Thursday, July 31, 2014

Perfect Body

What is the perfect body?  Is there even such a thing?  I know that a lot of people, including myself, struggle with this notion and some pressure to attain that perfection.

The period of time when I was closest to what I thought was the perfect body I was VERY lean.  The trendy name for it at the moment is shredded.  I guess I was that.  I have never gotten more compliments, more gushing (seriously, people gushed) about my physique...ever.  BUT, inside I was wrecked.  I was just on the cusp of getting divorced and having the life I had built collapse around me.  I was scared and sad and trying to find my way.  I was putting on a brave face but I was muscling through each day.  I wasn't eating enough.  The stress made it nearly impossible to keep down a full meal.  And yet, what people saw was the very thing we all think we want to attain.

That was about 6 years ago.  I am now softer, fuller, heavier, happier, calmer, healthier, more confident, more joyful, more present in my own life, more sure of what I want, more willing to show the cracks in the armor, more patient with myself.  I wouldn't trade that for shredded.  Ever.

Who the fuck cares about perfect.

Authentic is much more FUN!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Slow down and listen

I have historically found it challenging making decisions and trusting what is the right thing for me.  It was far easier to let whomever I was with decide what we should do today.  I think I know what I want but then I doubt myself.  I over-think and over-analyze, in an attempt to make the best decision.  I have always lived a bit more in my head than I would like.  But in recent months I have been lucky enough (like how my perspective has changed from THIS) to be forced to slow down and listen to what I need, and then trust that voice.  Instead of thinking I am being a wuss, I now listen when my body tells me to rest.  When I am pretty sure that a guy isn't right for me, I move on and don't spend time with him just because he seems nice.  When I feel torn about doing a particular activity, I am getting better at pausing (THE PAUSE!) to figure out why it doesn't feel right, and then adjusting my plan or actions accordingly.  

When I take the time to get out of my head and out of my heart and listen to that little voice, I realize just how wise it is.  It serves me well when I am not afraid to stop and listen.  

And thank you to Elephant Literary Journal for the eloquent words above.

Monday, July 14, 2014

As I would wish it

I can't always take credit for the ideas behind my blog posts.  On a number of occasions they have come from comments made by friends about previous things I have written.  For example, after my post last week about What I miss the most, my longtime friend, Lisa, said "...hope the journey back to full strength is as you would wish it."  I think there was a time that I would have simply said thank you for the well wishes, but now I have more to thank Lisa for. 

As I would wish it.  Do I want the journey back to be as I would wish it to be?  Or am I ok with having the journey back be what it will be.  Let's face it, wishes can be a good thing...something to strive for, or they can be set up for disappointment.  I wish to have been that person married for 50 years (to the same person).  I wish I was naturally slightly slimmer.  I wish I could travel each year more than I do.  I wish my mother wasn't fading out of this world battling Alzheimer's disease.  

So what does it mean to wish for something?  Is it intention?  Is it putting our desires out into the universe so they become reality?  Is it goal setting?  Is it semantics?  I think wishes are good if they are things we can achieve.  Something to strive for.  But for me when I wish for something that requires control over a situation, I have started to think that a better route for me is to relinquish control and allow things to unfold as they should.  It is not as if that absolves me of the responsibility to work for the things I want.  I know I need to work hard to get my strength and fitness back.  But I think I will try to do it without a predetermined idea of what the result will be.  

Not sure.  I don't want my willingness to surrender to the process to somehow take away my ability to focus on a goal and get it done.  So am I really talking more about the process, or perhaps about my attitude while getting there.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

What I miss the most

It is interesting to me that when all this started I thought I knew what would be the hardest pieces for me.  Especially at the beginning, I was unhinged by the notion that I would no longer be slim and fit...and what that would mean to my self-worth, or my overall appeal.  This is one of those "everything happens for a reason" events because although I will always struggle with that a bit, I have had the fortunate opportunity to prove to myself that I am, in fact, the same person regardless of my size or the definition in my arms.

So what is it I truly miss the most?  My strength.  The ability to do things for myself without having to think twice.  Or the confidence that although my skill in a particular sport or activity may not be the best, my body would carry me through.  I would not get wobbly halfway in.  I could always manage to run a 5k...not always the most pretty or the swiftest, but I knew I could get it done.  I could embark on a crazy ocean paddle race and trust that I would be able to finish, even though I have not yet mastered surfing my 12'6" raceboard.  

But, as my sister has repeatedly reminded me, we are made from hearty stock.  And I also know that my body has muscle memory and will happily (hopefully) remember all the training I have done and I will regain the strength I once possessed...and maybe even a little more.  

So, as I set to the task of exercising again, and starting to lift weights and retrain, I like that I know my strength, and what it represents to me, is far more important than seeing my abs.  

But lucky for me, they sort of go hand in hand.  

Friday, July 4, 2014


Having friends that "get it" is an amazing gift.  After 4 1/2 months of no activity at all, I had 2 days in a row paddling with no adverse reactions!  To be on the water again is such a joy to me.  Being out there in the early(ish) morning with the birds and the ducks and no other sounds.  Glassy water with a slight ripple.  Hazy sunshine.  Paddling between the moored sailboats.  Pure bliss.  

And my friend...he got it.  He understood and wanted to share my excitement.  This was his text response when I filled him in on my day...


So cool.  

But even moreso was my answer to his next question.  

In his very wonderfully Rob way, he asked that despite what a frustrating process this head injury has been, do I feel like I have grown in other ways.

With very little need to think about it I was able to answer.  "Absolutely!  I am definitely slower (in a good way) and softer (in more ways than physical).  I think my empathy has grown.  And I think I am closer to creating the life that I want."

Kind of a huge deal that an event which knocked me so far off my center back in February was to be such an host of life lessons.  About strength, courage, vulnerability, patience, surrender, clarity, priorities.  

Day in and day out life marches on, with all its struggles and joys, challenges and victories.  But how easy is has been for me to keep moving and not notice them, and not pause to appreciate what I have and figure out what more I want.  This 18-week pause has gone from being a scary, unfortunate accident to a wonderful gift of slower pace and introspection.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Well....;-)