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10 years on

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Away from the desk

The little bent tree
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My view of Docklands; from NewQuay
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Goodbye from Blender Studios
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A Royal Commission into industry scandals
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Away from the desk - April 2014

03 Apr 2014

Gymward bound

I went to the gym the other day – during my lunch break. That’s right. I went to the gym. It was quite a moment as it’s something I’ve ummed and ahhed about for over a year now. I have many, many reasons for not going to the gym. Very convincing ones. I don’t have the right shoes. I don’t have the right gym gear. I have nothing to tie around my waist to hide the wobbly bits. I don’t have deodorant. The weather is too nice. The weather is too bad. I didn’t get a seat on the tram. I washed my hair last night. I didn’t wash my hair last night.

I know.

Pathetic. Weaselly. Unconvincing.

Funnily enough the reasons for going are much clearer, more focussed, far more powerful. I know going to the gym will make me feel calmer, happier, and ultimately more at peace with myself. I know that if I do it over time I will get stronger, lose weight, feel better and more in control. The reasons for going are clearer because they are aligned with my core values. The reasons for not going are weaker because they are really just a set of silly little excuses (read lies)

I tell myself to avoid any unpleasantness, feeling of unease, sense of struggle. What does Buddhism say about human nature and the drive to avoid suffering? Yep. Guilty as charged.    

If suffering is part of life, goddamnit, I have resolved to embrace it. Embracing it got me off my butt, putting on my runners, taking my backpack and walking to the gym. It got me over the hurdle of not having my gym card with me and wearing a t-shirt that was both unflattering and see-through at the same time. It got me working out on the cross trainer doing INTERVAL training – that’s High-intensity Internal Training don’t you know - for 15 minutes. I’ve got to say, for those 15 minutes of 20 seconds slow, 10 seconds really, really fast, I was more fully present than I had been all day. Funny how putting your body into a state of near exhaustion, where your heart is racing, sweat is dripping down your face and back and your leg muscles are aching really puts you in the now.

I got back to the office feeling relaxed, cleansed, calmer, happier and, ultimately, more at peace with myself. Just as I had suspected.

Still, when my friend Mikey put out an email last week asking for expressions of interest in a lunchtime boxing class at Docklands Park, I must admit I didn’t raise my hand. I did however take part in the general guffawing and putting down of the idea (in a nice way of course) and had a good laugh at his expense. Corporate life can be cruel.

I have however published a series of Mikey’s ideas for lunchtime experiences in Docklands. Primarily, because I think they are quite good and in keeping with the idea behind this column, and to make amends:

Lunchtime ideas for Docklands, by Mike:

  • Donate blood at a mobile blood bank
  • Shop at pop-up stores at many of the vacant tenancies
  • Serve lunch to the homeless at a food truck
  • Meditation and yoga by the water
  • Adult study information sessions, eg. CAE presentations
  • Free art shows
  • Cooking classes or ‘pot luck’, where you take it in turn making lunch for others
  • Book/reading clubs
  • Speed dating with like-minded Docklanders
  • Language exchange get-togethers
  • Clothing swap meets
  • Quick cardio sessions on canoe/kayak
  • Fishing demos, eg. best spots to fish in Docklands
  • Walking groups

These are all great ideas and I think I would be up for most. Combining them could be a laugh also. Anyone for speed dating and clothing swaps? How about language exchange and meditation? Quick cardio and speed dating?  Cooking and cardio?

Anything that gets us out of the office…..

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