Have you ever had an issue in your life that comes at you from out of nowhere, that becomes huge in your life and it’s something you don’t understand, have never understood and nothing you have ever said or done has made a difference in resolving? That because of other people’s shit that you have no control over, those other people try and drag you down, make you and yours “bad guys”, control the narrative that most everyone else seems to believe while your protestations are looked at as lies at best or the protestations of someone with serious problems at worst? And worst of all, this all comes from family, who by the way are the only people in the world who think you are a liar with “issues”. Who has raised progeny who are also liars with “issues”. One of those progeny, who is at the center of the shitstorm started years ago, ten years to be exact, and who had to be reminded of what the “issue” was that never happened, at least not on his or my part, because it was TEN frickin’ years ago said, Mom, it’s projection. Always was, still is. Nothing you can do about it. You’ll never convince them they were mistaken, you’ll never convince them that telling them they’re mistaken is not the same as calling them liars, which they are by the way, happy to call you. It is ultimately their problem. All you can do is let it and them go. Wow. Wise words from someone twenty six years my junior. And you know what? He was and is right. I find that after the events of the past week I can finally just let it and them go. And OMG is that freeing. I think I thought I would be emotionally devastated, but the truth is, that by allowing someone else, anyone else to dictate so much drama and bullshit about me, to allow them to tell me what kind of person I am and how wrong I did things and to continually allow that by defending myself to them took so much emotional energy and so much out of me that by just realizing that I DON’T HAVE TO DEFEND MYSELF OR MY CHILDREN to ANYONE, family or otherwise, a huge burden was just lifted off of my soul. That doesn’t mean that I never want to see or speak to them again, although if I don’t, so be it. It just means that I will no longer put up with that horse shit. If they choose to respect that great. If not, oh well. I have finally realized that no matter how much you reason with or try to contort your behavior or be honest with or even love someone you are powerless to make them happy or see you as you are if they are not able or willing to do so. Their problem does not have to be mine. And it feels great. I feel so much lighter by choosing not to take on their shit as mine anymore. Now if I could just remember to do that with all the idiot drivers out there who make me crazy. And crazy is the word. Especially when I haven’t eaten all day and my blood sugar gets low. (I should know better). Ask the same wise son who got a face full of my middle finger that I was shoving toward the idiot driver and an earful of my loud and colorful language. His calm response? Mom, I think today is a stay at home day for you. Which made me laugh out loud and calm right down. He’s awesome. I’ve said from day one, I’ve learned more from my two boys than I’ll ever teach them. And I’m grateful for that and them. Have you ever allowed someone else’s perspective to dominate huge chunks of your life by letting them stomp all over your boundaries in the belief that you could make it all right if you just listened and conversed and defended? If not, what are your boundary defending strategies? I’d love to know, let me know in the comments!
Mockingjay part 1 is clearly a set up for the final movie in the series. I have not read the books and so don’t really have an idea of why the final book was turned into two movies. I tend to be somewhat on the bandwagon that it was mainly a financial decision, the studios hoping to cash in with four movies rather than three. I base that mostly on the fact that as I stated above this movie was clearly a set up. Much of what happened could have been easily condensed. That said, Mockingjay was not a bad movie. It was surreal watching Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role. He was filming Mockingjay at the time of his death and although he had finished filming everything for this movie, he still had scenes to film for the final one. It will be interesting to see how they handle that, but it may be seamless, especially for those like me who didn’t read the source material. This is not the movie to watch to see Philip Seymour Hoffman as the superb actor he was. Not that he was bad, he was convincing in his role as Plutarch Heavensbee, it just didn’t give him a lot to do. Jennifer Lawrence is, in my opinion an amazing actor. She brought me to tears a couple of times during this movie. You just absolutely believe everything Katniss Everdeen is feeling, especially her reluctance to be seen as some kind of savior. She only wants to protect those she loves and keeps finding herself in situations she would have never looked for or wanted because of her strength and loyalty. Jennifer Lawrence is very young and I imagine we’ll see many more great things from her in the future. She is the reason that these movies have done so well. If Katniss had not been cast well I doubt the first movie would have done well enough to even warrant the second. She sings a song partway through the movie that just breaks your heart. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket continue to be two of my favorite characters in the series. They are both fine actors who make what could be cartoonish characters into believable and real people. In my opinion, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne are two of the weakest links. They aren’t terrible, I just don’t ever really feel that much for either of them. To be fair, neither of them were given much to do this go round. Julianne Moore played Alma Coin, President of District 13. She was fine, playing a good leader, but we never really get a chance to get to know what kind of person she is outside her leadership role. And of course Donald Sutherland returns as the smug, evil President Snow. He’s really good at the coldhearted gamesmanship of his character. After three movies of his playing games with peoples lives, I’m ready to see his comeuppance and I hope it’s a good one. The cinematography for this film isn’t as interesting as it has been in the previous films, but that is more story driven and probably part of the reason it wasn’t as compelling. There is very little time spent in the capital. There is a bit of time spent in a bombed out District 12 and in a logging area of District 8, but most of the movie is underground in District 13 and concrete walls and stairwells just aren’t that visually compelling. The scene where Katniss sings her song however, is on a river and is one of my favorites in the movie. I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of the story for this group of characters, but I wish it had come without so much filler. I would have liked to have been more excited at the end of this movie, as I was at the end of the second movie. Hopefully the final movie will be worth the wait.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the U.S. since the mid-term elections. Well, if I’m honest since way before the elections. And if I’m honest, I’m having a hard time being optimistic. Of understanding what people are thinking and why. Why there is either rabid, angry, ugly discourse from some and complete apathy from others. How is it that people are so lacking in sympathy, let alone empathy, toward fellow human beings.
Why people will vote against their own self interests just so that they can be seen as better than those “others”. How science and education became dirty words, academia seen as nothing but “liberal” ideology. Conservative states like Texas actually changing history in textbooks to gloss over what they would rather have people not know, advocating NOT teaching critical thinking skills in their party platforms, to keep the populace stupid and uninformed. Politicians repeatedly stating, “I’m not a scientist, but I believe climate change is a hoax” to keep the oil, gas and coal industries happy and raking in the billions, while 97% of scientists are raising ever more strident alarms. Demonizing low income workers as lazy and uneducated (just the way they like them) and refusing to raise the minimum wage to something even remotely livable while working feverishly to cut food stamps for children, the elderly and veterans. Propagating “patriotism” and “love for country” and “supporting our troops” to make it seem ok to fight never ending wars that make the rich ever richer all while making more veterans they can refuse to do right by. Bailing out banksters and their banks to the tune of billions of dollars, refusing to prosecute even one of the rich SOB’s who tanked the global economy, causing millions of people to lose their retirement funds, their homes, their jobs, their hope, while those few get ever richer hoarding and sitting on trillions of dollars. How one family, the Walmart heirs (6 people) own more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans (120 million people) yet they claim they cannot afford to pay a living wage or give full time work to their employees and rely on the government to provide aid to 70% of their workers all while working towards taking that aid away. And the Waltons are just one example, the Koch brothers another, of the 0.01% who have more money than they could possibly ever spend who diligently work toward keeping the masses poor and hungry and uneducated, and fighting amongst each other so they won’t realize the real problem has nothing to do with they deserve it because they worked hard but that the playing field was so ridiculously slanted in their favor. Pay equality for women still a pipe dream, a “pro-life” agenda that is really only “pro-birth” that is only about regulating a woman’s choices, not allowing her to make her own decisions and because once you are born to that poor woman who was unable to access needed reproductive healthcare or able to afford birth control so she could plan her family and who works 2 or 3 jobs at minimum wage and who can barely pay the rent and put food on the table, too bad, so sad, you should have been born into a “better” family.
Colleges and universities operating for profit, graduating students with so much student debt they have to live at home with their parents, putting off marriage and home buying and families they can’t afford with a collective debt load in the trillions making the mortgage crisis look like a walk in the park, but hey the rich are getting richer.
A militarized police force that murders with impunity, especially those of color, that pepper sprays, tear gases and arrests peaceful protestors, criminalizing our constitutional right to peaceful assembly, legally confiscating anything they “claim” might come from “drug” activity without having to prove that, to the tune of billions of dollars stolen from law-abiding citizens. And the corporate media, bought and paid for by the wealthy, disseminating fear and mistrust and false outrage, keeping focus on what the oligarchy wants while ignoring what they don’t. I could go on and on and on. And while both political parties are complicit in many of the laws that have allowed such a massive and unprecedented gap in income inequality, conservatives, the Republican party are by far the drivers of most of the above. And they were voted back into control of both houses of congress because people either voted against their own interests, buying into the horse shit arguments that they are better than all those “others” and they have the right to decide how huge swaths of people live their lives and believing that “conservative” values and Republicans will make sure “they” are taken care of, or because they were too apathetic to go to the polls and let their voices be heard and so made sure they would stay stuck. It boggles my mind. But hey, as long as there’s American Idol and CSI and the Bachelor and the Kardashians and sports to watch on TV and new shoes and TV’s and cars to go into debt purchasing and church to go to so they can learn to judge who “deserves” what and why and when because they’re “good”, they put money in the collection basket and donate to charity during the holidays, smug in their white, middle-class, privilege not noticing as even that is slipping away.
But, I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep fighting for progressive reform because I believe with every thing I have that every person born, no matter their gender, their skin color, their place of birth deserves to live with dignity and that means making a living wage, no matter what they do for a living, having food to eat, a roof over their heads, having access to decent education, healthcare, income equality, rights over their own healthcare decisions and more. And yes that means the super wealthy, the regular wealthy, and the well-to-do will have to put in their fair share. Think about it like this. Say there was a 10% across the board, everyone pays it tax rate. If you make $20,000 a year you would pay $2,000 in taxes leaving $18,000 to live on. If you made $80,000 a year you would pay $8,000 in taxes leaving you $72,000 to live on. If you made $500,000 a year, you would pay $50,000 in taxes leaving you $450,000 to live on. If you made $2,000,000 a year you would pay $200,000 in taxes leaving you $1,800,000 to live on. Do you see where I’m going with this? The more money you make, the more you can provide to the social good and still have more than enough money. And don’t even get me started by saying that the poor don’t pay taxes. Of course they do. They pay sales taxes, and all those local taxes in the form of fees for services and those taxes as a percentage of their income are very regressive meaning it is much harder for the poor to pay those and still have enough to live on. I guess my hope is that the average person will wake up, quit allowing the wealthy and their bought and paid for media and politicians tell them what is right and what is wrong and instead start practicing compassion, understanding and kindness to their neighbors. Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “love thy neighbor as thyself”? Your neighbor is every other person born on this Earth. Believe it.
This is probably going to be the shortest review in the history of reviews. Mainly because I don’t want to give anything away and I’m not sure I can discuss the science with any degree of accuracy. I am just smart enough to grasp the concepts without having any clue as to how or why they work. So trying to explain it is probably pointless. I will say that within my understanding or grasp of the science involving space exploration, wormholes, black holes, and how time behaves in the presence of the immense forces of gravity around and within a black hole, the movie seemed to get it mostly right. Interstellar was directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy and Casey Affleck. The acting was uniformly good. I don’t feel there was a weak link at all in the acting. The story is quite complicated so I won’t even try to talk about it because, as I said, I don’t believe I can without giving things away. Despite its complicated story, I had no trouble following or understanding what was happening. Visually Interstellar is beautiful. The depictions of a drought and famine stricken earth, space, and distant planets are fantastic, especially in their differences. I saw Interstellar in IMAX and it is well worth the higher ticket price. The seats were shaking so much during the spacecraft liftoff, that it felt almost as if the theater was leaving orbit too. This movie is dialogue heavy and moves slowly in places. It clocks in at 2 hours and 48 minutes long as well, and that along with it’s slow build-up could be disastrous, but at the end of the movie I was surprised it had been nearly three hours. I was also wrung out because Interstellar is also tense, suspenseful and emotional. There are surprises in the movie that you don’t see coming. Despite all of the science depicted in this movie, Interstellar is first and foremost a movie about Love and how it transcends time and space. And for me that is reason enough to highly recommend it to everyone. Have you seen Interstellar? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments!
Last night I saw the Broadway production Of Mice and Men starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd. I wish I could tell you that I was in New York and watched a live production, but alas that is not the case. First of all this play finished it’s run on July 27th, this past summer. No, I watched a screening of the play thanks to National Theater Live. I watched it at my local AMC theater although I’ve seen other plays through them at the Angelika. NTL films each production in front of a live audience in the theater. Cameras are placed throughout the auditorium to make sure that the cinema goer gets an excellent view of the play. And I can attest to the fact that they do a wonderful job of making the play come alive for a cinema audience. It is a wonderful service they provide as well, bringing the best of London and Broadway to audiences who would never otherwise have the opportunity to see such productions. The ticket price was $12.50, comparable to a movie ticket price and although I’ve not yet had an opportunity to see a play on Broadway or London’s West End, I’m sure that is much less expensive than those ticket prices!
This production played at the Longacre Theater in New York and was directed by Anna D. Shapiro. If you are unfamiliar with Of Mice and Men, it was written by Nobel and Pulitzer prize winning author John Steinbeck. I have to admit that I was a bit unsure of wanting to see this particular production because I’ve always been very “meh” about James Franco. I love the story and I didn’t want to see something that would be disappointing. However I love Chris O’Dowd and although I’ve never seen him in anything other than a comedic role, I know that comedy is much harder to play and get right than anything else and if you are great at comedy you are most likely great at drama as well. This movie is set during the depression era and the dialogue, mores, and attitudes reflect that. It is very much a period piece, but one that I believe resonates with issues still around today.
James Franco plays George and Chris O’Dowd plays Lennie. They are a couple of laborers moving from job to job, making just enough money to get by, but never able to break out of their position in life. Part of the reason for that is Lennie, who is clearly mentally disabled. It is unclear what the nature of that disability is, but Lennie is basically a gentle giant, but clearly unknowing of his own strength. He loves to pet soft things and often hurts them because he doesn’t know how to control his strength. He is always remorseful, but remembering is not easy for him so he doesn’t learn. George and Lennie have known each other since childhood and look out for each other, although George does most of the looking out. But woe to anyone who tries to hurt George. James Franco was fine as George. He brought an intensity to the role that worked well and he very convincingly played both his frustration at having to deal with Lennie and the problems he caused, as well as his very obvious affection for him. I enjoy seeing an actor that I was “meh” about doing so well in a role. Chris O’Dowd was wonderful as Lennie. He absolutely portrayed a man with mental disabilities without ever coming even close to caricature. He was very funny in his manipulation of getting what he wanted from George. I’ve worked with kids with disabilities and I can tell you that while they may not be as “smart” as most of the population they can be quite gifted in using what they do have to get what they want, and Mr. O’Dowd portrayed that perfectly. His mannerisms and ticks were completely believable and his sincere sweetness, fear of those who may hurt him alongside his fearsome strength and inability to control that strength when afraid were fantastic to watch. George and Lennie have a dream that sustains them. They will save enough money to buy a small parcel of land with a small house where they can raise their own vegetables, have a few chickens and cows and live off the “fat of the land.” And there would be a rabbit hutch and Lennie would get to tend to the rabbits. That is very important to Lennie and one of the things George uses to help Lennie remember what he needs him to. Of course two men traveling together raises some eyebrows and there is more than one reference to the two of them being gay made by some of the characters at their new ranch job. There is never an obvious answer given to that assertion. George never says one way or the other. And while I’ve never gotten that kind of vibe from the book or productions I’ve seen, including this one, I know that people’s perceptions are very different and that may be a conclusion they make. Either way it makes no difference to the story or the connection between these two men.
Other standouts in the cast include Jim Norton as Candy, an old one-handed ranch hand who fears being put out into the cold when he’s no longer able to “swamp out” the bunk house. When Lennie forgets and speaks about he and George’s dream of their own place in front of Candy, Candy offers the $250 he was given as compensation for the loss of his hand in a ranch accident to help buy a place if they will let him join them. Jim Norton was excellent in this role. His helplessness, anguish and uncertainty in the face of being old and soon no longer useful, with no one to take care of him was heartbreaking. And his joy at maybe having a place to retire was infectious. Leighton Meester played Curly’s wife. Curly is a ranch hand with a bad attitude and is constantly accusing the other hands of giving his wife the “eye”. I find it interesting that Curly’s wife is not even given a name in the play when the black man, who is not allowed to sleep in the bunkhouse with the other men or eat with them because he is black has a name. He is called Crooks because of his crooked back. The racism in this play is strong, casual and normal for the time. Yet a woman character who is absolutely pivotal to the story is not even allowed a name while a man of color, who is treated like less than a person is given one. Gives one pause. I’ve heard of Leighton Meester, but never actually seen anything she was in. She did a nice job playing Curly’s wife. That character is often accused of being bad and directly responsible for the tragedy that occurs, but I see her as a young woman in a bad marriage to a nasty man, trapped in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do and no one to talk to. She is desperately looking for a connection with somebody. Anybody. She is called a tart because she is always wandering into the ranch hand’s bunkhouse or into the barn, places where a woman shouldn’t be. She defends herself saying she just wants to talk to somebody and she is demonized for wanting to make a connection with other people. The problem of women taking the blame for the actions of men still persists with rape culture as a perfect example of that. It is too often viewed as the woman’s fault if she is raped rather than the blame being placed squarely where it belongs, on the rapist. And women are too often told they should modify themselves and their behavior to avoid rape rather than yet again placing the blame on rapists. Ms. Meester did a great job playing a young girl who needed connection with someone, but not understanding how to go about getting it in a world extremely limited for women and one that so often crushed their dreams. Her encounter with a scared and shaken Lennie was very powerful, both of them excited to be interacting, neither of them understanding each other at all or the consequences of that.
The rest of the cast was very good as well and supported the main players and the story with believable characters. The devastating and emotional ending to the play had me in tears and affected not only the audience, because most of the cast had tears in their eyes even during the curtain call. In fact I’ve had tears in my eyes writing about much of this. One cool thing was Candy’s old dog came back on stage after everyone but Jim Norton had left and got a huge applause. As of now National Theater Live is only showing last night’s showing of this play on their website but I know they usually do encore showings of the plays they broadcast. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys good theater, good movies, excellent storytelling and acting. You can find National Theater Live here where you can get email updates of upcoming shows or follow them on Twitter here or Facebook here to get updates. Have you seen a broadcast from National Theater Live? Would you be willing to watch a play through this venue? Let me know in the comments!
We all have a little voice in our heads. One that that can be critical or complementary, fear-inducing or courageous, bitter or joyful, grim or hopeful. Do you listen to the voice in your head? If you do, do you listen correctly? I do and I don’t, both rightly and wrongly and this is a tale of both. Please understand however, that I’m not talking about a voice that insists you harm yourself or others. If that is happening please speak to someone you trust or you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or visit this Healthy Place web site that has numbers and links to various resources for mental health help. There is never any shame in asking for help and there are so many people willing and able to help you.
So my first story is a tale of not listening to my little voice and the consequences of that. I took my bathroom scales out of my closet Sunday morning a week ago and placed it on the hard floor in the hall between my closet and sink area. I had just woken up and I weighed myself (once a week only, any more than that is crazy making) then got dressed and started my day. I had lots of chores to do around my apartment that day. I walked past those scales five or six times during the day and every time I did, EVERY TIME I did, my little voice said, oops, forgot to put that away, better do that. Or, Really? You still haven’t put that away yet? Or, you’d better put that away or you’re going to stub your toe. Keep in mind, I was busy. Doing laundry, changing sheets, vacuuming, etc. so I kept answering my little voice with, yep I’d better put that away. Every time I walked past it. So, it got dark and I was on my last load of laundry so I was going to my closet to get some hangers. I didn’t turn on the bedroom light, since I know the room by heart, just planning to turn on the light in the closet and walking along at a brisk pace, ready to be done, and you guessed it. I hit those heavy metal bathroom scales with my right foot and well, I’ll spare you the details of my colorful language, but let me just say it hurt. You know, the bright, sharp flare of pain when you know it’s probably a bit worse than a stub. I hobbled, cussing, to turn on a light and found that I’d ripped my big toenail almost completely off. It was standing straight up. I have a picture I took, but I’ve found most people are too squeamish to look, so I’ll spare you. I tried to push it back down, but oh my goodness that hurt. So I thought I’ll trim it down, but it moved too much when I tried and oh my goodness did THAT hurt. One of my sons helpfully suggested I pull it the rest of the way off, actually he said, “just rip it off mom” but where it was still attached, it was really attached. I slowly came to the conclusion that I was going to have to have a medical professional take care of it as I was just not going to be able to handle it myself. Of course it was 8:30 on a Sunday night, and there was no way I was going to be able to wait for my doctor on Monday. And the thought of visiting a busy ER and waiting hours was very unappealing. I ended up going to a small “boutique” ER that had opened up nearby. All they do is take emergencies and they are full service so they can even take trauma cases. Anyway, I was able to get seen immediately so that was great. The nurse took one look at my toe and grimaced, then said, I’m usually really stingy with pain meds, but I’m going to give you a shot for that. Whatever she gave me wasn’t very strong, because I’m a lightweight when it comes to stuff like that, but it did help with the intense throbbing. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when the nurse asked if I’d traveled out of the country in the last 21 days, though. I guess that’s going to be a question every time we visit a doctor now. Anyway, the doctor comes in and says he can push the nail down and wrap it, but the nail was just going to come off anyway, so I said go ahead and just take it off. He told me he would numb the toe and it would take about 10 min. for that to take effect. When he came at my toe with a very long needle, the nurse came over and took my hand. I was thinking that was not a good sign. And let me just tell you, pain shot or no, a doctor sticking a long needle deeply into various parts of your already traumatized toe is not something you want to experience. Seriously. I was proud of myself because I stayed still, didn’t cry and didn’t swear, but I also didn’t breath. I did watch though. I find it’s easier to watch that stuff than close my eyes, because I can SEE what’s causing the pain and it makes it a bit less scary in a way. So after the 10 minutes the doc came back, but I could still feel it somewhat. He kept putting a bit of pressure and checking my reaction all the while talking to me. I knew what he was doing, he was very slowly pulling it off while distracting me and it worked. He stopped when I grimaced, then started again. It probably only took a couple of minutes for him to get it off. He asked me if I wanted to keep the nail, but I was quite happy for it to go into the trash can. I guess some people like to keep things like that, but I just don’t know where I’d keep a whole toenail. So, I’ve had a very sore, very ugly toe for over a week now. It’s finally starting to feel better and the nail bed has quit oozing and seeping and has finally scabbed over. The doc said it would take about a year for the nail to completely grow back. All because I ignored a very pragmatic and prescient voice in my head. Lesson learned, though!
My next tale is also about ignoring the voice in my head and the very different consequences. A bit of background first, would probably be helpful. When I started an office job and a commute a few years back I ended up gaining quite a bit of weight. I’d always been on my feet a lot, but I was never an athlete or even an exerciser. In fact, I hate to exercise. Oh, taking long leisurely walks or going for an occasional swim were fine, but I’d never, ever exercised regularly. And I’d never needed to. I’d always been slim and I’m tall so it was fine. Until I sat at a desk all day and in my car a couple of hours a day. And then did the weight start creeping up. And up. Well, I finally got sick of it and completely changed my eating patterns and I started exercising regularly. Notice I didn’t say I went on a diet. They don’t work. You will lose the weight and gain it back when you stop the “diet.” I know, been there done that. You have to learn a way to eat that is sustainable for you. But all of that is for another post. Long story short, I lost a lot of weight by changing my lifestyle (eating habits and exercise habits). But here in the last few weeks I’ve noticed my weight starting to creep up again. I’ve also noticed that I’m really lagging on my exercising. I just have not been keeping up with it regularly enough. Remember, I’ve always hated to exercise. So I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’ve not been following through lately, even though I really enjoy feeling so much better and having my slim body back, and the answer is boredom. I’ve just been bored silly with my exercise routine and I also believe my body has gotten used to it and it’s not giving me the same good results. So I did what I did when I first started and began researching options. I found a program that looked like something that might work for me. You work out three times a week, very intensely for just 15 minutes rotating through different exercises using your own body weight. Things like push-ups, squats and lots of others as well. However, you are supposed to push very hard, rest when you feel you need to and then continue again pushing hard. You do a different routine each day of the 3 days you workout each week for 3 weeks and then switch to a different set for three weeks and you do it for nine weeks. At the end of the nine weeks you start again, hopefully able to work even harder for longer. There is a beginner, intermediate and advanced person in each workout so you have someone to watch that matches your level. So, what did my little voice tell me about this program? Well, 15 minutes three times a week is awesome. Very hard to tell yourself you don’t have time to do that. But the intensity scared me. Remember, I’m not an exerciser and I’m not very strong. There are tons of push-ups for example and even doing girl push-ups I can’t do very many. And even though it said that it is actually helpful the more you rest because then you can push yourself harder when you’re ready to go again, I was dubious. My voice just kept telling me, it’s going to be too hard for you. You’ll purchase the program and quit because it will be too hard for you. You are not athletic, it will be too hard for you. You are too old, you are too weak, you are too, too, too whatever. My little voice was very insistent that I would not be able to handle this program. Don’t do it. DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! Well, I’ve heard that “you can’t do this” voice in my head my whole life and for the most part, any more, I answer back, well I’ll never really know unless I try. So I bought the program. And then had to put it off for a week because I ripped my toenail off. But my toe felt well enough to start this morning so I did. And it kicked my ass. In fact the whole time I was doing it, I kept thinking I’m resting more than I’m working, how can this help? But at the same time, I was resting because I was genuinely out of breath and my muscles were burning. I was dripping sweat. And it was finished in 15 minutes. The program recommends a cool down of stretching or a walk afterwords in order to bring down your cortisol levels (stress hormones) so I did some gentle bouncing on my rebounder for an additional 15 minutes and by the time I was done I felt great. Definitely felt as if I’d had a workout, but my heart rate was normalized and I felt like I’d worked hard but did not overdo it. I’m now looking forward to the new set in a couple of days. And the best part is, I know I will get stronger. Heck, maybe I’ll eventually be able to do regular sit-ups! All because I ignored the voice in my head. Although I did listen when it told me it was time to rest. I don’t want to overdo it and hurt myself!
So two tales of ignoring the voice in my head with two very different lessons. I think the issue is really one of discernment. That little voice is really just trying to keep you safe. Sometimes it knows what it’s talking about and sometimes it doesn’t. And as sentient beings we have a choice about whether we choose to listen or even believe what that voice is telling us. If it is a fearful voice telling us to be terrified of Ebola coming to the U.S. we have a choice. We can get the facts, understand how Ebola is spread, realize the likelihood of contracting it are minuscule and move on, or we can give in to the fear and restrict our lives. I mean we do it everyday. Something like 40,000 American’s die in car accidents every year. But we get into our cars and drive where we need to without a thought. Because we’ve made the decision that the need to get where we need to go is worth the risk. Living is risky, if you think about it. So what we all need is a little discernment in figuring out if that little voice is truly protecting us or holding us back from living fully. Of course what that is will be different for everyone. And that’s ok. It’s your voice, your choice. Have there been times you wished you’d listened to your little voice, or ignored it? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!
I visited the Dallas Arboretum today and while it was not my first visit, it was my first time to visit in the fall. It was mostly sunny and a chilly 48 degrees and absolutely beautiful. The Arboretum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and we arrived just before 10:00 am. While there were quite a few people there at that time, it was still quiet enough that many of the paths were very quiet and peaceful. By the time we left at around 12:30 pm it was starting to get much more crowded. Arboretum admission is $15.00 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for children 3-12 and 2 and under are free. Parking is $10.00. There are also yearly memberships available with many perks that go along with that including free parking, unlimited visits and members only events. The best part about visiting in the fall is the Tom Thumb pumpkin patch that has over 65,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds in its Pumpkin Village. I could talk all day about how beautiful the Dallas Arboretum is and how lovely it is to be able to walk in such lush gardens in the middle of the city, but as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words. I hope you enjoy the fruits of my iPhone camera!
Click on a picture to enlarge.
Samsara is a non-verbal documentary by filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson that was shot on 70mm and later output to digital. It was released in 2011. The movie was filmed in 25 countries and took five years to complete. Samsara literally means ‘wandering on’ or basically birth, death and rebirth. I expect that what this film leaves you with depends, at least in part, on your knowledge and/or feelings about the religions or belief systems that espouse reincarnation. I’m frankly at a bit of a loss as to how to describe this film. There are no words spoken in the entire film and my reactions to it were not really thought but rather felt. This movie is extremely beautiful, mesmerizing, thought provoking, disturbing, cringe-inducing, can’t take my eyes off of it art. There were moments that left me breathless at its beauty and moments that disturbed me profoundly. There were a couple of moments that freaked me out a bit and a couple that left me shaking my head at their randomness. I have a feeling that depending on a person’s perceptions and points of view and beliefs, what they find most beautiful and what they find most disturbing will differ. My most lasting impressions are of vivid color, frank amazement at the beauty of this planet, horror at some of the things and ideals so many hold dear as well as the costs of those things, and the love and beauty that can be found in even the most difficult places. It’s that dichotomy of “oh my god, we’re doomed” and “love always finds a way, maybe we’ll be ok” set against the impermanence of life and the things we cherish, that make this film so fascinating. The amazing diversity of the people and cultures on our planet are wondrous to behold and the filmmakers give us a vivid peek at many of them. Samsara is available on Netflix, which is where I watched it. I highly recommend this movie, no matter your tastes or beliefs, as I believe everyone would find something to enjoy about it.