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A Cataclysmic Transition

Earthquake-Cracked-Road

I taught my first public yoga class (for adults) on Sunday and had a blast. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect for turnout and was both thrilled and terrified to find myself facing a full room at the start of class. Thankfully half of them were familiar faces. Seeing their smiles and knowing they were rooting for me helped dim my nerves.

The theme of the class was “playing with balance”. I tried to keep things light and encourage experimentation, to give people permission to fall down and make mistakes, to try something new. Of course everything we practice in yoga asana, the physical postures, can be applied to our lives off our mats. And I wouldn’t be an authentic teacher if I weren’t asking myself how this applies to my own life.

The truth is a transition is taking place. The ground is shifting beneath my feet. Tectonic plates sliding against one another, cracks snaking their way along the pavement, bits of rock, gravel and dust rising from the trail like popcorn in hot oil.

I felt a handful of minor earthquakes during the ten years I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. They were all small enough that they were over by the time I found myself answering, “Yes,” to the question of, “Is this an earthquake?’ The most notable evidence was invariably the shelves, thoughtfully bolted to the walls, shaking side-to-side, never deviating more than an inch from the centerline. Maybe a book fell over once. They were certainly never strong enough to pick up something as big as a person.

Yet, here I am, sitting with the great, big question, “Where will I land?”

My mom is dying. She has, arguably, been dying for the last year and a half. Or, for that matter, since the day she was born. I guess the difference is she is no longer trying to stop it.

When I started this business I told myself I would give it one year. I would commit to blogging weekly and make every effort to attract business for one year. Then I would reassess. Part of me feels like a failure for what comes next. It’s only been 8 months since I opened up shop. I feel flaky and childish, like it was irresponsible to start a business without one clear and simple direction.

But I am trying to listen to my own damn advice. Cues I gave during Sunday’s yoga class, without even fully hearing them myself.

Can we go any deeper?

Can we push ourselves further?

Maybe today we try something new.

We invite that sense of play and experimentation.

And if we fall down, we remind ourselves that it’s okay.

We take a breath and get right back to it.

My path forward is very clear to me. (For now, anyway.) It took some time for the knowing to become conscious and then to get out of my one year contract. And even more time still to say it out loud to myself, to my husband and now to you.

To be clear – I am keeping this business open. I will continue to jump at the opportunity to take on a new run client. I will continue to make Yoga Inspired Jewelry because it’s fun and sell it because why not? If a job teaching yoga falls in my lap I will swiftly and happily snatch it up.

But, for the time being, I’m not going to put effort into marketing myself or this business. I will still blog occasionally, but not every week. From your perspective not much else will change here. What you might not notice is the weight knocked off my shoulders, a (perhaps fortunate) causality of this cataclysmic transition. I’m letting go of the pressure and expectations. I’m giving myself permission to experiment, to try something new and to fall down. Profits will be what they are… or not.

I’m doing this to create space for more important things. Like caring for and spending time with my mom. And one more thing.

I’m going to write a book. I’m not going to wait.

Photo Credit: Cracked highway near Long Beach, 1933 by CIR Online is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped

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This Should Totally Work: Pizza, Diet, Cake

Produce-Pizza-Diet

I thought about going on a diet at the grocery store this morning, which is quite a feat because usually I think about how I want to buy all the donuts. I suppose this is something I am always quietly considering underneath all the other thoughts. Sometimes less quietly.

I’ve never been an especially “healthy” eater, but lately my habits have really taken a turn for the bad for me. And by lately I mean about 3 years ago when I got pregnant with Baby Girl and decided Five Guys burgers and fries should become a food group. So it’s her fault really. Hers and Dairy Queen’s for not having a store in California and then having one too close to our house in Colorado.

It’s been a long time since I weighed myself, mostly because I don’t want to know what the number is. Not that the number even matters. I can feel the blizzards weighing me down, lingering uncomfortably in my gut.

But I hate the word “diet”. I don’t want anything to do with that word. I don’t want to start weighing myself. I don’t want to count calories or points or drink shakes. Well, I mean, of course I want to drink shakes. I want to drink the ice cream kind that taste really good and generally don’t belong in a “diet”.

I do want my pants to fit comfortably. I want to run a little faster, or at least feel like there’s less to haul up a hill. I want to poop regular poops regularly. I want to not get diabetes. I want to live until 120+. And I want to feel super hot… basically all of the time. These are reasonable expectations, yes?

I found myself commenting on how strong my inner thighs are during Yoga Teacher Training this past weekend. Later in the day the topic of a woman’s relationship with her thighs came up. I thought to myself, “I just called mine strong.” And then I gave myself a big old pat on the back.

This morning I took Baby Girl to a dance class for toddlers. There were mirrors on two of four walls so I could check myself out easily. That’s what they were there for. I found myself comparing myself to the other moms there. “My thighs are smaller than hers. Phew. Oh, but they’re bigger than hers… and hers… and hers. Uh oh.” And then I thought, “This is not a healthy way of thinking.”

Complicated relationships aside, I could definitely benefit from cleaning up my diet. So I’m going to start washing all my produce, even the avocados and the bananas. That’s not true. But I am going to eat more avocados and bananas. More vegetables and less sugar. I’m going to start immediately. Just as soon as the leftover pizza is gone.

…and the birthday cake arriving Friday.

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Say Goodbye to All Your Labels With These Two Words

So-Hum-Yoga-Inspired-Jewelry

It’s been a rough week. Everyone was sick. And in the middle of all the snot and phlegm and co-pays and Tylenol I was busy getting ready to open up my online Yoga Inspired Jewelry shop. It was crazy and hectic and extra hard, but now it’s done. The shop is open! There are malas sitting there right now. For sale.

I also have a few shop opening specials going on:

  1. The first 3 people to make a purchase will save 15% off one item (excludes custom malas) with coupon code FIRST3.
  2. All custom malas are 20% off until the end of May 2017.
  3. You can save an additional 10% off by subscribing to the blog. 

Or if you’d rather donate your savings to a good cause I am helping a friend fundraise for the Denver Strides for Epilepsy. Just enter the coupon code FORMAILI and I’ll set aside 30% for her fundraising.

If you’re sort of interested in malas but you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to do with one, start by watching the video in this post. Or observe my own mental chatter as I meditate with the mantra So Hum.

So Hum.

I am still sick.
I am sick of everyone else being sick.
I am tired. Physically.
I am tired of everything feeling so hard.
I am not sure why I didn’t just delay opening the shop.
I am also kind of wildly impressed that I somehow got it all done.
I am not surprised though, because I know myself.
I am determined.
I am, or at least can be, a perfectionist.
I am… a little intense.
I am passionate.
I am a lover. Of many things.
I am a writer.
I am a musician.
I am an artist.
I am a runner.
I am a yogi.
I am a math geek.
I am analytical and discerning, yet open minded.
I am a high maintenance, yet understanding and accepting wife.
I am, despite being a perfectionist, an imperfect mother.
I am a loyal and supportive friend.
I am an obnoxious, yet unconditionally devoted daughter.
I am a woman.
I am only human.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am part of the connection. Through words, through relationships, through being.
I am the miracle of life.
I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am that.

So Hum.

So Hum is a beautifully simple mantra meditation that you can practice with or without a mala. It’s a reflection on our connection to all existence. I like to sing this mantra out loud. But it’s also a lovely mantra to repeat silently in your head. Listen to the sound, “So,” with each inhale and the sound, “Hum,” with each exhale. With each repetition practice letting go of all the labels you’ve assigned to yourself.

I am an anxious person.
I am afraid of failure.
I am desperate for validation.
I am too easily angered.
I am not agreeable enough.
I am not pretty enough.

So Hum.

I am smart.
I am brave.
I am perceptive.
I am empathetic.
I am creative.
I am beautiful.

So Hum.

I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am that.

So Hum.

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Big Things Are Happening

Garnet-Hematite-Mala

Big things are happening around here these days. Let me share.

My husband cleaned the ENTIRE HOUSE this weekend. Isn’t he the best? I don’t even remember how he forgot to pack my wedding dress.

Baby Girl is no longer staying up with me after Big Girl goes to bed at night! Instead, they both go to bed at the same time and Big Girl does the consoling. It’s a win all around. Big Girl feels super proud of herself for putting Baby Girl to bed, I get time to myself in the evening and Baby Girl gets to confront her fears! (I’m sure she feels really grateful for that opportunity.)

And she’s not the only one confronting her fears. After congratulating myself last week for pursuing my dream of becoming a yoga teacher, I asked myself what I’m afraid of NOW. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Losing my Mom
  2. That I’m a terrible parent
  3. Driving in the snow
  4. Having my blood pressure taken
  5. Talking, with my voice, about my business to real live people
  6. Sales tax laws

The way I figure it, there’s not much I can do about fears #1 and #2. Fears #3 and #4 aren’t going away, but I confront them as necessary. I don’t hide in my house or avoid the doctor.

Now as for fear #5. Anytime someone asks me what I do I say, “Mostly I’m at home with my girls.” You see what I did there? I used the word “mostly”. That means the same thing as “not entirely”. Clever people should pick up on that subtlety of language and ask about the rest of what I do, right? Not so, my friends. They pretty much just leave it at that. So from now on I’m going to answer with, “I’m a running coach and soon to be yoga teacher. Oh, and I also spend a lot of time watching my girls.” How about that?

Now that that’s handled, let’s move on to fear #6. A little while ago I developed a mala making habit. The gemstones are so pretty and the tediousness of the hand-knotting feels so very therapeutic. But it’s kind of an expensive habit and I really only need so many malas. After gifting several to friends it occurred to me that I could sell them.

So I spent many hours researching and trying to understand the Colorado sales tax laws as they pertain to online sales. So many hours, in fact, that a friend of mine complimented me on my dedication. I assured her it was actually a combination of perfectionism and paranoia driving my research.

This past Thursday I noticed a flyer at the YMCA asking for donations for a silent auction/fundraiser benefiting the kids’ programs. Donations were due on Saturday. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I dropped off a mala and made a commitment to myself that I will submit all the paperwork and open up shop online here before the auction at the end of April.

That’s right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. That's right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. Click To Tweet

If that’s not enough to convince you that big things are happening around here, let me just add – I also took a shower this week.

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Death and Meditation

Death-Meditation-Trail

I am recommitting to a regular meditation practice while we all process death.

I parked my car in the strip mall lot facing the home brew shop. It was an accident. I was going to yoga. I took a few deep breaths and willed the tears still in their ducts.

“Please don’t cry during yoga,” I pleaded with myself. It had been a rough day, week, month with Big Girl. Everything we read online said kids her age don’t understand the permanence of death. They think the deceased is alive and doing all the regular things somewhere else. Maybe they’ll even come back.

This was not the case with Big Girl. She got it. We didn’t even have to really explain it. When we told her Papa died she cried and said, “I”ll never get to see him again.” Every once in awhile she’ll stop me and say, “I’m so so sorry your Dad died.”

People tell me she’s so smart and often I politely disagree. She’s still learning to recognize all her letters and numbers. I’m not worried she’s behind but, at least academically, she seems pretty average. But then she goes and processes death like an adult.

Her Daddy travelled a lot for work last month, right after her Papa died, and now she’s having a lot of separation anxiety anytime he leaves. She wakes early in the morning panicked that her Daddy forgot to kiss her goodbye. I wonder if she’s afraid her Daddy won’t come back. That her Daddy will leave her like mine did.

My poor baby Big Girl. It’s like her little body can’t contain all these big, grown up emotions. She’s like a bright and brilliant star collapsing, under the pressure of gravity, into its core before exploding into a supernova. Except for she does this every day. Multiple times in a day. And it’s really hard. For her of course. And for me. Of course.

It was at the end of one of these days that I drove myself to a restorative yoga class, my thoughts consumed with Big Girl. I only noticed the home brew shop after bringing my awareness back into the present moment. Park the car. Turn the key. Pull it out. Notice the shop.

We all went there just a couple month ago. My husband, my Dad, the girls and I. My Dad started his career working for large breweries like Stroh and Coors before opening his own micro-breweries. For the last decade or so he worked as a consultant for micro-brewery startups. One of his last projects was teaching my husband to home brew. They were supposed to brew the weekend after he passed away. When I went through his email I saw the formulation my husband sent him for review 1 hour before he was rushed to the emergency room. Unread.

I went to yoga to get a break from Big Girl. I didn’t realize my Dad would be waiting there for me. So I took my breaths, tried to reign in the tears and walked into the studio. I managed to keep from crying for about 5 minutes, all the way up until the teacher asked how I was doing.

We chatted after class and she asked if I meditate.

“Sort of yes and sort of no,” I said. “I do, but not consistently.”

I’ve found it really helps during emotional times,” she said. Or something to that effect. My immediate, involuntary reaction was defensive.

“Meditation is not going to make it go away. You have no idea how big the emotional times are in my life. You have no idea what will help.” I thought these things not as words coming together into sentences, not as a voice in my head. But as a feeling filling up my physical body.

It wasn’t until reading the response to last week’s post that I fully processed her advice. She was trying to help, to share her experiences and the lessons she’s learned just as I am. The same lessons as it turns out.

Of course meditation isn’t going to make this go away. She knows that. The death of my father cannot be undone. My Mom will die too. My Big Girl is hard. And I will continue to feel all of it. Meditation creates space for these feelings. The feelings come up and we give them permission to exist, to flow freely through and out of our physical body. And somehow it really does help. I know this because I’ve been doing it for a long time.

So I plan to follow her good advice. I am recommitting to a regular meditation practice. It’s just going to look a little different than hers. Mine starts in a pair of running shoes.

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Suggestions Please for Growing This Business

Suggestions-Connect-the-Dots

How do you connect your body to your life? How can I help? I need your suggestions for blog post topics and product and service offerings.

I feel a bit scatterbrained this week. I’ve procrastinated writing this post as much as I possibly can. Mostly because I can’t decide what to write about.

I asked Big Girl for her advice this morning. She had about 500 suggestions, most of which I don’t remember. I do remember two options: ponies or the trash can turned robot. She was pretty excited about the prospect of a walking and talking waste bin.

My husband suggested I write about either Elmo or how awesome he is (after slamming him last week over the dress mishap). Turns out he’s about as good at brainstorming as he is at packing.

So I decided to ask Baby Girl for her input. She says I should write about, “Um…W”.

Sorry family. None of this works. I’m going to try another route.

If I ask myself what I truly want to do with myself, my career and my life it’s to help people. Not just physically, but emotionally too. I believe the two, the body and the mind/spirit are so very integrated. Exercising mindlessly does little to heal the physical body, and we cannot improve the quality of our lives while ignoring our physical bodies. So I want to help people. I mean, this is really it. This is the foundation. This is the core. My dreams are rooted in this. And I’m choosing the body as the vehicle because, at this point in my life, that’s what makes most sense to me. But it hasn’t always.

For most of my life I was taught to value intellect. I know all parents tell their kids to get good grades, but there was an extra emphasis on education in the household I grew up in. So I took the accelerated courses. I got the good grades. I did all the studying and earned a degree in engineering. I spent years working in a field built around data. Suppress your emotions, deny your gut instincts and base your decisions on numbers.

And all the while I found the most peace, the most contentment, the most clarity out on the trails, 2 hours worth of dirt etched into the tread of my running shoes. Lying on my stomach, my head turned to the side, my ear resting atop a beach towel soaked in my own sweat, the stink of my yoga mat somehow a comfort after 80 minutes of posturing in 105 degrees.

I still value my intellect. I still respect numbers and enjoy sinking my teeth into a good spreadsheet. But when it comes to my life I am learning to listen to my physical body. I’m making decisions with my heart, my gut and my intuition. My conscious mind is becoming aware of the lessons I have already learned with my physical body. I'm making decisions with my heart, my gut and my intuition. Click To Tweet

I was talking to a friend of mine this week about this business. I told her that there’s something here, but I also feel like it’s missing something. I haven’t quite figured out how to share what I’ve discovered in my own life. I don’t know how to translate these lessons into a product or service. I have lots ideas, of course. Lots and lots and lots of ideas and a foggy path forward.

I need help. Maybe you, dear reader, can do what my family and I cannot. Do you have any suggestions? What product or service would help you better connect to your physical body? What would improve the quality of your life?

My friend commented, “It’s like there are so many great dots. There just has to be a way to connect them all.” Perhaps I’ll find some overlap between your suggestions and the flood of ideas swimming around in my head. And we can create magic together.

Speaking of magic, check that shape with Nick Jonas. I dare you to look away from these cool moves and focus on something important and adult-ish. Like writing a blog post.

Photo Credit: connect the dots by Michelle Milla is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped

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My Perfect Weight is Not a Weight At All

Perfect-Weight-Venn-Diagram

I asked myself: how can I find my perfect weight?

I’ve been feeling rather “soft” lately. I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of that one time in August when I lost my balance wearing heels. I’ve been limited in the amount of both running and yoga I’ve been able to do. The fact that I seem to lack any amount of self-control when it comes to eating doesn’t help.

I tell you this at the risk of sounding like those friends who have complained to me of their singular pimples. I had ACNE as a teenager. I have scars. I will probably never feel comfortable getting a facial because the idea of anyone getting close to my pores makes my heart race faster than a 5K does.

So let me assure you. I know I’m not fat. But I’m also not in MY best shape. I have put on weight, and it bothers me.

Years ago I read an article about crime in Oakland. The mayor commented that he thought people had the wrong idea, that crime was really only up in “East and West Oakland.” I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t help but find it amusing. My husband and I still joke about the crime-free 2-dimensional center line that runs through Oakland.

I feel the same way about body size and shape. If I don’t exercise much and eat a donut and Chick-fil-A in the same day (like I did today), I am not being healthy. I accept what society tells me. This is bad. If I exercise regularly and eat nutritious food I will lose weight and people will accuse me of having an eating disorder.

I feel like I can’t win.

A comment was left on Tommie Jean’s guest post the other week. What is the perfect weight? Isn’t that the one million dollar question? How do we find the 2-dimensional center line of optimal health?

And since I’m studying the Eight Limbs of Yoga, I will also ask: how do we strike a balance between the niyamas santosa (contentment) and tapas (self-discipline)?

I suppose this is a question we each have to ask ourselves. And I suspect we’ll all have a different answer. My practice of santosa includes accepting that I have a pear shaped body. I will never have skinny legs or large breasts. (Except for when I’m nursing and fill out an entire A cup.) Instead of telling myself that my thighs are too thick I can be grateful for the strength they provide. Those legs have carried me hundreds of miles.

My practice of tapas will never be too much as long as I’ve set the right intention. I can reduce my consumption of sugar and junk to prevent diabetes and strengthen my heart. I can run far. I can run so many miles others think I’m crazy because I know how much running long distances has already transformed my mind and life, and I want to travel even farther down this path.

I can do these things. One day I will. I know in my heart and in my gut that it will serve me well. My weight and shape will be what they are, and it won’t matter what anyone else has to say about it.

So I have some work to do on both ends – contentment and self-discipline. I could love my body more and also feed it a few more vegetables. I could love my body more and also feed it a few more vegetables. Click To Tweet I’m not there yet, but at least I know the answer. I know what my perfect weight is, and it’s not a weight at all.

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My Hypnotherapist Fell Asleep and Other Stories From the Wrong Side of the Scale

Nachos-Pretzel-Beer

Guest post written by the fabulous Tommie Jean Valmassy

Hello, this is not Laura. Laura needs a minute, so I’m filling in for her, just this week. Laura writes a blog about fitness. She’s funny, moving, honest, and cool. And humble, so she may want to delete that, but I don’t think she should. Her tiny sneakers are big shoes to fill. I write a neglected blog about being a mom. My opinions and insights related to fitness have never been solicited before. But I can share with you the one thing I am a semi-expert in: my fitness story. Here it is.

I am obsessed with food. Not in that trendy “I have a food truck and a ‘pork’ tattoo” kind of way. I’m not a foodie or a chef, or even a traditional choc-a-holic. I’m addicted to food. I took an internet quiz which confirmed this, so you can believe it. Some of the criteria I meet are: eating when I’m not hungry, thinking my life will begin after I lose weight, and eating to escape feelings. One way to explain it is that I have no idea what it would be like to NOT be thinking about food. I’ll prove it: right now I’m thinking about tortilla chips. Now, so are you. Ooh, and guacamole, and maybe a cold Mexican beer. Wait, I digress.

I don’t know how long I’ve been overweight, but mostly forever. And I don’t mean TV overweight, like the sidekick best friend who is “fat” because she doesn’t look like a leading lady. To illustrate, my weight fluctuates greatly, but right now I weigh about 205 lbs. Good thing I’m 7 feet tall! (No, I’m not).

There have been three times when I really ate myself into oblivion: my parents divorce when I was 8, the death of my father when I was 20, and the birth of my child when I was 38. I guess you could say I’m an emotional eater. I’ve also had some great weight loss and fitness successes. I lost 50 pounds, over many years, on Weight Watchers. I completed several half marathons. I was recently asked to be a Jazzercise instructor and write a guest blog for a running coach. I said no to one of those things and yes to the other.

At some point Weight Watchers no longer worked for me. I would totally recommend the program (if Oprah’s endorsement isn’t enough for you), but it’s just not for me. The thing about WW is, you’re supposed to think about food A LOT. Tracking, tabulating, looking up menus in advance. After a few years, I really just wanted to break free from thinking about food all of the time. But I stuck with it until I got pregnant. They don’t allow you to be on the program when you’re pregnant. Post-partum was a tough time for me, as it is for most, and I felt like eating was the only thing keeping me sane. But I wanted to keep trying to break free from always thinking about food.

I made an attempt at Overeaters Anonymous. In case you don’t know, it’s like Alcoholics Anonymous, or any of the other anonymous groups that help with addiction. I was really nervous and had to summon a lot of courage to go. It turns out they don’t keep their website updated well, and I was searching in vain for a meeting that wasn’t being held. I did stumble into a Sexual Addicts Anonymous meeting. Those poor men had the same reaction as someone who’s having the door opened on them in a public restroom: occupied, don’t come in! Was I like a bottle of whiskey waltzing into AA for those poor guys? Probably not, but I like to think I was just too tempting.

I decided to see a hypnotherapist. Turns out there’s one walking distance from my office in Oakland. I was rooting for this therapist, but at no point did I feel hypnotized. Instead I noticed she seemed to be falling asleep. She created an audio file for me to use at home, and I can find the exact moment when she was, in fact, drifting off.

Since I’m listing all this fun stuff, I should also say that I tried a traditional therapist through my HMO. My personal experience was that they would only see me once a month, and medication and group meetings seemed to be the only course they offered. I’m also not sure the essential oil kit I bought is effective, but I roll on that stress relieving blend and diffuse lavender like a pro! My meditation practice has completely stalled out and I haven’t even tried it for months.

I try to get good exercise as part of my fitness journey, and for a couple years now I’ve been a regular member of the local Jazzercise. I love it! I like the music and the sociability, and I think the dance moves are fun. But even loving it I barely make it there twice a week. I try not to fall for fitness fads. Though I do wonder where my fitbit is. And I’m admiring the purple Simply Fit Board I recently bought. Much cooler than that vulgar shake weight that’s collecting dust.

So there you have it, my messy, mixed up fitness story. There’s no end because the journey isn’t over. I didn’t realize, until I was writing this, how many things I’ve tried to get my food issues under control. Is there something else you think I should try? Something you’ve heard of but never had the nerve? Let me know what it is, because it sounds like there isn’t much I won’t attempt at least once. Even writing for a fitness blog!

Tommie Jean Valmassy is a writer, consultant, mom, and Managing Editor for a new website that so far is just a time-consuming hobby. Check it out at: http://hulafrog.com/benicia-vallejo-ca
Photo Credit: a healthy afternoon snack by Blake Patterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped
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Finding Time for Self-Care in the Middle of Real Life

Time-Self-Care-Real-Life

You won’t find any earth shattering tips on how to find time for self-care in this post. In real life we just do what we can.

I’m tired. I’ve started this post a half dozen times already. I don’t have the energy to do this thing I love. My husband is attempting to put Baby Girl to bed and she’s crying that she wants a boobie. That doesn’t help. Just another reminder that there’s never enough time for self-care.

I’ve been fantasizing A LOT lately about a retreat. Nothing organized. Just a trip with myself or a few close friends. A time for sleeping in, practicing yoga, meditating, running, writing and plenty of time to cook good food. During this time nobody would yell at me or suck on my nipples. Actually, nobody would touch me at all, unless they were a paid professional. (I’m talking about massage!) I would have a bed to myself and the floor would would be clear of used tissues and stale cheerios.

Instead, my husband will be out of town for 3 weeks in February. I need to finish planning Big Girl’s birthday party (the part that comes after the Race My Toddler Virtual 2K) and schedule dentist appointments, register her for summer camps and maybe, potentially, clean the toilets (probably not).

It’s hard to find the time for self-care, the energy for the things we know nourish us, in the middle of real life. In yoga we’re taught to breathe deeply in order to create space. Inhale, lengthen the spine. If only the breath created space outside our physical body, in our lives. Maybe it does… How about that for a deep thought? What does that even mean? It's hard to find the time for the things we know nourish us in the middle of real life. Click To Tweet

For now I’ll rely on YMCA Child Watch and the babysitting swap I have worked out with my neighbor to get my workouts in. I’ll continue to meditate while I nurse Baby Girl to sleep and write during the nap times that actually happen. My time for self-care comes together like a quilt made of stray minutes I find laying around the things I choose not to do.

I won’t cook good food. I’ll carpet by bedroom floor in clean laundry that never gets folded and step on leftover cheerios that I probably won’t vacuum up. I won’t bother with showering too much.

Big Girl told me the other day that the brain and the heart are our two most important body parts. “Without our brain we wouldn’t be able to think about birthday parties.” Right. I need to do that. “And without our heart we wouldn’t be able to move our muscles.”

What a wise 4-soon-to-be-5 year old. With just a few simple words she reminds me of my heart and my priorities. Moving my muscles and loving my messy life.

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You Could Win a Mala, Not a Boobie

Mala-Prize

A frank conversation between myself and I. Plus, a video about what a mala is.

I think we all know the kind of difference a boss can make in terms of job satisfaction and I have a great one. She gives me tons of creative freedom, pushes me to do super scary things (like post a video about the mala I’m giving away as a prize for the Race My Toddler Virtual 2K) and then reassures me that it’s going to be okay.

Like last week, for example. All I could think about and, therefore, all I really wanted to write about was my Mom. But I was worried that it wouldn’t work on a “fitness” website. So I discussed it with my boss and she was all, “Include the part about mindfulness. That fits with meditation and yoga… and we have that whole well-being category too. We can throw anything in there.”

I reminded her that you’re supposed to pick a niche when you start blogging. “But if we’re not focused enough that could hurt our search engine performance. Or we could lose readers. I keep saying I’m going to offer tips about running and stuff and I keep not doing that.”

And then she reminded me, “We did pick a niche. It all fits. Besides, people need to know that sometimes you go to a yoga class and all you do is go through the motions. It isn’t always peace and zen. People need to hear that it’s normal and actually okay to lack motivation for exercise. People need permission to feel proud of themselves when they DO get out there. These things are more important than choosing the right pair of running shoes.”

Right. I felt a lot better after that conversation.

But then I started worrying about the Race My Toddler Virtual 2K coming up on 2/18/17 and I told my boss as much. “I was really hoping this race would help us branch out beyond my personal network, and it’s just not working out that way.”

“That’s okay. It’ll still be fun.”

“But we have to expand our reach if this business is going to be viable.”

“And we will.”

“97%! 97% of my fans are friends! I can’t just try to sell stuff to my friends. People don’t like that, you know.”

“Laura. We’ve been open for 2 months. This is going to take time. You need to chill out.” I had to admit she had a point. “Maybe this business really takes off and we can work at it for years. There’s still a lot to try. Or maybe it doesn’t. That will be okay too. Just trust that if you listen to your gut and follow your heart, whatever takes shape will be right. Didn’t your Mom ask you to meditate on trust for her? Now would be a good time for that. Oh, and while you have your mala out, tell everyone what it’s about.”

“You mean write about it.”

“Why don’t you make a video?”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! That’s way too scary!!!!!” I said this in my head.

Actually this whole conversation was in my head so I guess I just ignored myself and went on, “Make sure it doesn’t look like you tried too hard. You know, do it with your phone in poor lighting and switch around the picture orientation.”

“Okay… but just so you know, this makes me feel really uncomfortable. I’m pretty new to this whole mantra, mala, meditation thing. I don’t know if I’m qualified to explain this stuff. It’s also been awhile since I took a shower.”

“Include the kids. You’re an expert compared to Big Girl. And they’re cute. That can’t hurt.”

“Okay. But fair warning. I’m going to forget to mention that you don’t even have to use the mala for meditation. You can always just wear it as a necklace or bracelet.”

“Laura. Stop talking to yourself and post the video.”

Sanskrit mantras for your reference: