Cissy Brady-Rogers
Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers

Archive for November, 2011

It’s that time of the year when both the positive and sometimes painful stresses of the season begin to build.  Temptations to neglect body and soul come in many forms: overbooking social events, not drinking enough water, and mindless eating of holiday goodies are three I anticipate will greet me again this year.

My daily centering prayer time and regular yoga practice are two primary ways I maintain my alignment with myself and stay rooted in God’s love. They are essential parts of maintaining my physical, psychological and spiritual health. When my spiritual tank is empty from not praying, and I’m disconnected from my body because I’ve not been practicing yoga, I’m more likely to ignore the signals that tell me to slow down, drink water, and stay away from the sugary treats that show up everywhere this time of year.

My former pastor Bob Whitaker used to tell us that people got sick at the holidays from eating too much sugar.  I snickered then, but wondered if there wasn’t some truth in his folk wisdom.  Now I learn, in my wise adult life, that in fact sugar does deplete my immune system and make me more prone to infection. My intention is to enjoy a little bit of the things I especially love — like my own Famous Irish Toffee and the Cobb Family’s homemade fudge — but to keep a kind and loving bridle on the part of me that wants to eat the whole batch before it’s even cooled down!

As you give thanks this week and start filling your calendar with holiday commitments, staying connected to the One from whom all good things come will be good for both your body and your soul.

What helps you stay connected to yourself and what holds you together when life gets stressful? Imagine how different the next six weeks would be if you dedicated even five minutes a day to writing a gratitude list, praying a psalm of thanksgiving, meditating on God’s love or some other soulful practice.

Yoga is an excellent way to nurture both your body and soul.

I teach Christ-centered yoga classes weekly at Glendale Presbyterian Church. You are welcome to “drop in” to my Wednesday 6:15 p.m. class. We’ll be meeting on 11/23, 11/30, 12/7, 12/21.  If you need directions or details, please contact me.

Also, my new favorite yoga resource is Yogaglo –  an online yoga studio you can access from the convenience of your own home.  I have been a member for several months and love it!  It’s an excellent source for everything from beginners and five-minute routines to two-hour advanced level backbend and inversion practices.  There’s something for everyone.  Check it out and get a free two-week trial membership.

What will you do to stay connected to yourself and the One from whom all good things come during this season of celebration?   Your good health is worth at least five minutes a day, isn’t it?

I took a bike ride today around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena – a short 10 minute drive from my home.

On my last lap I met Saul, a maintenance worker at nearby Huntington Hospital.  He was plugging along at a steady 12 miles per hour up a slight incline as I pulled up alongside.  I nodded and said “Hi” as I began to pass him.

He gave me a huge grin, pulled his earphone out, and greeted me, “Great day for a ride, eh? Good to see you out here.”  His energy was magnetic. Probably in his late 50’s or 60’s, his eyes were hidden behind cycling glasses, but an endearing smile gleamed out from the life lines etched into his brown face.

I decided to drop my agenda for pushing myself through my last lap and slowed down to talk.  “Beautiful day, but my legs are killing me,” I told him, “I’m in the worst cycling shape of my life.”

He laughed and said, “Keep at it.  It gets better the more you do it.” And then he told me his story.

Make the Most of What You’ve Got

A year ago he was pre-diabetic and his blood pressure was high.  He was “tired of being old and fat” and decided to return to something he loved as a kid — riding his bike.  He works from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. then comes to the Rose Bowl to put in his miles.  He loves it.  And he has lost 45 pounds and his health is great!

“The best part is how good I feel after I ride. I love feeling healthy. It’s not just good for my body, it clears my mind, gives me peace…just riding my bike!  You know what I’m doing, I’m just living like I’m dying, that’s it! I make the most of each day, ’cause that’s all I got. You never know how much life you’ve got left.  Gotta make the most of what you’ve got.”

Making the Most of Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl with My Beloved Dave and "Little" Ruth

Living Like I’m Dying

I’ve had a blessed nineteen years of life since my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in 1992.  In the early years of life post-breast cancer, I did what Saul is doing — made the most of each day, did things that brought me joy, spent time with people I loved and rode my bike a lot!

In those days of “living like I’m dying,” people and pursuing my passions were more important than productivity.

In recent years my agendas for productivity battle for space on my calendar.  Saul’s interruption of my agenda to push myself on this ride was a reminder that while productivity can be a very good thing; it can also completely screw up my priorities.

People are more important than products.  Loving and enjoying my productivity but being unattached to outcomes is essential. When the drive to produce turns me into Bitchy Cissy or Pissy Cissy, it’s time to stop and get my priorities straight.

Thanks be to God for Wise Men dressed in spandex!

I hope you are making time and space in your life for the people and passions that energize and give you joy this Fall.