Tag Archives: gratitude

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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THIS is the house of belonging

I have been thinking a lot about what it means
to feel a sense of belonging in our bodies and I shared
this with my email list this morning…

Because it’s about more than just loving our bodies.
It’s about a mindset that no one can fuck with my inner peace.

No one can tamper with my power.
No one can take away who I am at my core.

We only experience the above when
we ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN.

For example, someone once told me that I’m running
my business all wrong and how I should be running
my business completely differently.

This was unsolicited advice.
It came across very harsh. I thought the person
telling me all these things was mean and disrespectful.

And afterwards I felt completely deflated.
I blamed it on the person for months. I couldn’t shake it.

Until it hit me that I was allowing this person to tamper
with my power, my inner knowing, and my inner peace.

If anything this was a very valuable gift in
showing me this very lesson!

It took months for me to realize what was happening –
that I was the one putting myself down and questioning
myself by buying into and believing what this other person
said over my own beliefs.

When your inner knowing and intuition and connection to
your self and understanding of yourself are SO STRONG …

Not a single soul can mess with you.
Not a single soul can throw you off track.

We connect with that inner knowing through meditation, mindfulness,
and awareness throughout our entire day.

It’s a very simple concept. It’s not necessarily easy to get to that place,
but we ALL have the capacity to tap into our inner knowing and not get
so thrown off by external circumstances.

Because…
We always have this house of belonging, wherever we go.

Our bodies.

With Love,
Maggie

PS. Want more daily teachings and access to me?
Connect with me in one of my FB groups here:
>Living Beyond ED Recovery
>Belonging in The Body
XO

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Finding Daisy

Yesterday my dog Daisy tried to run away. She ran away. She ran so fast out of my friends driveway. I watched her dart into the busy street. Barely escaping a truck. And up the hill and then – she was completely out of sight. And there I was – sprinting in Birkenstocks up the giant hill. As if running would help. But my mind was racing. Going to all the worst possible outcomes. I didn’t even need to go to the worst possible outcomes – I was living it. I was waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I lost my beloved dog that I JUST rescued. All the plans I had for us raced through my mind. My heart crushed at the thought of never finding her again. 

My friend swept me up in her minivan and we drove circles around the neighborhood – asking every pedestrian “have you seen a little dog?!?!” Desperation and fear held tight around my heart. After some time and now feeling more defeated I thought to look around one of her favorite spots – the little dog park near my apartment. I ran up there and into the woods surrounding it. Didn’t think twice about the poison ivy I was traipsing through. I called her name as sweat dribbled down my face and into my mouth. No sign of her. I was beside myself – again that feeling of when does this nightmare end – and I started to walk back. 

A woman saw me and said if I was looking for a dog she saw it run up toward the park. Immediately I turned around and went back to the same spot. I called Daisy’s name. I waited. I got quiet. I was going to find her. I could feel her presence near me. I knew this wasn’t the end of our journey together. I called her name again and thought I heard the jingling of her collar. To be sure, I called again, got quiet, and listened… 

Yes – it was her collar. I crouched down and stayed in one spot until I saw her coming up over a rock. About 40 feet away from me. This was it – I knew I had this one chance to get a second chance with Daisy. Stay stay stay – I told myself. I talked the sweet sing song talk to Daisy and she slowly stumbled toward me. She was limping but here she was just an arms length from me. All of the fear of losing her started to melt away as I slowly wrapped my fingers around her collar, took a deep breath, and swooped her up in my arms. 

We walked down the hill where there was a shaded clearing and I put her down and sat as I collected myself and told her how much I loved her and more sing song tones. I was given a second chance and I couldn’t fucking believe it. She ran all the way home. My dog ran home – to our spot! My heart swelled with joy and still is and probably will continue to do so for as long as Daisy is in my life. 

And so when I pulled this card this morning – it took me back to that big deep breath in the woods when I found Daisy. When I wrapped my fingers around her collar. A feeling of – Peace Peace Peace. There is no need to worry right now. Everything worked out beautifully.

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Thank you yoga, Thank you teachers.

It’s International Day of Yoga. My friend reminded me last week with a little nudge, nudge and soft encouragement that maybe I should do something for it.

 

I don’t have any special class or event planned and I’m hoping I’ll make it to class tonight or even to my mat to move a little and meditate. But what I will do, what I will honor is what this practice has done for me. And what I have been able to do for myself by way of my yoga practice.

 

I used to squeeze my thighs so hard to try to get them to look more stick-like. I’d pinch my belly fat and imagine how much better my life would be if I could just cut it off. I calculated every calorie going into my body and how each calorie (and then some) would go out. My mind was consumed and I was completely obsessed. My obsession with food and how I could control my body took over my life.

 

Yoga sandwiched my eating disorder. My practice began when I was 16 and my eating disorder was full throttle around 19 – so I was practicing yoga all through my disorder. But what I know now is that during a lot of that time, I wasn’t really practicing. I was going through the motions of yoga. Showing up, rolling out my mat, bowing my head and saying namaste at the end of class. I nailed poses ease because I’m fairly strong and fairly flexible and have always had great proprioception. What I wasn’t doing though was connecting. I was completely disassociating from my body and for a while there, I was using yoga as just another form of exercise to burn off those calories.

 

This all shifted when I found a small studio in Bloomington, Indiana and a teacher by the name of Wendy. I didn’t even know what style of yoga we were practicing (turns out it was astanga) add to be honest I can’t tell you a whole lot of the asana that I learned – but what stays with me to this day is the feeling of entering into a safe space. It was always quiet when I walked into the building, up the stairs and turned the corner. Everyone spoke with a hushed tone as we set up our mats and gathered our props. The space and the time was sacred.

 

Wendy didn’t tell me how or what to feel. She instead created opportunity for me to feel. I kept returning to her classes, as often as I could fit them into my schedule and budget. It was in this space that I remember looking at thighs and bursting into tears because for the first time I saw them as something other than “too big.” My thighs, for the first time ever, were strong and beautiful and amazing.

 

I came home to my body for what felt like the first time. That was inner peace. That was my invitation to heal and no longer allow myself to stray and disassociate from my body and being.

This was the tip of the iceberg and there have been many more teachers since then who helped facilitate my healing – and still do to this day. So, I can’t stress this enough but  … Thank you teachers.

 

IMG_9114On this international day of yoga I also want to acknowledge the practice for what it has brought me – healing and inner peace. Eating disorder recovery is not a one and done deal. It takes time and it too is a part of my practice: staying the course, staying connected, noticing when I get triggered, and repatterning my responses.

 

Thank you yoga.

 

I would love to hear from you: How has yoga impacted your life? Whether you just recently got your feet wet or are a long-time practitioner – what have you noticed?

 

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When a migraine hits…

When a migraine hits I feel at a loss. I want to detach from my body. I feel fearful of the impending pain, discomfort, nausea, and vomiting that are a part of the whole migraine experience. I feel disappointed in myself for letting this happen. I feel a piercing pain in the right side of my head that travels down the right side of my neck and sometimes into my upper right trap which then seizes up toward my ear.

 

When a migraine hits I feel hopeless. I feel excited to find my comfortable spot on the couch. Although true comfort never seems attainable. I feel misunderstood and disconnected from almost everyone – hard as they may try to sympathize. I can’t stress enough: it’s not just a headache.

 

I feel like I am letting people down. I’m sure of it. I want to be 12 again in my parent’s house with my mom changing my ice pack every time it gets warm. Alternating between taking sips of icy ginger ale and eating crushed ice. The only things my stomach can somewhat tolerate.

When a migraine hits I feel responsible and at fault. I feel like there must be something I could have done differently to avoid this. And sometimes, I feel like in some way I am deserving of this.

When a migraine hits I feel isolated and alone and I want a familiar face around me. I want a warm hand on my back, reminding me it’s going to be ok, that this will pass. That even though THIS happens, I am still loved. It doesn’t make me a bad person.

 

When a migraine hits I feel depressed and disassociated from my body. In fact I want a new body: a new head, arms, intestines, and legs. Not because of the way my body looks this time, but because of the way it feels. I can’t imagine greater pain or discomfort (although I’m sure on some level it does exist – probably childbirth).

 

I feel the lure of distraction from a bad rom-com or TV series that can take me to another place where I imagine everything is good and perfect. I am healthy and don’t have to worry about a thing.

 

When a migraine hits I feel reminiscent of when they weren’t quite so bad. When they didn’t interfere with the life I want to live.

 

When a migraine hits I also remember. I remember that this too shall pass and am reminded of the transient nature of … EVERYTHING. I remember all the ways I am loved in texts received and shoulder rubs given. I remember how grateful I am for the days when I DO feel healthy. Healthy enough to work and enjoy the time I have on this earth.

 

When I wake-up the morning after I am left with the residue of the migraine. The pulsing in my right temple is still there but I feel lighter. I feel like my body has gone through the ringer and I’ve made it to the other side. Phew. I feel like I have been given a gift of the day ahead of me and the days to follow. I worry less about being able to fit in a run or knocking off all the things on my checklist.

 

Maybe I have also been given the gift of migraine to help keep me in check. To turn me around sometimes and to continue to grow what is good in my life. To Worry less and Love more.

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4 Weeks Migraine-free!

gratitude-quotes-03I want to shout something from the rooftops: 4 WEEKS MIGRAINE FREE!! I have been holding my breath and waiting for today to come because it marks a pretty monumental thing for me: 4 weeks without a full blown migraine attack. I have had headache days and days when it felt like I was in the early stages of a migraine but … NOPE! Not a single fucking migraine. I remember what it felt like to live this kind of life. Where I can make plans, and keep them (well, most of the time).

I have been struggling with the fact that this improvement is likely due to the fact that I am participating in a trial study for a new migraine drug. I wish I could tell you “I am healing myself 100%” … A part of me absolutely HATES that I get an injection of this drug every month … but then there is the part of me that recognizes and is eternally grateful for advances such as this in modern medicine.

I do make sure that I eat well, sleep well, move my body, and feed my soul – all things necessary for a healthy life.

So instead of feeling guilty that I am on this new drug, I will feel indefinitely grateful that I am starting to see the light. Migraines are no joke, it has been a rough few years and I can hardly begin to explain what a relief it is to know that I can possibly live this way again. Even if it is temporary, I am grateful. INSANELY grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

So instead of feeling guilty that I am on this new drug, I will feel indefinitely grateful that I am starting to see the light. Migraines are no joke, it has been a rough few years and I can hardly begin to explain what a relief it is to know that I can possibly live this way again. Even if it is temporary, I am grateful. INSANELY grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

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What is gratitude, anyway?

Gratitude

I took some time to sit down and think about what exactly Gratitude means to me and what it feels like. Here is what I came up with…

Gratitude envelopes your entire body and soul. I feel it, physically. My body starts to gently quiver, as if I have the chills. My stomach is a flutter, I can take a deep breath and let tiny tears of joy fill my eyes for a moment.

What does Gratitude leave you feeling?

I feel an abundance of love, an abundance of so much of a good thing, that exists in life. And you begin to recognize how gratitude heals and how gratitude carries you through those trying times in life that we all endure. This feeling of gratitude wakes us up in the morning and helps us to sleep soundly.

Gratitude allows us to experience pain and also to laugh heartily. It is with this mindset of gratitude that we are able to know ourselves better, not for the things we do or the tasks that we check off our list each day, but for our ability to feel and be present.

In Tal Ben-Shahar’s book “Happier” he shares the concept of a gratitude letter. A gratitude letter, he explains, “is not just a thank-you note. It is a thoughtful examination of the meaning and pleasure that you derive from the relationship; it describes particular experiences and shared dreams, and whatever else in the relationship is a source of joy.”

A Gratitude Letter helps us take this feeling of gratitude one step further. Because know that gratitude is not simply saying “I’m so grateful,” it is not simply a mindset, but it is a way in which we interact with those who surround us.

Who can you write a Gratitude Letter to this week? Explore how gratitude is so much more than a feeling, but also how we communicate that feeling.

We will work on exploring Gratitude Letters and what exactly Gratitude means to YOU on Radiant Retreat 2015. Registration is OPEN! To learn more and to register click here.

 

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What makes for a successful fundraiser?

What makes for a successful fundraiser? My original goal was to raise my first $1,000 and I had my sights set on that.  However, I quickly realized on Friday that there is something else that makes for a successful fundraiser.  I know this is going to sound majorly cheesy but … it’s good people. I found myself surrounded by incredible people on Friday night who made the trek to Williamsburg (or down the street for the local folks) on a cold February night to support me. I’m sure the talented DJs, free PBR, and incredible raffle prizes were also a major draw – ahem, you can’t say no to a signed copy of “Sexy Librarian”!

I have to give some major thank you’s to…

  • Passenger Bar for letting me host the event there
  • DJ AnjO – or Angelica Olstad, creator of PopUp Yoga NYC
  • DJ Pumpkin Patch – or Michael Saltsman
  • PBR for their generous donation for our open bar
  • My friends who were so kind to donate items and services for the raffle
  • Sarah Coulam and Suzanne Canon of CTF’s NF Endurance team, without whom I would not be doing an Ironman nor would I have sold as many raffle tickets

Thank you everyone! I have said this before but … So. Much. Gratitude.

fundraisermagsarah

Thanks Sarah for encouraging the crazy

Winner of Maggie's one on one yoga

Winner of Maggie’s one on one yoga

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