This is a post filled with beauty, green food, swimming and the little things in life that make life so special.
Over the last year or so I have had to stop doing some of the activities that I loved due to a hip injury. Yoga is no longer something that I can do without feeling an intense aching in my hip for days. Running is definitely a no go, it caused immediate pain in both my knee and my hip. Even walking, at times, is something that causes discomfort. For a while there it made me feel pretty shitty about my life. Focusing on all the things I can’t do. I can’t do yoga. I can’t run. I can’t walk. I can’t dance. It felt like there was a growing list of things that I couldn’t do. My hip dysplasia, which I talked about a few posts back (you can read it here), seemed to be making me look at the negative side of life.
A friend suggested that I take up swimming using a foam accessory you stick between your legs. Sounds frightful. The professionals call them pull buoys; I prefer the term butterfly wings. When she made this suggestion there came a torrent of excuses. ‘Oh, but I don’t want to get massively broad shoulders and a really big upper body,’ To which she replied, ‘As if sweetheart, unless you’re Stephanie Rice you’re not going to get broad shoulders.’ So I tried out another, ‘But that is just so lame and boring.’ Her retort ‘Well, don’t then and continue to feel irritated.’ Ultimately, it was me just saying ‘I don’t want to.’ When you get desperate enough, you do the things you never thought you’d do and that’s when change occurs.
About two or three times a week I set my alarm for 6:30, make myself a smoothie for my journey (one of my recipes is below), grab my bag which I’ve packed the night before, and head off into the dawn. And I love it. The crisp morning air wakes me up and I love looking at all the people on the tram so early in the morning. Some of them are half asleep. Some of them are literally asleep. Others are intently peering at their iPhones or Ipads or other distracting devices we’ve come to rely on to pass the time.
At the moment it’s autumn, my favourite time of year. The colours radiate from the trees, the leaves a majestic gold. The grass is a nourishing green, definitely fit for a cow. Everything looks so pretty, so alive and fresh. Sometimes it takes my breath away. Yesterday, just outside the pool, I saw five hot air balloons flying low over my head. I remembered back to when I used to live in this area, I would wake in the early hours to the huffing and puffing of the balloons. To me it sounded as if there were dragons flying overhead, but there was something quite soothing about it
There is nothing more beautiful than slipping gently into a near empty pool as the sun beams in through the window. When I am feeling melancholy and fatigued, exercise is the last thing I want to be doing, but once I have done my 40 laps with my butterfly wings the release of endorphins in my brain takes effect and immediately lifts my mood. It is not just the rush of endorphins that keeps me going back for more, it is the quiet meditative place I take myself too that I find so utterly enjoyable. Friends have informed me of the immense boredom they experience when swimming. The tedium of swimming length after length is akin to having their eyeballs poked with a stick – on the contrary, I have found it to be infinitely gratifying. It is a form of meditation where I can remain completely in the present moment. My secret – gratitude lists. I am not joking. From the moment I get in the water to the moment I get out I do gratitude lists. Today I am grateful for … Seeing as swimming is my only form of exercise at the moment, one of the items at the top of my list is the fact that I can swim.
When I emerge from the pool there is always a group of women milling about in the changing room, fresh from their weekly aqua aerobics session chattering away together. The friendly banter that goes on is welcoming and I love the sense of community I feel in the air. As I leave the pool to catch my train I sip away on my smoothie and I feel alive. Alive, and grateful, for the life I have today.
Below is my favourite green smoothie recipe to date, I have called it Green Smoothie Goodness 🙂
Big slice cucumber
¼ cup puffed quinoa
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp spirulina
Small silverbeet leaf
¼ cup almond milk (or rice)
Water (enough to cover the ingredients)
Add all the ingredients to the blender and mix her up well!