Mens sana in corpore sano

May 22, 2017

“Life is a swing, the same as a pendulum”, said my Pilates teacher. “Nothing is constant or remains in either extreme”, explained our teacher to us referring to some oriental philosophy, although the precise quote does not matter.

I have been attending Pilates classes for the last several years. Our group, although opened to everyone, is made up of only women. Every class is like a reset, a tune-up, a way to get an energetic balance. Not only do we exercise our muscles, tendons or articulations, but also we try to develop body awareness, concentration, precision, fluency, balance…

When it comes to physical exercise, a well known quote comes to mind: “mens sana in corpore sano”. In my case, I have never been good at sports. What is more, I had a bad experience with team sports in my youth but it did not get me down. On the contrary, pushing me out of my control zone and testing my physical skills has been an routine I am addicted to.  In this sense, Pillate suits me.

Pilates classes, hiking and Nordic Walking, the recent activity I have just taken up, are the physical workout I keep on doing in order to stay fit; a mix of indoor and outdoor activities which you can practice as a group but it is a personal challenge.

What are the physical activities you regularly do? Do you prefer indoor or outdoor sports, as a group or solo?  Have you taken in a new activity recently or, on the contrary, have you given up on it?

No idea

May 15, 2017

This week I didn´t know what to write about. Although I have a list of pending topics, none of them seem quite appealing. However, when I started to write I had to chose between two of them and finally I would like to share with you one introspection, one of my fears.

The new English course has proved to be quite challenging, in part due to the new professors that have joined it. The level is so high that I am sure I am not the only one who feels it is difficult to catch up with the new ones.

This experience plus a book I am reading made me think about what was happening, how the English class was making me feel, and why studying English was becoming a tough business.

The book is called “A Monster Calls”; and in all likelihood you have heard of it since the film was recently featured in cinemas. I have not finished it yet, nevertheless it makes the reader to look inside themselves and face their own fears, and that is what I did.

As it is expected, university teachers are highly competent and gifted, but they are very competitive too. An atmosphere of competitiveness can be a source of stress for individuals. In fact, in my case, I started feeling I had to demonstrate I was good enough to be in this group. And it was not a pleasant feeling, I was afraid of other people thinking I was not clever, hard working or brilliant enough.

Once the fear is identified, it is easier to overcome. Then, it is time to go to the beginning and keep in mind that the only reason to study English is to enjoy it while doing it.

Do you have any fear about what people might think about you?

A different version from the Spanish one

May 8, 2017

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to write two versions of the post. In this occasion, the poem used as an excuse to draw an imaginary situation is written in Spanish, so it is nonsense to translate it into English. Then, let´s try to imagine a similar situation but with a poem written in English:

Sitting next to each other, after a moment of silent, which is comfortable because we are good friends, I suggest reciting a poem.

My voice is hoarse and my declamation has not been rehearsed before, however the verses flow and become a melody just because they spring up from my soul.

First I think what poem I am going to chose among those that are my preferred, although to be honest, the list of poems written in English that I know is short.  But as we take over those poems and songs that can express our feelings, it comes to my mind one scene of the film Out of Africa. Yes I know it is sad, but it is touching. I want to read the poem because it will touch your heart.

The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market-place;

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

And set you at your threshold down,

Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay,

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut,

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honors out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man.

So set, before the echoes fade,

The fleet foot on the sill of shade,

And hold to the low lintel up

The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl’s.

“To An Athlete Dying Young” is a poem in A.E. Housman‘s A Shropshire Lad (1896).

My English level is not enough to enjoy poetry yet, but I keep on trying.

Do you have any preferred poem to share with me?