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Speed bumps…

We all want to go fast over parts of life…the things we don’t know how to deal with…  those times when we’re unsure of ourselves, nervous, etc.  In a relationship, we might go from 0-100 miles per hour, ramping up the intensity – skipping the get to know each other phase – straight to sex and in a “relationship” before we know if we actually like the person.  You know what I’m talking about…

Metaphorically and in reality, this has become the way of our fast-paced society. Instant everything – shopping, message, dates…it goes on.  We can watch any movie, hear any song, buy whatever we want at any hour of any day – no need to wait.  No delayed gratification at this time in the world.

Scroll, click, scroll…

Scroll, click scroll…

We are a society addicted to more, more, more… More in the name of a void that plagues so many.  It is a good thing we have access to all the things that will instantly fill that void for…a few short minutes, an hour…if we’re lucky.  All the things that will make us feel like WE ARE ENOUGH, that we HAVE ENOUGH, that we are DOING ENOUGH. But really, in the next moment – we still want more.  There is still the void and it’s spreading worldwide like an epidemic.

We joke of a zombie apocalypse, but let face it – 95% of society is completely numbed out on their addiction of choice.  We used to think of addiction like it was the exception – now it’s the rule.  Drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, sex, shopping, binging on Netflix… Call it what you will, I call it addiction. We’re binging and numbing while Donald Trump is our president – it’s not a spoof on SNL…it’s a joke, yet it’s no joke at all.

Sometimes we come up for air, but our air is too often clouded with anxiety and depression – the fear of and realization that we’re not only numb and addicted, but it’s because we cannot deal with what’s really happening in life.  And the shame…the shame we bring from generations past who didn’t talk about things like anxiety, depression or addiction… Today, most people if not everyone has the same overarching problems, but we’re still not talking about them honestly.  The problems of addiction and mental health and not being equipped to deal with life – they melt between the divides of race, class, gender, sex…they don’t segregate and no one is immune or left out.

Speed bumps over the hard parts…

I’m going to skip this feeling and go shopping.

Speed bumps…

I’m going to get high and forget about it.

The faster you go and the higher you get, the less you feel until you get to the next speed bump…

We have more people overdosing on opioids in the United States, at the time I write this, than those dying in traffic accidents each year.  Who made billions on that while we were asleep?

One addiction passed on to the next…trying for something less harmful, but let’s face it – school shootings and suicide have become common options these days.  As common as buying drugs and overeating.

We have a wall being built on the boarder and fingers pointed at the “evils” of other countries, but we’re killing our own people with pharmaceuticals, guns and domestic violence at alarming rates.  Mexico, China and the Middle East are all great distractions from what’s happening at home in front of our eyes.  Too bad we’re paying more attention to what’s being broadcast on our TV than what’s happening to our kids, spouses, neighbors, communities, friends.

That mental health topic that still holds so much stigma – that filthy breeding ground of shame…what if it was normal to not  know exactly how to deal with life?  Yes, IT’S NORMAL TO NOT KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO DEAL WITH LIFE…  To be anxious about relationships, new jobs… What if being numb and addicted wasn’t normal, but those feelings you are feeling are the normal part… What if we were actually talking about those parts instead of having superficial conversations about what we’re numbing ourselves with?  Talking to each other, in person and not only through social media.  Not hiding behind masks or pretending we are still in Brady Bunch times.

It is no longer the days of the Brady Bunch, the American Dream from the 1950’s is dead and it is no longer a time to hold shame and silence over depression, anxiety and addiction.  The cost is too great.  The cost to our nation and to the world is schools that are unsafe and teachers who are expected to be armed guards.  A generation of addicts dying at the hand of big pharma.  The cost is too high to stay numb.

Speed bumps…

What if we could quit speeding over the parts we don’t know and give some truth to not knowing all the things.  Honest, humble truth and self-love to the parts we want to fly over so fast that we catch air under our tires…Instead, slowing down a  bit to FEEL what those speed bumps feel like as our tire roll over them uncomfortably S-L-O-W…

There it is…it’s not as bad as I thought it would be to feel all the feels.

Which is your truth…

A fast kiss or a slow kiss?

A hug or a HUG?

A “hi, how are you?” with a real answer like “Today I feel anxious because I’m figuring out how to work through life’s speed bumps and it’s new for me.” Or,a “Hi, how are you?” that isn’t actually a question?

Sex or Love?

Intimacy of intensity?

Masks or truth?

A cure or a band aid?

Numb or feeling?

Stagnation or evolution?

Life or death?

I choose this life.

I too have gone fast over speed bumps in life hoping if I went faster, I wouldn’t have to feel the all feels.  That if I could pretend to know all the things then I would look cool like I have it all together.  The problem with speeding over all the speed bumps is that I kept having to go over the same ones over and over and over again.  Then I realized that speed bumps lose their appeal when I started talking about them.  There’s no reason to go so fast… I don’t have to know all the things in life.

The habits, patterns, addictions….

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It all loses its appeal and its taboo when we realize we aren’t the only ones thinking, feeling and dealing with these things in life.

I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine and together we can learn to do healthy human things.  Awake, present and moving right through the speed bumps.  Evolving into a higher vibration of love.

Did you know that love is the highest vibration?  And love and fear cannot co-exist…  When we raise our personal vibration and start living from a place of love, living in our truth, feeling and awakening to this life – it is then that we are doing our universal duty and raising the collective conscious of our communities and of the whole world.

We are then changing the numbed out, zombie, shame-based vibration that is struggling to beat, at even a very low vibration – we are taking it to new levels. It is a defiance, a deviance from the mainstream.

It is a rebellious act to live a life that is so alive and that rests so bravely on top of the speed bumps – attentive and listening – curious – present – like a slow kiss…with life…not knowing how it will turn out, but being brave enough to show up and see how it goes.

Being brave enough to accept the adventure to leave home, to travel solo to new places where the language is different, the people look different than you and the culture is different than anything you know.  And on the way, talking to strangers, meeting new people, being able to find commonality in all humans and making strangers into new friends, new love.  Taking your chances and placing your bets on love.

Speed bumps… Wanting to know we belong somewhere.  That our story fits into the great whole.

If we choose to stay hidden behind screens, in our homes, in our shame and fear we will never experience the temples in Bali that make an acid trip seem dull.  We will stay or become toxic zombies in our own lives.  The living dead…

I forgot what my point was…

Maybe the things we choose not to feel keep the delusions real, keep us from our truth like a game of keep away from ourselves.  We are sold lies that we aren’t enough, addictions are made normal, normal is made shameful… The lies that are sold divide and conquer the truth of humanity until we no longer know ourselves or neighbors or, in some cases, the person we sleep next to anymore.  This isn’t the future, this happens all to often…now.

I can deal more easily with going slowly over those damn speed bumps than I can with going 100 miles per hours and missing any more opportunities for sunsets and slow kisses with life.

You choose.

I choose sunsets, slow kisses and taking a chance on the present and taking a chance with love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I wrote this piece on 2-9-20 on the plane to Troncones.  The corona virus was not yet the issue it is right now, not in the United States at least.  So, as I look at some of my writing about staying home, social media and the state of the world, I want to be sensitive to the timing of my writing to when I publish this post.  Not that I feel my writing is no longer valid, it’s just that the world is in a different kind of crisis right now that forces us to stay in and actually to be thankful for things like social media and ways to keep us connected.  Keep loving and being real.

 

 

 

Many of us wait for someone to complete us or to save us.

What are we being saved from?  Ourselves?  Our past?  Our hurts?  Our attic full of undealt with things?

It is when we stick our head into the very things that we fear that we begin to move through our feelings and while those things might always be there, they lose some of their power as we name them and welcome them in.

We run from ourselves, so we must also come back home to ourselves and make peace in order to be freed.  No one else can do the work.  No one can save us.  A good support system can hold our hand, but ultimately we always have to do the work.

Many times, we look to a new relationship to give us love and fulfill our needs for intimacy, but there is still the unresolved issues that seep to the surface causing issues with us and in our relationships.

I have found that my need for being in relationship with myself and being able to unlock my own caged heart has been what I have been waiting for all along.  What a surprise it was that it wasn’t an attractive man coming into my life that could rescue my heart.  That I am my own warrior, here to save the day.  It has taken much sorting and clearing of the clouds in order for me to see this.

Here’s a short writing I did recently.  Separate, but one.  Like I am not only myself, but also the warrior queen coming to save me like a fairy tale where the princess awaits her knight.  Every girl’s Disney princess fantasy with a plot twist.  Haha…

~

I’ve been waiting here, watching you from the other side of this cage that holds your heart captive. 

For years, I’ve tried to get your attention, but you’ve been busy and have ignored me. 

I hold the key to your heart, the key you’ve been waiting for. 

I know I don’t look the way you expected me to. 

I’m your mirror image. 

I am you.  We are one.

Here is the key, now hang on because this key gives you wings and the power to fly.

Never let go of your power. 

It is never to be given away. 

You have waited your whole life for this. 

Now embrace it.  

 

Two years ago in September I was freed from my job of 14 years.

It was the day one of my wishes to the universe came true.  I know that may sound funny.  I didn’t hope to be unemployed and this was a rather swift shove from the universe telling me it was to get on a different path.  I hung onto my employment at the same place for so many years.  Working at the same agency since I had moved to Duluth as many years before.  It was my longest relationship in Duluth, staying with me through lots of changes in my life.  I had thought about leaving many times in the years prior, but just couldn’t do it.  This job was like the bad relationship that I couldn’t leave because it was safe.  You know the relationships I’m talking about…  When you find yourself thinking, it isn’t horrible.  But, it actually quit fulfilling the my needs years ago.

I had changed and the agency had changed.  It didn’t feel like the place I started working for.  I had been feeling like my employment was less secure over that last year and wondered how long it would last.  Pretty stressful for anyone, but I was determined to stick it out until, I don’t know what…

And then it happened! I got the email message to meet my supervisor at the end of the day on the last day of my work week at the time I usually leave. I knew then that the next day would be my last day working there.  So I did what anyone does on their last day at the office after 14 years of employment and I started sorting, throwing and packing my belongings I had accumulated.  I was pretty shook up about this and hadn’t even confirmed that this is what the meeting the next day was about, but I knew in my gut already.

Mind you, I had already petitioned to the universe a few times that I be laid off so I could receive unemployment and figure out what to do with the next chapter of my life.  I had worked there for so many years, since I was 23 years old and never intended to stay so long.  I went home from work that night, awaiting this meeting the next day and pulled an “Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert style” move and actually wrote out a petition to the universe that my job would be ending.  I wrote in the petition that I had the support of all the people in my life for this to actually happen.

The next day at 4:30, sure enough I got the news that my position was being eliminated due to low use of the services I was providing and my last day was indeed that same day.  Like right then.  I was in great relief and disbelief all at the same time.  Not wishing to be unemployed, but feeling pretty burnt out from all the major changes in the agency over the years.  I thought to myself, I have no clue what’s next but that had to end and it came at the right time.

As this was happening, I had just ordered my books for Yoga Teacher Training that I’d be going to in Bali the following February.  The day after I was freed from my employment, I started reading.  The reading list for this course was: Ekart Tolle’s A New Earth; The Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion and The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar.  Talk about coming into things at the right time… these books all talk about the ego, taking your hero’s journey, slaying dragons, and living your life with purpose and intention.  Even though things had changed with my life dramatically, I was still going to Bali for 5 weeks.  I knew that it was what I needed to do to transition into this next chapter of life.  (I had actually previously put it out to the universe that I needed a sabbatical.  This was a welcome getaway.)

My job ended in September and in October, the ladies from Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats, asked me to join their fall retreat at Deep Portage Learning Center.  It was the most beautiful fall weekend in North Central MN.  Peak fall colors displaying their bold firework cascade of colors.  It is about a 2.5 hour drive over there from Duluth. I took the drive by myself, needing some time alone to be in the car singing and thinking about the recent series of events.

On Friday evening at the retreat we had a guest, Sarah Seidelmann, who does shamanic journeying.  She led us on a journey to the under world to find our spirit animal and to the upper world to find our human guide.  It was such an amazing experience!

To get to the under world, I journeyed through Chester Creek and down through the earth in a crevice under the water.  I came out on the familiar beach of Troncones in Mexico where I had been a few times before.  There I found my spirit animal, the sandpiper.  Not a real significant bird to me, but a familiar bird that I had seen while there before.  This bird told me I should listen to the ocean, that it knows the answer to all.

So, the answers I was looking for in life lie in the ocean off the beach of Troncones?  I was going to Bali not Troncones and surely I wasn’t going to make it to both this year!  I have always been drawn to the water and the ocean.  The Pacific Ocean, what an amazing body of water.  It ebbs and flows with the magnetism of the tides, it washes things in and carries them out, protects, destroys and cleanses.  Storms brew then the waters return to a state of calm.  It is everything, so when we are quiet enough and just listen, surely the ocean does hold the answers.

Then I journeyed to the upper world to find my human guide.  I ventured again through Chester Park and climbed a tree then used my Gadget legs to get up into the clouds.  (Like Inspector Gadget)  I know…it sounds bizarre.  It kind of was… When I got up there I found myself by the Mississippi River in St. Cloud at the Clemens Munsinger Gardens.  Again a familiar place.  There was only one man walking by in some old robes and he didn’t stop for me, so I called out for him and asked if he was my teacher.  He said, “Everyone is your teacher, so I guess I could be too.  What do you want to talk about?”  He only stayed briefly as he figured I was busy and needed to get back to life since everyone was my teacher.

What I gained from my journeys that weekend was a calm sense of knowing that if I quieted my mind, I already held the answers and that I would be just fine.  It opened up a more curious dialogue in me to wonder what would unfold in my future.

Since then I have been on a big journey, not only to Bali, but to Italy and several trips to Mexico.  Funny enough, the house of my friend’s, Debi and Marty is named Andarrios Troncones.  Andarrios is sandpiper in Spanish and this is the house where I’m hosting my first yoga retreat in February 2020.

I have also been on a journey at home, starting Rooted In Wellness and working towards being fully self-employed while doing many “side-hustle” jobs and projects as things all come together.  Some of my side-hustles have included:  delivering toner cartridges to businesses, baking, sewing yoga accessories, making jewelry, driving for Lyft and dog-sitting.  A friend of mine refers to it as “the hustle” and we always laugh about it.

I have learned more in 2 years that in the previous several years in my career.  It’s been kind of like an internship or job exploration experience.  I’ve learned what to do and not to do.  What I like and don’t like doing.  About marketing, social media, accounting and every aspect of running a business.  Most of all, I have learned to roll better with a degree of uncertainty, to trust in the unknown and not take things so personally.  It’s never boring and always changing and growing.

 

My heart sinks heavy, like through my center, through every chakra in my body when I hear people’s stories of trauma and abuse.  Having a background in social work, I listened to stories of client’s trauma for 14 years.  Like watching a television show, but sitting right in front of me.  The script for the story plot being told to me first person.  I know trauma in my personal life, as most of us do.  Now I co-facilitate a group of women who have experienced significant trauma as well as teach yoga to female inmates at the county jail, also survivors of this thing we call trauma.

Trauma.  What is it?  Simply put, it is anything that happens to us that we don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with.  It’s different for everyone.  Just because something was traumatic for one person, doesn’t mean it will be to the next.  It can be self-inflicted, usually as a way of coping with previous trauma, we may inflict or subject ourselves to more trauma.  I think we can also experience what I call second-hand trauma by hearing other people’s stories of trauma, if we don’t know how to deal with it.  The key lies in knowing how to deal and move through difficult and sometimes horrific events in life.

There will always be traumatic things happening in life, around us and in the world.  It is part of our history and as humans, the all encompassing part of our creation is having the capacity to kill and cause harm when it is beyond need for survival.  Most things, as I understand it, don’t do this.

When I worked as a social worker,  I would hear many stories of women who had been  or were being stalked, had assassination attempts made on them, were running from their abuser, had been raped and trafficked – mostly in their relationships.  They weren’t being beaten and hunted down by crazy strangers.  They were being abused, held in slavery and trafficked by their partners.  Yep, by their partners.  Boyfriends, husbands, friends.  The very people we are supposed to be able to trust and open our hearts and safely share our sexuality and intimate life with.

As a social worker, I learned to play my poker face.  That is what we are trained to do.  If you know me, I don’t have a good one, but I learned over the years to sit and listen with undivided attention as these stories were unfolded in my office as though I was watching an episode of CSI.  How could it be that women are literally running for their lives from the people who they are supposed to be able to trust?  It became difficult to endure these stories and as a result I no longer watch shows like CSI or television that shows violence, especially against women.  I used to watch those shows while eating dinner until I realized that this isn’t entertainment.  It’s not fictional and I had a front row seat to it every day.  It’s also not something that is only happening to women in other countries who I could distance myself from.  It is real and happens here, where I live, every day.

At times, I find it difficult to unload and deal with the 2nd hand trauma I experience from these stories because it happens that often.  Being a really sensitive person anyways, I tend to take in people’s stories and feelings more than I’d like.  I wouldn’t say it’s in an unhealthy way.  I mean, with all the things I’ve heard and  seen over the years between my personal life and being a social worker, I would say that most of the time I offload things appropriately, but this thing of women being so commonly abused really sits deep.

It is deep in the sense that it goes to the roots of being a woman, being born of this earth, the primal part of being human, the roles of women in different ages in history and in other countries.  It’s not just the women in my community, the many stories I hear in-person…it’s as old as the earth that supports our bodies to walk on each day.  It’s old and it sits so deep sinking right into my root chakra where I’m plugged into the earth.

Last year, I read the book Half the Sky.  It talks about the experiences of women all over the world who are held in slavery and prostituted from a young age; about women who are raped for not being virgins (because they were prostituted and raped), who are no longer suitable for marriage; about women who are left for dead when they experience postpartum complications; women who are publicly beaten and raped, who cannot go out by themselves, who are sold because their family cannot afford to keep them…on and on.  The violent oppression is institutionalized.  It is systemic.  Worldwide.  Today.  Still.

The problem is, it’s not just a small number of stories from around the world who I cannot see, who’s lives shouldn’t matter to me, who’s culture, traditions and ways are unfamiliar, women who I can disassociate from by distance.  It’s not just a small number of women in my community who experience this either.  Those who I cannot disassociate with, who look like me and are my neighbors.  It is troubling that near and far…the stories of women who experience these things, is common.

It is far too common.  So common that I sadly have at times in my life wondered if there are any good men out there.  I know that is not logical and it has to be unreasonable to think this, but it’s so fucking sobering to me that I have to really harness in all the love in my heart to kick that thought from my brain.  My sorrow runs so deep and now that I know, I cannot turn it off.

One thing that really hit so close to home with me when I was reading Half the Sky is that if I lived in a different country, I would be one of those women who would be subject to public rape and beating, probably until I was dead.  Likely shunned by my family and community for being a woman who is not married, doesn’t have children, speaks up for herself… and who would write something like I am writing .  Those are all things that women give their lives for even today.  Not in previous times, but still…TODAY.  Women are still violently oppressed today.

It was when I was reading this book, I realized how personally privileged I am at this time in my life.  I have certainly endured my share of traumatic experiences in my life, but not like the stories of my clients and not like the stories I was reading in Half the Sky.  This realization really fueled my fire and made me realize that I have a responsibility, the ability to respond, to do things differently because women are women and I am part of not only my local community of girls and women, but also part of the larger worldwide community of girls and women and the larger community of humans.

That I’m not shunned for being unwed, divorced and without children is something that women in many places don’t have the benefit of.  I choose these things and my family hasn’t abandoned me for the decisions that I have made in life or for things I’ve done in my past.  The fact that I’m not considered less valuable in my community because of these things is also a blessing.

On a personal level, I have come to realize that my responsibility (ability to respond differently) is to consider the relationships I choose to be in and to really value my body and my heart as the most valuable things I own.  These are not things to be taken lightly or given away on a whim, but to be loved and cared for.  I am extremely grateful to do the work I do, to hear stories of women who have survived the unimaginable and who are finding a voice and a place of comfort to speak up and share their stories.  When we share stories, we feel more connected, less alone in our experiences and also start to break cycles of violence and oppression.  Imagine if everyone out there felt like they were the only one experiencing the things they’re going through.

On a larger level, I know that I am being called to do the work I’m doing in partnership with area organizations and feel that my work will unfold further and I’m not sure what that looks like yet.  I trust in knowing that my sorrow is also my power.  The greater our sorrow the more fuel, love and power rises up.

Recent assignment…

Why do you practice yoga? 

Write your manifesto…

See, yoga is a way of life…for me.

Yoga is more than movement to me.  It’s more than an hour of exercise.  If anything, it’s mostly not that.

It’s like an exercise in embodiment.

A pathway into my body…

Back to the self-love business again…it’s the foundation, the roots of life.  I believe that self-love is the root of a healthy, happy life that is full of abundance.  It has been too easy to disassociate with parts of my life and my body through any variety of means (alcohol, sex, drugs, food, social media…and the list goes on and on).  These vehicles of disassociation can become so strong in order to avoid less desirable feelings and before we know it, we’re sleepwalking through life. In the past I’ve had an unhealthy yearning to use various means to disassociate from my true self.  This is very common, of course, and it is actually quite socially acceptable.  I decided I wanted something different and yoga has been the pathway to something different for me.

I learned that on the spectrum of feelings, I should stay somewhere in the center.  The center is a nice place to exist most of the time, but when shit happens, anger and sadness visit too.  It’s not good or bad, it just is.  As humans, we have a wide spectrum of feeling that cannot be helped.  I have not always felt like I have permission to feel the feelings I’m feeling.  I still struggle with this at times.  How many times do you ask someone, “How’s your day?” and they say “good” or “fine” in response when really it is so not good or fine.  We become programmed to say the feeling that is status quo and that way it doesn’t have to inconvenience anyone if we’re really sad, angry or something else.

Some ways self-hatred, shame and fear show up are through less than perfect realizations about our bodies, abilities, how we should feel, be, relationships, etc. When I have felt deep shame about who I am compared to who I think I should be, in the past I’ve use escaping is to cope because I didn’t have a better way of doing things.

Shame is like a dragon and when shame is kept inside, the beast continues to grow stronger and we keep moving further away from ourselves. 

Our thoughts, feeling and behaviors that are used to distance ourselves also become more taboo and we quit knowing our true selves. 

Maybe we actually quit wanting to know our true selves.

It is through yoga, I have found that I am able to reconnect to myself through my breath and movement.  Connecting to parts of me that I have disassociated with throughout the years.  Breathing in new life and letting go of old shit.  Old stories that have served as blocks to me becoming my best self.  Finding that connection through soothing touch, through connecting to my voice with chanting, connecting to my soul through personal mantras and to my body through asana (movement/yoga poses).  By actually connecting to myself, I am able to notice my strengths and abilities and also my weaknesses, imperfections and habits more clearly.  I have a curiosity to meet my edge.  To bend, twist, fold and pump my body in ways that I haven’t allowed before.  I meet my edge and know I can return back to the comfort of my home when I am ready.

In a way, this mimics the developmental learning stage that we all go through when we are around 11-13 years old.  This is when we find a curiosity to venture out, but we look back to home for the approval to go ahead.  We need the approval to go out with the understanding that we will have a home to come back to.  Yoga holds this same developmental learning for me as I practice and figure it out, I am learning that I have a home within me that is unconditionally loving and I can meet my edge then come back home.  Home being in my body.  Safe without harsh judgement or fear of failure.  Unconditional love.

So, I connect to my body through breath, touch, chanting and mantras and asana.  All are really important to me.  All are different and I feel like lots of methods are needed to fully know myself.  I mean, we don’t eat the same thing or wear the same shirt every day.  Diversity is key in life.

 

~ Breath

The breath is our life force.  It brings new oxygen into each cell in our bodies and nourishes those cells helping to create rich blood that flows to every area of our body.  Our blood is our life.  Bringing in enough oxygen into our body is crucial.  Also important is exhaling fully because our lungs filter out a lot of junk from our body.  Maybe you haven’t thought about this much, but if you forget to breathe, which many people do, you know that you feel better when you are not holding your breath.  If you have a medical condition which limits your ability to breathe well, you know that it is a scary and awful feeling to not have your breath.  

Also, the breath allows us to change the way we feel when we’re breathing with intention.  We can speed up the breath and slow it back down and it manipulates how we feel.  Many of us operate almost all the time in fight or flight mode just from leading busy, stressful lives.

Yes, your body likely thinks it’s out running from lions when you’re: not sleeping well, not eating well, running from place to place, working 12 hour days, exercising too much, running the kids to all those activities non-stop, etc.

When we slow the breath down to around 6 breaths per minute (that’s an inhale for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 5…not too long), we take our bodies from fight/flight into rest and relax.  We are able to do this for ourselves!  It’s free and works quickly.

So, when I’m anxious and running about doing all the things, I can breath and change my circumstances.

 

~ Touch

We aren’t usually touched enough (in good ways).  Many people don’t get hugs or any form of touch on most days.  Especially those of us who live alone.  In addition to not being touched by others, many people don’t touch themselves either.  Hell, many people don’t even own a full length mirror to look at themselves let alone touch themselves outside of taking a shower.

I figure, it’s my body and I should be able fulfill me need for touch.  We let other people touch our bodies.  We actually let people do all sorts of things to our bodies, but touching ourselves sexually or non-sexually has been made taboo.  I disgress…

Ok, so back to self-touch in relation to practicing yoga.  I like to find the fits in my body and make those connections.  Our body fits itself because our bodies were created perfectly for each of us.  For example, our hands fit into the arches of the feet, armpits fit into knees, one hand can hold the other hand, hands fit like mitts around knees and fit into armpits like balls, etc.  There are all these fits that we were born with, because our bodies are awesome!  There are all so many connections to be discovered through yoga and just by spending time in our bodies.

 

~ Chanting and Mantras

In my post on yin yoga (12-5-2018), I wrote about the mantras I used to regularly practice while in child’s pose.  I feel like, since I spent so many years being out of my body and being my own worst critic, that it takes some serious rewiring for my internal dialogue to come into friendship with itself.  For me, the time that I spent repeating a lot of mantras was a time of intensive internal friendship building.

My whole practice would be like 3-5 minutes in extended child’s pose repeating:

I love you, I trust you, I respect you, I honor your past and where you are today…something like that.  One deep breath for each.  One pose.  These mantras on repeat.

I have also spent some time chanting om.  It’s the universal sound which includes A-U-M.  I find it helpful to hear my voice, out loud, and see how I can change and play with it through a series of oms.  Some days it is creaky and crackly, some times it is strong, sometimes the oms are short and others are long.  I play with how it feels when I push through my diaphragm, etc.  It’s another way to come into my body and build confidence in my voice.

 

~ Asana

Asana or the movement part of yoga, allows me to find space in my body that I wasn’t aware of before.  Constantly amazed at how moving one thing, changes another, creates space in another. Again, it’s looking at a pose and saying, “this is where I want to go, now how do I get there.” Stacking body parts and creating different results.  Also being able to tune into how a movement feels in my body and what muscles I’m using.  Or how my nervous system reacts, if I’m resisting relaxing into a pose, what that’s about and using my breath to cue my body that it is not in danger and to relax.

 

It’s an interconnected process and through yoga I have come to find that I am the alchemist of my life.  The mediator, the meditator, the adventurer, the lover. 

Like a golden thread in a complex tapestry.  The practice is of yoga is one of coming home, of holding space when it gets uncomfortable, in negotiating what I need and what I want in my life. 

A practice of letting go of attachment when it no longer serves me, in allowing for the creation of new stories, respecting my past, allowing grace in with an open heart and using my voice to express my truth and to cut my path of potential.

It’s a way to look at all the pieces of me, to get around my ego and also to find that no place inside me is taboo.  It is all me.  Messy.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Sensitive.  My home is where I practice.  Where I am never too much and I am never not enough.

I am continuously practicing and learning how to live unapologetically and confidently in my skin.  It is a practice and the most important part is to show up for myself.

To me, yoga is a journey and a way of life.   It is a friend and a teacher.  It mimics the greater common patterns in life.  But my practice, in my body is like the scale-model cosmic system that I get to personally embrace and study the details of each day.  I choose this practice over and over again.  I embody the practice so I can more fully embody me.

 

***photo for this post taken my Sydney Johnson with Fuel Your Focus Photography

I want to dedicate this to all the people in my life who have struggled with their mental health and/or addiction.  Radical embodiment is a courageous endeavor. Many people in my life have lost their lives at their own hands because life can be so so painful, that the next escape after addiction itself is to end the suffering.  The number of people I went to high school with who have lost their lives to drug and alcohol related deaths either through suicide, homicide or accidental overdose is an absolute tragedy.  I think it is abnormal compared to what the average person experiences.

I feel privileged and blessed that I came through some of those same dark times with my body, my mind and the sheer will to find a better way.  Since I have been given this opportunity at living a better life, I am committed to running with the opportunity that many others weren’t able to grasp.  Life.  This is why I feel like radical embodiment and self-love is the only option…

~

I went to a yoga teacher training in Italy this June.  It was a training in a style of yoga called Katonah.  (If you haven’t heard of it, I’d recommend checking out their website www.katonahyoga.com.)  The title of the book for the training is Radical Acts of Embodiment by Dages Juvelier Keates.  Honestly, the title in itself sparked curiosity and wonder in me.  Hmm…radical acts of embodiment.  What does it mean? 

See, I’ve been on a journey, a quest to love myself for several years now and it continues to change and morph all the time.  It endlessly unravels new and unexpected layers at each turn.  Embodiment seems like a more common term these days and the idea of self-love is getting a lot of attention as well.  There’s all sorts of radical things happening lately with the “Me Too” movement, it’s also more common to see trans people out than it used to be, Lizzo is blowing up the world of female empowerment.  It’s a big time of embracing the feminine energy, speaking up and speaking out! 

A short background as to why I would choose to do this work. It is a choice that I made 6 years ago and continue to make.  It’s a contract with myself that I renew daily.  In 2013, after being married for almost 10 years, our relationship ended.  As for where my work was needed at this point in my life that’s more where I’m headed at least in this post.

For my whole life I had been putting other’s needs in front of my own and getting upset because they weren’t putting my needs in front of their’s.  I made endless sacrifices in my life that pulled on who I was and what I believed in.  I made these sacrifices so I could “fit in”, “be liked” and “earn love”.  I was too scared of being abandoned or alone.  If I stood up for myself, I would risk the consequences so I did a lot of smiling and nodding like a polite woman should do until I no longer knew myself.  In general I cried a lot and was feeling torn inside.  I didn’t trust or respect myself a whole lot and had low self-esteem. I had a civil war happening between what I wanted and what I thought I should do or who I thought I should be.

Even though our minds can lie to us, our bodies don’t lie and mine was clearly telling me to check myself.  I didn’t put it all together then, but I’ve gone through periods of pretty awful anxiety which, in the past, I covered with drugs, alcohol, food, etc.  My body has tried to tell me many things over the years and I didn’t trust myself enough to listen, so the only thing I knew to do was numb out the pain and keep smiling.

After being married for close to 10 years and going through 4 very difficult years at the end, one day I came home, after a weekend away with my girlfriend, and my spouse said to me, “I don’t know if I want to stay in our marriage.”  I thought to myself, “you don’t know?!?!”  I felt like I had sacrificed so much to try and make things work over the past 4 years and now, it didn’t matter anyways.  I abandoned myself in order to be loved and it wasn’t enough.

My world was crushed and I felt like I lost absolutely everything we had built in the last 12 years together.  Aside from this series of events, this wasn’t what started my life of disassociation from myself.  I kind of divorced myself at the age of 11 after my grandma passed away. I didn’t know how to cope with the loss except through a long laundry list of teenage, after school special kind of self-destruction.  By the time I got myself into a long term relationship at age 21, I already had habits of disassociation, but didn’t really know the depth of my grief, bad habits, codependent behaviors and how they all fit together. I was someone who had experienced trauma and it was still unresolved many years later with additional trauma thrown on top.

So, fast forward to getting divorced, the end of a long and significant chapter in life… Once Nat moved out I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted.  I didn’t know what I  wanted for dinner or what I wanted to do.  Because I had made so many sacrifices to stay in my marriage, I no longer knew who I was.   I was like a shell of myself.  I remember thinking pretty well right away that I would need to figure out how to love myself before I would be able to love anyone in a romantic relationship in a healthy way again.

So, I started on this journey.  The hardest journey of all…self love.  I think it’s so difficult because there’s no cookie cutter form to follow.  I could read all the self help books, get advice from everyone, but it is a personal journey and even if I read the books, I would still have to put the steps into action otherwise I still wouldn’t get anywhere.  No one else can decide what’s right for each of us.  It’s so personal, we are custom made based on our personal preferences.

~

What does it mean?

Radical Acts of Embodiment…

Well…it’s not something someone else is doing to me or to you.  To me, radical acts of embodiment is the call to do the work and saying YES!

It’s the universe yelling at me through a megaphone or sometimes through an attractive Mexican man (different story).  It’s me not listening, so the universe gives me a hard shove.  Sometimes it’s like being thrown out of a bar forcefully by a large bouncer because I refused to quit dancing on the furniture at a Lizzo concert and landing on my hands and face on pavement in the winter.

The call to do the work never comes gently because otherwise no one would do it.  No one wakes up one day and thinks my life is great, I’m going to make some big changes and look at all my deepest, darkest shit and sort through it for awhile…  No way.

I have had several instances in the last 6 or so years where I have been invited to take the journey.  I know…it seems like once you’re on you should be on.  But there were still things to hang onto that needed to be let go of.  When I was hesitant to make a decision, the universe helped me and made a decision for me.  Not only in the case of my marriage ending, but also my job of 14 years ending, other relationships not working, etc.  I am persistent, so I don’t back down easy.  It’s the advocate in me…

There are several themes that come to me when I look at this radical embodiment process.  I think they’re maybe common themes.

~ Distractions and Unavailables ~

After accepting the invitation to do the work, along the way I picked up what I call distractions and unavailables.  These distractions and unavailables are sometimes friends, sometimes relationship hopefuls.  Really they were like shiny things distracting me off my path.  Things and people who were needed along the way, but more like wanderers who weren’t meant to stay.  I just didn’t understand this at the time, so I tried to keep them.  Again, the universe is more powerful and won.

Being a recovering people pleaser with plenty of experience in some really dark and undesirable situations, I can keep myself safe and deal with things that many people wouldn’t entertain.  I have put up with a lot of shit in life, so when I decided to stop putting up with garbage, my meter of assertiveness and how I perceive this new skill was amped up to “I’m 99% sure I’m coming off as extremely rude.” I learned I have to be assertive and sometimes very blunt in order to make it out there in the world  The whole world isn’t friendly and it’s not my fault nor my problem, but I’m no longer taking that on with a smile and a hidden cringe.

In other words as, the world doesn’t care what happens to me, but I do.  What am I taking and leaving because my bags are too heavy.  Quit shopping at second hand stores with personal relationships. I don’t shop for clothes at second hand stores, so quit putting up with second hand behaviors…

~ Ninja training ~ Quick to notice ~ Quick to act ~

I’ve learned to turn off the red flags over the years.  If I had them on with the volume turned up, I would not have had the life I did for most of my teens and 20’s.  Those years and the things I experienced served their purpose and trained me to be the person I am today, so there’s that. At that time I was surviving and now I want to live bigger.

Saying yes and radical embodiment means living bigger, not just surviving.

There are plenty of times I have thought something was not quite right and I ignored it, only later to think…wait…is that really happening?  Mostly because I can’t comprehend how sometimes people can be so unreliable, untrustworthy, manipulative and downright awful to others.  It’s not about them though, people will be how they are no matter what I do.  The lesson is about me seeing the red flags and deciding to pass go or not.

I like to consider myself a risk taker, but many times I take risks like running full force at closed doors.  Throwing my heart at walls.  I am a risk taker with my personal relationships.  My ninja skills don’t serve me in running at closed doors or throwing my heart at walls.  It’s gross, messy and I never win…but there might be a day when I do, so that’s why I kept trying.  I’m working on the surrender and laying down my arms and coming to a much gentler place where my ninja is quiet and sneaky.

I think, another part of radical embodiment is learning that, like a venn diagram, there’s you, me and we. It’s building healthy relationship boundaries.  I do me, you do you and if it happens, then there’s an intersection of we.  I never dive fully into your circle and lose myself and you never lose yourself in my ocean.

The ninja is quick to notice the red flags and either stop or proceed with caution and if the red flags continue, to quickly, quietly and unapologetically go.  Done.  No explanation needed.

~ Buddha love ~

The real work.

My ego is a child screaming in the aisles of Target. So annoying…

Loving without attachment.  The internal struggle to love and let go.  People are not objects to be bought or kept.

This is where my therapist left me the last time I saw her a month or so ago.  This is my work, she says, as she reminds me that I choose this work and I can also choose not to do the work.  I’m really in too far to not do the work. The alternative smells of codependency, too many tequila shots and regrets.  Enough to suck the life out of me if I even think about it too long.

There are people who come into our lives who are wanderers.  They are passing through for only a short time.  I have the tendency to want to take in the hitch hikers and give them a home.  But they are not available to stay.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy every bit of time I spend with them, but when it’s time to move, don’t sit in the middle of the bridge wondering what to do.  Get out of the way.   Something else is waiting.  I still struggle to grasp this concept, but it’s getting better.  I can love and appreciate the time I spend with someone, but there’s always a part of me that wants to hold on.

Buddha taught that attachment causes suffering.  I agree and I think there’s an art to gracefully engaging in this practice.  I practice letting go, by purging things from my home and living more minimally.  Through this process of letting go, I free up space for new possibility.  I know that once whatever it is, is gone and I put it out of my mind that there are very few things which I regret purging.  Mostly I don’t even know they’re gone.  Learning what the important things in life are and what brings me closer to my highest self, and kindly letting go of the rest.

~ Radical self-love in several parts ~

Drop the distractions and unavailables, lay down your arms and come home to yourself!

~ Trust in myself ~

I have an opinion and a voice that matters.  I know what I want in life and have the means to get where I want to go.  I can spot red flags and use my ninja skills to get out when it’s time.

~ Compassion ~

For myself and others.  Life is hard and we all go through hard times. If someone isn’t treating me right, maybe they’re going through a hard time too, but I don’t always have to stick around for it.  Whatever I’m doing, I ask “am I doing this out of love of out of fear?”

~ Human vs Wonder Woman ~

Be both.  Strong and sensitive.  Fall apart and come back together. Allowing both to exist.  I get to mediate the polarities of my being.

~All The Parts ~

Body, mind, child, beautiful, bad ass, woman.  It’s complicated and messy, but all can co-exist when I stop resisting, blocking and putting taboos on pieces of myself.  My body and my experience.  I decide the meaning in it all and no one else defines this.  “You’re too this or not enough of that” only exists if I keep that narrative going.  If I change the internal dialogue to what my best friend would say instead of what my inner critic would say, it’s much nicer to be with myself.

~ All The Things ~

My happiness is worth it.  I want to go to the gym, create art, sleep in a comfy bed, flowers, healthy food, nice trips, etc.  I’m not waiting for someone else to give me permission.

~ Doing The Work ~

Sober.  My shit still exists without booze, drugs, food and social media to numb it out.  When the cloud dissolves and I’m standing there and can see myself in the mirror, I still have to do the work.  I thought my anxiety would go away when I quit drinking.  I have likely always had some anxiety, I think most people do because life always brings things that we don’t completely know how to deal with right away.  What’s not normal, is a society that pretends this isn’t at least somewhat normal.  I’ve been sober for over a year now and I still deal with anxiety.  It’s okay though because I know that I can deal with the real things in life and I’m learning to manage the internal dialogue which can be my best cheerleader or my worst critic.

~ A Daily Practice ~

I wish there was a magic fix it, but there will always be work and this is really unpopular in our society today.  I do get to decide to practice or not.  There is power in having agency in my life no matter what I decide.  I choose to see how I can look into my life, be aware in my body and be a decent person who cares for others.  I love hearing people’s stories and I truly believe that letting out the shame and guilt we experience gives it light so it holds less power.  I’m not alone.  You’re not alone. We aren’t alone.

~ Pushing the Limits of Comfort ~

Might as well grow, learn and experience all the things while I’m here for a short time.  From Florida, to Mexico, to Bali, to Mexico to Italy to Mexico…seeing the world…finding myself…learning how it is to belong everywhere and nowhere.  How to truly belong to myself.  What it means to have home as a place that exists within my body instead of a physical location.

I meet people along the way and carry compassion in my heart knowing that most people want the same things in life.  We all want to be loved, to be safe, have nourishing food and a purpose in our life.  Humanity transcends language, culture, age, ability, sexuality, gender, skin color.

~

Radical acts of embodiment.  Feeling all the feels.  The brilliant happiness, the grace, the effort, the darkness…  And having the courage and desire to keep going and feeling the way through it all.

Nothing lasts forever.   Sometimes that is a blessing and sometimes a disappointment.

~

Like a fairy princess who just woke from a long spell…Given one kiss to break the spell of disembodiment…I am a teacher, a traveler, a student, a wanderer…I stay woke.

 

 

I think as humans we are all lovers.  Lovers of something, someone, hopefully ourselves… When I was at my yoga teacher training in Bali in February 2018, we were asked to set an intention one morning during asana practice, then to move with that intention throughout practice.

One of the core principles of the training was, “how I do anything is how I do everything.”  My intention that morning was to be a better lover.  Meaning “one who loves”.  A better lover of myself, of others, of the earth, of everything…because as my therapist will always remind me, love is our highest vibration.  It is the truth.  I set an intention to bring more love into my practice of being human and try to remember that each day.

Maybe this is my attraction to Rumi and Sufi poetry.  Rumi writes about God as the Beloved and our oneness with God who is in everything wherever we go each day.  It is this belief, even before setting the intention to be a better lover that morning on my yoga mat in Bali, that helps me feel closer to God and to the universal powers that are greater than me.  Knowing that God is the color painted all over this earth and the sun in the sky, the love we feel looking into our loved one’s eyes…everywhere all the time…

I don’t claim to be a religious person, but there is something magical about the grace, wonder and joy given in our lives each day from forces beyond what we can understand in the logical world.

 

~ The Mystery of the Lover’s Dance… ~

Oh my love, we can dance the dance of 1,000 mysteries, only seen by lovers in this dance of oneness  

The look in your eyes, your smile, our conversations, silent moments we share, our sweet kisses… 

It’s a joy that lacks adequate words

Being at home without a physical location.  A home that is located by a feeling inside

Everywhere and nowhere

Sigh…

Being present in your arms, your lips and in this art

…but only for today because nothing else exists

A love language that is effortless, yet a constant mystery unraveling itself to lovers who are learning which move is next 

Feeling the way blindly and hoping my heart and yours both feel their way back…soon

A different kind of longing…

Knowing I’m always home, so grateful for each moment and yet still that old longing…

…For the continued mystery of the dance 

But the music is on pause and keeping us suspended…

Learn the next dance moves and keep spinning the intricate web 

Lighthearted and joyful is the essence of this truth known as love

Keep on the path…

How I show up anywhere is how I show up everywhere

I’m showing up as a love kamikaze…

How are you coming to the next dance?

All there is to lose is fear

We already know who we are. I will never take this from you

…and this is the gift that is this love. 

Who decided to assigned value to numbers relating to our being?  What does it even mean?  Working in the health, wellness and fitness industry in a world based on numbers and tech as a way to measure goals can be frustrating because I know and see that these measurements are short-sighted in the way of holistic health.  I’ve been exploring ideas around body image and trying to make sense of it.  It has proven itself much more complex than I could imagine.  I’ll just write about 1 little piece of it.  The numbers game.

So, in numbers, I’m 39 years old, 64.5 inches, 40-32-40 depending on the day and have wavered between 155-170 lbs for the better part of my life and none of these numbers hold a definitive value.  They don’t mean a thing…  If my numbers change, do I receive a different salary or guarantee a better place in line for the next life, win the lottery or become worthy of love?  Right now, today, I can say no matter what my number are, I feel the best I’ve ever remembered feeling in my life.  It doesn’t tell me anything that I’m a year away from being 40 or that my BMI would have me shamed into the idea that I’m borderline obese.  I don’t buy any of it.

Even in terms of money numbers mean different things depending on the currency and the day.  $1 in the U.S. will not buy much of anything, but that equals about $18 Mexican pesos and is almost enough to by a coconut.  But if I had $18 U.S., I could buy significantly more… Or in Indonesian Rupiah, $1 U.S. = about $13,500 which in U.S. money could buy an awful lot.  In Bali, I could get a massage for $200,000 Indonesian Rupiah… I digress…but the point is numbers have different meaning depending on the day, depending on where we are.

There’s no value to these numbers that can make me (or anyone) more or less valuable.  So why is everyone tracking numbers?  Weight, inches, calories, steps, etc…  And when we get there, then what?  Most of the time, there’s the next number looming… Sure, a goal was met which is a great thing, but I think it’s important to dig deeper with our goals because the real goal is more than a number.

I think the real goal is a feeling that isn’t so easy to measure.  When you stand on the scale at your newly achieved weight or see your new body measurements, do you say…”I fully love myself now that I am this new weight or number in inches!”  Because if you did, that would be it and you wouldn’t be striving for yet a different number and wouldn’t need to worry about regressing back to old habits or any of the things because all the shit from the past that got you here in the first place would be healed and the numbers wouldn’t matter because your life would be so in balance that you’d be like, “numbers??? what numbers??”

So what is the real goal or desire???  There is the whole institution of body shaming b.s. which is a multi-million dollar industry, that has been built on the need for all of us to think we aren’t enough and to strive for different numbers or a different image because they say we aren’t enough.  What we really want is radical-self love.  A true sense of loving ourselves, but this concept takes the giant body shaming institution and threatens to dismantle it’s foundation that keeps us in the numbers game and distracted from our real work.

If there is a number that universally equaled radical self-love, then I want that number to be the goal for myself and everyone else out there trying to figure out how to love themselves and quit going through cycles of body shaming, number counting, numbing and other countless tactics to change or forget parts of them that are uniquely beautiful just as they are.  I want that number which equals radical self love to be the one we are all striving and practicing for every day because it’s only when we reach (or are moving toward that number) that the institution built around body shame will crumble on itself.

I think the number we all want, that is our soul’s truth, is the number 1.  Not because we’re in competition to be #1, but because we are all one.  We are all one! Not separate or in a competition for numbers or a certain body image that has no real meaning, but a sense of needing more.  A need to feel that in our body – the home of our beautiful soul – we belong to this world, to all humanity and to the earth.  100% beautiful, vulnerable, courageous, messy, human.

When we reach those other numbers, we will still want more.  When we reach number 1, the magical number of radical self-love, we will know we are home because it’s a feeling that we get when things are right in our bodies, in our hearts and in our minds.  We will no longer feel like we we need to look, act or be anything different than who we are.  True soul beauty.  Gentle yet strong warrior souls. Divine feminine energy.  Those numbers will no longer circle in our heads shaping our decisions each day.  Lightness and humor can surround the imperfections of our human bodies and we can be free to live in a whole new way.  Not just survive, but fully live.  Singing, dancing, moving, sleeping, creating, loving…in the way we were meant to live.  Our human birthright.

I don’t remember exactly when it was. Maybe in like May of 2015 when I decided I was going to quit drinking alcohol for a while.  Not because I felt like I had a problem with alcohol, but because I realized I hadn’t been “sober” for any length of time since before I started drinking.  I met a friend at the time who had been sober for about 8 years and I felt inspired to try doing things differently.  Brene Brown summed it up in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, when she said she quit drinking because her “party girl persona kept getting in her way.”  I can relate to that 100%.

At first this was difficult mostly because it had become a lifestyle.  What do people do who aren’t going to happy hour after work or out to the bar on the weekends?  I started to realize that most of my social interactions revolved around alcohol.  My social anxiety (which I previously didn’t know I had) kicked in when I didn’t have alcohol to take the edge off.  I remember going to a show really early on and feeling almost panicked and like I just wanted to be invisible.  After I worked through the new and uncomfortable feelings, I really had a blast of a summer!  It felt like I was a kid again.  Hiking, swimming, picnics…so much fun!  I went something like 98 days without alcohol that time which, at the time, I never thought I would do.

From that point on, I chose to give my body a break from alcohol periodically because that’s what I choose.  I like the way I feel when I’m sober.  Mostly because I can feel.  Emotions are so much more intense when there’s nothing to numb them.  Someone (maybe Brene Brown) said we can’t numb just part of our feelings.  When we numb the negative feelings, we also numb the positive ones.  Alcohol became my excuse in life, my distraction to not get things done.  I decided and made the trade, alcohol for getting things done.  I traded alcohol for knowing more of myself.  I’m not saying I’ll never have another beer or another drink, but in general and in my daily life, it isn’t part of the equation at this time.

As I write this, I am going on 7 months of living in my skin without alcohol and I can honestly say, I’m at a place where I know my enjoyment and feelings of being secure in social situations doesn’t depend on what I’m drinking.  It’s more important for me to feel good, without a foggy head and to take care of my body in the way I choose instead of feeling like I fit in because I’m drinking with everyone else.  Besides, fitting in is kind of junior high, so I’d like to belong regardless what I chose to put in my cup and if I don’t I’m totally ok with it.

~

In the fall of 2016 I enrolled in the health coaching program with Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  After working at the clinic for 13 years, I knew I wanted to help people to not need their health insurance more than I wanted to assist them in obtaining health insurance.  Assisting clients with getting health insurance is so important and very much needed and I cannot emphasize that enough.  I would assist people with diabetes in getting health insurance who needed like $2000 a month worth of insulin!  I knew there was a better way, but it wasn’t my role to find them a better way in life.  My role was to get them approved for health insurance, so I chose to change my role.  Luckily I had a really amazing supervisor at the time who really believed in me and paved the way for me to transition into health coaching.

After getting half way through the year-long IIN program is when I started Rooted In Wellness.  I felt like my time at the clinic was limited, but didn’t know what that meant yet.  I just felt like it was.  I had been working for a few years to untangle my self from needing to earn the salary I had been making in order to live.  After moving out of the  house and paying off my debt, I freed up a lot of needed income so one day I would be able to make the transition from Social Worker to Health Coach.

IIN helped me on my own path to self discovery as much as it helped me learn to be a health coach.  It was double action happening!  Not only did I learn about coaching, dietary theories, and behavior change, but also learned that I needed to love myself more and start to show up for myself like I had been for everyone else.  I learned that it wasn’t about waiting for that day for everything to be perfect in order get started. My business coach, Jan, said to me once, “better done that perfect.”  I take this with me every day.  Perfection is a stopping block where nothing gets done except ruminating on the delusion of perfection.  This has been big for me to move forward with everything I do today.

~

I started Rooted In Wellness because of my personal wellness journey.  I also started my business because of all the people who are affected by chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.  These are mostly conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle choices.  But it’s not that as a culture, we just have poor willpower and decision making abilities.  It’s more that we are all affected by marketing and media showing images of how we’re supposed to look, how we’re supposed to be and the next fix to get us to look, feel and be this certain way.  The other end of the mainstream marketing is getting us to buy and consume things that couldn’t take us further away from health and happiness.

I believe deep down, in my skin and in my bones that there is a different way and it’s my mission to share that with others.  There’s a way of living and being that is more loving towards ourselves, but that way is never shown in mainstream culture because if it were, look how many people would be out of a job.  How many products wouldn’t be needed.  It would kind of collapse a big portion of consumerism as we know it.

The culture of society being told we are missing something because we don’t look a certain way, weigh a certain number, etc…is in more ways than one, false.  What is true, is that we need to love ourselves more, so know and feel that we are worth the time and effort to take care of these bodies and minds that are ours for this lifetime.

Being “rooted in wellness” is a lifestyle.  It’s the lifestyle I want to live and it’s a real way of being.  And for you, it looks different than it does for me.  That’s what’s great about it, is everyone has a different truth about what it means for them to be rooted in wellness.  It’s not the latest fad or quick fix.  It is a way to live over many years.

As I’ve shared my journey with you, we all know life is full of ups and downs.  (For all of us!)  It is full of challenges and victories.  Sometimes the greatest wins come from the worst losses and it takes courage to even call them wins.  All of the things I have shared in my writing are wins (even if I couldn’t see that at the time) because they have put me in a relationship with myself that I never had.

Being rooted in wellness doesn’t mean that we’re ever going to have it all figured out and it doesn’t mean that we accomplish all that we set out to do.  Or if we do accomplish all of it, it doesn’t mean that the process of meeting our goals was pretty.  Being rooted in wellness isn’t a number on a scale, how big our hips are, what Cosmo tells us is sexy or how many likes we receive on Facebook.  It means that no matter who you are or where you’re going, just because the journey isn’t perfect or you didn’t lose that weight yet or your life isn’t looking like those other people’s vacation photos posted on social media…it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed.

Being rooted in wellness means that when things aren’t looking the way you want them to, you have the ability to choose differently so your life can start looking more how you want it to.  It’s a series of choices and trades in every day life and the belief that you can get there.  It’s having love for yourself, so you keep working towards the best version of you for you.  Each of us gets to decide for ourselves what this means and make the choices right for us to get us to that place!

Cheers to where we’ve all been, where we are today and where we’re going.  Take a breath for our effort and our past and a sigh of relief knowing that all things change and new opportunities always present themselves when we keep our hearts open.

May this new year be filled with endless love woven through every cell of your beautiful soul.

Let yourself be seen!  Shine on!

 

Some nights I lie awake trying to work out answers for the most complex story problems.  These story problems are different though.  They are not like the ones we used to solve for grade school math assignments.  The issue I always run across with the story problems I’m trying to solve is that there’s never one answer.  That’s because stories of the heart don’t make sense.

Just when I think I know the answer, the universe starts yelling at me to WAKE UP, PAY ATTENTION.  Like I was daydreaming in class again…life’s class…daydreaming in life…again.

The answers are infinite.  See, there’s no answer key for these stories and problems of the heart.  We make up the key as we go through life.  And no matter how quiet the world becomes in those wee hours of the night, the answers still aren’t logical.

Like…

…1+1 no longer = 2, but always = something new…

…the only thing moving is stable…

…attachment = suffering…

…that the center is the place that lies between emotional and logical…

…my brain holds the key to the logical answer, but my heart refuses to let go…

There are so many ways to work these problems. The answer changes depending on the day.  But every way I work it, I realize in the end our language isn’t the same.  Even though we speak what seems like the same language, it’s still too different and the meaning of  words gets lost in translation.

See, my heart never took logic in school.  I’m certain if it did, it would be the only class I ever failed.  My heart never took logic, so when your actions and words don’t match the meaning gets lost in translation and my heart…that always gets in trouble for daydreaming in life…gets stabbed with that dull pencil…again.  If I’d only quit daydreaming and paid attention…I hate those dull pencils, but I love to daydream…

This is why sometimes I lie awake trying to solve the hearts story problems because after all this practice and all these years of my life, I can’t figure out how at the end of this story problem, we still got different answers.

At least credit is always given for showing the work.  The time is never wasted and I guess once I solve this one, I’ll move on to another that will likely be equally perplexing.

I have found the one thing that seems to remain a common denominator in each of these story problems is this…  Actions always speak louder than words.  So aligning actions with words is always a good starting point.

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“What you say is more important than how you say it.  What you do is more important than what you say.  And what you build is more important than what you do, so what you gonna build today?”  ~Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

 

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