Self-Care Expedition Days 5 & 6: going dark for the weekend

[Note: this is Day 5 (and 6!) of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

My check-in today is going to be very brief. I’m feeling the need for a mini-break from the computer. My screen-time has been off the charts this past week and I need a couple of days to go dark and more internal. I will be back on Monday.

In the meantime, if you would like a larger does of Expedition inspiration, I highly suggest reading Emma’s comment on yesterday’s post.

This part in particular speaks directly to one reason why I believe the practice of deep self-care is so vital.

Writing all the above, I’m putting together that this Fundamental Body Shame that is part of our culture is part of the same disconnect that is the way we treat the Earth, the way we treat women, the way we oppress people, etc. It’s all connected.

What does it do to an embodied being to reject its own body?

Of course we can barely feel our connection to the Earth or each other. We are rejecting our bodies while living in them.

I guess these thoughts are all thoughts I’ve had before, but what I have now is an actual experience of what the alternative is–what it feels like to not reject my body. It’s quite nice. :-)

Again, you can read the full comment here.

For you, this weekend:

What would best serve you and your Expedition this weekend? What would help you sink deeper into your own self-care practice and reflections on this, the midpoint, of our time together?

Self-Care Expedition Day 4: waiting for a break in the rain

[Note: this is Day 4 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m actually one day ahead of everyone in this expedition. I started a day early so the daily post would be waiting for you. I’m not really getting up, writing and posting at 6 in the morning. ;) Ok, onward!

Today it seems as if I’m failing at every aspect of this expedition.

I started off the day with 3 cups of black tea.

Not a bad thing in and of itself. Sometimes my body actually enjoys the feeling of caffeine.

However, now it is mid-afternoon and I feel distracted, anxious, and overwhelmed. I haven’t taken even a moment to slow down and check in.

And, it’s raining.

That only matters because I’m wearing jeans and I don’t want to a) get them wet going for a walk; or b) change into something else. The pressure-resistance pattern is beginning to rear up in a big way.

So, here I am again, about to put my insights from yesterday into effect.

What does my body want in *this* moment?

I take one breath. Now another.

I invite my awareness to begin sinking, sinking, sinking… Sinking down out of my busy busy floating head and into my body. My eyes begin to feel slightly heavy, my vision softens. Yes, even as I’m typing.

I notice this kind of electric feeling running down my legs, this sense of blankness throughout my chest and torso. Tension at the base of my skull.

There is this overall sense of mild-moderate panic running through my body. But, since I’m not feeling super connected to my body right now, it is more of this ‘impression’ vs something I can put into concrete sensation-based language.

Ah. Somehow acknowledging that allows me to take a deeper breath.

And now, I am more present within my body.

There is this gripping sensation in my solar plexus, pressure in my throat, a sense of dullness or heaviness through my stomach.

As I begin to become more aware of what is happening in my body, some of the tension at the base of my skull begins to drain down my neck and to melt away. Nice. I like that.

Now, I’m able to feel how exhausted I feel.

That’s right! I barely slept last night. Just tossed and turned. And, other than a couple of hours with a client, I’ve been mostly working on the computer all day. Not fun. Not nourishing. At least not today.

What might feel nourishing now?

Wow. Even this question brings up discomfort… a dull ache spreading through my chest that whispers ‘Another decision? Just let me rest. Please.’

This ache brings with it sadness. Sadness coupled with the understanding that I’ve once again just pushed through the day without any regard for the needs of my body.

I remember how I didn’t eat (caffeine only) until after 1pm and how very shaky I was feeling by that time. And then, when I did eat, I was super rushed and immediately jumped right back onto the computer afterward.

No wonder my body just wants to rest.

What might feel restful?

More sadness and again, the aching through my chest, less dull and more acute this time.

I sit with it, allowing it to be there, and as it gradually dissolves, I have this sense of more ease and spaciousness throughout my chest. I take another, even deeper, breath.

This is what my body wants right now. This is what she needs. She needs me. Just me. No activity, no food. Just me.

So, this is where Day 4 finds me.

Finally remembering to pause, to slow down, to check in with my body and to listen for her preferences.

Today, I tried very hard to do things *my* way.

It didn’t feel good.

It feels so much better to be here, now, the most connected I have been to my body all day.

I feel relieved and somehow more enlivened even though what is coming up is, again, this ache, this sadness, this grief, for not having listened sooner.

For within this sadness, there is also joy. The joy of homecoming. The joy of once again coming home to my body and to a more true, a more still and connected, experience of myself.

For you.

We are entering the midlands of our 10-day expedition. The initial wave of excitement and insights brought on the by the start of the expedition may be beginning to wane.

For me, the midlands are often the hardest part of the expedition and also where the real work is done. The real work of continuing to show up, to remember, and to stick to our commitments. And, of course, the real work of being gentle and kind with ourselves when we don’t show up, remember, or stick to our commitments. :)

How does Day 4 find you? What are you noticing? What is emerging for you as you venture deeper into this expedition?

xo

Self-Care Expedition Day 3: the pressure-resistance piece

[Note: this is Day 3 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition in which I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join this expedition at any point through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling excited about driving to Forest Park and walking up my favorite long hill.

Everything felt clear in my body. There was no pressure or contraction or resistance to be felt.

Except, I also wanted to have coffee with my husband. And then we started talking about something. And then something else came up.

Only a short hour after getting up, when the thought again crossed my mind to go for a walk up the hill, I felt all this resistance in my body primarily taking the form of constriction through my chest, making it difficult to breath.

I decided to do some working out in the house instead because that felt, in the moment, fun and playful.

However, the thought of driving to the hill kept returning, each time with an increased sense of pressure and ‘should’.

“It felt so good when you first decided to go this morning. What’s wrong with you? Why haven’t you went. You’re not going to go at all, are you?”

As the internal pressure increased, so did my resistance. Plus, the window of time I had to take this walk was quickly closing adding even more pressure (and thus more resistance).

In which a breakthrough (of sorts) occurred.

Luckily, I am in the middle of this expedition; fortunately, I did remember that and was able to interrupt this pattern of pressure and resistance.

I paused and took a moment to check in with what my body wanted now, in this moment.

Note to self: it might be helpful (for me, for you) if I described in a bit more detail what I mean when I say I ‘checked in with what my body wanted.’ Maybe tomorrow…

My body still felt very eager for movement. It was the getting in my car and driving piece that was causing the flare-up of resistance.

As I sat quietly just listening for a moment, I remembered this bluff about a mile’s walk away.

I recalled there were trails going down and up it. Nowhere near as long as my favorite Forest Park hill, but long enough.

And, there was no resistance at all to that idea, just eagerness to get out the door.

So, out the door I went!

And, it was pretty awesome to have an experience of being with my body and being able to respond to the impulse that arose in the moment.

There is something more here for me today.

Something about how when I have an idea or impulse that feels right, I tend to cling to it – often for long after the moment of ‘rightness’ occurred.

It’s like I forget that there is a sense of rightness to follow in every moment. It’s as if I don’t trust that if I miss one of the impulses, that there will be another.

And yet, just as there is always another moment, there is always another impulse. It may not be the same impulse, but whatever it is will meet the exact needs of my body and of me, in that moment.

So, this is where I am today.

Noticing how when I don’t act on something in the moment, but then cling to that something, pressure (quickly followed by resistance) arises.

And then, since I am resisting the pressure, I often end up doing nothing. Well, nothing except beating myself up and feeling guilty about it all, that is! :)

Today, I’m feeling really grateful to see this pattern a bit more clearly.

For you.

What are you noticing on Day 3 of your expedition? What insights, stories, patterns are beginning to emerge as you deepen into your self-care practice?

sending clarity and love to you.

 

Self-Care Expedition Day 2: the betrayal of my body

[Note: this is Day 2 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition in which I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join this expedition at any point through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

Today I want to begin to unravel this whole ‘me not trusting my body to know what it needs to feel nourished and strong’ thing.

Let’s start by taking a look at a story I carry.

A story that says my body has betrayed me. Time and time again.

For instance, when I was 22, out of nowhere I experienced being repeatedly stabbed in my chest. This stabbing resulted in an inability to breath and me collapsing for half an hour or more at a time in excruciating pain (and terror).

It turned out to be costochondritis but it took 6 long months to figure it out. During that time I was convinced I was on the edge of dying and lived in constant fear of the next attack.

Then, in my mid-20s, I was hiking down a mountain one lovely summer day when, just like that, BOTH of my legs collapsed out from under me.

With no warning signals (pain, tenderness, weakness), suddenly, both of my knees were incapable of supporting me. I went from being a very active hiker, biker, runner, backpacker, to being unable to walk even a block without being in excruciating pain… for 9 MONTHS.

I still don’t have an explanation for this one – other than perhaps it had something to do with hiking a bunch of steep, dusty, slippery trails resulting eventually in some misalignment??? I don’t know. Perhaps there is some grand cosmic lesson (or joke) here? Again, I don’t know.

What I do know is that it sucked to not be able to walk without pain, to not be able to do any of the activities I loved and that kept me sane.

While my knees still occasionally flare up, with enough time, they did eventually heal. And again, I don’t really know what led to their healing as nothing that I did to try to help them heal (physical therapy, bodywork, acupuncture, pilates…) seemed to really make a difference.

And, of course, there is the other constant in my life:  headaches and migraines.

Although this pattern has and does continue to slowly shift, it is yet another example of my body seemingly attacking me and (often) being completely unwilling to respond to preventative or remedial measures.

Anyway, these are but a few examples.

There are many more that, over time, resulted in this slow separation from and distrust of my body.

Of course, I can’t entirely blame my body. I have also betrayed her time and time again.

I have refused to listen to the signs of an oncoming headache or to signals from my body telling me I was overdoing it, I was pushing too far.

Time and time again, I have remained quiet and just endured pain until whatever was causing the pain was over.

For years and years, I repressed and denied my emotions (which, as it turns out, was a huge part of the headache pattern).

And, like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve imposed various diets, restrictions, programs, etc on my body without her consent or permission.

There is this hardness present in me as I write all of this out.

This hardness that is masking a deep sadness. Grief, actually.

Grief for all the ways that I haven’t been a good friend and partner to my body.

Grief for all the times and ways that I’ve taken her for granted and then hated her and distanced myself from her when she was in pain and needing me the most.

Grief for all the pain and frustration and agony that we’ve put each other through.

For me, today, noticing and acknowledging the pain of these ‘betrayals’ is enough.

For you, today, while I don’t want to assume that you have a similar ‘betrayal’ story, is there any pain that needs to be acknowledged around the way you have cared (or not cared) for yourself or your body in the past?

And, more generally, what are you noticing on Day 2 of your expedition?

xo

Self-Care Expedition Day 1 – initial reflections

[Note: this is Day 1 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. You are welcome to join this expedition at any point through making your own 10-day commitment, commenting and/or silently supporting.]

Man. Have I ever been cranky the past couple of days. Ever since announcing this expedition, actually.

Saying Yes to spending 10 days noticing and reflecting on my relationship with food and movement has most definitely brought the threshold guardians out in full force.

At the same time, all of these insights, stories, and memories related to food and movement have been surfacing.

Today, I want to take a moment and reflect on the nature of my relationship with these two (wily) lovely beasts up to this point.

First, though, it feels important to acknowledge that up until a few years ago, exercise and diet were my primary (only?) self-care practices. It’s only been in the past 5-7 years that they have fallen to the side as I became consumed with exploring the softer aspects of self-care and self-awareness.

Let’s start with exercise.

Like I mentioned in the expedition announcement post, I’ve been really active for most of my life. My body loves to move. And, for most of my life, I’ve loved to move it.

Over the recent years, though, this love of movement has changed. It has shifted from moving because-moving-is-fun-and-feels-good to moving because-that’s-what-I-should-do-in-order-to-be-healthy.

Basically, exercise is now an obligation versus play. And, I do not (nor does my body) respond well to obligation.

Ok, let’s move on to food.

Oh boy. I don’t even know how to start with this one.

I guess, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just say that for all of my 20s I was obsessed with food and diet. I was a vegetarian (with times of being vegan) for more than a decade. I’ve cleansed, fasted, cut out sugar, done the body-ecology diet, went gluten-free, stopped eating nightshades, soy, corn… the list goes on and on.

Some of the experimenting was fueled by me attempting to establish some sort of connection between my diet and my headaches. Some was just to experiment with how I might feel if I did this vs that. Some of it (a lot of it) was an attempt to control my body and my cravings and my weight.

In short, I imposed a lot of rather extreme experiments on my body.

And no, I never paused to ask my body what she wanted or if she was on-board with all the experiments. I just did it.

My relationship with food may be even more tangled than my relationship with exercise.

Except, they are actually one and the same. In both cases, it boils down to me not trusting that my body actually knows and can tell me what she wants and needs. It boils down to me trying to control my body and impose my will on her.

And now, there is a lot of history and pain to untangle to get to the point where I can be in a relationship with my body that allows me to hear and to trust what she wants.

That is the point of this expedition. That is why I am here.

 For you.

How is Day 1 of your expedition going? Any threshold guardians making themselves known to you?

Would taking a moment to reflect on what has brought you to this moment in your relationship with yourself and whatever self-care practice you are implementing be beneficial?

Feel free to share (or not share) as feels right to you in the comment section.

And, if you write about your expedition on a personal blog, do please provide a link in the comments so we can follow along.

sending ease and love.