Monthly Archives

August 2017

Wellness

Goals: Fulfillment of joy, deception, pain


20604453_1468743306517201_8296493166451255671_nI did it.

Yes, I can! 

Relief and joy overwhelmed me as I crossed the finish line. I was pretty sure — but not 100 percent certain — that I reached my goal of running a 10k in under one hour.

How was it that I was unsure? 

Mostly because I wasn’t looking at the timer when I actually crossed the finish line. I was trying not to care that I cared so much.

Goals are a strange thing, and so is deception.

I trained hard, but in a way that began grace-filled in a sort of tip-toeing around glass kind of way.

For five years I practiced yoga about two to three times a week with a DVD at home that was 25-45 minutes depending on the series. I bought the exercise program for my husband, who had chronic back issues. But I found that I liked it for the strength conditioning. As I did the workouts, I also noticed that my back — which would go “out” two or three time a year — was not giving me any problems.

But I had a weight loss transformation. Which caused me to want to run more and try more intense workouts like HIIT and weight lifting. I’d had a baby in the interim, too, so to fit it all in, I had to give up something. I gave up yoga.

I took my 14-year-old on a mission trip to Sierra Leone, during which my once always stable back mysteriously went all out. I could hardly look at my toes, let alone touch them.

Prayer alone healed my back that day. But two weeks later, momming a toddler and overdoing my fitness regime, pain crept back in. I had to give up the workouts I loved so much.

20479456_1462972693760929_4448608723863481630_nAll I could do was yoga —  Hatha yoga, vinyasa, slow flow, gentle, power yoga. I didn’t even know what all of it meant; I diversified my workout with variations of yoga. Then God called me in the midst of my pain to get my own certification in Holy Yoga. While my inner self was crushed, bruised and healing, my back was mirroring this painfully slow process.

For months, I thought yoga was all I could or would ever do. I love yoga like I love my protein shakes. Both have saved me and healed me, but it’s not like I don’t want to eat other food any more than I want my exercise to be limited to yoga.

Somewhere along the way, I decided while my back was not 100 percent better, nor might it ever be, it was healed enough to tie my running shoes on and take my chances on the trail again.

I ran a mile that first day, and I had no back pain immediately afterward. So I kept going. Once I could run three miles, I decided I would train for a race. I found out the Abe’s Amble, a 10k at the end of the state fair, would work well in the timeframe for ample training. I kept running skeptically and eventually I signed up.

As I ran, my old goals of “just running” seemed inadequate. I wanted to push myself — to trust more in God, to discontinue the babying I was doing, to stop making excuses, to see what I was capable of when it comes to setting and reaching a goal that seems, well, impossible for me. Could I run a long race with a  10-minute-mile average? Could I do a short run of two miles in under 19 minutes?

In elementary school, I had to run one mile for the Presidential Fitness test. I had the worst time in all my class. It was embarrassing. In track, I was so slow. I always felt weak and inadequate.

But when the stresses of life overwhelmed, it was running that cleansed my mind and unraveled the tension in my muscles. Before I could drive, I ran. It wasn’t about the time or about me competing against myself to beat my own time even. I was too naive to know or care. It was the healing nature of running that had me drawn to it.

This time, it was also the healing nature of running that lured me back. Could I effectively run the fastest ever as an exhausted mother, not to compete but to heal past hurts that made me feel inadequate? Could running bolster my own self confidence, as it drew me in to trust God at an even deeper level? Could running be a tool to heal my inner and outer self?

I set a goal — 6.2 miles in 60 minutes or less. It was moderately out of reach — much faster than I thought I could muster for a distance that great.

I used the app Map My Run and celebrated my progress. Eight weeks of training and nothing indicated I couldn’t reach it. Every week, I shocked myself. My confidence was, indeed, soaring. My trust in God and my pure thanksgiving for the healing work He had done in me was bubbling over.

I could absolutely do this.

But deception grabbed hold as soon as I drove to the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The thick smell of manure began to choke me even before I got out of my car. The stack of donuts at the check-in table nearly made me puke. I’ve nothing against donuts, but I always run on an empty stomach. That and my gluten allergy means the sight and smell of food I can’t have sometimes sets my body into a reaction as if I’ve actually taken a bite.

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I tried to smile, but mostly I was praying with every step. It wasn’t the distance that was pushing me; this was the fastest pace I’d ever attempted. 

The first half mile of the race was through the fair grounds where the smell of stale glutenous food clogged my nostrils and lingered into the depths of my throat. And I thought the hills would be my biggest adversary!

I knew immediately that the finish line would be a problem for me, since we would circle back around the same loop.

The hills I handled fine. I muted my Map My Run app so that I wouldn’t be discouraged. It was time to run for fun and to trust God entirely. I check in the first two miles, and I was pacing far better than usual.

Around the 4.5 mile, my sciatica nerve on the left leg began to throb. In all my training, it had never manifested while on a run. I only vaguely feel it when I stretch it out in yoga. It was jarring — more mentally than physically. I tried not to think about it, but it was reverberating from my glutes all the way down to my ankle. It was very hard to ignore.

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My adversary…the ticking clock. I found myself literally chasing my goal at the end of the race. 

The runner holding the 59:59 sign was another area of deception, too. Initially, I thought it was great that she was there. I would know and be able to adjust my speed so I could meet my goal. Of course, she was never in my sights, as I ran a great first mile and a good second mile. But somewhere along the way in the hills and humidity and with my throbbing leg, my pace obviously slowed.

I sensed someone passing on my right and before I saw her, I knew who it was. I wasn’t even out of the park yet, so I had a long stretch of sidewalk and into the fair before hitting the last half mile that I had already decided would be my most challenging.

That didn’t last long. I pushed right back in front of her and picked up my pace. My feet beat the pavement in rhythm to a prayer. It was time to lean fully on God. Though I was secretly hoping my husband and toddler had made it out to cheer me on at the final turn into the main gate back into the fairgrounds.

So with discouragement that they hadn’t been there and the smells of grease fryers firing up for the final day, I hit my wall. The pace runner zipped passed me, and as much as I tried to pick myself up, I simply couldn’t.

I tried self-talk. I was digging deep. But I could feel vomit coming up the back of my throat. And then I got a whiff of urinal cakes — you know, those nasty things they put in the port-a-potties to make them smell less gross or to cover up the odor. Whatever it is for, it gagged me.

Then I heard one of the vendors cheering us on while they were warming up their fryer. I know he meant well, but I wanted to stop and smack the crap out of him. “One more turn and you’ve got it,” he says. To me, it was a sneer. The very smell of food that sends me to the emergency room was doing me in. Food he was making to sell. Ugh. At this point, I couldn’t find my positive self talk. Every bit of energy was directed to my attempt to NOT vomit.

A couple came up beside me and the husband pointed out to the wife that the woman in the red shirt was just a little bit ahead.

“Let’s pass her,” he says.

“I can’t,” was all the wife can muster.

I’m with her, I think. I feel like that last part of child labor. I’ve checked out. It’s over. I’m done investing any more physically or mentally, and I’m only going through the motions.

But the woman picks up her pace anyway.

I think to myself I am certain I won’t pass the woman with the sign, but I can definitely go somewhat faster.

I do.

I watch the lovely couple pass the pace runner, who slows down significantly as she comes to the finish line. They finish, but the pace runner seems to be stopping.

Oh, she went too fast, I think. She has to wait. 

But then she crosses over.

Disappointment sinks in. My feet slow.

Then I hear someone to my left yelling, “There’s still time!”

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Biting my lip as I pick up my pace for the last time before the finish. I finished 10th in my age group! 

I am about 30 yards from the finish and I see four numbers, and all I know is the first number is a 5. So I run as fast as I’m able.

I don’t look at the timer. I just run.

As I clear the finish line, I head for a seat and a bottled water. I finish the water, call my husband, grab another water and start walking to my car.

I don’t know if I did it, I say.

You did it, he said.

Yep, I was a pro at NOT puking that last half mile, I think. That’s what I did. 

When I pull in the driveway, I realize I have an unread text. I had recalled as I was crawling to the bench after the run that I got a notification on my phone. I thought it was notifying me of the race day. A little late, I thought.

But it was a text with my results: 59:33.

 

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Wellness, Yoga

Non-destructive self-care that works

For a ridiculous number of years, my version of self-care was eating unhealthy “splurges” (is it really a splurge when you eat the WHOLE cake? or when you have a “splurge” every day?)

I’m a stressed mom. I deserve it. 

There’s so much I’m juggling. This chocolate will bring me peace. 

Those people drive me nuts! I’ll have this packaged goodie just today. (Hit repeat daily.)

If it wasn’t food that I used to reward, calm, satisfy my emotions, then it was shopping. Or a haircut. Or a pedicure. All are “nice” rewards, but none do a thing to get to the root of what I NEED — body, mind, heart and spirit.

I spoke of my dysfunctional self-care at my first Holy Yoga 101 class last week. The scripture I focused on was what it really means to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” It means we MUST love ourselves. The problem is I applied the worldly kind of distorted love — food addiction, emotional eating and spending not supported by my budget. Another form of distorted love: self-centeredness.

So what is self-care?

The short answer is that it’s as unique as you are. It’s the fuel for your soul — the “thing” that makes you come alive.

But for many of us, there are tools that work because they’ve been proven effective time and again for all kinds of people.

Exercise — Some kind of cardio-pumping activity that helps reduce stress and improve mood.

Meditation — Can you find an extra 20 minutes even once a week? Meditation does wonders for the mind, body and spirit. If you need inspiration or want to do an assisted meditation on scripture, try the Holy Yoga meditations here: https://soundcloud.com/holyyogaofficial. 

Nutrition — I seriously had no clue how good my body was designed to feel until I started a nutrition system that was designed to address two things absent in the American diet: cellular detoxification (removing the fat cells where toxins are stored) and infusion of minerals, which are deficient in our foods because of modern farming. In addition to Holy Yoga, my passion is coaching people through this kind of program.

Mindfulness — Start slowing down and using ALL your senses to experience life and relationships. Notice people. Really hear them, rather than just listening; enjoy every bite of your food and think (really think) about where the ingredients came from as you eat; enjoy the aromas around you; see what’s in front of you every day that you might be walking by without notice.

Prayer — It’s not something reserved for church or those who are ill or in need. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8  Thank God. Center your prayer and your days on gratitude. Take even your everyday desires to Him who knows you best.

18301656_10154347623971035_4028672242165323325_nYoga — Isn’t this exercise? Well, yes. And, no. Yoga is a discipline most of all. Could you do three Son Salutations every morning? Or what about the stretches that are best for YOUR body every night before bed? Make the time to stop, stretch and appreciate the way your body moves for you.

Writing — I might lose some of you on this. Writing is my passion, so I crave it. I also don’t make the time I should for it. But currently I’m doing a program with my company called Healthy Mind and Body. I spend 10-15 minutes every day writing, following specific prompts meant to improve my mindset, energy, nutrition, fitness and more. It works! Write your way through your struggles — be they physical, mental or spiritual. Need help? Here are some books/resources I’ve found that help!

1. Healthy Mind and Body. If you aren’t with Isagenix, let’s talk. If you’re not ready yet, try Rod Hairston’s book that the program is based on, called “Are you up for the Challenge?” It will help you work through your habits and the six steps to lasting change.

2. “Playing Big” by Tara Mohr. This is an incredible book with the subtitle “Practical Wisdom for Women who want to speak up, create and lead.” So far, I’ve not seen any reason men couldn’t enjoy her book. Each chapter includes a list  journaling questions. I’m doing some serious unraveling of my inner critic and learning to envision my inner mentor…and I’m just two chapters in!

3. Stasi Eldridge has a great book and Bible study called “Becoming Myself.” It’s super similar to the Mirror Image spa that I’ve been doing for a few years, and it’s a great companion to that. Learn to see yourself the way God sees you and embrace His dream of you.

4. The Victory Lifestyle Journal. This tool that my friend Lisa Rigoni and I designed is a great place to keep track of the way you daily care for and celebrate yourself. And the money supports Mirror Image spas for those who cannot afford them. See me to buy one.

Before and afters —  I seriously love before and after photos. Do them all the time. It might be a body transformation you’re after. Maybe it’s just cleaning your garage. Or trying to accomplish a yoga pose. There’s so much appreciation of self that comes from documenting before and afters. It doesn’t even need to be a photo. Write it out. Set a goal. Re-evaluate it every so often. Create a vision board for the year and see what happens when you set your intentions.

These are just some ideas to get you thinking. What can you add to the list of superior self-care?