Monday, August 24, 2009

Doin' things differently...can be time well spent!

Been away from the blog for a bit and nice to be back at this pleasurable discipline.

Two seagulls, along an early morning Oregon beach last week, seemed to be enjoying watching the crashing waves. The residual energy in the spent waves would swirl the sea water around their sturdy legs as the flow ran up the beach and back again to meet the next incoming wave. The gulls stood for the longest time, so apparently deep in thought? They did seem pensive. Were they mesmerized by the distant horizon and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean before them? Were they pondering their lives as seagulls and wondering what it might be like to be a sand crab or a sea lion or a passing grey whale or even one of these odd human beings excitedly running along the beach in his brand new "Vibram Five Fingers"!? (For another blog - smile!) Were the birds mulling over what they needed to do over the coming day? Or were they just chillin'? Whatever, they looked most relaxed and at peace and it seemed that it was time well spent for them.

Joan and I had been in Seattle for an event we had been looking forward to attending. It was our second Chi Running workshop and, once again, with instructor extraordinaire, Laura. I've blogged on this subject before. Chi Running, developed by ultra-runner Danny Dreyer, teaches mindful running and combines an understanding of physics and human biomechanics with the ancient wisdom of T'ai Chi. The result is more effortless and injury-free running - can't beat that! And it works. For thirty years, Joan and I have enjoyed recreational running but had (mostly me!) suffered the usual injuries - shin splints, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis - you name it, even some minor surgery for a torn meniscus that "ripped" during the Vancouver Marathon ten years ago - resulting in more (painful) time on the course than I would have liked. At some point, many (most) of us who enjoy running need to make a decision to either run smarter or simply find a new pastime! The workshop was time well spent.

Often, deciding to do the things we love, differently, is both time well spent and an amazing source of renewed and abundant energy for any number of activities. Chi Running, for example, is not just a running technique, it is also an attitude, that is expandable well beyond the sport of road or trail running. It teaches us to be open to new ways of doing things - and finding that we can often do these same things with even more enjoyment and greater ease!

Sometimes we're pretty resistant to change though. We hunker down and make lifestyle choices on the basis of the way we've always made them. We may continue to make food choices the way we always have, or expect to put in as many hours at the "office" as we once did. We may expect our usual exercise discipline (or lack of) to be still within the "best before date". It seems to me that as we journey through life we need to adapt to changing circumstances, changing bodies, and the increased access to new information and challenging ideas. This is all about discovering exciting new ways of doing things - smarter! But there are also competing influences out there.

According to a piece in today's Victoria Times Colonist, it seems that KFC (the old Kentucky Fried Chicken) has come up with "The Double Down". To quote the article, "the creation features a dollop of the Colonel's secret sauce wrapped in a slice of both Pepperjack Cheese and Swiss Cheese, between two slices of bacon and two filets of KFC original recipe chicken that serve as the 'bread' of the burger."

And, it's apparently getting "rave" reviews?!!!

Oh my, they've got to be kidding. Sorry if this sounds sanctimonious, but why would anyone knowingly eat what is calculated to be the equivalent of three Big Macs! Consuming in excess of 80 grams of fat and 3000 mg of sodium in a single meal? Sadly, the "rave reviews" will mean more clogged arteries, increased blood pressure, additional unhealthy weight, and a vulnerability to a plethora of ailments and disease.

This kind of product is "OLD school" and we are not so naive as the developers of the "Double Down" would like us to be. More is not better. Super-sizing is unnecessary. The dangers of saturated fat are well documented and widely published. Health care costs are sky high in areas of preventable illness and disease. The products of those who would create and sell such "foods" are serving only to shorten the lives of those they presumably target as consumers. We know we need to do things differently and make different decisions about the way we fuel our bodies. It has been suggested, that in view of the eating and exercise habits of our youth, we may be the first generation of North Americans who could outlive our own children! That must surely mean that it is time to do some things differently.

We need to take better care of ourselves. We need to be open to doing things differently so that we can continue to do the things we love, discover challenging new activities, and enjoy a quality of life that exudes vitality and energy. It is, after all, only with vitality and energy that we can work towards creating a better world together. As with the seagulls enjoying the swirling Pacific waters, it would seem to be time well spent.



  1. Hi Duncan,
    I am impressed that you could slow down enough to spend that much time contemplating what the seagulls may have been thinking about.
    Yes we all need to change things in our lives especially unhealthy ways of eating and living. It takes being mindful, planning and mostly a strong desire to make those changes.
    This blog has deepened a push I have been feeling to practice more self care for my body. After all we only have one! I shall try to remain open to opportunites for change. Someday I may even learn to love mushrooms and spinach!
    Thanks for sharing. L

  2. Hi L,
    I appreciate your comment and I think you’re absolutely correct. We *do* just have one body and it is from that body (with its infinite and diverse resources) that we operate. Those “ops” may have a physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual context – but the “body” (and not just its physical component) is the “base of operations”. Clearly, when one part of the body is harmed or is neglected, there are implications elsewhere – lots of them sometimes. Ingesting, for example, what amounts to “toxic substances” (like the hydrogenated fats in the “Double Down”), will result in a bunch of negative consequences elsewhere. Our bodies need good, nutricious “fuel”, that’s all, and they need to move. I think that many of our modern ills (emotional included), would vanish and we’d be happier and more productive if we just “moved” more!

    Oh yeah, I think you’ll be fine without the mushrooms and spinach – but don’t forget the ground flax and dulse! Haha. D.

  3. Can't wait to try the "Double Down", large fries with gravy, and chocolate milkshake! Do they sell poutine too? Mmmm. OK,OK, so I'm just kidding!

    John C

  4. No you're not, you probably ARE serious!