One of the first decisions regarding the need to reinvent me addressed my physical health. I remember a beginning acting class in college where a professor once told me “Where the body goes the mind will follow.” He was referencing a physicalization of the moment for mental exploration and also increased retention of lines. It seems to me, however, that this aphorism goes well beyond acting. The more agile, conditioned, and strong my body then likewise my mind will be more agile, conditioned and strong.
Interesting that so many people are now using standing desks, i.e. standing up to a desk rather than sitting. I stress my eyes by staring at a computer screen too much and by not changing my focal distance. This fitness issue is more complicated and relevant than one might suspect.
About 12 years ago I had the unfortunate experience of a stroke. Simply stated, I dodged a bullet. I changed my eating habits and exercise habits and have done quite well. There were several medications my doctor prescribed for me as a result of this stroke. Recently I had a frightening experience with stroke symptoms. My wife took me to the hospital where the nurse discovered a heart rate of 38. They slapped a nitro patch on me and admitted me. After many tests, including a heart catheterization, my doctor told me I was too healthy for my meds! My blood pressure medication was suppressing an already low blood pressure. We reconfigured my medications and I am in terrific shape today.
I am not where I need to be, however. I workout five days a week for an hour each day, all before 7:30 in the morning. Mondays are reserved for a Reebok total-body class. Tuesday and Thursday are given to a 45-minute spin class and 15-minute ab session. On Wednesday and Friday I swim a mile each day. There are yet two needs for my body I must address. First is flexibility. Second is sleep.
I have never been one to sit on the floor indian-style! Flexibility is an important aspect of conditioning and currently my flexibility lags significantly behind my general fitness. Yoga is the best solution, but I need a class to follow. The other is issue is time. I have to be finished with this work before 8AM. That necessary evil rears its ugly head by 8. It’s called work! I suspect adding some flexibility work prior to a class maybe the only solution for now.
Sleep is also an important consideration. I have spent a good portion of my life burning the proverbial candle at both ends. The wick needs prudent care if I am to use my mind at its most proficient. I will need to force myself to go to bed earlier.
All of this may sound sophomoric. In reality the issue is not that I need a more healthy body to have the resources to reinvent me, but that I require a new focus and commitment toward new behavior. This is often called discipline! In some respects, then, what I am reinventing is a discipline for enhanced discovery.
Imagine that! The old me is a trap that will compromise progress toward my desired reinvention. Somewhere in this process I must become aware of the trap presented by the old me. He’s practiced, skilled, and very persuasive. Come on! He possesses enormous experience and is equally wily!
To those in similar throes… Happy inventing! Start with the body and the mind will follow.