Archives for the month of: July, 2014

When I was in high school, my dad imprinted me with something that I had no way of realizing the impact of at the time.

His words, something like ‘Bear (what he calls me to this day), you should try to be friends with the people who are different from you. They need friends as much as anyone else.’

Now if you will allow yourself a flashback to high school- sorry, I know that might not be how you wanted to start your day- but to make my point, I don’t think many of us remember trying to play the ‘make friends with everyone’ game. I would imagine many of you felt the way I did… its a dog-eat-dog world! I spent much of my high school career trying to socially keep up with forever changing popularity trends and gossip channels that made me feel like perhaps I was surviving, when really, I was drowning… just slowly enough that it didn’t feel like it… everyday. Especially as a young woman, I found it very challenging to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right outfit and the right people, so to speak. Nonetheless, I introduced myself to the ‘different girl’. We ate lunch together several times and went our separate ways. I like to believe that we knew each other well enough that she remembers me as well as I remember her.

Looking back now at the posse I ran with for most of my time in high school, we were the offbeat kids. We were just different enough that we didn’t fit in to the ‘popular club’, but seemed normal enough to avoid the ‘different kids’.

Now before this all gets any more cliche- the point.

Since high school, I’ve been open to making friends with whomever steps on to my path. Since college My Path has been largely guided by yoga teachers and meditation studies, spiritual wanderings etc. About six years ago I started an exploration of Buddhism. A teacher of mine suggested I try Tonglen and a Loving Compassion Meditation. Since then a large part of my meditation practice has been centered around compassion, understanding compassion and empathy, living compassion and empathy.

So the other day I drew a connection between what this meditation has shown me, and what my dad was trying to teach me so many years ago. He didn’t say ‘Bear, feel sorry for everyone and give them a friend.’ No, he said ‘everyone deserves a friend.’ In many fewer words he was trying to get me to see that everyone has a story, and we usually don’t know it, but that regardless of that story we are all deserving of connection. See people as yourself, treat people as you want to be treated. Be compassionate.

Now all of this has me thinking… is my Dad a reincarnation of the Buddha??? (He does have a round belly… love you Dad!)

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I have always been a modest girl… woman.

When I was younger my modesty or shyness made other people uncomfortable, so I was outcast and teased.

I can only ASS-ume that the being made fun of and made to feel different played a huge role in my body image and self confidence. For longer than I would like to admit I had a hard time ‘loving’ my body, like I’m pretty sure most of the women on the face of the Earth do. I tried different diets, I tried different types of exercise, I tried buying clothes from different places.

As I’ve grown older my appreciation for my body has DEFINITELY evolved. In fact, going through pregnancy and having a baby has played an enormous part in how I now feel about my body. But something recently, though I can’t quite pin point it, has left me in a state of such acceptance and yes… LOVE of my body. I feel happier, sexier and stronger than ever.

So today after I taught yoga I was rummaging through the clothing racks because I had my eye on a tank top I wanted to buy. Right there in the lobby I spontaneously took my yoga top off (WAIT!!! Before you go there- I still had a sports bra on) and tried the other tank top on.

Right there, in the middle of the yoga studio lobby! It was…

LIBERATING!

People saw my bare belly and my “imperfect” by societal norms body. I’m not sure what it was, but that moment of pause and insecurity simply did not exist.

Now all I can think about is if THAT is what women were searching for when they started burning their bras?

If I could bottle it and sell I would! But the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t take ANY woman 33 years to feel her absolute best. There has got to be something done about how we communicate to young women and how beautiful they are in all of their different shapes, sizes and abilities. Starting NOW.

 

When I was in high school I played volley ball. We had to run ‘the mile’ every week for conditioning, and I HATED it.

When I went away to college I crafted a passion for trail running out of the sheer necessity of needing something to do as a freshman… without a car… at a campus on top of a mountain.

Its been an off-and-on relationship dependent upon many different variables in my life. But recently I’ve been using my trail runs as a tool for my half marathon training.

On my run this AM these thoughts came to me…

1. Sometimes the best path is unstable. When there is a split in the trail, one side gravel, the other slick rock, there really is no stable choice. No matter which side you choose there IS instability. The real choice your making is how will this next step get me to where I want to go NOW. Its instinctual. You want to keep going, so in the moment, you don’t think, you GO. There’s no way around it. In fact, the instability of either choice will teach you a different lesson: how to grip the gravel and be light on your feet OR how to push off and catapult without slipping. Which brings me to my next thought…

2. Its slow getting to the push-off point, but the momentum is all worth it. Each extra bit of UMPH I can give myself, exertion, heavy breathing, bouncing off my feet, helps propel me to the next push-off point. The next push-off point is another obstacle. Its the space in between that we get to experience that momentum. Its the stillness of time before my foot lands on another rock, that’s what its all for.

3. Where the ‘rubber meets the road’ must be diligent… or you land on your face! Now let me be real… I’ve landed on my face. And its embarassing, but it sure checks me. Many times I’ve made mistakes, fought for approval, shape-shifted to be what someone else wanted. But after the splatter, if I really sit with ‘what just happened’? Its that I wasn’t paying attention to ME. My ego is what tripped my up. Ego is like that huge rock jutting out of the trail that you don’t see because your daydreaming, or caught in the glare of the sun. That rock isn’t going to go away. So just Be careful! You can push-off of it, or you can run over it. Be diligent.

4.You can’t only, ever run uphill. As much as I love a good uphill challenge, I’m almost convinced that the satisfaction of finding a downhill is what its all about. Downhill gives the chance to go with the flow and catch our breath. Some of life is meant to be enjoyed. Plain and simple. My very wise Granddad taught me that moderation is the key. If we are only, ever running UP hill we miss the flowers and the butterflies riding the trail with us. If we are only, ever intense and focused we miss the joy of sunshine on our skin, dust in our shoes and why we ever started running in the first place.