"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sparkly Glitter and Bright Hair Bows

Hi, my name is Karen and I am a soccer mom failure. I cannot wear matching sweatsuits with a perky haircut. Don't get me wrong, that is totally cool if that is you but it just isn't me. It makes me feel so fake and blah! Deep down in my heart I am a sparkly fairy ready to burst forth and spread sunshine and rainbows. There are days I really want to wear a tiara because I think it is pretty. I like clothes with glitter. I really do. There it is, my admission.

There was a time in my life I said, when I am 70, I am going to wear a tiara and sparkly purple eyeshadow. I am going to wear a feather boa to Walmart if I deign to do so that day. I am not longer care what people think and I will let my personality really shine through.

Well kids, hold on because it looks like 70 has come 30 plus years early. I have decided I am going to live out that attitude now while I can still dance wildly dressed in glitter and feathers. And I have my hoop and the freeing nature hoopdance to thank for it. So thank you hoop! Thank you hoopdance! I love you!

Somewhere in my head, it became embedded that I had to become more conservative and reserved as I became older. Now that I was a mother, I had to put a public face on and be more dignified.Well I have decided I don't wanna. Besides, I am not a mother, I am one hip, groovy momma and I am going to stay that way. I am going to buy ruffly shorts to hoop in and have a friend make me sparkle filled colorful hairbows to put in my hair. I am even going to wear glitter eyeshadow and I am going to love life while I do it. If anyone has anything nasty to say I can guarantee they aren't loving life as much as I am. Besides, my husband things it is sexy. And that is a good enough reason on its own.

Seriously though, why do we hide behind clothes that aren't really us and practice hobbies that are proper for our stage of life but we don't really have much interest in? You can be a mature, responsible adult and wear fairy wings if you so choose. You really can. Why do we find it necessary to hide away parts of our personality in order to be more acceptable to others? We are fearfully and wonderfully made with all our quirks and eccentricities. God loves us for who we are not for some public persona we might pretend to be.

So my question to you is, are you hiding? Are you covering up some quirks that others might think strange? I guarantee you we all have them. Is this inhibiting you to leading you life fully, outloud, and with abundance? If so, are you willing to have the courage and step out as you truly are? I hope you join me. I think it is going to be an incredible adventure.

I gotta go, I have to design my hairbows and get my friend to make them for me

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Warm, Spring Dreams

I had a great run today. Right now I feel satisfied yet mildly fatigued. It is a good feeling. I feel relaxed. Training for this half marathon is hard, physically and mentally. It is making me dig deeper and go further in so many surprising aspects. But that isn't on my mind too much right now. Right now I am dreaming of warm spring days.

I think you can both live in the moment and let yourself dream. I don't think it is oxymoronic at all. Actually, I think it a great way to express a well rounded life. The past and the future are not really seperate from us. We shouldn't live there or obsess but it is a part of us. I love watching pictures of when my sweet babies were newborns. I can see through experienced eyes and appreciate those times all the more. And times like today when I am relaxed and lazing a bit, I dream of the future. Today, I dream of spring.

I really don't like cold weather. Nothing grows outside. It smells cold and forbidding to this earth loving momma. I love the smell of wet earth ready to burst forth with life. I love the smell of the soft,gentle winds that bring warmth and cleansing breath. I even love the smell of spring storms that rise up quickly and violently. They scare me a bit but they also remind me that I am truly alive. The feel of warm sun on my face never fails to delight my heart. Feeling my hair lifted by the breeze that playfully flings it across my face is Joy, Delight, so many good things. This year I am eager to hear the musical laughter of my children as they play on our yet to be bought and installed playscape. I long to hear their calls as we explore nature and go on walks. I am excited to answer Hannah's multitude of questions and the listen to her musings as we plant our first garden together. I dream of feeling the warmth of my husband's chest as I lean against him and we watch our precious babies discover their world. I dream of all of this and more. It is beautiful to me.

To me, life has always felt cyclical. The ebb and flow join together and give you a particular rhythym to live by. After this half marathon, I am devoting the rest of April, May, and June to yoga and hooping. I want to take the time to allow my body to heal from the intense physical exertions and give my mind time to find balance and peace. I am looking forward to the training and the race but I am looking forward to the recovery as well. After that, who knows? I want to do aerial silks and I have an interest in bellydance and learning Bollywood but that furture is vague. I think I will save those dreams for a different day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I am sad to say that I have fallen victim to caring too much about what a scale says about me. You can be walking along feeling great about life and accidently stumble onto a scale. I shouldn't get on, you think to yourself. But then, you do. That silly number can then wreak havoc on your mood. It is not okay!

Your weight is just one measurement of the whole of your health. There are so many other numbers, tests, and factors that need to be considered. Why does this one little number bother us so much? I don't have an answer. Societal conditioning? Some secret sense of masochism? Looking for a reason to beat ourselves up? Penance for forgotten sins? I don't know. And I don't care because I am banishing my scale, at least for the next several months if not longer.

When I started training for this half marathon I was 15-20lbs over where I need to be for my best physical shape. I have a bad back and extra weight counts alot. Also, I truly intend to shimmy up aerial silks for one of my summer's adventures so that is another consideration. And before anyone who knows me flips about me being too thin, a goal weight of 120-125lbs at 5'3 with a very small frame is not extreme. But I digress from my tale of banishment. I know me, I can either focus on losing this weight or I can focus on training for this half. I really can't do both at the same time. If I pay attention to weight there is a good chance I will cut food that I very much need to gain the muscle and endurance for this race. So I have made a promise to myself I will not get on a scale until after the race is over.

But that made me think, what if I just stay off the scale after the race is done? What if I just eat healthy and lead a very active lifestyle and let that be that? Is it crazy? Is it healthy? Can I do it? I think it may be crazy but a very good crazy. I think it may be the most healthy thing I could do both emotionally and physically. I might just be able to do it. Stay off the scale other than the obligatory once a year physical.

You see, I have another motive. I do not want to pass on my issues with food, weight, and body acceptance to my beautiful, gorgeous, perfect just as she is Hannah. I do NOT want my daughter to be poisoned with the bizarre and invasive body issues that abound in our culture. I don't want her to look in the mirror and see a false ugly rather than true beauty like her mother did. It has taken me so long to be comfortable with my body, to celebrate its unique beauty and the amazing, wondrous things God designed it to do. It has been a hard and heartbreaking battle I do not want my precious child to experience. So I think I may just banish that scale and the little number that is inflated beyond, so far beyond, its importance.

So I think I am going to give it a go and experience life without a scale. I hope that ultimately it brings me to greater acceptance of my innate beauty and myself and sets an example for my daughter. I want her to know how very special and amazing she is no matter what.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding My Place in the Circle

Hooping. I love it. I truly do. Hooping has giving me more than I could have imagined. Last summer, I was toying with the idea of poi. Through researching poi, I discovered hooping and hoop dance. I thought it would be a cool, quirky thing to play with so I gave it a whirl. I ordered my first adult size hoop from Hoopnotica and signed up for beginning lessons with the St Louis Hoop Club. And my love affair was born.

From the first moment, I found hooping to be this amazing, zen thing. I would start the hoop around my waist and the cares and troubles of the day fall away. I found peace in the rhythmic movement. I hooped outdoors so it meant I spent a greater amount of time outside and with nature. I have hooped to some amazing sunsets and a couple of incredible sunrises. Each one was a gift to behold.

Hooping challenges me in many ways. First, it is great physical exercise. It tones and shapes your core like nothing else. It has also given me a flexibility and suppleness of movement I have not experienced for two decades at least. Another challenge is the myriad and infinite variety of tricks to be learned and mastered. Some are quite easy, others are hard, and some are downright painful to learn. The final challenge hooping has presented me with is the ability to let go of my inhibitions, lose myself in the music and the dance, and just hoop unfettered by fears such as someone could be watching or judging. Just open my heart and let my soul sing with the rhythm it finds. Amazing.

I attended a Fusion Movement Seminar today. It was an experience I shall savor in coming days. A group of forty or so people that were willing to look like fools, drop props, and be silly all in the name of discovering movement. Hooping and learning with this group was freeing. We played with hoops, mini hoops, staffs , and finally, at long last, my poi. I played with poi for the first time today. Of course, the first thing I did was smash myself in the nose...really hard. Pain gave way to numb which turned back to pain and then dissolved into laughter. You get bruises playing with flow toys. You get bruises when your neighbor flings their toy into you. It is the way of learning. I now of a cool floral Hawaiian looking pair of poi to play with.

The greatest gift my hoop practice has given me is a comfort with myself that was fleeting before now. I am more at home with my own physicality than I have ever been. I am more assured being the person I truly am. I am far more comfortable in my own skin. There has truly been a fusion in my life bringing many aspects together to progress further on the path I am meant to follow. So I will continue my journey to find my place in the circle.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Embracing the Chaos

I think I have tried my whole life to live an organized, balanced, neat, tidy, and perfect life. Everything needed to be just so and look just right. Goodness, the house isn't perfect so it is not fit for company. I cringe at how many opportunities, experiences, and conversations I cheated myself out of because of my self imposed psychosis. And trust me, it was definately crazy making.

Right after I had Hannah, I knew it was breaking. I just couldn't keep up and I was really stressed from trying. I kid you not, I exhausted myself two weeks after an emergency csection because I insisted on cleaning an already just fine house. Ludicrous comes to mind quickly. I have issues dances right beside it. But I just couldn't let it go.

Then came Logan, my precious, beautiful, amazing, colicky, acid reflux, didn't stop screaming for the first six months of his life boy. I am going to tell you, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If I was going to keep my sanity something was going to have to give and perfectionism jumped up to volunteer.

The result has been more surprising that I could have imagined. Perfectionism was putting me in a sterile, cold box of conformity. My brain was so caught up in the disease of perfect that my creativity and expression had been all but doused, supressed under layers of organizational methods and procedures. All my creativity, all my passion, all my desires to live life out loud had been buried deep within my heart. Thankfully, these things quickened with life as soon as I shrugged off the shackles of perfection.

I have never had a better time in my life. I am writing. I am hooping. I knit and crochet. I explore other ways to express myself. I laugh. I live. I dream. Life without perfection is beautiful. I am coming to understand the flaws and mess is where the true beauty is in life. Within the chaos, creation is born. This realization causes me to pause and ponder the implications daily. I try not to wince at the wasted time.

I urge you to examine your own self expectations, really scrutinize them. First, are they actually yours or some mythos that somebody thought up to be an ideal not even your own ideal? If it is yours, is it helpful? Is it beneficial? Or is it in reality holding you back from living the life you should be living?

Dropping these false aspirations can free us to live a life of joy. We can learn to enjoy the mess and appreciate the chaos. We can see our children laughing with mud streaked across their faces and sunlight in hair as they track that same mud into our homes. We can revel in the joy rather than losing precious moments in needless anxiety.

I slip up. I panic from time to time that my house is a disaster. But I am learning more each day. More times than not I will shrug off a dirty floor to cuddle up with a baby and read. I am learning to spend more sunsets hooping and loving the moment rather than fixate on dishes to be done. I slip up but I am choosing more and more to live in the moment and just breathe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Permission To Grow and Flourish

There is a wonderful blog out there http://www.theorganicsister.com/. Tara is such a cool and fascinating woman. I love her honestly and the authentic way she lives her life. Recently, she wrote a blog about the things she is going to give herself permission to do. I absolutely love the idea. I did my own list. I copied a few of hers but I doubt they will be lived out the same way so I thought that would be okay.

Here is my list:
1.Wear clothes that make me feel amazing and beautiful. I am getting rid of the last remnents of soccer mom clothes in my wardrobe. It is so not me! I love gauzy cottons, joyful silks, beautiful colors, and I will admit it, sparkles. Somewhere along the line I unconsciously bought into the idea that I had to wear some specific mom uniform. This appears to have been tied in with the fact that my next birthday I switch decades. Well, I don't care anymore. I am a momma, I am almost 40, and I am going to wear sparkly, rainbow fairy wings if I want to!
2. Pursue hooping as if it were my profession. I don't want to be a professional hooper but I want my passion to be at the same level. Hooping has been a gift from God to me. There are few activities that give me more pleasure, more unadulterated joy, more hope and freedom than hooping does. I want to pursue this art with all the passion and zeal it deserves in my life. I hope to become amazing in this to me.
3. Stop justifying our parenting. We are really different parents than most around us. We practice attachment parenting, we believe in grace based discpline, we don't spank or use shame to motivate our children, we don't use cio, we cosleep, I practice extended breast feeding, you get it, we are pretty crunchy in our approach. This upsets alot of people. Well, I am not going to justify this anymore. We have prayed, researched, talked, thought, on and on and on. There is not one thing we do with our children that has not been well thought out by both John and me. These are our decisions for our family and that is all there is to that.
4. Do nothing. This is so ridiculously hard for me. I am always jumping up and down like a jack rabbit on a sugar high. It keeps me more wound up than I think is good. I am going to make a conscious effort to learn to sit and do nothing. I want to laze out in the backyard and watch my babies play. I want to curl up on the couch and just listen to my husband withou seeing a to do list over his shoulder. I was to learn to truly rest and relax. I want to be calmly present.
5. Learn to be okay with a messy house. I am a recovering perfectionist. It is not healthy at all. I think this practice will lead to more joy in the lives of me and my children. I do not like that often I see the mess rather than the fun. I practiced this today and it was wonderful. We had such a good time.
6.Surround myself with joy, beauty, and inspiration. This definately includes people! These are the things I plan to seek this year. There are some amazing people in my life and I truly hope to know them much more deeply during the coming days.
7. Fearlessly live up to my potential. This year I am going for it more than I ever have. I am jumping into the abyss and learning as I go. You may want to stand back if you are near me, it could get messy.
8. Revise, add, or takeaway from this list as I see fit. Because this is really what it is all about. I am giving myself permission to be free. If something isn't working, I want to change it and move on. No reason to fuss and flutter about, just revise and get going again.

What about you? Are there things you need to givc yourself permission to do this year? Do you feel the same longing to set yourself free? Are you going to do it?