Friday, July 30, 2010

Lucy's Revenge kickoff paddle

July 10, 2010

It was an honor to be a part of Keith and Sharon's kickoff of the Lucy's Revenge Paddling Project. The paddle was the same path as the Battle on the Bayou -- started at Gulf Hills Hotel and ended at the Shed. Doug and I did a shortened version of it, going up halfway and heading back, saving the logistical difficulties of a one-way trip.

I had some thoughts about this intriguing concept that Keith came up with, to embark on a physical journey involving fitness of the body, in order to connect with a mental/emotional/spiritual inspiration involving fitness of the mind. Alzheimer's... a particularly damaging disease of the brain, but just like the body -- can suffer devastating afflictions, or small deteriorizations. Mental fitness is so important. Those of us who get caught up in physical fitness sometimes forget to tend to the mind. Feed it, use it, care for it, nurture it... Your mind and your body need each other and make up YOU.

Related thoughts. Tyler was telling me about adrenaline and how it makes your mind work faster, explaining the slow-motion feeling when you're in the midst of a crisis. Makes me wonder if a lower level of adrenaline is kicking in when I ride my bike, fast pace ride in a paceline when you are so alert at all times. Just afterwards, things seem to move in slow motion. As I'm driving home, everyone is in my way. At home, I trip over the dog... somehow she isn't as quick as usual. I wait for D or T at the sink or refrigerator, why are they taking so long? Everything seems slow. Maybe my brain waves take a while to settle back into a normal pattern.

The mental and the physical. Keith put in his blog "Whatever mental filing or head-work needed to organize a persons hustle and bustle life, it has been my experience that out on the water is not the place to do it. I simply can't. There's too much else to think about. Being on the water strips things down to the bare, meaningful essentials. There is plenty of time for thought, plenty of time for discussion, plenty of time for prayer and meditation. But, no time for false worries, or self imposed problems. It's time for refocusing away from such things." I love this thought and how he expressed it. How true this is of paddling, bike riding, running, hiking... anything where you get away and your activity demands that you focus on it. It's a forced break from what normally weighs you down. I have so many thoughts to keep track of -- things to do at work, issues, lists of things I need to buy, appointments to make and things to arrange, needs of my family, groceries, home care, correspondence, etc. etc. So nice to take breaks from that load.

One more related thought. I haven't seen the movie "The Hurt Locker" but I saw the 60 minutes segment on it a few weeks ago. It's about how the EOD soldier becomes so addicted to the danger and rush of his job that it's the only way he can function. Is it a similar adrenaline-high addictive quality that leads us back to high intensity physical activities? Or is it the shifting of priorities that Keith talked about -- how it pushes the more trivial (but real) priorities and problems aside because it demands that you focus on HERE AND NOW?

Our minds drive our bodies. Experiences and memories are really what the fitness activities are about. The whole idea of the Alzheimer's Paddling Project sounded like a mismatch the first time I saw it.... but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes.

Hope to paddle again with Keith and Sharon as their journey continues.

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Occasional Paddle

Yes, not too much blogging going on from Anna lately. I admit it -- the kayak suffers rejection at the hands of the bike. The blog is ignored in favor of Facebook.

But today -- I must blog today! It is the 5th anniversary of this blog. First entry was July 3, 2005. 5 years ago there was no Facebook, and I did not have a bike. 5 years ago was before Hurricane Katrina. 5 years ago I found kayaking, and through it I found... how do I say it? I found out how to make myself happy and do what I love to do. Really and truly, before that I did not know how to get into an activity and enjoy it. Dale was amazed at how I took to it, looked forward to it, planned to kayak, came back happy... he had never seen that before in me. Not saying I wasn't happy or didn't enjoy life, but the ability to recognize something you love and pursue it, with a combination of indulgence and intensity, enjoying the rewards and allowing it to propel you further into your passion... this is what I was missing, and what I first found through kayaking. It changed my life in such an important way. Like the saying goes, who gets to the end of their life and says "I wish I had spent more time at work"? It's the people in your life and the things you love to do that should fill your available time.

So tonight's paddle was a simple trip with mom across the bay. Not a spectacular sunset, but the evening breeze and the water were oh so nice.
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