Tuesday, November 06, 2007

obsessions


People have been suggesting I post on here, via Facebook, and face-to-face (woe to that ancient, forgotten form!) I looked back, and yes, it has been awhile. As I thought about what to write about, Natalie Goldberg's words come to mind, "writers end up writing about their obsessions." In her workshops, she has writers make lists of their obsessions, so they know what to expect from their work.


So as I venture into the scary life of an artist (whom, she adds, are "never free unless doing their art"), I got to thinking, what are my obsessions? As I've divulged on here in the past, food is one of them. In all its forms, liquid, hot, cold, spicy, salty, or sweet. Love and friendship are two more. Self-understanding, God, religion, family, the outdoors, the future. And those are just a few.

And then there's exercise. Yes World, I am obsessed with working out. I think part of this is due to the fact that I have a lot of time on my hands. Another reason is because I am a writer, and so my work lacks a certain solidity. I often bake when I feel unproductive, just to revel in the feeling of having created something real. Maybe that's why I like to knit, too. But back to the exercise.

I also love it because it releases pent-up energy. I love to subdue my muscles, heart, tendons--all of me--to my will...I like to see what my body is capable of. I love to feel the exhaustion of having worked. In a society where we are encouraged to take the easy way, exercise connects us to our bodies. Movement used to be a part of everything we did; our bodies were made to move. I think we have to be creative in our current world to replicate that, lest we end up putting the miracle of our flesh and bones to waste. I'm not saying those who don't exercise are bad people...these are just my thoughts about why I do it so much. Whether it's taking a walk, biking to work (commuting on a brisk sunny morning is the cheapest thrill around!), or doing a yoga video before bed, it all counts.

I was talking to a friend the other night who was looking for inspiration to start moving more. I discovered this great site where I've been tracking my workouts since the spring. I've pasted my October record here for an example:

I find the little pictures inspiring...seeing all those little figures makes me smile. (Mark prefers the one on the Runner's World site which gives you bars and graphs and all sorts of cool extras.) But for those of you out there looking for a simple way to track your progress and inspire you, this is a great tool. There's room on here for everything...hiking, playing with kids, walking, and cleaning the house.

I have nothing literary or profound today, but I do have my obsessions. And to those I will strive to be responsible to--to indulge and yet to be aware of their power.

1 comment:

sara said...

That's a neat tool...thanks!