Did you watch the Netflix special “Waco” about David Koresh and his followers? I admit that I am a junkie for these kinds of series that drive deep into the minds that we can’t quite begin to comprehend.
I think I am so addicted to them because when I think about people who join cults, belong to very strict religious communities, or end up going down bizarre paths under the influence of others I always wonder, “how did this happen?”
For some of these people the immersion begins early, and they never know another way. But sometimes you find out that someone comes from a seemingly “normal” family, somehow takes a wrong turn and finds themselves enmeshed in a community that controls every aspect of their lives. On the cruise control of indoctrination, they do unspeakable things in the name of the community, person, or idea they follow.
That’s what these two statements (the title of this blog) remind me of. “We don’t need to be fixed. We were never broken.”
What stories are you telling yourself? (Part two) Last month I talked about the story I told myself about my weight being the reason I couldn’t run anymore. The stories we tell ourselves can be so hard to discover much less dismantle. We often look for evidence to support the stories we make up. You can thank your brain (who really prefers the status quo) for that one.
I used to tell myself that I couldn’t run anymore. When I was younger, I loved to run. It was great for my heart, for my legs and most importantly for my mental health. But as I got older, running became more difficult. My knees hurt. My ankles hurt. I gained weight and I told myself that the weight was stressing my joints. That in order to run I needed to be thinner, so I stopped running.
Many of you have followed me along my body positive journey; have listened to my ramblings about body neutrality, diet culture and respect for all bodies. But there is one thing I haven’t talked about, here we go.
Let’s talk about SEX!
I've mentioned over and over that I'm listening to a ton of work from Kara Lowentheil. In her work she teaches about a thought ladder exercise and this is my lighter version. When you have a terrible thought, think to yourself, "what's the next best thought?"
Have you ever had a toddler lovingly cram a cookie into your mouth? My kids certainly did this and I’ve seen other kids do the same. They are so exhilarated at the concept of the cookie that they simply must share it with you. It’s startling and sometimes gross yet we laugh and love the enthusiasm toddlers have for food. Toddlers are the best intuitive eaters.
I’ve recently gone back and read the book Intuitive Eating (IE) by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I say “gone back” because I felt as if I had already read it. I’ve read many books that reference their work (such as Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison and The Eating Instinct by Virginia Sole -Smith). I’ve even done the workbook that accompanies the book but finally getting to read the book that is considered the reference for so many others was needed. It is an older book; written in originally in 1995 (though it has been updated many times). So what is intuitive eating?
Read the book! Hahaha. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I’m not here to rehash the whole book for you but I did want to talk about some of the concepts in the book that have changed my life dramatically. I’d also like to share some simple ways that you can start eating intuitively although I will warn you. Intuitive eating isn’t one of those things you do a little bit. As the great Yoda said “Do or do not. There is no try.” (Ah, Yoda life lessons!!)
One of the big concepts of Intuitive Eating was one of the hardest for me. It is “give yourself unconditional permission to eat.”
Like ANYTHING. ANYTIME.
This is Samuel my walking partner, coworker and constant companion.
The other day we were out walking and I thought about some things. When I take Samuel for a walk, he doesn’t count steps. He doesn’t worry about the distance we have gone or the time we have spent on our strides. He does stop and smell the “roses” (or the duck poop, whichever he finds first). He does notice the sights and sounds that surround him. When we stop, he pauses to feel the breeze on his dark chocolate nose. He says “hello” to every single person we pass by. Samuel knows how to take a walk at a level I admire. He savors every moment. When the we return home, if he is tired, he rests. If he wants more, he goes to the backyard and lays down in the sun and lets it bake into his skin like lemon cupcakes in the oven.
If I said that my body image issues started here (imagine a picture of me, three years old in pink tights and a black Leotard, long pigtails and barrettes) would I be exaggerating? Probably not. Studies indicate that girls as young as three show signs of body image issues. Dance class at this age brought me a lot of joy but I recall as I got older dance became a rocky trail. I was told when I was going on pointe that it would probably be best to “watch my weight.” My super skinny friend in school told me she wasn’t chosen for a dance company because her “thighs were too big.” Mine were twice as big as hers.
There’s another picture of me around this same age that I have. It’s me in a little dress standing next to my tricycle. My ankles are adorned in those thin white socks with the lace around the edge and my thighs are robustly smushed together. I once looked at that picture and said, “See, even at my lowest weight, I didn’t have a thigh gap.” I thought I was being clever.
This time last year, my spouse and I were in a BAD place. In spite of the beginnings of vaccines making their way into our world, the kids were not yet vaccinated and therefore we were keeping them close. Which meant they were with us ALL.THE.TIME. No camps, school, or other activities. My spouse and I were on edge. Anxious, unhappy, irritable. Especially for my spouse, who now works from home, there was no escape. I saw our beautiful home become more like a prison for him. Zoom meetings are great but happy hours, water cooler conversations, actually being next to someone, you can’t replicate that.
When I graduated from massage school I wasn’t even 21 yet. I was legally allowed to rub on naked people but I wasn’t allowed to toast my own graduation (although, funny story, I did have a margarita at our massage school after graduation party when one of my classmates pretended to be my mom and ordered me one, LOL.)
Over the years, I’ve switched jobs several times but I’ve always done bodywork. I’ve always loved working on people, helping them with their aches and pains. I’ve worked on my family, my spouse, in private clinics, big box establishments, spa settings and now for myself! Not that I am speaking for all bodyworkers but I think it is safe to say that over the years I’ve learned some things and there are many things I wish my clients knew. So, I decided to write about it. Here goes:
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between.