If you’ve read some of my posts from recent months, you know I’ve been making life changes in an effort to be a happier, healthier person. Some changes have been more drastic than others, but all have been welcomed changes.
Among them is the now regular inclusion of meditation. This isn’t one of the drastic changes; merely a concerted effort to take time – to make time – to sit quietly, focus my thoughts inward, and be at peace. Occasionally I will listen to music as I do this, but for the most part this is done in silence. The subtle rhythm of my pulse the only discernible sound as everything else drifts into the background.
Some of the more drastic changes are my attempts to be more physically active. Last weekend we had unseasonably warm weather here in OKC. As the temperature rose into the mid 60s, I was determined to get out and enjoy it. So for the first time in over 15 years, I got out my bike, and went for a ride. My lack of exercise was evident quickly, as after only 3 miles I found myself gasping for breath. The ride itself, however, was glorious: beautiful blue sky, the wind in me face, and the river-side view from the bike trail was well worth the effort. After a brief rest at the 3-mile mark, I turned around and rode home for a total distance of just under 6 miles. The next day, I really felt it in my legs and arms, and more than a little bit in my hands, but I can’t wait for the return of spring so I can get out more regularly for bike rides.
In addition to the bike, I’ve also begun adding some strength training, and core work to the mix. I may not be “obese” yet, but I have managed to begin developing a “beer gut” since having moved to OKC, and have gained some 30 pounds. So I am determined to get out in front of this trend before it gets too far.
My favorite change, however, is probably the least drastic…and the most enjoyable. I never would have predicted it, but I’ve become the guy who, on the weekends, gets up and puts on a robe, lounges with a cup of coffee, and writes. Now the writing part should come as no surprise. But I’ve never been one to wear a robe, and I’m definitely not a coffee drinker.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a matter of indulging the senses. The feel of the soft, blue flannel robe. The warmth of the sun coming in through the open blinds. (My blinds are, as a rule, closed because I’ve seen the Hitchcock classic, “The Rear Window,” too many times) The sound of whatever music strikes my mood that particular day. And the smell of a fresh cup of coffee. Again, I am NOT a coffee drinker. Never have been. For decades I have readily confessed to not enjoying the flavor of coffee. However, I absolutely *love* the aroma of coffee.
Last year I sent some coffee from a local OKC coffee house to a friend back home in Kalamazoo. She raved about it to such a degree, that I decided to try it myself. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. Not surprisingly, I loved the smell of it. It is called Purusha, by Elemental Coffee, and I bought a pound for myself. Now, “aromatherapy” is officially the use of essential oils extracted from plants (either inhaled, or used topically) in order to enhance both physical and mental well being. While my coffee may not officially qualify and “aromatherapy,” the scent of my coffee adds to the relaxing atmosphere, and therefore is very therapeutic.
So, along with my increased writing time, additional attempts at drawing, and overall devotion to indulging in more forms of art in general, the changes I’ve made in my life have indeed made me happier, more satisfied, and more centered. That is not to say the mission is accomplish, however, for there is no finish line. This is a constant journey. A never-ending work in progress. A path upon which I am quite pleased to tread.