Thursday, February 10, 2011

Making Exercise Beautiful....Making the Time Exercising Useful to the Interior, not just Exterior....Looking for bliss, I guess...

Since I began walking due to the Phase 4, I've made an effort to make my time walking beautiful. It makes it pleasurable, even when my ankles are killing me:

~I try to find prettier streets in the neighborhood. Ones with trees or houses I enjoy looking at. I found a small enclave of Mi-Mo homes. It cheers me up.

~I think thoughts of healing. I talk to my joints and muscles. I ask my body to heal. I focus on proper posture, make small corrections with each step as needed. I focus on balance, a clear stride, on a beautiful posture.

~ I meditate on a piece of poetry or a haiku (small enough to focus) a bit of beautiful lyrics from a song or a Bible verse. I just let my mind play with the beauty of the words or thoughts.

~I pray. Sometimes, just for the people I pass. If I see an older person puttering in their yard with a cane in hand, I pray for their joints to be healed or free of pain and for their relatives not to forget them. If I see a lady who looks like she's rushing home from work with groceries, I pray for her to find ease in preparing her evening's meal and for her children to appreciate it. If I pass a tree that looks ailing, I pray for it to be rid of its pests. If it's rush hour, I pray for drivers to be safe. If I see another heavy person walking my route, I pray for them to get healthy and keep exercising and get home safely.

If there were a kyudo club in my area, I'd take it up. If find the practice aesthetically and meditatively beautiful. The ritual of it. The posture. The outfits. The actual weaponry. The focus. The gloves, even--and the 3-fingered glove when the hand is in shooting position, it's one of the most erotic things to me. Absolutely makes me kinda giddy. I find it entrancing, the way I find the movement of the feet in kendo entrancing The kyudo tradition of including serenity and beauty and unity, even when using a dangerous thing (bow and arrow), ravishes me.

Taisen Deshimaru in The Zen Way to the Martial Arts (1982) wrote:
Who releases the arrow? When is it released? When body and consciousness are one and perfectly detached; then the arrow flies freely to its target. The shooting stance is also important; it must be beautiful, harmonious -- both inside and outside the body.

I sometimes am in a nice zone in Pilates where my interior is as busy and productive as my exterior, but sometimes, I'm just telling myself, "Yes yes, you can do this, can get through this, breathe in, breathe out, you're a warrior..GAH!"


But walking, when I start with pain (hips) and end sometimes with pain (ankles, knees) has a pace and duration that allows me to just be within myself and with my body in a strange sort of way that, yes, can be amazingly cosmic and expansive.

I don't like making walking about counting steps. I count calories and I keep a time frame for exercise, but the walking itself...I just want to BE and BECOME. If that's Zen, fine. If that's spiritual, fine.

I just want exercise to become something so beautiful I cannot live without it. I want movement to bring me crazy pleasure, delirious pleasure. I want to end up seeing it as a joy.

So, this is one way.

How do YOU do your walking? Do you find ways to make exercising beautiful and pleasurable and not just utilitarian?

I'd like to know...


Karen Butler Ogle said...

You are lucky to have a beautiful place to walk. Right now, it is too cold for me to walk outside so I'm using the treadmill. It isn't a lot of fun. However, when spring gets here, my neighborhood is very nice and I can enjoy the sunshine and seen the children playing in their yards and some of the neighbors walking or biking or roller blading around driveways. I also like to meditate while I walk. I'm still reading a book about Mindfulness and it is similar to what you are talking about. There is an exercise called Mindful Walking but it has to be done freely and not on a treadmill. I can't wait to try it when the weather is better. It is the practice of walking while maintaining your mental and emotional center. :)

Suzan said...

Great inspiring post, as usual. I do a lot of praying when I walk. When the weather gets warmer, I like to walk along the river. Although there are a lot of people doing the same thing, I put on my music and get into my own zen moment. I wish our nicer neighborhoods had sidewalks. I'm in the 'burbs, lol. I too also appreciate the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty, harmony and serenity in all things.

Anne H said...

Like feeding yourself. Your hand just "knows" what to do.
Awesome and beautiful! You are one smart lady.

Diandra said...

We've got the woods starting right behind our flat, and I settled for a nice loop way of approx. 6.5km. While walking, I take my time to enjoy nature and try to be aware of the things that are changing through the year... It's also the time when I will talk to "my" Goddess and sort through all the things inside my head, so I usually end up home about an hour later with a peaceful mind and rosy cheeks. ^^

gracies tough journey said...

Oh great post. I walk everyday at work and I walk thru the medical center and the out lying fields and parking lots. I know it doesn't sound pretty. But just getting out in the warm sun and soft breeze is awesome. I see the birds, the bunnies and it really makes my day.Gracie