Doing it out of hate, or doing it for love

Like writing, health and fitness was something on my list of things to do that kind of fell off the list for a while. I was finishing up the school year — just trying to get through it — and in the flurry of deadlines and things to pack I just wasn’t able to be very physically active. As a result, I’ve gained a few pounds, and I haven’t been feeling my best. In fact, I started to really dislike myself and to feel frustrated and angry about where I was health-wise. That’s not a good thing, to be walking around in a body that makes me feel uncomfortable and even downright mad.

So a couple of weeks ago I had a little talk with myself. I could either continue as I was, mad and frustrated at myself — at my body, really — or I could decide to make a change. I decided to try change (yay for positive decisions!) and then I sat down to spend some time looking at my weekly schedule and overall summer calendar. For me I can’t make a decision and let it wither and fade, sidelined by inaction. It has to be made real for me with things that are visual and tangible like schedules and lists. So I made a weekly exercise schedule and I’ve been sticking to it — with some missed sessions here and there — but I’m working on staying positive, valuing the process and growth, rather than trying to be perfect.

That said, when I was back at the gym for the first time in months I realized in the middle of my workout why I was there — why I was really there. Originally the schedule and list and all that were a reaction to something negative — my frustration and anger at myself — but once I was there, looking in the mirror doing squats or whatever it was I realized I was actually there because I love myself, not because I hate myself. I was there to take care of myself, to spend time with myself, and to invest in myself — in my physical health, of course, but also in my mental and spiritual well being. Because it turns out that I like to move my body and feel strong and see myself grow. I like feeling my heartbeat and having my face turn pink and my muscles get that jiggly-weak feeling after doing something hard and catching my breath before trying it again. I like that timeless feeling of being in the moment, focused on what I’m doing exactly here and exactly now. All of that is a great gift to myself, and a way for me to really experience the fact that I’m here on earth, alive, in a body that supports me, in a body that is my greatest gift and tool.

And I think we all need outlets to get our bodies moving, to reaffirm our connections to our bodies, and to spend some time having those timeless moments where clocks and schedules and even the ideas of goals and perfection fade and become distant so that all we can hear is our heartbeats in our chests, our breath move through our bodies, and that beautiful moment of body and being coming together. There’s nothing better than that — that’s what I’ve been missing, and those parts coming together feel like home.

So I don’t do work outs or yoga classes or bike or swim or run because my body frustrates and angers me and I hate it. No, I do it because my body is my home and I love living in it. I’m doing it for love, love, love.

the seed, renewed

I’ve been on a long, unplanned hiatus. I stopped due to a family emergency, and then once my writing momentum was broken, it was easy to just continue not writing. However, I never stopped thinking about writing and how I should be writing, and often it gave me twinges of anxiety, to think of my poor little blog all alone, untended.

I was on the phone with a good friend the other day, one who moved across country and I haven’t talked to in over a year, and in about an hour and a half we covered pretty much everything under the sun — as we tend to do. Anyway, we started to talk about this blog and why I named it The Seed. Just those comments were a wonderful reminder of why I write — and I’d like to share them with you, as much as I can remember them.

Sometimes people, especially women, tend to over-mother their projects. We check in on them too much, too invested. This can be true regarding any creative endeavor from raising children to planting gardens to realizing our dreams of opening up a small business, to losing weight, even making a new friend or trying out a new recipe. That energy of over-mothering, of overly caring, can strangle our deepest desire before it has even taken its first breath.

Which brings me to the symbol of a seed. A tree saves up all its energy from the previous summer, all winter long, and spends that energy making seeds. And these seeds are created, encased, and let go in the wind, eaten by small animals, washed away by rains, and eventually land wherever they land. The mother trees can’t do anything about the fate of her seeds, her most precious creations. She just has to wait. So the seeds flutter away and land somewhere. And they, too, wait. And the miracle is that inside of them they are complete. They have all the information they need to push into the soil, grow roots, reach a stem and leaves towards the sun, and grow grow grow. If they are lucky, they will sprout close to their mother, protected by her shade and nourished by her root system, and eventually grow as tall as their mother — maybe taller — and house animals, create shade, someday drop their own seeds to the earth, as well. But if that doesn’t happen right away, it’s okay. The seed waits, dormant. Sleeping. Complete.

And that’s how I feel about my creativity — and really about everyone’s creativity. We have it, and it’s ready to be released. We just have to walk that fine line of giving it our all — every ounce of our energy — and also being okay with letting it go. We have to be confident that our seeds are complete and we have to have faith that they will eventually land on fertile soil. It’s the beauty and the mystery and the agony and the pleasure of creating and letting go.

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Many, many seedlings from our backyard tree, sprouting wildly in a gutter!