Fourth simple pleasure: move your body.
She says, trying to convince herself to turn off the computer and put on her running shoes. Staring wistfully at the green leaves and small triangle of sky outside her window.
Proper joyful exercise provides energy; it doesn’t take it away. When the music kicks in at the beginning of capoeira – vou girar o mundo – I want to jump up and down. When it finally slows to a stop and we bow, hobble out of the gym covered in dust and sweat, I still want to turn clumsy cartwheels. Exhausted, but energised.
When I have the time and the motivation to run and run and run, I find myself in a meditative headspace. The drumbeat of one foot after another accompanies a jumbled mix of thoughts that slowly smooth themselves out.
When I return, I have a list of new inspirations and ideas carefully counted on my fingers. Without even a watch, I am free of everything but my body, my brain. I can tire out the physical, enliven the mind. Write virtual letters, try out pretend recipes, call a list of faraway people. Run away from my troubles.
I come home, tomato-red, make a vague effort to stretch and prepare a generous bowl of porridge. An egg for extra protein. Cocoa because it still has to taste good. Sometimes maple syrup, sometimes molasses. Every now and then some grated carrot and cinnamon for a carrot-cake effect.
But always, always I wonder why it took me so long to get out of the door in the first place. There is nothing in the world like that tired but contented mental energy.
Super energy chocolate porridge
serves one sporty girl
1 squashy banana
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sweetener of choice: agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, nutella
In a breakfast bowl, mash the banana and the oats together to a delightful mush. Stir in the cocoa, cinnamon, milk and water. Blast on a high heat in the microwave until thick and starting to bubble and rise up (about 2 minutes). Beat in the egg and the syrup/nutella etc. Add a little more water if it seems too thick. Return to the microwave for 30 seconds more.
Serve with more syrup or a sprinkle of seeds on top.