the Effort with the Ease

Relationships are often difficult.  It warmed my heart and settled my mind recently when I heard these words, read aloud during my morning yoga class, to balance the effort with the ease and I thought it might possibly be the best description of how to be in a relationship that I’ve ever heard. Surely there have been countless ways people have described how to be a partner, how to BE human with another human, but these words, so profound, yet simultaneously simple, touched me.  Being part of a pair, this conscious coupling in which two people choose to participate, every day, not just on a day that is “supposed” to be romantic or loving, but EVERY day that we make a choice to BE WITH another person, is what Valentine’s Day means to me.  This February day is a reminder to myself that I am choosing this person to be my person and recognizing that truly, the only thing that really MAKES two people a couple and KEEPS them together is the choice they make to remain so.  Argue all you want if you like about shared assets, expenses of splitting up, housing affordability issues, who will take the pets, distribution of retirement funds…whatever, the fact to me is that we decide daily we are going to share our life with this person, we choose, and that is the only thing that makes a couple, a couple.

I am the daughter of a man and woman who have loved each other for almost 52 years and the older I get, the more I understand, it is a choice they made, over and over, to continue to be together.  I have some girlfriends from high school who now love men they first loved as boys, and have grown up and grown in love with the same person for thirty years.  I love that I know these women, and I sometimes envy what they found when they found it.  When you fall in love late in life, as I have, you miss most, if not all, of the magical moments of firsts…picking out our first sofa, announcing our engagement, planning a honeymoon, deciding where to buy a house, watching with fear and joy, as a recently peed upon plastic stick turns from clear to blue…all of those firsts, this man I love right now, my person, he shared all of those magical moments with somebody else.  It’s sometimes very hard to handle, if I find myself thinking about it, so I try not to think about it too much, but it’s a loss of sorts; meeting somebody who seems so perfect for you, but you met them too late to share any of those magical moments and experience any of those firsts.  The loss does not diminish the present joy, it’s just an observation that sometimes makes me long for what was not and never could be now…

I’ve learned over time and lessons in living, that being content in your present is another choice, and for me, trying not to dwell too much, if at all, on what could have been or wasn’t, is very important to my level of happiness.  I try to accept all of my life as a culmination of the choices I’ve made and accept my present tense without much regret, and that too is a choice.  It’s EASY to focus on the negative, it is EASY to fall into the shoulda-woulda-coulda, and the wishing for other things, but I think, in the big picture, ALL aspects of relationships are essentially boiled down to this; what we choose to think about and how we choose to think about it…as she said, the effort with the ease…

I find that my life is more beautiful when I focus on the positives and the pluses and try to let the negatives go in one ear and out the other.  I like what my teacher read, to balance the effort with the ease…We can find ourselves consumed with how we’ve been hurt, what went wrong, why so-and-so made such a terrible decision, why so-and-so failed us, and that ends up taking a lot of effort on our part to accept, forgive, move on, but when we zoom in on the good, the fun, the joyful times, it is so easy…so easy to choose love and be positive.  I think the more happy thoughts you have, the more you find you can be happy about, and at least for me, in this later phase of my life, it seems to be the way things are going.

I’ve found over these chapters in this love story that I’m in, when I focus on the times we laughed together, ate great meals together, remembering his face, and oh that smile, the first time I ever saw it, my brain immediately brings me back to the overjoy.  When I think about the simplest things, like the first time he made coffee for me, or the not so simple things, like when he nursed me in unimaginable ways after unexpected complications after surgery, my brain immediately brings me back to the overjoy.  There are, if we try, far more beautiful things to think about and dwell on that are happy and loving, but we, each of us who choose to be part of a couple,  have to choose to think that way.  We have to balance the effort with the ease, because you see, I know this much is true; if you focus over and over on the negative, the annoying, the frustrating, the angry, the times that were not good the times that were sad or hurtful or painful in any way, those negative thoughts are so powerful, for some reason often so much more powerful than the lighter and happier thoughts, that they take over your gray matter so fast and the relationship disintegrates, a bit more day by day, until the sound of them chewing or the way they squeeze the toothpaste becomes the final straw.

The stores were filled these last weeks with mushy romantic cards with bad illustrations and corny wording, and none of the cards said what my teacher made me think about; I choose you, I will continue to try every day to do what I can to show love and be love, and balance the effort with the ease.

 

 

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1st and Ten, do it again (clap clap)

Last night I watched as the man I love worked his way through every emotion known to football fans world wide…excitement, anticipation, nervousness, stress, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, and annoyance sprinkled with dread, culminating in a climactic rush of pure youthful joy and life-long prayers answered, and then inexplicable bewilderment, as the clock ticked down to :00 in the fourth quarter. The man I love waited his whole life for the moment that arrived last night, at around 10:15 pm EST, in our flu infested living room, in front of our new flat screen television, with us donning our NFL apparel, and it did my heart good to see him that happy.

I was a cheerleader…for all of my youth, and throughout my teens and senior year of high school, I was a cheerleader, and do you want to know a secret?  Not until the fall of 2012 did I know what that cheer meant, “1st and Ten, do it again!”  I joined Pop Warner sports as a young child and tried out for the cheerleading squad every season, every year, for all of my wonder years, and it was not until I was a middle-aged woman with grandchildren, that I learned anything at all about football; you see I grew up in a non sports oriented household,  and fell in love, late in life, with a man who LOVES sports.  My father could think of a dozen things (or more) off the top of his head that he would rather do than sit inside and watch some sort of sport on television, and my boyfriend could think of a dozen things (or more) off the top of his head that he would rather ignore so that he could sit inside and watch some sort of sport on television.

In the 5.5 years that I have loved this man there have been more sporting events on my television than in the entire 40 plus years of my life prior to my meeting him, and none have made him as happy as watching his beloved Eagles win the Super Bowl last night.  We met, this sports lover and I, in the wee morning hours of a hot July, and indeed I think that September he was shocked, or might have thought I was joking, when he learned that I did not watch football, did not follow football, and knew nothing, at all, about football.  “I thought you were a cheerleader?” he asked one day, and I explained that yes, we just did the cheers based on what the coach told us was happening on the field behind us.  Sure, many of the girls probably knew the sport well or understood what was happening on the field upon which we were jumping and cheering, but I wasn’t one of them.  I had never watched a game on television until that fall of 2012, and despite a youth lived clapping gleefully about offense and defense, I could not have given you any bit of information about the game itself, other than that I did know that ‘offense’ meant you/your team/the team, whatever… had possession of the ball and was trying to make a touchdown.  I did not have a father interested in sports, and did not have brothers, and never had a boyfriend who was into sports, so it was not that I didn’t like sports, I simply didn’t know sports.

I only knew two of the songs from the super hyped half-time show last night, and thought it a rather funny turn of events, that I knew more about the football game going on, and the season that had just ended, than of the entertainment…my how the times have changed!  This was my 6th season as a football watcher/Eagles supporter and last night’s game was so exciting to watch.  After this many seasons I now yell/clap/and loudly say things like “Come On!” and since that very first game, I ask questions, if not every game, indeed throughout the season, so that I now understand, quite a lot, about the rules and what is happening, and I admit that I do enjoy watching much more than I EVER imagined I would.  To be honest, if we were to break up tomorrow, this sports lover and I, I doubt I would ever watch a football game again, but as long as I love this man who loves the Eagles, I am going to continue to cheer, and at least now I finally know what the words all mean!

No Place I’d Rather Be

I don’t care much for winter, at all.  Yes, fresh fallen snow is beautiful for about an hour and I do love listening to The Nutcracker for all the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, but other than my great love of decorating for Christmas and enjoying the most splendid and cozy ambiance of my gas fireplace, there is very little that makes me feel really “happy it’s winter.”  I’m pretty sure I have never uttered such a sentence.  I don’t like to be cold & I prefer my windows to be open, so during these short biting months of the year I find myself mostly just wishing for the end of it.

A raw January morning 32 years ago, a perfectly round & pink & healthy baby girl was born, and that first winter of her life, oh good lord that was dreadful…a poorly insulated house on a cold empty island with nothing much to do, and my job being closed until April, and a bad husband and a bad marriage; it’s a wonder really we made it through to the spring, but we did, that perfect little baby and I, and we grew together from that winter on.  While it’s true that we ebbed and flowed in and out of the other’s schedule and life for a short while after she graduated from high school, we have otherwise been a fixture in each other’s world for all of the days of her life.  When my daughter texts me something like, “please come help me” be it because of a mouse (once), a mess (many), a bird in the house (twice), a spill, some blood, an injury, a husband, a child, a dog, or troubles or tears, I can be there, to help her, in about 117 steps.  I can also be there to celebrate any achievement or joy, or kitchen creation or copied from Pinterest perfection.  The point being, I am here, right here next door for her, no matter what.  We have been neighbors for more than eight years now, and while I don’t care much for winter, I do care, a lot, for my proximity to my daughter and her daughters.

When I built this house on this piece of land it was with the knowledge and intention of helping my daughter to raise her children and while her house was finished four months before mine, there was no question that we were doing this together.  Despite the cold and snow, the bitter blowing winds, and too early for my liking sunsets, and bleak gray days that fill the weeks of winter, there is always a bit of sunshine in my heart knowing they are so close to me.  I feel glad knowing I am there for any of them if they need me and I am content here at the back-end of our compound when they don’t.  Any woman who is a mother knows that the feeling of helplessness and agony one has, how positively heart-wrenching it is, when a child, be it a wee one or a grown one, is hurting and there is nothing to do to help…so while I don’t like upset or troubles, or messes or mice or blood and injuries, I do like, very much, that when I am needed I’m more often than not, able to respond immediately…no matter how old your baby grows, she is always your baby, and wanting to soothe and comfort your baby, however necessary, is part of the job of  ‘mother,’ and it never goes away.

There are mornings that I really don’t want to go to the bus stops at 7:02 and 8:02, but taking the children to their buses gives my daughter extra minutes for herself every work day, and it allows me to be the last kiss and kind words each little girl receives as she begins her school day.  My daughter’s job as a teacher gives her the summer off and paid holidays, but it does not afford her the flexibility with her time that my job does.  In fact, the few times I have been away, my daughter’s thanks and gratitude is overwhelming when she realizes how much I do that helps her.   Being available to help is part of my job right here right now, but I’m also well aware that it’s temporary…we all grow, and circumstances change, and soon none of those three will need me, and I will know that this phase of my life’s purpose, and my place on this earth is complete, and I will move onto my own next chapter.

EVERY time I have traveled south of south Jersey I think the same thing; why don’t I live here?  And while I love this house I’m almost certain that when I’m an old lady I don’t want to be near cold and snow, and bitter blowing winds, and too early for my liking sunsets, and bleak gray days…when I am an old woman I want to be where it’s hot, sunny, with palm trees and warm breezes and sunsets that don’t arrive until dinner time…but as long as this woman next door is raising her children and I am needed, no matter the weather, there’s no place I’d rather be…

Start where you are and do what you can

While it’s been miserably, bitterly, teeth-chatteringly cold these last two weeks, I feel a warmth in my heart and bones that is becoming, day after day it seems, my new normal…AND I love it.  For months I have been making changes to make my physical self better, ergo, making my whole being and whole life better, but change is slow, and I am terribly impatient, and have, since the new year, been beating myself up a bit when I stumble…which is often, and that doesn’t make anything better.

I woke up the other morning thinking about tomatoes; it takes six weeks, OR MORE just from the time you put a seed into a bit of dampened soil, for it to germinate and grow enough to be even planted outside, let alone thrive, and then it takes almost three months after the seedlings are in the earth, under the sun, with daily care and maintenance, to actually have a fully ripened, big fat glorious orb of reddish-orange goodness that is ready for you to eat!!! So why, I ask myself, am I so impatient for the changes that are taking place in me?  …certainly a more complex living thing than a tomato??!!

I’m pretty sure that you are not supposed to ‘Yadda Yadda Yadda’ yoga, and I won’t tire you with all of these feel-good hippie-dippie words that keep pulsing through my brain, but I will write that I have felt “better” since joining yoga classes than I have felt in a long while, and honestly, I feel pretty fabulous most of the time anyway!  In August when I started to eat cleaner and drink less alcohol I knew I was on the right path for me, I just felt like a better version of myself.   I have fallen off the wagon a number of times since, too many to count, but I’ve not fallen so far that I’ve not been able to climb back onto said wagon. My pretend husband and I had a wonderful vacation in November to celebrate my birthday, and palm trees and hot sun really are good medicine for just about anything as far as I’m concerned, so that trip to Mexico certainly got the ball rolling for all of this joy, these uplifting sensations, that seem to be part of my new normal, however, starting yoga seems to be the icing that my cake of life was lacking.  Icing and cake that I’m not supposed to eat, but icing on cake nevertheless!!!

In a number of classes the yoga instructor has asked, “you didn’t drive yourself home from the hospital the day you were born did you?” and goes on to discuss the ‘crawl-walk-run’ way of growing and learning and evolving, and it is a VERY good reminder, particularly for somebody like me, who used to be much more fit and much more bendy, and who is basically starting from the very beginning, where fitness or stamina is concerned, that I should not expect to do things right, or well, from the start.

Sometimes when I am supposed to be concentrating on my breathing and maintaining a high plank, or some other strange uncomfortable pose where my legs are bent in ways that seem like it can’t possibly be beneficial to the body, or conducive to positive thoughts, I find myself thinking about how I used to be…how athletic and strong, and fit and thin I used to be, and then I feel myself getting annoyed…but then this magical thing happens, my brain says, “PSST!!! hey, lady!! you are supposed to be thinking about breathing… in through your nose and out through your nose, four counts in, eight counts out,  and do you know what?  You are 50 years old, and a Nana, and some woman’s mother, and here you are doing push ups, and oh wait, look here, here you are bending your left knee over your right knee, and now you are lifting your legs up in the air and grabbing on to your own feet, and now you are pushing your legs up in the air and still holding onto your feet! and guess what?!!   it doesn’t matter what you used to do, how you used to be, how you used to look…all that matters is that you are doing  THIS right now!!!”

The yoga instructor says, “you can’t be 100% 100% of the time” and that really resonates with me.  I am the first to admit my greatest character flaw might be that I hate to be wrong, so the “fear” of doing something wrong, or not well, or not as well as the person standing next to me, is one of those issues I have to deal with…but half of my brain beats myself up every class, and the other half of my brain lifts me high in the air, on the shoulders of the universe and praises my every bend and every breath.  I feel on some days that I can do anything I set my mind to, and some other days I feel like I will never, ever, get to where I want to be.  In those moments I  think about this quote I once read;  Start where you are and do what you can.  In those few words I feel so free, so capable, so confident.  I never like to tell anybody what to do, but I feel pretty comfortable telling you this; if you feel stuck in any way…in any situation, just do this right now…Start where you are, and do what you can.

 

 

Houses of the Holy

While you might think it’s Shamanic hokum, I “felt” this land when I was working on my site plan, while deciding what trees to cut down, and where exactly on the face of the earth I was going to build this house.  I walked the property and I leaned against trees, and I looked to the east, west, north, and south, wandering and twirling, eyes wide open and eyes closed tight, knowing from the blueprints I had drawn, exactly where every window and piece of glass was going to be, “seeing” the house already built, clear as day in my mind, so that I could visualize my views before I disturbed even one branch.  I stood down at the street and looked to the west, thinking about how long the driveway was going to be, and what, if any, of the house I wanted to be visible from the road.  I stood late one afternoon on a September day after work, in the dirt, after the trees were gone, while my “house” was just 12 stakes of rebar and some orange surveying twine, and knew I wanted another window to the south of my fireplace, simply because the view I was seeing from where I knew my kitchen sink was going to be, was too beautiful in that afternoon light to be covered by sheetrock, insulation, studs, sheathing, black felt paper, and wood siding…I saw my future self doing dishes and looking out that window, and knew I would never get tired of the light at the end of the day from that spot…

When I say and write that I love my house and my driveway it is not a fleeting happiness.  I built this house with every intention of living here until I died.  I know people much older than I who have never owned a home, let alone built one from scratch with their dad and mom and friends, and of their own drawn plans, and I knew then, and know now still, I am lucky and I feel grateful…

I recently started learning yoga at a new studio in our area and the one teacher has spoken, in every class thus far, about letting go of attachments, and so I am trying to understand how I can love “MY” stuff, but understand at the same time that I am really just the keeper at the moment of such stuff, the steward of this spot of earth.  There are some spaces where I feel completely at ease; comfortable and welcome and good, and there are other spaces where I feel awkward and out of sorts, and I suspect that everybody is in tune with their situational awareness, to the extent that we feel “right” in some spaces and “wrong” in others.  It’s no joke that as soon as I turn into my driveway, or should I now simply write, “the driveway,” I feel a peacefulness wash right over me…no matter what kind of day I have had, whether work was great or not, whether I am tired or dirty, or energized with makeup on, I get to this spot on earth and feel that everything is how it is supposed to be for me.

When bad energy comes into my space, the space, I feel it everywhere… in my clenched up jaw, wonky belly, and every nerve under my skin…it is a physical sensation as well as a deeply mental feeling…when my space “feels” negativity my whole body feels it…I know, I know, a house is not a living thing, but in a way it is…she likes to be warm when it is cold in the winter, and she loves on a crisp day to have her windows wide open and let the cross breezes freshen her up, she likes when the grandchildren come tumbling happily through her doors, even when they’ve not wiped their feet, and she hates it when they come over feeling sad or stressed or scared, but then, something magical happens…her doors open wider and her good energy envelops them and they know they are here in her peaceful space, where they are loved unconditionally and the energy is pure and good and right…

Her doors have slammed shut, never to open again, behind those who brought her no joy and only confusion or unsettling sadness…I am thinking, on this first morning of winter, how this house, my house, this space on earth is the place where I am most grateful and most comfortable, and if that is not holy, I’m not sure what is…

Ode to joy

I have been, in general, a very happy person for all of my life.  When my parents tell me I was a perfect child I never think they are joking.  When people have teased me for replying “fabulous” when asked how I am, it often confused me since I am, for the most part feeling fabulous almost all of the time!!!  The few times in my past where I truly felt deeply unhappy, and had profoundly unsettling feelings that my life was lacking the joyousness that ordinarily filled me up to overflowing, were times when I did not listen to that little guiding light/gut feeling/voice in my head…that all knowing sense of truth that so many of us try to think our brain knows better than…It doesn’t.  That little voice is the biggest guide and moral compass we have to knowing what is right and what is wrong, in general, and FOR our very own being, and for some incredibly inconceivable reason, so many of us, so many times in our lives, ignore it or try to hush it or quiet the message…when it’s really the most important voice in the universe.

The other morning I took my third yoga class of the month since joining a new yoga studio in the area.  Not the 3rd class of my entire life, but good grief did it sure feel like it!!!  For a woman who once used to be a girl who did flying splits, and who stood up against walls and laid her head upon her knees, and used to do leg extensions in door jambs, and be able to lay her forehead on the floor in front of her in a straddle position, I moved, these last three classes, like a woman who has been in a coma or some sort of vegetative state for the last 33 years!!!  R*’s flexibility seems to have devolved to ZERO, despite having a physical job, I clearly lost much if not all of my physical fitness over these last many years.  I can write and speak from experience that the well known expression, “use it or lose it” is absolutely applicable in this instance of flexibility and strength and endurance.  I’ve not used it enough and I am starting from scratch, as far as my body is concerned, as far as flexibility and strength and stamina are concerned!!!  I am hoping that muscle memory is real and one of these classes the old me, who was so strong and so flexible is going to burst back to the surface…but this blog is not about any of those things… I had a very emotional and somewhat strange “hippie dippie” experience in class and wanted to share it…

Three women who I loved very much died this last year; my friend Susan last December, my Mimom in March, and my friend Candyce in October.  My friend Susan and I had not seen each other in years, my Mimom and I had grown apart over the years after she moved out of state, and my friend Candyce was a real friend but who I never met in the flesh, but the relationships were loving and important to me for as long as they lasted. Each woman mattered to me, each in her own different way and none are of this earth anymore. The song that was playing at yoga was very meditative.  It had a line that went something like “I love, love, love you more than ever before” and I was in this pose on my back, with my legs bent and crossed and with my hands grabbing my feet and pulling my knees into my armpits (yes, really, that is what the instructor said) and the words of the song were vibrating in me, like deep in my core, and I had this thought that, at that moment, I loved my own self and my own life more than ever before…like everything was aligned.  And then, this strange tingle, sort of buzz kind of feeling, started in each of my feet and each of my hands and I swear that it felt like I could “feel” the voices of these women at all of my corners and edges…like loving me and encouraging me to love me…it was like a hum, or a buzz, but deep inside of me, and I heard swirls and notes of words and phrases but none that were clear, and yet they all were clear, even though they were all overlapping…it was like all these vibrant colors and no colors, all under my skin…and then when the instructor said to slowly sit up and slowly open our eyes, as I opened my eyes, these hot tears just spilled out down my cheeks…I did not feel sad, I felt so full…it was strange and wonderful and magical and very wierd.

A few years ago when I was struggling to find balance in my brain, my friend Donna mailed me a book called “Meditations from the Mat” and it was full of short stories, some poems, some mantras, but all culminating in the importance of quieting the mind and how to think, or not think, and the use of yoga for both physical and mental well being.  When I read parts of the book years ago, I don’t know that I “got” it, but I must write with honesty that at yoga on Sunday, during this intense feeling of perfect-ness, I think I understood the point of the book…the brain is magical, and I think when we learn to train our brain to focus on the beautiful bits of life, and what feels so good, rather than any of the negative, or mad, or sad bits of life, that don’t feel good at all, we are better for it.  I am leaving the house now to go to yoga before work, just like I did yesterday, and I don’t know what I will feel while I am there, and I don’t know if any of these women will come to me again in this way, but I got the message loud and clear…my joy is pure and it comes from a place of pure love, and I found it inside of me, on my back and on a mat…

 

 

Primum non nocere

First do no harm.  As much as I adore waxing poetic about how much love is in my life it’s a fact I often dismiss, that the love I have FOR myself, and the love I GIVE myself, is often insufficient.  When we read or hear about the term “self harm” it’s frequently in the context of teenage girls who cut themselves or boys who inhale solvent, but self-harm is sadly very easy to inflict…every time I eat something that is not healthy but simply delights my taste buds, every time I drink more alcohol in an evening than I know my liver can possibly metabolize efficiently, every time I choose to sit by the fire and crochet and watch Pride and Prejudice instead of taking a walk or doing some squats or crunches, I am committing the crime of self-harm, and while there are no statutes that could land me in jail, the sentence for these criminal acts is an adult life filled with dread and guilt and prescription drugs and doctor visits.  I’m a person who next month will no longer have access to affordable health care.  I received a notice that the subsidy I get now, which allows me to pay a price per month that I can afford, is going to go up six times, making it a monthly bill I cannot afford, and as a result I am even more aware than ever, that the expression, Primum non nocere, first do no harm, needs to start with my own cells.

I discovered last November, after my hysterectomy, and difficult and unexpectedly harder recovery from a cut bladder, that I have taken my excellent health and good fortune to have good DNA, for granted.  I take no daily meds, I have no disease, I have no illness, I have no problem for which I have to take pharmaceuticals which may cause any of the myriad of disgusting side effects that are explained in great and gross detail on every other television commercial.  Other than the gynecologist last year, I had not been to a doctor since December of 2012 when I was having Airborne for breakfast and Ny-Quil for lunch and for days felt like I had eaten a Brillo pad.  I count myself as one of the lucky ones in this way.  My father takes no medicines and has no doctor.  Other than thyroid hormone and blood pressure pills, my mother is not a participant in big-pharma either, and while I feel glad that my genetics have not predisposed me to medical disasters or diseases, I am well aware that it is my responsibility to my own self to care for this body.  My pretend husband and I will perhaps become real marrieds when I need to have access to affordable health care and can only get it by being a spouse, with a partner who works for a giant corporation, which he does.

I am a self-righteous jerk when I see a person in line at WaWa buying cigarettes, and then milk and orange juice with an EBT card, while wearing an oxygen hose coming out of her nose, and I get mad and think, I can’t afford health insurance but this jerk gets to smoke cigarettes and my quarterly income taxes have to help pay for her oxygen!!!  BUT, that is the world we live in, and so, I accept that my tiny business will contribute to the pot, that the poorer than I get to take from, while I work but yet earn too much money to draw from the pot to which I contribute…which seems horrifically unfair, but it appears that this is the way of the world…okay, off my high-horse of jerkiness…

I guess my point today is that I know it is my job to care for my own self as best I can.  Since August I have lost 19.2 pounds, and while I have quite a way to go to get into my skinny jeans, the fact that I am at least making efforts to get into my skinny jeans is, to me, a good start, better than just wishing to wear them and actually making changes to make it happen.  I did not drink any alcohol for 36 days when I first tried the Whole30 plan, and during that 36 days I also had no candy or baked treats or sugar or dairy and while I really struggled some days with all of it, all of it was not that hard.  I am now doing my own version of Whole30, but this version does not try as hard to be compliant and does enjoy an occasional cocktail or glass of wine, and last night did enjoy some mint chocolate chip ice cream…so what I am admitting is that I am not in fact living as purely as I should be living if my goal is to love myself the best that I can.

To counteract the tequila we bought in Mexico and have enjoyed since we arrived back home, and the box of Good & Plenty that I ate the other day at work and called “lunch,” and the ice cream I enjoyed last night but certainly did not need, at all, I’m today taking my first beginner’s yoga class at a new studio in a neighboring town.  I don’t know the last time I exercised “on purpose” but can tell you it has been a long time.  I read a text the other day that said, “this is the last chapter of your book that is 2017 and you are the author, so make it a good one” and I thought, yes, why yes I am the author and it is my last chapter of what has been a pretty good year, so this last chapter is going to have some healthier food choices and fewer alcohol indulgences and some Om chanting and some bending, breathing, and stretching and just maybe, and rather likely, I won’t only first do no harm, I will in fact do a great lot of healing…