Guest Post: My Resolution

I apologize for the crickets here at the blog. These last few weeks of work are intense, and I’m dealing with some other obligations, as well. Just eight more work days before summer break and I can focus on Five Seed with all my attention! In the meantime, my awesome friend and fellow blogger, EcoGrrl, is picking up the slack for me. I abolutely love this post she wrote about empowerment, change and joy.


What if I made it okay to be who I am at this exact moment?

Wear the clothes that compliment this body. Love the curve and love the life within me, that light I shine on others. It’s a challenge to sit up on this precipice and not jump, to balance and look up and out versus down and inside.

Copyright: EcoGrrl

And they have come to me. They ask about what I can do to show them the way. They see me. He sees me. And it seems, I see me. It’s why I know I am not where I should be in the day. I know and I love what I have to offer. Not everyone there does. They can’t see it, don’t want to, whatever. It doesn’t matter. No harm, no foul. I am on a journey.

And I see opportunities to give, and that’s what I’m about. That’s where I head towards. This morning I was around a world I should have been all along. The way I grow and build this world I am in and when I stood out in that garden, I could only think how you are supposed to be here. It will be complete when you are here. And I see it, see it so clearly. This is how it needs to be, how it must be.

Jump ahead eight days. I have made big decisions. I have emotions bursting from my heart. I feel my soul opening up.

I am now – finally – headed in the right direction.

My friend sends me The Radical Self Love Manifesto (below) today. As always, our friendship is as it should be. We are connected anywhere in the world. There are few people who cause my blood to slow, my breath to still, my mind to exhale. My closest allies see all that is in me and mirror what I need to see – what I’m finally beginning to see.

The writer Iyanla Vanzant said, “Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself.” For many years, I believed the negative. When someone criticized me, I felt a failure. And so I failed – repeatedly. Over and over, I dated the same type of man, picked the same type of work environment. They all pleaded, fix me.

And on a dark day one October, my life changed forever. My father died. I was thirty-four years old and my head was on his chest as he took his last breath. The man who set the precedent was gone, and I was forced out into the world, with no more excuses. I was free.

I spent the next three or so years wandering. Nothing seemed to fit. Yet, at the same time, I was facing my fears. Being honest with everyone I connected with. And I wrote, I wrote, I wrote. My promise to myself was that I would find myself through my words, hold nothing back, feel life as raw as I could, and with this, the answers would come.

More people died, from the sudden to the eventual. Jobs came and went. I ventured far for a love who stabbed me in the gut. I grew my garden. A business came and went. I confessed my fears to my closest friends. Quiet surrounded me.

Nothing quite settled within. Then.

It is different today.

I have learned to see one thing. Truth. In the eyes of those I love and in my own heart. Life became too fleeting. His life ended too quickly. And I could no longer spend each day in battle with myself. I could no longer keep hating the way my body had changed with the years. I could no longer see myself as unworthy of love. Maybe I should believe the good instead of the bad. Maybe I had so much to give it was just bursting at the seams. Maybe I could see things for what they really were – pure, imperfect, malleable.

Maybe I could love myself, love this man, love the world for all it is.

And with that, I awoke. I said I was leaving. I made good on my promise to go out on my own terms. I saw the complexity and was grateful. I gave him my entire heart in that moment. I left my past behind. I tucked the lessons in my pocket, and kissed the ground.

I made it okay to be me.

Strive to always be thankful and optimistic. Focus your gaze on what is good & positive; never dwell on the negative. Do not allow life to make you cynical or closed off. Remaining open and true to yourself is a life-long adventure; & the only one worth having. Choose to see the best in people. Strike up conversations with strangers. Never be afraid to ask for what you really, really want. To love, purely and fiercely, without agenda, is the most terrifying and rewarding thing you’ll ever do. Travel is essential to the spirit. A pair of great shoes means nothing if you have an ugly heart. Try your hardest not to judge anyone else; it never leads anywhere good. Always avoid tabloids & gossip; they destroy the soul. Be kind & loyal. Many things in this world are more important than money. Always trust your intuition, always. Rescue animals, it will strengthen your heart. Never delight in anyone else’s misery. Trust in others. You are your own best investment. Believe in the magic of a new day & a fresh start. Follow your bliss. Do more of what you love. Always do the best you can. Create your own family & care for them ferociously. When people offer you opportunities that scare you, say yes: it’s the very best way to grow. You are never as stuck as you think. Stay eager. Love yourself. Say YES to the adventure of life.
~ from galadarling.com

Many thanks to EcoGrrl for this awesome post. Please take a moment to visit her amazing blog!

For all you moms out there…

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

Copyright: Five Seed

Since I’ve been writing about body image and radical self-acceptance a lot lately, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to love what you see in the mirror, today especially. Your Mother’s Day treat is to believe you are beautiful no matter what you look. Big bellies, droopy boobs, whatever you see – remember that you brought a LIFE into this world. What is more beautiful than that? Your body is simply reminding you of the miracle you produced.

Love it.

Resolve to Love #5: The Mental Workout

I can hardly believe that we are near the halfway point of the RtL Challenge. How are you all doing with it? Last month, I hope the posts got you thinking and maybe even stretching your perceptions. Can you accept yourself as you are right in this moment? Is self-acceptance synonymous with complacency? Or giving up on yourself? If you’ve been as much of a stickler about it as I have been, has it been hard?

I have lots to say about my own experience, but for now, let’s jump into May’s assignment. This one is piggybacking on last month’s challenge, which, hopefully, you will continue to keep as part of your everyday routine. Since we touched on “dieting” in April, we are going to focus on working out this month. But not the usual way. You won’t be pulling on sweat pants or dragging yourself to the gym. Your workout is all “upstairs.”

During the month of May, I’m asking participants to start and end their days with affirmations (or prayers if that works better for you). Your affirmations/prayers can be as long or short as you like. They can pretty much be about anything you like. The only rule is that you must create all your affirmations to be in the present tense. Avoid “not” statements, like “I will not criticize myself today.” Keep it in the affirmative. For example, “I will build myself up today.”

I asked Melanie Jade of My Magical Journey to collaborate with me on this one, as she is a wonderful spiritual coach who has truly inspired me these past few years. The affirmation she was prompted to share with my readers is simple, beautiful and says it all:

I am love.

If you want to add to this, try looking through the affirmations at her website.

I also highly recommend Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course in Weight Loss. Though I mightily hate the title, I have a feeling that was more about the publisher’s desire to sell books than Williamson’s desire to help others heal from destructive relationships with food. This book is full of amazing insight and beautiful prayers. One to try:

Dear God,

Please help me begin anew,
to rebuild my temple
and restore my body.
May I learn to eat well.
Please send angels to help me.
May angels oversee my food and sit with me while I eat.
May food,
which I have so used to hurt me,
now become a blessing
and a blessing only
in my life.
Amen

Again, you don’t have to use any of these. Make up your own – whatever works for you and makes you feel good. Your affirmation/prayer can be about your body, about food, about self-acceptance or about your inner worth. Or all of the above.

The challenge is making sure you repeat your new mantra every single morning before you get out of bed and every night before you go to sleep. And anytime you can recite it in between!

These are your new abdominal crunches, your squats, your curls. Would you ever fail to perform your weekly allotment of sun salutations? Would you skip your morning jogs? Most of us are pretty diligent about our workouts (whether we’re really disciplined or just plain afraid of what will happen to our bodies if we stop), but no workout is as important as this one.

You absolutely must commit at least one minute in the morning and one minute in the evening to repeating your affirmation/prayer. Every single day. No fail!

Are you in?

Pedalin’: April 2012

When I sat down to write this post, I looked at the previous two and realized that I had been using the title “Wheelin’.” Seems slightly more appropriate to use “Pedalin’”!

My totals for the month of April*:

16 days on the bike

5 days driving the car

April, while beautiful, was a tough month. The winds were almost as strong as in March. At one point, I almost fell off my bike during my ride when a big gust hit me from the left. Seriously. Another day, I happened to look out the window at work and saw my bicycle up-ended again. Worried that the basket would come off like before, I ran out to grab it.

Copyright: Five Seed

The rain, however, was the biggest challenge for me. I don’t really like riding in the rain, mostly because it can get cold and I hate having the rain hit me hard in the face while I ride. It rained so often here last month that I honestly felt like I was living in Portland! Those 5 days in the car were almost all because I just didn’t want to deal with getting wet. But…for the most part, I braved it, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. One day, I forgot my rain gear and was SOAKED by the time I got home. You can bet that I never left the house again without my windbreaker, water-proof pants and rain poncho.

Copyright: Five Seed

The BEST part about riding in April, however, is something that is worth all the discomfort of the wind and rain – and then some. The budding trees and bulbs made every single day magical. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous everything was. The pink and white trees. The tulips and hyacinths and irises and daffodils. Absolute glory. Even watching the buds cascade down from the trees during a gray-skied wind storm was beautiful in ways I can’t describe. It was like riding through a fairy land.

Copyright: Five Seed

I always try to stay as present as possible during these changing times – April and October. The beauty of the flowers or the changing leaves is so fleeting that I try to soak in every second while I can. I take pictures, pause to watch the way branches sway in the breeze, stop to smell the buds. On one beautiful Sunday, I was walking with a friend, commenting on the trees when she said, “I just love to stop and listen to them.” I thought she was talking about the wind or something, but when we paused to listen, I heard something much louder: Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. My little gardener’s heart did a backflip to see the tree completely crawling with bees!

Copyright: Five Seed

My bicycle got a little baptism, of sorts, as well. I gave her her first bath last weekend. After all that rain and mud, she needed it! And while scrubbing her down, I realized I hated her name. (Some of you may remember that when I first got her, I named her Claire, simply because the word Clairmont is written on her frame. Yeah, original, I know!) Her new name is Madeleine. Let’s see if that one sticks! Seems to suit her more, I think.

No, I don’t ride it with the yellow bungee tied up like that, LOL! I loop that over the side basket to keep my stuff in place. Copyright: Five Seed

So, despite the rain, it has been a wonderful month of bicycle commuting!

*These totals only reflect my workday commutes. I don’t count weekends in these tallies. During the winter, I tend to average between 50/50 and 40/60 with the bike and car, respectively. In the summer and early fall, I tend to do almost all my errands on the bicycle.