Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Sat Dec 13 10:51:31 EST 2008
> >I just knew you were going to be a smartass James.. I just knew it! ;)
Glad to be consistent.
> >So, James, tell me how you would go about losing 50 pounds with
> stretching, flexibility and weight training exercises over the period of
> a year's time?
Well, you usually have to buy my course of 28 motivational CD's but since I
like you, I'm going to tell you the secret right here.
Recall my take on the use of money on the homestead where I opined that we
are conditioned by our current culture to reach for money for every problem.
BUT if we examine almost any situation there will be a money way to address it
AND a non-money way. Always go for the non-money way.
Then let there be no surprise that my answer to you is that in every
homestead task, project, or daily and ordinary goings on, there is always a stretch
way to do it and a non-stretch way. There is a movement way to do it and a
non-movement way. Culture and society indoctrinates us that the stretching and
moving is bad, always bad, sort of a personal failure and we should without
deliberation and even without conscious thought choose the non-stretch and
So due to lack of movement, lack of stretching, and most of all, lack of
mindfulness of those things, we become old, seized up, and inflexible far before
This is a true story. Back when the tribe was somewhat younger, we
frequented homeschool meetings. Most of the parents showing up were women though not
all. There seemed to be no women of medium build in the group. All were
either slim, nubile women or rather obese. I observed. The meetings were most
often held at parks. The thin women would bound out of their vehicles, whip
around to the other doors and helf the children disgorge from their seats. They
would flitter about makign sure all the food and books and all sorts of things
they'd brought were in order, and then they would get together in a gaggle
and begin the most amusing animated talking. Arms would flail about
illustrating every word, they were constantly shifting from foot to foot and doing a sort
of dance all the while. When a mother would pick out that peep or sigh from
their particular child from out of the joyful cacophony as only mothers can,
these women would flash there in an instant and then in the second instant be
back doing that animated interpretive dance on how to make a chocolate cake ...
buring up far more calories in the describing of it than they were likely to
consume in eating it.
The other women were a study in non-movement. They would get out of their
car and go to a bench in the fewest number of steps possible. Then they would
sit there like Buddha the whole time, often three hours or more, and never
move. When they spoke or opened a bag or folded a coat, it was done with the
least possible movement imaginable. When they heard their child cry out, the
called for the child to come to them.
When it came time to police the area before we left, the thin mothers would
be flitting between the table and the trash cans often making a separate trip
for every exta little bit of debris they'd notice. The large mothers
contemplated what was before them silently and without any movement at all until
finally when the non-movement way of things was clear to them, they made one trip,
on trip only, to the trash cans. Or else sent their children to do it.
This is my opinion, although I have good reason for holding it: A regularly
scheduled time and routine of stretching and exercise is doomed to failure,
especially for the homesteader. Look about you and find examples and paradigms
of the success of it. They are rare if they exist at all.
Rather though mindfulness be aware that in your every day life there is a
movement way and a non-movement way to do everything, there is a flexibility way
and a non-flexibiltiy way. Said examination of one's bias will reveal that
we are conditioned to the unconsciously choose the non-movement and
no-flexibility way. The trick, says I, is to change that and when given a choice (and
there is almost always a choice) choose the movement way to do something and the
When Herself had just had a child, she was horrified to find herself a
ponderous seven or eight pounds overweight and she had a prounced case of sciatic
nerve that many new mothers use as an excuse not to move a muscle. When she did
dishes, she stood at the sink and did a sort of hula dance the whole time.
Within a short peroid of time both the pain and the pounds were gone.
There as a study (no, skeptics, I don't have a link) where office workers
were given identical diets and then for half of them an extra 200 calories were
slipped in unawares. Some of the workers with the extra calories gained
weight. The others were observed constantly fidgiting and squirming in their chairs
whereby they burned up the extra calories.
You mentioned Tai Chi of which I am a great fan. But working toward doing
the full form in a formal way will get you nowhere. Tai Chi is based on five
prinicples (in Chinese culture, everything comes in fives) slowness, lightness,
clarity, balance, and calmness. To get the benefits of the principles of Tai
Chi, they must be incorporated into your everyday life. The time to practice
"Grabbing the Bird's Tail" is not during a formal, set aside Tai Chi time,
but rather then you are folding clothes, 'White Stork Flaps its Wings" when you
are picking up things from the floor, "Needle at the Bottom of the Sea" when
you are picking beans, "Carry Tiger, Push Mountain" when you are sweeping.
People who visit here want to try their hand at the luddite's tasks. They
grab the buck saw in a fury and mithlessly hack at the wood with an expression
on their face that they would rather be anywhere but there and a look of total
relief when that piece of wood is done. We who live this life on a daily
basis, don't do that. Sawing requires slowness, lightness, clarity, balance, and
calmness. It is the sharpness of the saw that cuts the wood, not your arm and
shoulder. The blade is rocked forward on the push stroke and leaned back on
the pull stroke in a rounded circuit of motion. When the piece falls with a
'tock', there is a tiny pang of disappointment that the dance is over. Hoeing,
cutting with a scythe, pitching hay, spading garden beds, stooping to weed,
spliting wood, washing dishes, chopping vegetables all have their mirthless,
jerky, tense way of getting done. OR they have a graceful, rounded, flexible
way of being done.
So we can choose to get up every day and sigh within at the tasks we have to
do on the homestead and bemoan our advancing age and every shadow and prospect
of infrimity. We can look for the way of doing things that assuages and
flatters that point of view. Or else we can look at the opportunity for strength,
flexibility, balance, and 'wa'. We can experience TaiChi-like balance and
rounded movent of splitting wood with an ax or else deteriorate while the
hydrolic wood splitter does it in an inelegant way.
In Dinsey's Mulan the chorus of one of the songs says it:
We must be swift as the coursing river
With all the force of a great typhoon
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon
So I will suggest to you, Bev, that my recommendations are not 'vague' at
all. They are mysterious.
More information about the Homestead