Happy New Year
I hope this finds you doing so well.
2018 has officially come to a close and while that’s somewhat arbitrary, I do like to use the end of each year as an opportunity to reflect. To see where I’ve been, to recognize how far I’ve come or receded, to sit with where I am, to wonder about where I want to go next with my relationships, my sense of self, how I show up in the world, my work, all the things. And, we all have this human tendency — that ol’ negativity bias — where the BAD stuff, the unpleasant moments, thoughts, feelings, and social interactions stand out more and have a greater effect on our psychological state than neutral or positive ones. Somehow, I think my brain is actually on steroids when it comes to this. So, I have to put into practice ways of reliving the positive, the successes, the wonderful things that I’ve experienced to bring them back into mind and BODY. I’m practicing really recognizing the positive experiences of 2018, the choices that have turned out well, letting them sweetly marinate and ultimately become etched in my psyche! Not saying, ignore the bad, but don’t let the negative be the only thing taking up the center stage!
This year, I had a LOT of relationship breakthroughs, lots of memorable connections and experiences in travel, in work, right here at home, on the mat, off the mat and just in general…I celebrated 8 years with the love of my life and two years with our fur baby, I had three sold-out yoga retreats, we graduated another awesome group of teachers from Elevate Yoga 200-Hour Teacher Training, I got to collaborate with so many amazing musicians and local businesses for Pop-Up Yoga throughout the year, I had a lot of beautiful – albeit HOT – summer days filled with time at the river with my hubs and pup, oh so many river swims with AddieBelle, good memories with friends…just a lot of goodness all around.
I also made significant positive life choices + changes related to how I treat my physical body that have greatly improved my quality of LIFE. I’m gonna share them below cuz if you’ve ever experienced PAIN, you know first-hand that it’s hard to focus on much else when you’re IN IT.
Choices that led to some SERIOUS positive changes…body and spirit.
I have been dealing with quite a bit of pain in my body for years: joints (like ALL of them), my low back, my neck. I started believing it was full-blown arthritis. I’ve seen acupuncturists, massage therapists, so many chiropractors, medical doctors including a doc of osteopathy. I still don’t know what I’m dealing with…I’m sure some of it is emotional. Fear, shame, grief…the issues that live in our tissues, as they say. Whatever it is/was, I was setting out on a mission to reduce or eradicate the pain!
You might be surprised at some of the things I’ve tried. I was going for the kitchen sink. Throw it all in there. Here are a few things I did and they have, in fact, slowly, incrementally and DRAMATICALLY reduced the pain in my bod.
Starting small and working to BIG.
FIRST, I ADDED SUPPLEMENTS
I added a regimen of daily supplements.
Thank you, Devin Manning, for being my acupuncturist AND supplement dealer.
In addition to a mindful diet, I now take collagen, turmeric, vitamin D, some herbs and other vitamins on the daily.
I know that supplements are controversial. That we shouldn’t need them if we are eating a balanced diet. How balanced is my diet? Pretty. But, as I said, KITCHEN SINK for reduced pain. Even if it’s a placebo. And, since I’m feeling damn good, I’m sticking with it for NOW. Onward.
THEN, I SWITCHED UP MY MOVEMENT PRACTICES
For the last fifteen years, there’s been a whole heck of a lotta yoga. Vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, hot yoga, yoga nidra, yoga yoga yoga. And, you know how I LOVE it. I also talk about balance a lot in my classes. I needed to find some BALANCE in my movement practices.
More and more, I’ve been reading that strength training can help reduce joint pain. I was game-on for trying. So, I started working with my friend and personal trainer, Lyndsay Price. We added lifting weights and other functional strength training into my weekly movement practices. Oh, and thanks to Wendy for turning me on to Orange Theory. I’ve added that one or two times a week. LASTLY, I began running again. A little at first over the summer and at this point I’m basically trained up for a marathon. I ran the longest I’ve EVER run just recently.
I’m looking for a marathon to run in February or March 2019 if you have any suggestions. Will travel for just the right race. It’s kind of a bucket list item for me in THIS my 50th year on earth!
Now I gotta add…I still practice yoga on-the-regular.
I have a home practice and I get to studios whenever I can.
I can also report that in addition to yoga I’m now officially a weight lifter (haha), a long-distance runner and I do all kinds of other functional exercises regularly. Cause they make me feel BETTER.
And, I’ll dance to that.
ONE MORE THING, I REDUCED INFLAMMATORY FOODS & BEVERAGES
I reduced my intake of inflammatory foods like sugar and refined carbohydrates.
And, as another way to reduce my sugar intake…
THIS IS A BIG ONE…
I quit drinking alcohol.
I’ve abstained from drinking any kind of booze for nearly an entire year now.
If you know me, you know THAT IS A BIG DEAL.
I have been a lover of wine since it first hit my lips so many, many years ago. OMG.
And, since my 30’s, I’ve probably enjoyed at least one glass of wine, more often TWO, every single night — unless we were on a cleanse or something.
I gave it up to explore its potential positive impact on my physical pain. I was thinking of the sugar content.
I also wanted to be mindful about drinking during a devastating time in my life — I wanted to be sure I didn’t try to numb, prolong grief or anything like that. Soooooo, I stopped. And I stayed “stopped” because I realized it was helping more than I could have ever imagined. I felt physically better, I slept WAY better, I had tons more energy and clarity.
In addition, I was learning SO MUCH about myself in the process of abstaining. It was like a huge veil was lifted. It’s interesting to get a clearer understanding of one’s relationship with alcohol.
I got a lot of information about myself out of it.
Things that surprised me…
It was easy to quit.
I didn’t think it would be.
I’m much happier without it.
And….as long as I feel that way, I guess I’m a teetotaler.
Bye bye booze.
My body still has a few aches and pains but I have felt significant improvement and it continues to get BETTER and BETTER. So, I’ll continue these practices. I’ll continue to keep coming back and looking again, asking again, wondering again, trying again cause this is life. We are always moving, changing, growing, shifting, finding our own greater harmony.
We always have to power to look, see what we see and CHOOSE what’s next.
SO, RIDE ON, FRIENDS
There is always good with the bad and bad with the good.
Pain with healing. Healing with pain.
This year was tough. The toughest.
It was also beautiful. The beautiful-est.
I’m still totally processing the loss of my dad. It has not fully sunk in. It does a little each day.
And, there’s so far to go.
Something I learned this year though is that I am very strong.
Stronger than I ever imagined.
I’ve started believing in myself more than ever.
Pardon the profanity….but, how the f*ck has it taken till I’m nearly 50?
I’ll take IT.
Now is better than never.
NOW is just the perfect time to start believing.
Now, what about YOU??
What were some of your greatest memories from 2018?
Do you have proud moments that stand out for you? Breakthroughs? Can you remember the details? How did they make you feel?
Did you make personal choices that had a positive impact on your life big or small? Even if they were short-lived! What were they and how did you benefit from them?
Tell me please about a positive experience of yours (or many!) from 2018…if you’d be willing to share.
I’d love to celebrate your success WITH you.
Give me all the gory details on what transpired and how it made you feel.
Let’s make this an incredible year of discovery, of forward movement but also of recognizing the beauty of each breath in the present moment. We’ve got this life thing. All of its ups and downs. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
Oh and remember to relive (over and over) your most positive experiences
cuz we tend to roll right over those and only linger on the crappy ones.
That’s just how we’re wired.
Let’s outsmart that dumb tendency.
Let’s practice something different.
All the very BEST to you in 2019 and beyond.
I love you.