forward/back) on one leg, then the other. As your single leg strength increases, attempt to do all repetitions for the 3-way swings first on the right leg, then on the left.

How to perform: Begin by standing on one foot. Feel your foot gripping the ground and engage the glute of the standing leg to help you balance. Brace your abs and stand up nice and tall. Stand near a chair or wall for balance as needed.

Keeping both legs fairly straight, but not locked out, begin to swing the other leg forward and backward. Start with smaller swings, then increase range of motion. Swing from the hip, don’t just bend your knee and kick your lower leg. The bigger your swings are, the more your standing leg will have to work to balance.

To warm up the joint, perform smaller swings during the initial repetitions and/or tap your foot down as needed to reset and stabilize. When holding onto a chair or wall, you will have removed the balance component of this exercise, however, you may now focus on hip mobility by engaging in larger swings.

Complete all reps of the forward/backward swing then, switch to the lateral swings. For the lateral swings, swing the leg up to the right and then to the left in front of your standing leg. You may even feel the outside of that glute working to raise the leg up as you swing it. The bigger your swing, the more you will open up your hip and force your standing leg to work hard to balance.

Next, perform the rotational swings by bending the knee of the moving leg to 90 degrees.  then bring the bent knee in front of you and open it out to the side. Bring the knee back forward, keeping the leg bent the entire time. Really focus on opening from the hip with this move. You should really feel the glute of the standing leg working as you rotate. The more your rotate, the harder the move will be, but also the more you will open your hips and get your glutes activated.  You will know you are doing this move correctly, as you will feel your foot, calf and even your shin muscles working to balance. You will also feel your glute and core engaging as you swing your leg to open your hip.


Shine the Light!

Click to listen: SHINE THE LIGHT~CHOIR

Your eyes are windows into your body.
If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.
If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.
If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
Matthew 67:22-23 The Message

What is the meaning of this?
Why do words fail to assist in comprehending?
While emotions spew panoptic across the course of heart and soul.
Why then, during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

The body too, informs of these psychic extremes,
It buzzes with edgy, wired, bursts of manic synchronicity.
The physicality of these days is really over the top,
Red-alert, fight or flight, move over, take cover.
Why then during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

These days of COVID-19…days foreboding, otherworldly, connoting;
These days of solitude and distance between us looming,
Reminiscent, these days, of shadow lands walking;
These days, they bring dark clouds of aprehension,
Why then during these days of troubling pandemic,
Why then, do tell, am I feeling so keenly alive?

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

Are these pains we currently notice, the pangs of labor pushing?
Pushing us from our dark tombs of unknowing?
What else should we think now, surmise or predict now? for,
Change is our air now; our breath and our death now.

Shine the Light, for all the world to See!

Yes, of course, this must be the reason;
The times are ripe and in due season,
The cosmos has spoken; the shift has awoken,
All nations, and peoples, and nature is broken;
For these are the days of troubling pandemic,
No time to waste our living…asleep, apathetic.

Shine YOUR Light, for all the world to See!

 


Life in Particular

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

To live life sleeping is to live as feather, blown in the breeze.
To live life trusting is to live as eagle, peaceful above the fray.
To live life fearing is to live as coward, afraid of that which is not.
To live life embracing is to live as mother, alive to possibility.
To live life doubting is to live as beast, restless to roam.
To live life accepting is to live as child, carefree in bliss.
To live life striving is to live as competitor, stranger of idleness.
To live life dying is to live as divine, extravagant without end.
To live life loving is to live as fire, burning unconsumed.

Doesn’t everything die at last and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver

Particular

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Novel Days

Unprecedented, provocative, onerous…whoa this! These days are full of novelty for our generation. This is our collective reality, and it is frightening and unsettling for all peoples living on Earth under Heaven. Even so, I believe these times have provisioned us with an advantage if we might avail ourselves of it.

If during our collective time-out we endeavor to center and quite ourselves in genuine introspection and reflection, then perhaps we might see our way clear. For much will be required of us, in the days ahead, given our present circumstances. Whether we are able to grow, heal and move forward, together, peaceably, is our most urgent connumdrum. Might these novel days allow us to reconstruct our human relations for the better? Might we become our very own heros, and beakons of hope for the generations which follow behind us? Only the unfolding of the days ahead will inform whether this novel illness has made us better or worse for one another.

Perhaps the following insights and wisdom from some of our esteemed poets, authors, performers and spiritual leaders will provision and enlarge our thinking as we navigate these days of COVID-19.

There is nothing like calamity for refreshing the moment. Ironically, the last several years my life had begun to feel shapeless, like underwear with the elastic gone, the days down around my ankles. Now there is an intensity to the humblest things–buying paper towels, laundry detergent, dog food, keeping the household running in Rich’s absence. Shopping contains the future. As my daughter Jennifer says, shopping is hope. Abigail Thomas – A Three Dog Life

It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though limits to our abilities do not exist. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What you learn is often determined by what you need to know. If you think you’re weak, you will learn that you are strong. If you think you are indestructible, you will learn that you are fragile. In the end though, you will learn that you are human. You are no more and no less than all those who are learning their lessons as you learn yours. John Bingham

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Eckhart Tolle 

We are often deluded by the idea that only big things can change the future. We feel overwhelmed by problems that demand impressive solutions, universal buy-ins, and large infusions of cash. We forget the power of simple acts of influence, of moments of compassion, of small stands for justice — how teachers, parents, friends, and even strangers can redirect the trajectory of history in a moment. If we truly believe that everything is connected, that we live in a sacred web, then every single action has influence over every other action. We are enormously powerful when we act to do what is good and beautiful and just — and in how we choose to react when something or someone threatens or shames us. Fr. Richard Rohr

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences — and all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The most powerful weapon against adversity is having a sense of choice.  When we don’t have control, we lose the capacity to cope. We were born to choose, so let us learn how to do it. If we believe we have some degree of control over the outcome, then we are more likely to choose to persist, to find a way through whatever adversity we face. Steve Magness

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished…that will be the beginning. Louis L’Amour


The Ripple Effect

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

The other day I came across a news item in Runner’s World had which told the story of one man’s determination to finish a 5K race every month in 2015. The story began with Derek Mitchell’s last place finish at the Kansas City Big 12 5K. Some folks might not be so keen to have this sort of story told about themselves. But for Derek Mitchell, he’s a man on the move…a man who currently weighs in around 570 pounds. He was tempted to quit before he completed the first mile, but he kept his mental focus on his goal…crossing the finish line.

Derek’s story reminded me of so many things that are important to keeping us on track when we set our sights on a future goal. But two things seemed most critical: practice (training) for the race event and having a support system (family, friends, peers). These two components…

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An Invitation to Revolution

A repost from February 2015

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

Definition: revolution (n.) a sudden, complete or marked change in something

Whether or not we like it, growth (physical, mental, social, spiritual) requires revolution; a change in direction or movement or thought. There can be no progress, no creative flow, no gains in health or fitness without change. It is notable too, that all of creation, both visible and invisible, is designed to thrive in the realm of change. The seasons and their regular permeations support the growth cycles of all living things in the seas and on the land. Our bodies are best nourished when we eat those foods that grow in season; a diet limited in variation is a diet destined to promote disease and ill health.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

In the realm of education, business, and…

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DECIDE…TO…MOVE

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

Living in a healthy, strong body does not happen by chance, but rather by choice. This is most honestly true if the body you are living in has celebrated at least 50 birthdays. If your current body is one of the 50+ year old models, do you regularly choose to move yourself in a way which might be construed as exercise? Do you walk, jog, lift weights, bike, dance, swim, go to a gym or fitness class at least once a day? If not, how about these activities: sweeping or vacuuming floors, washing dishes by hand; cleaning windows; gardening. Do not discount your household activities, they require bodily movement and as such, may be considered purposeful exercise for your body.

Whatever activities you do to move your body for well-being, the best fitness outcome will occur when you actively, mindfully move yourself every day. If not everyday, how about every other day? If you cannot or choose not to…

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Singing Solo for Awhile

These are difficult trying days brooding down upon us, and the irony of today’s calendar date is not lost on me: March 15…aye…beware the Ides of March! Indeed, there is much ado about everything in the news and media reports. I am certain that tomorrow’s reports will contintue to enlarge our wonders and our fears. As one of my choir friends wrote to me in an email today: “When C.L. notified us of the cancellation of our chorale concert, I new that the world was coming to an end!”

Oh the agony of betrayal…beware the Ides of March! It does seem so evident, does it not…that we, the children of earth, have been betrayed by nature; stripped naked, to our core; our bodily immunities vanquished to ground zero in the face of the novel virus.  Fire and brimstone seems our lot, sinners all in the hands of any angry god.

And yet of late, while temperatures across the globe have been rising, I have noticed here and there…quickinings…in the spheres above…in the souls upon…in the waters’ risings below…our sickness has been long in coming. We cannot separate nor cut our ties to our native beginnings. We belong to the earth and she to us. And still, I get the sense, in the quickening, that this scourge is not come to destroy us, but rather to refine…to purify. This plague of the winds has not come to forever harm, but to awaken the sleeping children of every nation. If only we might rouse ourselves and realize…Love has been in our midst all along…now it descends heavily upon us…threatening to lay us low…but everything is not as it seems.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

– Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM; March 13th 2020
(LOCKDOWN ~ an excert)

Six months ago I stumbled across a folk song well known by many, but novel to myself. It has quite a storied history and came into being around 1868. Upon hearing the poetry of the lyrics and its haunting melody, I was overcome with emotion to the point of tears. Six months ago I wanted to know why I had never heard this song in all of my 57 years. Today, these lyrics still move me greatly and I am grateful I found this music as it will surely be a balm to my soul in the days ahead. Perhaps you will find it likewise. How can I keep from singing? I most certainly cannot!

How Can I Keep From Singing
Lyrics sung by Audry Assad

My life flows on in endless song,
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn,
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin,
I see the blue above it.
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing!
For all things are mine since I am his!
How can I keep from singing?

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?


Angel on the Pathway

Total strangers we were yesterday morning; total strangers we are still. And yet, something magical transpired between myself and this grand-motherly woman while we made our way towards one another from opposite directions on the urban pathway. In the midst of my breathless striding, this gentile, walking-woman looked directly into my face. Then she paused ever so briefly as I passed by, and in the blinking of an eye, I noticed her eyes looking into mine.

Her eyes sparkled with intent, and held my curious, questioning gaze. Her eyes seemed locked onto mine with keen attention. This is not the usual behavior between strangers on the pathway, At most, passersby offer a polite nod of the head or flick a hand with an easy wave. However, in those brief seconds, our eyes locked onto the other’s in seeming recognition. And then it happened, before I could break my gaze, a brilliant smile shone from her face.

Something like an electric shock-wave rippled across the span of my heart-space. Such genuine delight and joy displayed in that moment…that millisecond. How could so much love and joy exude from one unknown to me? A stranger, bestirring such strong, warm emotion within my being?

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – Steve Maraboli

Who does that? Walkers and joggers? How many strangers make eye contact and smile with such vigor in passing another as to impart such joyful enthusiasm upon the unsuspecting psyche of an unknown other?

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” – Mother Teresa

And yet, twenty-four hours later, I still see her, the walking-path angel. I see her eyes… as they are seeing me…seeking me…searching my face and upon finding me, beaming her joy directly into my heart-space. Our chance passing? A random timing? I do not know, but I am grateful for the amazing microburst of happiness this encounter poured into my being…right there on the urban path during yesterday’s Sunday morning run. I was instantly undone…over-come…over-run by the waves of my own heart’s awakening joy. All because of one, very large, authentic, heartfelt smile.

Thank you, my beautiful, smiling, pathway-angel..for reminding me of this simple grace…the power of love warms hearts with joy, when we bestow a smile on our face.


Sleeper…Wake Up!

A New Year (and decade) has dawned…it’s January, 2020 and my thoughts turn white when I consider the clean, blank pages of my new calendar. Yet when I regard the clean emptiness of the coming days, I am soon overwhelmed by the many potentials and possibilities which lay ahead.

Caught up in the swirling inertia of this forward thinking, I notice how strongly I desire to fill, to create, to plan every detail of the 365 days which are, as of yet, unborn to me. And then I feel the weight of all this ambition and scheming, it bears down strongly upon my imagination…and thankfully, it presses me down to earth. The weight of my heavy thinking brings me full circle…back to myself…back to the real-ness of now…and the trance is broken…the white-ness of today, in this space of now is all that I am granted to hold and manage. The white space of today, begs for shape, texture, color and form. How will I render and memorialize these many passing moments? By being fully awake, alert and engaged with all that comes to pass before me…whether the moments are peopled or solitary. Today will be like no other.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” Eckhart Tolle

A sobering connection, I realize…how easy our enticement…to swap out our present moments for the mirage of our future days. We are so enamored with the sparkle of our imagined tomorrows that we don’t even realize our sleepwalking through the adventures of today. The white space of so many tomorrows becomes like the soft nothingness of white noise which lulls dreamers fast to sleep. Ahh…white, empty, blank-ness…behold…I give you, the sleeper!

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences — and all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Shall we commence, sleepers one and all, on the new of this year, to rouse ourselves awake! May we become vigilant, rather than impervious, to the beauty of now, whatever and however it unfolds before us. Can we embrace the imperfect present-ness without condition or prejudice? Is it possible to awaken our inner child-likeness so we may delight in the simplicity of each precious moment?

“Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.” Anthony de Mello

What do we have to lose by living in sync with reality, even when its ugliness is our only companion? Or rather, what may we gain by living in harmony with the essence and purity of reality? Is that even possible for wanna-be sleepwalkers?

Clearly, for each of us, time is of the essence. If we desire to be awakened to our very own ‘reality’, in all its unfiltered real-ness, then it’s time to rouse from our collective slumber. This rousing will require us to make many inquiries into our own thinking and believing thoughts. If we are suffering with some aspect of reality, then perhaps it is the result of some belief or attachment we have formed which will need to be dropped in order to live real and free with ourselves. (Note: read anything by Anthony de Mello for futher insights on this principle.)

Do you not feel the urgency to embrace this day before another one passes? Can you not hear the clock’s tick-tick-tickling you to your senses? Wake up oh sleeper, wake up! Your life is waiting for you to live it…fully aware…fully alive. Your life is a mighty work of art waiting for you to aspire and inspire its creation. It’s a New Year…are you game for the living?

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware — joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” Henry Miller