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This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

..of dogs and men..

How many times must we learn the lesson before we write the exam?
How many times must we bump our head before it bleeds?
Can we run before we walk?
This evening, outside a South African Mountain cottage I stared at the heavens, the Milky Way clear, uncluttered by the debris of city light. It was exactly the same sky I paused to look at as a 6, 8 , 10, 11, 17 year old. Not a dot of light has changed in 40 years, a gentle reminder of how I have come and will go.
These days we talk a lot of health and illness, medication and memory.
Clive Staegemann's mum lived with Alzeimer's Disease, but finally succumbed to a stroke. Clive expresses his fear of his fear of a similar future.
It is at Clive's Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) thatched cottage that I saw myself in the stars tonight and thought about Jerry, his wife, and their 4 border collies.
Since being around Christo Jooste (see past blog) in his early stroke time, I too have been thinking about chance, probability and illness, and I have upped my personal defense strategy a notch or 2.
My resolution for 2009 is essentially non-materialistic. I intend to master the elusiv Ganda Bherundasana (ferocious bird) this year. This is yoga pose which basically comprises sticking one head through your legs backwards and clapping while trying not to laugh. Once, when the stars were not to different to today, I could twist my body into this fearsome shape, the prince of my yoga class. Now, I hold it out like a candle blowing in the breeze at the end of the tunnel.
Maybe I am simply too old to fold, but at least the attempt requires daily yogic commitment...and with that comes a host of other benefits.
But words are easy. Time is flexible and runs away like mountain rivers after the rain.
This morning I was awoken by 4 successive Border Collie sheepdogs licking me hello. I replied to each in turn and then told them to 'go outside', which they obediently did. Fascinated and reminded of my once companion hound, McGyver, also a border, I headed off for my morning exercise with the black and whites in tow.
One low growled 'Liiieeee dooowwwn!' ... and all 4 (and a terrier, not so obedient) lay and mesmerized me with eyes for sheep, taut in expectation of a thrown frisbee.
It didn't take the rocket scientist in me to know that these hound dogs had got right something I am struggling to master - how do I make exercise an irresistable daily activity? How do I habituate my yoga?
By doing it the dog way - being trained, over and over again, until I no longer think it is a choice.
And, how do I share my luck and habits with others......again, by making the decision over and over again to help others, till there is no more decision moment, just good habits.
If there is anything that I can not stand to see it is a neglected bicycle.
So I gave part of my day to rescuing Clive and Jerry's bikes from a premature retirement.
The message from all this?
Make Health a Daily Habit!

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