I'm No Longer Interested in Exercise

So many of you think you are coming to exercise to fix parts of your body that aren't working. To address dysfunctions that have caused suffering. To get better. And, of course, exercise will do that.
But, over and over again, I see that what is often happening on the deeper level is that you're turning to exercise to fix yourself. Because you think you are broken. Because you want to get out of your body. Because you don't think you're good enough.
 

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Help for Upper Body Tension While You Drive

I can do a crazy amount of exercise in the car...when I'm in the passenger's seat. But in my 30+ hour solo drive this last week (#movetochange!), I had to get a little more innovative and work within the obvious limitations that come with being the driver.

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20 Ways to Deepen Your Movement Practice

If you are like one of the many people who work with me, connect online or email me expressing your curiosity and confusion and delight at the interplay of your heart/emotions/psyche/narrative/life and the way you use your body, this post is for you. 

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Are You Creating a Handmade Life?

So many of you are laboring away in different ways, owning the life you seek to create, doing the work to support it. You are stretching your calves and sitting on the floor and walking instead of driving. You are going to therapy and feeling the feelings and challenging the beliefs you hold that tell you to just give up.

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17 Ways to Move More When You're Stuck at a Desk

You know your body needs to be tended to, but you're not sure how to make it happen when your day-to-day life involves a desk. This video is FOR YOU. :) 

I recorded this video as a Facebook Live, looking at really practical changes you can make and super simple movements you can include, AND I talk about purpose and assumptions and all that good stuff. 

When you're ready for more, go snag my FREE download, The Getting Better Guide. This is the path I turn to when my body isn't working the way I think it should. http://www.launchyourresilientlife.com/…

And also a little plug that my amazing 4-week program, Launch Your Resilient Life, is getting a Mother's Day discount next weekend (woohoo!). If you want in on it, you'll need to be on my email list (getting the guide will pop you in) or in my private FB group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/there...

Thanks for watching. And I'd love for you to share this with all your desk-jockey friends. The more we can move throughout our days, the healthier we will be! And the more company we'll have when we look weird. ;)

Three Reasons Exercise Isn't Getting You Better

Did you think exercise would make you feel stronger or healthier or maybe just better than you used to? For some of you, maybe you don't really expect exercise to provide results. I streamed live on Facebook to explore our expectations around exercise. 

I'd love to hear more about your experience with exercise as it relates to getting better! If you have any questions or want to share about your experience, I'd love for you to pop into the private Facebook group and ask away! I'd also love to see photos or videos of YOU doing exercises that help you actually feel better on Instagram. Feel free to tag me!

And keep an eye out around Mother's Day for a special discounted invitation to launch your resilient life. :)

My Go-To Exercise For... Most Things :-)

Where do you start if your back is bothering you? If you sneeze when you pee? If you have TMJ? If your quads won't ever relax? If your hips feel wonky? If you're digestion is off? If you have low energy?

Well, there are LOTS of things to do and there are many places to start, but one of my favorites is with the psoas release! 

Before I go on, let me remind you that right about now (Noon PT) I'm on FB hosting a live conversation about 3 Reasons Exercise Isn't Getting You Better (just click here to join on in).

So about two years ago I wrote a blog post about the psoas (pronounced so-as) release. It has been my most popular post ever since. Month after month, it gets the most hits. And not just that, but I've gotten a little reputation for exploring the psoas.

I know most of you on this list have signed up since I wrote that post, so I want to make sure you are in on this panacea of body love.

Here's an exercise descriptor:

And here's a link to that "famous" blog post:

The Psoas Release: An Essential Experience

This release is a part of ALL of my courses (and given to almost all of my private clients), because I find it to so be so beautifully subversive. It stands against a culture of go-go-go and a culture of sit-sit-sit. Since much of our body troubles are about repetition (of movement habits and mental habits), anytime we can give the body a differing experience is an opportunity to invite in some healing.

Let me know how you get on with it! And if you have any questions, won't you pop on in the private The Resilient Body Facebook group  and let me know? I'd love to have a conversation with you there!

Give the psoas release a try and consider what it would be like to make it a regular part of your movement practice.

I'll be doing it, too!

My Doctor Said WHAT?!

When I knew I'd be moving away from Philadelphia, one of the hardest things to face was the fact that I'd developed a pretty great team for my health and now I'd be leaving it (btw, if you live around Philly and you need people, hit me up - I'll tell who to see).

I'd spent years seeking out and finding people who could help me on my journey toward experiencing life as I longed to: feeling safe and healthy in my body.

The last five years in Philly had a LOT of rough spots.

I had a traumatic cesarean birth.
I delved into childhood sexual abuse.
I faced immense grief, including my mother's death.
I went through two miscarriages.
I developed chronic digestive struggles.
I had pelvic imbalances.

Plus, all the things that came before and were never addressed.

I needed help.

So I worked with regular MDs, integrative/functional doctors, movement teachers, naturopaths, acupuncturists, energy healers, midwives, physical therapists, somatic psychotherapists and body workers.

And not just that, but I read books and blogs and listened to podcasts and consulted colleagues.

In hindsight, all of this exploration right before I got pregnant with my son in 2010. 

I discovered the work of John Sarno, who posits that a lot of physical pain we experience is psychosomatic. Emotional and psychic struggles lead to physical adaptations that present as pain and dysfunction.

While Sarno's prescription for addressing this is not something I make use of, his general theories blew me away. I'd had a lot of inexplicable chronic pain and dysfunction and what I learned through his work paved the way for just about everything that was to come.

And you know how I found Sarno? Meditation. I was meditating on my health one day and asking for guidance and felt the strong insight to google. It was what I now call "intuitive googling." :)

So then I had my son and the birth was rough and I wanted to understand it and again I just followed my nose, allowing my explorations to be guided by my feelings, to be guided by my inner sense.

And that work led me to Katy Bowman. Who taught me all about movement. (And certified me to teach you about movement.)

But I still had so much work to do in my own body. 

So I kept following my nose. I kept asking around. I kept expanding my boundaries and beliefs. I kept trying new things because it felt right and made some sense even if I couldn't reason it out.

Which led me to my heart, to meditation, to breath work, to combining movement with heart-centered practices, to all those practitioners I mentioned, to study with new teachers. It's what led me into writing and dancing and an amazing ability to navigate my life on different terms. It's what's enabled me to feel trust in my body, to know what is needed and to respond to those needs. It's what led me home to myself.

Which brings me to today.

We've moved across the country and so I've left my team of people that have been helping me with my health.

But I'm still not entirely clear about what's going on with my fertility. And the digestive stuff is definitely not settled. And besides, if you've been following along, you know the transition has been a wee bit stressful for me.

So I need a new team.

I asked around and found a functional medicine doctor who is also an applied kinesiology chiropractor. Now I don't know much about AK chiropractors, but that's never stopped me before. Truthfully, I usually know very little beforehand about the work I seek out...I learn it through practice and by reading/talking later.

All that to say, AK chiros test your neurological function. At my appointment with her, she had me move through a series of movements to determine what parts of me were "on" and which were not. Turns out I have low vagal tone (unsurprising to me and likely causing/contributing to the digestive problems) and that my left bicep is "off."

She also tested my core and hip flexors and pelvis for function, and it was all on.

But here's the MOST AMAZING THING (well, to me, anyway!):

She told me that women who have had c-sections don't have this kind of function.

Something is always not working, especially their hip flexors or parts of their core. She was really, really surprised (and seemed a little baffled) that my body was presenting differently.

It didn't hit me until later how absolutely extraordinary this is.

I'm not a fitness rock star. Half of you reading this can probably do more interesting/challenging things with your body than me, be it pilates roll downs (or is it ups?) or longer planks, or more pull ups or run marathons.

I'm not some spiritual/emotional/belief rock star. I am neurotic and fearful and disbelieving a full 30% of the time. I tend toward anxiety and melancholy. I have asked my husband a thousand times if he thinks I will ever be really done with this "fixing." In other words, I am incredibly inconstant.

I also didn't follow some detailed prescription. No one said, "Hey, women like you don't have function here and you need to do x, y, and z in order to fix yourself." No one said that because, truthfully, it doesn't exist. Or it exists for some things in some ways, but not for all things in all ways. Health is, in so many ways, an n=1 paradigm. I had to cobble my own thing together

As I was meditating this morning (but not for the last 36 mornings - see I'm inconstant!), I realized the power of this.

I realized that I had done this. I had created the conditions through which my body could regain full function after major abdominal surgery. And I did this against the odds.

I had taken myself seriously. I listened to my body, I believed my heart, I paid attention where I had been taught to ignore.

I had explored every avenue that called to me, be it finding a new acupuncturist or exploring vaginal massage or creating a ritual or sleeping on the floor or touching the earth with my skin. I opened my mind and my heart and became willing to go new places.

I had worked my body. I put my hands on it. I moved it more and in different ways. I studied it and slowed down the movements and found where I get stuck. I worked at the edge of my boundaries. I did this over and over and over again.

I had gotten help. A lot of it. I spent a lot of money. I invested a lot of time.

I changed my life. My relationships, my habits, my geography, my food, my beliefs.

Most of us are going around with lots of ourselves in the "off" position. This is hard on our biology. Not having full function requires adaptations that can turn into disease and dysfunction. This happens because of stress, because of surgery, because of injury, because of sedentary living, because of too much blue light, because...

But here's the thing about my story: I didn't stay in the off position. Even though that's what normally happens. 

After meditating this morning, I felt so enlivened by my own story! I felt such excitement about the possibilities for what happens when you follow your intuition, when you move forward even though you aren't sure what you're doing, when you change your life even though you can't always see an immediate benefit. I felt so excited about MOVING.

For years I've been tuning into my body, getting support, educating myself, changing my habits, taking on new exercises. But you can't always see what's happening IN the body. And there's only so much I know about the body, only so many of its languages that I speak, so I haven't been able to quantify all of the changes, even if I've noticed them.

To have it reflected back to me in this doctor's visit was a delightfully validating experience.

I beat the odds.

I created something unusual.

(This is what Restore Your Wild is about. I literally can't give you a prescription that's going to take your ailments away, that's going to fix your life. What I CAN give you is a pathway to your wild self - a pathway of movement, a pathway of reflection, a pathway of inspiration, a pathway of belief work, a pathway of creation. Because it's never going to be me or anyone else who makes this happen for you. It's your wild self who is going to guide you down YOUR path to the life and health and movements you need. I'm here to bring you into contact with your wild self.)

I've taken my journey as an act of faith. I've done all of this as an act of intuition. I've kept going as an act of integrity.

Turns out, it was the right choice.

Stubborn Belief

I awoke last Saturday morning - my birthday - with the phrase "stubborn belief" swirling around in my head.

I let it settle in a bit, curious about its presence, especially on such a special day.

Under periods of stress (such as during this #movetochange that I shared about last week), old beliefs about not being able to have what I really want/need start to rise to the surface more forcefully. It sounds like, "It can never be." These ideas that were formed so long ago can then come to dominate the other parts of me that aren't bought into this paradigm, the parts that trust in the goodness that is life and in the knowledge that all things are conspiring for my well-being and joy.

So here I was. Stubborn belief.

What it would it be like, I imagined, to stubbornly believe in what might be? To stubbornly believe in the big dreams I hold? To stubbornly believe in the inherent physical, emotional, psychic drive to wholeness? To stubbornly believe that God/Universe/Spirit is wanting good things for me?

In this phrase I could feel strength. Clarity. Calm. Ease, too.

And then some interesting things started happening.

To start with, some of my painful feelings about all of this intensified and I let them rise. I allowed myself to have deep, healing tears and received tremendous external support.

Then I read an article that spoke so deeply to me about my immediate need for radical self-care, for tapping into my wild feminine self to guide me in that.

Then I read some promising research about a supplement I was prescribed that left me feeling really at ease about some things happening in my body.

Then I read a blog post about our deep interconnectedness and how money is a part of that.

Then I received some beautiful gifts that spoke to deep, wild, connected parts of me.

In all of this, I could feel the belief that "it can never be" just starting to slip away, ease up, step off to the side.

I could feel a spaciousness emerge. And in that spaciousness, I could begin to feel my wildness. My deep, intuitive knowing.

My body began to ask for more movement. I wanted to play around. Challenge my muscles. Explore my ranges of motion.

My desires began to emerge more forcefully, and my boundaries, too. No, I don't want to take that course on NVC right now. No, I don't want to facilitate that gathering. Yes, I want to go play in the dirt. Yes, I want to slow down and really listen to my heart.

And my connection to others began to feel more grounded and true.

I didn't will any of this.

None of it was effortful.

I didn't try harder.

I just allowed for the flow.

All of this reminds me of one of the most powerful teachings about health that I've ever experienced. 

In fact, my very first newsletter here was about it!

Flow.

When we think about health in the body, we can think about flow of blood, lymph and electricity.  Since how we use our bodies EVERYDAY impacts how things are flowing, we can dramatically improve our health by exploring where flow gets interrupted (or becomes turbulent) and adjusting our movement patterns to address that.

When I first heard this definition from Katy Bowman, a whole lot of things clicked together for me about the body.

But not just in terms of mechanics.

I realized that flow is about so much more. There's flow of emotions. Thoughts. Seasons. Relationships. Chi. Spirit. Energy. Breath. Beliefs. It goes on an on....

And all of these things impact our health.

Our willingness to allow for this flow - a wild, wild act of stubborn belief in the goodness of life! - is what enables things to shift, open up, change, grow, heal. 

It's what brings us health - health in our bodies, health in our relationships, health in our belief systems, health everywhere.

As I tap into this flow, I hear my inner wild telling me to slow down a bit. To eat more food. To play more with my family. To go into the woods alone. To get my hands into the dirt. To laugh and pray and to ask my womb for guidance.

And to do all of it in stubborn belief.

Anxiety, grief and fear in my #movetochange

I've been in Oregon now for two weeks. It's looked like this:

It's also looked like this:

I've been to hot springs, on stunning hikes. I've seen herons and jays and hummingbirds out my kitchen window. I've eaten incredibly fresh vegetables, connected with a few new people, and drunk some of the best coffee I've ever encountered.

If you've been following along, you know that we're not settled on living in Corvallis, OR, the small city where we've landed. Whether we stay or not, though, it's clear we're on the right track.

But this #movetochange hasn't felt like a picturesque journey through Eastern Oregon. Truthfully, it's felt like a version of hell.

I have been plagued by anxiety, fear, confusion, overwhelming sadness.

It shows up in my breath, in my sleep, in the way I perceive things. I notice it in my marriage and in my parenting.

Here I am, responding to the wild call within through a cross-country move and instead of finding liberation, I find myself ultimately domesticated by painful feelings.

Old feelings. Old sensations. Old beliefs bubbling to the fore.

Has this ever happened to you?

You set out on a really, really, really important journey, only to find that you are running into all sorts of psychic traps? That instead of feeling "good," you are awash in fear and anxiety and grief?

This move for me has been about change. And about differentiation.

It's been about owning who I am and acting on what I know about myself.

It's been about responding to years of deep listening to myself, years of tending to the inner wild.

It's been about making my outside reality match the blooming inner reality.

It's been about putting a stake in the ground for what I want.

It's been about self-trust and trust in Love and a willingness to not try to control my life.

It's been about releasing myself from stuckness and stagnation so that I might taste more of the beauty of life.

It's been about freedom.


And it's hurt like hell.

~ ~ ~

Last night, I was sharing this in a sea of tears with my husband.

How I keep running into this belief that I shouldn't want more for myself.

That I can't get what I want.

That it's dangerous to leave home.

That I'm doing something terribly wrong.


I told him how all of these old, familiar beliefs are no longer like shadows in the corner, but like giants obstructing my path. And while the adult part of me knows they aren't real, aren't true, the child me can't see past the giants.

Hence the anxiety and fear and sadness. 

My husband reminded me that I have immense inner resources with which to navigate this.

He's right.

But I also told him that I don't have enough of the right inner resources. I don't have all the medicine I need.

I'm right, too.

I don't have the space or the new belief system or the courage or the understanding or the grounding to navigate where I've found myself.

I don't have everything I need. Yet.

~ ~ ~

My favorite quote about marriage comes from David Schnarch's book, Passionate Marriage. He writes: "Marriage makes you ready for marriage."

And that's what I so deeply value and appreciate about this situation. 

These old psychic traps of mine are very real and they are no longer a shadow that slips away depending on how the light falls. They are staring me down in broad daylight, revealing themselves to me fully.

And in the same way that marriage makes you ready for marriage, this move has made (and will make) me ready for this move.

It's in the facing of old hurts, old beliefs, old injuries and limitations that I become ready to face them.

I got ready to #movetochange as best as I could before I ever initiated any practical external shift, like repainting the living room in order to sell the house or securing rental housing. But it takes the actual moving to make one ready for moving.

This is how growth works. How change works. 

We don't become able to walk 10 miles at a time or squat comfortably until we start walking and start squatting.

We don't become able to put our stake in the ground until we put our stake in the ground.

Said another way, we're always rising to the occasion.

And sometimes it hurts like hell.

~ ~ ~

That's the work. 

Not the hurting like hell - change doesn't always create that experience! - but the practice of finding your edge and hanging out there, knowing that being present to the edge is what shifts the edge, is what makes you able to experience more and more of the richness of life.

It's what I'm passionate about. 

It's what I'm intent on opening myself up to, having experienced how much freedom always lies on the other side, how much joy and connection and expansion.
 

It's also what I have to give. 

Exploring my own edges - moving to change -  is what enables me to teach you to explore your own edges, what encourages you to keep on your own wild journey. It's the fuel for my work. It's the transformative element in what I offer.

~ ~ ~

Restore Your Wild is my love song for exploring your edges. It's my invitation for you to #movetochange. It's my tutorial.

It's five months of goodness that enables you to create your own wild life.

I can promise you that restoring your wild will be worth it. I've experienced it time and again and have seen my students flourish by doing the work.

And I acknowledge up front that old hurts often come up when we try to move forward. That life will always be offering us invitations to heal more fully and to release limiting beliefs. To set off on a journey to intentionally restore your wild is to enter into a dance with your fear and your grief. And your joy and bliss, too.

~ ~ ~

I'm headed on outing this weekend, to celebrate my 37th birthday and to explore another part of Oregon. My wild self has invited me to persist in this #movetochange, even in the face of painful feelings. Or maybe more aptly, she has invited me to persist so that I CAN experience the painful feelings, because she finds them beautiful and healing.

And because, like all wild women, she knows what it's like to move through them, to finally see the moon beyond the giants, and because she knows what it's like to howl on the other side!

Get Too Big for Your Britches (aka Work Your Glutes)

Sure, I don't have the potential to have something big and round on my rear. But I do have the potential to have something modest and round, something other than flat. For my whole-body health, it's essential that I exercise that potential.

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