Blogging is an interesting form. It is forgiving and fast moving. I often just try, with each post, to simply articulate one thought clearly. I blog to figure out what I think about things. I blog to keep myself honest and my eyes open and my brain moving. And then when I hit publish, it is such a joy when my thoughts interact with other people’s brains, so rewarding to have people engage with my posts. It adds a dimension to my writing and gives it life beyond the screen. In 2014, I contributed to three blogs, and it was curious to see which posts struck a chord with people. In 2014, people reacted to my posts about my body– my body doing things like yoga, weeding, and healing. Here are some of the post from last year that invited reaction:
I was a gymnast from age 4 to age 22. Gymnasts tend to have heightened body awareness. My mind can keep track of my feet while I am flipping and twisting. I can sense exactly where my center of gravity is. Tell me what angle to bend my knee at when I swing it behind me and I will hit it. But gymnasts are also masters at ignoring our bodies. We learn how to stifle stress triggers like sweaty palms and upset stomachs warning us that the skill that we are about to attempt for the first time is dangerous. The surging pain in my left ankle got pushed aside until the last routine is competed. The headaches that came each time I tumbled got two Advil instead of my concern. My career was saturated with small, chronic pain and accented with traumatic injuries. Without fully realizing it, I was constantly triaging pain and making split second decisions on which pain to pay attention to and which to ignore. I could go from deeply embodied and aware to deeply disconnected at a moment’s notice. It felt like a superhuman power….
Oh, so cliche, but alas, it’s true. I wasted an entire week of of psychological energy that could have been put toward learning another language instead toward feeling fat. I’m not overweight. I’ve never been overweight. I weigh less now than I did at the end of high school. And for decades now, due to body-image work I’ve fully committed to, I rarely fall into the self-loathing of “fat” for more than a few hours. I can pull myself out of it quickly. The week long wallowing in irrational judgement got my attention…
Tending to the Problems: I walked into the Minneapolis Yoga Workshop and liked it right away. The crew was motley– all ages, shapes and sizes. No expensive gear to be seen. No one throwing their egos around before class– just a small gathering of people who had clearly formed a comfortable community of healing. I handed my new person form to the instructor and waited while he looked it over. Yoga instructors tend to struggle to assess me quickly from my new person sheet. I’ve been practicing for about eight years now, but I’ve moved a lot so have never had a steady teacher or studio. I’ve enjoyed different forms of yoga in different seasons of my life. My past in gymnastics makes me appear to be good, but I have a lot to unlearn, too. And in yoga, being good is exactly not the point….
On Keeping Faith Today:
Weeding: Last week my spouse and I closed on and got keys for our first home. The seller was long gone. Not being able to stand the Minnesota climate, he moved to Northern California. The yard of our new home is landscaped beautifully, but in his absence the weeds had grown to hip height and spread quickly into lush bunches. I spent a chunk of time on Saturday crouched over in the warm sun, pulling weeds and chucking them over my shoulder into the driveway. This monotonous, rhythmic activity lends itself to spiritual reflection, which I thoroughly enjoyed. None of my thoughts were especially profound, but as someone who strives for gentle, continual growth and improvement, the activity of pulling weeds became a metaphor of spiritual renewal work right before my very eyes….
Fierce Love: I have a child growing in my womb who will take on the last name of my husband, which is Ruth. When we first met, he joking tried to woo me by telling me that all of his names were Biblical: Daniel Paul Ruth. I love the book of Ruth and have been looking at it with fresh eyes lately….