Tag Archives: connection

How I learned to slow down and stop over-exercising

The more time I spent going on hikes and exploring parks and trails, the more I realize that time spent in nature has greatly helped curate my perspective on movement and exercise.

 

Nature forced me to slow down.

 

I spent years swimming in lakes and oceans, cycling through hills and mountains, and running roads and trails. This was all in the name of triathlons, half-marathons, half-ironmans, dozens of 5ks and 10ks, a marathon, and an ironman.

 

The irony is not lost on me that it was my training for various races, over the course of about 5 years, that got me spending more and more time outside. To the point that outside became my most favorite place in the world (maybe second to curled up on the couch with a dog and a good book.)

 

Moving back to CT several years ago I found myself hiking and running trails in Easton, Redding, and Weston. I got a dog and spent even more time exploring local trails. I started booking trips not around races, but around nature – national parks, seashores, and other hidden treasures the earth had to show me.

 

I couldn’t exactly pinpoint it but I always felt like I couldn’t spend enough time outside. Even with bugs, heat, and humidity – I wanted more.

 

There was something big I was receiving. Some intangible yet powerful gift.

 

I was learning to slow down. Nature evolves at its own pace and I wanted to absorb every morsel I could. Every sound, every smell, every glimmer of sunlight through the trees. Every sweeping vista and mucky footprint. All of it. I felt a profound connection to something greater than myself.

 

My eyes welled with tears and I was rendered speechless when I first saw the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Valley. I wanted to feel this humility over and over again. Even by the babbling brooke on the trail in the town where I grew up reminded me of mother nature’s vastness and simplicity all at once.

 

So I kept hiking and I kept seeing and I kept feeling. And I began choosing a walk in the woods over pumping iron at the gym (don’t get me wrong – I still lift heavy things on occasion). I began listening much more acutely to the wishes of not just my body, but of my soul.

 

Now I fully acknowledge when I need the groundedness of the earth beneath my feet. I’ll touch a tree as I make my way down a trail and even when running through the woods, I’m no longer in a hurry.

 

And you can bet money this movement has nothing to do with burning calories or getting a yoga butt or anything like that.

 

It’s about feeling freedom. It’s about simplicity. It’s about being humbled by something much greater than myself. And it’s just about the deepest gratitude I have ever known in my human existence thus far.

 

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Recovery and Resilience

I have been in recovery from my eating disorder for 11 years now. I used to be really hard on myself when I’d have a set-back, like when I turned to compulsive exercising to find control and micromanage my body and it made me feel more accepted. Or the periods of time when I just didn’t like my body. When no clothes fit me the way I wanted them to. Or adhering to a certain diet and I’d lie to myself that this is just a healthy way of eating! I thought for sure I regressed for good and I’d find myself back in my full blown eating disorder.

But I’ve been learning over the past few years, as I’ve been sharing my story more and More with all you fantastic beings … I’m learning that I’m a human being. And what that means is I’m capable of falling. I’m capable of falling out of a feeling of connectedness, acceptance and love. And that’s perfectly ok. As long as I am aware of what is happening. And as long as I can trust that I will, in time, make my way back to connection.

I can now watch in those moments where I feel like crud in just about anything I put on … I watch my distorted body image mindset. I give myself the space I need to feel the emotions that are arising. I say hello to them. And I allow them to move. They are just energy that wants to move!

And so in this time I am learning more about recovery and especially my own. That it takes many different forms. It has so many different layers. I learn so much as I watch my own students in recovery! As they learn what it means to befriend a “new body”. As they learn about slipping out of connection and rising back into divine connection when they least expect it.

My own recovery means giving myself unconditional love over and over and over again. (You can never get too much of this love stuff). I’m sure some folks feel I overshare my story. But I’m not here for them. I am here for the beings who are on a genuine path to better understand themselves. To find TRUE love and connection. To remember that we will always rise. Thank you blessed beings. You all have my heart.

For free guided meditations and information on RESILIENCE, my new project, click here. XOXO

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