Taking Time To Pause

One of my students did crow pose last night for the first time.

I tend to go back and forth in giving praise for getting into yoga postures. Because… I often wonder… what does it really mean anyway? I so often find myself IN AWE of the incredible things people can do with their bodies. And it sometimes brings me nearly to tears when I witness a student do a pose they’ve been practicing for years.

But then I’m like… Sometimes the most physically demanding postures can actually feel like the easiest. And vice versa: where the less physically demanding postures can challenge us the most. Sometimes it feels like yoga today is so closely associated with “What can you do?” OR “What can you show me?” OR “Look at me!”

Ta-da!

As a teacher, I can’t show you anything. I mean I can show you the poses I am physically capable of and maybe that gives you an idea of healthy alignment or I can explain with my body better than my words… but what does that have to do with taking my yoga off the mat? I can’t tell you how to feel. Or what to think. Or WHAT to feel in your body. Or what to think about yourself.

But what I can do is ask questions that might reveal something about yourself.

The young woman who got into crow did so quietly and with such ease that I asked her:

“What did you find helpful in getting into crow?”

She looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face, then said:

“I dunno … I just did it. I felt confident.”

She then explained to me that for years she’s been going to yoga. Larger classes where she pushed herself too far, too soon. In our small little group, she felt confident as she took slow steps and effortlessly floated her feet off the ground.

Just so you know, I was expecting an answer like “I used my abs” or “I engaged my glutes.”

Nope … She. Just. Felt. Confident.

And I. Was. In. Awe. of her response.

It should be noted that the class took place in an eating disorder recovery in-patient center. These women spend hours daily in different forms of talk therapy, group therapy, art therapy, and sometimes equine therapy to dig deep and make progress like … build confidence.

I was amazed at this student’s self-awareness.

If there’s any takeaway from my sharing this little anecdote with you it’s this:

Take time to pause.

Whether it’s after a really tough pose. A long run. A challenging presentation at work. A good read. An argument with a loved one. Take time to pause. To thank your body. To acknowledge what you are capable of. To notice the world around you. To take in a breath-taking view. To notice what you are feeling. To make the connection with yourself that allows you to understand the essence of WHO YOU ARE just a little bit more.

 

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Just. Keep. Growing.

I corrected myself last week when I told my friend “I quit my job at the gym.” Because I didn’t quit. The position ran its course and I felt I had outgrown it. It was also a choice I had to make out of integrity and self-respect.

 

It was a difficult choice because the position was so easy, familiar, and comfortable. I was constantly surrounded by students who I had gotten to know over my 3 years teaching there. And when it came time to say goodbye … Hello feelings! I sobbed in front of a room full of students.

 

In this life we are given choice: what to eat for lunch, who we enter into relationship with, what career path we’d like to follow. But do we always make the choice that serves us best? How do we even KNOW what choice serves us?

 

When we make a choice out of fear, the answer (in my humble opinion) is no.

 

When we make a choice out of love, the answer is yes.

 

Even if the choice is painful and means we cry in front of a room full of students. Even if we are afraid we’ve made some terrible mistake because leaving something so comfortable is scary.

 

So I didn’t quit my job. I grew. I grew to become a person with more self-respect than I did, say, this time last year. I grew to trust that it’s OK to let go.

 

And it is my intention to just keep growing.

 

May you find opportunity for growth in every choice you make.

 

With Love,

Maggie

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Your body: a vessel for life exploration.

Your body is a tool for exploring the world. Says the incredibly wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful Renee Engeln, author of “Beauty Sick.”

Your body is NOT an object to be scrutinized, judged, picked apart, altered, fixed, or shamed.

And yet somehow incredibly intelligent, bright, thoughtful women sometimes fall under the misguided belief that our bodies are not good enough. Like … ever.

We KNOW better. We know that so many of the images used in advertising are not realistic portrayals of what so many of the women in this country look like or dress like. We know that thigh-gap is something some people are born with and some are not and it has nothing to do with how good or bad a person is. We know that cellulite and fat are not diseases.

And yet… sometimes we still fall under the misguided beliefs that if we have a week of “eating like crap” we need to make up for it by going on a 30 day regimen of closely monitoring our caloric/food intake and upping our exercise game.

And why? Well, when I did that it was because I was afraid I’d lose control and get further away from reaching perfection.

We perpetuate the body-shaming cycle in our culture when we make these choices out of FEAR.

And then we talk about it. To our friends, our partners, the clerk at the bra store. And the heart-sinking thing is not only that we perpetuate this kind of dialogue amongst our peers, but that the young people in our lives are exposed to comments like:

I hate my thighs.
I really need to cut back on carbs.
I better hit the gym this week or I’m going to puff up like a balloon.

No one ever says these things with bad intent. Usually it’s just a lack of awareness of the body shaming culture we are participating in.

And what’s going to change that? Recognizing our bodies are not objects that are on display and subject to shame, judgment, ridicule or in need of fixing, toning, modifying.

Our bodies are incredible vessels that allow us to explore the world. 

The next time you climb a flight of stairs, thank your thighs. The next time you pick up your pet, child, or bag, thank your arms. The next time you take a deep sigh of relief, thank your belly.

With practice these things start to add up and the little shifts lead to massive transformation.

If you’d like to go deeper and learn more about how to integrate these practices into your daily life, do not wait another moment to sign up for High Vibe Body Image Coaching. It starts May 15 and you can check out all the details and register by clicking here or the link below.

Keep reaching out. Keep connecting to the essence of WHO YOU ARE.

XO

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If you find yourself on the precipice of punishment…

When we punish ourselves we stop the positive energy from flowing and squash our vibration.

When we punish ourselves, we are stopping a good thought, feeling, belief that wants to be set free and acknowledged and felt.

Do not beat yourself up for punishing yourself.
That’s like double damage.
Instead notice when and how you do it, with cat-like curiosity (because they are curious damnit!).

What does it look like? What does it feel like?
WHERE do you feel it in your body?

If you find yourself on the precipice of punishment, check in with us here.

If you find yourself on the verge of punishment, write shit down. Let it be messy and uncensored.

If you find you are on the verge of punishment, breathe.

I learned this week I’ve been punishing myself by telling myself I am undeserving of my dreams being fulfilled. Well, I manifested one today – BECAUSE I COULD – and I broke through a huge block and my mindset is starting to shift… FAST.

My loves – to remind you – if you feel you are punishing yourself FOR ANY REASON (too much cake, not enough exercise, not enough money, not enough work, etc. etc. etc.) pause and check in.

 

Join my High Vibe Body Image Tribe on Facebook or email me at maggie@maggieconverse.com

XOXO

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These days I give way less f*cks about way more things…

I find that the older I get and the more I accept my body, like myself, and build a loving relationship with myself the list of things I give zero (or nearly zero) fucks about grows.

To name a few:

  • Shaving my legs consistently / having leg stubble.

  • Being tan. Because for a short while I used to really really want to have tan glowing skin. But I just don’t, and I never will, except for sometimes in the summer when the light hits just so after several days outside. But naturally I am rather pale with lots of freckles and moles.

  • Wrinkles. Someone once said wrinkles were a sign of a joy-filled life. Or something like that. And I concur.

  • Cellulite on my thighs. Cellulite on my tummy. Cellulite ANYWHERE.

  • And for that matter: trying to hide my cellulite. I’m done!

  • Brushing my hair / washing my hair more than 1-2 times per week.

  • When my weight fluctuates. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down!

It’s not that I don’t make myself presentable or put on makeup or blowdrying my hair (ok maybe 5 times per year) but it’s that I’ve learned to finally let myself off the hook for these things. I’ve stopped stressing about them.

Because, there are far more important things and beings and places and experiences that are so much more deserving of my energy and attention.

In case you needed it, I am inviting you to let yourself off the hook for something today. Go a little easier on yourself.

Oh and email me … ANYTIME.

Sending My Love,

Maggie

PS. I am offering my Body Image Master Training at a special rate of $525 (originally $700) with code DITCHTHEDIET. What better way to spring clean than getting out some of the mind clutter?

Learn more about my Body Image Coaching Master Training by clicking here.

To register: CLICK HERE 

 

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My version of guilt-free eating…

Have you ever read David Richo’s book “Being an Adult in Relationships”? I know, I’m 33 and I’m STILL not quite an adult in relationships but … I’m working on it. Plus I love the honesty of the title. Like – we are ALL just trying here to be the best human beings we possibly can be.

 

I bring this up for 2 reasons:

  1. Read the book. Whether you’re in a relationship, between relationships, or whatever. It’s incredible.
  2. While reading this book I felt that many of the principles David Richo talks about apply to one very important relationship: the one we have with ourselves. And for us body image goddess warriors, the relationship we have with food and eating.

 

I applied Richo’s Five A’s of Mindful Loving to mindful eating, or what I like to think of as ‘guilt-free eating.’ Now I know what you might be thinking and NO I’m not going to tell you to skip the ice cream or whatever your favorite food might be. This actually has to do a lot with our mindset and how we treat ourselves around food and eating.

 

Without further ado, here are my five A’s to guilt-free, loving, mindful eating. Plus at the end download my pretty graphic! XO

 

ATTENTION

Practice being aware of yourself and your deepest needs, desires, and feelings around food. Listen to your needs, desires, and feelings. Notice what you are saying and doing around food and eating. Give yourself the loving attention that you deserve.

 

ACCEPTANCE

See your eating habits with understanding. In order to make changes we need to feel safe and relaxed. Even on your “bad days” – can you accept yourself? Can you recognize your own truth? From a non-judgmental point of view. Even if the truth is messy or uncomfortable. When we feel accepted, we feel safe and stable.

 

APPRECIATION

We must feel appreciated in order to feel loved. Appreciate the work you have already done to get you to where you are today. Appreciate your best days, your really good days, and your messy days. Appreciation means feeling deserving and worthy of self-love and self-respect.

 

AFFECTION

How can you display affection toward yourself? A warm bath, a cup of herbal tea, a mediation practice, yoga, a hike in the woods. Affection is the pairing of attention, acceptance, and appreciation. When those 3 are aligned, affection flows!

 

ALLOWING

Let yourself be who you are. Today, tomorrow, and every day after that. Allowing does not mean you do not create boundaries around food, but that these boundaries are established from a place of self-love and ACCEPTANCE of who you are and where you are at from one moment to the next.

 

I made a pretty purple graphic to help you more easily navigate the Five A’s of guilt-free eating and you can download the PDF here.

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So, if you didn’t go to treatment, what did your recovery look like?

So, if you didn’t go to treatment, what did your recovery look like?

Asked one very intelligent student of mine at the recovery center one night during a special Q&A class during which I already shared much of my recovery story. I said I never went to treatment and rarely sought out therapy during the throes and early days of my eating disorder. (I do recognize the value in BOTH of these things, I just was not aware they were even available to me. And so I healed myself through the worst of it.)

In response to her question…

Messy. Is the word that flew out of my mouth.

Shit, I thought to myself. Should I have really said that out loud? It felt like the most honest response because, well, my early recovery was a fucking mess. And I had to make peace with that and the fact that, as I quickly learned, recovery is not linear and it takes many many different forms.

I paused then explained:

Everyone’s recovery path is going to look different and I did not know what kind of help was available. No one in my little college world talked about this stuff [Eating Disorders] except in the context of “it’s an easy way to stay skinny.” My recovery might have been expedited had I been aware of help available or had I not been so ashamed. [There’s that buzzword: shame!]

I didn’t tell most of my friends, I didn’t even tell my mother because I didn’t want her to take on the burden. In retrospect, I wish I had gone to more people because now, over 10 years later, I’m learning the value of being vulnerable and asking for help.

I went on to further explain, my recovery was beautiful and multi-faceted. My recovery was introspective. My recovery was difficult. My recovery looked like surrounding myself with people who lifted me up. It looked like me in my bedroom surrounded by yoga books, putting together sequences, noticing what felt good in my body and what didn’t. My recovery smelled like patchouli and armpit body odor and looked like the tiny yoga studio in Bloomington that accommodated 15 students at most. Always cheering each other on. (And, by the way, it never looked like cute yoga outfits.)

My recovery looked like brutal honesty with myself and daily reminders that I was making a choice to get better. My recovery looked like trust in myself that I could do this. My recovery looked like my college boyfriend as my rock, a person who believed in me, reminding me to believe in myself. It looked like the one tiny old woman therapist who told me “one day at a time, honey.” Those words were gold. It looked like undiagnosed depression and massive bouts of what I now know were anxiety attacks.

And those were just the early days. My recovery from an eating disorder turned into recovery from negative body image and body dysmorphia. And then recovery from not believing in myself. And now it is recovery from any thought, belief, person, or thing that does not bring me to light.

My recovery looks like setbacks sometimes. It looks like hours spent talking to a therapist and life coach. My recovery looks like journaling and writing and meditation. It looks like time spent in the woods. It looks like allowing myself to feel pain and uncomfortable feelings, but not to dwell in them. And if I notice I’m staying the the pain for too long, my recovery now looks like asking for help. A helping hand to pull me out of my hole.

So now my recovery looks like feeling ALL the feelings. Even the ones I thought I had done away with years ago. It looks like processing old breakups and the losses of friendships. It looks like celebrating my triumphs today and from years back. It looks like bidding farewell to always trying to control and avoid pain so that I’ll only feel good happy things.

I am pleased to share with you that today, my recovery looks like imperfection. And I’m beyond OK with that.

What does your recovery look like? Please share below in the comments!
And sign up for my newsletter to receive a totally free body image coaching consult today. XOXO

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lifting with love

I started a new exercise program this week. At least once a week, for an indefinite period of time I am doing personal training. It was under my own volition to change things up from the routine of hiking, walking, yoga. It was also an act of self-care.

 

Because of my recent lyme diagnosis, I’m not supposed to be doing long endurance training like running, cycling, or even super long hikes. (So I hike with breaks.) But movement is paramount to my joy.

 

Movement, in nearly all forms, is my soul’s dance. I learn to be patient and understanding with my body, so that I can be patient and understanding with all parts of myself.

 

So when I started training this week with Luc at Sherpa we kept it short to 30 minutes. Perfect so as not to overexert myself.

 

I felt so good carving out this time just for me. It felt good being under the guidance of someone else. It felt good moving my body in different ways. I noticed where I’m weak and I noticed where I’m really strong.

 

I noticed that nearly every single time in my life that I’ve picked up a weight or walked into a gym it was to change or fix the way that I looked. And I noticed that this time, that just wasn’t the case.

 

It wasn’t about fixing my body. It was about expanding my movement horizons and stepping outside my safe movement boundaries. It was about laughing and learning and loving. It was about ultimate self-care; staying strong while I’m also making ample time to rest and recover from the lyme.

 

My arms, I noticed in the mirror, have so little tone to them right now. This used to send me into a tailspin of negative self-talk and self-hate. But this time, as we were doing some kind of weight lifting thingy, I looked at my untoned arms with love. Like, dammit, they’ve been through some shit and they’re still here! Lifting heavy things!

 

It felt really good to exercise and move this way. It felt freeing. It felt joyful. I saw my shapes in the mirror and embraced them. I felt strong in my soft body suit.

 

I know that not every day will feel like this. But it’s exhilarating to know that this is possible.

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It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m single, and loved.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

A Course in Miracles

This is the first time I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day in a very long time. It’s something I always dreaded. I am pleased to report: I feel better on this v-day than any other in recent history. 

We are all navigating love in all our relationships: friends, family, our beloved(s) and most importantly self-love. We are all doing our best. 

I’ve always been really hard on myself when it came to romantic love. Since age 18 it’s been easy for me to meet someone, dive heart-first into a relationship, and fall in love. I’m what you’d call a “serial monogamist.” I’ve said I love you to 7 people in a timespan of 15 years. I don’t know what that means. For a while I thought something was seriously wrong with me. Am I ‘Addicted to love’ like the hit 80s tune?

I’m letting go of shame over my ability to fall into relationships and into love. I’ve carried a butt load of shame about my collection of relationships. I spent more of my 20s in relationships than single. The more ex-boyfriends i accrued, the more reluctant I became to tell each new partner there were so many before him. 

Not to mention the immense shame I felt each time one of those relationships ended. It was like there goes another failed attempt at love. 

I felt like I had a screw loose. That something was fundamentally wrong with me. How was it that I could find these men and fall in love and then out of love so easily? I had gotten really adept at the process. 

Turns out all these partners were exactly what I needed at that moment. I needed them to reflect back to me what I needed to work through. Some people can do this solo- I guess my growth thrived from the influence of relationships, especially the ones that seemed exceedingly unhealthy. 

It’s been 7 months since my last serious relationship ended. Full transparency: I’ve been dating since then and I’ve met some pretty remarkable men. But I haven’t fallen in love with any of them. 

This is a record  for me. And I know it’s because there’s someone else. It’s me.

I’m learning what it means to love myself. Not in an ego way. But in a deep, soulful way. I finally understand now that the more I am able to accept and love myself exactly as I am, the more space I create for a fitting partner who accepts and loves themselves in the same way. 

So this is my love path right now. There’s no rule book for love. Sure there are plenty of books out there about love but honestly there is no one right way to navigate love and relationships. As one of my friends once told me: The heart’s truth is never convenient.

Sometimes we meet people at what seems like the most inopportune time- but our heart soars just from the simplest exchange with them. And sometimes we meet people who seem perfect in theory! On paper they are exactly what we thought we wanted. But when we try to put the pieces together it just doesn’t fit. 

We all have to ride the infinite feelings and adventures of love. We all have a unique path and hopefully we can offer some help to each other along the way. And whether we have a partner or not, may we all remember to keep filling up our self-love tank. 

Here’s to love. 

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The perfect time is never. AND it is now.

Recently I discovered I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment for years. I was waiting for the perfect moment to book my dream road-trip out west. I was waiting for the perfect moment to come out as a body image coach. I was waiting for the perfect moment to visit my sister. I waited 8 years to get my dog, Daisy! It’s cool though. I know, to some extent, I needed to wait. I also know, that I tend to overthink and overanalyze to the point of excruciating self-induced anxiety that leads to feeling stagnant and putting things off and avoidance.

There actually is no perfect moment. Except that there is – the moment is NOW. And it’s now, and it’s now.

Is this making sense? Allow me to backtrack a little…

I’ve been wanting to travel more. It was one of my intentions for this year. I want to spend more time out west, visiting national parks, being in nature, visiting my sister, friends, going where my heart desires. But I kept putting this off for many reasons: work, family, pets, bank account balance, migraines. I overanalyzed my reasons for inaction to death.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to live certain aspects of my life the way I want to live them. I’ve been waiting to be more virtual as a coach/teacher, to be at a certain income level, to be free of migraines, and to have a full time pet-sitter.

And then recently something happened and it PUSHED ME. I was diagnosed with lyme disease. It’s not the diagnosis I hoped for and it’s pulling me through an emotional roller coaster, but it also explains a lot of my recent health struggles.

There is something about a debilitating illness (migraines) combined with another debilitating illness (lyme) that can get a person to take stock of their life and move their boundaries[link to Sherpa].

So a few weeks ago I booked a flight to Los Angeles. I left my beloved puppy for the first time (not easy). I spent time with my sister, ate delicious food, went to yoga, walked to the beach, did some work, and returned home with a new perspective. I then booked another flight to LA two weeks later to do a little more work, spend time with my sister, and fit in some adventures. This is all happening while I’m still not at my desired income level and my migraines are definitely not totally cured.

And then it dawned on me, sometimes you have to do things in the order that might seem backwards. At what might seem like the most imperfect time. And guess what: This is absolutely 100% allowed!

My career is not set up the way I envisioned it need be in order to take trips like this. But the funny thing is: these trips are motivating me to move my business along in such a way that supports my health (ease up on teaching / increase coaching) and lifestyle (more time visiting national parks and in nature).

All this time I convinced myself my circumstances had to be JUST SO and so I waited, and waited, and kept finding excuses not to do what my heart and soul wanted.

I’m tired of listening to the broken record of me. I’m making changes. I’m traveling. I’m doing more of the work of my heart’s truth. And wouldn’t you know June is looking like the perfect time for a road trip out west with a dog named Daisy. (US National Parks here we come!)

The external circumstances of our lives may never look the way we expect them to in order to make the big (and small) decisions. The perfect time is never because we can always find reasons not to do the things our heart desires. The perfect time is NOW because sometimes we have to soften to those reasons or boundaries that are telling us “No, you’re not ready.” Especially if they are fear-based boundaries. Sometimes we ARE ready; we’re just scared.

Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be guided by our hearts and intuition. Maybe it’s a medical diagnosis, the loss of a job, a death, or a birth that propels us forward toward the big dreams. And aspects of our life might seem so terribly messy we couldn’t possibly fathom planning a trip, starting a business, getting married, having a baby, or diving heart-first into a relationship. But be open, my friend. You will know when you’re ready. Your heart and your gut will be screaming it from the mountain tops. They will be telling you you’re ready! Not your bank account, not your mom, not a self-help book, not your partner, and not even your dog can tell you when you’re ready.

You will know when the perfect time is. You will know what to do. The perfect time can be never. And it can also be now. It is never, and it is now. It just depends how you look at it. Are you ready to remain open to surprise, adventure, and delight in this life?

Can you lighten your grip on the boundaries of how things SHOULD be? See what happens when you lighten the grip and permit yourself to be a little more guided instead of trying to figure it all out. Feel your way through it.

And if you need it, I am giving you permission right here: You have the permission to soften, to listen, and be guided. The perfect time is now.

What about you? What are you waiting for? What are the big dreams you’ve been sitting on? Maybe they need more time to marinade and they are just waiting for that little push.

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