week long challenge

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Week Thirteen: Wellness Goals

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Hello, blog world. As it turns out, I am alive. Would you like the standard excuses for my neglect? Work. College. Apathy. Forgetfulness.

But it’s okay. I have started an ongoing wellness challenge, which I realized, fits relatively well with my Roaring Twenties challenges. Wait, wellness? Yes, however hippie/new age it sounds, wellness.

Over the summer, I joined a wellness book club at my very health-conscious office. As part of the club curriculum, we read Wellness on a Shoestring Budget. The premise of this book is that everyone can live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of income or status. Dr. Michelle Robin describes seven categories that contribute to bodily health and inner wellness. Therefore, I have taken these categories and made three goals for each one. For the first two weeks (I’m on Day 9), my goal within the goals is to do one objective* from each category.

1. Rest, Reflect, Rejuvenate

This category focuses on restoring the body and the soul. It is meant to recharge your batteries, make you mindful of the world around you, and encourage you to be a little indulgent with yourself.

  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours a night
  • Appreciate a moment (for its beauty or the inspiration it brings you)
  • Take 10 minutes a day for YOU

2. Breathe Deeply

Breathing helps us relax. It calms our body and mind. It delivers oxygen to your organs and muscles. It’s just plain refreshing.

  • Breathe deeply…when waking.
  • Breathe deeply…when stressed.
  • Breathe deeply…when falling asleep.

3. Move Your Body

Our bodies need to move. We need to exercise our muscles, less we become stagnant. I mean, we’ve all seen the New Year’s Resolution commercials. Yay, exercise.

  • Practice good posture
  • Get up and move every 45 minutes
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day

4. Free Your Space

Clutter, whether physical or mental, causes anxiety. Anxiety hurts our body and our minds.

  • Keep desks organized
  • Keep rooms organized
  • Resolve mental clutter

5. Go for the Greens

Green veggies are one of the best sources of nutrients. And, as anyone can tell you, healthy eating habits are probably a good idea.

  • Control portion sizes (aka, stay in your skinny jeans)
  • Eat a veggie at each meal
  • Drink one green smoothie per week (This objective will be substituted shortly, because, despite their health benefits, I just can’t do it. Gross.)

6. Eat from the Sea & Enjoy the Sun

Fish have Omega-3s, which are probably the key to immortality. Okay, that might be a stretch, but they’re good for everything from heart care to preventing cancer. The sun gives you Vitamin-D, Vitamin-D makes you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t. (Bonus points for anyone who can name that movie)

  • Eat one tbsp of flax seed each day (non-fish source of Omega-3s)
  • Spend 10-15 minutes in the sun each day
  • Eat a green vegetable each day (another good source of Omega-3s; this goal may need to be substituted as well)

7. Drink to Your Health

  • Drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Drink room temperature water (cold water restricts the esophagus)
  • Do not drink 30 minutes before/after a meal (water dilutes necessary digestive juices)

Overall,  I think I am doing a relatively good job of accomplishing my goals. Some of them are already habitual (Free Your Space), while others are quickly becoming so (sleeping 7-9 hours and drinking enough water). It may just be placebo effect, but I truly believe that I have already noticed a change (albeit subtle) in my health. Taking time to rest, breathe, and drink water have given me more energy (most days), and I tend to wake up feeling refreshed, rather than sluggish. I also pee a lot more, but that’s between me and my kidneys.

I still have a long way to go. Some goals need to be substituted for ones that don’t offend my taste palate. I need to figure out how to motivate myself to exercise (which is laughable considering my history with exercising and the “definite” lack of time in my schedule — yes, in the rock/paper/scissors of life, college trumps all excuses). However, I’m pleased with the progress that I’m making, and if nothing else…

It can’t hurt.

For a more technical analysis of why these things are healthy, click on the book name from the opening paragraph or refer to your favorite search engine.

*Bolded objectives denote objectives that I have accomplished every single day.

Week Twelve: Write One Poem Each Day

Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

I forgot how much I needed this, writing, that is.

I went into this week’s challenge with two distinct mindsets: A) This is going to be absolutely horrible and embarrassing and B) I need this, who gives a shit if I can’t write right now!

You see, poetry and I have an interesting relationship. I went to college with the idea that I wanted to be a novelist, not a poet. After taking two poetry courses, I found that I like the genre and that I’m not completely incapable of writing it. However, I’m usually not one of those people who just “spouts” poetry. You won’t find me lounging under the stars with a bottle of wine and spewing out romantic observations of the infinite beauty of the universe. That’s just not who I am – I’m too analytical and gritty for that nonsense.

In class, writing poetry is easy. It doesn’t really come from me. The professor gives me a topic. I give her a few stanzas, keeping everything clear, concise, and comprehensible. Most of the time, I play it safe. For me, each piece I write (however detached I think I am from it) contains a little piece of my soul, and sometimes I really don’t want academia dissecting it.

The exception to my cautious-ness came in the form of a “choice” poem (aka – no topic, do whatever the hell you want). I paced the floor for hours, trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to say. To me, writing (and all art) needs to have a purpose, needs to do something – either for the artist, the audience, or the world. So there I was, bitching about my lack of freedom and simultaneously incapable of doing anything with it.

I got mad at myself. And in typical fashion, I thought about writers and lyricists that inspire me. All of my favorite writers have a very important aspect in common: they all take a position or a piece of themselves and wrap it up in a metaphor, one that relates to everyone, but that very few people fully understand (as far as the writer’s intention is concerned).

So that’s what I did then, and I loved the result. Not only did I like the poem, but I liked how it made me feel to write it – inspired, empowered, and happy. Therefore, when my world came crashing down a little over a week ago, I decided to check myself into creative rehab for a week. Some of these poems are the metaphors I love. Some are extremely literal. But each one taught me something about myself, and each one contains a little piece of me.

In case you’ve been in the dark, here are the results of my challenge:

  1. Wednesday – A Poem about Loss and Friendship
  2. Thursday – I Am Emma Bovary
  3. Friday – Pet Peeves
  4. Saturday – The Problem with Society
  5. Sunday – Perception
  6. Monday – Oasis
  7. Tuesday – If I Am the Ocean

If I Am the Ocean

Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Chasing Neptune
If I am the ocean, with caverns
deep and unexplored, with waves
only a ripple of my world’s shifts, with creatures
who have never seen
light
 
you are the sky,
 
hovering above me: always looming,
ever lurking – sometimes forgotten,
but never gone.
 
I am your victim.
 
Sunny, you suck up my waters,
and I dry the throats
of millions. Rainy,
you fill me up, and I wash away
sheets of rock. Windy,
you churn my belly, and I drown
Japanese fishermen.
 
You hold my sun, dragging it
over my waves, trickling
golden glitter across their tips.
You hold my moon, gliding it
across my surface, painting
me black.
 
If I am the ocean,
seemingly bottomless,
you are the sky,
infinitely boundless.
 
If I am the ocean,
cerulean blue,
you are the sky,
powder blue – a pale,
 
shallow reflection
of my own colors,
                     my own soul.
 
Without me, no child
would ask of you, no sunset
would change you, no one
would see you.
 
Without me, you wouldn’t
exist.

Oasis

Published Monday, July 2, 2012 by Chasing Neptune
Sand, rock, warm-bellied
critters – I cannot see the border
of the desert. West ended in a broken
camera lens. North ended in a wooden
cross.
South never began.
 
Dare I go East?
I do.
 
And I find it. My oasis.
 
Grass tickles up my ankles to
my belly. Palm trees lean
over me, offering shade, relief,
protection. Cool waters wash
the dust
off
      my
            bones.
 
I open my eyes. Still miles away,
my oasis, lurking against the skyline.
I take one step, smell green fronds
and fresh algae. I take two steps,
smell burnt sand and reptilian
peels.
 
Heat waves, from earth and sun,
intertwine. My oasis shimmies
and shimmers. Can I see through the air,
hot and trembling,
to my turquoise paradise?
 
Or is it merely a mirage,
as close to my hands
as it is to the horizon?

The Problem with Society

Published Saturday, June 30, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

They built their home up,

one speck at a time – wax, salt,

dirt.

She built herself up,

one word at a time – witty, creative,

beautiful.

They worked every day: diggers tunneling,

scavengers hunting, the queen

breeding.

She worked every day: reading Jane Austen,

painting mason jars, framing ocean

eyes.

He crushed them in one motion,

foot flattening the hill, big toe

twisting into the dirt – nothing left

but the stamp of a sole.

He crushed her in one motion,

analytical eyes scanning her figure, slick

tongue dripping his poison – nothing left

but the stamp of a soul.

Friends high-fived him, pulled out

magnifying glasses to burn

off the homeless survivors.

Friends high-fived him, flicked

cigarette buds at her to burn

off the last of her courage.

How can we love each other,

when we are taught

to crush anthills?

Pet Peeves

Published Friday, June 29, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Screeching styrofoam – dry icebergs

grinding against each other, dandruff

flakes falling on the floor.

Illiterate idiots – pushing shopping carts

out of Walmart entrances,

into the exits.

Seatbelt alarms – blaring from Ford Focuses

and binging from Toyota Yarises, the second

the car is in drive.

180-degree conversationalists – I just started a new acne

medication/I have this one huge pimple, Frank’s car

broke down/My car is a piece of crap, Bob just lost

his job/I wish I could quit mine.

White lies – membership dues and rent

are all you have to pay, you could totally pass

for twenty-one, you did all you could

to save him, you have no place

in my future, I miss

you.

*Still quite rough, but I like this topic. It’ll be fun to polish off when I’m not exhausted.

I Am Emma Bovary

Published Friday, June 29, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

I would be happy…

in Lawrence – constructible

cupcakes, graffiti coffee shops, space

cat comic stores, hipster shoes

and antique malls.

I would be happy…

in Jersey – boxcar diners, second-hand

Italian food, big apple skylines,

grungy dive bars, El Toro

and Kingda Ka.

I would be happy…

in Florence – Pizza Margherita,

Carrara marble God, golden paradise

doors, panoramic piazzales, lovers’

locks and rusty keys.

I would be happy…

anywhere

but here, everywhere

but here, no where

but here.

In case you are not familiar with the work, this piece was inspired by the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. The protagonist, Emma Bovary, believes that happiness comes from location, thus the idea behind this poem. I also find it important to note (as I neglected to last night) that these poems are a part of my Week 12 Challenge, which is to write one poem per day. Two down, five to go!

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