I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. As I continue to dive deeper into my relationship with myself, with my personal yoga practice and healthy living this has been coming up a lot for me recently. And even more so with the clients I see. So often, people ask me what is the best type of exercise to get the body they want, the results they desire, or the energy they’re craving. I am discouraged by this questions a lot. Why? I don’t actually have the answer. Or at least, I thought I didn’t. But now, I’ve decided the answer is reclaiming exercise for every body.
The source of my frustration comes from the societal expectation that we have to move our body only because we want it to look a certain way, instead of actually enjoying the way it moves. Believe me, I have been guilty of this plenty. Which is why I feel comfortable calling some bullshit on it.
I remember sitting across from him, he’d been holding my gaze for a while now, neither of us saying anything as I’d been crying. Finally, I said, “I feel like I have done everything in my power to move on from this.” My therapist then looked at me intently and said “It’s usually when we are resisting something that it continues to appear for us.” Shocked and infuriated I just sat there. I couldn’t believe he’d dare say I was resisting anything. I’d been working through this for nearly a year and had made so many changes. Since the day I walked in his room we’d been talking about this relationship and I’d been working diligently on focusing my attention, embracing my feelings, and allowing myself to deal with whatever emotion may arise. “I’ve done anything but resist this whole process,” I told him, “If I was I would have never come to see you in the first place.”
I rarely get to see the stars at night. Having been living in Seattle now for a year and a half, it’s mostly grey days and hazy nights. Sometimes I am spoiled by the moon glowing through my living room window, but with the light pollution from the city the stars are amiss on a daily basis.
Yesterday I took a late flight out of Dallas on my way back from seeing my family in Florida and Alabama for the Holidays. The sky was crisp and clear as a pane of glass. I could look down to the speckle lit earth below or up to the twinkling dots lighting the sky. It was in this moment I realized what a rare treat they are. And being slightly closer, albeit still millions of light-years away they seemed more magnificent than times before.
I’ve had a lot of these pauses of appreciation for the smallest of details, the most minute of moments in this past year. It can often feel like these are insignificant, but I can tell you honestly they are what got me through.
There have been several occasions on my blog where I have fully disclosed my lack of talent in the baking department (ahem, the pie from hell!) Well, the truth is, that’s still true. Though, prior to leading a grain-free lifestyle though there were a handful of baked goods that I had mastered. I mean MASTERED! One of them, was Christmas Cake, which you can now eat grain-free too! The other, oatmeal raisin cookies. One of my weak-in-the-knees kind of foods. My idea has been to try to recreate the foods I had mastered in traditional baking, in a grain-free way. Which is how I now give you, n’oatmeal raisin cookies!
I am ecstatic about these cookies for SO many reasons! The first being they are grain-free which hence the name, you can gather there are no oats in these! BUT there are also no eggs, yep, that’s right!! For all my vegan friends or those of you with egg intolerance/allergies, these are my gift to you!
I’ve gone through so many phases in my life when it comes to beauty-care and makeup. When I was younger, and first getting into makeup it was a challenge. I had pretty much grown up ‘wild and free’ as an avid lover of dirt, nature and playing outside into my teens. So when I first approached wearing makeup let’s say that I didn’t know what I was doing. At that time I had no consept or need for “better beauty” soto speak. To my fortune, I had an older sister to look up to and watch, but my step-mom also worked as an Estee Lauder consultant. I remember watching her as a little girl, being in awe of her makeup and she’d often do it for us while we played dress up for my Dad.
When it came to the real deal however, I’ll never forget the first time I wore makeup out in public. I was visiting my Dad and we had taken a short family trip to the beach about an hour or so from where he lived. I asked my step-mom if she’d do my makeup before we went out to dinner. I know she was a bit hesitant, likely at the reaction of my Dad to his 13 year old daughter wearing makeup, but she obliged. She hardly put anything on me. I have the fortune of looking like I have a soft pink blush and eye-shadow on at all times. But she added a little bit of neutral tones, some mascara and some lip gloss. When I walked out to see everyone I thought my Dad would have a conniption. No, he did not like that his little girl was growing up, not in the slightest.
And over the years since then, I went through periods where I’d wear makeup and then I wouldn’t really. I waned in and out until I got to college, which is probably when I more seriously started wanting to have products that worked really well. Then I came to realize that I actually don’t need nor do I want to wear a lot of makeup, but I need to take care of my skin, and that means getting rid of all the toxic chemical laden products I had been using.
As many of you know, travel is hugely important to me. Coming of the heels of a two week solo trip to Europe back in September it really struck my why traveling alone has a completely different effect on you in a variety of ways. I feel like we may have heard the argument of why you should travel solo and experience the world for yourself, but truly there’s so much more to it than just being able to experience the world. That is a factor, but it’s about the person you are, the person you become through traveling alone that has left me feeling complete in myself.
It’s for this reason that I’ve been wanting to share more of why I feel this is so vital to experience, for health and happiness. For me, it is a wellness piece to my life that has always been integral and important. But it may not be for the reasons of pure wanderlust like you may expect. It is far deeper, more raw and real connection that I have to the essence of being, through traveling alone.
The title of this article may initially make you think, “I’ve heard this all before.” But hear me out, you may not know exactly why it will, but rather have read all the reasons why you should.
Traveling solo has been something I’ve experienced a lot throughout my twenties. Living in Italy, traveling to Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, England, Hungary, Sweden, Croatia, and, not to mention, all the in betweens. I spent most of my childhood in Europe, on a small military base in Mons, Belgium. We’d spend our weekends hopping on a bus or a train and going somewhere new. Exploring was the essence of my childhood. It is ingrained in me.
So I’m not here to tell you that you should travel solo because exploration is the key to discovering yourself (though it can be), but it’s actually something else that I find life changing about traveling by yourself.
Finish reading the rest of my article over on 20some.com
When I first started down my journey to live well, in all areas of my life, I would tell people all the time “it comes from this burning desire to heal.” Trying to explain this deep seeded feeling of inner drive. We all have it, it’s inside you already even if you don’t know it yet. That burning desire is for something that your heart aches for, that your truest self desperately seeks. And at any given time this can also shift and change. Your burning desire in one period of your life can evolve or transition to something else in another. And even at times, that blazing flame may grow dim, it may struggle to find the air it needs to keep its shape and to grow.
Last night I was sitting on my couch, laying with my blanket-cat Acme, full of so much joy and gratitude from the yoga workshop I co-hosted earlier in the day, then it dawned on me. I became overwhelmed with this new and exciting feeling and all the same felt as if I were returning home, there was comfort. Suddenly I was filled with this reminder. This epic sensation of how much I love to share and foster connection. How much helping other people is a part of me. This burning desire that all at once ignites my life and sets ablaze my determination. I had this, when I first started my intensive healing journey. It’s only last night, That I gained the awareness that somewhere along the way it dimmed.
I remember the first time I couldn’t fit into a pair of jeans that I swore I’d had forever. It was as if they were always going to fit, no matter what they were my trusty go-to pair. I remember thinking that I’d gained weight and as I pinched my love handles I thought about how I could change this part of my body. I was 14.
Clearly amidst the changes of puberty, though I’d had my period for three years already my whole body was filling out and while my breasts had already developed early I could NOT believe that I was a C cup. You can bet I was taunted and teased. In truth, I had a tiny frame, and boobs and was absolutely everything that anyone could make fun of. It was mortifying. I walked around trying to cover up LITERALLY every part of me. I wore covered tops, t-shirts, I’d always been relatively tom-boyish but this accelerated my fear of being observed for my body and it instigated this self-loathing of it.
Fast forward two years, I’m an active sports player at the peak of my game just starting out on the JV volleyball team as a freshman. And then I get slammed with a crippling illness and month and months later a final diagnosis. If you haven’t read my full story you can read more here. I went through months of trying to comprehend not what was going on with my body, but why.
This week has been what has felt like a rollercoaster. It’s been full of such enjoyable highs and extreme lows. And I’m not alone, there’s so much anxiety in the air right now, collectively among many of us about the current state and future of the world and particularly America. It’s enough sometimes to think about our own lives, then the lives of people we love, on top of an entire nation. That’s a lot to carry, I tell ya.
Nearly everyone in my close circle has had a rough week, from the loss of loved ones, extreme lack of sleep, past experiences resurfacing (personal experiences!) to being violently ill. And I’ve felt it all on a deeply emotional level this week. I couldn’t make it through Wednesday without bursting into tears every few minutes. Thank God for snuggles with my cat, close friends and knowing that I wasn’t the only one riding this wave. With the full moon approaching this weekend and the massive Typhoon storm coming in in the PNW I get that the Universe and Mother Nature are all really feeling it too, and it comes as no surprise. And yet still, makes it no less hard to deal with.
I found this tiny notepad in my purse pocket while I was traveling. Ever since I can remember I’ve carried small notepads around with me to jot ideas and thoughts down at a moments notice. I had packed one for my trip, but this one was different. It was old, worn, with every page full.
I opened it up to read it, quickly realizing that it was from a few years ago, not that long after I had lived in Florence. It’s full of randomness, to most people. Lists, thoughts, quotes, poems, you name it. On one page there was a list – it’s titled “To Lead A Successful Life”. My initial thought was that my opinion of success looks very different than it used to and this list probably would be reflective of that. And yet, as I read, I realized in fact it was a complete reflection of the life I have now.