In Life As Well As The Gym, Do It Badly

                                 In Life As Well As The Gym, Do It Badly                                        

You don’t need to train and strain to make your muscles grow. You need to repeat. That’s all. If you do a thing long enough benefit comes of it.

There is no single ‘must do’ exercise that can’t be replaced with something else.   Be clever, be creative, use your noodle. You can find substitute practices that achieve the same result.

You have a bone structure that makes you better at some exercises than others: long arms, short arms, long legs, short legs: Find out who you are and don’t kill yourself trying to put toe up your nose. Look at others, learn from them, be inspired, then do it your way. Take flexibility: there will be borders you’ll never cross.   Learn about them. Accept them. Focus on your own body and its limitations.

Take your time. Don’t rush. Slow is good. Fast makes it more difficult to focus mentally take apart what is happening in your body.

Interestingly enough, there is a gene called COL5A1 which is linked to a hereditary level of flexibility. One version of the gene means you’re quite flexible, the other means you’re not. Don’t be embarrassed or disappointed because you aren’t a spaghetti or, as an older person with less active growth hormone your muscles don’t bulk up as quickly as they did when you were young – or at all.

There is a point at which you’ll stop making obvious improvements; but don’t stop practicing whatever it is you practice. The benefits become more subtle, more refined.  More energy, stability, self-knowledge. It’s quite enough to stretch what’s tight and strengthen what’s weak and notice that your powers of observation are greater than they were. Nothing stays the same. You’re either going up or you’re going down. Even when you don’t notice either.

Resistance is a good training. Good to observe, good to exploit. For example, when doing yoga poses, reach the point of resistance and wait it out, staying as long as you can. Use resistance in your daily life too. Push against tables, your knees, the door frame. There are dozens of ways to be creative using the principle of resistance.

One more thing: if you work hard all of the time, you’ll start to notice little aches, pains and tears everywhere. Be sensitive. Pace yourself. Learn when to push and when to let go – in life as well as in the gym.

Your body isn’t a machine. Rest it. Work hard but don’t kill yourself.


People Ask: How I Accomplish What I Accomplish

People Ask: How Do I Accomplish What I Accomplish

I can only accomplish what I do because I have time. Time is the key. I can play with it, use it as I will: sit in the bath for an hour with a paper scrap and write, dry my hair or dishes and think about an idea, follow it up.

I can make no appointments, zero obligations to the outside world — unless I want them. My selections dance around in atoms. Life is my GPS.

Going nowhere, with no pointer, still I seem to accomplish.

June 17,2015


2012 in review Arlene Corwin Poetry have-a-look

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Now Again 2012

The Now – Again


What a science!  If I’m at the sink doing dishes, and if I remember the slightest thing that hasn’t to do with the dishes, my being-ness has lost that moment and gone into the past or future.  On the other hand, if I’m aware of devoting the dishwashing to, say, God,the action can indeed take place on two levels: the devotional and the active.  But one doesn’t say “devote, devote, devote..,”.  One takes that microsecond of devotional aim and goes back to the feel of the hand, the sight of the dish, whatever sense is dominating.  It’s subtle.  Senses and intellect hold the now – or should.  Desire and wish belong to the non-now; take away from the now.  (I’m thinking this through as I write – spontaneity.  But I also have the tv on.  Non-now.  Non-spontaneity.)  Subtle.

February 15, 2012


A’s Food Diary 2007

07.7.28 A’s Food Diary

The world may be going to hell in a wheelbarrow, but for most of us, at least those of us who are reading this (you do own a computer after all – a sign of some privilege) food choices are more abundant than ever, nutritional information more accessible.

It’s mostly a matter of training or re-training the mind to choose correctly at every food moment, and since eating goes on all of your life, you’ve loads of moments in which to practice [choosing] – from what to how to when you will eat.

Food is nice. I can’t think of a more pleasurable way to develop the character.

It’s always a balance between nutrition, cost, time, imagination and what’s at hand. This little tract is written for those who know their way around a kitchen – who have a feel for amounts and bulk and the tastes of things.

It is possible to look at a recipe and sense the taste just by reading the ingredients. It comes with time – and experience in the kitchen.

Cooking is, in fact a form of yoga. It even has a proper name: Anna Yoga. Since yoga presupposes and teaches focus and concentration, cooking as a form of yoga leads to spontaneity, creativity, correct judgements and a good meal. Cooking a means and goal.

If you like to eat, Anna yoga is for you. If you’d like a means to change your life, cooking might be just the answer. Food!

Bondage of Attachments 2007

07.7.2 The bondage of attachments: I read that in the Dhammpada this morning. After my morning coffee, always extra sharp and receptive, I thought, “I’m working on it, boy, (that’s my teenage self expressing it in the strongest known language) – boy, is it ever hard!)

This consumption thing, this morphine of pleasure, this burden of holding on in boredom, in anality, this heroin/amphetamine of wanting more to maintain the, the what? The time, I think. Time wants to be filled and it prefers easily accessible pleasure. The mindless kind.

I know a woman who goes to flea markets, otherwise known as flee markets, every weekend. The stairway up to the bedrooms is lined, crowded, a safety risk. The living room downstairs is tidily stuffed with ornaments, all in glass cabinets specially bought, on shelves specially built, on table tops meant for space. What comes in never goes out.

Her husband, dear man, is resigned, stoic. Accepting her ever provided layer cakes, he devotes himself to his choral group and keeps his eyes on the piano scores. “My wife likes to collect things. There’s more upstairs.”

She’s hooked. He’s drowning. He’s bone thin. She’s well rounded.

See poems:Our Times, Our Culture;Things; You Have To Be Focussed To Live In America;Things Get Dirty

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