Monday, February 10, 2014

Progress To Process

Just as my days in Cairns lately have lacked focus, so will this blog post. The heavy rains of the past couple of weeks have interrupted my normal Cairns routine. I haven't been out rolling the kayak, or, in fact kayaking at all since the SUP/kayak paddle day two Sundays ago. That was also the last day I went bouldering. Weight lifting, of course, is unaffected by wet or dry weather and rain cannot be used as an excuse not to push hard. 

Swimming hole on Stony Creek

Feeling a little stiff this morning after yesterday's Stronglift work-out, I cycled along to Stony Creek in Barron Gorge National Park and did the very short walk up to the old weir on Stony Creek. I expected the water to be muddy brown as it is everywhere else, but the creek was clear and there were lots of nice full swimming holes along the way. I couldn't find any information on the history of the weir on Stony Creek. There are lots of old pipes lying along the sides of the track and a bit of rusted old machinery up at the weir so I can only assume it was some kind of water source for the Cairns community. I was fully doused in layers of insect repellent expecting an onslaught of leeches, but I neither saw nor gathered any. There is a fair bit of Dengue fever about in Cairns right now which, if you are as attractive to mosquitoes as I am, necessitates wearing nasty repellent pretty much all day every day. Some days it feels as if it burning my skin off, but I guess I prefer a chemical peel to Dengue fever. 

As I was walking today I was thinking about how important it is to see our goals in life as a process and not an end-point. Learning to eskimo roll has taught me this more than any other skill I have tried to master in life. Unlike skiing or climbing or even weight training where getting better is part participating in the sport, eskimo rolling is not something you do for fun. You can learn to relax and not panic while you are head down in the water with your lower torso locked into a confined space, but you never really learn to totally enjoy the experience. When I first started out, I thought “I'll learn to roll the boat back up and I'll be done. Forthwith I can just get on with enjoying paddling." But, of course, there are good days and bad days and getting a bomb-proof roll requires continual tune-ups and seems to me, at least at this stage, a skill which you are never really “done with.” 

 Weir on Stony Creek

The New Year has spurned a lot of “get in shape” and “lose weight” resolutions among people but I wonder if all these folks realize that getting in shape/losing weight is another goal that has no real endpoint. You can't work out a certain amount and/or diet for a specified period of time reach a point and say “right, I'm done.” Instead you have to be active and watch what you eat every day of your life from this point forth. 

The goal is not really an endpoint but a process. Success relies on recognizing the essential nature of these types of goals. The easiest way, of course, to move forward in this process is to find enjoyment in the activities that move you towards your goal. Find a way of eating that controls your hunger and makes you feel good without feeling too deprived, and choose fitness activities that you enjoy participating in. It will never be a completely effortless road, just as eskimo rolling is not a fun activity. At the end of the day you still have to get up and make the right choices more often than you make the wrong choices and that always involves some sacrifice and determination.

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