Breath

It changes. It used to be Warrior II, something about being absolutely rooted. Then it was fish, I think at that time I was opening. I was cracked and I felt the light seeping out and fish was what made me feel closer to source. Now, however, it’s Dancer’s Pose. What’s funny about it is that I cannot do it unless my breath is right. That should be how it always is, right?

You know when you stand on the beach and each time the water crashes into you, if you just stand your ground you sink further and further into the earth? That is how I feel. I am sunken into the sand and really, sunken into myself. And as I sit down and look around the corridors of me, I wonder where to even begin? Some corners get good light, some walls have beautiful artwork though they lurk in shadows and are covered in cobwebs. There is the faint smell of old, and what I really want to do is throw open the curtains and let all the light in.

My body has been the source of much contention for me. Though it is tricky because as much as it sometimes feels like a prison, it is also where so much of my safety is. I know things here first. Similarly, if it does not make sense in here, then it is not right for me. I quite literally dwell here. Yoga, running, dance…they have been the forms of movement that I have always been drawn to, regardless of my practice (or lack there of). In these forms I realized that in doing them much of the “doing” is reliant on breath FIRST. If you do not breathe, you cannot move in yoga. If you do not focus your breathing in running, you cannot get very far, and in dance…well…
I suppose in m(any) forms of exercise it begins and ends with breath; but I know that with these three in particular it beckons an almost meditative state of breathing and it is like something else takes over all together.

It just clicked…maybe these things are the alignment of all the elements. It is when you are most vulnerable yet it is also when you are most powerful. Air in your lungs, fire in your heart, water on your skin and earth at your feet. It IS the avatar state.

imageSo I did some yoga today. Then I looked around on tumblr for cool poses to try. I got some pictures of myself 1–stretching 2–tree 3–dancer. I looked at them, how I moved. How I breathed…and of course I saw my body. Some (increasingly decreasing) part of me saw big legs and an unflattering midsection, but most of me saw how when I let all that go what I was able to accomplish.

If you have never recorded yourself doing something you love, do. It is amazing what you see. It is amazing because in those moments you do not see the negative. Sure you are aware of it, but it is not what catches your eye, it is not what feeds you.

I heard said today, “I wonder what you have to be thinking in order not to be so dire, so hungry for things from other people because you have fed yourself before you met them.” That was Bishop T.D. Jakes. I thought, wow…what do I need to tell myself? He continued, “You fall in love with them over something they gave you that you ought to be giving yourself.” Ooooooh that hit home. When people tell you you’re pretty, talented, creative, whatever. And you eat it up to the point where you’re licking the bowl and Please, sir, can I have some more-Oliver Twisting. You strain to see what it is in you that they see that you do not. But what I have learned is that I can see it best when I breathe. When I sit in the quiet corridor of me and turn inwards.

It is the runner’s high. It is the the perfectly danced swan lake. It is everything. And I am glad I got a little bit of it today. My prayer is that I get just one breath more of it tomorrow.

#20byTakeoff

In a mere 7 weeks I leave for Jamaica where I will be for exactly 20 days.  Curb your jealous, I know. I know. But I have issued a challenge for myself. In the days between right now and June 8th I want to lose 20lbs.

First, a story. So a while back I mentioned talking to an old friend about her amazingly spectacular  100+ pound weight loss and I set the same goal for myself. Since that time I never stopped wanting it, but I was never truly committed to the goal. I would start something then quit, start then quit, start then…you get the picture. I do not really diet but I do try to eat well, but if I ate as well as I often allude to eat then I highly doubt I’d have some of these issues. But I digress. I can woman up and speak to it, I love sweets. I do.  I have a thing for ice creams and gelatos, cakes and cookies…sweet stuff is my thing. I also snack at night.  These two things I stared at sternly in the corners of my conscious and said to them, You have to go.

Next, I recognized this irrational discomfort surrounding food preparation. Namely because my roommate is a SUPER healthy eater and sometimes I order pizza…so I would eat down in my room and only when she wasn’t in the kitchen would I venture into the kitchen. I realized one day when I let myself get so hungry that my stomach was beating me up as I waited for her to leave the kitchen that I had an issue.  I was ashamed of what I knew I was going to do. It sounds like a drug addict. I remember this one episode of Private Practice when Shepard had gotten hooked back on pills and in an intervention they made her use in front of everyone. The addictions counselor said, “Oh no you don’t, you do it out here for everyone to see.” It felt kind of like that. Only, I don’t want to shame myself, but I do want to be proud of what I’m putting into my body. I want to openly engage in public displays of affection with my own body.

I knew what needed to be done. I mean who doesn’t? Exercise, eat well, drink water…it’s the things you hear all the time only now I want to do them. I watched my birthday cake disappear piece by piece until I finally threw it out because I knew  I would finish it if it stayed. I bought veggies, quinoa, lean meats like salmon and talapia. I said “No” to salt and said “Hell yes” to a gallon of water a day.

And I ran.

IMG_1095I made up excuse after excuse at 6:00am, 7:00am, 8:00am about why I couldn’t go…it was cold…it was foggy…it was WORK was the true reason. I didn’t want to do it. I went to work and had the kind of day where everyone is annoying you just because they are there. I couldn’t pinpoint where my sour mood was coming from. On top of that, I kept being interrupted by bathroom breaks from this darn gallon of water challenge. So I got home, turned on the TV flopped down on the couch and went to my google reader where I saw this (Mama Laughlin). She wrote:

I was SO TIRED and PISSED that I had to get up so early.
That I had to make those kind of sacrifices to get in my workouts.
I was resentful that I didn’t have enough time in the day.
But you know what I did?
I sucked it up, got up, and got my ass to the gym at 5am.
And the craziest thing happened…. within 10 minutes of sweating I started to feel better.
I wasn’t pissed off anymore and my day instantly turned around.
Being that I was in a similar mood I decided…lets go. So I changed clothes, and went for a run (a very slow run) around my neighborhood. Yes I stopped for breaks. Yes I felt like I wanted to d.i.e. because the last mile was uphill. Yes my lungs ached, and my feet were heavy and sweat dripped, and I’m sure cars were passing me like, “She might as well be walking,” but I did not care. 45 minutes later I was home and I felt amazing. I snapped a picture and I decided that the only way to shed some light on all the truth I have been hiding is to do what I always do….invite love in, invite truth in, write.
So here I am. I want to commit to at least archiving the 7 week journey here…maybe later tonight I will create a separate tab just for my #20byTakeoff challenge. But I welcome new visitors, old familiars, supporters, encouragers, strangers, and loved ones to see the yucky underbelly of what it looks like to start from scratch for the bajillionth time.
For my twitter updates: @PhDubb
For my instagram photos: @PhDubb
It ain’t always gonna be pretty, but I promise it’ll always be the truth.

 

 

On my lips

Losing weight is not nor has it ever been about losing weight. After I finished that last post, I got dressed and went on a run/walk around my neighborhood. I listened to the Belle Brigades and went to explore. Down unexplored streets and finding new views; I was looking for the sting in my lungs.

It was an hour later when I was laying on my floor dripping sweat and meditating when the thought came to me, losing weight is not about losing weight. Then I decided it was time to take some financial advice from Suze Orman and get really honest.

When I moved home from Nashville back in 2008, I was at my heaviest and I weighed 324lbs. May I just pause and in this moment reflect on what it is like for me to admit that out loud and to the entire world? I was 324lbs and so incredibly fragile. I was at the edge and incidentally, the furthest I have ever been to feeling powerful. To write that, to know that people many people will read this and know the dirty ugly truth of my life…feels good. Nothing grows in darkness except mushrooms. So I was 324 and once I moved out on my own, started to eat better, feel better and live better…find my stride in life and in my profession…a profession, might I add, that saved my life I got down to 260. When I look at the photos I don’t see it. I don’t see 60lbs gone, it didn’t feel miraculous or monumental or anything even close to that. It felt like I was 260lbs and needed to be half that. I was still not in a place where I could celebrate or even recognize my victories. I was still numb to my self.

All of that came to me in my shower after the run and after the meditation. You know how to physically do this, you have done this before. You know it and there was still a disconnect and I had the thought again, LOSING WEIGHT IS NOT, NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. I remembered old episodes of Oprah and old thoughts and reflections about how if I kept making losing weight this huge monumental mountain, and if I approached it with the mindset that it was damn near impossible that I was setting myself up for failure. And yet, I didn’t have an alternative. I didn’t know how else to think about it. I could not, having lived the life I have lived with the experiences I have experienced, reframe my view on losing weight.

Until today.

When I made the parallel between what power felt like and the sensation of running, something click for me. This is not about losing weight, or getting fit, or any of those pseudonyms we use for looking attractive to the general public. This was about being intimately connected to my power. I need to feel that connection, I need to step into my power and when I saw how to do it, I had to try. I pushed myself to keep going because the longer I went the more I felt it. And the more I wanted to cry. I was walking up hill and sweat was seeping from the bend in my arm, such an uncomfortable place to sweat, and I saw a license plate that said “Just4Jes” and I started to cry. I started to cry because it was an external manifestation of my exact internal feeling…this was about finding myself, and if I see it in that way then it’s not impossible or even daunting, it’s invigorating and inviting and inspiring and freeing and overwhelming in the best way.

It clicked for me today. And in my moment of honesty with myself and with the world, I felt so beautifully connected. It means very little to reveal numbers or even thoughts because I am not those things. I am. And nothing comes after that, nothing that follows that very compete sentence can hold me captive in shame in judgement in persecution in solitude in bondage in loneliness in silence.

I feel nothing but grace and gratitude right now, for daring to chase it, to try. I am emotional and happy and at peace.

…and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anaïs Nin

Truth. Lies. Invictus and taking victories.

What would you be doing if you thought anything was possible? It was the question that Marianne Williamson just tweeted to the masses who follow her. I asked myself. And I thought, rather self righteously, “exactly what I’m doing now.” But it was a lie. I answered again I would be running. That was the truth.

Perhaps not right now, as its midnight here in SoCal, but I think of it every single day. There was a moment earlier in my afternoon where I was laying on my couch, willing myself to wait “5 more minutes” before I fixed a snack hoping upon hope that the 5th minute never came. It didn’t. I’ll take a victory where I can get it. But I was laying and thinking of running and how badly I wanted to go do it. Just be able to jog a few miles and clear my mind, think of nothing and see the city by foot. I remembered my shoes. How badly they hurt my feet, I guess they’ve gotten too small. It felt pitiful, like an excuse. I wouldn’t go anyway…I haven’t, after all. But I want to.

image

Why does it feel so insurmountable? Well…let’s start with the fact that I am out of shape. I did about 10 minutes of Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred and sat down defeated. I talked to a lot of friends and have read a lot of blogs raving about at-home exercise…I get no motivation from it. I think I finally learned that lesson. Its not that I cant do more than 10 minutes, I think its just too easy to give up at home. Home is for peace. Home is for relaxing. Home is for comfort. My thoughts of home and my thoughts of exercise contradict. Its exactly why I don’t work or study at home. I’ll take that lesson.  Home is not the answer.

I silently scrolled through Tumblr asking myself “but how?” And the words “love something more” came to mind. If I believe that I cannot be a runner then that thought, that negativity has conquered me, and last I checked I was unconquerable. More than I feel I can’t, I have to know I can.

Watching Say Yes To the Dress tonight so many women had lost 40-100lbs in an effort to look a certain way for their wedding day but when they looked in the mirror they didn’t feel it. They still felt and saw that girl from before. Its why I am adamant about doing the mental work. Shifting inside out. Changing my frequency.

I can’t believe it, the goal, the 100lbs is bigger than me or bigger than my capabilities. I have to see, visualize, its completion and truly believe it is attainable. How will I look, feel, sound, I have to picture it and hold it. And I have to love that with a passion. I have to literally catch fire with anticipation of its coming into fruition. The truth is what I make it. And the thoughts I have dictate the life I lead. So it has to start there…I have to lose it there first. That’s the only way its going. That’s the only way I run.

Bulletproof

So I had a dream last night that I can’t remember…I only have bits and pieces of what actually happened but I do remember the feelings from it.  I can tell you that I woke up ready to run…fight really.

I won’t get into all that…but I can tell you that that dream will stick with me for a while, hopefully forever.

Have I mentioned to yall that I want to do a 5k?

#winning :-) (artwork "The Winner" by Jill Neal)

well I do…funny enough one of my clients inspired me to do so.  She talked about running in a way that I guess really spoke to me. I figure a 5k is a good start. I went to RunGeorgia.com and looked up a calendar of running events. I’m thinking of the Virgina Highland Summerfest 5k in June.  Now, as it stands I currently walk at least 3 miles everyday and in about 40 minutes, and that’s walking with no kind of purposeful speed…I’m interested to know what my time would be right now if I just completed the 3.1 by any means necessary lol…I’m going to time it out and see.

Small goals…and we’ll see how it goes. I still have this looming deadline of Thanksgiving for a fineness previously unknown.  Yeah this cruise adds stress lol…its 7 months away I mean really how fine can you get in 7 months? I guess I’ll find out!!!

Become a Runner

Something I pulled from Women’s Health magazine (my obsession) Tips on how to “become a runner”

1. Accept the challenge

“Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher

10. Make time for a quickie

“If 15 minutes is all the time I have, I still run. Fifteen minutes of running is better than not running at all.” –Dr. Duncan Macdonald, former U.S. record holder at 5000 (set when he was in medical school)

12. Try a “nooner”

“Noontime running provides a triple benefit: daylight, a break from the workday, and a chance to avoid eating a heavy lunch.” –Joe Henderson, runner/writer

13. Warm up, then stretch

“Try some light jogging or walking before you stretch, or stretch after you run. Stretching ‘cold’ muscles can cause more harm than good.” –Runner’s World editors

14. Stay “liquid”

“Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! In cold weather and warm. We use water to sweat, lubricate joints, tendons, and ligaments, and to carry blood efficiently to major organs. I work all day at hydrating.” –Dr. Alex Ratelle, former masters running great

16. Listen up!

“You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.” –Dr. George Sheehan

25. Show some horse sense

“During long, slow distance training, you should think of yourself as a thoroughbred disguised as a plow horse. No need to give yourself away by running fast.” –Marty Liquori, running commentator and former world-class miler

28. Toss out the clutter

“Throw away your 10-function chronometer, heart-rate monitor with the computer printout, training log, high-tech underwear, pace charts, and laboratory-rat-tested-air-injected-gel-lined-mo-tion-control-top-of-the-line footwear. Run with your own imagination.” –Lorraine Moller, 1992 Olympic marathon bronze medalist **this is perhaps my favorite**

34. Ease it back

“After a run, don’t rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate.” –Runner’s World editor

…and I’m beasting

So you guys know I’ve been “Up in the gym just workin on my fitness” well I got some new kicks! I’m a frequent Women’s Health reader/subscriber and saw an ad for the Nike Lunar Glides. IDKY but I had to have them? My current running shoes are some Nike crosstrainers and they’ve had it. They don’t support like they should and I definitely needed some new ones. So I got these. Have only worn them around the store-BUT they feel amazing. Like walking on air. And they’re equipped with Nike+ technology which according to the lil booklet says that with your iPod or sportband will track your runs, and keep your progress.  Crazy right? I think I better go for a run…test these jokers out.