Archive | self-health

Scenes From a Weekend: Inspiration Overflowing Edition

This past weekend left me so incredibly full, satisfied, satiated, and completely overflowing with inspiration and excitement. On Saturday, I went to hear Brene Brown speak at a local reading for her new book “Daring Greatly,” and as if that were not enough goodness, on Sunday I went to Teahouse Studios for the Hunger Stories workshop hosted by the tender tag team of Rachel Cole and Laurie Wagner.

While there was so much wisdom that I want to share from this weekend, I find that I must first take the time to digest the experiences to make them my very own but I can share with you some words that emerged yesterday as I put pen to paper and wrote and wrote and wrote deep beneath the surface of things.

 

What Happens When One Day Arrives…

 

“Any leap requires faith. Faith is trusting that your desires, after having crossed that bridge, will be what you want and need when you are there. The thing is, you can’t fully know this until you’re there. Hence: faith. ” ~Randi Buckley

Recently, I had a birthday. It wasn’t a big milestone birthday but it was a particularly good one none the less. More than any other time of year, a birthday always put me in a reflective state of mind, thinking about the year past and what I hope for in the year ahead.

This year, I was asked where I saw myself on August 29, 2013 and I honestly did not have a real answer. There are certainly things I want to have happen in the next year. Already on my calendar there is a 10 day mother/daughter trip to Italy in November, soon followed by 2 week yoga retreat trip to India in February. Of course I wish for the continued building of my health coaching practice, more writing, more laughing, more loving, and the deepening of connections that are so incredibly sweet, tender and new right now. There is lots to want in the next year but my life is good, it is full and I am grateful for everything and everyone in it. That is not to say that it is perfect, because it isn’t, but as I look forward to my year ahead, the question that keeps coming up is what happens when you get to happily ever after.

My passion in life is to work with my clients to help them reach their goals. The goals vary but overall I would say that most of my clients (and perhaps most of the world) want to be content and happy in their lives. I recently wrote a post was about how I used to find happily and healthily ever after to be a mystery and about how our bodies holds the key to getting “there.”

Yet what happens when you get there? What happens when you look around your life and see that there is nothing to be fixed? What happens when you look around you life and can see that it is simply good?

As odd as it may sound, we often drag our feet toward our wants, needs and desires because, like most unknowns, the idea of “one day” arriving can be scary.

One day, when I lose the weight I will…

One day, when I make enough money I can…

One day, when I meet the right person my life will be…

We set up these hurdles that we are constantly jumping over before we feel like our real life can begin, yet I am here to tell you that your real life has already begun. What you are doing (or not doing) is your life. What you are saying (or not saying) to yourself and others is your life. Your “one day” is today and while today may not be perfect, you get to take it on faith that it is just as it should be.

Faith is my life word, it is a word tattooed upon my skin and it is the word that brings me back to this real, one day life. The quote above says that any leap requires faith.

I believe that life requires faith.

It is an act of faith to step into your body, just as she is and love her well today.

It is an act of faith to open your heart to others, to risk being vulnerable and silly and you.

And it is an act of faith to say that while you don’t know where or what you will be doing one year from now, you know that it will be good, simply because it will be yours.

The Body… Beautiful

I first saw this Nike ad in a blog post a couple of weeks ago on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s website. It asked the question, “Does Nike’s New Ad Champion or Jeer at Overweight People?” The ad was run during the coverage for the Olympics and it was greeted with a wave of controversy because it depicts a 12 year old English boy named Nathan Sorrell who is in middle school, who is 5 ft 3 in and who weighs 200 pounds.

It brought to mind this ad for Equinox which depicts Briohny Smyth, a strong and sexy woman, doing a morning yoga routine in her underwear, steps away from her still sleeping boyfriend. Provocative for different reasons, it also, at the time it first appeared was not without its own controversy.

 

Both are first and foremost advertisements and ads are trying to sell a product, and each ad uses a bit of controversy to get people talking. Beneath that, they have really stuck with me for the same reason. The depiction of the human body doing physical activity and the controversy that resulted. The human body comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. It comes in all different levels of abilities and it, in its various forms, is beautiful.

In my health coaching practice, I work with women to come to see themselves as beautiful. Through ads, we are often sold this line that perfection is attainable but what if, we were already perfect just as we are? What if we are each our own unique version of beautiful. A woman who inhabits her body fully, a woman who embraces her curves, accentuates her attributes and accepts her imperfections and her flaws is in the body beautiful.

“It’s important for all types of women to know that you don’t have to fit a prototype of what one person thinks is beautiful in order to be beautiful or feel beautiful…. People think, Sexy, big breasts, curvy body, no cellulite. It’s not that. Take the girl at the beach with the cellulite legs, wearing her bathing suit the way she likes it, walking with a certain air, comfortable with herself. That woman is sexy. Then you see the perfect girl who’s really thin, tugging at her bathing suit, wondering how her hair looks. That’s not sexy.” ~JENNIFER LOPEZ, Readers Digest, Aug. 2003

 

Happily (and Healthily) Ever After

 

And they lived happily ever after…

If you are like me, you grew up hearing a lot of  fairy tales that ended with the phrase “and they lived happily ever after.” While it sounded good, the proclamation always left me with a lot more “but what happens next” kind of questions.

  • Where and what is happily ever after anyway?
  • What does it look like?
  • Will I know it when I see it?
  • Is it an actual place or is it something to be experienced instead?

No one ever explained how to get to the place of happily ever after, let alone how to live happily ever after if I ever found myself there.

Happy was a bit of a mystery.

Now as an adult I find that the phrase “be healthy” feels very similar.  If you are anything like me, you read article after article, you purchase fitness magazines and order subscription after subscription and devoured them whole. You watch news shows, read blogs and recipes that all have the “be healthy” message but beyond those two words, there is a lot of conflicting messages out there.

  • Do I eat full fat, low fat or no fat?
  • What is all of this buzz about sugar?
  • Should I be gluten free or wheat free or simply carb free?
  • Or is it about eating high protein? And should it be cage free, (oh no, free range) or is it best to eat no animal products at all?
  • Oh and then there are diets…Atkins or South Beach, Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig?

Personally, I have gone from carnivore, to vegetarian, to vegan and back around again and as time passed, the only thing that became clear was that the more I heard, the more confused and muttled the information became.

Healthy, like happy, was a bit of a mystery.

So what is a woman to do when all she wants is for someone to tell her, finally, once and for all how to live happily (and healthily) ever after?

I have discovered that it isn’t a one size fits all question. What brings you health and happiness versus what brings me those things can be very different and as I work with my clients, I have come to realize that this is a great thing.

“What? A great thing? What do you mean? I just want to follow a set of rules that will get me there. I just want to live my life, just as it is and simply be happy and healthy,” the internal voices are probably shouting.

It is a great thing because that means that your body has all of your answers. Your body is working overtime to get your attention and your job is to turn toward the face in the mirror and ask her what she needs. It is like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who always had the power to go home. You have always had the power to be what you most desire, and to live happily and healthily ever after.

 

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.