Charlotte A. Stout

PRIOR REFLECTIONS!
If you missed an ealier post, this page has my previous November 2016 Reflection postings.
If you want to read some earlier Reflections, click on the links below for the month you are interested in:

October 2016September 2016

November 25th: Boot Camp

I attended my first “Boot Camp” exercise class recently at MUV Fitness. Good Grief!!

I have been a member of another program for a little over a year. It too is an intense interval workout routine. I thought my prior program would have prepared me for Boot Camp. Uh – that would be a big fat NO!

As I worked through the various exercises I wondered to myself, ‘what possessed me to start working out at my age.’ I arrived at Vanity as the reason. I have never been a workout fiend. Never-ever-ever!! I have joined many gyms only to let the membership lapse. But as I got older my body changed and I didn’t like what I saw. I decided I needed to tone, tighten and strengthen. I was on a mission and when I am focused look out world.

My prior gym got me interested in working out because I saw results. I became stronger, had better stamina, endurance and saw a change in my body. I loved the workout environment, team spirit and coaches. Sadly, I became a bit bored with the routines and the lack of emphasis on proper form, which I have learned is critical to exercising safely. As a novice, I had no idea what “correct form” meant. I just followed and did what everyone else did and hoped for the best. With large group classes, it is hard for the coaches to focus on each person individually to ensure they are performing the exercises correctly. So, I decided to move to a gym with “Certified Trainers” to focus on form and to refresh my routine.

Part of the workout program my new certified trainer designed for me is to participate in boot camp twice a week. I’d heard about boot camp but never experienced it before. Boy, was I in for a treat. First, I was the oldest participant by at least 20 years. Secondly, I was surprised by how hard I worked and how much I sweat during boot camp. By the end of class I was a puddle of goo. Boot Camp is an hour of intense continuous moving working the legs, arms, glutes, abs, and core. My prior workout routine was only 45 minutes and I thought that was long. Adding 15 minutes of intensity may not sound like much but it sure kicked my butt.

As I drove home dripping sweat from every pore on my body I had a fleeting thought that this Boot Camp program is not for me. That feeling passed once I showered, drank some Gatorade and got a good night’s rest. I’ll go back because I want my retirement years to be the best they can be and that means staying in shape. So, off to Boot Camp I will go on Saturday morning. Sigh! Want to join me? Please!!!

November 18th: Racism – Alive and Well (Sadly) in the United States

Noun: “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”

It saddens me that we were exposed to racially charged rhetoric during the presidential campaign by Donald Trump and yet he was elected. It is even more telling that the rhetoric continues following the election by his supporters. Mr. Trump says he is not racist and even took the bold (what a joke) step to state on Sixty Minutes that his supporters should “stop it.” Is he for real!!

Who the heck started the rhetoric and incited the racial tension over the last eighteen months. It was Donald Trump. I believe that he and his family are quite pleased that high school students are walking through the halls yelling “White Power,” and “go back where you came from,” to anyone who does not “look” exactly like they do. He ignited the flame of racism and it will only grow brighter and more deadly with his presidency.

I shared with a friend yesterday that I am disappointed to learn how racist our country is in this 21st century. Now, people feel they are justified in being overtly racist because the future first family endorses such rhetoric and associated behavior.

Well, it is NOT okay. We, the more open-minded and accepting part of society MUST state unequivocally that racism will NOT be tolerated. We should call out racism when we see it and attempt to stop it. It will take all of us to counteract what Mr. Trump and his supporters have endorsed.

Once again we need to be brave, take a stand and not allow this country to revert to the 17th, 18th, 19th or 20th centuries when racism, as defined above, was the norm.

November 11th: HOPE – “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to believe, desire or trust…”

I am writing this the day after the election that placed a man in the white house who espouses the antithesis of all I believe in. I believe in acceptance of everyone regardless of their race, creed, color, sexual orientation or religion. If ALL people are tolerant of all people we can have a fairly civil society. I am concerned that our ability to tolerate diversity in others has changed with the election of Trump to the presidency.

Trump’s entire campaign was one of hate-filled rhetoric toward so many factions of our society. I struggle to comprehend how he and the Republicans can mend these relations. I have perused Facebook posts today and read many posts asking all of us to embrace one another, show tolerance and love toward all people regardless of this election’s outcome.

I understand the call for calm, love and tolerance. However, I learned long ago that creating a peaceful, safe and accepting environment must start at the top. Whether it is with parents, a CEO or our President, what the person at the top models is what trickles down to the masses.

I would like to believe there is hope for this new president. But based on what I have observed during the campaign this man has no experience in government, appears to have a difficult time staying on-task, is short-tempered, and has no real understanding about how a law is created, constitutional amendments or the three branches of government. These deficiencies give me pause.

The Obama’s have handled their time in the White House with dignity and grace. I wish I could say I expect the Trumps to do the same. Unfortunately, what I have seen over these last eighteen months is a family of elitist misogynist racists. I fear the office of the President, with the Trumps occupying it, will be denigrated to a level that will take years to recover from.

I hope he proves me wrong but I am not holding my breath.

November 4th: Increase Pleasure – Reduce Stress

I don’t know about you but this election has heightened my stress level. I dislike the negative tone used by both sides. I find it difficult to listen to the lies that roll so easily from the mouths of candidates up and down each party’s ticket. So, rather than stress out over what I am unable to control I choose to seek, focus on and let my senses experience the pleasurable things in my life.

For example:

I often watch the sunset and marvel at the beauty I see. No two sunsets are ever the same. I note the shapes of clouds, the various hues and what might be causing them.

I listen to upbeat and fun music. I hear the lyrics and can’t help but become engrossed in the three or four-minute story being told.

I revel in the feel of my sheets at night when I go to bed. They are silky smooth and I love snuggling deep into their cool comfort. I tend to sigh in delight at the sensation as I prepare to fall asleep.

I am not a foody at heart. However, when I feel a need for oral pleasure I will devour a drumstick ice cream treat. I might even have two if the mood strikes me. On days when I know I need to eat more sensibly I find the crunch of a fresh juicy apple, nectarine or pear provides as much satisfaction as that drumstick but with far fewer calories.

When I feel a need to stimulate my sense of smell in a pleasurable way I turn to my all-time favorite scent – Vanilla. I love the scent of baking something with lots of vanilla like rice pudding. If I am not in the mood to bake I can diffuse vanilla or place a bit of vanilla oil on my wrists to take me to my happy place.

It does not take much effort to move from a state of stress to one of pleasure. Think about things that stimulate your senses in a pleasurable way and spend time seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting those. You will move from a state of stress to a state of feeling pleasure.

I am off to enjoy a nice crisp apple and maybe a drumstick.!