I recently went camping alone with my five year old son. This was the first time I camped without another adult and I had a big movement lesson reveal itself to meRead More
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!
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.
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.
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!
What’s happening in my life might not seem huge to you. In fact, what’s happening isn’t what makes this such a big deal. The big deal is where I was, where I am now, and the movement I’ve done to get here.
Read just about any fashion/cooking/fitness magazine and someone will be there to tell you what good sex looks like and how you can get it.
I don't read magazines like this anymore (because it always creates some sort of existential crises that leaves me feeling inadequate - does this happen to anyone else?). But my recollection is that it's generally about how to look, how to position yourself, what to say, what not to do.
What if better sex was about better connection. With yourself.
Over the last few years, I've noticed that physical intimacy with my partner has deepened and at the same time, gotten more explosive (if you know what I mean).
But I'm not having better sex because of some tricks I've played.
I'm not having better sex because of some affirmation I keep repeating.
I'm not having better sex because of some vaginal weight I've worked out with.
I'm not having better sex because of my partner.
I'm having better sex because I'm in better relationship with myself. I'm in better relationship with my body.
Over the last few years I've opened myself to the practices that bring me deeper into my own HeartBody. I've done deep therapeutic work to unravel childhood trauma. I've gotten support for managing elevated cortisol levels. I've gone to pelvic floor physical therapy to help me deal with hypertonicity and lax ligaments. I've received Maya abdominal massage and visceral manipulation and craniosacral therapy.
But I've also learned to allow myself to cry in my husband's arms after having an orgasm. I've given myself space to tremor and shake. I've placed my hands over my pelvis and imagined light and ease. I've done vaginal self-care massage. I've danced and have shaken my booty. I've felt the fear and panic when things don't "feel right" in my pelvic floor.
And I've moved. I've wept through piriformis stretches and TVA contractions. I've felt pleasure and peace as I've lengthened my inner thighs. I've expanded the flow of blood as I've allowed my psoas to release and my iliacus to lengthen. I've released countless endorphins as I've logged mile after mile. And I've felt power as I've worked to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings.
In other words: I've re-ignited an essential relationship with a part of myself that I had lost.
Whatever it is you are after - less pain, more function, better sex, more self-confidence, I am on your side, cheering you on! And I know that your body can be your ally in this and the more you offer it loving movement, the more it will support you in moving down your beautiful path.
May I use a religious story to share about the body?
Today is Easter. In the Christian calendar, Good Friday is recognized as the anniversary of Jesus' death and two days later, Easter Sunday, is celebrated as his coming back to life.
As a child, I was only really aware of Easter Day. Candy, egg hunts, a new dress. Good Friday surfaced into my awareness as an adult, but in the last decade or so, the part of the Easter story that has most interested me has been the day between.
I have a metaphorical fascination with "Holy Saturday."
In the narrative of Easter, all of these people were counting on Jesus to save them in some way or another and he failed them. He went and died. There would have been the disorientation of grief and longing and fear and disappointment. Saturday would have been a really shitty day.
Where are we when we have left one place and not yet entered the next? Where one set of beliefs has met their death and those that will guide the future have not yet emerged?
It's like a no-man's land. A lost place. A ship without an anchor.
For so long, my experience of my body was like Holy Saturday. I felt lost, aimless, unsafe. Something in me had died and I felt betrayed. My body had betrayed me.
You know this feeling. I know you know it because I hear from so many of you.
You feel lost.
You feel betrayed.
You are in shock.
You don't believe something more is possible.
You need to believe something more is possible.
You are angry, bitter, hopeless.
Or at least some parts of you are.
Moving through the Essential 9 Resets is what starts to shift you. It's what enables you to meet yourself in that dark, hopeless place and says, "Look, there is yet life. I don't know exactly what that means, but I know there is more." It's you, offering your body a defibrillator or the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. It's you, reaching out toward yourself with compassion, offering space to be fully in Holy Saturday so that you can begin to feel your way into Easter Sunday.
Do you get what I am saying?
I am here to support you whether you are feeling overwhelmed by the drama of Good Friday, despairing in the grief of Holy Saturday or disbelieving at the impossibility of Easter Sunday.
Your body...it will continue to invite you into reconnection so you can meet yourself where you are and, perhaps, little by little, transform your own body narrative.
For years and years, I've been increasingly feeling the call to move. I am not referring to more exercise (although that's what I'm going to get at in just a moment!), but home moving. Pack-up-the-house-and-rent-a-truck-moving.
I've become aware that where I live doesn't bring out the best in me. I long for a more low-key culture. Better food options. Breath-taking natural beauty. Safety.
I live in an urban jungle. I love my urban jungle. There's easy access to my local co-op and at least 10 coffee shops and three independent book stores. There's the fact that I have my choice of practitioners (to whom I can walk!) and there are people of all types who live in all ways with whom I am connected. There's the train and the beauty of a city blanketed in snow or decorated for Christmas. There are ideas and concerts and art. Everywhere.
But my love of my urban jungle also sits alongside garbage piled on the sides of the road, and people who drive through intersections while I'm walking through the crosswalk, and incredible economic and racial disparities that lead to high concentrations of crime. My home has been burglarized twice. I've been followed. I do not walk at night by myself.
This doesn't work for me right now. I know that a different context is going to bring out the best in me. And so my family is making a plan for that to happen.
But making a plan isn't where I started. I didn't wake up, realize I want to move and then get going on it.
I realized I wanted to move (at least five years ago!) and then I got swallowed up by guilt and doubt and fear. I felt paralyzed. I kept trying to justify why I SHOULDN'T want to move. Why it wasn't good for me. Why I should just stay put.
So I'm no longer in that place. Or maybe better said, I'm no longer in that place as much. When the guilt and doubt and fear come up, I'm more able to smile, say thank-you-very-much, and keep moving forward anyhow. It feels really, really, really good.
SOOOOOO many of my clients are hitting these same sweet spots when it comes to moving their bodies.
Does this resonate? Maybe you hurt, feel scared, or doubt you have what it takes to really start living IN your body. Things aren't working. Maybe you are tired of trying to change. Maybe you are afraid of change. You want to move forward but you're not sure it's even worth it. The other (minimal) shoe is bound to drop.
Have you experienced this in your life? Have you felt really stuck when it comes to getting healthier, when it comes to ramping up your whole body movement? Have you felt too afraid to move? Please come share your story! I have created a new private facebook group so we can build some community and get and give much needed support on our paths to moving more and hurting less.
You can also click the image below to join the group!
It can be hard to be patient with ourselves, to allow for the unraveling that needs to occur as we take steps to becoming healthier. Keep your eyes open and your ear to your heart. We'll find our way together.
I'm the first person to say that we need to meet ourselves where we are and honor our inner state, be it grief over a miscarriage, fatigue from an illness or total overwhelm from parenting young ones. But when you are ready - and maybe even before you really think you are ready - there will be a tree waiting for you. I hope you give it a climb.Read More
For those times you find yourself stuck in your chair but want to move more and continue to support your whole body health, I offer this video of seated restorative exercises. Go ahead and take 15 minutes and bring some life into that chair pose you're in. :)Read More
I was talking with my business coach earlier this week about the downside of success, the limiting beliefs I have.
I'm smack-dab in the middle of launching my 4-week online course and things have been in flow, I've been getting sign-ups and it hasn't felt effortful.
And then suddenly things started to come to a crawl. Two days went by and no one purchased. A bunch of people unsubscribed from my newsletter list.
My energy tanked and I didn't feel satisfied in my work, even though I was taking action.
She asked if this had ever happened before. Of course. Of course.
I shared with her that I've been working on and exploring my belief that tells me that having self-sufficiency/success means that I will lose support and there will be no one there to help me and I won't be able to take care of myself. Connected to that is the belief that if I am successful, I won't be healthy. Whether it's working too hard or to much to allow me to meet my movement needs or see the practitioners I want, I'm not exactly sure. Fears about stress are definitely part of the mix. I KNOW how stress impacts me. And it ain't pretty.
So how could I allow myself to be successful if it means I'm going to stop being healthy? I feel tender even now as I write this.
Today I realized the inverse is also true.
How can I allow myself to be truly healthy if it means I'm going to prevent myself from being successful (which for me has a lot of connection with speaking my truth in the world)?
It's a bit of a double bind. I need to pay the bills, I want to travel and allow my husband to work less. There are so many people I know I can help. I am itching to move across the country. I have a long list of people I like to receive support from whom I PAY. I have stories to tell...
And I also really, deeply desire whole-self health.
I've seen this with clients, too. Clients who come so far, who make so many commitments, who start to really see improvements. And then who stop. Freeze up. Begin to mysteriously hurt again.
It's like we've run into their upper limit of health. If they get healthier, something "bad" is going to happen.
Clearly, I get it.
Has this happened to you? You travel down a path toward health over and over again only to get stopped at about the same place you got stopped last time?
It's hard, isn't it?
I wonder how it would feel to give yourself some empathy for this. To recognize that some part of you is working to keep you safe, to take good care of you. To prevent you from stepping off a seemingly dangerous ledge. It may be an old part and it may not be very useful to you now, but the intentions are good.
Can you identify your limiting belief(s)? Name them?
I find that pulling things out of the darkness is most of the work.
And then when you've seen them, taken a look at them, can you come up with examples of how that might not be true? Times when you've been healthy and x, y, or z hasn't happened? Times when you've pursued your health goals fully and were also able to have the other things that matter to you?
If you can't find examples in your own life, what about in the life of someone else?
A few days ago, I shared with you my Getting Better Guide (if you didn't get this free resource yet, hop on over here and get your download!). In it, I outline my go-to practices for when things aren't going quite right and I want to really bring some focus to getting better.
Because it is central to what's in my guide, I want to riff today on the culture you've probably been raised in, because accepting the messages our culture gives around health and wellness may be your biggest obstacle to actually getting better.
In short, I want to say this: you've been had. I've been had. We've all been had.
Sometimes I find it hard to admit that, to accept it, to allow that no matter how hard I've worked, no matter how counter-cultural my parents may have been, no matter how much research I've done, I'm still buying into messages that don't serve me.
Messages that tell me:
- My appearance trumps everything, including whether or not my body functions well
- I shouldn't need help
- My body is something to punish and reward
- If there is no pain, there will be no gain
- Health is about being fit, not about being functional
- I should stuff my anger, sadness, grief
- I can control everything
- I can take care of myself in 15 minutes per day
- There's a pill for that
- I don't need to change anything about my lifestyle/psychological state/environment and I can still have true health
- There's nothing to be done
You can probably see how some of these messages are contradictory, evasive or simplistic. I hope you can see that all of them are problematic in some way or another.
When it comes to getting well and staying well, one of the biggest tasks before you is to be willing to change your mind. To question what you believe, what you've been told to believe and to explore other ways of being.
I realize I'm writing this like it's something you can just will: "Now, I'll be open-minded." (If you can will yourself into belief, let me know. I spent much of my life trying to do that and couldn't make much progress!) I find that change comes gradually, often, and seemingly out of nowhere at other times. You are trudging along with one paradigm and without realizing it, you've been opening yourself up to another and then suddenly! (or so it seems) you are in a new place with a new way of seeing and being.
This keeps happening to me. My body keeps inviting me into new places, new ways of being. It has proven itself to be a most trustworthy guide. I can sometimes sense in my body when a belief about what I need to be healthy is no longer serving me. Sometimes it shows up as pain, sometimes as parts not working well. Always, it is inviting movement, gently calling me toward flow. And whenever I am willing to step into that flow, I find a new place of ease, a new place of possibility, a new place of wellness.
I have just one suggestion to you today on that front, if you want to cultivate this environment in yourself: be curious.
When you decide you can't/shouldn't/won't, stay with yourself and be curious about that. What is the cost? Who told you that? How is this way of being serving you? How does it FEEL in your body? Is there even a tiny possibility that another truth is available to you?
Truthfully, I'm not always the most open-minded person. I like to get entrenched in my beliefs and regurgitate them to myself, just like the rest of us. ;) Choosing to be curious, even though I'm not consistent, creates just enough of a foothold to allow new ideas and ways of being to float on in.
And often enough, enables me to tell the broader culture to just go ahead and stuff it!
Here's to YOU being open to new ideas about health and wellness!
I spend a LOT of life reflecting on and exploring in my body what it means to be resilient. What it means to move more and better. What it means to get out of pain, to increase function and strength and health.
It wakes me up at night, it finds me in the morning, it greets me on my afternoon walk and during my psoas releases and lateral hip exercises. It climbs its way into my belly with dinner and rests on me after I make love to my partner.
These are questions of physics and chemistry and evolution. And they are questions of energy and psychology and spirituality.
Health is a verb. A moving. A flowing.
My 4 year old son took the above picture of me on a day when I mostly wanted to stay inside and read books or clean the kitchen, but I wanted even more to support my (and his) body in it's own journey of health.
Out we went.
You've probably noticed that it can be hard to move more. You want to, you plan to, you know to. But the actual doing doesn't happen. I totally get it. Here are some tips that may help you make headway on meeting your movement needs.Read More
Let's say that if you want the most ideal health, you might be best served by undergoing a lengthy (read: years) conditioning program in the woods and then be released permanently into nature. But you're not going to do that. And neither am I. How about we work on a Plan B?Read More
We're not as toned as we'd like to be so we're tucking our pelvises, creating arbitrary contractions in our abdominal muscles and mostly? Mostly, we're sucking in our guts. We're eating and sucking in. We're peeing and sucking in. We're birthing and sucking in. We're driving and sucking in. We're writing this blog and sucking in.Read More
Restorative Exercise™ in the real life doesn't always look like a traditional workout. Not only is it nearly impossible to undo several decades of poor alignment and chronic stillness without incorporating RE principles throughout the day, it's also not always easy to find a solid hour or more to work out.Read More