Even though I feel much better about my body than I did years ago, even though I am taking much better care of myself than I did years ago, I still feel the pricks of comparison.
When I’m in an exercise class, some days I find myself looking around. What is everyone else doing? Why am I not keeping up? Why is this so much harder for me?
I find myself feeling disappointed. Like Alex writes in her powerful post, I find myself spinning all sorts of stories. Old stories about not being an athlete or being clumsy or being too slow. New stories about how I need to work out harder and be stronger and do more.
Because we had a busy end of the year — the holidays, getting the house ready for company, getting married, having loved ones in town, submitting book revisions, working on other projects — I didn’t get a chance to reflect that much on the old year or the new year.
I feel like I leaped into 2015. Excited and grateful but exhausted.
So I was happy to find a great piece on making intentions around this time, which doesn’t make me feel like I’m already incredibly behind or missed out on something. The piece is by author Warren Berger and is called “Forget Resolutions, What’s Your ‘Beautiful Question’ for 2015?”
I think eating mindfully is a beautiful way to take care of ourselves and to savor our lives. Eating mindfully simply means paying full attention to eating (or cooking or even washing the dishes).
Eating mindfully is a way for us to honor our bodies, to honor the process of nourishing ourselves. It’s a way to honor the rich, long process that goes into food arriving at our tables — from seeds sprouting in the earth to trucks bringing it to the store.
Here are some valuable insights, tips and reminders for eating mindfully from the book How to Eat by Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
I think bucket lists are wonderful. It’s important to have a place for contemplating and listing your ultimate dreams, for reflecting on the experiences, activities and actions that inspire you. The experiences, activities and actions you just know you need to do. The things that are calling you.
But I also love an idea I read about in Jennifer Louden’s latest book — A Year of Daily Joy: A Guided Journal to Creating Happiness Every Day, which is filled with beautiful quotes, tips, insights and images. The idea is to create a “thimble list.”
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a piece on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves.
I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
I have a dream that we’ll focus on cultivating healthy habits instead of remaining chained to the numbers on our scales (or calipers or clothes).
In Thursday’s post I mentioned that there are many ways we can nourish ourselves — in addition to food.
Today, make a list of all the things that nourish you. I see nourishment as anything that’s fulfilling, meaningful, fun, playful, soothing, refreshing, invigorating, puts-a-smile-on-your-face, and meets a need.
Creating this list gives you the opportunity to reflect on what really helps you. Plus, when you’re stressed or overwhelmed, you have a list of nourishing activities and actions you can turn to, without having to think about it.
On the last pages of her book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar Cheryl Strayed pens her response to the question: “What would you tell your twentysomething self if you could talk to her now?”
These are snippets of her wisdom:
“Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.”
“You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write.”
I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with yoga. Years ago I’d attend yoga classes at my gym several times a week.
Today, I attend one class, and that’s after stopping for several months. Still I find yoga to be beautiful and very challenging. A big challenge for me is Savasana, the final pose in a yoga class.
As Cheryl Strayed writes in the book Going Om: Real-Life Stories On and Off the Yoga Mat, edited by Melissa Carroll, Savasana is known as “corpse” pose. Years ago, Strayed’s yoga instructor acknowledged that this is the most difficult pose — even though all you’re doing is lying down, on your mat, on your back.
In this post I mentioned that I do most things slowly. It’s something I’m learning to accept and embrace about myself.
Because we look down on slow. Slow supposedly sabotages efficiency and productivity. It means waiting. And we hate waiting. In lines. In traffic. For an email. For a package.
But slow isn’t inherently a bad thing. It can even have benefits.
When we got married, Brian and I wrote our own vows. Writing my vows to him, and him reading his vows to me are moments that I will never forget.
Writing our vows gave us both the opportunity to reflect on our relationship, to consider where we started, where we are today and where we’d like to go. To consider our deep commitment to each other.
Writing our vows and speaking them has made them more concrete and meaningful and memorable.
I think we can do the same for ourselves. After all, our relationship with ourselves forms the basis for our relationships with others. It helps us make decisions and make meaning. It forms the basis for everything.