Tag Archives: self-care

Playlists

I walk. It’s one of the few healthy things I do. At the moment. I have plans to change that.

For now, I walk. Over 5,000,000 steps in 2017.

IMG_6750.jpgAfter some trial and error and more trials and even more errors, I discovered that what inspires me best when I walk, and in those moments when I jog or run at a speed that challenges a sundial to measure, is music. Which leads to the topic of playlists.

At first I tried using my iTunes on shuffle. The challenge involved tempo. Many songs on my iTunes are too slow for walking, let alone for those moments when jogging/running at a speed that threatens to leave banana slugs in the dust.

Playlists became my solution: selecting the songs that I want to listen to each day. I create daily playlists that are about 1 hour long.

Of playlist types, there are four (at the moment):

Memorial playlists. Often, but not every time, when an artist dies, I create a playlist of songs by that artist. Sometimes I will include covers of the artist’s songs as well. At times this means purchasing songs to build, or supplement, the playlist; other times I have the needed songs.

Special day playlists. For days that have speak to me in a special way, I create playlists. These are days I choose to commemorate. Usually I have songs that fit the day; occasionally songs are added to supplement what is already in my iTunes library. Examples are: Roberto Clemente’s birthday, my birthday and anniversary, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,  Human Rights Day, the Winter Solstice, and Women’s Day.

Seasonal playlists. Current playlists mark two seasons. During Advent and Christmas, playlists are built of Advent and Christmas songs on the Sundays and then from December 24 through January 6, Christmas songs fill the playlists. The week or two before and after St. Patrick’s Day bring playlists of Irish and Irish-American music. Fitzgerald on my mother’s side. Playlists created during each season follow, as far as possible, the rules of regular playlists and involve the creation of Christmas and Irish source playlists.

Regular playlists. I create a playlist folder in iTunes with all the songs in the library except for Christmas. This becomes the master playlist with the incredibly creative name of “Gym.”  A playlist folder for each day is then created: “Gym 02 November” for example. I then go back into the master playlist, set it on shuffle, and start a song. I don’t use that song, but do a fast-forward to the next song. If the tempo is right, I add it to the daily playlist and then delete it from the master playlist and then repeat the process. If the tempo is too slow, it is simply deleted and the fast-forward takes place. This continues for about 7 or 8 songs which is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. At that point, I look at the playlist in terms of diversity of the artists. The remaining songs are chosen using the fast-forward shuffle to ensure that there is a measure of diversity (gender and race) in the list. Two additional rules: only one song per artist per playlist (which is waived if an artist was a member of multiple groups) and no repeats of the same song even by different artists. Songs that are not included because they do not fit the rules at the moment remain in the list. Only slow songs and used songs are deleted. Should it reach the point where all the songs have been used or deleted, then the “Gym” master playlist would be rebuilt.

One potential tweak lies ahead. I have purchased the 2018 Peace Calendar from the Syracuse Cultural Workers. In addition to being a source for special day playlists, it may well allow the addition of a song or two on appropriate days.

Creating playlists consumes time. It often happens late at night with a mindless movie on the television. And I have come to realize that this is a discipline that feeds me in some way I cannot describe. And that is good.

See you along the Trail.

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The color of the day is green

IMG_1708Friday Prince. Today Ireland.

Friday purple.Today green.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising of Irish men and women against the occupation and oppression of England. More civilians were killed during the rising than were combatants on both sides. Guerrilla warfare followed that resulted in England leaving Ireland. The agreement to end that war partitioned the country: 26 counties became the Irish Free State; 6 counties in the north remained part of the United Kingdom. Civil war ensued but did not change that configuration. The Troubles convulsed Northern Ireland; progress has been made toward peace, the journey is not complete.

In remembrance and prayer, green was today’s color.

Note April 24 also marks the day the Armenian genocide began in 2015.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple not flowers – exercise gear

IMG_1706 (1)I had fallen away from my exercise routine. After a stretch where I worked out daily, I probably logged five workouts in the last month. I put out an alert to my friends and support network. They responded. Some offered encouragement. Some shared expressions of concern. Some even used the “l” word. And some figuratively kicked my butt.

Joann Haejong Lee essentially said, “Get thee to the gymery and attend the Prince’s songs as thou moveth.”

Maybe her message was a tad more direct and a lot less faux Shakespeare. But I got her point.

And to the gym I went. And with a Prince playlist there seemed only one shirt and bandanna choice.

See you along the Trail (and hopefully in the gym).

 

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The competition

As I completed my work out at the Gym at the Shire and prepared to mount the elevator to return to the Shire itself, I noticed some of the others using the gym. Treadmills pounded; weight machines clanked. Grunts and sighs and snippets of conversation filled the air.

I briefly watched a younger man, much younger than me, struggle to do exercises I can do easily. And for a moment, I felt accomplished.

Then a woman, not young but not as old as me, smoothly moved into a headstand. Her ease and grace reminded me of the struggle I sometimes have just to stand on my feet. And for a moment, I despaired and thoughts of giving up filled my head.

For a moment. Only a moment.

The moment quickly passed and I realized as I exercise I do not compete with those who are ahead or with those who are behind, those who can do more or those who can do less. It is a journey of self-care. It is a competition with myself, with that voice in my head that tells me I can’t. And every time I make it through, every time I do something more, something new, I win.

And with support of family, trainer, friends, I have many wins. And more will come.

See you along the Trail.

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The time is now


Nicole Kung, NK Body Philosophy:
 It isn’t the falling that matters. It’s the getting back up.

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never.

In my efforts at self-care, I have fallen often.

I have learned  how to pick my self up.IMG_3419

Family and friends, long-time and new, have never given up on me.

As the year comes to a close, with holidays and football games and all sorts of challenges ahead, I begin again. Again. The time is now (also from Nicole).

As in the recent past, I will attempt to post results on Steps along the Trail. You are welcome to follow. Or not.

See you along the Trail.

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Done

Much done
once done
begin anew.

Half done
not done
begin anew.

Words said
deeds show
begin anew.

26 October 2015
The Shire
Manhattan, New York

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The run – 15 August

The bandanna ran its first structured race. With my trainer Nicole, I ran in New York in support of a friend’s son who organized a 1-mile fundraising run in memory of his grandmother.

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