Archive | inspiration

Loving Her Interview: Heather Day of Vital Being Wellness

Heather of Vital Being Wellness

A few months ago, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know and be interviewed by Heather Day of Vital Being Wellness. She is a self proclaimed anxiety warrior, a kindred spirit and a woman walking her talk in this world.  I am over the moon excited to share with you her words on meeting your body and the art of loving your {im}perfections.

 

*Tell me more about your idea of the art of loving your {im}perfection.

Intellectually I’ve always know that perfection is a myth. When I am fully honest with myself, I recognize the insidiously ridiculous side of the whole concept- by nature, nothing is ever perfect.  Trees grow limbs in patterns all akimbo, but when a leaf or branch no longer serves the whole, the tree slowly adapts to live to its highest potential.  What would a perfect tree look like? Smell like? That question is useless. A tree lives, thrives, grows, reaches toward the sun and deeply into the earth. And that is all it needs. We are not so different.

Still, it took me a long, long time to fully believe and embody what my intellectual brain knew deep within my heart and spirit. Now I can see, and hear and feel::

I am imperfect, flawed, broken and ever-growing. And in that dance, wild and un-choreographed and gorgeous, it is exactly my imperfection that is the perfect beauty.

It is the joy that makes me glow that is my gift to my community. In the messy process of exploration, it is art. It is perfectly me, perfect and exactly what I need to live in truth with my highest self. And now that I know- and believe- that my wild dance is the only way for me…. Well, I have no choice but to love my imperfection!

*How do you suggest meeting your body where it is?

There is this magical place, it seems, this beautiful relationship that a woman can have with her body.  It exists in the space where we stop trying to force her into some sort of odd shaped mold, forget about building muscle where it doesn’t belong or losing fat from the places we need it, and start adorning it in sunlight, and luscious oils, and clothes that flatter its form. We start spending more time nude. We start celebrating its strengths and honoring its struggles.  And in that place, the body finds joy. Balance.

When we listen keenly to what the body is saying, it gives us all we need to know.

For me, I’ll never have a muscular frame.  My body isn’t meant to take that form- I have long, lean arms and legs that are more suited for yoga than organized sports. I used to hate them with a passion, their lack of curves and musculature, but now they stretch so beautifully in a forward bend. I’m not a busty gal either, and I’ll never quite fill out a dress the way my best girlfriends do. I’ve dieted, I’ve overeaten, and my body has been many different shapes as a result. But she has settled into one that is healthy, strong, and balanced now that I’ve stopped forcing.  I honor the fact that my body doesn’t want meat, but really needs fat and grains. I know that yoga is like honey for my body and soul. Weight lifting, not so much.

Listen. Your body houses infinite wisdom and speaks in every moment. We just need to be willing to accept the unique truth that is ours alone, and know that we will serve ourselves best by meeting the body where she is.

*How did you come to love your body? How do you tune into the cues of your body?

This question is juicy. Tender.  I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about this recently, and I’ve come to realize that during the time in my life that I didn’t love my body and ignored her cues, the pain had to crescendo to a fracture point. My heart, my spirit, and my body were so, so tired of the battle.  I was no longer a woman- I was a mind in a body, trying to rend one from the other, to tear my identity from this shell that was the enemy of all I wanted to be.  Or thought I did.

There was a time of breaking- breaking down, breaking open, so many tears and apologies to the body that is my vessel in this journey.  And the greatest wisdom that grew forth was that we are one. Yes, my body and my soul and heart, but all of this- this Universe, we are all one. A gorgeous dance of energy. And once I came to see myself as one piece of it all, my body carrying the light and love of my spirit, I surrendered. That’s the only way to put it- complete surrender.

And by absolving myself of the duty to be independently perfect, a superhero so strong I could carry the weight of it all and maintain six-pack abs… I could slow down and listen.

For me, that’s the point of turning:: finding the slow, the quiet, the deep, long breaths. Only when I am not constantly barraging my senses and my body with stimulation and “shoulds” and overworked-underslept stress can I hear the fullness of the wisdom my body speaks. It’s always there, and it’s always right. When I listen and honor, I am in balance and harmony. I feel strong, inspired, joyful.  When I’m not listening, I slide. I get headaches, don’t sleep well, start to cast sideways glances at the mirror. But with reconnection, a day to myself, a long bath… it’s like calling up your oldest friend. We pick up right where we left off, and it is blissful.

Heather is the Mistress of Magical Living, an Imperfect Illuminatrix, a Right-Hand Righteous Revolutionary and pure inspiration on loving her. You can find her at vitalbeingwellness.com.

Integrity is…

Words from another can sometimes feel like they are exactly what I need to say, to think, to hear, to marinate in. I often find that I am easily overwhelmed by sheer amount of inspiration around me. I expand my arms wide and say yes. I buy books, I join e-courses and am cracked open to the wisdom of others, and then, like clockwork, the feeling of overwhelm washes over me.

Which inspirational thread do I follow?

Whose words do I try on for size?

Which of the four or five books in the coveted space on by bedside table do I actually finish first?

In my state of overwhelm, in all honesty, I often just drop things that excited me just days, weeks, months before because it all feels too much to digest. I step back, I and fall into mindlessness (usually in the form of reality tv or Law and Order marathons) and zone out until I am called back to my life.

Recently, something that called me back was a favorite and cherished friend’s blog where I saw that she had created a button that read “Integrity is Sexy.”

Hmmm…

integrity

1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility

2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness

3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

The phrase has really stuck with me. It has me thinking not only about what integrity is but also about where I am living out of integrity in my life.

As I began to explore my ideas of integrity, I began to notice the glaring places where I fall short. I have begun to notice that I spend so much time looking outside of myself for guidance, for inspiration, for answers but I haven’t spent nearly as much time looking inside to see which things feel sound for me, which things provide a sense of completeness.

So far I have decided:

There is integrity in culling through my Google Reader only subscribing to blogs that ignite my soul, going through the books on my shelves and holding on to only those words that speak to me.

There is integrity in choosing (even when the choice turns out to be oh so wrong).

There is integrity in following that choice to a natural conclusion.

There is integrity in changing course.

There is integrity in claiming my voice – in drinking in all of the inspiration and then making a translation all my own.

In the end, isn’t that where integrity lives? In the distillation within our being that takes any inspiration and transforms it into something else unique, re-worked, and ultimately undeniably you.

Scene from a Weekend: Unfurl Edition

This past weekend I went away to a beautiful beach house on the Oregon Coast to reconnect with 13 amazing women.

There was time to look out on to the ocean and be soothed by rhythm of the waves.

There was time for laughing and making art together, each set of hands adding her own special touch.

There was time for loving up friends who live far away,

time for dreaming,

time for finding hidden messages that felt meant just for me,

time for sharing words that touched and sometimes moved me to tears.

There was time for afternoon photo walks in the community of friends.

time for vibrant sunsets,

and magical moon risings,

time for pure joy and absolute fun.

I offer big love and sincere gratitude to the scarf sisters who shared this special time with me and who allowed me to show up and be seen just as I am. I also send big love to the scarf sisters who could not make it to Unfurl but whose presence was felt with each hug shared.

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Peace

 

Back in May, I had the distinct privilege to participate in the Women, Food and God 6 day retreat. I had signed up before I read the current New York Times bestselling book, before Geneen Roth‘s TWO recent appearances on Oprah, before it became a “thing.” Don’t get me wrong, her work completely deserves to be a “thing,” it deserves to be widely read and highly regarded and quite honestly, if I were a person who was inclined to seek a guru, a master teacher at whose feet I would happily throw myself in study, it would be Geneen Roth. I have read and reread all of her books, hand over heart, marveling at how she was able to speak so globally about things that feel so unique and singular to me.

I have been reluctant to write about that experience here or even in my personal journal. It feels like this delicate butterfly that has flown into my space and instead of trying to grasp at it clumsily, I am standing still and allowing it to flutter about me, just happy to have had the chance to experience such incredible internal peace. As it flutters and floats about, I have noticed the places where it lands, where it settles within my being. Today that place is all about rest.

A funny thing happened on my way to peace and understanding about my relationship with food and in turn, myself. I finally slowed down long enough to notice that I was exhausted and needed rest.

One of Geneen Roth’s eating guidelines is “eat what your body wants.” Such complex simplicity hidden within those five words. I have spent the last few weeks merely asking “What does my body want to eat?” Sometimes the answer is clear and “healthy” like homemade beans and brown rice with steamed fresh broccoli. Sometimes the answer is clear and less “healthy” like a morning bun from the local french bakery. In this time of rest and restoration, I am finding some peace as all of my choices are heard and welcomed, my mind shifting as I stop to rest and listen.

Thwack on the Side of My Head

 

(found on an actual sign on an actual street in my actual neighborhood)

Does this just happen to me or do you find that sometimes the cosmos gently speaks to you and sometimes it simply thwacks you on the side of the head? My thwack came last week when I realized that in the last month or so not one, not two, but three women that I greatly admire and am constantly inspired by all have read poetry aloud from the same book entitled Risking Everything. I took the hint and bought a copy for myself and discovered this…

Love After Love by David Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Sigh, two poems into the collection and I am already grateful for the thwack.