Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers will sit for many hours at a time enjoying ourselves as we watch our weavings come to life; it’s always exciting! To counterbalance the long hours of sitting, the above simple movements can help keep us flexible. Our bodies are vehicles, they are a tool to help us enjoy, achieve, create, re-create and live our lives. More often than not, every one of us abuse and/or ignore our bodies in some form or another and we wonder how come we don’t feel or look good? If we desire longevity with our current capabilities to be mobile and continue creating our weavings, we need to incorporate good health habits now and always.
Like many of us indigenous folk, there are many ways I had kept fit naturally while maintaining every-day life: I used to live up three flights of stairs and hauled everything from firewood, to kids, to groceries, musical instruments, costumes and props, weaving looms, pounds of fresh caught fish and lots of 5-gallon buckets of fresh berries, painting and art supplies, furniture, new washer, dryer, refigerator and piano. I once had a landscape company for 13 years where I specialized in building rock walls and digging up indigenous plants hauling them from the woods or beach and replanting with domestic plants and trees. Living this way is a wholistic approach to keeping healthy, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. I enjoyed silent pride in the strength of my body, mind and spirit. And instead of signing up for a gym membership, I got paid to “work out.”
I am no longer that active; haven’t been for the past 20 years since I left Alaska part time, and especially the past 7 years since all the family changes that took place during this time period. Slowly but surely, I gotta admit, even though I am not overweight per se, my muscles have all gone flabby. I know it ain’t easy for you to read this, but there you have it; that’s what I get for pushing 60 and no longer living on 3 flights of stairs.
Two weeks ago, when I caught a glimpse of myself jumping down from the attic steps and I saw all that shaking going on in my arms, I was flabbergasted! Or maybe I ought to say “flabby – gasted…?” I also found out that I have lost some hearing in my left ear. When I asked my Left Hand Corner what to do about possibly regaining the hearing or at least not losing any more of it, the answer was: do the “Tibetan 5 Rites…” Huh? Okay, I’m not going to argue. Like my usual self, when I see or experience something I don’t like, if it’s in my personal power to do something about it, I’ll make a change.
I used to do these 5 Tibetan Rites years ago when I had learned Tai Chi, and they were very easy, no problem. Two weeks ago on the very first day of doing these rites, I discovered how weak my body was; I could barely hold myself up without shaking, and some of the moves I could only do twice. I was surprised, yet not. Today, I do the recommended dosage of moves: 5 of each of the 5 moves. With my meditative exercise plan, I have integrated a few Qi Gong movements along with a simple version of a Tai Chi movement. It feels good to feel my body becoming stronger.
God willing, I have every intention of being as healthy as I possibly can while aging into the last 1/4 century of my life. I’ve got lots of things I still must do before I kick any bucket. And when I kick that bucket, I would rather avoid any shaking flab!