As many of you know, I lost my little man, Finney, on April 13th, just over a month ago. I am still reeling from that loss, and having Gigi to love and care for is about the only thing that keeps me going these days. Unfortunately, those days may be numbered.
When we moved to Utah, it was mainly because of Gigi’s poor health. She has been able to get exceptional care here, and while Finney’s health started to decline, Gigi was able to hold her own on several medications (although you can hear her heart murmur from across the room). Since Finney died, Gigi has not been doing as well, and today I had to take her to the emergency animal hospital. It looks like we are running out of options, but I’ll know more next week.
At any rate, I am far too preoccupied with Gigi’s health at this time to give 100% of my time and energy to Paint and Chronicle: My Sacred Narrative that I have been sharing every single week with you since the beginning of December of last year. Rather than continue in a half-assed and rushed manner, I’m going to put the remaining weeks on hold, indefinitely. Gigi and I were supposed to be taking a trip to Southern California next week, but at this time it seems doubtful that she will be able to travel. Right now, I just want to spend as much quality time with Gigi as possible. I’m sure you’ll all understand.
Prompt: You are a lot stronger than you think you are.
Goal: Exercise in whatever way you choose.
Prayer: My gym is my church. My sweat is my prayer. My strength is my salvation.
Quote: "Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t." Rikki Rogers
Whatever exercise that you think is fun, do it. Don't think, just do. Anything that you normally don't do counts. Like my excursion to the farm. I walked around for two hours petting cute, and extremely smelly, fur babies. Heaven. I was sore for two days so that means I was working it! I still plan on swimming and beginning hoop dance lessons every week. No, I probably won't be entering any fitness contests anytime soon, but this is way more then I have done for the last three years. Pick a day to do something fun, that gets you out of a chair and off Facebook, and write it in your journal. You can write about the experience in the pages that follow your layout page for the week. Or just bitch and say SUZI PICK A BETTER TOPIC FOR NEXT MONTH.
So, last week I realized from my writing, holy crow, if i don't move my body people are going to mistake me for furniture. Whether we think we look hot or not is not the issue; if we don't move, we die. Physical activity flushes out bacteria from our lungs and our blood. It cleanses us. We have to start moving. I do, at least.
Exercise though, meh, ouch, I'd rather play in my journal. I know I need to, but I loathe it, especially going to a gym and any formal exercise in general. I am also *indubitably out of shape. When I move my limbs, they make a creaking sound. Things are getting bad there down under my skin, I know it's time, but how will this time be different from all the other 'this' times?
My solution: I am not exercising, I am having fun!
This week, I want you to make a list of activities that sound like something fun to do. Then pick a few and write down anything you need to make it happen for week 21. Like, there is a heated pool I can swim in for 2 bucks at a local hospital. I need to find out the times it is available, get directions, and put my bathing suit in a duffle bag with a towel. Write the steps out in your journal for everything you want to do.
Other ideas I have are Hoop Dancing, gentle yoga, and flying a kite. These are all activities that sound like fun to me, so I am planning to try them.
It is also fun to have a reward in mind for forcing yourself to do things that are hard. My reward is to get a massage. If money is an issue, look up a local massage school. They have clinics, and although they don't have as much experience as a professional, the price for a student is much, much lower: $35.00 compared to $150.00.
I have NEW JOURNAL STAMPS! I opened the box of them just this morning so I haven't done much with them, but expect to see much more in the next few weeks. You can find them here:
This month the theme for our journals is BODY. Yeah, I know, I’ve put off dealing with this too. My negative thoughts about my body cause considerable stress in my daily life, and I ignore doing anything about it. Who wants to face all those crappy thoughts we think about ourselves? I believe I don’t look good enough right now, so I might as well just wear sweatpants and cry, right?
But here is the thing: all of my life I have felt not quite good enough, even at 17 when, by society’s standards, I was pretty perfect. This age of my life stands out because of what happened one morning. I vividly remember getting ready for school: I can still see the blue flowers and silver piping on the wallpaper, hear the obnoxiously loud fan. It was 8:00 am and I had been getting ready for over an hour - curling my hair, putting on eyeshadow. With each new layer of make-up I was supposed to be making myself beautiful, only I felt like I was looking worse. My face without make-up was unacceptable. I learned this from my mother who never went a day without putting on thick, false lashes. To be out in the world meant looking perfect, but no matter how much time I put into myself that morning, I saw only my flaws. I was nowhere near good enough to go into the world. This is what I was feeling when all of a sudden I realized it was getting hard to breathe.
Vertigo is a disturbing side effect from hyperventilating and causes the person to feel as if the room is spinning and won’t stop. Explainable when you’ve had too much alcohol but worrisome when it seems to happen for no reason. I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t see straight and it wouldn't stop. I thought I was going crazy. Anxiety attacks like this one happened daily for the next two years. At 19 I was hospitalized because I could no longer function. What started out as a body image problem turned into a disabling mental disorder.
Body image is not about what we actually look like, but how we perceive ourselves. I was perfect at 17 in a way only a woman over 40 can appreciate, yet I felt hideous enough to make myself sick. Now, you may never develop anxiety to the extreme as I did, but what you believe about your body affects your life. There are things you will and wont do because of it, relationships you may not have, not because you are not worthy of these things, but because you tell yourself you aren’t. That is the issue I want to address this month - changing the negative beliefs about our bodies that inhibit our life.
Yes, if we are sedentary we need to start moving our bodies, but exercise is a small part of the whole picture. Learning to love your body exactly as it is, every day, no matter what, is our goal.
HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY
It is easier to love your body if you know you are doing all you can to keep it fit. If you want self-esteem, you need to do estimable things. If the only time you bend over is to pick up a Hershey’s Kiss that fell on the floor, you aren’t going to feel great about yourself. But this isn’t about shaming yourself into a power yoga class - you are going to do what you can do and feel good about it. If you are a paraplegic and can’t use your legs, you will feel empowered more by working your upper body and becoming strong there, than laying in bed wasting away. We do what we can do, and feel good about that. THAT is a positive body image.
I’ve always wanted to go hiking, but I am out of breath walking up the three flights of stairs to my apartment. The closest I get to nature is watching Animal Planet. I can not hike and be depressed, or, I can start. It will hurt for awhile, this is what has stopped me from beginning many times before but if I want to feel better about myself, if I want to be fit and flexible, if I ever want to hike, I have to start. And however small it is, if I am doing all I can do, I am more likely to feel positive about the results no matter how small they are. This is the mental state I am going for. This is a healthy self-image: releasing the idea that I am either perfect or hideous, and allowing shades of grey. From my own experience in life, when I work with what I can change, what I can’t change becomes less important.
How do I think my physical appearance influences my life?
How do I feel when I receive a positive reaction to how I look?
How do I feel when I receive a negative reaction to how I look?
Is my appearance responsible for what happens to me?
Do I believe I woiuld be happier if I looked better than I do now?
Do I compare my appearance to others?
How do I feel when I look into a mirror?
How much effort do I put into how I look? Are thinner/prettier people happier than me?
How does my current weight affect my health?
Do I cope with stress by eating?
What areas of my life cause me to eat to help me deal with stressful situations?
I am gOOfy delirious about the release of my April Stamp Collection from Unity Stamp Company! These are my first ever journal stamps and I made ones I'd use in my journal - flowery swirls and words that aren't reminders of errands but the important tasks of life: How Did I Love Today?Whether it is yourself or the world, in the end, love is all there is.
I will be putting up examples of how I use these stamps quite soon.
In my Fairy Collection, Gracie-Glitter-Magic was made when my beloved shih-tzu passed away. His name was Finnegan Glitter Sunshine Magic and this fairy was made to protect him. I see them together running through fairy fields and chasing butterflies. She will run and play with you too, just ask her!
Rosie-Peaceful-Posie is a calming fairy and likes to watch over people. She loves flowers and being in the garden. This is going to be SO MUCH FUN to see what we do with her!