As far as feeling the wind and weather whip around you while you place your trust and life in the hands of the driver, not much beats “being present” like riding on the back of a motorcycle.
I recently had the pleasure of going on a 3-day trip through Central and Western North Carolina with my Dad and his harley. There is no radio and no way to really talk (and I like to talk). I was just there in the elements and in the moment. Whether it’s enjoying beautiful mountain vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains or sweating at a stop light in a town, you have no choice but to just be and accept whatever is happening now from the back of a bike.
When I was 16, I was in a really bad car accident where I was a passenger. Now, I still feel my heart race and anxiety kick up whenever I am a passenger in a vehicle that’s going down big, curvy hills. It was an amazing test of trust and faith that had me still able to enjoy descending into Black Mountain as darkness fell. It wasn’t easy, but it was great practice in breathing, relaxing and having faith.
That’s what yoga is in my life. It’s not just a class but a practice in every aspect of my life. It makes it where even a motorcycle ride is a part of my practice.
Many other activities have a similar affect for me such as scuba diving or solo paddle boarding. I just have to be present in the moment when doing them. However, the real test is if I can continue to apply this to my everyday life from cooking, to paying bills. If only those could be done while the feeling of wind was rushing over me as I gave the decision making to someone else for a time.
While yoga does tremendous things physically for my body making in more mobile, flexible and strong, it’s the non-physical part of the practice that is the most helpful in guiding me to be my most authentic and compassionate self. Whether it’s on the mat, focusing on your self-care, doing the dishes, or driving down the road it’s all we have is the this moment to be truly who we are meant to be.
This is my Dad ready for me to get back on to ride.
What activities bring you easily to a place of presence in your life? Please join the discussion below in the comments section.
I can tell you it’s been hard to witness so many runners discouraged and put out of the business of running because of plantar fasciitis.
Has it happened to you or someone you know?
Getting out of bed limping and hobbling, not sure if you will be able to run or really walk again.
Then I developed it as well, and I tried all the things below…
Running on a treadmill in front of a camera to check my gait,
Even a cortisone shot in my right heel.
I tried stretching my calves in special socks at night,
& could be spotted stretching in doorways and off of stairs.
Have you tried any of the above?
Then I could only run on a treadmill, which according to Katy Bowman uses the same muscle pattern as sitting. I couldn’t walk barefoot anymore. Finally the kicker was I got pregnant and had an early miscarriage, through that short window of hormone changes the cortisone shot wore off and the pain came right back.
At this point you can imagine that I was ready to change a lot of things in my life. I became really willing to slow down and work on the causes of my pain instead of just trying to just get my feet (& body) to stop hurting.
I can tell you it was my journey through yoga and Rolfing that started my true healing. My mentor and yoga teacher, Andrea Gunderson from Rolfing Arabia suggested I walk on the beach barefoot and just notice my gait. Which way were my feet angling out? Were my feet hitting the ground evenly? It was hard (REALLY HARD) to let go of the doing and just to observe. That observation began to build my proprioception skills. It’s so subtle but very powerful that awareness is the key that unlocks the way forward.
Then I was open to using different tools with no timeline on healing. The broken toe pose became my new torture device that felt so great after the fact. Tias Little has a GREAT foot opening class HERE that you can do at home. This video contains the broken-toe pose and so much more great ways to awaken, connect & stretch the feet.
The real fun started when I took up paddle boarding. At first, I couldn’t stand for long because I would cramp up in my arcs. SUPing really helps for building strength in my feet. I switch to on my knees paddling and tuck my toes under to stretch out the fascia in the balls of my feet. Then I will do staff pose and make sure to dorsey flex my foot with my toes spread to continue to release and strengthen my feet. Most of all it’s FUN, challenging and lovely.
Next, I chucked my tennis shoes in the bin. I ordered 5-toe shoes from Füt Glove which I found to be a great transition shoe for me as they have more padding than super minimal shoes but still fairly neutral in the heel and have a nice toe spread. I sported those ugly suckers to a reunion in Georgia, the Front Range of Colorado and even the Highlands of Ethiopia (caused quite a stir there). I threw out ALL shoes that didn’t allow for my toes to breath and that hurt my feet.
Further in my journey, I committed to 10 Rolfing sessions, because if I learned anything, quick fixes don’t work. I highly suggest checking out a Rolfing practitioner near you for this work.
I continued observing and accepting my body little by little.
After a year, I noticed something. I can walk barefoot again. I can run and it doesn’t hurt in my heels anymore (but it does still in other places & that’s okay because I am a work in progress). I can stand on the paddle board much longer without foot cramping and I have more strength and flexibility in my feet than ever before.
Not to mention, I love my big feet now.
Size 9 wide!
I am still learning about how our feet relate and align the rest of our body. In my yoga class, our instructor speaks of how the feet relates to a women’s health in her pelvic floor. Since my mission is all about helping women adore and nurture their own bellies and pelvises, then it makes sense to start with your feet.
Sounds fun right! Please keep reading before you go shopping!
Now it’s important to not just JUMP in and buy some Vibrams and think that’s going to work for you. Probably not! I had to transition into all of these various shoes and exercises. I also stopped wearing heals daily a really long time ago because of pelvis and leg pain. And I am STILL transitioning. Let’s remember how this is a journey not a destination.
Look dorky, do crazy things like not walking on the sidewalk or wearing your 5-toed shoes to Ethiopia so people can stare at you even more than they would anyway.
Please, if this small-town Iowa girl & her offspring can do it, then so can you!
Sign up for my newsletter below to get great tips on how to pick shoes that support your health from industry experts in a fun downloadable PDF & be entered to win (Contest Closed) a copy of Katy Bowman’s newest book: Whole Body Barefoot. Her book really is a VAST playground of exercises, information and resources for buying shoes all in an easy to read format.
I will be sending someone on my mailing list this book for free! So come and join us.
Come on over and join the tribe on Face Book at Belly Adore to get some great ideas on self-care you can do to love your feet and adore your belly. See you there!
Just to be clear: I don’t have any affiliate links on my website. All recommendations and links are my personal recommendations and I get no monetary value for them. But I do get good feelings for passing on awesome ideas and resources. I hope you enjoy them!
Have you ever tried some of the wacky things I have? Did this article give you an idea you would like to try?
Let us know in the comments below.
Today, I had an unexpected visitor.
Though she was not unwelcome she was very late, like a WHOLE month late.
Today was the 61st day since the beginning of my last menstrual cycle. In this life thus far my menstruation has always been irregular. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20’s. I am not sure my body cares for being regular at anything; even my labor pains were never consistent. Since we’re laying it all out on the table, my attention span sure isn’t either.
While it’s usually a surprise when my Moon Time appears, I now love to honor it’s arrival. I actually look forward to it.
What you say? What crazy lady looks forward to bleeding?
But you see, it’s my time.
I try my HARDEST to take the first 24 hours off. That’s right, I reschedule my client appointments, put hubby and son on alert. I don’t cook, clean, or work unless there is NO way out. Usually I find as priories go I can make it happen. I have a date with my hot water bottle (okay fine, I have more than one hot water bottle so I am not exclusive), some warm Moon Time tea and my bed. I read books and do some journaling. Really it’s just ME TIME where I can feel whatever it is I am feeling and make peace with it.
Really, trying to act like nothing is going on and not honoring my natural cycles actually makes the rest of my month LESS productive and fulfilling. If I don’t rest on my first day, then the rest of my week will not be so pleasant. Tami Kent in Wild Feminine says it well. “ One way to honor the female body as sacred is to match the pace of your life to the rhythmic cycle of the womb.”
The nesting, closing in and enveloping into the darkness of my feminine side really gives me insight and strength to be more authentic and nurturing with myself and others throughout my entire cycle. As much as getting to go to a red tent and get away from it all during my moon time would be amazing, it’s not realistic. So I make my own red tent through small intentions and rituals that help me stay present.
I am inspired by this insight from Christiane Northrup, M.D. in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. “I began to look forward to my periods, understanding them to be a sacred time… the things that made me feel teary were the things that were the most important to me, things that I know tuned me in to my power and deepest thoughts. My increased sensitivity felt like a gift of insight. I didn’t become angry, though if I did, I knew to pay attention and not chalk it up to “my stupid hormones”.
Now if I ‘snap’ or get angry with my husband or anyone during this time, I don’t apologize for my feelings but only how the message was delivered. My time before my menstruation and about two days during are my most unmasked and raw times. If I allow myself to sit with it and not fear the truth my body is telling me, it can be truly transformational.
I have vivid dreams the night before and during my beginning menses that can be quite telling and introspective of what my unconscious mind is dealing with. I often get clear messages on things that are no longer serving me in my life. Hopefully I will continue to develop the courage to release these things when that message is clear. The releasing of the nourishment for a child that did not come to be from in my womb can also coax the release of other beliefs, and systems I have set up in my life. These beliefs might once have been needed but are no longer adding value. Creating space and clearing, can open up you up for new and creative solutions. The answers and resources are within all you and they're within me.
Acting on the knowledge I gain is not necessary to do right now. I will rest some more. Let the knowledge settle in my mind and journal and the correct and tactful steps will be clear for me to take in the future.
Simply acknowledging that to be balanced and in-tune to ourselves, we must make time for action and reflection. This is our natural gift of reflection and release. I feel blessed to have this gift.
Click Here if you want a free gift of 10 ideas on celebrating your Moon Time!
I would love to know how you honor your cycle or would like to honor your cycle? How can you create a “red tent” during your moon time?
Please share in the comments below!
Remember that New Year’s Resolution?
Find out why I don’t make them anymore and how I am the happiest living each day as I am, and not holding myself back from doing the things I love because of an arbitrary number on a scale.
So let’s start at the beginning, just like every year…
So what was your New Year’s resolution?
Come on… think hard! Let me guess, lose 10, 20, 100 pounds? Get a six-pack, thigh gap, fit back into those high school/ before baby jeans?
How are those goals going for you? Beating yourself up?
I used to.
Why can’t I stop eating so much?
How come I don’t have any self-control?
No one is going to look at a fat cow like me.
I will DIE if anyone sees my stomach now.
This self-talk led me to a point where I didn’t wear a bathing suit for 3 years. I kept saying… I will learn how to ski, go to the beach, and be happy once I get to my perfect size.
What are you putting off doing because you are waiting for being the perfect size or shape?
Once I moved to Saudi Arabia from China, I just decided to stop yo-yo dieting and get real about my health. Which meant trying to get healthy in the body I had. With acceptance, slowly doors opened up for me that I might have otherwise missed.
I have transitioned out of my full-time teaching job to fulfill my dream in facilitating healing in others with bodywork. I started studying with a yoga teacher who believes in the exploration of the body and not the final pose. It’s an beautiful practice of discovery, stillness and really going slow and just being in your body. Then, I took up paddle boarding and fell in LOVE with being on the water in the Persian Gulf or in the reservoirs of Colorado.
I crossed off bucket list items I dreamed for YEARS of doing. I took my first ski class. I became Naui certified scuba diver, even though I never found a wetsuit to fit me while I was taking the course. That didn’t stop me because I was dealing with what was, what my body could do. Not some cookie cutter image that left me paralyzed for years and kept me from living my dreams.
I have tried running again on and off, went trekking in the highlands of Ethiopia (pictured above), done yoga by myself on the beach. I completed two Tri-for-the-Cure sprint triathlons with my son watching me cross the finish line both times.
All of this was while I was a size 16/18 US. Yep! You heard that right. I just starting doing all the things I kept saying I would do when I lost weight.
You know what the best thing is? My son has watched or joined me in doing these milestones. What better example can I show him than LIVING LIFE TO YOUR FULLEST right now?
Now this is not some before & after story. There are no “skinny" popular consumption pictures of me to gaze upon while I embarrassedly post my OLD FAT pictures to “internet shame-dom” for comparison. I am still a size 16/18 US and I am STILL living my life to the fullest. I feel NO shame in posting my pictures into the universe because they are just evidence of a life well lived.
Does that mean that my journey hasn’t helped my health? I wouldn’t say that. I healed my plantar fasciitis, my gut and pelvis issues are much less of a problem and I am more aware of what might be causing be any imbalances. My joints feel great. I have more mobility, even though I still have a hard time touching my toes after 3 years of regular yoga practice. I am exploring my body and hearing her messages. I cook more, organic garden, help organize a local organic CSA for delivery in my small compound. My circle of support and community I have intentionally cultivated is amazing. This is all because I started honoring my body just the way it was.
My life is full, rich and diverse. It’s certainly NEVER boring.
Geneen Roth in Women, Food & God mentions, "And although I've never me anyone -not one person- for whom warring with their bodies led to long lasting change, we continue to believe that with a little more self-disgust, we'll prevail."
That self-disgust is no longer serving you or me. Though it's not an easy process to renew my daily commitment to acceptance, it's so worth the effort. I have less pain, more fun, dance daily, and exude excitement. Most of all there is much more contentment and self-love within me compared to when I was waiting for my body to be “better”.
So I urge you! Begin your life today because ladies:
We are all a work in progress!
Explore that process to it’s fullest, notice it, cherish it and honor it.
My body and I are still dialoguing about what path is best in this moment for nutrition, movement, stillness and fun. It doesn’t stay the same, but I trust that as long as I am willing to hold space and listen to what she tells me, I will continue to reclaim territory I had seceded in self-hate.
I now look at the moon in wonder and note my own natural rhythms with awe instead of scorn. I embrace my ancestors, genetics, and history that delivered this body to the present, the way it stands before you. Scarred, curvy, energetic and interesting. I am so glad it’s not airbrushed because this existence feels SO alive. You can start living your dreams and feeling ON FIRE by embracing all that is you in your body NOW.
Start. Where. You. Are. Now.
So throw out those New Year’s Resolutions and come with me on a never-ending journey of self-love and discovery. Surround yourself with a community who will honor and support you. Join our community below because I have found that you can't do this alone.