Friday, January 18, 2019

Note to my doctor about body positivity....

Dear Dr. XXXXX, 
         We had a visit last week. I came in because I had a painful lump under my arm and needed a referral for more tests. I got the referral. Thank you for that, but I also got a "weight talk". 

       I understand you are a medical doctor and your patients' health is priority, yet, in this case it was more detrimental, in fact, the whole visit left me feeling bad. You see, I have been addressing my weight issues for years now, as a woman in my 20's and 30's t was an issue of constant stress and pain and frustration, all rolled into one. I have read countless weight loss books, I have food-journaled, dieted, starved, eaten low this, low that, etc. A while back I even requested a slew of tests to find the cause of my weight, yet, only got offered meds., which I am not interested in. My weight is a puzzle to me too, I eat super healthy, I work out 3-4 times a week, and after all these years I have come to accept that maybe this is just the way it's meant to be for me. Your suggestions of cutting carbs & staying off soda did not take into consideration that I never drink soda, and I have been on a low-carb diet but that as a distance runner I also need a certain amount of carbs. I also cook at home, hardly eat out and eat 
veggies, etc. From my weight, people assume I'm not being healthy, but my blood pressure &blood work says otherwise, do these not count? 
       Anyway, I wanted to inform you that I am considering switching to another primary care. Despite where my body is currently, in my mind, I need to begin embracing more positive feelings about my body. Having others,even my own doctor, assume that I do not take care of my body or having to constantly prove to others that I am doing the best I can is exhausting, as it is depressing. I could do without that struggle. I walked out of your office with a sheet that primarily stated my weight, your suggestions first, and only after was there a mention of why I came there to begin with. I appreciate your concern but coming at me with inaccurate assumptions does not help. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

5 reasons I LOVE Topos

I have found the love of my life....topos. All runners want to find that one sneaker that feel amazing, and I found it!! 

I have 3 paint of TOPOS that rotate on my runs. I have decided to list all the reasons I am in love with these shoes. 

1. My toes have space to not only not feel crowded but they can also move around freely, and I don't have narrow feet, I have regular feet. 

2. The women's colors do not one in stupid traditional female colors. The shoes are easy on the eyes. 

3. The rock plate on the shoes bend with my feet. At least you don't feel like your feet have to conform to the shoes. NO!! the shoes conform to my feet 

4. They are made to last. I have run in them for many races and they do not show signs of wear and tear as fast as other sneakers I have used. The shape the sneakers also remain true to form no matter the abuse. I am used to having sneakers that start tearing away at the edges, so this is a nice change!

5. No extra padding. My feet move the way they need to move to stay healthy. I get both support but I also get the flexibility to build foot strength over time. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"The aliveness is staying in a verb"- resolutions of 2019

        I normally have a huge long list of resolutions for the New Year, but no, this year I have two very simple resolutions. Normally, I focus on what I don't want, and list them all, yet, this year I am only focusing on what I do want, and I mean ONLY.FOCUSING.ON.WHAT.I.WANT...nothing else. I want to feel at home in all situations, I want to be surrounded by people who know me, trust me and value me with all my imperfections, I want to navigate doubtless with my intentions close to my heart and be present for my loved ones.....really present. But back to my two resolutions. 

Resolution #1, I resolve to make my comfort level priority in all situations. If something does not feel right, speak up; if a person makes me feel lesser, move away,  if a situation irks me, look at it closer, don't just meek away into mouse-dom. Comfort is the meter by which the instincts speak to one's soul. Whether the people around me understand or not is not the focus. I've come to an age where I can no longer carry both my own expectations of what my life should be and the expectations of those around me of what my life should look like. If there's enough love in a relationship, it will survive the claiming of my own voice, it will allow me to find comfort in my own space. 

Resolution #2, I resolve to make art often, with whatever media, anytime and to make sure to share it with whomever wants to make it with me in whatever way they can participate. I also vow to only worry about making and not to worry about what happens to them after they are made; to give away creativity as it builds and to keep the creative give and take conduit moving to allow for more and more creativity to arise in me. In the past, overly focusing on how my work makes sense to others or in the larger picture has thwarted my creativity. 

         This past year has been good to me, I finished a 50 mile race, I passed my National Boards (which means a huge bonus of $5,000 and a substantial pay increase at work), I ran 775 miles and did over 55 hours of weight lifting. This year I also did some super amazing works at school with my students and have felt the most at home in my body, more than I ever have before. BUT, I think I am just at the beginning of some more great things ahead. I am taking my teaching to another level in 2019, I am running a 62-mile race, I am traveling to 2 states to run races and am going to not feel guilty having fun doing it. I am going to eat better for my body type, yet, not obsess about it, I am going to laugh more, dance more, say yes more and make zero decisions out of fear. So you see, as good as 2018 was to me, 2019 will be MUCH, much better and it will be so because I am in charge of me, because I am choosing the verbs this time. In the words of Poet and author, Mark Nepo, "The aliveness is in staying in a verb." I am the verb this 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Assumptions as walls

       If there is one thing I learned this year it's that assumptions are walls. Assumptions make us blind to what's right before us and it usurps and numbs down our most helpful communication tool, the instinct. Instinct being that very thing that helps us clearly see all that's happening, in 3D, if you may. When we have our instincts fully on, we are paying attention 100% and then some and are able to grasp fully the whole interaction with the other. 

        We often turn to assumptions because they become a convenient way to live life on automatic. There are many reasons assumptions are more convenient; could be that we are in a fast paced world, perhaps, we want to be right and avoid the discomfort of being wrong at all costs, but most importantly, maybe it keeps us from feeling pain or fear, and out of control. When we assume, we don't have to check in, for "we already know", we don't need to ask why, "we already know", we don't have to talk,  we "already know how it'll all go." With assuming, "the other" is this fake virtual other we create that very much resembles the genuine other, with the exception that it's NOT the genuine other. Author, Byron Katie suggests quiet listening as an antidote to assuming, but she suggests the type of listening where one stops participating in the conversation altogether as a way to draw others to open, but also to convince the listener of how much mental noise has been clouding us all along. She likens true listening to a gift you give the other, the gift comes in the form of allowing the "other" to listen to his own thoughts as they leave his lips; in allowing the other to work the correct thoughts out as he speaks, for sometimes we ourselves don't know exactly what will leave out lips before we say it . Therefore, being allowed to express our thoughts is, in fact, a gift. 

           Running has allowed me to fight our instinctual bent towards making assumptions. In order to avoid injury one has to put assumptions aside and really listen to one's body. With every stress, every discomfort in by body I am always seeking THE genuine source; assuming the source may only lead to more pain, maybe injury, so finding the genuine cause to all things inside my body is essential to bringing pain to an end. In general life too, seeking the genuine cause for all things, and not mere assumptions, will always lead the the end of our pain as well.        

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Caring vs. Love.... 2018 lesson

I have learned this year that I now feel differently about caring. I have learned that caring often references bits of attachment and control, that it carries expectations, weight, and intensity I don't need in my life and that real love is much, much simpler, much lighter, yet, deeper. 

I have learned this year that once I stopped feeling responsible for others' feelings and no longer "cared" about this, I really started loving the person; just loving whomever exactly as he (or she) is, no matter what he/she does or not do. 

I have learned that caring is a story and love is the complete absence of a story. Truly loving someone is being present with the other.

This year, I have learned to welcome when people realize that they don't belong in my life and have the good sense to go away and that I have been spared. I learned that people leave our lives when they no longer match us and to consider it a positive sign.

I have learned that when you unfriended a person that it doesn't mean he/she is wrong, but that it feels wrong with me to stay in touch. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What's your worth? (in a relationship)

                Been thinking a lot about one's worth lately, particularly worth as it relates to relationships. On any given run, this topic comes circling around in my head. Running does that to you, you know. Amazing, innovative and brilliant ideas flood my head and this is one of them.       
                 There are relationships where someone might get too comfortable, so comfortable in fact, that they feel they get to define your worth to you, like some prescription. That is never, never good. But how do you know you're in one of those types of relationships, for sometimes, it's not that obvious? Well, keep reading. 

                 I have had many relationships over the years, friendships and amorous ones, and none are as toxic as ones in which your worth is refined to you by a friend or partner. This might be done in a subtle way, like when your friend (or partner) glosses over things that matter to you,  or, it may be done in a more direct manner, like when your friend or partner defines to you who "you are" as if it were fact. Nevertheless, worthiness is a real thing. People make major decisions on relationships based on these ideas of what they and you are worth. 
                 Like the topic of worthiness, similar to topic of "level of intensity" in a relationship, is something we all navigate around when choosing friends or partners, yet both rarely do they get defined as the essential aspects that they are. Worthiness always comes into play in our relationship decision-making, whether we are aware of it or not.  For example, if we have a tendency to be intimidated by someone who we consider, "together" and at the "top of their game", we might instead choose friends or partners whose default setting is constant dependency. Worthiness comes into play here because in order to have this relationship function the dependent/caretaker balance must be maintained just as it began for the relationship to continue. Meaning, the dysfunctional aspect of the relationship by which the relationship was founded on is the very lifeline that keeps it going. Quite opposite, when worthiness levels are more equal, instead of feeding off of the dependency, we thrive off of something else; we thrive from being surrounded by strong, independent people instead. Being surrounded by people who challenge us, vex us, and whom at times, may even infuriate us, is a sign that we see others as equal in worth to ourselves. I have recently learned that knowing which dynamic you operate is very helpful in determining your level of social-emotional health;  dependency being on one end of the spectrum and allowance of dissent on the other. 

              What's the best way to know which type of relationship you are involved in? You know by testing it. For example, ask for re-hashing of the relationship rules, or ask for a serious conversation around an issue that truly troubles you, or disagree on an important issue to you personally, or strongly express a different  opinion about an issue. People who see you as equal will want you to be who you are and want to find bridges to a middle ground, no matter how different you are. People who see you as equal will not shut you down at the smallest sign of dissent? I am not saying to "dissent" all the time, but something is seriously wrong in a relationship if its become commonplace that any one of the players cannot express discontent without the other defining it as something else or simply dismissing it. The main question therefore is, "Does this person take you seriously? yes? no? ".  In my home 4 out of 5 days you walk into my house you will find my husband and I arguing about 2-3 hot topic issues. The next minute we move on never thinking twice about the others' ability to express discontent, disagreement or dissent. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

THE ULTIMATE - 2018 Runner's gift buying guide....

Every year I make a gift buying guide for anyone that has a runner in their lives.... basically, these are things I'd love!!! 

1. this company not only gives your your genetic report...but also gives you recommendations for right eating and exercise....I have to admit, this has changed my life. Totally worth every penny. 
 Image result for vitagene

2. For all runners, a must....I never leave home without mine. 
Image result for pepper spray

3. I have to admit...the best present I have EVER gotten has been a gift card to a running store.... total heaven... don't look at it as a cop-out....we runners know how to spend that card.... don't YOU worry!
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4. for your outdoor runner...a must... make sure it has a window and that the window matches the phone size.... 

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5. for your runner who cannot run without extra pair of these have helped me whenever I've lost my "good pair" I singularly use the apple headphones. 

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6. Socks, socks, socks.... don't buy crappy brands... my personal favorite is swiftwick, the thin ones. Get a size up, they shrink a bit. 

Image result for swiftwick thin
7. If your runner has completed a race....they will never....I repeat, NEVER turn away race gear.... race gear is like the gold standard of any runner's wardrobe.... I can wear my NYC marathon jacket everyday until I am 90....again, worth every penny. 

Image result for new york city marathon 2015 gear

8. Gym bag. Only if they are super cute... I have two and don't need any more... so inquire before buying. 

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9. Now, this is for a runner who has everything already!! it will be a huge hit and it's a gift that keeps on giving...all year... (or for however many months you chose). 
Image result for monthly box runners

10. Runners just cannot turn away from running jewelry...totally cool....Etsy has a ton of these sellers....

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11. For a health conscious runner....get him Shalane's cookbook...
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12....does your runner have too many medals now and need a new rack? again, search on Etsy.... many cool handmade options there...

Image result for medal race rack