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Motivation: survival

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yesterday morning I received an e-mail from my sister. She was looking for family who might be free to go with her to the Children's Zoo for "Cancer Survivors' Day" that evening.

I jumped on the chance because lately we've been busy, and haven't seen a lot of family... skipped Memorial Day as an excuse to gather... I hadn't hugged her since Easter. You get the drift.

She's doing great, by the way. Cancer all gone. Some side effects of the after-surgery drugs managed to elevate another issue, though. She had to have carpal tunnel surgery last week. But here she is, stalking a peacock so I can catch its photo. She's getting stronger with that right hand every day.

He's a bit back-lit, so doesn't show up as well as in real life.

There was an inspiring speaker, of course, sharing HER cancer journey, and the audience listened intently, as every survivor has a story.

As we walked back to the car, having enjoyed a visit to a lovely environment, my sis said she sometimes feels like a "fraud", "not much of a survivor" because she had a fairly easy time of it. Balderdash! What if she hadn't heeded the signs (small lump)? What if she'd stayed in denial, not got it checked out?

I'm very glad my sister is with us today... because she paid attention! My challenge is different. I am a compulsive overeater. I, too, have to pay attention! Because only by paying attention to our health can we have an impact on the outcomes. Decisions and choices *do* make a difference.

Make good ones today. Because life is good, and worth preserving, and worth living well!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/14/2012 8:43AM

    So glad your sister was alert and took care of herself to be cancer free. That diagnosis would bring anyone to their knees! She is indeed a survivor!! May we all pay attention to what is going on with ourselves and take care of anything that comes up properly! Living healthy allows you to enjoy life to its fullest, no holds barred!
Here is to being AWAKE, ALIVE, AWARE!

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SLENDERELLA61 6/12/2012 7:13PM

    Life is good!! So glad your sister is doing well. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.

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SHARON10002 6/11/2012 9:53PM

    What a wonderful tribute to your sister! Thank goodness that they caught it early. I hope you both have many more wonderful years together! Sounds like you love her very much.

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DEBRITA01 6/11/2012 4:16PM

    You're so right, paying attention is so important and can make all the difference in the outcome. My mom's quick discovery of a small lump (which resulted in a mastectomy and a stem cell transplant) may have saved her life. She is celebrating 15 yrs in remission.

Cancer is cancer, no matter the stage or size tumor. It is insidious and those who battle it are warriors! Your sister is courageous and I sense modest, as well. Glad you had an opportunity to bond over such a great cause/outing.

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BARBAELLEN 6/11/2012 3:57PM

    My most important charitable involvement is with a cancer support center. The one thing that comes through loud and clear is that survivors know a life before cancer and a life after cancer, no matter how bad or easy the experience is. Your sister is one of the many lucky ones who had an easier experience. Odds are good that with proper care, the outcome will be fine. Waiting for a problem to emerge before taking care of ourselves is not the way to go. Fortunately, with awareness, more and more people DO pay attention. It can sure make a difference!

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ANDI571 6/11/2012 3:47PM

    Loved your blog today. I agree that she IS a survivor. Just hearing those words no matter how big or small can be devastating. I'm glad you got to spend time together.

I have a childhood girlfriend that is a breast cancer survivor. I am in awe of her strength.

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KRISZTA11 6/11/2012 3:23PM

    Congrats to your sister to fighting cancer!
Both my mom and MIL had breast cancer surgery and treatment more than 5 years ago, and they are in good health, I hope your sister will stay healthy too!

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MSLZZY 6/11/2012 11:46AM

    She sounds like the type of person who hates to
call attention to herself but she is still a survivor.
Just because she caught it early and had an
easier time with treatment doesn't lessen the
diagnosis. So glad she made the right decision
for herself and that you are doing what is right
for you. Have a great Monday. HUGS!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/11/2012 11:26AM

    Fraud? ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! Good Lord . . . cancer is cancer is cancer. SHE IS A SURVIVOR!!!

My Mom's one year breast cancer survivor anniversary is Wednesday. We're going down to celebrate on Saturday! It is a momentous milestone!

My little sis struggles with kidney disease and has had lymphoma for 15 yrs. (it is a slow-growing, indolent type of cancer) so each and every single DAY as a survivor is precious.

So glad you got to spend time with your sister.

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MRS.DOYLE 6/11/2012 11:15AM

    It's important to hear about survivors. That gives more incentive to people to see their doctors early. The hope of a cure is much more real than it was years ago....thanks to all the research and fundraising.

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LJCANNON 6/11/2012 10:57AM

    emoticonCongratulations to your Sister! She is DEFINITELY a Survivor, and you are Right On about taking our Health and our Daily Choices Seriously. They DO Matter more than we sometimes realize.

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KALIGIRL 6/11/2012 8:14AM

    I can relate to your sis' feelings - having 22 days between 'discovery' and eradication would not qualify me as a survivor - not to mention, I didn't find it, my GP did.

I also can relate to your comments - we need to take our health 'seriously', savor and cherish it and 'treat our bodies like the temples they are!

Namaste my friend.

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Touring around town

Sunday, June 10, 2012

OK folks, I'm afraid my state does NOT rank high in being considered bicycle friendly, but this town has a GREAT set of trails. Most of them intersect, but you can get really confused by the markers that purport to give some sense of mileage.

This is because every trail segment is a trail in and of itself, and they do NOT give you any idea of how far you have really gone, because you enter near a marker that says "7K", then pass one that says "5Miles", then you end up with a different trail name and a different collection of mileage. Different organizations, also, mark their miles, for different purposes.

The local track club may have markers in one section, heading ONE direction, then a different club takes up and starts marking in the other direction, with its OWN point "0". So, I pretty much ignore these numbers, come home, and track the mileage by mapping in.

Thus it was that I set out to fulfil my training plan, which said, for today, "Bike 12 miles". And I started by heading for one of the nearby entrances to the trail system, and pedaled toward downtown. I went on past the tortoise in the profile pick and kept going, because I was curious as to how far the trail went.

Turns out it goes all the way to the former state fairgrounds. Then I pedaled around there, being grateful that it was Sunday morning, and not a lot of traffic about. Because I ended up pedaling on what CAN sometimes be pretty busy streets, and only had about two cars/trucks to avoid.

I found ways through the streets to link up with another of the trails. I took it all the way across town on the Northern side (I live South East and had biked essentially to the North West side), then had to beat my way South against a strong headwind, before turning West again to get home. All in all, it ended up being 19.35 miles, in a bit under two hours.

I managed to bike by downtown campus, East Campus, my kids' apartment complex, my old church, etc. A true "tour de city" for my time... and you see so much more when traveling under human power: a meadowlark fighting the same headwind I was, for example.

I feel good... the remainder of the day, household chores. Tomorrow... rest day... then figure out how to fit the Week 6 plan around other events of the next week!

Have a Sparking Great Day, everyone! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/14/2012 9:02AM

    Wow!! Awesome ride! Winds, yuck, do I ever remember fighting the strong winds here when I last biked!! Those trails sound great in spite of the mixed mileage markers. My city is so unfriendly to both bikes and pedestrians. Its a sprawling car city with lots of traffic and its brave people who dare to bike on the streets at peak times. There are a few, very few designated bike lanes. The only really nice place to bike is along the river trails by the river.
You are doing amazing, keep up the great work!!

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ALOHAEV1 6/11/2012 7:21AM

    I'd probably still be lost... emoticon have a great week!

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MRS.DOYLE 6/11/2012 3:05AM

    I would love to live somewhere with safe cycling routes. Enjoy the biking. I'm envious.
emoticon emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 6/11/2012 2:21AM

    I am using "Runkeeper" an app, to keep track of the distance...before I got the I-phone I had a little bike computer that told me how long I had been traveling...

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MSLZZY 6/10/2012 11:33PM

    Knowing you, you will "fit" everthing in like you
always do. Glad you had such a fun ride. HUGS!

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KARIDIAN1 6/10/2012 8:36PM

    I have a GPS I use on my bike that tracks my mileage and time. Then i can go anywhere and not worry.

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SUNNY332 6/10/2012 6:12PM

    That would be totally confusing.

Take care and have a great week.


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WATERMELLEN 6/10/2012 3:40PM

    Those mileage markers sound like a plot to me . . . confuse the enemy or something!

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SHARON10002 6/10/2012 2:52PM

    emoticonYou go girl!!! You are really racking up those miles! Sounds like you had a great ride! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 6/10/2012 2:31PM

    Great workout!
How confusing distance markings...

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1CRAZYDOG 6/10/2012 1:12PM

    Hope you have a good week coming up!

I used to ride trails where I lived in IL and it was confusing exxactly as you described!

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Just another workout... BUT!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

This morning I managed to get myself signed on to do a 10K Charity run. As it was already my long run day on the triathlon training plan, I just stretched the plan a bit, and kept saying to myself, "it's just another workout".

Well, it is, because the TRI is my real target race. BUT... there surrounded by others, in the bright morning sunshine of almost Summer (and definitely on its way to Summer temps... going to get up to 93 today, the weather man says)... the adrenaline kicks in.

The unstated "dream goals" were: keep on jogging, with walk breaks only at the water stations. And... if I finish in an hour, it would be incredible. I *almost* met goal #1, I did take a short walk break in mile 6 just because, when it wasn't a water station... but it was shady and relatively flat.

I seem to do better with hills. Because I *do* lengthen my stride and let gravity assist on the downhill, and because I am incredibly energized by powering UP hills. Maybe if I dealt with REAL hills I wouldn't be so enthused, but this race does have some gradual hills in it.

As I was coming down 63rd street to the finish line, and crossed the mile 6 marker, my watch said 47 (I started it at mile 1, not recognizing exactly where the start line was... no mats this time!) With just two tenths of a mile to go, the race clock became visible and it was still at 57! I had a chance at that dream time!

So I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, finished as strong as I could those last couple of blocks... and crossed under the clock when it still had a 59 on it. emoticon Wow! What a rush!

And when they started taping up the results it said my chip time was 58:46 and it said I ran a 9:28 pace, for a 10K, which is just one second off my personal record pace for a 5K! That race was in 1991 (also with hills, by the way, bigger ones than this race)... I AM getting stronger.

I can't believe it, but wait, yes I can. I'm putting in the work, it makes sense.

Life is good. Spark on! emoticon The real test will be recovery time... tomorrow's workout says "Bike 12 miles". emoticon Then I get Monday off.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/14/2012 9:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is fantastic!! You are the champ!! emoticon
You are in fabulous shape and are going to eat up this tri!!! I just hope your temperatures are more reasonable than 93!! I can't imagine doing that when its so hot!!
Spark on!

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ALOHAEV1 6/11/2012 7:49AM

    emoticon Let me add still another absolutely awesome!

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AROCHFORD 6/11/2012 1:39AM


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JUST_TRI_IT 6/10/2012 12:10PM

    You are such an inspiration!

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LEANJEAN6 6/10/2012 6:53AM

    WooWoo! You did well Barb! --I see those Jeans too-Lynda

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1CRAZYDOG 6/9/2012 11:18PM

    Everytime I think "You're awesome", you somehow manage to bet "awesomer!" Great, great job and great, GREAT inspiration.


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    Oh, Oh, Oh, way to go! emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 6/9/2012 3:17PM

    emoticon You're going to nail that Tri!

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MSLZZY 6/9/2012 2:22PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You constantly amaze me!

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MILLERGIRL719 6/9/2012 1:53PM

    That's awesome! Congrats!!!!!!!!!!

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KRISZTA11 6/9/2012 12:27PM

    Congrats to your success!
You ran an awesome time!


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MNTWINSGAL 6/9/2012 11:29AM

    Absolutely awesome, Barb. Congratulations!

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RONNIEHUEY 6/9/2012 11:29AM


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KALIGIRL 6/9/2012 11:23AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
And who said they weren't going to emoticon anymore? emoticon

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The first so-called brick

Friday, June 08, 2012

I'm in week five of the beginner's triathlon training plan. In this week, we are introduced to the "brick". It is important, we are told, to learn to deal with the transition between activities. So you practice doing a bike workout followed by a run workout, in this case.

It called for a 30 minute bike, 10 minute run, 20 minute walk on the plan. And I came close to doing exactly that. It tooke me about 8 minutes in transition... lock the bike up, potty stop, hydrate, and slap on sun-block in the two minute warm up walk.

Can we say "drenched in sweat"... it was a warm, humid evening when I did this. Then home, shower, supper, pack lunch for next day because... this morning it was back in the pool at 5 a.m. Which leaves little Sparking time before bedtime last night and between swim and work this morning, but here I am letting y'all know I'm still at it.

Tomorrow is running day, which is why I stuck to that 20 minutes walking last night. See, I roped myself into a charity 10K tomorrow morning early. I'm glad it's early because it's supposed to get up to 93 before the day is out.

This morning's swim thought? I'm always counting. And all exercise is about breathing... in swimming it is obvious... because the stroke only offers a certain point at which to breathe. But when lifting weights, we're told to exhale during one motion, inhale during another. Anybody who has EVER taken a yoga class knows that is all about the breathing, too. I think swimming more has helped my breathing during my runs. Tomorrow will test that!

Life continues to be good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/14/2012 9:16AM

    I simply can't imagine transitioning from one activty to the next! Just love hearing about your progress and planning! We should all be so lucky to be as organized and determined as you!!

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KARIDIAN1 6/8/2012 9:39PM

    Keep up the good work. You make me tired just reading your blog. emoticon

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    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh you make me tired! emoticon

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HEALTHYOTTER 6/8/2012 6:59PM

    Good luck with the 10K. Since the bike is the skill I'm adding more than the other two, most bike rides I finish with a walk or walk/jog. Not sure I'll get to actually running the entire 5K for the sprint tri. The foot work really helps my knees and legs recover from the bike time, keeping joints in alignment as it were. First "brick" my legs were like lead, now they seem looser in less time. Keep going! I'm so impressed with your dedication!

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KALIGIRL 6/8/2012 10:53AM

    Very cool on all counts!
Will be thinking about you tomorrow.

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MSLZZY 6/8/2012 10:09AM

    Everything has a reason and breathing correctly
is one of those activities that sometimes takes a little
thought to get it right. Have a great day and good luck

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LEANJEAN6 6/8/2012 9:12AM

    OMG BARB!!!!!You are truly ""at it""----even to the sunscreen--I want to be there--at this race, when it happens---Oh--I wish! !Lynda

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1CRAZYDOG 6/8/2012 8:40AM

    So proud of you! Great job.

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MRS.DOYLE 6/8/2012 8:15AM

    I'm at following your progress with admiration.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/8/2012 7:57AM

    Very impressive, Barb!! You are training really smart. Keep up the great work!! -Marsha

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JESSZZ123 6/8/2012 7:52AM

    Wow! Good luck to you. I don't think I could survive all that! Keep up the amazing work!

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Peace and movement

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

This morning the training plan said "swim 600 yards". I've blogged before about losing count of the laps when I'm swimming a single stroke... I've started to swim in sets of four (100 yards = 4 lengths) to try to mitigate that. Because of this I know I met the 600, but then I get fuzzy about how much beyond that I swam. I know I did 30 minutes in the pool.

Have you ever noticed? The tools for swimming tend to favor the freestyle stroke? A swimming cap tends to want to focus your head in a single direction... doesn't work as well for side-stroke or even back stroke. Just an observation that randomly popped in my head during my "just keep swimming" workout this morning.

Another thing I'm noticing is that as my freestyle stroke gets stronger, I like it better and tend to favor it over what used to be my old faves, the side-stroke and the breast stroke. This morning's workout was almost entirely freestyle... I think only about 3 lengths were NOT.

The point of the peace and movement subject was also one of those random observations... swimming in a pool is one of those times when you don't really have to pay a lot of attention to your surroundings. Unlike biking or walking or jogging, where one needs to be constantly aware of traffic, other bikers and other runners, or little critters that might spring out into your path, the pool at 5 a.m. is a serene place where you CANNOT converse even if you were of a mind to.

In short, it is the perfect place for a meditation done in motion. Clear your mind, and just keep swimming. Of course this can be hampered if you're trying to count distance, but if you just set the clock and keep on swimming? Ahhhh!

I climbed out, came home, and didn't want to so much as turn on music. The silence was just too precious. I want to preserve this centered feeling, and have it to come back to, throughout the day, no matter what else might happen at work or in traffic... just back to the silence. Ahhh!

Spark gently today, and be kind to yourselves! Life IS good. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 6/14/2012 9:22AM

    Exercise nirvanna -silence and not busy -I can picture your meditation in motion- very awesome, I bet it makes the time go by effortlessly! All good things.
I so appreciated the absolute peace and quiet of that train trail -no traffic noises and not busy until we got the first two hours in, then there was a lot of bike traffic. But for a while, it was like we had the place to ourselves :)
There is nothing like being in the zone, you rock!!

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SUNNY332 6/7/2012 8:35PM

    Awe - peace and quiet. Love it and glad you found it today.

Hugs, Sunny

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KARIDIAN1 6/6/2012 8:46PM

    I like peace and quiet too. Especially enjoy reading in quiet.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/6/2012 6:43PM

    Great blog!! It made swimming sound like something I do want to do again. I was on a swim team as a kid. I've gotten out of the habit and haven't really enjoyed swimming when I've tried. When I swim I usually stick to breast stroke, back stroke, and occasional side stroke. Maybe I can get comfortable enough to do freestyle again. I'll let you know whether the inspiration I now feel gets carried into a new cardio activity.

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SHARON10002 6/6/2012 6:24PM

    Sounds of Silence. . . Ahhhhhh . . . .
emoticonblog, and good news on the emoticon!

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MSLZZY 6/6/2012 11:02AM

    Peace and quiet in a workd known for noise and
stimulation on a constant level.
Have a calm and quiet day. HUGS!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/6/2012 9:28AM

    Oh my . . . you're onto something that I wish I could get my DD and my DS to learn. You NEED to have some time alone with just you and your thoughts . . . not plugged in and blotting out any semblance of thoughts. UGH

Well, DS is learning that being in the Army, but DD certainly has a long way to go.

Glad you enjoyed your swim!

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ANDI571 6/6/2012 8:36AM

    Silence. Today's generation just doesn't appreciate that so much. I love walking and not having things in my ears. I just like to listen to what is around me.

Barb, how did you ever get to the point that you just got moving? I piddle around the house a lot, but when it comes to old fashioned exercise, I just can't get the want to do it. As long as I am doing things that doesn't resemble exercise, like walking, I am fine. But get up and actually do exercise, I stink at it. I know I would feel so much better if I would. I keep telling myself that I need to start toning exercises. It hasn't happened yet.

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WATERMELLEN 6/6/2012 8:27AM

    Silence . . . invaluable. And it's amazing how many "problems" are solved through mediation in motion.

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KALIGIRL 6/6/2012 8:18AM

    "Meditation in motion" - couldn't have put it better myself - 50 lenghts in 43 minutes this morning - loved every minute of it!
Namaste my friend emoticon

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