My hot Vinyasa yoga teacher read a gorgeous piece at the end of class. I should have asked who wrote it because I cannot seem to find it. I will ask next week. The sentence “Turn your face to the sun” repeats several times. It was a charge to be more grateful, acknowledge all of the smiling eyes and prayers made on your behalf no matter the trial.
I needed the encouragement. Though it wouldn’t usually bother me, I felt a sense of shame not being able to get into many of the poses. I felt exposed, as if I was a fraud. The insecurity of having “too much” body. Believe me, I know better but the feeling arose a few more times even after telling myself to shake it off and that those thoughts do not get to make a home here.
This is my quiet time. My prayer time. My stretch time. My solo practice in the midst of all of these sweaty, bendy bodies. Even though I was never completely settled, the piece spoke to my insecurities and reminded me of why I intend to keep coming.
Why I intend to keep coming after all of it –the last 5 days of 75 hard, the last week of bloglikecrazy, teaching, writing and training for Spartan.
On the 69th day, I went to a small group physical training class and the “small group” ended up being me.
I appreciated the one-on-one attention. My first real attempt at pull-ups was valiant and the success was aided by a set of bands I stood on for support. Per my new usual, I left tired but proud of the work done.
Afterwards, I met a friend for my second workout –a walk in the park. She gifted me a lovely book of poetry for my birthday.
On the back of the book there was a quote that resonated deeply with me:
“Nobody warned you that the women whose feet you cut from running would give birth to daughters with wings.”
Many women like me come from silenced women, oppressed women or women who lived as if their feet were bound or cut because of what the world brainwashed them to claim as truth.
And they did give birth to women like me and many women like my dear friend who want to live out loud, feel the earth under their feet on multiple continents, hike, climb, start their own businesses, volunteer, work, raise money, take care of their families, write books and lead without apology.
Women like me who are scared to live without the recognition of their wings.
Day 68 of 75hard.
I had a 5:30am strength class. I struggled to elephant crawl on the AstroTurf, quaking breath and wobbly arms, but it got done. I drove home, jumped out of the car and took a walk.
The long kind of meditative walk that I won’t stop taking once this challenge is over next Friday.
My mind wanders and winds as much as my feet do on these walks. So much to observe. The lonely cats. The barefoot woman who runs out to start and warm up her car before scurrying back in. The trashmen in dayglow vests dragging receptacles across the dewey grass. The children with their hoodies up and heads down, buried in their phones.
I remind myself often to pray. Say thank you, Kristina. You were blessed to wake up today. Your husband woke up today. Your family is healthy. Pray they feel loved and safe and want for nothing.
I may listen to something. But no earphones. I let the sound ring out from the depths of my coat pocket. When I started these walks 68 days ago, I anticipated my fitness changing, growing but I didn’t anticipate the gratification.
I think it’s better that way. Finding it, falling into a practice rather than entering full of assumptions. That is where the authenticity can be found.
This evening, I attended a book signing about minimalism. I enjoyed the message and it had me thinking about how to foster my own growth in my minimalism journey. Specifically, I asked myself about the old clothes I am holding on to at the back of my closet — the outfit I graduated college in and a pair of jeans I wore in 2003. I don’t intend to wear any of those pieces in public again but I am waiting and working for the moment where I can try them on again with the confidence that they’ll fit.
But even if it does fit, I won’t be that person who used to wear them. It won’t feel the same. I won’t be that age. My body will be older. So why the emotion attached to them?
After tomorrow’s grueling morning workout, I am going to fish those clothes out and find a new home for them. I don’t think they live here anymore.
It is time to make room for the things that actually do.
I am home now. I feel my muscles vibrating and my heart still pumping several minutes after class is over. This Afterburn class is designed to destroy limits. All of the strength training classes I am taking are also designed for this purpose but tonight was something else… mountain climbers, push-ups, burpees, lunges, touchdown squats and something I had never heard of…Figure 8’s?
As I was winding a kettlebell through my legs, up back to my chest and back through my legs on the other side, there were many audible grunts. Another class member and I “competed” in pulling an infinity rope machine through 10 rounds at the end of the session. I thought I had nothing left when she asked us to do it. Did she not see my sweat and hear my heavy breath?
But when she called time, I pulled as if I had a shot in beating this very fit man next to me.
What’s occuring to me is that just when I think I have nothing left, just when I think I should be passed out on the gym floor, my will shows up.
There’s almost always more left.
The tank is only empty if I tell myself it is. If I set myself up with enough sleep, water, the proper food and vitamins, then it is possible.
I can give more of myself.
I knew today would be better than yesterday. Even though I was sore, my walk this morning was done and I could feel the muscles working in my legs. I had a training to attend in the afternoon and the information presented to me filled in holes I didn’t know needed to be filled. My day job will make a bit more sense from here on out.
At the training, there were crayons, markers, colored pencils and clay at the table. I arrived for the afternoon portion and people were engaged in the training but they were also coloring and rolling around brightly colored clay in their hands. Maybe this is already commonplace at many companies but it was my first time witnessing it.
I eventually asked for a box and picked up a paper with “Enjoy the Little Things” and colored a little bit. It was almost alarming how satisfying it was to be free to do so.
It really can be about enjoying the little things-coloring at work, a meditative walk in the neighborhood and for me right now, going to let my stylist work her magic fingers through my hair.
I just got home from what feels like was one of the longest days of my life. Workout, work, home for 45 minutes, doctor’s appointment, grocery store trip, home for an hour to catch a breath and read my pages, strength training class, back to the store and finally back home to write this post and start cooking. At some point, I will pass out ungracefully on the couch.
Most of the days on 75hard have been fine. I never love it all but I’ve gotten through it all. There has been days where I want to fling my gallon jug of water across the room and days where I want to do the same with whatever personal development book I am reading. I also don’t love taking daily full-length pictures of myself. I have never been the person who wants to take constant photos so that part has been hard for me.
While this post seems to be shaping up to be a whinefest, please understand I accept all of these requirements are for a reason. I would never have imagined a Spartan race (let alone three), strength training, consistent yoga, axe throwing (with continuing keep a writing practice at the same time) if it hadn’t been for this.
I get it.
But some days it sucks.
Today (Day 64) is one of those days.
I accept it and I am moving on to tomorrow which I am already claiming will be a better day.
Went to yoga today. Hot Vinyasa yoga. I worked to quiet my mind and devote this practice to myself. I prayed in my time. I thought about how loud and angry someone on our hotel floor was around 2:30am. I thought about the walk Hubby and I took straight from the highway to the track. I asked my body for forgiveness for not moving it consistently for so long. I asked my body for forgiveness for almost never stretching it. As I eased my feet up the wall of the studio, I became aware of the inflexibility of my body and hoped after many months, the rigidity will be a distant memory.
As our guide (as she liked to be called) sprayed lavender water at our feet, my nostrils and my brain wakened, appreciative of the freshness and cleansing properties of the aroma.
She also shared a closing story with us to center our hearts and minds on gratitude. A story about a whale, freed from nets and traps by divers.
I held back tears.
Not sure why. But by the end of class, I knew I would be back.
Today is my birthday and it is one of the best ones I can remember.
There are many reasons why:
I am away from home.
I am near the ocean.
I am eating delicious vegan meals in warm and well decorated cafes.
Pumpkin Curry Bisque
Loved the decor of this vegan cafe!
And I tried something new.
I threw axes this afternoon! After watching Christine Baranski throw them on an episode of “The Good Fight”, I had to try it. I mentioned it a couple of times months ago but never thought much about it. Whey Hubby said he had a surprise for my birthday and it’s something I want to try, I racked my brain but came up with nothing.
I eventually guessed about a week ago and by that time, he already made the reservations. When we pulled up today, I was excited. Even if I didn’t hit the board, I knew it wouldn’t matter. The point was to ring in 39 not only with workouts, reading, eating and water but to usher it in with a Kristina who wouldn’t be too scared to wield an axe or anything else I never pictured for myself.
By the way, I not only ended up hitting the board but a couple of times, I hit the bullseye.
Happy Birthday to me.
Halfway through bloglikecrazy!
Hubby and I decided to get out of town for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. I know it’s practically winter but we have chosen on more than one occasion to spend it at a beach. What makes this one even more special is that I didn’t have to lift a finger to plan a thing– no booking a room or deciding what to do on the actual day. This is a milestone for us because I am usually the planner and even though I have been known to complain about it, the truth is I could rest easy with the control that it gave me.
But none of that this time around and the activity tomorrow was something I mentioned in passing months ago. But more about that on tomorrow’s post.
Tonight I am enjoying dinner and the view.