Last year my husband and I moved into my childhood home. The house was becoming too much for my mom to take care of on her own, but it is such an exquisite piece of property and I knew we couldn’t let it go.
So my husband and I moved in and took over the maintenance and upkeep. The yard is large and reaches into a forested green belt. We have been working hard in the yard ~ digging, pulling, planting.
Whenever I am away, I daydream about coming home. When faced with a choice: Go out or play in the yard, my husband and I choose the yard nine times out of ten.
I lie in the grass. I watch the birds and the bunnies and the deer. I talk to the flowers. I feel the breath of the trees on my skin. “I love you trees,” I whisper. I dissolve into the green.
Writer’s block? A bicycle makes it better.
Your fragile ego take a knock? A bicycle makes it better.
Patriarchy got you down? A bicycle makes it better.
Errands to run all over town? A bicycle makes it better.
Caught in a love triangle? A bicycle makes it better.
An evil boss you wanna strangle? A bicycle makes it better.
Find a clover
Feel your struggles move right through
As you pedal magic beneath the blue.
Your worried heart it will unfetter
Cause a bicycle faithfully, always makes it better.
It's much simpler than you think.
The only rule: Don't stop.
In other words: Keep moving.
Not in a frantic or obsessive or punishing way.
Move steadily. Move with patience and presence. Soft persistence.
Be at once invigorated and relaxed.
The golden ticket: Find the place where effort and ease meet. Live there often.
Play your edges from time to time, but mostly hold the center, find moderation. Learn to be comfortable in moderation. This is an act of rebellion in a culture addicted to extremes and novelties.
You must move every day. You must move a lot. You must make every shape you can make. How many shapes can you make today? How many times can you make all those shapes today?
Because bad ideas come from those who sit still, who stare at screens all day.
Affirm your life through movement. Refresh your brain. See things new. Breathe deeply. Move!
Do some squats. Do some push ups. Learn to climb a tree. Move to music. Take a long walk.
But don’t run a marathon.
Unless running a marathon is the deepest longing in your heart. In that case, do it.
But don't do it because you think you have to in order to prove yourself or in order to make yourself worthy or because you believe that this thing ~ this marathon or whatever it is ~ is the thing you must to to be healthy and vital.
There are so many ways to care for your body with movement, but the essential rule is that you must like what you are doing. If it does not bring you joy: Stop. Find another way.
Do the unglamourous thing. The thing that will not be hailed or recognized. Trade ambition for attention. How does light move, air taste, your sweet one’s smile start? Indulge in the places where meaning is made.
Because you know how your body feels when you tell a lie: Not right.
It’s May, sweet friends. Don’t forget you are alive.
I am not the smartest or the strongest or the most beautiful to look at. I have thin hair and spider veins and I will not be getting Botox. But I like me anyway and I will not shrink away. Instead I will show up every day with an open heart and a sense of humor to meet myself where I’m at and do my best with what I’ve got. I see all of life as art and rock at roller blading and yes I totally challenge you to a poetry slam rap battle dance off.
Morning with my journal contemplating what I call The Magical Life Equation.
The Magical Life Equation is
Proper Mindset + Imperfect Action = Progress
A proper mindset is open, curious, flexible and light-hearted while keeping self-criticism and fear at bay. A proper mindset is not judgmental of people or circumstances and does not solidify the current state of affairs with ironclad stories that can never be changed.
Imperfect action is moving forward in small steps without overthinking or comparing your journey to the journey of somebody else. When you take imperfect action, you know that mistakes are necessary and also not a big deal at all, so they don't get you down. Imperfect action is doing your best with what you've got in this very moment.
Progress is movement that improves the circumstance of your soul as well as the souls of others. Progress does not exploit Mother Earth, other human beings or animals for the sake of one's own ego, celebrity or pocketbook.
Apply this equation to any area of life where you would like to make progress and watch magic happen.
When life throws you a challenge, do act in a creative way or a destructive way?
I try to choose creative as often as possible, because it benefits me, my family, friends and everybody around me and has ripple effects into the greater consciousness.
In order to this I have to know what my destructive behaviors are and what their creative counterparts are.
When I react to challenges in a destructive manner, I feverishly eat exorbitant amounts ice cream and potato chips, I ruminate, I talk shit, I stop exercising, I get grumpy with people I love, I pay my bills late.
On the other hand, when I respond creatively in the face of challenges, I notice my breath, I seek advice, I read and listen to great thinkers, I clean my house and work in the yard, I move my body, I get out of my own circumstance by doing something for someone else.
The goal is to have a toolbox filled with enough creative solutions to move through even the most challenging situations with grace.
May your creative responses be greater than your destructive reactions!
My mind has a tendency to trespass into anxiety, depression and perseveration, spinning a broken record of worries and critiques.
Years ago I created these rules of engaging with my mind. This morning I wrote them again in my journal.
Whenever I find my mind circling in unproductive ways, I check in with myself on the following points, because sometimes mental health is added best by caring for ourselves on the most basic levels.
1) Have I showered? Have I brushed my teeth? Am I wearing clean clothes that are not sweaty gym shorts? If not, I tell myself no more thinking until I clean up.
2) Am I tired? Yes? Stop thinking! Go to bed! If it’s the middle of the day and I can’t take a nap, then I’m simply not allowed to think until I feel rested again, and if that means no thinking for the rest of the day, great!
3) Have I moved my body lately? No? Then I must stop thinking until after I have gone for a walk or yoga-ed or lifted something heavy.
4) Is my belly rumbling? Yes? Get food! Don’t think!
5) Am I feeling disconnected from others? If so, I find that the best way to get over my loneliness is to do something for someone else. I write a letter or cook soup for a friend. I also read books or listen to podcasts or talks given by people I admire.
If you’ve got a brain like mine, remember: No thinking about the purpose of life, no evaluating your worth as a human, no making big decisions until you are clean, rested, moved, satiated and feeling connected to the world around you and to the universe as a whole.
I named the studio where I train my clients "The Institute of Moves, Muscles and Eternal Optimism" not because I have an easily sunny disposition. Oh no! I slip into deep sadness and existential despair quickly, fully, often. In those moments I remind myself of my choice: stay stuck and feed the demons or move forward toward something truer. I can focus on what is wrong, what brings me down or on what is right, what energizes me. Yesterday I felt strong in body and spirit, jumping to high boxes and squatting with a very heavy bar on my back. Today a very heavy feeling in my heart, my mind stuck on repeat. "Move forward, move through," I tell myself. And I do. A walk down alleys with green tea in hand. It helps, but only minimally, but minimal is just enough today. Don't send me cheery wishes or sympathy thoughts. Instead promise me this: the next time you find your heart hurt, take a walk and breathe deep and think of me and know you are not alone and focus on what helps, not on your own destruction. Or to put it another way, in the words a good friend taught me: KEEP MOVING. It helps. If even just a little.