The words we use.

Acceptable. Hot. Skinny. Okay. Good enough. Too much. Too flabby. Too soft. Good food. Bad Food. Clean food. Dirty food?

The words we throw around as goals, or descriptors are big. They aren’t just words, as much as I wish they were. They’re the balm we rub onto every inch of skin and stretch marks and cellulite, and take them on as truth. If ‘hot’ is my goal then I will bathe in that daily in the form of “goals or mantras”or what words will “push me through that last rep” until my brain has learned that what is inside doesn’t matter as much as what my skin pours out, am I hot? Hot enough? Too hot to be a mom? I can’t win.

*(I like goals and mantras, but not when they’re tied to how I “need” to look in a certain time frame)

The words we use are important. They’re the words we teach our kids. The words I toss around above their heads to friends as they absorb them like bubbles in the baths we take together. The baths where they talk about how much they love my Mama Marks, and how squishy I am, and soft I am. The words unspoken are; comforting, love, fulfilled, theirs, mama, cozy, memories, soft, mine. And those are words I want to wear with every inch of my skin.

The goals aren’t wrong, having a body goal isn’t inherently wrong, but pursuing body above heart and brain and self love, is. It’s dangerous. It’s insidious for our children. It’s shame and doubt and self hate. It’s where your fingers go on your phone in the night, what youtube videos you find yourself watching (how to get rid of cellulite, how to lose ten pounds fast), it’s where your heart feels heavy quick when you start to compare. It’s fear over a size up, and anxiety over a sleeveless dress.

We are far more than dresses and sizes, scales and numbers, lumps and bumps. We aren’t the words we’ve owned for so long, that is why changing them is important. I am not only what I pursue. I am what I am today, and that is worthy of care, love, and acceptance.

I am soft, strong, muscled, dedicated, hydrated, fueled, comforting, consoling, mine, theirs, his, and ours. I don’t have to shy away from my body just to celebrate it, this body is worthy of good words, sexy words, and descriptors. But it isn’t the only part of me.

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I asked for positive body descriptors on my Facebook page today. And damn, damn damn damn. Those smart people. The list just brings me right to my knees. If you are struggling with words for your body, read this list. Read it again. And then start to bathe in these words each time your brain wants to rob you of your worth. Also, I pulled this list verbatim. I wanted to see where the words overlap, where we are all leaning into, because there is power in knowing that as you chant “I am strong. I am strong.” you aren’t alone. I’m there, chanting it too. And so are these other women. Building up, not just ourselves. Not just our children. But each other.

 

Statuesque

Majestic

Beautiful

Strong

Sturdy

Tolerant

Nurturing

Perfectly Imperfect

Comfortable

Soft

Healthy

Invaluable

Unbreakable

Determined

Curvaceous

Nurturing

Spirited

Calm

Vital

Luscious

Capable

Juicy

Strong

Voluptuous

Home

Snuggable

Resilient

Unique

Capable

Strong

Learning Flowing

Sure

Desired

Squeezable

Sexy

Bangin’

Strong

Life-Giving

Comfy

Evolving

Life-Giving

Nourishing

Strong

Rooted

Alive

On Fire!

Voluptuous

Fertile

Resilient

Curvaceous

Life Creating

Solid

Luscious

Beautiful

Capable

Full of Life

 

I’ve read this list. ReRead it. And then challenged myself to read it out loud. I’ll be here. Coming back to this on the darker days, the mean brain days, and remembering. I’m not alone, we’re here together. “We are strong. We are strong.”

4 forever.

It’s weird to feel loss over babies never conceived. It’s strange and selfish feeling. We decided, two years ago, to be done. We made that decision permanent.

Nearly every night we talk about it, and we squeeze hands with excitement about our growing family and passing phases, the girls newest endeavors and how what just passed has now passed forever. It feels so right.

I look into the back seat as Charlie drives, his hand on my thigh, Nolie’s eyes wide out the window looking at each mountain and hill as it blurs by and Ev’s still chubby hands thumbing a book, and I feel so full to the brim with our family.

They cuddle together to read, they cooperatively work to build their cities and hospitals and camping trips and doll houses, they are made to fit each other. Complimenting and contrasting in every perfect way, the light and shadow each flip flopping in their role as they play and love and chat seamlessly. A large piece of our decision was their total contentment in each others arms and hearts and lives. There was no lack, to need, nothing missing. Our puzzle of four fit perfectly.

But there are quiet nights. Where my brain wanders and finds that old secret PinBoard full of pictures I saved for the baby we tried for before we decided we were done. The bump pictures, the nursery, the old posts of my own recalling the magic of those months. The nights where I relive the excitement through a friends announcement or a commercial. And the ache, the forever ache of a mama, I think, is there.

Sometimes I just say it to Charlie, often at night, more often as we drive, always after a friend tells us about their impending baby. “I’ll never have another.”

It’s not said with sorrow exactly, but not with joy either. Peace, maybe. Calm, almost. Just with surety.

It’s strange to decide. It’s uncommon to make that choice before we hit 30. And it’s strange to some to do that after “only” having two.

I don’t doubt our decision, or regret it.

But, I’ll never have another baby. And that weight is so big tonight. 1093843_10100584074008060_2006042849_o-1

{back when my Nolie nursed, and Ev was a little babe.}

 

Grabbing Tight, my January/Now.

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Motivation is fickle, some weeks I’m on it. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s where I’m at in the month, maybe it’s how long it’s been since I’ve eaten a piece of cake as big as my head. But whatever it is, when it’s there. I grab it.

I wish I knew the single key to be able to just keep going, but whatever the code is, I haven’t unlocked it. Rather, I have found my own mode of staying somewhat motivated. Two things are working.

One is to not keep stuff that brings me down around me. Be that social media that contributes to negative thinking, or junky food in my pantry (or not junky, but just hard to stop myself on. I’m looking at you plantain chips.). If I just don’t have it there as an option (to hate read or shame eat, that is) then I’m WAY more likely to stick to my goals and positive thinking.

The second thing is a bit weirder, maybe controversial? When motivation is there, I GRAB IT. When I have the mornings where I wake up feeling like a beast who can lift heavier than ever, I make my day around it, and DO that. When I feel that urge and fire to meal prep for the week, I drop everything and shop and cook cook cook (obviously, with the limitations that come from a single income home, homeschooling, and two active kiddos).

These past two weeks I’ve had the bug. I’ve been really going hard in my workouts, writing lists of goals and checking off small steps towards them. It’s been here. I think the weather, the food, the excitement, it’s all just hit at a good time. But even here, at the close of my second week, I can feel that pendulum swinging a little bit towards rest. I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to take an extra rest day, not stress about family pizza night, and really enjoy the calm as much as the high.

Motivation can feel so fickle, but I am choosing to harness that into a cycle of self care that works for my mind and body. Some weeks I’ll have PR’s and sweaty yoga sessions daily, other weeks will be more school and coloring and hot coffee with homemade cookies. It’s balance, and motivation, and goals, and I’m good with that.

The quote “Don’t let perfect get in the way of Good Enough” rings deeply true for me. Those ideas of “don’t be content! Always be striving forwards!” don’t connect for me. Contentment and forward momentum can live together and look different at different times. For now, I’m keeping my home (and my phone!) full of things that make my heart feel good and my brain tick on positively, and I’m holding tighter to motivation while it’s there.

One thing to note is that, when I am feeling less motivated, I do keep up with the things that have become habits. Whole foods more than not, water, and yoga with a sweaty workout here and there.

I’ve been following this up and down pattern, while maintaining healthy habits (walking and yoga at least, lots of water, and whole foods), since January. I dropped all calorie counting or tracking, and am working on eating intuitively and trusting that when my body wants to workout hard, it needs it. Here is some of my change from January/Now.

I feel strong and happy in both photos. The victories here are skin deep, my muscles are thriving in this new way of grabbing motivation and using grace when it’s gone.

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Nut’ola!

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Paleo granola is pretty popular but it was hard to find one on the shelf that didn’t have a bunch of sugar. We eat a LOT of this, so keeping it lower sugar was important to me. Also, we have found that the big benefit of keeping it unsweetened is that it doubles really well as a salad topping!

Nut’ola is what it sounds like, nut-granola. I love it plain with almond or coconut milk, on top of chia pudding, or with yogurt. It’s also great by the handful, or sprinkled on top of salad for an extra crunch. It’s not a science, easy to change to fit your own likes/dislikes or allergies. And keeps well in a sealed container for a couple of weeks. Also, if you are grain loving you can substitute one cup of the nut’s for one cup of rolled oats easily.

Nut’Ola

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3 cups of mixed raw nuts (any will do! just pick your favorites, I like mine whole, other people like to pulse these in the blender once or twice to break them down a bit)

1 cup of seeds (chia, hemp heart, sunflower, what ever you like!)

1/2 cup coconut flakes

**Mix dry ingredients all together in your 9X13 baking dish**

2tbs melted coconut oil

2tbs nut butter (melted into oil, I also really love sunflower seed butter in this!)

shake of cinnamon

shake of ginger

**Pour oil and nut-butter mixture over dry ingredients and mix well. Put into a hot oven, at 350, and bake for 25min stirring and checking often.**

1 cup raisins (I love the jumbo mix of raisins from Trader Joe’s, but any raisins work.)

** Mix in raisins while nut’ola is still hot. Let is cool fully before storing.**

 

Home Yoga Practice: Getting Started!

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I read lots of “getting started” yoga articles about a year ago. All of them offered some great advice, but primarily just featured some pretty products and linked to videos that I am sure were wonderful, but expensive. They also all focused on out of the home yoga practices and while I wish (wish wish) I could make that a part of my week, I can’t swing the extra cost. The constant advice for an at-home practice is to set aside a time of day, the same time, every day. In my life… that is just not possible, at all. SO… here is my guide; a how-to for free/low cost, at home practice how-to’s. Bear in mind this comes from a total novice, complete newbie, and yoga fan more than fanatic. My practice is daily, and slow, but consistent, and growing.

Where to get started: I have always loved yoga/stretching, and the classes I’ve taken here and there inspire me when I get home. I would try Sun Salutations and Dolphin poses here and there, but the idea of making up my own flows (routines) was intimidating and felt impossible. But choosing one video to do over and over (ahem, jillianmichaelsyogameltdown, ahem) was boring and felt like it didn’t leave room for growth. This is where finding a YouTube channel served me perfectly. There are approximately a hundred thousand yoga video’s on youtube… and starting down that rabbit trail is overwhelming. I have found my favorite and will link to her page, Yoga With Adriene (duh, no affiliation, but Adriene, if you see this I LOVE YOU). If you are a super beginner with zero experience, start out with her Yoga For Beginners options (click on that and it will take you right there to the playlist), or with her Foundations of Yoga playlist, that will take you through many of the most often used poses, and help get your body aligned just right. If you have a little bit more experience (you’ve done some videos here and there, have a basic level of fitness) then I really encourage you to dive in with one of the 30 day challenges. Her 30 Days of Yoga challenge is really great, and her newer version Yoga Camp is wonderful (I just finished yesterday!). What I especially loved about Yoga Camp was that every day there was a mantra. That initially felt a little… weird, or fake, or just hard to connect with (I generally struggle with quiet or meditation) but the  more I went with it, said it out loud, all of that, the more I really loved and felt like it made a difference in my day and practice. I still use a lot of those mantras now with my practice. What I like most about her is she is really not intimidating (no fancy set, just her pretty home. No perfectly tanned/made up/boobs out body, just her body moving well in poses) and she’s also not overly spiritual/’woo woo’ in her practice. I’ve come to appreciate and love people who are, and I can be sometimes too, but I really like that her videos feel accessible and not over the top. Her instructions make sense and are to the point, instead of “now breath with the breath of an eagle” (but what does that mean?!). She’s great. I highly recommend her video’s as a place to start (or keep going!). Once you get your feet under you, and a daily practice ironed into your life, you will have a nice foundation for creating your own flows.

When?!: Start with your goal. How often do you want to practice? I started with three days a week of 20 minute videos. That felt achievable time-wise, but not a super huge commitment. Now I practice some amount (some days just 10 min!) daily. Once you decide how often, then it’s when will it actually happen. This part is hard. At least for us, and our style and daily life, and kiddos… this is so hard. My days are mostly dictated by the weather (is it nice out? We are headed out! beach! mountains!) and kid moods/sleep. If we all slept well, then when Charlie pops in to wake me up early (it’s a daily request of mine, and it works about 20% of the time, haha), I am more than ready to peel myself out from my pile of kids and do an early morning yoga/workout. If Ev was up nursing, and Nolie was chatting to me about her dreams all night (not uncommon… at all), then NOPE I will be sleeping till they wake naturally and fitting yoga/workout in later. Consequently, I can’t “map my week” or set aside a time daily. Instead, here is what works for me. Prioritize. Once we are up and moving, I set my phone down and think about our day. If there is at least an hour before our morning activity (usually starts at 11) then I make it happen early. I put my phone somewhere, plugged in, and leave it alone (I can easily flit away an hour on my phone without thinking, while the girls play after breakfast, and once that happens… then there is ‘no time’ to workout). If the morning is hectic or our plans are coming quick, then I think through the afternoon. And I carve the space out in my head BEFORE we get there. That way when the afternoon comes, and with it all the tired and done feelings, I already have a plan. At that point I set a phone timer. If 3pm is my time. I set that timer to go off 30 min early so I can start mentally preparing (I know, it shouldn’t be so hard! But for me it really is.) and when that timer happens, I plug my phone in (again, away) and get my yoga clothes on. I use that method for workouts and for yoga. I’ve found my yoga practice does feel best in the AM or after the girls are in bed, and that even 15min feels amazing. So often I prioritize my workout first (and set the timer for that) and then just make yoga my before bed/after kid bedtime plan. Usually I spend whatever time I can (while the girls are playing or in class) when we are out of the house, choosing a video or workout. Finding something I am excited about. If you are looking forward to it, you are more likely to do it. Laying out my clothes, choosing a video, telling a friend about it, setting my timer, thinking about a long shower afterwards and how great that will feel. All of those planning techniques really help me get to my mat. It’s also all momentum, the more you do it the more you’ll do it! Really! It works.

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Gear: So… this part. You don’t technically need any gear. Yes, a yoga mat is the best place to start (and a cheap one will work just fine! They are also ALWAYS at garage sales too!) and if you can afford to buy one piece of gear, buy a mat. But otherwise, you can fake it till you buy it with almost all yoga props. A blanket works fine or just your bare floor instead of a mat. Books work just fine as block, and a belt or long silk scarf works well as a band, and as for clothes… it’s a dangerous rode to go down. You don’t *need* any special clothes. Soft pajamas, anything stretchy and moveable. But there are also about a bajillion beautiful yoga pants, pretty tops, strappy bra’s and on and on. I love yoga pants that come down over my heels, they feel cozy and perfect for morning and evening yoga. I also like shorts that are tight and high waisted (Prana has some that I am drooling over, but I actually REALLY love the Studio collection from Old Navy and they’re cheap and thick and nice $18 a pair).

That’s it! If you have any questions, or recommendations for other great videos, please leave them in the comments! I am always on the hunt to switch it up.

Mothers Day

I wanted to share a couple of things. One is my post from my Facebook page, that you’ve likely seen. And two is my post to my girls on Mothers Day from my personal page. I’m sharing it here because today marked a big and really awesome milestone. I’ve written posts to my girls in some form or another, on some platform or another, every Mothers Day. But today, I read them all aloud to them. And they were still, and listened, and smiled, and cooed over the photos of tiny them. They’re getting big, and grown, and starting to understand it. How deep our love is. And how special and different it is. I’m so honored to be theirs, and today felt so big to share with them.

However, I am aware of what a deeply hard day this can be for so many, and so first I wanted to share from my page these words. I dropped tear after tear thinking of the hurting women out there who are aching for babies of their own. My heart breaks for those who give and give as Mothers, who put out mothering love and energy and don’t receive this day as their own for one reason or another, mostly all based in labels and cultural constructs. This day is hard and loud, and I hold you close today.

 

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Happy Mothers Day to you! You out there who nurture, who give, who donate, who love on others. Those who mother birth babies, babies birthed by others, babies that come over from across the street for a cookie and an ear, those who mother the kids who come through their line of work, those who mother with their hearts but not always their bodies, Happy Mothers’ Day to you. You who ache, you who yearn, you whose heart hurts, I am thinking of you today. Happy Mothers’ Day to those who are that stable person for a child, a teen, another person whose mama isn’t. You are doing the work, and it’s work that matters, regardless of what story your body or Facebook tells. This day is for you too. Take it, whether that is in a gentle thought to your heart, or a card, or a hot bath, or just a passing thought as you work yet another day. You are a strong Mama. No matter through what avenue or for what amount of time. I am thankful for you.

 

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Noele, meeting you was the single hardest thing I have ever done. Getting you out of my body, and to my arms was incredibly difficult, long, and scary. But we did it, together. We beat what every one in the room thought would happen, and you and I worked together through it every moment. Your Papa was the first to hold you, and your bond is deep and unbreakable. When you came to my arms, I felt what I had alway been come to a new and deeper fruition, I knew Mama was my name. You calmed and clung and nursed and gave me every gift in knowing you. We have continued to work together, learn each other, but have that deep and unspoken understanding between our matching round eyes. You are fully your own, and have been my guinea pig in motherhood. I’ve learned how to put the ideas I had into action with you, I’ve felt regret and learned to apologize, you are the best teacher and most forgiving friend. Thank you for allowing me to watch you grow, witness you as a person coming into your own more each day, but fully yourself ever day. You are curiosity and wild delight, you are grace and calm, and you are nurturing personified. I love you dear heart, forever.
 
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Ever, you are my spit-fire. Your birth was all redemption and beauty and prayer in action. You arrived into my arms, and were welcomed with total surprise (you came so fast!). I wept with pride in myself, and for us together, and your life has continued with that. We work together endlessly, we talk and talk through each obstacle and you have the endless ability of reflection. You came out scowling and crying and only wanting me, persnickety to the bone, and it’s only been recently that your shell has been allowing others (Nolie, Papa, and I have always had access!) to peek open to your deep security and willingness to allow others into your Joy and grin filled world. You are well named my love Ever Harbor Joy, you are always a moment away from a tight hug, a huge grin, and a quick joke. You have continued to surprise me, and put my ideals to the test. I love being your Mama and seeing your world unfold. You made the new baby mantra true in every way for me, when you were born ‘Everything is new again’ and it hasn’t stopped yet. Ever, you are wild and sensitive, gentle and talkative, particular and genuine through and through. I am so thankful to be your Mama and am honored to get to know you, and that you choose me daily in your arms. I love you dear heart, forever.

Sustainability.

My first whole30 was almost a year and a half ago. It changed so much for me about food, health, freedom, guilt, and body. But it also comes with deep consequences that can be really hard to overcome. Doing any kind of elimination diet, long term, can really mess with what is “okay” or  not okay in your brain, and what you start to categorize as “healthy”. Whole30 can be especially problematic because there are strict rules and guidelines and the tone of the site and book can be really harsh (works for some people, I am sure. But for me…not so much. I love the food and science behind it, and how it makes me feel, but not the tone). The deal is that to make whole and healthy food changes that last a lifetime you have to be able to decide and see what works for you long term and what will help your choices be sustainable. I wish I hadn’t done quite so many strict whole30’s back to back, and instead had followed the advice on the website to wait, and live my “Life After Whole30” a bit more out, so I could have learned more about myself and trusted my self control(turns out, I have AMAZING self control!!). It took me about 8mo (and 6 whole30’s) to really realize that I need to take off the training wheels and really try living my life without rules, and instead make healthy choices because they *feel* good and not because they’re imposed by a challenge I chose.

Sustainability is the key to maintaining your successes in food freedom, and your successes in body. Knowing what you need to keep your body ticking just right, whether that is what Whole30.com would recommend or not… is way (way way) more important that always living By The Book.

On that note… Chia Pudding.

Chia pudding is a (hilariously) hotly debated food in the Whole30 world. It’s mentioned on the site to “leave the chia pudding for 30 days” when talking about SWYPO foods (aka: Sex With Your Pants On, meaning foods that recreate a food that can send you spiraling, and won’t help you break your sugar/grains/baked goods/whatever coping mechanism during those 30 days). There are rules to whole30, and there are recommendations. No chia pudding is a recomendation, not a rule.

My feelings on this: 1. I don’t like eggs. So having a go-to breakfast that is healthy, protein and fat dense, and easy… worth it.

2. It’s portable, and that is paramount to sustainability and success for me!

3. It’s just not that good. Chia pudding doesn’t make me dive into a pudding cup once the 30 days are over (nothing does, because pudding is great, but not a “thing” for me), because it doesn’t taste anything like that. It’s good, sure, but it’s not sweet or creamy. It’s a great on the go choice, and off whole30 it’s stellar with some honey, but when you make it compliant (this recipe is), it’s more like a yogurt substitute than it is a pudding recreation.

Anyhow… there are a million recipes out there! But here is mine. Endlessly tested, fool proof, and so meal prep friendly it’s ridiculous.

 

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Chia Pudding

1 cup nut milk (I used that coconut almond blend, it’s whole30 friendly, and tasty! It’s also great in coffee. You can use coconut cream cut in half with water, coconut milk, almond milk, whatever you love and you family prefers. Just be sure to either make homemade or read you labels, lots of nut milks are full of added junk!)

1/4 cup chia seeds

Dash of Cinnamon

Mix all of this together well into serving sized containers and then choose 1-3 mix in’s (I’ll add a list of ones that go well in it and one’s that work better as toppings the day of!).

Refrigerate for at least three hours, but also keeps for up to 5 days in your fridge. I prep enough for the weekday mornings on Sunday nights!

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Mix-In (to add before you pop it into the fridge!):

Frozen Berries

Almond Butter/Sun butter (mix this in super well and it flavors the whole thing SO well! This with a banana chopped into it is Charlie’s favorite combo)

Mango Chunks (omit the cinnamon for this mix)

Tumeric and Nutmeg (and top with nut’ola at serving)

Unsweetened cocoa powder (this is amazing with nut butter too and also topped with fresh berries)

 

Topping (to put on top at the time you serve it! I like to always have something to add to it that has some crunch because the texture can be a little soft for a whole breakfast)

Nut’ola (basically paleo granola! I’ll be posting my recipe for it later this week)

Apple Slices

Banana Slices

Toasted coconut

Raw or toasted Nuts

Fresh Berries

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I almost always make three nut butter/banana ones for Charlie to grab and go in the AM (he needs higher calorie count than me so he takes one of these, a couple hard boiled eggs, and tops his with nut’ola as well!) and three that are just cinnamon and mixed frozen berries for me. Let me know if you make these, and if you have any other suggestions for mix-in’s or toppings! We are always looking for ways to switch it up.

Space for fear

Today I swung my whole self hand-to-hand across the monkey bars. A year ago I couldn’t hang, holding my own body weight, for more than 25sec.

Yesterday I hung upside down on a bar on the school playground, by just my knees, I used momentum and swung back and forth until I could let my legs go and land on my feet. I didn’t, I fell. But it was okay!

Nolie squealed! I grinned! And tried again.

Feeling the weight of my body, and the strength of my hands was exhilarating. Feeling a little scared, a little uncomfortable, but knowing I could trust that if I fell, I would be okay, maybe I wouldn’t fall next time.

Watching my daughter feel proud and excited for me.

This is why I lift weights, why I rock climb, and why I keep trying to hang on the monkey bars.

Not only for those girls. Not only for the normalcy of a Mama who plays, swims with them, and jumps on the trampoline, and tried ridiculous headstands, and falls and gets scrapes. I want to  do things that scare me. In front of them!

But also, for me. That moment of “can I really do this?” and then… that next of “yes!” or… “hah! not yet!”

It feels good to practice what I preach to my kids. To shift those words I say to them so often, onto myself;  “You can do hard things. Your body is so capable!”

Today I felt it. Today I got to model it. And today I am so strong. IMG_6830

motivation.

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I never used to be motivated by images or by other people being active. I immediately converted that into comparison and shame. I could feel disordered thinking and negative self talk get wrapped right up into my view, as quick as my eyes can snag the image I have made it inextricably linked to “I am not good enough”.

It’s bizarre. We, as a culture, and especially as women, are often fed the idea that shame is a good motivator. That I will do the extra squat if I imagine how jeans shopping will feel.

That I will wake up early to dedicate time to a workout I hate because I need to earn that pizza I ate with my husband the night before.

It’s insidious. It’s in the names of products, and  ‘bikini boot camp’ classes, and on all our lips and brains as we imbibe in more and more fitness media everyday. Someone selling you something to give you a “beach body” or something to fix your flawed self by screaming that “it works!” instead of you “hey! You already work!”.

And, it works, for a bit. Shame can get you out there once, twice, maybe a few months or so if you are really low. But does it satisfy? Never.

Every time I have ventured into health because of shame I lose steam. Or, I reach my goal and set a new one because the old one suddenly isn’t enough, my brain still sad. I meet a weight goal and am still not enough… because I never would be, no matter how small I got, because I am doing it all as a mean of satisfying a cruel voice of shame. So no number on the scale will feel like enough.

This past year+ has been the first where self care has trumped weight loss for me. Using whole foods to heal, and the real key: allowing myself to take days off, choose a bath, choose TV with Charlie, choose rock climbing or hiking or yoga over calorie blasting cardio… choosing whatever speaks to the health of my Whole Body.

I’m still learning this. It’s really really slow and forward/backward work. But I am moving forward. Mostly in a self love drenched fashion.

It’s given me an interesting shift in how I see images. The women I follow on instagram don’t make me feel bad. I don’t compare. I am stopping any negative thoughts in their tracks or {this is important!} unfollowing when I feel that I am unhealthy viewing these people. Lately, I can scroll my feed and feel inspired by head and handstands that I have on my goals, I can see sweaty workouts and heavy weights lifted and think “yeah! get it!” because that is awesome. Regardless of their bodies, that are by and large a good 50 pounds smaller than mine! I’m slowly curbing my comparisons and instead growing my sisterhood. Seeing women not as shame vehicles or a competition that I am failing. 

It’s helping. It’s showing me more concrete ways for Me to be motivated. To see pictures and be inspired, to see them and get up and try that pose! To want to wake early because the ball is rolling and I can feel how strong momentum is. It feels so good to be in control of my thoughts more.

My thoughts love grace, love thanks, love strong women, and love to be inspired. Those are my motivations. Is what I am doing, now, making me feel better, loved, grace filled, inspired? If not, then change something. Delete something. Journal something.

And, to be clear, sometimes what I am doing is nothing. Because sometimes, doing nothing is exactly the kind of ‘better’ I need to be feeling.

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dreaming.

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Motherhood is my calling. What I wanted to be, what I dreamt about, what I played as a kid. I enjoyed college and it gave me my love of writing; but finding out I was pregnant before I graduated wasn’t heart breaking, it was exciting. The confirmation that this was what I wanted to be only grew with each month of being a mama.

In these past six years have felt more myself, known, at home, and sure than ever before. I have also, obviously, questioned everything so many times, but my main feelings since having Nolie have been of such content.

Motherhood gave me myself. A clear image of my skills, my talents, and just how deep and wide my empathy and patience really run. Being a Mama has made me more secure in being me. The deepest joy I could have ever asked for, and the biggest gift I would ever receive.

As the girls grow and my time grows I’ve written a few times about feeling adrift… what next? what happens when they’re older? And that feeling has been sailing about in my heart for the past several months.

Till fairly recently I haven’t had an answer. I’ve been trying to find myself in homeschooling. But it’s just not there. {I love homeschooling, but it’s not a passion, it’s a project and a job and a necessity for our family. Thankfully, there is zero shortage of motherhood wrapped up tight with homeschooling, and it’s working well for me.}

But I’ve found something different. Or, rather, it found me, again. Where I have found relief, answers, calm, and myself whenever the storm picks up, is Yoga. My heart is starting to dream of what this is, could be, and what I could do with this passion. But it’s all wild dreaming for now. I’m researching and spending late nights practicing and googling. Searching some more.

For now, all I’ve got is dreams. But they feel so indulgent and magic and full right now. I could burst.