Thursday, January 22, 2015

Week 2

When I worked at summer camp years ago, every week of the summer was numbered. We'd talk about Week 1, Week 2, etc. and wrap up the summer after Week 11, when the weekly kids programs would end, and the guy I was dating in 1996 would break things off with me at the base of teepee village, near canoe beach, with a kiss on my cheek, and the words, "You're going to meet a lot of studs at U of M."

I never did (i.e. meet any studs at U of M), and he apparently didn't meet any wonder women at his college. Because mid-year, shortly after Valentine's Day, he came knocking with an apology, and the plea to give him a second chance. He won me back in a heart beat; however, he dropped me again do to "irreconcilable" career pursuits, and perhaps the freshmen 15 I had gained while feasting on bagels in my dorm's cafeteria. How cruel a world it was back then, when everyone was into low-fat, keeping women like me ignorant of the fact that a diet filled with carbs is certain to pack pounds on to anyone.

But that's a different story, for a different time. I just wanted to mention counting by weeks and my decision to do the same to track my So Cal experience this winter season. Week 1 started when I arrived, Sunday, January 11.

For most of the week 1, I simply got acquainted with the town I'm living in. One day I discovered a nearby park that offers free QiGong classes. Last time I was in So Cal for a short stint, I took up free improv classes, and had been hoping to try something new this time too. Since QiGong class was free, I decided to give it a go at the end of my first week. Since then I've decided to integrate this class as a regular part of my week.
Initially I had hoped to take scuba diving classes, but with my health still being weird, and scuba diving classes being costly, I figured this was a better option for the time being. Although, someday, I still hope to get certified and then go diving in Indonesia, where my friend Jacinda lives, and some other guy who I hardly know insisted I come to visit.

My QiGong instructor is from Calcutta, India and has a delightful accent and tells stories from time to time about Tibet (which, for the first half of my life, I thought was a make believe place, that my camp friend Al had made up). One day she explained how the old people there will wear a special belt, with a large circular pad that covers their lower back to help keep their kidneys warm amidst the cooler temperatures, and unheated living spaces. She explained that it's good to keep our kidneys warm, and beneficial to our bodies to drink warmer liquids rather than to shock our systems with cold beverages, especially in the winter season.

Funny, how my dad has been drinking hot water for years, not knowing the benefit he has been bringing to his body by doing so.

Of course, all this stuff about keeping your kidneys warm could be crap, and simply a tradition passed down by the people of Tibet from one generation to the next. But I like to think there are many "best practices" and beneficial practices out there pertaining to our health, and they don't necessarily all stem from Western medicine.

Which is why I'm taking this Chinese-based QiGong class. The simple exercises are supposedly beneficial for your immune system and energy levels. We even do a slew of exercises that are intended to help your internal organs, like your liver.

And my blood work continues to indicate I have compromised liver function, which isn't a huge surprise since that's where the malaria parasite hangs out, and where it probably did some damage having been left untreated in my body for so long. Who knows if these exercises will help at all, but certainly they can't hurt.

Along with QiGong, at the end of "Week 1" I had the opportunity to do some climbing. As I posted on facebook...

last night i returned "home" with scraped up knees, calloused hands, and chipped fingernails... super grateful for the opportunity to rock it out yesterday ‪#‎NewJackCity‬ ‪#‎RockClimbing‬ (even with my energy levels at one/fifth the normal person, i choose to live... please pray that i can find a unique job opportunity that requires only 20% the energy of a normal one... and/or that God would hurry up and heal my body from ‪#‎CFS‬ already!)
Pictured below is my friend Joyce, sprawled out like Spiderman at the top of the climb. Jen in red, is at the bottom, assuring her safety as her belayer. I also climbed this nearly 70 foot route, getting two-thirds the way up thinking, "What in the world am I doing?"
I thought the same thing as I was driving through Iowa on my way out West. "What am I thinking? I can't do this. My body isn't strong enough to make the trek." But I kept climbing to the top, just as I stayed on the road to California. When I arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska, I considered the conditions I drove through my first day out and thought, There are 99 ditched cars between Michigan and Colorado, and mine ain't one of them.

So I've made it to California, and am settling in. Yet the question remains: now what?

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