Saturday, 13 June 2015

Hanging up the hoop.

I made a big decision this week: I'm giving up hooping.

Well, at least for a while. I don't want to give up hooping at all, but I have to. I've written before about my issues with RSI. Things haven't been good with my arms, shoulders, neck and back recently - I've even had to have some time off work - and on the advice of my physio I've decided to hang up my hoop.

Hooping has brought me all sorts of joy over the past three years. But the reality is that it no longer makes my body happy. Quite the opposite - it makes my body tense and aching and painful, and I don't want that for my body.

For a while I tried confining myself to hooping only on my waist and below, thinking that would ease the strain on my upper body. But it makes no difference at all.

I've also had to give up writing with a pen, except in very small doses {such as writing my shopping list}. At work I now record all my interviews rather than taking notes, which is working well, although it's a little more time consuming. Surprisingly, I can still knit without strain.

My physio tells me I need to improve my posture, as well as get up and move around more. Sitting hunched at my computer for hours on end is a big no-no. I need yoga, fresh air, plenty of walking around. Today I bought myself a Fitbit and can see I will be obsessively counting steps before too long. {I'm walking around 4,500 steps a day - less than half of what I need for good health!}

So, although I'm disappointed at having to give up hooping, I am looking forward to being pain-free before too long. And I've always enjoyed walking so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to stretch my legs more often.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Just like the trees.

I'm writing this beside a roaring fire, with a certain happy dog stretched out on his sheepskin rug before it. Outside, heavy thundery showers keep passing over; it's dark, and it's cold. I'm feeling very grateful for all this cosy warmth.

It's a bleak time of year here in New Zealand. I find it hard going to work when it's still dark, and coming home after sunset. I even have to do most of my hooping inside at this time of the year.

A friend and I were walking our dogs at Kowhai Park last week, on one of those rare fine, windless, winter days. I confided to him that I often feel depressed at this time of the year, no matter how positive I am or how mild the weather is.

"I feel stripped bare," I said.

I didn't really understand my own words, but as we walked on I watched clouds of dead oak and liquid ambar leaves drift down to rest on the grass below. Some trees were only just starting to shed their leaves while others were nearly bare. I love the trees that fully lose their leaves in winter. They may appear to be naked and lifeless but they have a certain majesty about them. Without its covering of leaves, you can see a tree as it really is.

Maybe I am like the deciduous trees in winter. My leaves have been stripped from me, leaving only my bare branches. In winter, I see things - I see myself - as I truly am. Which is not always a comfortable thing.

I like this analogy.

The next day during my morning devotions I picked up Caitlin Matthews' wonderful, wise book, The Celtic Spirit {which I recommend to any Pagan with an interest in the Celtic world}, and the reading for that day contained the following paragraph:

"At this time of the year, when the trees look dishevelled, when growth stops, we may feel the loss as a personal thing and cross the threshold to depression. Yet the roots of renewal lie in the contemplation of the way in which this year's leaf mould on the forest floor will become the rich earth for next year's glorious growth."

I still long for warm sunshine and long days. Yet I feel I've been given a different perspective on winter: without the cold, the dark, the depression, the being stripped bare, we cannot experience the growth of spring.