For one week, I’ve gotten in the pool each day to kick. Tuesday I went back to the Y for the first time in months and lap swam.
Why did I stop with the lap swimming? Mostly it was the weather. Summer in the Arizona desert is cloudy with daily thunderstorms and lightening. Not ideal outdoor swimming weather.
If it’s not storming it’s brilliant intense sunshine which I tend to avoid. Before I knew it, I was out of the lap swimming habit.
I’ve been following “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for years. At least most of her routine of morning pages, prayer and daily walks. The thing I’ve been missing is the “artist’s date.”
My excuse before was COVID shutdowns.
Now I have no excuse. The artist date is to go out — alone — and experience something to feed your muse. Cameron’s suggestions are looking in antique and fabric stores, go anywhere that will fill your senses and spark your creativity.
I’m going to try a once-a-week date with myself. I’ve added two days of lap swimming, and three days of kicking — now an artist’s date. I think that’s quite enough for now!
What is your morning or daily routine? What would you like to add to it?
My daughter had a job interview yesterday. She called me afterwards. She brought up a compelling point. They asked her how she handles stress or pressure on the job.
“I go to a private place, take a deep breath and shake it out. Then the anxiety leaves and I can prioritize what needs to be done,” she said.
She told me that was exactly what she did before the interview. She followed her pre-race routine. I’ve seen it a million times. She would stand behind the blocks, shake out her right arm, her left arm. Put her right leg on the blocks and stretch, repeat with the left leg.”
I remembered taking golf lessons when my kids were toddlers. My golf pro established a pre-hit routine for me. Each time I “addressed the ball” I would take two baseball swings with my golf club to loosen up. I’d take a deep breath and stand over the ball.
If you watch swimming, golf, or other sports — you’ll notice most athletes have a routine before they move. It frees their mind from thinking. It’s a signal to put their game face on and react physically, letting go of negative thoughts or any thoughts at all.
Six or seven years ago, I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, former wife of Martin Scorsese. She preached about morning routines. I began morning pages back then and have stuck with the routine. When I wake up, I reach for a journal and write three pages of whatever is on my mind. It can be a to do list, about my dreams, my prior day or anything that jumps into my brain. It releases anxiety and clears my head for more creativity.
Also, my morning routine includes prayer and a walk.
I feel centered and grounded and ready to carry on for the rest of the day.
What routines do you have in your life? What benefits do you see?
The past few years, we’ve been fascinated with a driftwood art installation at the beach. We first noticed it four or five years ago. I wrote about condos at the beach last summer HERE.
This summer, the person who is working on what we call the “beach condos” has added more people, creatures and signs. We’ve never seen anyone working on it. But it keeps growing and getting more interesting. I’d love to know who is creating this. I am picturing an aging hippie with long white hair.
Here are random photos I took yesterday morning:
Have you encountered anything like this at the beach or anywhere else? Which person or creature is your favorite?
Things are going swimmingly except for a heat wave. It’s cooler than back home in our Arizona desert, but it’s too hot to hike in the afternoon.
We visited the same week of July in the summer of 2020. In the afternoons, when my husband was done working, we would hike on trails that wind through the ski slopes.
This year, we’re doing a morning walk to Main Street along a tree-lined path with a bubbling creek. We did the same walk in the 2020 mornings, too. This year, the morning walk is the highlight of my day, because the afternoons are too hot for the mountain hikes.
Instead of sitting inside reading or watching TV, we’re hitting the pool to cool off.
Yesterday afternoon, the pool was filled with several groups of families and kids. I found a spot along one wall where I could swim. I watched two sisters in the deep end throwing a ring and diving after it. The older sister, a teen, got out when she saw me attempting to swim laps.
“Who am I going to play with?” little sister complained.
“That woman is swimming,” the teen explained.
I thought, “I’m swimming on one edge of the pool. They have most of the deep end to continue tossing the ring and diving.”
My husband decided to sit on the steps. I plowed on determined to get my exercise.
“Little sister” would do a backward somersault right in front of me every time I reached the deep end to turn. I had to swim around her. Next, a nine-year-old boy named Oscar would cut in front of me across the pool swimming as fast as he could. It seemed to be a game for him to push off across the pool and barely miss me.
“Why won’t you join me and swim?” I asked my husband.
“I don’t have the patience you have,” he explained. “I’d end up saying something and look like an asshole to the kids.”
I finally gave up after about 20 laps of dodging little sister and Oscar. We headed to the jacuzzi. Strangely, as soon as we got out of the pool, the kids did too. I guess I was their entertainment. They weren’t having much fun without harassing the middle-aged woman who was trying to swim laps.
I think if I was “little sister’s” mom, I would have asked her to swim and play away from the lap swimmer. The mom and dad were on chaise lounges relaxing. They didn’t say a word.
What would you have done if you were the parent? If you were trying to swim laps, would you have continued like me or not try like my husband and let the kids play?
It takes a trip out of state to an entirely different environment for me to appreciate the beauty of my desert. I get used to it and lose some appreciation, but a trip away wakes up my senses. As I walked this morning around our neighborhood I was struck by the views of cactus, mountains and shrubbery. I like it out here. I’d like to see more some wildlife, too.
What are some of the things you like best about where you live?
Here are a few photos from my morning walks this week. The weather is so much cooler. We went from too hot to walk to 48 degrees in the mornings. Unfortunately, my pool is too cold to use now. I was enjoying it until a week ago. I asked the pool man how to turn on the heater. He looked and couldn’t find a pool heater. Oh well. We didn’t heat our pool in Palm Springs, either, but we lived one mile from the city pool. I need to get in the car and drive 30 minutes to a pool to swim laps here. I’m spoiled and it’s tough to get motivated to drive that far to swim.
I mentioned that I was interviewed for a survey of American Families recently by writer Jennifer Graham. Here are links to two articles where I have a quote. Click on the headlines to read: