A Reminder

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. –Mary Anne Radmacher

I’ve got post-Michigan creative block again. It happens almost every time I have a break in my routine, yet it still surprises me. I wrote this post to share that quote and new photo with you all, just in case someone else out there is struggling right now too. If you have to be wary of submerged rock, you are not alone.

I hope to be back to my normal blogging and social media frenzy soon.

A Victorious Day

Today has been a big day; I’ve accomplished three things that I feel really good about:

This morning I did my entire 60 minute kettlebell class using an 8 lb bell. Assuming that my arms are still attached tomorrow, that’s pretty exciting.

For weeks now I’ve had a weekly task to register for the weekend with Her Eminence Mindrolling Khandro Rinpoche. Today I finally got to wipe that off the dry erase board. I am so excited for this special weekend!

Do you ever have tasks that you’ve been putting off for so long that they take on a disproportionate amount of importance in your mind? I’m talking about a normal, everyday thing that other people manage to do with no thought that you’ve been putting off for so long that it starts to seem impossible? That’s what my last accomplishment today was like.

I finally, finally applied for my passport! I’ve been saying to myself for almost a decade, “I need [should, have, etc] to get my passport so I can finally leave the US”.

I decided on Monday that that was going to happen this week. Wednesday, in fact. I made it my only task for today, that’s how serious I was about it (and how much I was overthinking it, because it took maybe 45 minutes and most of that was just waiting in line). I was literally shaking with nerves from the moment I arrived at the post office until I said goodbye to the (incredibly nice and patient) woman who was helping me.

Freedom is one of my most important values, and by continually putting off getting a passport I was neglecting that part of my life.

Here’s to freedom, and learning new massage modalities all over the world!

A Quick Question (plus bragging)

Is anyone else out there totally thrown by the fact that it is basically July, or is it just me?

Anyway, I made the time to walk over to the beach three days in a row last week when the weather was hot. It was awesome! I hope that you’re all managing to take advantage of those days too (well, those of us in Chicagoland, I understand that other places have more reliable summers).

I got a cool notice from my magic gizmo yesterday: I have walked 736 miles since I got it at the end of March. All those hikes to and from work are paying off!

Simplify, Simplify

If you follow me on social media at all, it’s no secret that I am a Sarah Wilson fangirl. I Quit Sugar pretty much changed my life earlier this year, and I’ve been on a long streak of low-moderate pain.

I first read this post a couple weeks ago and it’s been kicking around the back of my brain ever since.

Coincidently, over the past couple of weeks I’ve had three or four pairs of shoes wear out, my hairdryer broke, I lost one of my favorite earrings (but only one, of course), and I’ve been struggling to find the time to keep my apartment clean to my (admittedly somewhat-high) standards.

That’s when I realized that I just plain have too much stuff. Probably because I live in a bigger apartment than I need. It’s a gorgeous vintage place, to be sure, but I don’t think we need this many hallways.

For example, this hallway that separates the kitchen/dining room from the rest of the apartment.
For example, this hallway that separates the kitchen/dining room from the rest of the apartment.

Anyway, the new plan is that as things wear out or run out, I’ll replace only what I need, rather than what I want and what I need/want. I’m pretty sure I can get by just replacing one pair of shoes, and I definitely don’t need a hairdryer.

In a time when so many of my friends and contemporaries are buying their first homes (or buying their first Upgraded homes!), I’m pretty excited by the idea of downsizing. Simplify*, baby!


* This is where I should admit that I hated Walden when I read it in high school. In fact, read should be in quotation marks because I only read every third page of it. Sorry, AP English teacher whose name I forgot.

 

Show Some Love

The weather in Chicago has gone bananas today (big shock, right?) and I took a restorative yoga class this morning, so I’m in an introspective mood right now.

Have you seen the news ad campaign Whole Foods Market* put out recently? There’s one that I stop and stare at every time I walk past it:

Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love

That simple phrase gets right to the heart of much of the work I’ve been doing and writing about.

For so many years I asked demanded so much from my body, and gave so little back in return. My self-care routine for my first five years of massage practice was eating “healthy” (lots of convenience food, which was all-natural, but still), getting a massage once a month or so, and riding my bike. I had no creative pursuits outside of my profession, and I spent tons of time sitting on my couch and watching T.V.

I want to be very careful to be clear right now, none of that made me a bad person, and it doesn’t mean I deserved the injury I sustained. For my body, that just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t allowing myself as much self-care as I needed and deserved.

That’s why I love that ad so much. What all of my adventuring the past two years has boiled down to is this: I am showing my body that I love it. Slowly, day by day, I am learning to thrive.


*In the interest of full disclosure, my spouse is an employee of Whole Foods Market. They did not pay me to write this and I’m pretty sure I would love this campaign just as much if my household had no affiliation with the store whatsoever.

 

Making Peace

I’ve joked about how poor my sleep has been lately, because at this point I’d prefer to see the situation as humorous. Being self-employed gives me a lot more control over my life than the majority of my readers (and I know how lucky I am, believe me), which makes it possible for me to cut myself additional slack these days. I’m not going to let this setback interfere with my hands-on work.

One of the mental shifts I’ve made during this most recent bout with insomnia has been to give up the need to control my sleep. To be clear, I’m not giving up on getting better, I’m giving up on worrying about when it happens. I’m shifting my focus to trying new interventions and then observing the results.

This ability to choose my perspective in a deliberate way is one of the most profound mental shifts that practicing mindfulness has brought to me. In years past this level of insomnia would have caused me much distress, further aggravating the situation. Now, by pausing and accepting my current status, I can allow myself a space for change to happen.

A Bigger Sandbox

I just finished reading “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a life-changing book. I’m actually reading through it a second time now before I pass it on to someone else.

Before this, I’ve been writing away in my little corner of the internet, not venturing out much. I figured that it was more important to spend my blogging time strictly on my writing, my photography time on my own work, etc. After finishing that, I’ve been going out and engaging with other people more at their sites, finding new IG and Twitter buddies, and just generally getting out more in the virtual world.

Wow, I was missing out on a lot! I’ve read so many amazing and thought-provoking pieces this week, and I can’t wait to engage with them more. I have a feeling that I’ll step up my writing too, because other people are just so inspiring!

I want to leave you with this wonderful post by Leah Cox on choosing which passions to follow. It mirrors my experiences of the past year or so, and was informative and upbeat.

Thanks for reading as always, I’m going to go soak up some of this hot weather while I can. I’ll be in class all weekend (and I can’t wait)!

Curt’s Cafe South

By the time this post goes live, I should be in Michigan with my family (and hopefully snuggling with my favorite dog). I wanted to use this week to talk about another local business that is dear to my heart.

When I was a teenager, I had a really hard time. Without going into details, it meant a lot to me when adults told me that they believed in me. Curt’s Café South provides training and encouragement to local at-risk teen mothers, while providing healthy and delicious food for our neighborhood.

The first year is challenging for any new business, and Curt’s Café South could use all our support right now. Please consider coming to this free concert and having some nice dinner while you’re at it. The young women who work at Curt’s are so kind and enthusiastic, let’s give them all the support we can!

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Pushing Through

What a change a week can make in the spring! The upper 30’s that felt so balmy last week left me shivering yesterday. That returned sensation of permeability to the cold has tapped out some of the energy I was enjoying so much last week. Writing is a chore again. Fortunately, I know this is just a temporary block.

My temptation is to measure myself against last week. To try to force myself to be as productive (or more, right?) so I don’t lose any of the progress I made. Yet yesterday I did something pretty rare for a Tuesday; I gave myself the day off. Not in my usual weekday sense, where I am still writing and exercising and doing all the little things that keep my business running. No, I gave myself permission to be a total coach potato. I gave myself one day to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.

So now it’s tomorrow, and I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks. Everything feels more clear today, including the fact that between the upswing in massages I’m giving and the downswing in the temperature outside, I need to let myself have some extra rest. You know what? I’m going to take the afternoon off. Whatever writing and cleaning and erranding I don’t get done? I’ll do it tomorrow.

Spring Fever

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s finally spring here in Chicago, after what someone told me was the worst February on record (I could double check that, but Spring Fever says not to). Just a week or so ago, I felt as though my down coat and snow boots were permanently attached to me. It’s such a relief to leave them in the closet!

The truth is that there’s a part of me that wants to throw my obligations aside and spend all my time in the sunlight. I feel like I could be perfectly content to sit in a sunny space and watch the flowers grow. Yesterday was a tug-of-war between work and play, and I managed to harness some of that wild energy of new growth into my technical writing.

Today I feel that same urge to abandon my responsibilities and play. I also feel the excited realization that I can embrace that desire for play and bring it to my work. That new green energy, that chaotic expansion, it is the force driving me to write. It is driving me to reach new and deeper levels with my clients. It is a force that could easily drive me to exhaustion if I don’t remain present.

It is spring and all things are possible. Everything is a poem.