January 3rd, 2012
Listen to your body, or create new neural pathways
My friend Kate Coles has her life under control. She writes effectively, teaches admirably and –most enviably—she is in perfect physical condition—due to the fact that she is in complete control of her diet and exercise. She wakes up and drinks warm water, I have seen this when she stays at my house, she goes for a run, her sleek running body like a mink or a cheetah. She has herself disciplined. And therefore she looks good. She also eats the correct diet every day, it’s mostly fruit and vegetables. And of course, she writes award winning poetry.
When did I become undisciplined? I blame children. During the child rearing part of my life, it all descended to chaos. And I never recovered whatever sense of discipline I am pretty sure I used to have. Although the other possibility is that I was just thinner then and had more time. But I like to think that I used to be disciplined and that I can recover that any moment now.
Here is the thing, Kate Coles believes in the concept that we can all create new neural pathways for ourselves, and I like this concept. I like this idea as a mental construct and I want to enter it and make it my own, create pathways in my brain, so that I am this person, who gets up early and not necessarily drinks warm water, but at least exercises vigorously every day and looks like a mink or cheetah. I’d even settle for looking like say, Daryl Hannah in Splash.
But, sometimes, sadly, my body speaks up and wants more sleep. Some people tell me, Kate, you need to relax more. Don’t run so much. Running’s bad for your knees. You’re going to hurt yourself by so much running. No one ever dies and says I wish I ran more. Spend more time sleeping. Or… here’s my personal favorite, your body is going to want to slow down eventually, so you should slow down now. Seriously? That’s like advising someone to stop having sex now because they might need Viagra later. How about having more sex now so that if you need Viagra later, you’ll have good memories of all that great sex you had.
But there is a balance. Listen to your body vs. creating new neural pathways. I want to create the new pathways, and get my body to just quiet down. “Hush,” I say to myself. “Sleep is for wusses. You aren’t one, are you?”
There is balance in the universe, and in 2013, I hope to find it.