I don’t have a clue as to the lyrics of this song but they sure do have us movin’!

As a health conscious individual, I pride myself on the variety and amount of greens I consume regularly. Kale, collards, and broccoli are daily staples. If you don’t see these greens on my plate, check my glass; I assure you, they were in my smoothie!

As for my fiance, spinach or kale serve as his daily greens, and you’ll be sure to find evidence of this from the large bunches stored in his refrigerator. His preferred pattern of consumption is via smoothies (with bananas, oranges, flax seeds, and water).

I attribute the lightness we feel and the pep in our step to leafy vegetables. Our play is fun, childlike, and in eating nutrient-rich foods, I do believe that our plant-based meals help to fuel our high-energy, healthy and happy partnership.

But kale, collards, broccoli, and spinach are not the only things that keeps us moving.  Oh, how we love, L-O-V-E, LOOOOOVE music.

Music that gets right down to the core of our being and has us wanting to shake it, shake it, shake it!!! The hairs on our head are moving, eyes are bright and wide open, our hips swaying with purpose, and our hearts have been touched. All is well in the world. But of course it is, we are shaking it!

Funny thing is, we don’t have a clue as to what the artist is even singing about. We don’t speak the language, but the energy from the drums, the voice, the heart of the song (from Spanish to South African music) fills us with passion and hope. Personally, it is in listening to such songs that I dream of the life I see for ourselves.  Do you two share a vision?

We do, and it is an image of us living BIG dreams. We bring them to life in our thoughts, but why not give that vision some feet and bring it to life with dance! Dance your way into this magnificent life you see. Be bold, yes and feel good now in giving your story the background sound to make it beat–thump thump, thump thump, thump thump–with LIFE!

Thankfully the dance floor is always available to us–a empty parking lot, the kitchen floor, our seats in the car–that we may place ourselves via the music (which we don’t have a clue as to the lyrics) into our abundant life that we are creating.

The vision is essential. The music is the trigger. The dance is the “believe and ye shall receive”. Having a partner ready and willing to hit the dance floor…..priceless!

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“DO NOT ask about wedding plans. NOT TODAY!”

….Because if you do, I’ll be wailing!

You see, we are an engaged couple, and thus life is suh-weeeeet. My emotions match those of a newly engaged pair from “The Bachelor/ette”. Overjoyed. Euphoric. Elated!

But NOT TODAY! Shame. Hurt. Intense sadness has me trying to remember if I just stepped with the left or “Was it with the right?” Who gives a flying “F”–I’m barely moving as it is. Crawling is the next best option. Must. Get. To. Yoga (catharsis via asanas and deep breathing needed, pronto).

Silly wabbit. Get off your knees–you still gotta walk to the car, and even then, DRIVE. Lord Have Mercy. I’m hurting, and of course, the first song I hear on the radio: Israel Houghton’s “It’s Not Over”–seriously? A battle between head and heart ensues:

Heart: “I’m aching” Turn this ssssshhh…. (don’t you go there–this is gospel music!) off.

Head: “Just listen to the lyrics”

Lyrics: “When God is in it, there is no limit/It’s not over/It’s not finished/It’s not ending/It’s only the beginning…” 

“ONLY THE BEGINNING?” THIS-FEELING-IS-ONLY-THE-BEGINNING??!!! Waaaaaa waaaaaaaa….

Somehow,behind the wheel in this zombie-like state, I made it to class safely. Fellow yoginis/friends know of my upcoming nuptials, but I’m silently praying they not ask about the wedding. NOT TODAY!

“I had a tiff (sniff sniff), with the love (gasping) of…of… mmmm….mmm….my…mymy LIIIIIFE :___(” would be my reply.

Oh goodness. Are we no longer engaged? These emotions are a far cry (no pun intended) from the happy-happy-joy-joy expressions of other soon-to-be-married lovers ‘posed’ in magazines, TV, movies, and of course”The Bachelor/ette”.  Still images, and on-camera moments are captured, and perfectly edited, to instill a supposed guideline of “love” for viewers–coupled or not–to follow.

Stop right there.

Love is colorful with an array of bright-bold-dull-pale-dashing-UGLY-BEAUTIFUL-lively moments that still make life suh-weeeet, and “Get a hold of yourself! Yes you are still engaged!” There are some colors (i.e. UGLY) I can do without, as in this past (thankfully, PAST) tiff/event we experienced. Nonetheless I am continually discovering that the media’s still, edited, posed images are not entirely true. Personally, I’d like to see the scenes that were cut!

As for me and ‘that man’ of mine, we will experience all colors in our engagement and marriage–including my least favorites of “blue” and “gray”–but mixing some UGLY (“blue”) with some BOLD (as a bright red) makes for one LIVELY kiss n’ make up reunion….if you know what I mean (double wink!).

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Thou art Super, Woman!

As women, our nature is to nurture, and there is the tendency to give, repeatedly, to those nearest and dearest to us, yes or yes?

I love to give, but I sure do like to receive (and if your mind is straying into kinky-ville, stop.it.now!).

“Health is wealth!”….yes, yes, we’ve all heard this many a time. We know we have to eat better. We know we have to exercise. We know we have to be “healthy”-er. So, what’s stopping us?

A. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

B. Health is an inconvenience to my daily routine. Planning a good diet and working out is too much trouble and takes too much time.

C. ME? I can’t think about me? There are “more important” people in my life who I have to think about “first”.

….really the choices are endless.

Now in bringing this back around to my point of women as nurturers, let me tell you that “I just love that man” was created not only with the intention to give health to our mates, but to ourselves as well. Listen, we can’t ask that man of ours to eat better, exercise more, become “healthy”-er if we find that we are frequently missing, or skipping–be honest ladies,  a fitness class because ‘there are just not enough hours in a day.’ Nor does our eating itsy bitsy snacks throughout the day suffice as a meal, when we made sure he had breakfast (first meal), has his packed lunch (second meal), and will later have a proper dinner (third MEAL).

If we want to see healthier mates, we must become the models of change.  Tangent story, but relative enough, I read the most wonderful book, during my single days, called Calling In “The One” by Katherine Woodward Thomas. The main idea is that to attract “The One” you must first become “The One”. Well it’s the same thing here, and in my case, the more he sees me attending yoga, making conscious decisions about the foods I eat, I see that he’s gone from dipping a toe into the ocean (of health) to jumping right on in. Thank the Good Lord!

Though we may be perceived as experts in multitasking, hence societal’s image of us as “Superwoman” (and yes we are both women and super), it is of the utmost importance that we take good care of ourselves, as we do with our mates.

What we receive, in doing so, is a slew of benefits as greater vitality, better relationships, and certainly, better health 😉

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“I cheated!”

I burnt the popcorn. Correction–the popcorn and the pot.

A trained chef. A private chef. A personal chef (yes, ’tis me, all three)…..and now, Popcorn and pot burner (four). 😦

“How could I do that?”

“That’s terrible”

“Naughty!”

“I cheated!”

The self-labeling continues with “bad” “irresponsible” “careless” and my entire day is over BEEEEEECAAAAAAUSE (duh!) “I Burnt The Popcorn AND The Pot!”

This is certainly not the first time for this heated internal dialogue. The same name-calling, (started by me, and only with me) is also triggered by my consuming foods that are not particularly health-supportive. “Foods” as in items with lots of grease, lots of sugar, and a whole lotta salt!

What is this?!!! Why do I self-bully with “junk” thoughts that “feed” me ill health, mentally and emotionally and with time–physically, in addition to having me sabotage my previous efforts toward healthier choices. There’s enough evil out there, why bring it home, where brain and heart are primary tenants.  Their influence over additional residents (vessels, organs, cells….) can make or break you.

So on my journey to a healthier, happier self, I ate a chip. Had a brownie. Tasted the cake. Burnt the popcorn AND the pot! But is that reason enough to throw fuel to the fire, in actively observing such thoughts as “you’re a bad person!” “How could you do that?” “You’ll never reach optimal health”….and on and on and on……..

Rather than sit back and panic about all the work wasted on a single chip, I’ve learned (FINALLY!) to replace such wrong accusations with “Thank you for sharing, but no thanks.”

Slow and steady wins the race. My health journey started in 2008 and it continues, gradually but surely. I’m proud to be a lot further along, as the beat-myself-up-name-calling-negative feedback has lessened and becomes a thing of the past with each new day. The good news is that as I consistently make better food choices, I am rarely reaching for foods that once had my head, and heart, consumed with demeaning self-talk. Now that makes me proud, of me 🙂

One step at a time.

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Boston…

Boston...

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Health or Friends? (Pick one)

Do you ever feel that as you begin, or maintain healthier habits you simultaneously become the alien of the group? “Oh, she doesn’t eat, and if  she does, it’s just some twigs and grass.”

Nothing could be further from the truth!

But why spend precious time, and energy, trying to convince others of your dietary choices, right?! If it’s working for you, it’s working for you!! (Please note the double exclamation marks; there’s no “….” here).

But deep down inside, you may feel the “….”, translated as “Yeah, I love eating this way because I feel grrrrreat! BUT, I also feel lonely. Friends don’t ask me to dine out as often, and my ENTIRE family is looking at my plate with their looks of worry and concern because I haven’t dug into Aunt So-and-so’s heavily salted, fried and greased “traditional” dish. Furthermore, my mate is looking at his watch, across the table, as I negotiate with the waiter on making some menu adjustments for a healthier meal option.

I’ve experienced ALL OF THE ABOVE, and the decision I’ve come to, regarding my having to pick one or the other (health or friends/mate) is NOT choosing sides. “I’ll have the health and the friends please, no sides thank you.”

Yes, the moment I leave my house, I am very clear that the food selections may not be as “healthy” as items stocked in my own fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Although it’s not everyday that I’m eating out, and I am taking care of my health needs on a regular basis, with “twigs and grass” (yeah…yeah….whatever!), it also doesn’t allow me to blow my health out the window in dining out.

So, I have some chips (or not) at the party, but I also make the choice to not sit at the chip table. Or, should I have a date night with the ladies, or that man of mine, “Yes, I’ll be happy to join you for a night out and guess what??! I’ll ACTUALLY eat….Whoooooa!!!” In this case, I’ll review the menu online, ahead of time, to see “what can I eat here?” I assure you, you can always find something! Whispering in the waiter’s ear all my dietary restrictions and practically asking him for his counsel as to which dish I can eat takes precious time away from my friends and/or that man of mine who would also like to eat sometime….anytime….”TODAAAAAAY!” For the times I know that Aunt So-and-so is bringing her dish, my deciding to not indulge in her passed-down-from-generation-to-generation recipe bears no reflection on the love I have for my immediate family, my ancestors, and specifically, Aunt So-and-so.  I.just.choose.to.not.have.it.period.

Ultimately, we have choices, and I choose to maintain my health AND live outside my home. Thus in my stepping out into the world, I can still make a better choice that does not compromise my health entirely. After all, optimal health refers to a complete state of health, and that does include a social life with friends, family, and most certainly, ‘that man’ of mine 🙂

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Greens and beans are not the only things.

We’ve got this:

Green smoothies…..check!

Cooking….check!

Stocking our kitchen with veggies, fruits, beans, and whole grains….check!

Remembering that Health goes beyond greens, beans, and all nutrient-dense things…..:

He: check!

Me:  (pause) “I’m sorry, repeat the last one…”

So, I’ve got this situation you see. It’s not bad. I just, hmm…., sometimes I need a reminder that well-being is not solely about the kale smoothie I had, or even the yoga class I just finished. I can’t preach about how healthy I am, nor how healthy he’s becoming, if I’m not working on the health of our relationship–which is just as much a part of the Wellness equation.

I invest a lot into studying nutrition, and then work continuously to make better choices in my food consumption.  This investment is a never-ending one, and that’s fine by me, but with a wedding fast approaching, I welcome a new focus (uh, MARRIAGE!) that I may pour as much heart and soul into.

My plan of action (in general terms):

Spend quality time. No cell at the dinner table! Date!

Be a supportive partner.

Share interests. Share chores. Share in the decision making and problem solving.

Communicate (I can’t expect him to be a mind reader–Darnit!)

Listen.

Be affectionate (more hugs, the merrier)

Allow space.

“Would you please sign our Guest Book.”
(I welcome your tips on what “foods” will best “nourish” our MARRIAGE.)

“Thank you”

 

 

 

 

 

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