Monthly Archives: June 2013

june… is for jogging and jumping (says Joe)


When I first glanced over this first chapter, I thought, “got this” it doesn’t seem that hard or even that far out of my comfort zone.  The diet is somewhat close to what I eat already (…. Ummm most of the time… ) I am not a lover of junk food and after hitting 35, have mostly already moved away from greasy food out of preference more than direct intention or dieting. I looked over the exercise plan and was not horrified by it (there was no mention of the word “gym” which usually makes me nauseous.  The muscle memory exercises and the sensory awareness stuff all sounded pretty interesting to me.  No prob!

But wait! It then hit me, how am I suppose to think about all of this all of the time? How am I suppose to fit everything from playing guitar to jumping rope into my schedule and be intentional about what I shove into my mouth in the 20 minutes that I usually allot myself for lunch. Up until now, I really haven’t directly thought about or carefully planned any of these things in my day.

I have to say Joe, You may have without even knowing it, zeroed in very quickly on one of my biggest weaknesses… planning!  In order to fit all of these things into my life, not only am I going to have to think about each and every task but also figure out how to “structure” my week to do it all. For those of you who know me, you realize that creating structure, means killing spontaneity,  it’s something even more difficult for me than jogging (which is probably the second most difficult thing to ask me to do – good job Joe!) So somehow I am going to take on my two biggest challenges AND try to learn how to play the guitar and become aware of my senses – this will take some serious planning.  I find it hard to blend one major change into my life let alone bring in a series of them all at once.  But here we go, y’all are gonna watch me give it a go.

Let’s get something straight though, I am the first to admit exercising has NEVER been my forte. Not something I would consider “fun”.  I actually do not hate exercise. I just hate the feeling like I have to do something outside of something that I would normally want to do.

I do truly believe though, that if my goal is to incorporate exercise into my daily existence that it must be done in some way enjoyable if I am going to stop fearing or avoiding it.

As I hatch my plan for juggling all these active tasks for the rest of the month, I will dive into what I think to be the most fun and the least fun… right away…jumping and jogging. To keep to the task, I will attempt jogging at least a few times a week, start a jump rope journal, stick to the diet, clear out my allergies to prepare the senses, and start brainstorming sea shanty guitar songs (that preferably only have 3 chords). In the past few days, I have adopted the stretching /upper body strength video into my morning and evening, started swimming when I can get to a pool, jogged twice, and picked up my walking routine – lets just say my body is already sore …. it might be a tumultuous week.

Post script: Special thanks go out to Team players this week:

Greg Lines, an architect and sailor that combined his skills to create me a fine jumping rope out of materials he had on board. And thanks to the Confidant, Elizabeth Brady, who showed me that jogging can be fun if you are accompanied by a German shepherd, a great friend, some post rain mud and the roaring sound a river!


chapter one


Theme: Body/Kinesthetics

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Health and Happiness

I was slated for the Body / Health / Kinesthetic segment of Beth’s “Living Chapters” experiment. This is the subject I’m least interested in and the one in which I need the most help. I know that I should be a better caretaker of this body and have made sporadic and unsuccessful attempts to act accordingly. This is something Beth and I share. We both lack dedication, fortitude, and discipline in this area. For those who may be experts, the following prescription might seem laughable or naïve. Rather than scoff at my ineptitude, feel free to add mettle to the following outline.  

DIET: The Haves & Have Nots

The “don’ts” out weigh the “dos” in this case. I don’t know what your basic diet is like, Beth, but if you’re living on a boat I’m guessing that your culinary spectrum is limited. The following lists were compiled in honor of your lack of physical space, your tiny refrigerator, minimal storage capacity, and your lack of active passion for the culinary arts. As far as preparing anything on my list your hot plate, toaster oven, and ingenuity is all you’ll need.

The Have Nots

Because I’m a big believer in negative reinforcement I want to start with the food and drink that would be better to avoid… So for June, to the best of your ability, I ask you to forego:

  • Fast Food
  • Junk Food
  • Processed Foods
  • Sodas and other drinks high in sugar
  • Any food dripping with fat, grease, or other emulsions

The Haves


  • Hard Boiled Eggs (you can keep a bowl of them around)
  • Fruit (if you have two bowls you can keep fruit in one of them)
  • Any kind of cereal (as long as it’s not laden with sugar and fake crap): loose granola, muesli, and things like that (if you don’t have a third bowl, improvise)
  • Yogurt (plain is suggested, you can add fruit or cereal to it, even put a little honey or syrup in it)
  • Granola Bars
  • Bread / Toast / Bagels: go for whole wheat (or at least strive for something darker than white bread…)
  • I’m sure there’s more to it than the above, but my imagination is lacking in this area. Whatever you eat, just consider its origins. We’re just shooting for a diet that is wholesome and simple enough to satisfy your rustic and restless palate.

Lunch / Dinner:

You can improvise off of this list, but they’re basically vegetables and grains, etc. Not much of a fuss should go into putting any dish together. Doesn’t mean it won’t taste good, but that all depends on your ability to improvise with spices, condiments, and the like:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Make a big pot of brown rice… it can hang around for a few days without going bad…
  • Canned beans
  • Canned fish (if you can’t get the fish fresh)
  • Wraps laced with vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, raisins or cranberries of some sort (you can also use dressing, real meat or chicken
  • Miso soup (just boil water and dump Miso paste into it… add any vegetables you like… if you like tofu, by all means…
  • Salads of any kind using all or some of the ingredients above
  • Whenever you can, eat at someone else’s place and enjoy what they serve without being a food snob (in other words if you even improve your diet 75% of the time it’ll be a big improvement)

The above may seem simple, but since we eat every day, it will have to become a discipline, a regular practice that may at first be an enjoyable diversion, but may ultimately become a pain in the ass…


You mentioned that you hate exercising, don’t exercise, and can’t motivate yourself to do so. That is why I am going to make a contract with you that we should stretch daily (for at least 15 minutes) and jog / run sprints, etc. at least 2 or 3 times a week for the month of June. Also you mentioned that you’d like to work on strength. I included a video that features upper body strength that might be a start in the right direction. To ensure success in this area you might want find someone to exercise with so you can hold each other accountable.

Stretching: Good for flexibility (into old age), builds musculature, defines and tones…

Video: This is one of the videos that I found to be less nauseating videos I found on YouTube… let this be your guiding light (or you can surf the web for something more your style) (15 minutes sessions)

Video for upper body strength:

Jogging / Sprinting is good, too (after loosening up with some stretches)… The idea is get your heart pounding enough so you break out in a sweat (or vice versa). You can indulge in some sprints of increasing speed and length. And alternately build up stamina for a 20-minute jog, which might be more enjoyable.

Power Walking: If it’s too hot or muggy outside try a 15 to 20 minute power walk.

Other things to consider:

  • Walk rather than drive, walk whenever possible. Even better, find someone to take a brisk walk with…
  • You can also get a bicycle.
  • Jump rope (for exercise, not travel)
  • Or you can learn how to play like a dog by chasing a soccer ball around an open field.
  • Or you can go swimming.

Muscle Memory

Recently I asked you whether you were still playing guitar… I now propose, Beth, that you find a way to fit the guitar on your boat. If there’s no place for it on the boat, how about keeping it in your car? The idea here is Muscle Memory. Your fingers will remember what you think you’ve forgotten as soon as you start playing with any regularity.

Although this may not fit into the scheme of my assignment, I propose you gather a bunch of people who play and sing and invite them onto your boat for a late Sunday afternoon songfest. Maybe learn some sea chanties for the occasion (optional, of course).

A Few Exercises Regarding Muscle Memory and the Senses

Basically, Beth, the idea is to become aware of the affect the senses have upon the body. It’s another way of becoming aware of what makes a difference to you and the degree to which it does. It occurred to me the other day that fewer sensations seem to cut through the morass of my daily life, however, when I started to apply some of the methods as described below, I realized that I was just not paying attention. So these exercises are just a way of reminding us to pay attention, stay awake, and take heed when the little voices that sing within us creep to the surface.

Attention Exercise: Look at the second hand of a watch and see how long you can pay attention to it before your mind starts drifting.

Hearing: I learned how to experience music after reading the book The World Is Sound: Music and the Landscape of Consciousness by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. It’s a subtle thing but if you try to listen to music with your whole body (volume is not always necessary) you should become more affected by it.

  • The more familiar we are with a piece of music the less we tend to actually listen to it. As an experiment choose a piece of music that you have never heard before and take the time to actually listen with your whole body and see what happens. Then take a piece of music that you love, try to listen to it in a new way and see what happens.
  • So much of the experience we have with art is associative… what associations come up through the act of listening, viewing photographs, etc.

Voices: note how certain voices irritate, dredge up assumptions, resentments or have the power to seduce you or induce a coma…

Speaking: Be aware of what goes in different parts of your body when you tell a lie, when you relate a rarely spoken but necessary truth to a friend, when you run into someone and exchange banalities, when you accidentally insult someone, say something that’s funny, say something else that’s not funny or in bad taste… It’s interesting to note where in your body you feel a weird twinge or an abrupt shift of consciousness.

Also be aware of what happens when you are on the listening end…

Silence: If you experience an uncomfortable silence try to milk it for all of the discomfort you can get. Also, recognize the comfortable silences, too… It’s not always obvious what the quality of any silence is, so give it an extra heartbeat, just to make sure.

  • Exercise: See what happens if you are not the one to break the silence (after you, of course, locate where the discomfort within the body resides).

And this concludes the Living Chapter for the month of June.

To learn more about the themes for the 12 months, read The Roles and Rules.