Minimizing the effects of life-on-hold if you're anything like me, when life throws curve balls, normalcy goes out the window. Do routine-disruptions derail your healthy habits too? Why is it difficult to stay on track in times of stress?
Have you ever headed out on a road trip, stopped to fuel up, and left the gas station with a big blueberry cake, I mean muffin (even though you ate breakfast 30 minutes ago)? On most days those sugar laden, cakes of comfort, presented in their glass castles go unnoticed. But when off our daily routine, we tend to migrate from healthy practices.How about when your day is compressed? Taking time for movement or meditation seems frivolous right? When life is turned upside down, routines are ignored, organization ceases to exist, and self-care practices seem self-ish.
If the COVID-19 situation has you feeling out of sorts, you're not alone. I've heard from countless clients sharing the same dilemma! People have reported feeling: Low energy, sluggish digestion, sleeping difficulty, anxious, helplessness, and pain brought about from lack of mobility and too much tension.
Now more than ever it's important to shore up your health and wellness! Mindful Movement wants to help you during this challenging time. Although the benefits garnered from community-group classes are hard to replicate, moving together virtually can:
Mindful Movement practices:
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I could use this newsletter to convey heart healthy habits that may help stave off heart disease, but I’ll refrain from the soft lecture. Not because the disease is on the decline, nor because I’ve thrown in the towel on my personal healthy lifestyle habits. Rather, I’ve come to understand more than ever, improved emotional (heart) health comes, not from eating salmon in lieu of steak, running weekly, or meditating. These practices can’t hurt, but nothing takes the place of listening deeply to your heart.
Inner-work practices are helping me to: expand my emotional clarity, be a witness to what is (without adding unnecessary drama), allow me to “be me”, forgive childhood grievances, let go of precious friends (some who decided to let go first), and be willing to “be wrong” during arguments that have the capacity to hurt beyond what “being right” is worth. Make no mistake, the stubborn, tough-fighting Taurus in me is still learning. But I can honestly say, like the green Christmas Grinch, my heart has grown exponentially, and I feel love more profoundly than ever.
It’s difficult, arduous, and painful work. So why bother?
I believe sharing love’s reverberational-energy, has the power to heal beyond our wildest dreams (and I’m that girl who loves to dream)! I believe when this energy is shared, it grows. It’s been said, “heal thyself, heal the world”. Imagine if we all could spend a moment on the moon. How could we not consider the part we play here on this phenomenal blue planet we call home? Mindful Movement incorporates stillness, movement, and music; inviting you to breathe, feel, heal, and grow your heart, one beat at a time.
A sea of warm faces looked up at me; they were patiently waiting to learn a movement routine that would contribute to living strong, vital, and healthy lives. One is humbled when a room full of people show up at the Waterbury Library on cold Vermont mornings. I recognized some of these delightful faces from teacher conferences, volunteer activities, and various other functions. This is a cross section of the community that has shared immeasurable generosity, compassion, and guidance to myself and family over the past 25 years.
As class begins, sharing the importance of maintaining strong physiques as we age escapes my mouth with ease. Perhaps it’s the Vermont farm girl in me, or the popular zen notion that paying attention while carrying water, and chopping wood, are in fact life’s purpose. As I've often shared in class, “We use our head and our heart to create gifts and offerings that benefit and beautify the world.” Having a healthy physical body to share and transport these gifts is helpful.
Many thanks to Judi Byron, the library’s Adult Coordinator. I'm honored to serve a community that has shared valuable wisdom and virtues with many. If you’ve been on the fence about participating in the various movement practices the library offers, I encourage you to take the leap; your body, mind, and heart will benefit immensely!
Wishing you health, peace, and the warmth of community,
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
― Fred Rogers
Have you seen all the white, Subaru foresters on the roads? It happens every time I get a new car! The color, make, and model seem to explode in popularity. In reality, this isn't true; my brain is simply in "white Forester" awareness mode.
The same thing happens when I watch too much news, or listen to too many hours of doom and gloom podcasts about the fate of the world. I hyper-focus on negativity, which propels me into feeling hopeless, fearful, and useless in regards to creating change.
During morning classes, we continue offering loving kindness; thoughts, and blessings of peace, ease, good-health, and love for all. Perhaps small in comparison to what the world is in need of, but thoughts are things, and it feels good to hurl positive things rather than pitchforks.
Although Seth Godin's blog posts don't always resonate with me, the post below hit me smack in the head. Enjoy.
Perfect is the enemy of good.
Of course it is.
But that simple sentence becomes more urgent when we realize that nothing (and no one) is perfect. How could it be? And so, if your hero, your cause, your holiday, your background, your relationship… if it’s not perfect, does that mean you should hide it? Be ashamed of it? Be afraid of it?
We’re surrounded by injustice, and yesterday was even worse. It’s so easy to find things that are imperfect and criticize them or worse, shame them.
Better, I think, to find glimmers of good and seek to amplify them. Mistakes can be seen, errors can be improved upon, progress can be made. But only if we embrace the chance for good.
The imperfect is an opportunity for better.
Thank you for sitting still with me.
Thank you for believing in possibilities.
Thank you for amplifying the good, and sharing your prayers.
First and foremost, Happy New Year! I'm grateful for you and all you've shared with me over the past year.
You've made it possible for me to show up as a business owner each week. More importantly, you've provided me a platform for growth, transformation, and stepping into my wholeness with each passing season.
As the new year approaches I'm inspired to live with greater purpose. Although I'm your biggest cheerleader when it comes to embodying health and wellbeing, I'm also aware that adopting daily habits that'll help you lower disease risks is just the beginning.
Once you have a structure to cover the A,B,C's of movement, nutrition, stress management, sleep hygiene, and community/relationship wealth, the world becomes your snow globe.
As 2020 approaches, I'm excited to continue the practices that remind me who I am: just someone walking with you on your journey.
My New Year intentions:
Perhaps not the new slimmer, leaner, you in 2020 newsletter you were expecting, but I hope a few of these items scratched your outer surface, or possibly even cracked your shell; the exterior layer that we all build up as we walk further and further from our authentic selves.
Wishing you peace, health, and comfort between the storms in 2020.
Love and gratitude,
Proud 2019 reflection~
My Dad, Larry Roy loved watching me compete. While in college, he attended all my VT triathlons and road races. In honor of him, and his passion for the race, I ran a half marathon (my first in 12 years) this past fall. This particular race had been on my radar for many years, given it's location; South Hero, where my dad was born, and where he rests in peace. His gravesite is located several hundred feet from the start and finish of the race.
Although not feeling 100% prepared due to an early cold virus, my race experience was remarkably satisfying! Step by step, I traveled along the roads I'd grown up knowing. The warm September sun energized my spirit and warmed my bones.
At times during the race I felt my father's presence. There were parts he lifted my heavy, tired feet (at least it felt that way). There were times when I lifted my own, counting out 1-8 over and over, especially mile 12-13.
After finishing an emotional 2 hours on roads, I walked to the cemetery, placed my race medal over his cross, and dedicated the race, and in ways my life to my father.
In some ways the last part of this experience may seem like the climax. However, in many ways, it was during the summer of 2019, that my fuel and passion was reignited. I grew fond of longer running routes again; the 5:30am training runs with my running partner Alysia were a pleasant way to wake with the birds, the hill repeats that grew in quantity (not so much in quality), each week, and the long slow distance weekend runs...thankfully either listening to a favorite podcast or my friend share about meaningful world values and ideas.
It's rarely about the race, it's about the journey getting there. A good reminder: your 2020 journey awaits you...how do you want to experience it?
Attending workshops at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Stockbridge, MA is my favorite way to invest time and money. Learning from remarkable practitioners of yoga, coherent breathing, stress reduction, Ayurvedic-nutrition, and most recently Metta meditation has influenced my teaching, and ways of being. Expanding my views (literally and figuratively) helps me cultivate an open, curious mind. Without this wider lens, I’m embarrassed to write, I’m not 100% certain I’d notice the inequity of the current social landscape.
My October Berkshire visit for a Metta meditation workshop with Sharon Salzberg was deep and full of transformational moments. The practice of Loving Kindness is done silently, offering benevolent health, peace, and ease to yourself, acquaintances, enemies (perhaps a difficult stretch), and all sentient beings. Who knew sitting on your butt (at times in discomfort), has the potential to amplify circles, broaden awareness, settle anxieties, and shake you awake to the life you’re living.The act of wishing good-will to others, has the capacity to not only make your inner world more peaceful, but also foster acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion and love.
Social and racial disparities are obvious in wellness spaces such as Kripalu. Access to health enhancing programs seems reserved for the affluent few. Not unlike many college tours I’ve been on (primarily in New England), the Kripalu campus was overwhelmingly white. However, diversity was strongly represented by employees cleaning bathrooms, stocking cafeteria trays, and providing fresh towels. In mindfulness practice, they say change begins with noticing. Noticing when your mind has spun out in a fantasy, your itty-bitty committee has taken a turn for the worse, or paying attention to simple pleasures- like the gripping hug of a child, snowflakes on eyelashes, or the taste of a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter’s day. We can’t change what remains unseen.
During the meditation practices, when invited to wish positive, peaceful, healing energy to acquaintances/strangers, I knew precisely who I’d be offering blessings. I fantasize about a future where healthy living isn’t reserved for the privileged and monochromatic, and where we take care of the whole and not just the haves. A future where thoroughly seeing becomes prevalent, and un-noticing doesn’t feel right in our soul, and where all beings have access to the privilege of health and wellness.
This past week I had the pleasure of feeling the stars in their glory. One evening as I returned home...instead of rushing into the mudroom to unload my arms (my arms have been full my entire life it seems), I paused and looked up. Not a quick hurried glance, but rather a panoramic view that consumed my being. A feeling and a knowing, that "I'm them and they're me", swallowed me instantaneously. The stars that were up there, are the same as when I was born; and will be the same long after I disinhabit my earth meat-suit.
This interconnected feeling is fleeting. The pause between my thoughts, feelings, and restlessness to "do" restored me for a brief moment. A timeframe frozen in my heart which I've been pondering and savoring.
When you have the opportunity, without searching, looking for something, and forcing an experience,
As I planted my prized variety 50-count bag of daffodils, I was called to exercise delayed-gratification. I’ve spent the money, labored tucking them deep in the earth, but now will need to wait 7-8 months (depending on VT’s 2020 spring) before I’m able to enjoy their striking beauty.
"Patience is a virtue", the phrase you were most likely taught. That virtue has all but disappeared in today’s next-day Amazon delivery. We’re a society that not only runs on Dunkin, but also a hedonic treadmill. Always looking for the shiny new thing that’ll provide immediate gratification.
What does this have to do with Mindful Movement, Mindful Eating, and wellness coaching? Quick fixes in health and wellness often bypass the real meat and potatoes (pun intended), for sustainable change. There’s always going to be the next diet, potion, skinny-coffee membership that’ll promise the fast, easy way to fit into those skinny jeans. But at what cost? You’ve most likely either experienced or witnessed it...the magical transformation that seemed to take place overnight, then the reversal transformation usually a year or so later. Often the process has detrimental effects on future metabolism.
This was evident in the research they did on the Biggest Losers contestants - https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html
After being in the health and wellness field for over 30 years, I’ve come to some solid conclusions. My responsibility to my clients, is to help them find ways to live their best lives- while eating real food, remaining part of their families/communities and moving their bodies in ways that make them feel good. The tools people acquire, help them course-correct during life’s curveballs. Things like more: water, movement, green veggies, connection with loved ones, home-cooked meals, and less: breads, crackers, candies, food wrapped in packages with long expiration-dates , and beverages that lead to poor food choices, and contribute to dehydration.
Notice, however, I said more and less, not all or none! Unsexy I know, but the truth is the long-game, change-game, the ultimate transformation-for-life is how you build an arsenal of healthy habits that’ll assure you become vital, well, and have the ability to participate in your community celebrations and family rituals.
Avoid quick weight loss promises from experts outside the health and wellness field and instead take the time your healthy-self deserves to cultivate personal, sustainable, healthy habits. Transformation may not be speedy, nor spectacularly Facebook news-worthy; however, you’ll be empowered with helpful tools you won’t outgrow in a year.
Becky Widschwenter- Mindful Movement with Becky