Home > FTIAT, Guest blogger > FTIAT: One of the Things I’m Grateful For

FTIAT: One of the Things I’m Grateful For

(Sparks in Shadow) describes herself as having “never met a contradiction without wanting to give it some study.” Her blog reflects this rejection of “just because” as an adequate answer, revealing a contemplative, assertive soul striving to create music from the hubbub and struggles of life.

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One of the Things I’m Grateful For

I’m grateful for a body that responds extremely well to exercise. All I have to do is give it what it really wants, and it rewards me with sinew, limber fluidity, and glorious strength. Of course, that’s the rub. How does one find the will to begin one more time, when the darkness of the past gives way once more to light, and accents just how much the body has been ignored? For me, it helps that I’m lucky and I know it. After an inevitable period of adjustment, a couple of weeks of waning discomfort (not injury, just my muscles beginning their work– standing up and taking notice) my body craves the movement. It calls out sharply if it senses within me the notion to skip a few days. When I stay true to this course, my body looks forward to new challenges with hand weights, holds yoga poses longer, wants to increase repetitions within exercises, and gives me the gift of being able to run a block to catch a bus without being winded afterward.

"Vitruvian Man" photo found at commons.wikipedia.org. This media file is in the public domain in the United States.

My body will respond positively if I take it where it needs to go. It wants to be worked. It’s shown me that at least twice before, during periods when I had doubts, but held fast and found that it was hungry for weights, and push-ups, and movements that made its heart beat faster.

I remember the first time I got really fit. I would set out something for my young daughter to munch on (because children are always hungry for something when you’re on the phone or you begin to exercise). She would sit on the sofa with some toys, and amuse herself as music played and I pushed myself into a life-affirming, endorphin fueled sweat. I had taught her what to do when she got my signal, and when I looked at her and said things like, “I just did 80 push-ups!” she would clap and say, “Whoo-hoo, Mom! Good job!” Now she’s a grown woman, but I’m sure that if I call her after I cool down from a workout, and she’s able to answer, she’ll gladly say it for me again.

One of my proudest moments, happened after the second time I had achieved a healthy body and its subsequent dividends. My daughter had become a teenager and I’d walked into the room to ask her opinion of a clingy cotton sweater I’d picked up on sale. When she looked up at me, her head bobbed up and down and she said, “When did you get hot?!” I hadn’t known yet. I’d been immersed in the simple doing of it and how good it felt. I’d been loving the feeling of strength I had and how every other healthy thing flowed from it. It’s that long list of things relieved that fuels my resolve now. Persistent debilitating insomnia, my extreme difficulty with this summer’s heat, the need for those precious endorphins, the need for everyone (especially a financially poor person) to be as healthy as possible, and the need to also save money by fitting into the contents of my own closet– these all come if I only heed my body’s call. The call is a weak whimper at the moment, because it’s been ignored for a while, but I’m listening now.

I’ve begun with twenty or so reps each of crucial exercises that strengthen my most needed muscle groups– my legs and my arms. And I’m working my derrière because the sooner I build muscle there, the sooner that large muscle will enhance every other movement I do, doubling their abilities to burn fat. I’ve managed to find my resolve to begin this in such awful summer heat, that I’m sweating profusely now as I sit typing in front of the fan. I don’t know how I’ve begun, but I have. I need it and I want it, and I’m so grateful for this body of mine. It responds so well when I listen to its call, and give it what it needs.

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  1. September 9, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I know that feeling. Sadly I have noone to cheer me on, but I try to get my boyfriend to make supportive noises. Most of the time he’s quite good at it, but lately I’ve forced him into a Paleo/crossfit routine, and I think it’s taking all the joy out of his life. He’s a powerlifter at heart.

    I find that after I started working out consistently, my view of my body has changed for the better. I no longer view it as an enemy that can at any time choose to betray me by putting on more weight, but as a useful tool for moving through and interacting with this world.

    Slightly rambly comment here. Pre-coffee. 😉

    • September 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Wonderfully rambly. 🙂 I like thinking of the body “as a useful tool for moving through and interacting with this world.” We’re of like minds about that. I’m glad you get those all important “supportive noises” some of the time. They often help more than our friends and family know.

  2. September 9, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Great post! It is amazing how well, and how quickly, our bodies respond to exercise, even after a stagnant period. AND, you’re right– exercise = hot mom! 🙂

    • September 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks for reading it! (I’ve got my fingers crossed that I get close to that again. 🙂 )

  3. September 9, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Discipline, drive, modeling for our children, knowing what’s right, answering the call in a spiritual way are necessary in taking care of this temple that is our body. Very nice addition to this FTIAT series.

  4. September 9, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Sparks in Shadow, I just noticed you left the last comment on my “The Clock” post. So sorry I have only just now seen it and did not comment in a timely fashion. Thank you for visiting two weeks ago and commenting.

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      You’re very welcome! (I understood how it would be harder to keep up with late comers as a guest blogger. 🙂 )

  5. September 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful entry! It came at a really good time for me, too – I took the day off and as soon as I got done reading this, I was going to do my pilates video, which I just picked up again a couple weeks after after a LONG hiatus. My body has been responding surprisingly well – I feel so strong! (Imma kick you in the junk kinda strong, Deb.) Thanks for sharing this with us, Sparks in Shadow.

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      You’re welcome. Here’s a whoo-hoo for you and the pilates! Thanks for reading.

  6. September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I loved this post. I’ve had an off and on relationship with working out. But the older I get, the more I appreciate my body and simply being healthy and I want to continue that so I can live a long life. These past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of doing yoga and the treadmill almost every day and if I miss even a few days, my body feels it. There is nothing more precious than feeling great and being healthy.

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. I want to leave that ‘off and on’ business behind, too. I want to stay in the habit this time, find a nice rhythm and keep it up for the same reasons you mention. I know we can do it. “)

  7. September 9, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Love it. It feels amazing when you exercise and I am striving to be a hot mom 😛

  8. September 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I love this! So life affirming.

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks! That’s where my head was when I was writing it. I’m glad it showed. 🙂

  9. John Erickson
    September 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

    It’s really amazing how the shedding of a few pounds can make such a huge difference. Good work, keep it up!

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      “Good work, keep it up!” = Whoo-hoo to me! Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  10. September 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Our bodies were not designed, really, for a sedentary lifestyle. I have been working mine in hopes of lifting my mood – and it has also responded. The heat here (Florida) has been bad, as well, so waterjogging is it for me at least for the next few weeks. And having a dog to walk is great, too. She also does not like the heat, so it is pre-dawn or twilight walks for her. Thank you for sharing this…I am inspired to “kick it up a notch”.

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      I hope we can both “kick it up a notch.” 🙂 I’m glad this spoke to you. You’re right about our bodies being designed to move. I’m glad yours is responding, too.

  11. September 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I love how responsive the body is to movement! When we aren’t able to exercise, the body craves it, and when we respond in kind, it serves us well. Great article! Thanks Ré!

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Ms. Empress. Thanks for coming over. 🙂

  12. September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Fabulous, Ré! I’m cheering you on too! And Deborah, that’s a wonderful intro to the Sparks in Shadow blog — sums it up perfectly. 🙂

    • September 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa, and for being in my corner. You’re a peach. 🙂

      And many thanks to you, Deb! I really do appreciate that intro. I hope to always do it justice. 🙂

      You’ve got such a cool, comfy place here — I wish I could’ve figured out how to bring that lemonade.

  13. September 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Right now, my body is going through changes from the pneumonia and nasty drugs I took to heal… I need to regroup and heal my body and I have to be at peace with the current changes. Great post. 🙂

    • September 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Regrouping, healing, knowing ourselves — these are great steps to bringing that peace we all need to have with our bodies. I hope your road to full recovery keeps going forward. 🙂 Thanks for reading this!

  14. September 10, 2011 at 1:00 am

    I feel so guily. I’ve been a slouch these last few weeks – always good excuses and finding ways of doing other things. But you are right. Time to get off my backside and get fit again. We have one body and we better look after it. Go for it, Ré. Good on ya !

  15. September 10, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for the encouragement! But no guilt for you, Al! Just tell your body how much you love it, and give it a little coaxing. 🙂

  16. September 10, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    This is a beautiful post. I think so many people take their bodies for granted, or expect it to do what they want easily, without pausing to appreciate what it does for them already. It is, indeed, a thing to be grateful for – not everyone’s bodies seem to work as well and comfortably as yours does, and I’m happy for you that yours does :).

    • September 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks! I know I’m lucky — I forgot for a while, but I’m so glad I remembered. 🙂

  17. September 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Nothing like a good, sweaty workout to lift your mood and get some energy to accomplish more of what you want to do in life…good piece, I like the reminder to be grateful to your body. Thanks for the inspiration to be healthy!

    • September 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Glad to be of service. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  18. September 11, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I took a dance class this summer — after 25 years of just dancing without formal lessons — and I was amazed at how rusty I’d become. That said, I was also amazed how, after about 8 weeks, it all started the come back to me. A body remembers. I think most people get discouraged and give up their workout routines after about 7 weeks… right before their bodies really get into that happy place. That’s why the gyms are packed right after New Year’s until about March. 😉

    • September 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Yes! I’ve also found myself giving up in the past, for so many reasons, before realizing that my body was getting into the swing of things in ways I just couldn’t see yet. The idea of a dance class sounds fun. Glad you were able to do it. 🙂 Thanks for reading this one.

  19. brenda
    September 11, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Re, This is a helpful post for me to read, as I’ve been knowing my body needs exercise.For the past three weeks I’ve had a 50 minute walk to work, and I hope to take a yoga class through the community association, where I live, this month.
    I love your daughter’s willingness to cheer you on, She sounds like a gem!
    You write a good argument for taking care of our body!

    • September 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Brenda! I got started this time with a lot of walking. Nothing like that to get the body prepared for more. Yoga sounds so good. I have an old yoga workout on DVD that I like. I’m hoping that after the threat of heat subsides, I can get back to it. Good luck with your class. 🙂

      Yes, my daughter is a gem. 🙂 I’m very proud of her. I wish we all had someone to cheer us on.

  20. September 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Great read, Sparks. I started walking this week because I could not even fathom doing anything during the heat lol and it feels good. It is so hard to wrap your head around starting but as you said once you do your body rewards you and your mind feels sooo good. I spent yesterday looking in my closet at all the perfectly good clothes I can not wear and said this just will not DO. 🙂 Thanks so much for the inspiration and am cheering you on from afar.



  21. September 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks, Coco! I’m cheering you on from here, as well. There’s nothing like having full use of the contents of one’s own closet again — especially when one has such good taste! 😉

  22. September 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Incredible post, young lady!

  1. September 9, 2011 at 6:25 am
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