presence

How do you stand?

You stand every day at some point.  Have you ever considered how you do it?  Next time you’re standing around, notice.

Where are you on your feet?
Do you clench your toes, your quads or tighten your calves?
Do you shift your weight to one side?  Jut out your hip?
Do you slump in some way?  Jut out your chest?
Tighten up the shoulders?

When you’re not paying attention – when you’re doing something habitual (washing dishes, making tea, standing at a counter) – stop, and notice.

How do you stand?

Which foot do you favor?
Does the other foot even touch the floor?
And if it does, can you feel the ground or is it just lightly grazing the earth?

How you stand affects how you move – both physically and energetically – through this life. 
How you stand grounds you into now.

Can you feel the earth with both feet?

I wasn’t there.

The other day, upon arriving home, I found my daughter lying on the carpet, clutching her leg.  Crying as if she’d been stabbed.

“What’s wrong, baby?”

She pulled up her pant leg to show the scratch.

“Holy Moses, What happened???”

To which she replied (with a disgusted look):  “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

ummmmmmmm???

Now I know better than to argue with a six  year old, so I hugged her, kissed the wound and off she went.  But it got me thinking, how often am I not there when my body is clearly present (I mean, it was her leg right???)

How often each day are you not truly present?

Someone says hello, and you respond with “good morning!” –  yet it’s 3pm.
A stranger asks where the bus stop is, and you respond “good, how are you?”
There’s a random bruise on your shin, and you’ve got no idea.

For the most past, we live either several steps ahead, or a few steps behind.  I’m, in the several steps ahead category….

Today, do your best of fully BE here.  Right now.

Inside out.

These days, we are pretty well trained to look outside of ourselves for answers to our problems.

Shoes hurt? You might need inserts – custom made. Or new shoes.
Back pain? A back brace is always an option, pain killers, or even surgery.
Health issues? Diet. Exercise. Pills.

What if you the first place you looked was in?
Before the fancy new (expensive) inserts, or the back brace, or the stringent diet plan?
What if you started with you?
What if you adjusted how you move, how you eat, how you think, how you live?
Before you head out to fix your problems, go in.
Inside, then outside, upside down.

Five Practices For Weaving Health Into Your Every Day.

Over the past year, I’ve talked about health with just about anyone that will listen.

Health:  (noun) the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor

While this is Webster’s definition, true health means something different for each of us, and there are many ways to get there.  What I’ve noticed though, is that the most fit people I know, weave health into their every day. For them, health isn’t something to check off of a list, it’s something to live.

So what does that look like?  How do you weave health into your every day?
Here are five practices to help:

1) Move More. This isn’t just about parking further away at the store, or taking the stairs. Search your day for opportunities to move. How can you sneak it in? Exercise at lunch (who needs an hour to eat?? Go for a run or walk, and eat at your desk). Walk down the hall instead of sending that email. Bike to work. Take your calls on the move. Stand during the meeting. Just because everyone else is sitting, doesn’t mean you have to. Move every chance you get.

2) Make it enjoyable. Let’s be honest, if you hate it, you’re not going to do it. So how do you make movement enjoyable? Download a podcast, and listen while you walk the dog. Make a playlist. Recruit a friend. Buy an outfit that makes you feel great. Exercise outdoors, in a beautiful spot. Do something to make your movement a source of pleasure.

3) Make it a mindful practice. Exercise to tune in, not out. Pay attention to what it feels like. How do your feet strike the ground? How are you breathing? Are you holding tension? What are you thinking?  Read this recent article from the NY Times about the link between mindfulness and satisfaction during exercise.  As much as you can, be present as you move.

4) Fuel your body to move. After you eat, notice how you feel. Do you feel heavy? Are you tired? Still hungry? Or do you feel like you could go for a walk or a run? How does what you’ve eaten serve you? We eat for many reasons – pleasure, celebration, boredom, comfort, etc. – but the primary reason to eat is fuel. Pay attention, and fuel to move.

5) Preventative practice. In order to BE healthy, to maintain your health, you want to take care of your body right now. After all, as someone once said, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” Practice preventative care. Massages. Essential Oils. Whole foods. Exercise. Stretching. Foam Rolling. Love. Dark Chocolate. What will you do to take care of you?

 

Remember, you don’t have to overhaul your life all in one day.  Start small.
What one thing will you do to weave health into your every day?

I don’t have any wrinkles.

I’ve noticed that I don’t have any wrinkles.
If I don’t laugh, raise my eyebrows, talk, or move my face in any way AND, you don’t look too closely.
I never get physically sore, when I keep my same routine, moving my muscles (or not) in similar ways each day.

I make very few mistakes (sometimes).  I avoid that feeling of failure, when I stay safe and don’t try new things.

But that’s not the point is it?
To remain wrinkle and mistake free, never having tested our bodies, or our lives.
Never having known the “soreness” of something new.

To live, to love, to be is an action – even when you’re standing still.
Even when you don’t know what to do next, you breathe (hint: deeply).
And ponder what’s next.
Perhaps considering new things, maybe holding steady as is.

So, what’s your next move???

Get out there and get sore (in the body or mind), make some mistakes and create a new laugh line, or two!

Move.  you are meant to.

What are you looking forward to?

As we begin 2015, what are you looking forward to?
You may have set some resolutions or made some goals for the new year.
Or you may not.
No matter how you began January 1, the new year screams possibility.
Full disclosure: I love the new year and new goals or resolutions.  I love September, with the start of school.  I’m pretty much a sucker for new beginnings and continual growth.

And so I ask, what are you looking forward to in 2015?
Travel?
Participating in a race?
Setting a PR?
Moving your body more?
(re)Connecting with friends?
The road trip?
A work project?
Love?
Building or creating something new?
What are you looking forward to?

It helps, with any journey, to have something on the horizon – something to move toward.
Sprinkle your year with movement.  Things to look forward to.
And if you’re so inclined, I’d love to know, share in the comments below.

Swim in possibility with a heart full of love.

Movement as sacred practice.

What if movement was a sacred practice in your life?
Or better yet, how can you make movement a sacred practice?
Not something you check off of a list, but something you live.
Something you LOVE.

Sacred ~ (adj) reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object; regarded with reverence.

What if you dedicated your movement practice to yourself ~ to becoming more you?
What if you regarded movement with respect?
Movement, either forward or backward.
Movement in the physical sense, but also mentally.
You are meant to move.
Exercising more.  Walking every day.  Running.  Yoga.  Weights.  Pilates,  Zumba.
Engaging and being present in your body.
Yet also, stretching your mind.
Taking a new class.  Speaking up in public.  Getting lost, and finding your way.  Stretching outside of your comfort zone.  Making new friends.  Feeding your passion.
Engaging, and being present in your mind. 
Movement.  As sacred practice.
move.  you are meant to.

 

Need some help in making movement sacred?
Join the MoveMeant Challenge today.

What do you love about the holiday season?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve received a ton of emails in the past week with all kinds of sales:  Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  Small business Saturday.  (Who comes up with this stuff???)  You may have also heard people talk about the “Holiday madness” or “Christmas crazy”.  (Words are power, people.  Use them wisely.)  Or  you may have been witness to a meltdown.  In a parking lot, someone losing it over a parking space.  Or a rant online (or in person) about any number of things.

I’ve witnessed all of these things already, and it’s only the beginning of December.
So I’m asking you today, what do you love about the holiday season?
Doesn’t matter what you do, or don’t, celebrate.
What do you love about this time of year?
The fact is – you have a choice.  
You can get caught up in the so-called madness, or you can choose to appreciate what you love.

Me?  I love Christmas lights. And extra-hot, hot chocolate.  Cheesy Christmas music and the hope for snow.  Yes, I have a ton of stuff to do, and I can get lost in that overwhelm, or I can choose to breathe and appreciate the magic that this time of year holds for my children (and for me).
It’s all too easy to fall in line with that person ranting about crazy drivers or the “commercialization” of Christmas, but it’s much for fun to celebrate.  Celebrate the love that surrounds you. 
Redirect your thinking and focus on what you love.

It’s a choice.  Your choice.  Choose wisely.

may you be surrounded by love, laughter and the magic of the season.

What’s your body telling you?

It has been said that life is always talking to you. 
Giving you signs and signals.  Whispering to you gently. 
When the whispers don’t work, life throws a pebble and eventually, if it has to, a brick.
I’d say that your body does the same thing.
It’s constantly whispering to you ~ and perhaps, life might speak through your body?

There are the obvious cues:  growls to indicate hunger, yawns when you’re tired, headaches when you lack sufficient water.
What about the subtle cues?  The ones that we might miss or attribute to something else?
An unexpected rash.  Cold sore on your chin.  A pinched neck.  That uneasy feeling.  Or, that feeling of lightness.  Gas tank is full, and all systems go. That know-that-you-know-that-you-know feeling, deep in your gut.

What’s your body telling you? 
What subtle cues does it give?
Are you listening??
I’d love to know….

The more you listen, the more you learn.
and you don’t even need ears.

What experiment are you running?

You, are your own best laboratory – and you’re always running an experiment, whether you know it or not.

Got a rash?
Loving your life right now?
Not feeling 100%?
Shoulder tension, every day?
Uncontrollable laughter, every night?

Whether you’ve got results you want, or don’t, look for clues.  Start asking questions.  How much sleep are you getting?  Who are you spending time with?  What are you eating? What you been touching?

Life, your body even, is a constant experiment – in how we eat, how we breathe, what we think, and how we move.  Are you paying attention?

I used to teach middle school math & science.
Every year I had my students participate in a science fair.  Each student had to run an experiment based upon the scientific method (six steps):

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

It was fascinating to see what they’d would come up with – and I’m realizing more and more, we do this every day.  Perhaps not to the same scale, not following every step, and certainly not putting it up on a foam board.  BUT we experiment every day.

What experiment are you currently running?

What information are you gathering (or not)? What questions are you asking?  Are you getting the answers that you seek?

The experiment can be tiny….or grand.  It’s up to you.
A few to think about:
How do I sleep longer and still get to work on time?
How can I wear yoga pants 24/7?
What foods suit me best/fuel me well (no matter what any magazine says)?
How can I seek more joy in my life?
How can I laugh out loud more?
How can I connect more?

and the list goes on….
What will you do?

off to the lab like a mad scientist…