Home Gym Dreams

A couple weeks ago I decided to try out the gym with my husband, who got a membership. The gym is the closest to us but is still 30 minutes away from our home. I have been craving the equipment of the gym for a long time now, so I gave it a try.

Of course, I loved being at the gym; it always feels like home for me. Looking in the mirror was tough, though, as I could see the wear and tear on my body during the last few months. That middle-aged poundage was apparent to me, and though I know that I am my biggest critic, my daughter recently said, “mom, not to hurt your feelings, but you’ve gained some weight.” Trust a kid for the truth.

The following week I wanted to share my excitement about the gym with my niece, so I texted her to meet me there. We worked out together and it felt really great. I enjoy supporting people in their workouts, and in their wellness journeys in general. When I do that, I feel that I help myself, also.

By the third visit to the gym, I began to feel that familiar longing to have my own space again at home for a gym where I can again record my workouts and also offer at-home sessions. That has been put on the back burner since the summer due to financial challenges. Today, however, we received some money from clients that we had been waiting on for a long time and I thought:

Why not use the surplus of this money to make that dream a reality, finally?

Right?

So today I got to it. I brought up all my previous paperwork from the summer for the home gym space and I got to sorting out items in order of importance. The list is long, as anyone knows who attempts to rennovate a garage space into a gym on a tight budget. I purchased what I could afford and now I am dreaming BIG TIME about this space again.

Here I was in the summer, cleaning it out. Since then, the walls have been washed and the floor has been scrubbed, a window has been repired. I have a lot of work to do to get this space ready.

Self-Care Bingo

One of my groups is doing “self-care bingo” this week and I wanted to select a couple areas to work on. One of the prompts is to write down 5 good things about myself. Here they are:

  1. I am living in my most authentic way in this moment.
  2. I go out of my way to express and show and take care of others.
  3. I am able to admit my mistakes and take action to fix them.
  4. I can do hard and scary things when I know that is what is right for me to do.
  5. I can take care of myself but also let others care for me.

2021 Reflection

What did you feel held you back in 2021?
What have you corrected?
What are you still working to change?

My tie to emotional eating held me back in 2021, which was the year that I reached my highest weight. I felt a lot of anger and fear. While I gained much weight, I also achieved some amazing things, though. I found community with “my people” for the first time in my life; I actually feel as if I belong in several groups, and I have never had that before. I have more friends now than I have experienced in my life, and these are friends with deep connections. In 2022 I work to continue to look at my relationship with eating.

What’s your biggest non-scale victory you’ve discovered so far in 2022?
Are the scale numbers lining up with your plans? What do you plan to correct?
How will you celebrate by being active today?

My biggest non-scale victory is beefing up my social life as self-care. I lost many friends in the last two years and I decided to go out and find my people: those who are truly aligned with me. I actually DID that! And I feel closer to people and more connected than I ever had. For an introverted person, that is amazing…it’s a victory. The scale numbers are sometimes reflecting my victory. Celebrating always centers around food or retail therapy and I would like to change that but I nothing else really resonnates with me or feels like celebration.

What have you learned/noticed about yourself in the past six weeks that you hadn’t seen last year?
What ONE THING can you change immediately that’s been on your mind?
Take a walk with me today…can I have 15 minutes of your day?

I think that I am pretty self-aware. But I have become more outspoken about who I am and what I believe to be right in the last year. I am more capable of speaking my truth now. One thing that I could change immediately is my eating pattern. I can focus more on the daily rather than the weekly.

Goals for 2022

Today’s Question in Fat 2 Fit MFP Group:

What was your number one goal for 2022?
How’s that going?
What’s today’s plan?

My goal for 2022 was to stay open to the chaos. Checking in with myself, I am very happy with how I continue to combat my challenging habit of numbing out when things get ugly. I am getting better at setting boundaries so that I can feel safer in an “opened” inner space.

Today’s plan is to keep focused on my hydration, as that is so often the missing link in any day, as I drink so little.

Weight Loss Group Prompts

This week I am responding to some prompts from my “Fat 2 Fit” weight loss group in MFP. I joined the group in January and have found myself feeling both inspired and overwhelmed. The following is today’s question:

What was your biggest regret from 2021 in your health routine (fitness, nutrition, water intake, etc.)?
How has that changed?
What’s on tap for today?

“Regret” is not the perfect word for me, as regret is something that I do not feel. Even horrible experiences are not ones that I regret. I feel grateful for challenges in my life, and I always try to see how I can use them to move forward. But, I will reframe the question for myself, because I understand the essence of the question.

2021 saw the biggest weight gain I have ever experienced in my life. I am currently at my personal heaviest weight. When I look back to the last year, I am not sure about why I have gained this weight. My go-to answer would be mishandling stress from the pandemic — and that makes sense, and it is true. My deeper answer is that I wanted to gain weight; a part of me must have wanted that in order for it to happen. So I look at it, and ask myself why I would want to feel this way.

Of course, answering a deeper question like that requires a lot of personal responsibility, but I am not afraid of that. I have always been afraid to gain weight. In fact, being muscular and fit has driven me since I was 16; I was obsessed with how I looked, being beautiful, strong, desirable. I’ve held on tightly to that and I have never really let it slip until this last year. A part of me, I think, has always wondered what I would do if I were fat, if I could let my hold on my beauty go…who would I be then?

Honestly, I know I’ve gained weight in order to explore this, on a subconscious level. It’s been eye-opening. So much of my worth centers on my beauty. But I am curious! I want to see where this can lead me, how I am going to deal with it, how I am going to feel, whether I can use this as an opportunity to step out from behind my mask. When people see me as common or fat or ugly or old, can I maintain my worth in my own eyes?

My “regret” is that I am so attached to how I look. I have done well with navigating through it, lots of positive self-talk and affirmations. And yet, I cling, in part, to what others want me to be.

Today, what’s “on tap” is more of the same. Being present in a plump body for the first time, allowing myself space to feel that and witness that. And working toward something truly stronger as I manifest, through highs and lows, who I really want to be.

I Sing the Human Electric

This is the female form,

A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,

It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,

I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it

– from “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman

Omnia Vanitas by William Dyce

As I age and develop a deeper relationship with/to my body, I am intrigued by its changes and how I move to greet them. The relationship between me and my body symbolizes how I grapple with the world. This blog seeks to explore that connection. Diet, exercise, and wellness practices will be tracked, as well as reflections and plans. I am curious about what health looks and feels like as I move through middle age, and how I can forge a resilient reflection that feels authentic.

Control Causes Suffering

There is much going on in the country currently to present a facade of control. Sometimes control is a good quality in our human experience; however, much of the time control is only a fantasy that brings more harm.

While wanting control is natural, it also causes much suffering in our lives as we feel how little can actually be controlled. Rather than continuously reaching for a feeling of wellbeing through what we can control, I invite viewers in this video to experiment with surrendering control. A meditation is included.

Grand Opening Tomorrow!

I am so excited for the grand opening of the virtual studio tomorrow, September 1! Classes kick off with 45 minutes of Pump & Grind at 9am EST (sign up here!).

To welcome clients and participants to the studio, I made a little video saying hi!

HI!

Meta/Physical is a wellness studio offering fitness and yoga classes, ritual, personal training (starting February 2022), and reiki, massage, and nutrition (coming when the brick-and-mortar studio opens). We are body-positive and supportive in all wellness journeys. Our goal is to aid clients and participants in being braver in their bodies.

Summer Energetic Cleanse, Part I

I’ve done cleanses throughout my life for various reasons. This cleanse, coming in at the end of summer, is to clean up my energy by cleaning up my diet and allowing my energetic and physical bodies to process all the doubt I’ve been feeling.

Doubt!? What Doubt?


Embarking on a new project is daunting sometimes. As I settle into the idea of starting my own business, doubt creeps in occasionally. Doubts like:

Am I fit enough to start a fitness business?

Do I have the prowess to guide others?

Can I manage everything on my plate?

Will I be a positive role model?

On some days, the list could go on, my friends.

When I feel that doubt creep up, I try to look it in the eyes. Some of this doubt is warranted. For example, I will open my business in sync with the beginning of a new journey toward wellness. That means that I showcase myself in less-than-perfect form. I show my body at the start of a process. It looks like mom bod. Some people will expect me to look like a model.

For a recovering perfectionist, that’s a big deal!

But I take my time with myself.

Taking Time with Yourself

Ok, that isn’t always easy. For a type-A personality, taking time with anything — especially the self — can be a hurdle. It has been for me.

The truth is that when you show compassion for your process — the process that you really NEED — then getting the results that you want can take time. True, sometimes change is instant. I love THAT kind!

Oftentimes the kind of change that we can wear only comes after a long engagement to ourselves.

Today, in day three of my cleanse, some ugly feelings came up. Let me tell you about it.

Today’s Ugliness

Revealing my ugliness to others has taken me some practice but I think that sharing these glimpses of imperfection have helped me to grow in the way I desire. So, I share this.

This morning I did my daily workout. I loved it. I focused on shoulders and I thoroughly enjoyed my workout. I recorded myself doing the exercises with the intention of posting the videos on Instagram. I really LOVE this because I feel like I am reaching out for community and also offering inspiration. It fills me.

I weighed myself when I was done.

As someone with a history of disordered eating and body image who has (successfully!) battled various disorders, the scale is a mixed experience for me.

Usually I will do some affirmations or a chant I created to invoke a feeling of balance within before I step on the scale. But since I was doing the cleanse for two days already, I figured that I would like what I saw.

I didn’t like it.

The scale had climbed up on me.

It affected me hard because I had been focused on clean consumption and, even though I know better, I expected change immediately.

Self-digust and self-hate crept in. Now, this is a bugger that I know well and through the years I have developed tools to deal with her.

But I started hating on myself: squeezing my belly fat, puncing myself in the stomach, speaking mean words to myself, and having hateful thoughts toward my body, including harmful acts. I haven’t had such intense negative feelings about myself in years.

I let myself feel my feelings for a short time because in my experience, that is a necessary action so that I don’t “numb out.” Then, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that I have some tools at hand and that I can choose to use them if I wish.

Well, I did NOT wish.

So, I continued in a hateful spirit, knowing that I was making a conscious choice to do so.

After a few minutes, I reached a place at which I could use my tools. I put on more comfortable clothing first, because the clothing I was wearing made me feel fat. Rather than sit in it and feel bad for myself, I changed.

Then I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror and I repeated, “I want to take care of myself. Change takes time. I want to change.”

That brought on some tears because I knew that it was true. Very true. I also knew that it was hard sometimes. Very hard. So I felt that. Slowly, a space of compassion opened up.

My husband wanted me to talk about my feelings with him but I wasn’t ready. He sat with me in silence, just holding space for me. After a time, I was ready to talk about how I had felt.

There was a memory I had and I was surprised that it came to the surface. I was in 8th grade and my mom was taking pictures of me and my sophomore boyfriend before going to a semiformal. She said to me something like “suck in your gut, it makes you look fat.”

Huh? I was like, 115 lbs wet.

Wake up moment: I realized that this was the moment that I developed an disordred relationship with my body. My mom, who was obese at the time, body shamed me in front of my older, handsome boyfriend. I thought to myself at the time, “omg, if my mom, who is overweight, is calling me out like this, what do I really look like? What am I not seeing?”

And so.

No one, not my mom or anyone else, is responsible for how I feel about my body. I take complete responsibility — radical responsibility — for how I treat myself, how I feel about myself, what I do, etc.

BUT. For the first time in my long struggle, I think I pin-pointed the start of this problem in my life. It was not my mother’s comment, really, but more my willingness to open to the reality of that comment and accept it as my own.

THAT was a moment that I gave away my power.

It felt good to reveal this openly, just like it feels good to write about it now.

Our paths toward wellness may have a lot of speedbumps. But at the end of the day, I KNOW without a doubt that I make progress every single day. Sometimes that looks really ugly. I might feel like I am failing or flailing…but this is all part of that process. I am not going to postpone my dreams or my joy because I have ugliness.

I am going to reach a place at which even my ugly is beauty.

I am in transit.

Day 3 of a cleanse, apparently, is a time to clean house.

The Year of Radical Self Care

Most people, I think, require deep rest. If you are part of this capitalist society then you may be aware that rest is not an easily-procured thing. Oftentimes rest is considered weakness. This is true for both men and women but in some different ways.

I, like most moms with a career, have not had opportunities for rest and have had to carve time out for self-care. Once that puzzle was figured out (and it takes some trial and error), a more complicated problem emerges: how to allow that care to emerge, how to accept it.

Found a few minutes in the day to spend on caring for your needs? Figured out what to do to take care of yourself? Now the problem — how do you accept that care?

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Seems like a problem fraught in privledge, and it is. It is also one grounded in the internalization of cultural ideals about women and mothers. It is also a problem of capitalism, standardized educational practices, marginalization, and stigmas about mental health, to only name a few that pop off in my mind when I think about why it has been so difficult for me to accept my plan of self-care.

Here’s my confession: as soon as I sent out my resignation letters, I began what has turned into a month of frantic searching for another job. My mind cannot stop probing into what I am going to do.

Now, my husband is on board and vowed to support me financially for the next year as I supported him financially during the first two years of our relationship. He wants me to take this time, as he did, to explore and find enjoyment in my career again.

I have many questions: what are my passions now? What brings me a sense of vitality and grounding? Where is my heart? What does self-care look like in my 40s?

Anyone would be lucky to have this opportunity.

I am also taking this year of radical self-care to prepare for adoption from foster care, a process into which we are about one year.

Sounds great, right? How wonderful to have alotted this time and space for such magickal work!

But I am struggling to allow myself this space! I have an interview lined up next week and I only JUST posted grades for my last class three days ago. The panic is REALLY REAL for me, yet I am not completley sure what I am panicked about. It’s a nameless dread…always.

Homeschool and Stay Sane During the Pandemic

Homeschooling your elementary school-aged child for the first time during a global pandemic, while you are working and also doing ALL. OF. THE. THINGS. was not expected to be easy — but did you expect that it would be THIS hard? I’ve heard even my teacher friends complain that they can teach students just fine, but when teaching their own children, it’s a battle that they just can’t win.

In this video I share some best practices and tips for new homeschoolers who are low on time and energy…and patience. You can reach your goals and also keep your sanity!

Creating for Yourself Rather than Creating to Please Others

There are so many wonderful aspects of creating in order to please, entertain, or otherwise serve somebody else; however, creating strictly for your own purposes, to serve yourself, is a function with which many people lose touch as they grow. When one no longer creates for herself then a quest for acceptance from others that seemingly can never be filled, is created.

In this video, I talk about a need to come back to creating as a function of serving the self, and the importance of bringing that into focus once more.

Support me on patreon @ https://www.patreon.com/elanavery/

The Fantasy of Illness

“Fantasy” is used to denote desire and not make-believe.

In this video, I present the idea that during the covid pandemic the subconscious may project a wish for illness due to societal and personal value systems. The “fantasy of illness” is a desire that acknowledges one’s understanding of self as a sickly individual in need of care from others; this is not necessarily a negative desire, but one that should be brought into awareness when moving toward the society that we wish to build together. A “fantasy of illness” does not indicate that one makes oneself ill but that a person may feel relief when the world around her begins to reflect her inner fears of being unwell.

Please Be High Maintenance During the Pandemic!

Some people have reflected that they are glad that they are not “high maintenance” during the pandemic. But when I thought about high maintenance during this time, I felt that it was quite desirable and could serve our higher journeys. In this video I encourage high maintenance in the form of having, identifying, and expressing needs, expecting those needs to get met, looking at the ego and her strengths, exploring the “victim” archetype, and challenging authority figures. Perhaps embracing a high maintenance approach to life can save lives.

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/elanavery?fan…SHOW LESS

To be a Witch

“The first time I called myself a ‘Witch’ was the most magical moment of my life.”

Margaret Adler, Drawing Down the Moon

I begin this shadow book site in order to keep good order of what I learn on my journey of self discovery, which sounds a bit strange coming from a woman of middling years. But, since I only yesterday had a parasitic curse removed from my lineage by a shaman — the parasite was so mingled with me that distinguishing one from the other was impossible — I figured now is a good time to get to know myself in a deeper way. I know, right?! Those ancient parasitic curses can be doozies.

Apparently, I will feel myself lifted up out of the veil in coming months. That is exciting stuff. I always was a witch, but never stepped into that power until recently. I am sure that is the story of many women. Discovering what kind of witch I am and my proclivities is going to be a journey; but everything really is a journey.

Magic will be discovered, confidence built, talents honed — and all documented. Exciting times.

Compassion and Pity

I recently read about one woman’s experience at a Buddhist meditation retreat in India with an aged guru, and it prompted me to question what the difference is between compassion and pity; I found that the inquiry was fruitful for my own deeper understanding of kindness.

In her book Passionate Presence, Catherine Ingram delivers insights based on her experiences travelling toward a more awakened way of moving through the world.  In one section, she narrates a particular encounter, captured here:

During the morning session [of the retreat] a woman who appeared to be in a state of hysteria came onto the platform with him [Poonjaji]. Her questions and comments seemed to have nothing to do with what he was teaching, but worse, she was flailing about, hysterically laughing, and practically knocking the master off his seat. Although he appeared as strong as a mountain, at that time Poonjaji was nearly eighty years old with various health ailments.  It was almost too much for those of us sitting nearest him to bear, and at one point someone reached out to restrain the woman, fearing that she might accidentally harm the master at any moment. Meanwhile, Poonjaji tried in a poignant way to get through to her. “You and I are the same,” he said. “You need not be a beggar hoping to be saved; you are already on the throne of freedom.” In response the woman squealed with laughter and threw her arms around his head, pulling him to her. After what seemed an eternity, she stood up to leave, but not before asking for his handkerchief, the only one he had with him with which to wipe his brow. Of course, he gave it to her, and with arms akimbo, laughing and bumping her way through the crowd while proudly waving the treasured handkerchief, the woman went back to her seat.

The people in the front rows collectively sighed in relief. “What a waste of his precious energy,” I thought. “He should be protected from people like that. Those people need a therapist, not a Buddha.”

As I was muttering to myself, a quiet transformation was occurring on the platform. Poonjaji  had grown totally silent and closed his eyes, even though we were in the dialogue part of the morning’s meeting. Those of us sitting near him then saw three or four tears roll down his cheeks. (56-57)

When I read this last part, I gave pause.  Reading Ingram’s — and Poonjaji’s — experience I also felt a tinge of frustration toward the neurotic woman, and it reminded me of my experiences with similarly-presenting individuals.  This only increased my feelings of frustration, and even anger. I remembered sitting in a classroom and marking peers for their inappropriate monopolizing of discussion time, or shooting someone an evil eye for acting out during a lecture. Even as a professor myself, memories of wayward students making a scene in class, disturbing the peaceful environment, came to mind.

When I read Poonjaji’s response — of crying silently — I immediately felt a surge roll through my body. Apparently, he wasn’t feeling frustration or anger, like me.  What he seemed to feel, instead, was deep compassion.

And so, I meditated on this for a while last night, wondering what the difference is between compassion and pity. Honestly, what I felt for the woman in the narrative was pity — that was my first reaction to her, even before the frustration and anger, and it has been a common reaction to people like her in my life.  Also, self-pity is a common response I have for my own suffering.

I suddenly felt that if I could feel the difference between compassion and pity/self-pity, then I might be able to treat myself better in times of need and, in turn, respond to others in a more loving way.

After meditating, I concluded that there is an important difference between compassion and pity. To be compassionate, one needs to encounter another (and/or oneself) with a genuine feeling of kindness. This comes with a sensation of “I understand your suffering, and I wish peace and kindness to you.” One needs to view the other (or the suffering self) as on an equal plane as the higher self; they are the same. So, for example, Poonjaji was able to feel compassion for the neurotic woman because he saw her suffering as exactly equal to his own suffering.  He did not view himself as “above” her or it. And because of this, he could offer up true compassion.

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Here I am meditating. Thanks to Alana at Inner Heat  Yoga for the picture

Pity, however, is paired with a feeling of elevation in which one distinguishes between the place of the person being pitied (either self or other) and the place of oneself.  The pitied person is viewed as occupying a lower place than the higher self of the person (and part of the person) performing the pity.  Pity is offered because one looks down on another, thinking “I am grateful that is not me going through that suffering.”  And a feeling of pity emerges, rather than compassion. Innate in pity is an elevation of the self, as above the suffering, so that the pitied person does not share the same plane. Compassion cannot be given in a situation such as this.

This insight was central for me because I struggle to show self-compassion and lovingkindness toward myself in moments of suffering. Instead of offering these I seem to sink into a pit of self-pity.  Also, when I encounter a difficult (suffering) person, I feel pity much more than compassion.

I think that just simply being aware of the differences can aid me in moving closer to a space of compassion.

But doing so is scary, right? In order to really open up to compassion and love, we need to see our pain as equal to another’s — in a truly authentic way.  That means that there is no suffering that we do not know; it means that even the most abject individual is equal to us, that there really is no pedestal…at all.

We occupy a space shared by all. And no other.

In theory, yeah sure.  But in actuality, that takes some serious fearlessness.

I continue to try to move there across my seven years of meditation practice. And I’ve got to tell you — I am a long way off, still.

Blacking Out and Taking Care of Yourself

I began blacking out due to hormones (and possibly other reasons) when I was pregnant with my first born, who died of congenital heart disease. While pregnant with her, I was an undergraduate and would have to leave class so I could pass out on the bathroom floor.  I would feel the symptoms coming on — lightheadedness, a ringing in my ears, vertigo, a racing heart, a feeling that I am going to vomit, a cold sweat — and I would excuse myself and find a cozy place to pass out on the floor so that I didn’t fall and hurt the baby.

After Aislinn died, I thought my days of passing out were over.

However, blacking out slowly became a hallmark of my panic disorder, which set in due to fear of my own body, after she died. When panic gets really bad, I experience aphasia, aura, vomiting, losing control of my bowels, migraine, and blacking out.

Over the last nearly twenty  years, I’ve gone through many articulations of my disorder. But facing my fears through meditation and gentle, conscious yogic movement, and nourishing my body with proper nutrition and spiritual inspiration has aided me the most in healing my momentous fears around just being alive.

So, this morning when I woke up with bleeding from my menstrual cycle, which was extremely heavy (more than 2 ounces across 4 hours), I could guess why I felt so “off.” Hormone imbalance, iron deficiency, and the effects of the full supermoon last night.

Taking a shower, I began to feel all of those sickening sensations that come before passing out — when it isn’t from panic. I was taken aback because I hadn’t had a black-out like this since I was pregnant with Aislinn back in 2001.

Image result for child's pose
I have found that getting into Balasana (child’s asana) is the best when you feel like you’re going to pass out.

I turned the temperature in the shower down to cold and ran it over my head, hoping to redistribute the energy in my body, but it was too late. I made it out of the shower and to the rug just in time to pass out in child’s asana.

When I came to, which was only a few seconds later, I cried a little bit because I was scared, and then I laughed in a jovial way.  It felt really scary to have experienced something that signaled a very emotional time in my life; but it also felt amazing to be over with it. The passing-out was done…and that felt good to know.  Now, I just has to let go of it.

Letting go of anything — especially pain and suffering — has always been challenging for me. There is something about struggle that, for some reason, I want to relish and hold on to. Do you ever feel that way? 

When I stood up, my legs were  numb and it took awhile to work sensation back into them.

My hormones have often felt imbalanced, which has been evident to me during the premenstrual phase across the last ten years or so. But since becoming vegan, I know I haven’t been diligent enough about getting enough iron, for one. I know that without proper nutrients (especially magnesium), my body can feel especially unbalanced before and at the beginning of my cycle.

The body is exceptionally skilled at sending warning messages. Listen up!

After eating a quick breakfast with lots of nutrition, I headed for the yoga mat. I rubbed a few drops of Sweet Orange essential oil into my palms and passed them over my eyes as I inhaled and exhaled slowly, massaging the palms in front of my face until I felt settled.

I got into a tabletop position and stirred my hips around generously, articulating every corner of the hips, which ached after my legs gained sensation, as they sometimes do at the start of a cycle due to fibromyalgia.  If I’ve had any amount of refined sugar across the month, I notice that my hips get inflamed around this time of month.

Then I drew a card from a stack of cards that called to me, and pulled one that happened to resonate with my current financial woes, and I focused on its message while I sat in pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) asana on each side, and drank some tea in the posture, taking enormous breaths into my hips.

Image result for pigeon pose
For me, this is the most emotional asana. I can’t get out of it without crying — the release is so great.

When I rose, I felt that the feeling of worry about passing out has dissipated and that I could connect with my inner strength.

A lot happens in our everyday lives that tells us a story about our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I hope that you pay attention to the messages and that you take some steps to nurture yourself in a way that feels appropriate for you at the time.

I have found that just taking a couple simple steps — asking your body and spirit what is required in a moment of need — can make a world of difference for suffering.

When you are faced with darkness — blacking out or otherwise — how do you nurture yourself to banish fear and settle the nervous system, or reframe the spirit, or open the heart?

Planning our 2019 Garden

Coming up is our second garden season…ever.

We have high ambitions to cultivate our land in a way that inspires our neighbors to grow their own produce — in fact, we have plans to create a local project called “Squash Swap” to help transform our town into a self-sufficient trading community (we are doing this through our company Evolucidy, stay tuned!).

But while we work toward this dream, we need to figure out how to become self-sufficient on our own land, which is less than an acre.

I am learning to garden through reading and trial and error. My lack of experience isn’t stopping me from dreaming big and feeling like I can produce enough vegetables, eventually, in my own yard and through trade with neighbors, to cut out grocery stores by a large percentage, for my family. Ultimately, this is my goal. We will no longer put money into Big Pharma and Big Agro, which owns an alarming percentage of seeds in America, and a lot of “organic” produce companies. Nor will we need to develop a CSA relationship with local farms and take the time to learn their practices and place our trust in others. We can trust ourselves!

Sure, I need to get a root cellar going and a greenhouse — both are underway but will take time beyond this particular gardening year. I also need to set up some composting.

It’s been a busy  year, as a first-year first-time homeowner!

So, when someone dreams big but is working with small skill and knowledge, a well-wrought plan is exactly what is needed!

Last year we planted a lot of different crops in order to learn which ones thrived naturally in our sandy Massachusetts Zone 5b soil. Pole beans and squash really thrived.

This year we plan on tackling 4-5 crops seriously, particularly ones that store well in a root cellar, by doing a container approach, bag-style. Then, we will grow 4-5 other plants in a raised-bed style following Mini-Farming by Brett Markham, which I have found to be very informative among all of the gardening books that  I’ve read so far.

Since February is half-over, I thought to post our pre-game plan for 2019:

  1. Decide which crops to focus on primary and secondary, along with suitable crop pairings, soil conditions, and arrangements.
  2. When the earth defrosts, begin a compost location and process.
  3. Set up the basement for root cellaring and also for microgreen growing.

So, that’s it.  Starting small to keep focused on the prize.