Workout of the Day | Legs and Shoulders Split

One of my favorite exercises this week came with my legs and shoulders split on Sunday. I finished my workout with some kneeling squats and internally-rotated bent front shoulder raises. This brought a fantastic burn. The rest of the split was also very good, with some curtsy squats, overhead press (not shown), goblet squats (not shown), clamshells, glute extensions, upright rows, and a tri-series of shoulder raises.

The workout lasted about 45 minutes.

Posting my workouts again feels good; it keeps me motivated and inspired. Enjoy!

November’s Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse 2021

The Beaver | Reed | Frost | Snow | Fog Full Moon of November is the first Full Moon following Samhaim and for this reason it is sometimes considered in Pagan practice as the marker of the new year. For those particularly in tune with the thinning of the veil, the November Full Moon carries special importance. This year the Full Moon couples with a partial (97%) lunar eclipse that is the longest (around 3.5 hours) in the last 500-1000 years.

The culmination of this cycle is, for me, about wholness, as every Full Moon is. However, the Beaver Moon conjures something unique. I am asked to seek a feeling of wholeness in the experiences and emotions of death, grief, loss, and “darkness.” Those aspects of myself that may appear “broken” or even “lunatic” request license to guide me now. I sit down into sensations of discomfort and fear — fear of being judged, fear of surrendering to the unknown. I resist the urge to change anything about that. I allow myself to find strength in this space where my companions are those antagonists that I would usually try to change or heal.

And so, here we meet in a bit of a different situation than is usual for us at a Full Moon. Rather than setting an intention for new beginnings, healing, and change, we stare each other down and decide to not change a thing. We decide that this time there is no new beginning; there is only what has always been: our deepest, darkest adversary. The shadow self steps into the circle. We do not blush or ask it to leave or rage against it or turn our face away from it. We open up our arms and embrace her. That is all that we can do during this time of foreboding cosmic alignment: during a session in which the cosmos sings “this is the dark night of the soul.”

Sure, there is darkness here. There is struggle, opposition. And yet, in these things Kali Ma or Hecate can impart that this, too, is part of the cycle of life/death and all that exists in between. We notice, perhaps, that the dark goddesses are goddesses of creation and destruction because they traverse a path avoided by many. They sit down at a crossroads and though that space is dangerous, it allows them to see in all directions.

I am with you in this celebration of darkness because it, too, is a tool for ascension. I am with you in this turbulence of the soul. Together we look at what we usually try to avoid. We are scared but we are brave. In fact, bravery is not possible without fear.

Control Causes Suffering

There is much going on in the country currently to present a facade of control. Sometimes control is a good quality in our human experience; however, much of the time control is only a fantasy that brings more harm.

While wanting control is natural, it also causes much suffering in our lives as we feel how little can actually be controlled. Rather than continuously reaching for a feeling of wellbeing through what we can control, I invite viewers in this video to experiment with surrendering control. A meditation is included.

Workout of the Week | Alternating DB Chest Press

Adding this alternating dynamic into a classic dumbbell chest press kicked up this exercise quite a bit. You have to do more stabilizing in the core. You will also feel the flexion in each arm a bit more because you have to deal with balancing the motion.

Tips

  • Check your elbows and do not dip them below your shoulder height or the top of the bench (if you’re using a bench)
  • You can do this exercise lying on the floor — that assures that your elbows do not dip down too low!
  • Go heavy! Make sure that your weight amount is appropriate for your actual strength. After a set, you should feel the burn

Recipe | SheetPan Tomatoes

We have had so many tomatoes in our garden this year. I made this Sheetpan Tomatoes dish for dinner and the family loved it! It was super easy and very tasty.

Ingredients

3-4 large tomatoes
12-15 cherry tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 large white onion
1 head of garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Fresh herbs from the garden

Process

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Cut tomatoes into wedges (for larger tomatoes) or slice in half (for cherry tomatoes)
  • Cut pepper into thin strips (about 1/2″ wide)
  • Slice onion into wedges
  • Pull cloves from garlic head
  • Dredge all in olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, and herbs on a baking sheet
  • Roast in oven until tomatoes are juicy and a little carmelized, about 25-35 minutes

Free Class @Meta: Brainiac Step | Monday September 13 | 5pm EST

At Meta I offer one free fitness or yoga class per month, available streaming live. Free access to fitness and wellness classes encourages stronger community and also helps members of that community to feel braver in their bodies. That’s what Meta/Physical Studio is all about!

Join me on September 13, 2021 for 45 minutes of Brainiac Step: a high-energy choreographed aerobics class with inspiring music and memorable moves. The class is beginner-friendly — so feel free to come as you are! — and also good for experienced steppers.

What can I expect in the class?

Step aerobics is a group exercise class that utilizes an elevated platorm (a “step”). The movements mimic walking up and down stairs but with a dance-inspired twist for a high-intensity cardio workout. In Brainiac Step I build choreography with “blocking” so that each class has usually 4 blocks. I teach each block slowly and with clear instruction. The “grand finale” of class is putting the blocks together as a routine.

What do I need to take the class?

A step is recommended, although you can do the class without a step. Some participants use a yoga mat to indicate the area to “step” on and others just use the floor. All movements can be done on the floor. Also, feel free to use one or two risers under your step if you want an extra challenge.

You will also need:

  • a device to access the class (a PC, Mac, phone, tablet, etc.)
  • access to Zoom (it’s free)
  • a webcam so I can see you!
  • speakers that pair with the device you’ll use to take class
  • access to Moxie so you can sign up (it’s easy! just click on the class you want)

What does the choreography look like?

This particular session will be choreography for “Ground Control,” a Level 1 routine. Here is the “grand finale.”

But don’t get overwhelmed! You CAN learn step! Here is a break-down of the some of the moves that make up the blocks:

Three-Knee Repeater
Turn Step

Looking forward to seeing you on Zoom LIVE for this fun class!

Tarot Tuesday: The Divine Masculine

For this Tarot Tuesday I used an the Sacred Geometry Activations Oracle deck, so it’s more like an “Oracle Tuesday.” The Divine Maculine card signals the focused start of an endeavor with consistent follow-through from start to finish. It also denotes protection, security, and structure. This card is tied to the material world, so focus your energies on what is happening in this plane of existence for you.

Helpers to internalize the meaning and value of this card include: bergamot and sandalwood essential oils, and tiger’s eye crystal.

For the full reading, check out my video on YouTube!

May you engage the energies of the divine masculine in your journeys throughout the week, and may they assist you in reaching your goals.

Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again, my friends.

Workout of the Day | Incline Push Ups with Side Plank

I love doing push ups on the incline, like using a step. I feel like I can go deeper into the chest and also sustain my movements more slowly. The incline makes the exercise a little bit more accessible for those who often go onto their knees for a push up. It also targets the chest differently, slightly. Adding the side plank at the top of the movement allowed for deeper engagement of the core.

Tips

  • Keep the elbows pointed towards the back/side of the room at about a 45 degree angle rather than straight out at the shoulder. This protects the elbow and shoulder and also targets the chest better.
  • Leverage your upper body weight toward the front of the motion rather than the back so that your weight is distributed over the work of the exercise.
  • Knit the shoulder blades together.
  • Keep a straight line from the crown of the head to the ankles.
  • Don’t overextend on the plank when you open your arm to the ceiling (like I did in the first execution).

Workout of the Day | Back Lunge Sequence

Lunges are wonderful when they’re done with good form! Anyone who has done a lunge with poor form knows the pain that can burst through the knee joint.

Today’s WOD is a lunge sequence using only body weight. It’s great to balancing and so the core is engaged, as well. The exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles, of course.

Move with grace

Step back into a lunge. Be sure that your front knee aligns with your front toes and does not reach beyond your toes. Aim to keep your knee back, tracking with your ankle.

Propel forward toward Warrior III posture, maintaining balance.

Drive your back knee up and forward.

Step back and gently place the leg into position for a back lunge.

Recipe | Orange Soy Tuna Loin with Garden Herbs

I love to share recipes of my meals when the whole family loves what I made. This tuna loin dinner was adored by my husband and daughter, and it was super easy to make.

I got inspired to make this dish after harvesting the early September crops from our garden. The herbs were in full force, so I thought about what to make.

The basil I picked in handfuls, as well as the chives. There was plenty of thyme, oregano, lemon parsley, sage, and rosemary. I used them all in the marinade for these delicious tuna steaks.

Ingredients

Two tuna loins, patted dry
Sea salt
Ground pepper

2-3 TB Olive oil
2-3 TB Bragg’s amino acids (or soy sauce)
Juice from one orange (I used Cara Cara)
1-2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Chopped fresh herbs (put them all in!)

Process

  1. Pat the loins dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix marinade with the rest of the ingredients and let the loins sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour (or just until dinner time!). Flip the loins over at intervals to be sure that every inch sops up that goodness!
  3. Heat a cast iron pan to high. Coat with a little olive oil. Sear the loins on each side to desired done-ness. We like ours raw in the middle, so I seared about 2-3 minutes on each side. I also got the sides by rolling the loins on the pan with my tongs.
  4. I gave a squeeze of orange at the end.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we always do!


Workout of the Day | Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends

This morning’s Core Commitment class went well! It was my first virtual fitness class since I was sick yesterday for the grand opening — I know, right?!

There were a few tech problems during the class, which were frustrating. But after that was fixed, the class was smooth. I can still feel the burn in my abs and thighs and glutes as I type this post!

Standing Focus on the core

Today’s WOD is a Goddess Squat with DB Goalpost Side Bends. This standing core exercise primarily targets the transverse abdominus and the internal and external obliques. You need to engage your pelvic floor as well. The quadriceps and glutes and shoulders get a little pick-me-up with this exercise as they stabilize your body in the correct position.

Do the Exercise
  • Get deep into a wide-legged goddess squat. Be sure that your knees and toes face the same direction. Hold this posture throughout the exercise!
  • Lift arms into a “goalpost” position with elbows bent and palms facing forward. Try to keep elbows raised to shoulder height!
  • Keeping your hips still, bend to one side aiming one bent elbow toward the hip bone. Use the core muscles to stabilize the upper body.
  • For added intensity, reach the top arm overhead as you bend.

Enjoy the burn, my friends!

Grand Opening Tomorrow!

I am so excited for the grand opening of the virtual studio tomorrow, September 1! Classes kick off with 45 minutes of Pump & Grind at 9am EST (sign up here!).

To welcome clients and participants to the studio, I made a little video saying hi!

HI!

Meta/Physical is a wellness studio offering fitness and yoga classes, ritual, personal training (starting February 2022), and reiki, massage, and nutrition (coming when the brick-and-mortar studio opens). We are body-positive and supportive in all wellness journeys. Our goal is to aid clients and participants in being braver in their bodies.

Workout of the Day | Core with Weighted Medicine Ball

My 12lb medicine ball has been one of my favorite purhchases for the home gym. It is so versatile! Today I used it for a thorough core workout that also targeted glutes, quadiceps, and triceps. Here are four exercises from the session.

Triceps push-up on medicine ball

Be sure to squeeze your elbows in toward your ribcage to full flexion and also back up to extension. Balancing on the ball made this super sweet!

Kneeling Lean-Back with twist

Adding the twist and the weight made this simple move fiery! Keep the chin slightly tucked and engage those abs!

Plank Roll Out

The dynamic movement of this exercise targets the entire abdominal region. Pull slowly all the way to back to kneeling and then roll out again.

Mountain climbers on medicine ball

Drive the knees forward (and also, perhaps, laterally toward the elbow) and keep a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Don’t let your butt creep up.

Which exercise did you like best?

Lunchbox Chia Puddings: Chocolate, Banana, or Strawberry (Vegan | Gluten-Free)

I am always looking for ways to fill my daughter’s lunchbox with items that are delicious but also healthy — oh, and quick and easy. These simple puddings have few ingredients and set up overnight.  You can make them in small lidded containers and just pop one in the lunchbox before your kids are off to school.

Ingredients:

1 cup Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (or plant-based milk of choice)
4-5 tablespoons chia seeds (4 if you like a soft pudding, 5 if firmer)
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (2 tsp if you didn’t use the vanilla brand above)

For Chocolate:
2 tablespoon cocoa powder (or carob powder)

For Banana:
1 small banana

For Strawberry:
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (or any berry)

Strawberry
Chocolate
Banana

Process:

Combine ingredients in a blender and mix for 30 seconds.
Let sit for 5 minutes, and then blend again for 30 seconds.
Pour into small containers, cover, and refrigerate up to 5 days.

Tarot Tuesday: Communication

The card that I pulled from Caryn Sangster’s Chakra Insight Oracle deck this morning was not immediately in line with what I asked to recieve. I requested from the universe to pull a card that would guide me through the week. I expected something (I don’t know what) that was not the communication card. But the more that I explored what the card brought up in me through meditation and journaling, the more that I understood that this card may be exactly what I require as I move through the week.

Does this card resonnate with you this week?

Today’s Tarot Card

The look of this card did not immediately align with my feelings today. Generally, I feel that I’ve been very good with my communication.

But then I considered, “what do I really want to say?” and suddenly there was much more to unpack. Being fluid and honest with expression to others is something that probably every human could improve upon since we tend to be so afraid of judgment.

This card is about expressing yourself authentically through verbal and bodily communication, but also about listening and showing up authentically in order to connect with others. It is also about being truthful in your communication with yourself.

I chose the aquamarine crystal to pair with the card because aquamarine brings courage through its calming energy. It aids in calming the mind and body so that we can get really quiet inside to know what we think and feel.

I also meditated on the water element because that, for me, is a freeing of emotional energy, which I think is necessary for the kind of communication opened with this card.

Which aspect of communication feels stuck for you right now? How can you move into a more open and honest space with your words? Is there anything that you are hiding from yourself?

Workout of the Day | Step Aerobics

Today I did a high-energy cardio workout! Step aerobics is light and fun, and I did my own routine to some excellent music. It lifted my spirits and got me primed for a great day.

I used sections of my routine to make quick how-to videos for my Step 101 YouTube Series, which I created today, I’m excited to say!

Today I did my routine “Ground Control,” which was a lot of fun. Here are some of the additions to my series:

It’s a lot, right!? The workout was stellar and the videos came out OK, too!

Workout of the Day | Biceps & Triceps

In this sweltering heat, I had to get in some movement early in the day. Rolling out of bed, I grabbed some equipment and hit my fitness space as soon as I could once my mom duties were in place and my child was into a morning project.

Biceps and triceps today! Here are just a couple of the exercises that I did:

Single-arm biceps curl with resistance band attached to kettlebell

2 sets of 20 on each side

I wrapped a resistance band around a 15lb kettelbell and did some traditional biceps curls, just doing one side at a time.

overhead Kettlebell Triceps extension

3 sets of 15

Using said kettlebell, I sat down for some overhead triceps extensions. Remember to keep your elbows in!

Concentration curl

2 sets of 20 on each side

This variation on the preacher curl was convenient! Sitting, legs wide, I took my elbow to the inside knee and used that as leverage.

Prone Triceps press and extension

3 sets of 15

I took my extension in a straight-arm variation here, and I took it sloooow!

Hammer Curl with side Variation

Here is your usual hammer-style biceps curl but I added in little joint rotation with a side curl variation.

Workout of the Day | Core on the Floor

I hit the floor today for some core exercises and while not all of my work is featured here, it was a luscious 30-minute burn!

Glute Kick-backs with resistance band

I kept my spine neutral as I performed some bent-leg glute kickbacks, engaging my core and flexing my feet.

Straight-Leg Glute lift and fire hydrant raise with resistance band

Using the resistance band on the fire hydrant raise was exceptionally wonderful, targetting my oblique muscles. Moving slowly through the motion brought some extra burn!

Cross-Body bar lift sit-up

The 20lb bodybar added a challenging dynamic as I sat all the way up and pushed the bar across my body.

Bridge with pilates ring thigh squeeze

My entire carriage was electric as I pressed up into bridge and squeezed the pilates ring.

Double Leg drop with reach-through

Squeezing the pilates ring while doing the double leg drop for the lower abdominals was a fantastic sensation, but the reach through the ring was what really drove this exercise home!

Side-lying double leg lift with knees to chest

I used the pilates ring for extra resistance as I squeezed it while lifting my legs in a side lying position and then driving my knees toward my chest.

Double leg drop with pilates ring squeeze

Adding those squeezes in the extended position of the leg drop was dynamic and tough!

Workout of the Day | Chest & Back

Chest and back workout in the books today as I continue my fitness journey from #mombody to #fitmom! I love lifting weights, and these sessions are so pleasurable for me. Take a peek at my routine today (some pics are missing, such as chest press with barbell and a few others).

Kettlebell romanian deadlift with single-side row

3 sets of 15

I did some asymmetrical strength work today, starting with this one. Rather than doing a single leg, which I did later, I just concentrated on the one-sided upper body workout. The row was not wide or narrow, but somewhere in between, targetting the lats and upper and middle back. Got some hamstrings, too, with the deadlift.

Single-Side Kettlebell Chest Press with Single knee lift

2 sets of 15 on each side

Keeping with the asymmetrical work I took the 15 lb kettlebell in one hand and did my chest press with a crunch from the lower abdominals. This compound exercise was dramatic. I loved it!

starbird with single-side kettlebell row

2 sets of 15 on each side

Speaking of compound movements, I followed up with a single-side row with the kettlebell tight to my ribcage while I lifted the opposite leg in a leg lift: good for glutes and lats!

Weigted Ball toss

3 sets of 50

I did not know that this exercise was going to be the toughest — that may be because I did 3 sets of 50!!!!! I know, right?! My chest was on fire…and my shoulders, too. It was a total win.

upright weighted bicycle with ball

3 sets of 20 between lifting sets

So, I snuck in a couple abdominal workouts while I gave my chest and back a rest. Here is an upright bicycle exercise I did with the weighted ball.

Pilates ring chest press and twist

2 sets of 10

I did these really slow and I wasn’t able to do a third set because the time under pressure in my chest was just absurd. Squeezing that ring while extending my arms turned out to be very challenging! It was fantastic.

3 Direction bent over raises

I loved the burn that this exercise brought! I moved very slowly as I lifted a 5lb dumbbell parallel with my head meridian, brought it back to center, lifted out in a traditional bent over raise, and then brought it back, and then extended toward the back of the room. My back was burning up.

standing starbird single-side row and lift

To round out my back work and improve my balance I finished with this move that really made me use a firm drishti. Success!

Tarot Tuesday: White Tara

I like to pull a card at the beginning of my week, which is usually Tuesdays due to my schedule. The first day of the week is a great time to take inventory of what’s going on inside. Tarot, I find, can ground me and give me focus for the rest of the week.

Today’s Tarot Card

Today’s pull comes from Doreen Virtue’s excellent deck the Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards. I love this deck because it does its own kind of storytelling; and I love stories. My White Tara card had me pulling out my White Tara statue and place it on my daily altar. I also rubbed some frankincense essential oil on my palms and breathed it in while meditating, with black tourmaline close by.

White Tara and me

My reflections about the card were that I have done much work in breaking down my walls. This has lead to increased potential for sensitivity and vulnerability. These are not negative aspects but rather opportunities to explore heightened psychic and spiritual awareness and to check those boundaries!

The frankincense and black tourmaline each do a good job of invigorating the sense of self-protection but not enough to throw back up those walls.

Reflection included appreciation for my journey. Though I may not yet have achieved a peaceful life entirely, I am more open to riding the waves than ever. I have increased my compassion and have been able to be more understanding by letting down my guard.

What is the situation of your walls as you dive into the week?

Let me know in the comments!

I hope that you have a blessed week. White Tara is here as your guide.

Perfect Lunchbox “Cheese” Crackers (Vegan | Grain Free | Gluten Free)

My daughter loves cheese crackers. This recipe is super simple and it’s incredibly fool-proof.  The crackers are “cheesy”-tasting and just crunchy enough. They stick together well and travel in a lunchbox nicely.

Ingredients

A flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons water, left to sit for 5 minutes)
1 3/4 cup superfine almond flour
4-5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon date syrup (or maple syrup) — optional

Process:

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat, lay down baking paper, or cover with oil
Set oven for 200 degrees

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix with hands, forming into a crumby ball.

Place ball on sheet and cover with parchment or wax paper.

With a rolling pin or evenly-shaped cup, roll the ball out from the middle toward the edges of the sheet, until the mixture is equally flat.

Carefully remove the paper.

With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the desired shape into the cracker mixture.  Add fork holes in the center if you’d like.  Sprinkle extra salt, if desired.

Bake in the oven for a little more than 2 hours.

Crackers will be easily lifted from the sheet with your fingers when they are ready.

Store in an air-tight glass container in a dry place.

Summer Energetic Cleanse, Part I

I’ve done cleanses throughout my life for various reasons. This cleanse, coming in at the end of summer, is to clean up my energy by cleaning up my diet and allowing my energetic and physical bodies to process all the doubt I’ve been feeling.

Doubt!? What Doubt?


Embarking on a new project is daunting sometimes. As I settle into the idea of starting my own business, doubt creeps in occasionally. Doubts like:

Am I fit enough to start a fitness business?

Do I have the prowess to guide others?

Can I manage everything on my plate?

Will I be a positive role model?

On some days, the list could go on, my friends.

When I feel that doubt creep up, I try to look it in the eyes. Some of this doubt is warranted. For example, I will open my business in sync with the beginning of a new journey toward wellness. That means that I showcase myself in less-than-perfect form. I show my body at the start of a process. It looks like mom bod. Some people will expect me to look like a model.

For a recovering perfectionist, that’s a big deal!

But I take my time with myself.

Taking Time with Yourself

Ok, that isn’t always easy. For a type-A personality, taking time with anything — especially the self — can be a hurdle. It has been for me.

The truth is that when you show compassion for your process — the process that you really NEED — then getting the results that you want can take time. True, sometimes change is instant. I love THAT kind!

Oftentimes the kind of change that we can wear only comes after a long engagement to ourselves.

Today, in day three of my cleanse, some ugly feelings came up. Let me tell you about it.

Today’s Ugliness

Revealing my ugliness to others has taken me some practice but I think that sharing these glimpses of imperfection have helped me to grow in the way I desire. So, I share this.

This morning I did my daily workout. I loved it. I focused on shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed my workout. I recorded myself doing the exercises with the intention of posting the videos on Instagram. I really LOVE this because I feel like I am reaching out for community and also offering inspiration. It fills me.

I weighed myself when I was done.

As someone with a history of disordered eating and body image who has (successfully!) battled various disorders, the scale is a mixed experience for me.

Usually I will do some affirmations or a chant I created to invoke a feeling of balance within before I step on the scale. But since I was doing the cleanse for two days already, I figured that I would like what I saw.

I didn’t like it.

The scale had climbed up on me.

It affected me hard because I had been focused on clean consumption and, even though I know better, I expected change immediately.

Self-digust and self-hate crept in. Now, this is a bugger that I know well and through the years I have developed tools to deal with her.

But I started hating on myself: squeezing my belly fat, puncing myself in the stomach, speaking mean words to myself, and having hateful thoughts toward my body, including harmful acts. I haven’t had such intense negative feelings about myself in years.

I let myself feel my feelings for a short time because in my experience, that is a necessary action so that I don’t “numb out.” Then, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that I have some tools at hand and that I can choose to use them if I wish.

Well, I did NOT wish.

So, I continued in a hateful spirit, knowing that I was making a conscious choice to do so.

After a few minutes, I reached a place at which I could use my tools. I put on more comfortable clothing first, because the clothing I was wearing made me feel fat. Rather than sit in it and feel bad for myself, I changed.

Then I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror and I repeated, “I want to take care of myself. Change takes time. I want to change.”

That brought on some tears because I knew that it was true. Very true. I also knew that it was hard sometimes. Very hard. So I felt that. Slowly, a space of compassion opened up.

My husband wanted me to talk about my feelings with him but I wasn’t ready. He sat with me in silence, just holding space for me. After a time, I was ready to talk about how I had felt.

There was a memory I had and I was surprised that it came to the surface. I was in 8th grade and my mom was taking pictures of me and my sophomore boyfriend before going to a semiformal. She said to me something like “suck in your gut, it makes you look fat.”

Huh? I was like, 115 lbs wet.

Wake up moment: I realized that this was the moment that I developed an disordred relationship with my body. My mom, who was obese at the time, body shamed me in front of my older, handsome boyfriend. I thought to myself at the time, “omg, if my mom, who is overweight, is calling me out like this, what do I really look like? What am I not seeing?”

And so.

No one, not my mom or anyone else, is responsible for how I feel about my body. I take complete responsibility — radical responsibility — for how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, what I do, etc.

BUT. For the first time in my long struggle, I think I pin-pointed the start of this problem in my life. It was not my mother’s comment, really, but more my willingness to open to the reality of that comment and accept it as my own.

THAT was a moment that I gave away my power.

It felt good to reveal this openly, just like it feels good to write about it now.

Our paths toward wellness may have a lot of speedbumps. But at the end of the day, I KNOW without a doubt that I make progress every single day. Sometimes that looks really ugly. I might feel like I am failing or flailing…but this is all part of that process. I am not going to postpone my dreams or my joy because I have ugliness.

I am going to reach a place at which even my ugly is beauty.

I am in transit.

Day 3 of a cleanse, apparently, is a time to clean house.

The Year of Radical Self Care

Most people, I think, require deep rest. If you are part of this capitalist society then you may be aware that rest is not an easily-procured thing. Oftentimes rest is considered weakness. This is true for both men and women but in some different ways.

I, like most moms with a career, have not had opportunities for rest and have had to carve time out for self-care. Once that puzzle was figured out (and it takes some trial and error), a more complicated problem emerges: how to allow that care to emerge, how to accept it.

Found a few minutes in the day to spend on caring for your needs? Figured out what to do to take care of yourself? Now the problem — how do you accept that care?

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Here’s my confession: as soon as I sent out my resignation letters, I began what has turned into a month of frantic searching for another job. My mind cannot stop probing into what I am going to do.

Now, my husband is on board and vowed to support me financially for the next year as I supported him financially during the first two years of our relationship. He wants me to take this time, as he did, to explore and find enjoyment in my career again.

I have many questions: what are my passions now? What brings me a sense of vitality and grounding? Where is my heart? What does self-care look like in my 40s?

Anyone would be lucky to have this opportunity.

I am also taking this year of radical self-care to prepare for adoption from foster care, a process into which we are about one year.

Sounds great, right? How wonderful to have alotted this time and space for such magickal work!

But I am struggling to allow myself this space! I have an interview lined up next week and I only JUST posted grades for my last class three days ago. The panic is REALLY REAL for me, yet I am not completley sure what I am panicked about. It’s a nameless dread…always.