Fat Lady on a Bike: My Journey to Peace and Fitness

Join me and my wonderful Electra Townie bike on my continuing journey to inner peace and both inner and outer fitness.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mindful Jet Lag

We left Hawaii at 10pm Wednesday night, arriving in Boston at 4pm the next day, though really it was 10am body time, with half a day vanished into the ether.  The transition seems particularly more difficult now that Daylight Savings Time starts so early, as the six-hour time loss seems significantly more challenging to accommodate than a five-hour loss.  This year, being generally in a more mindful state of being, and healthier (watch as I spit three times) than usual, I'm finding the experience of being out of kilter extremely interesting.

Usually, the only thing I notice about being back in Eastern time is that I can't fall asleep till 3 or 4 in the morning, which would be bedtime in Hawaii.  I always try to get up at a reasonable hour, on the assumption that that will help me adjust, so I'm tired a lot, but I can't ever seem to get to sleep at a reasonable time for the first week or so that I'm back here.  This year, I decided to go more with the flow of my body's cues.  I'm not sure it's a better way to handle the jet lag, but it's certainly interesting.

For one thing, I'm paying attention to when I feel like sleeping and, most of the time, giving myself permission to sleep then.  This means a nap or two during the day, but it also means that I'm going to bed before midnight, which is much closer to a normal bedtime, and waking at close to my usual time.  Unfortunately, it also means that there isn't more than an hour in the early afternoon when I have any energy at all, but I'm hopeful that that will pass in another day or two.

The second really interesting thing is that I'm conscious of being ravenous a lot, often at what would have been meal times in Hawaii -- this means wanting to have what amounts to another dinner at about 10pm.  I'm feeding myself carefully in response to this hunger, not freaking out about it.  If I feel like eating a bit more than usual, I'm eating a bit more, confident that it is a response to a bodily cue and not either emotionally triggered or an inappropriate response to being tired (remember how I said I was letting myself sleep when I felt like it?  This is why.). 

The third aspect to all of this is that I am finding very little energy for riding my bike.  I went out yesterday for 20 minutes and felt good about that, though it felt like peddling through molasses.  Today, I haven't been able to bring myself to get out there, as much as I want to, and as much as I want to take advantage of 70 degree weather, which will gone by tomorrow.  I've had more trouble giving myself permission to choose sleep over biking than anything else, but I think I've finally started to trust that my desire to be active is so strong that when I can, I will.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe this evening, maybe not until after the Passover frenzy of the coming week, but I'll know the feeling when it comes and respond to it with joy and alacrity.

These are all big successes for me, and big changes from previous years.  I've been reading some other fitness and weight loss blogs during the past week, and I have been interested to note how many of the authors are rather narrowly focused on pounds, clothing size, or very specific exercise goals.  I am SO not interested in any of that, at this point in my journey.  For me, it's all about making small changes that have a huge effect on my state of being, particularly on my sense of balance in the world, what the Hawaiians call pono.  The doctor that I see when I'm on the Big Island has her office in a medical office complex called Hale Ola Pono, which can be translated as House of Balanced Life or Building for Balanced Health.  I love the idea of looking at health and fitness in that way and acknowledging that it's never just about my body or just about my mental state.

Now it's off to an early dinner and more healing sleep.

A hui hou.

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