Getting you back to the life you want to live.
J uly 2019
W atering your G arden
In my continual camping adventures (and when I camp, I mean pull a bed along with me to sleep in the woods), I have been taking my daughter to participate in Junior Ranger programs at state and national parks. One of the things I love about participating with her is I always learn something! In our most recent campout, we learned about bones, teeth structure and function, and pelts. We were accompanied in the talk by a group of Girl Scouts. One of the young girls shared a mnemonic she already knew about the eyes, something I had never heard: “Forward facing eyes, ready to surprise; side facing eyes, looking to hide.” In terms of predator versus prey, I found this new nugget fascinating. It made me think about an even broader application. There is a time and a purpose for both types of eyes as humans. Forward attention keeps us focused on goals and movement toward something. For a predator, that’s a tasty meal. For us, that’s a life goal, a weekend, or even just lunch. But looking to the side helps us dodge pain, inconveniences, struggles, consequences, or others’ bad behavior. This can serve us, too. Coming back to my camping environment, I also thought about flashlights. We are able to focus on what we shine a light on. Far too much of what is important in our lives is taken for granted. If we know what’s in the dark, we’re not worried about it, but we’re also not focused on it. Paying attention to things that are comfortable and known isn’t often a path we choose because we’re too worried about dodging bullets and speeding projectiles in our daily lives. Focusing some of that valuable attention on the things that really matter is where the proverbial garden flourishes. The chase and self- preservation pale in comparison to achieving tranquility as we distill the true valuables from our lives. My wish for you is you use your “hiding eyes” to hide from the static, unimportant, and nearly irrelevant but ever-constant barrage in our lives, and use your “chasing eyes” to chase dreams, love, and peace. You’ll find the everyday garden has been a great venture.
F itness C ulture in A merica FROM NICHE INTEREST TO NATIONAL PASTIME
America is a nation obsessed with fitness. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, over 60 million Americans are members of a gym or health club. Athleisure apparel, clothes designed for both the gym and everyday wear, is a multibillion-dollar industry, and a significant percentage of magazines you’ll find at the airport are devoted to, you guessed it, health and fitness. With the popularity of fitness culture at an all-time high, it’s easy to forget that working out is a relatively new national pastime. The history of fitness is a fascinating one that includes both the ColdWar and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In honor of Independence Day, let’s take a moment to explore this phenomenon. “Thinking of exercise as a foregone conclusion would be a mistake,” writes Shelly McKenzie in “Getting Physical: The Rise of Fitness Culture in America.”“The acceptance of exercise was a gradual process, and one that was met with tremendous opposition.”That may be hard to believe today, but you have to remember that in 1960, nearly 50% of American adults regularly smoked. Our idea of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle has transformed radically since then. Physical Fitness as a Form of National Pride Athletics has always been a way for Americans to prove their mettle against competitors from around the world. Think of Jesse Owens winning a gold medal in front of Adolf Hitler or Joe Louis’ defeat of Max Schmeling. This concept was never more apparent than during the Cold War. The Soviet Union invested immense resources into developing
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