Beth's Ponderings “With books, I am promiscuous.” – Heather Sellers That quotation is a pretty accurate description of myself, and my reading habits. I have always been a reader. There are even pictures of me as a toddler, sitting on the couch, with a large book on my lap. And, for anyone who knows me well, my reading choices can be, and usually are, quite eclectic! While I tend to read romances or historical novels on the fiction side, I also enjoy a good western or Christian novel too. On the non-fiction side, that is where the promiscuity really comes into play. At any given time, I will have four or five books on the go as I alternate between them. Some days I may read a chapter in each, other days, I may only pick up one or two to read. The subject matter is diverse enough - cooking, history, technology, self-help, inspiration, etc. - that I don’t tend to get them mixed up. The reason for the diversity is because some days I like something light, some days I feel like learning a new skill, and some days I can handle delving into a heavier subject. I was thinking about my reading habits as I recently watched a university lecture on Greek and Roman history. The professor made the usual disclaimer that we can’t necessarily take the ancient literary sources as revealing historical fact, even as we use those sources to learn about the history of the era. Homer’s “Iliad” may refer to historical events that happened, but it isn’t a historical documentation of those events. That got me thinking. While we can easily distinguish whether a contemporary book is fiction or non-fiction, and if the non-fiction book is factual or allegorical, would someone thousands of years in the future be able to make that same distinction? Especially if they only had a selection or a fragment of the whole book? Would they be able to tell that John Grisham and Danielle Steele were writing stories that weren't true, though they reflected the world as we know it? Would they be able to tell that many of our religious writings are allegorical, not historically factual? How would you want our lives to be revealed in the future?
Our Olympic athletes have returned from Rio. As usual, there were surprises, life-changing events, heart-warming stories, and more.
On one hand, I am amazed at what the athletes can accomplish, as just qualifying for the Olympics requires a high level of proficiency and skill in their sport of choice, yet on the other hand, I can’t see the point.
I am NOT athletic and, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I can’t seem to get into exercise either. I took dance lessons for years, and have done yoga off and on for a couple decades, but I’ve never established a dedicated practice or disciplined approach to it. I can be so disciplined in other areas, so it is weird that I can’t transfer that to exercise.
Then I read that recent research shows the only benefit to what we traditionally think of as “exercise” - cardio workouts, running, weight-training, etc. - is that it increases the oxygen levels in our blood, otherwise there is no real benefit to going to the gym or working out for an hour. It doesn’t burn enough calories to cause weight loss or improve health. It is the increased oxygen in the blood that causes any improvements and those are negated as so many of us aren’t breathing deeply enough except during that half to full hour of exercise. If we just starting breathing more fully, we wouldn’t have to “exercise” at all.
Now that doesn’t mean that we can be couch potatoes and not move at all since our bodies do require movement to stay healthy and our joints lubricated, but we require simple movements such as rambling walks. The trouble, besides our tendency to shallow breathing, is that we move intensely for a short period of time and then call it good, when we should be moving almost constantly throughout the entire day. Pacing around while talking on the phone, standing while typing on our computers (making sure the computer is on a higher surface), walking up and down stairs, bending and reaching, and spontaneous dancing, hopping, skipping and jumping such as you see young children doing.
I do admire elite athletes as they show us what the human body is capable of, but for the rest of us, deep breaths, and more general movement throughout the course of each day, is a better goal to strive for.