Vol. 7    No. 9
MAY 3, 2012

The Capital City Hues
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                      Life Is Motion and Diversity
IWhen I attended the Madison Pentecostal Assembly’s scholars program April 15, I was delighted that
Kwame Salter, former MMSD board president as well as head of the Dane County Parents Council, which
operates Head Start, was the keynote speaker. Back when I was in graduate school, I used to work at a
Clark Oil Station at nights to make ends meet. Kwame would come in on Sunday nights, I believe, to gas up
the car for the week ahead. Since business was slow on Sunday nights. Kwame and I would engage in
these incredible, heavy discussions, of which I would be the wiser if I could remember their content. I hadn’t
seen Kwame for at least two decades, but it was a good feeling to know that he had the same fond
memories of those discussions that I had

Kwame is an incredible and moving speaker. On May 16, Kwame will be one of the featured speakers at the
Urban League of Greater Madison’s Workplace Diversity & Leadership Summit and Awards Banquet at
Monona Terrace. If you have the opportunity, you should check Kwame out. It should be a great talk.
***
As I steadily head toward my 60th birthday this summer, I’ve been driven to reflect on what is life all about,
trying to figure out what the last big stretch of my life’s highway is going to look like and what I have to do
prepare for it. It’s a lot to grasp.

One thing I know for sure in life is that health is wealth. As the example of Steve Jobs, the man who founded
Apple, Inc. and died of pancreatic cancer, showed us, money cannot guarantee good health and a long life. I
am hardly a well-off man financially, but I do feel well-off physically. And that contributes to a high quality of
life.

One of the benefits of having my son live with me as he completes the next leg of his educational journey is
he bugs me about my relative lack of exercise. And while I am a pretty active person, always out in the
community covering stories and delivering newspapers — which I always used as an excuse for not
exercising — I had to agree with him.

During the March hot spell, I bought an MP3 player the size of a large postage stamp and began walking 2-3
miles a day about five days per week, on average. And that exercise really makes a difference. I shed my
winter fat already and have my sites on losing a considerable amount of my fat by the end of summer.

As I listen to my jazz, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and others, I walk along the Dane County Bike Trail
or through the UW Arboretum and take in spring unfolding. And I have time to reflect on things and these
days, it is my health more than I ever have before.

And I have come to the conclusion that life is motion and diversity. It is through motion that we are brought
into this world and it is through motion, our last breath, that we leave this world.

It is through motion that our bodies stay healthy. When I repeatedly walk, I feel my body respond. My lungs
open up and expand due to the challenge my body is facing. And I can feel my internal organs respond as
well, from my heart pumping to my digestive system keeping everything moving around. The walking, the
motion, keeps the blood coursing through my veins and through my mind.

My body needs the stimulus of the motion to know what to do. My body responds to the environment around
it. When I am sedentary for too long, my body takes it as a signal for things to slow sown and stagnate.

Things start to clutter in my system. My brain slows down. If my body isn’t experiencing the motion, it starts
to decay. I need to keep my body in motion so that it knows what to do.

I want to stay in motion because I want to choose life. Life is the motion and it is health so that I can remain
in motion. I don’t want to experience life by just sitting there like a bump on the log watching television all
the time. I need to be out and about feeling my body in motion so that I am experiencing life and not just
watching it pass by or observing someone else living life to the fullest while I sit and watch my body decay.
It feels good having my body produce that dopamine — a chemical that makes us feel naturally good — as I
pump my arms to and fro and feel my whole body moving in rhythm. I want to get to the point where I have to
have my walking fix every day so that I feel good about things.

Life is also diversity. Diversity of plant life in a natural setting is always the most stable. And I think our
bodies are built for a diversity of movement. I have always tried to have different types of movement in my
life. Most of the time, it involves walking — it must harken back to the cave days when my ancestors
walked miles gathering and hunting food — but I also try to keep every muscle in my body moving.

And the motion is also important mentally. We have to keep our minds alive by constantly challenging them.
If we stop challenging our minds, if we slow down the flow of ideas, if we slow down the flow of blood to our
brains, then other forms of illness like Alzheimer’s can overtake our minds. And being aware is so important
in life.

As my generation enters its sixties, I have noticed that more and more people have bad knees, hips, ankles,
backs and so on. In my lay mind, it is due to people doing the same exercise and movements over and over
again. I have a friend who used computer constantly in her work. Now she is having an operation on both of
her hands for carpel tunnel syndrome. People are getting knees and hips replaced. A diversity of movement,
as much as your life style allows, is very important.

But always stay in motion in life. Develop a diversity of interests to keep life alive and fresh. Keep your body
in motion everyday. Sitting in front of a big screen television or computer playing interactive games is not
exercise. It is only the illusion of exercise in your mind’s eye. So you have to get up and do the right thing.
These days, I have put my son and some friends on alert to remind me if a few days go without life’s
sustaining motion and I fail to walk. It takes commitment and support. But the difference is between life and
death. And as I approach sixty, I do want to choose life because life is more precious than ever before.
Get out there and walk, jog, swim or some kind of motion on a daily basis. Choose life!