I haven’t spent much time online this week because I’ve been on vacation in the South, enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. My husband and I have been rowing our double scull and riding bicycles. Yesterday was a bit too windy for us to row with any speed, but it was still fun to be outdoors in the warmth. Happy spring wishes to all!

Word-art that says, "Spring Break."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

Today was rainy and dark, with an occasional rumble of thunder. Not much to look at. When I stepped outside, though, I really liked the soft feeling of the humid air, starting to feel just a little more like spring. It was a good reminder that there is something to enjoy in every day.

Word-art that says, "What a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before." -Maya Angelou

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

On both Saturday and Tuesday, I had good workouts on my Concept2 RowErg, in which I was able to stay below my desired pace of 2:05 for a series of five 500-meter intervals. These workouts, with a minute of rest between intervals, are meant to assess fitness for a 2K rowing machine race. Concept2 is the standard machine used for competitive races.

Rowing machine results for a 5x500 workout.

This is noteworthy because I had been trying to achieve the 2:05 pace for two years, but I had never been able to do it in a 2K race. I could stay at 2:05 for a little over 1000 meters, but then I would get tired and start slowing down. I couldn’t pick up the pace at the end, either; when I tried, my heart rate spiked and then I went even slower.

It wasn’t from lack of fitness; I was training pretty hard, and I could hold a better pace on 10-minute rowing races on the Hydrow machine, which didn’t make sense to me because a 2K race is shorter than 10 minutes. Why did one machine feel so much more exhausting than the other? I couldn’t figure it out, and the worse I did on the Concept2, the more anxiety I had about it.

So, when I did the practice on Saturday, instead of visualizing it as a race, I told myself that it was just another workout and that everything would be okay. I focused on staying consistent and didn’t worry about anything else. Much to my surprise, I felt that I had plenty of energy and was able to maintain the pace throughout. Then I spent all weekend wondering why. What had changed?

By Monday, it occurred to me that the difference was simply that I had started a little more slowly. With a Concept2 race, the machine has to be started from a standstill, and I had been taking three strokes faster than my race pace to get going quickly. Hydrow races, by contrast, have a flying start, which allows for a gradual buildup to race pace before the race actually starts.

I hadn’t thought it would matter if I used a little more energy at the start, but apparently that made it harder for me to sense when I was on a sustainable pace. Subconsciously, without having a consistent pace, I couldn’t be confident that I had enough energy to finish. I believe what happened was that after a while the uncertainty triggered my mental threat detectors, causing me to slow down to prevent overexertion. When I tested that theory by starting at a consistent pace on Tuesday, I was able to sustain it again.

Now I’ve started to wonder how many other things in my environment might be causing preventable feelings of anxiety or overwork. Maybe there are a lot of ways in which an easier pace, or some other simple change to everyday routines, might leave me feeling much calmer and more refreshed. I’ll be looking for them!

After replacing an old Keurig coffeemaker with the latest model, I went into the kitchen yesterday morning and found an “update successful” message on its screen. I took a picture of it just because the idea of a coffeemaker updating itself seemed interesting.

Of course, I’m showing my age here because the younger generation wouldn’t think anything of it. They’ve grown up with all kinds of devices getting frequent updates. I don’t mind, though—it keeps the mind healthy to have a sense of wonder, even with something as ordinary as a coffeemaker.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

With January’s cold days at an end and thoughts of spring break and beaches in my head, I chose an image for my digital art display of a river flowing into the ocean. Waves swirled around stark rock formations and over golden sands.

Photo of a river meeting the ocean.

The picture wasn’t animated, but as I looked at it, I could easily imagine the ocean shaping the sand into different patterns around the rocks. Each wave traced tiny rivulets along the beach, always changing, impossible to hold constant. Then I began to feel that my future was like the sands of that beach, rearranging itself from one breath to the next.

“Well, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

In an imaginary corner of the picture, my future self Kass was sitting comfortably on a rock, with a folded beach towel for a cushion. She wore pink denim shorts and a tropical-print blouse, and she had taken off her flip-flops to let the waves splash over her feet.

“Just think about how easy that makes changing the future,” Kass elaborated. “And not only the future—with every breath we take, the present moment changes, and even the past looks different. Time’s patterns are always getting rearranged.”

She pressed her feet deeper into the sand, letting it cover much of the rose-gold polish on her toenails. Another wave came, splashing over her feet and carrying the sand off.

“Let’s look at it this way: What are you doing right now?”

“In real life I’m indoors because it is still winter,” I said, which was the first thing that came to mind, “and the dry air has been irritating my sinuses.”

“Okay.” Kass drew spirals in the sand with her toes, and the next wave washed them away. “And what are you doing now?”

I took a deep breath of the imaginary ocean air and tried again. “Just now, I was putting together my grocery list and thinking about what snacks to buy for the Superbowl party.”

Kass lifted her feet to let the next wave flow gently underneath them. For the third time, she asked, “What are you doing right now?”

The wave crested and then slowly receded, leaving the rock unchanged.

“I am feeling glad because, right now, I’m in a warm, safe home and have a loving family.”

With a smile, Kass put her flip-flops down on the sand, slipped her feet into them, and stood up. “There, you see how easy that was? You just changed your life in the present by refocusing your thoughts. My past also changed because you’re a past version of me, and, of course, that also means your future is now on a different path.”

Kass faded out of the picture, leaving the next wave to carry away her footprints.

I’ve had a quiet day at home. When I sat down to write this post in the late evening, there didn’t seem to be much to say about it. I was just being in the world, not feeling as if I needed anything in particular. After a moment of reflection, I decided that was okay. There is no requirement to always be doing something productive, and real happiness can be found in those peaceful, unburdened moments.

Word-art that says, "Real happiness requires less than you think." -Courtney Carver

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

February 1, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I dreamed about living in an apartment complex where the management cut down some trees and shrubs, which left me unhappy. That seems easy enough to interpret. Apartment buildings in dreams generally represent the social environment, and I’d guess that the removal of landscaping has to do with how quickly the world has been changing. Even when we like something new, there is a sense of loss for what has been left behind, and often it is not within our control.

After I woke up, I had an old song by Jackson Browne running through my mind, in which he wishes that his audience could “stay just a little bit longer.”

Of course, I wouldn’t really want the world to stay the same forever. There are some pretty amazing discoveries being made in modern times, and I’m enjoying the adventure, for the most part. Still, every once in a while, some little sentimental item triggers those “just a little bit longer” feelings.