I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Independence Day

Yesterday's sky
We had a cool front with possible rain move in last night, and the sky all day long yesterday was filled with these incredible clouds. I kept stopping in my tracks and gazing up at their beauty. This picture was taken from my front porch. This morning is cloudy and cool; right now it's 15C (60F). And last I checked, it's the day before the Independence Day holiday and it's sizzling all across most of the rest of the country. I'll take this temperature any day, even with the rain.

My Sunday morning routine is changing a little: this morning I need to be across town before 9:00am for a new yoga class. I've signed up for a Level I class that is only held early Sunday and in the afternoon on Thursdays. Since that's my hiking day, I'm going to see how it works out for me to take this class. It might be too advanced for me, since Gentle Yoga has been just right for months now. Here's Yoga Northwest's description of their classes. They hold plenty of other Level I classes, but I like Laifong's approach. I took a free class that she taught, and I was impressed with her ability to teach someone like me. She's a young person who, I think, sees me as someone she can help. I really like that. I'm not leaving my original instructor behind, though; I'm taking one Gentle II a week with her as well.

It wasn't that long ago that I was searching for a yoga studio that would be right for me, and now I'm signed up for my third semester of taking two classes a week. I find that smaller class sizes with plenty of correction possibilities helps me more than anything else to advance in my quest to gain flexibility and core strength, the things that will assist me in keeping fit through my seventies. That and aerobic exercise are key ingredients.

For the past two mornings, I have emerged from sleep after having vivid skydiving dreams, both very realistic and wonderful: it's almost as though that activity has not left me at all, and continues to give me pleasure. There is no sense of loss, but instead a satisfaction to think of skydiving being part of my DNA. With so many thousands of skydives under my belt, I guess it's changed me permanently. That makes me smile, just to think of it.

Tomorrow is America's Independence Day. "July Fourth in the US is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire."

And lately I've been watching the news about "Brexit," where Britain has been calling June 23 their own independence day after the referendum that gave the British people the chance to leave the European Union. Nobody seemed to think that it had a chance of passing, and now the whole world economy has been turned upside down. It not only passed, but now there are rumblings of Scotland and Ireland leaving the British Empire. Everything changed with the passage of that referendum. I was really dismayed to learn that the "Leave" voters won. Frankly, I think most of the Brits were dismayed as well. I found this BBC website that explains how the vote broke down by age:
From BBC
Even though the young people in Britain voted overwhelmingly to stay, it didn't matter much because they mostly didn't bother to cast a ballot. Just think how different everything would be today if they had. It's amazing to me that people don't exercise their right to vote! I have never missed a chance to cast a ballot. Whether or not it makes any difference in the long run, I feel I've done my part. But then again, I see by that chart that most of us of a certain age feel the same way about voting.

It will take several years for Britain to actually leave the European Union, but in the meantime the world economy suffered another shock. Although the stock markets have mostly recovered their huge losses, the long-term effects will be around for years. Whatever happens in our own presidential election in November is another potential shock. I'll be watching the two conventions that will be held in July and hoping that we get through this without any terrible things happening.

And that's not even mentioning the upswing in terrorism all around the world. No wonder, when I think of it, that I feel a sense of dread when I consider the state of society today. My sister and I have commented to one another that it's a good thing we're old now; we won't be around to see the worst of the world's turmoil. I was born and raised in a part of the globe where I haven't, until now, felt the effects of political upheaval directly on my day-to-day activities. With Independence Day tomorrow, I'll breathe a sigh of relief when we make it all the way to the middle of next week without having another terrorist bombing somewhere.

My heart aches for all the suffering and turmoil that goes on every single day on this planet of ours. But one of the things I get to choose is what I focus on: do I want to feel that dread and fall into despair, or do I want to focus on what I can do to make my own little corner of my world a little bit better? Every Sunday morning I sit down with my laptop and feel the day as I compose this post. I never know for sure what's going to emerge, what I'll find on this page when I finish, but it is one thing I do for myself and for my readers. In a way it helps me to connect with all that's good and right in the world.

It's almost 6:30am, and if I'm going to make it on time to my yoga class, I'll need to wind it up here and change my focus toward the day ahead. So, that said, it's with a glad heart, not a heavy one, that I wish all of you dear friends a wonderful day ahead. Be well until we meet again, and don't forget to give your loved ones a hug, virtual or actual. That's what I'm doing with you: sending you a hug, can you feel it?


gigihawaii said...

I think World War II was horrible because of Hitler and the Holocaust, not to mention the savagery of the Japanese in the Pacific Basis. But, I was born after the war and didn't witness any of it.

The terror being waged in the USA and abroad does frighten me, because we don't know when and where it will happen. Scary.

Far Side of Fifty said...

The majority rules I guess and when part of the majority doesn't vote... that is sad. It may be Independence Day for the Brits! How will we know how History will see it in the years to come.
Out here in the boonies I don't worry about terrorism...but you folks in the bigger cities I worry about!
We have to do something about the terrorists in America and how hey enter our country:(

Linda Reeder said...

Lots to think about here, but I don't think I will think about most of it. I don't live my life in fear, and I have learned to let go of things I have no control over. I do have control over how I vote and who I vote for and how I think our government should work. I find the selfish attitude of so many "Make America Great Again" chanters appalling. America is as great as the individuals who make up this country. We have some fixing to do.
Tomorrow we'll celebrate not only our national independence, but our personal freedoms as well. We are free to be, you and me! Enjoy every bit of that freedom.

Carole said...

Definitely feeling that virtual hug :-) Hope your yoga class is what you are looking for. When you mention that it helps with flexibility and core strength, it makes me think I should give it a try. The YMCA that I go to offers several classes, so I really have no excuse!

Marie Smith said...

Returning the hug and feeling positive too. I try to be active in the community to improve our little part of the world. It helps keep me looking ahead and busy.

Have a great Independence Day, my American friend!

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you so much for the hug. I definitely feel it - and return it.
Happy Independence Day - and enjoy your yoga. As I am sure you will.
And yes, I vote. Always. Our election was this weekend and it has also put the cat (and a hungry one) amongst the pigeons.

Linda Myers said...

I vote. I don't worry much. I am completely powerless and that is okay.

You make me feel like signing up for a yoga class after a 7-year absence!

Red said...

A happy Fourth of July to you. I think our world politics gets in a turmoil and it will swing back again. Cooler heads will prevail. Keep up the yoga. Not only does it do wonders for your body , it does things for the mind as well.

Debbie V. said...

I like what you said, "She's a young person who, I think, sees me as someone she can help". I am surprised how fun it is to have someone young help me out instead of the other way around. It's good to see young people care about things - hopefully, the next election. It's their world now.

Stella Jones said...

Happy 4th July Djan. I hope you have a lovely day.

I voted Leave in the U.K. Referendum and I am delighted with the result.


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Yes one ought to embrace the positive. You are aiways busy with an improvement program. Love the dream experience.

Carola Bartz said...

So nice to meet you, DJan. I came to your places with some detours, but originated my journey here from Elephant's Child.

You mentioned Gentle Yoga - I am interested in yoga, but am not sure whether I can really do it. Gentle Yoga sounds like something that could suit me. I have to check it out.

This year's primaries were the first time that we could vote in the US. We became US citizens only last year. My father, who grew up in Nazi Germany, always told me "the right to vote is the duty to vote". I live by that, so do my husband and my daughter, who just turned 18 and was so excited to be able to cast her vote. I think she will be a lifelong responsible voter.

As a true European at heart I was sad to see Britain chose to leave the EU. It's quite chaotic right now and I wonder how it will go on. It will be interesting to see what will happen in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Arkansas Patti said...

Hug arrived on time and welcome. Right back at ya. It really is a good time to be old as I am sure people during the depression and several horrific wars also thought age was a blessing. Like you, I do what I can with what I can control. I couldn't wait to vote when I turned 21 and have only missed one local run off election since due to raging flu and pouring rain. Can't understand those who don't vote but do gripe.

Weekend-Windup said...

Nice to hear that you always concentrate in your health by doing many things. Yoga is very much good to keep our body looks good and firm. It also makes our mind to get relaxed and calm.

Hilary said...

yes, I can feel it, and sending you one right back. :)

Tabor said...

My travel away took me off grid on most of the news and I needed that break. I am not so glad that I am old enough to miss this change because I have grandchildren and want their lives to be safe like mine was. Your attention to healthy exercise will keep you active forever!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I missed commenting earlier on this post due to something I mentioned in my comment for your more recent Sunday, July 10 post. Despite that, I just wanted to add a comment and thank you for another excellent post reflecting on yoga, Brexit, and the state of our Planet. I love the scope of Eye! :-)