Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Haiku For the Gym-Rat and more....

'Rat with Torch' by graffiti street artist Banksy

Haiku For the Gym-Rat

we plug along babe,
march or die! are the orders;
living strong, we rise.


Yeah, it's that clear-cut for me. "Use it or lose it," has become more than 'in theory' and over the past year I've officially become a gym-rat. Weird. I never expected to ever be one of those folks with cartoon legs spinning fast, going nowhere. But here I am, sweatin' for my life. It's worth it.

It's time to wrap up this quadrant of the 'Physical' so we can move ahead to the next corner of the Restoration Circle - the Emotional. In remembering and cultivating the Physical Quadrant, the simplest way to remember is to attend to the four basic elements that make this place and body: earth, water, fire and air.

Earth - nutrition; building; grounding; gardening and being IN nature,

Water - drink plenty; sweat; keep the lymphatic waters moving [which they only do through either exercise or massage, having no pump on their circulation, but rather, dependent upon muscular contraction or manual manipulation to move the lymph along]

Fire - exercise [burns energy, creates heat]; sun; digestion [inner fire transforming fuel to energy]

Air - Breathe! Fully inhale and exhale - oxygenate. All the body's systems are dependent on this. Air feeds fire.

It's all right there in the four basic elements, so basic, so simple, we can easily overlook these that are free in our search for physical cures to purchase. The lack of expense doesn't reflect their value - these are the same building blocks that have grown our species for thousands of generations. The basic plan remains unchanged. We still need decent nutrition, water and air; our bodies still need to move and be used. Despite our evolution into the modern homo-sapien, our bodies still run on the original, basic plan.

Speaking of nutrition, on one last note here, I'd like to direct your attention to the blogroll at the bottom of this page where you'll find Diana Dyer's blog. She describes herself as: "an organic gardener, Registered Dietitian, author of the book 'A Dietitian's Cancer Story' and the website CancerRD.com. "In between all that and more, I am a multiple-time cancer survivor. My website focuses on nutrition information for cancer survivors, thoughts about life as a cancer survivor, food and nutrition, gardening, recipes, our environment, and the urgent need for developing food systems that promote health not disease, ecological sustainability, and social justice."

Her info isn't just for cancer survivors, it's for everyone, and seeing as approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetimes the preventative information she provides is pertinent to us all. She's easy to read and learn from; not a 'food fascist' by a long shot. Check her out. http://www.dianadyer.com/

Ah, the physical realm! What a challenging, lovely, frightening, exciting, worrisome, pleasurable and painful place to be. No place quite like it and this physical body with its five  lovely senses [or six if you include the mind] - our sensual, temporary residence. What a wonderland! Enjoy it! There's no place else like it with its sunrises and sunsets....


Stella Magdalen said...

Eeek! I did not know that little factoid about the lymph system. Why don't they teach these things in schools? Not that second graders would be able to make the same correlation I just did "Gee do you suppose that's why mine is F'd?"
Learn something new everyday. That's a great birthday present to me E!

Word Verification "worret". You can bet I'm worret about my lil' lymphocytes now!

el poquito said...

Hey Stella,

Happy b'day to you and your lymphocytes. Yeah, those little buggers are kind of like the garbage/sanitation workers of the bod. Only thing is they don't move along on the road on their own. It's a circulatory system, but without a pump like the heart w/blood. So there they sit waiting for a muscular contraction to put a squeeze on and push them along so that eventually they can make it to the bloodstream and get carried away. Otherwise is starts to feel like the streets of Calcutta in there. That dull achey feeling when you just don't feel well? That's lymph doing its job, surrounding the trash of metabolites - or daily living and trying to dispose of them. That 'achey' feel causes you to rub it instinctively. Cool, huh? And that's another reason it's important to drink 'lots of fluids' when not feeling well - to help show the little pissers the door.

As for the second graders, you're right. Actually 3rd/4th is perfect age to investigate and learn why we have snot, earwax, farts etc. Another alter persona of mine shows up in m'loves 3/4 classroom as Dr. G.U. Stink. He's a hit and we get down and dirty on the real poop of the body. There's a kid's book "Grossology" that has it all including experiments, studies and everything kids think is gross and cool and most adults just think is gross. They never even know through all the laughter and "EWWWWW!" that they're learning anatomy and physiology at 8 or 9 yrs old.

I agree, someone shoulda given us an 'Owner's Manual' at a young age. Kind of a 'tour around' the new residence, y'know?

Sandi said...

Use it or lose it is right! Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a serious (for me, the Queen of Relaxing) workout program going. I never missed a day. Then, cancer treatments came upon me and for a couple of years I just didn't care. Oh, I tried to do something every day but my energy and motivation were being sucked dry. After my last chemo treatment, I started slowly back into my gym rat routine. At that point, I could not even bend over to pick something up off the floor. When I would try to sit in a low chair, I didn't sit down so much as ratchet down. So, I plugged away at the gym, with different intentions than pre-cancer. This time, I just wanted to regain some stamina and flexibility. And I have. I do like the fact that this is something I can control, I can do it for myself, and I can gradually see the results of my labor. Like your mom said, I try to get down on the floor once a day. It isn't always a fluid motion, but it doesn't hurt anymore.

Dedalus1947 said...

Well your "gym rat" determination got me thinking and moved me to the brink of action, and your commentators pushed me over the edge. I joined my local fitness center today and worked out for the first time in over a year. Thanks for the motivation - and the Physiological description of the body and its parts. I visualize it while I sweat.

Shark said...

I was never a gym-rat or a workout person either; but post-chemo, I couldn't open a jar and could barely walk; after 10 months of gym, I'm seeing some effects; strength, stamina, stronger mind and body. It really helps to see some measurable progress. Hang in there, my fellow "use it or lose its". xxoo mark

el poquito said...


That's what started it for me last September. Twelve YMCA's around the country were part of a joint program with the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Livestrong Program. My local Y offered 3 months free, supervised training for cancer survivors with deconditioned bodies. All I had to do was show up twice a week. When I think back one year and where i was at - Whew! And it wasn't easy. [sorry, mark!]

My main and only mantra became: "Just show up." There were times I hurt waaaay too much and had every reasonable excuse to not attend, but I made this my most important priority - Just show up.

Actually that applies for most everything, eh?

Just show up.

One year later - still showing up. Today was 45 min. on the eliptical walking my little Fred Flintstone legs around and around going nowhere fast. One year ago I could only do 4 minutes my first time on.

Found out today at the doc's that my blood glucose is so good that I'm no longer technically diabetic and would not be considered even pre-diabetic. Wooohooo! Not bad for someone who was diggin' a grave with a fork and spoon at one time! Now older, I'm actually healthier, except for a few raggedy edges ;-)

Yep, Livin' strong we are. By hook and by crook.

Livestrong y'all, live strong

Stella Magdalen said...

Ho ho ho, you "rock".