Walk

Walk

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.

Enjoying the Little Things

Enjoying the Little Things

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.

 

Perfect Day

Perfect Day

I just had a day I wish I could have once a week. I took a three-hour writing class entitled “Pens Up, Fears Down” taught by Sadeqa Johnson. A friend of mine also attended (a lovely surprise). After class, I was invited to a lunch by her that she already had planned with another close girlfriend of mine.

When the day began, it was a bit of a struggle to tear myself away from the bed. I strained  my left ankle jamming my foot into the sneaker but told myself it would be ok once I got going. Thankfully, I was right.

Recently at the tail end of my walks, I have shifted into a jog. I was being tender with my ankle so I rolled it around a bit and decided today I would continue this new tradition. I ended up jogging longer than I had since this began!

Even though I overestimated how much time I had to get ready before class, I still made it for all of the writing prompts. Before class, my hunch was Sadeqa’s style of teaching and the community of writers gathered would reignite my fire for writing fiction.

It took a couple of prompts but I finally started to tell the story that’s been a bit of an obsession for me lately. That story has been trying to find a place on the paper for a couple  months now but I have been avoiding it.

I think I found the start of a couple of short stories or a novella. I love when I make space for a story and it lets me know it has found its home when the pen hits the page.

The fact that I got to cap this writing experience off with a lunch with two of my beautiful writer friends was perfection. We should have taken a picture but I am pleased we were too absorbed in one another to break the spell of lovely, flowing conversation to do so.

I am in the middle of day 55 of 75hard (with water to drink, pages to read, a picture to take and a workout to complete) and day 9 of bloglikecrazy. Days like this wear me out in the best way.

I am back home. I will take a few minutes to lie down and reflect on this most perfect day.

Then I will get on with the rest of the work because I have to show up for Day 56 and Day 10 no matter how it shows up for me.

Blogging Like Crazy: Year 3

Blogging Like Crazy: Year 3

I debated whether I would take the challenge this year. It would be my third year participating in bloglikecrazy (created by See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser) but beyond talking about 75hard, an upcoming birthday and time spent with family, I didn’t feel like I had 30 days in me this year.

And then I took a walk.

I slept in and decided to go to a local park for my first workout of the day. It was much cooler than previous mornings but I was grateful for the ample sunshine. I noticed the parking lot was full for a Friday morning. I saw a group of well dressed people gathered on a landing overlooking the lake. A few of them smiled at me.

By the time I walked another lap, I saw the group surrounding a slender woman with a beautiful afro in a silky emerald dress and a white fur shawl draped around her shoulders holding hands with a man, presumably her groom.

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As I continued to walk around the park, I walked with more intensity, buoyed by the sight of an unanticipated wedding.

I realized blogging (for me) has always been a place to share not just the musings and thoughts about writing, plant-based living and mindset but a record of the beautiful, the random and the unexpected.

 

Week 1

Week 1

I am on Day 9 of the 75hard challenge. After just over a week, I was already presented with my first obstacle. On my outdoor walk on Friday, I started experiencing pain in my left ankle and that continued to annoy me into the weekend but I persevered. I chose to wear an ankle brace and did indoor weight training for 45 minutes for my second workout the last couple of days.

Before starting the challenge, I intentionally stayed away from the scale. I chose to get on last Monday morning to have another way to measure progress. This Monday showed a 4.6 lb weight loss. I am proud of it but what really made me happy was having more room in my jeans and being able to go bowling comfortably. I was also happy to see I was able to accomplish this even as my cycle started on Sunday morning.

I also love knowing I have a friend who is keeping me accountable. Just seeing a text message with a progress picture or a workout update drives me to keep up and be a source of support to her, too. Hubby also continues to fill up my gallon water each day, too. I also developed a new habit. I am using the Lose It app to track my food. I have tracked calories in the past but I never liked it before. I used to resent it. I think it’s because I had a trainer checking it and now I am completely responsible, the only judge of what I choose to put in my body.

I noticed it’s starting to bleed into other areas. I am finally turning “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” into a paper version which will be ready by next week. I am ready to approach wedding vendors in person and online. I was tired of talking about it and this challenge is showing me how much action truly matters.

It’s the only thing that matters.

Words are nice but sometimes that’s all they are.

Words.

And I am truly tired of my words meaning something else: Broken promises to myself.

But enough words.

I have a second workout to complete, pages to read, water to drink and my day 9 picture to take.

Today

Today

It became a little too warm in my part of the building this afternoon. I figured if I’m going to be hot, it might as well be because of the sun beating down on this body. I took a walk around the neighborhood. I stopped in front of an art studio a couple of blocks away and admired the flowers placed out front.

It’s funny the difference a week can make. I was riddled with anxiety the week before and today, I am taking pictures of flowers.

I hope the day I had today is burned into my memory. Burned because I need to remember days like this exist when the reality I am facing is heartbreaking. Burned because I am blessed to have days like this.

Let me not forget there are those who are sick, who lack clean water, are locked in cages, imprisoned unjustly and those who are fighting for their freedom.

Not that I don’t have the right to mourn or be frustrated but I am embracing the adage that perspective is everything.

 

Reset

Reset

I think it’s fitting that today is the start of a new year because I devote Tuesdays to all aspects of health. Although I decided to ramp up my efforts at the end of November, like most people the holidays got to me and it is definitely time to recommit. I didn’t stop moving but the raw foods did take a backseat for a couple of weeks.

I began looking for a reset. A lot of people fast, diet and make all sorts of resolutions and promises on New Year’s Day. All I want to do is commit to more raw food. I can’t forget (nor do I want to forget) the way I felt throughout July when I was raw vegan for 30 days. It wasn’t just the increased energy. Anxiety and fatigue seemed like states of being that could never be attributed to me.

So my reset is to cling to what I know: walking, being a high raw vegan embracing juices and smoothies, yoga, dance classes, massages, prayer, therapy and letting go of fears and mindsets that no longer serve me.

Process

Process

Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about what I need to do to feel better, to be a better writer, wife and self-care practitioner. I have gotten massages, journaled, spent less time on the phone, gone to church, a yoga class, went to an awesome lecture about laughter yoga, prayed, walked many miles, spoke to a counselor, stepped back on the scale without fear, showed up to doctor’s appointments and lunch with a friend, reached out to friends, listened to inspiring podcasts and powerhouse sermons  and even started to accept the reality that it may take all of that to feel completely like myself or who I am growing to be.

Something else was brought to my attention. While I am doing all of these things to reclaim Kristina, I might also need to let up on pressuring myself to do everything right now, as if I am trying to hurry up and solve “anxiety.”

I speak and write and try with varying success to think positively but I also have to do all of that with more patience. There is no snap of the fingers when it comes to “process.” There is forwards and backwards, trial and error and an understanding that it never really ends.

So here I am. Embracing process, trying not to be in a hurry and forgiving myself for the times I have and inevitably will, not treat myself with Grace and Love.

 

 

Steps

Steps

Outside of the morning routine habit changes I’ve made, I can finally say that working out has become a new real change for me. Even though I have generally rejected resistance training in the past unless with a trainer, Hubby has gotten me to embrace it, 2-3 times a week.  In the past at one time or another, I have been a running, walking, belly dancing, Zumba and Afro-Caribbean dancing, Bikram yoga attending, water aerobics taking, treadmill/elliptical machine addicted exercise person. I am still some of those things depending on which day or month you are talking to me. As more weight comes off (.6 lbs this week even in the midst of water retention!), I am anticipating what I will open myself up to next or be more willing to go back to again.

As I my weight crept up before starting my wellness journey again, it was becoming easier to retreat from high intensity activity and that can manifest as isolation. At least it did for me. Choosing to consciously take better care of myself taught me how to see when I was going down that road. Choosing to be alone is great when it’s truly a choice rather than avoidance. I have always enjoyed my life but it takes more effort and clarity to see how much I enjoy it in the company of people outside of my home and in new environments. It can be hard at first but 9 times out of 10, it’s worth it.

Every step I take towards wellness, towards the power of being complete and whole, is worth it.

 

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

You ever get to the end of the day and feel like you made a lot of good decisions? Decisions that were just right for you?

Today was that day for me. I talked more openly about my writing with people. I spent an hour outside, just walking and talking. Even though there was a chill in the air, I cherished every moment I had outside and not cooped up indoors.

Now I am here, writing this post and preparing to work more on the first draft of my book and another writing project. I am thanking God I asked one of my writing group members to check on me this Saturday to see where I am with my pages.

Which is leading me to another thought: Please don’t underestimate the power of accountability. I sorely need it! One of my goals during #bloglikecrazy in November was to finish my first draft. I know why I set two lofty goals but I also know they were not completely grounded in reality. When I set unrealistic goals, I set a trap for myself. And I fall for it every. single. time.

The “All or Nothing” mentality has never served me well and it only guarantees that something on the list will not get done. In November, it was my first draft. I looked at it but that was about as far as it got. I did not anticipate the everyday stressors, activities, work, and of course I couldn’t have known to factor in hubby’s short hospital stay. However, there is something about me that wants to keep reaching. I think there is a little devil on my shoulder that whispers “This time it will be different. This time you can push yourself to do it all.”

I can at least promise not listen to the lies and do what I know I can do and if sometimes I surprise myself with more, then I will welcome it. For right now, I am happy to dedicate the rest of 2017 to staying consistent with my blogging schedule, working out a few times a week and continuing to work on my first draft with the support of my accountability partners.

I can’t think of a better way to start to say good-bye to 2017 and hello to 2018.