Truth of Self

The aftermath of somewhat standing my ground is familiar numbness, not triumph. On the timid verge of valuing my worth, my strength to bask in burning criticism is questionable. Hovering under the radar of backlash dulls my shine. Fear of disappointing others paralyzes my truth. Still, sunshine offers a simple appeal.

Numbness comes easy, too easy, like an empty brown paper bag. To fill with emotion would certainly cause its disintegration freeing me from its nothingness, while simultaneously causing widespread devastation and flooding. Rote juggling blocks my need for a muster seed of faith, giving me a dull sense of control despite the fatigue. Sage and social media wisdom screams for truth of self. How dare I not follow its advice? How dare I do?

My heart is heavy; its inherent luminosity is dim. Only love lifts, lightens, and liberates. The outdated fade-to-black, shutting down, survival mode no longer protects my heart from hurt. The weariness from this chronic suffering now surrenders to love, crumbling the façade, forcing my feelings to be felt, my life to be lived, my light to shine. My lungs allow a deep breath as my heart allows love.




Gasping for fortitude, grasping at illusionary straws … fears to grapple;
Purging of preset conformity, pursing of determined lips … truth to pledge;
Accepting the light, accelerating the messy mend … peace to affix;
Meditating for clarity, magnifying the aesthetic soul … creativity to motion;
Loving the moment, lavishing unabashed compassion … life to live.



Three Times A Lady

Four times a lady’s phone rang in a packed yoga class. (That’s one more time than Lionel Richie’s lady.) Most amazing experience! No one says anything, especially not our Zen peaceful yoga instructor. Everyone maintains their poses. A few, including myself, glance at the lady holding conversations on her mat after answering the old-timey telephone “ring-ring” ring tone. After Shavasana and our Namaste bow signaling the close of class, someone kindly suggests vibrate mode to the offender. Others comment amongst themselves on the rudeness and disbelief of the disruptions.

I noticed the yoga etiquette impaired cell phone culprit seemed without remorse, perhaps even clueless. Upon the gentle admonition, she replied, “I didn’t expect them to keep calling,” a thought no doubt shared by everyone in the mirrored room. Her response provided an epiphany: her reaction is irrelevant to mine. What a revelation!

So many times I expect another’s response to be the way I want it, regretful, committed to change, even somewhat embarrassed, in order for them to be worthy of forgiveness. I judge their intentions before offering or withholding my mercy. My thoughts and emotions during this oft-interrupted class morphed from annoyance to forced sympathy. My thoughts waffled from maybe this person is new to yoga, unaware of our inward peaceful journey, to maybe she has limited mental capacity. If the reason for her behavior was justified, then so too would be my false compassion. False compassion seems to be pity based on judgment. Yet true compassion and forgiveness are judgment free, based on love, free of the actions and intentions of others. Elizabeth Gilbert’s mosquito clad meditation experience in Eat, Pray, Love reminds us that inner peace is not contingent on outer annoyances. Her mosquito bites are our cell phone rings.

What’s more amazing is that “ring-ring” lesson lady arrived late to class filling the exact space of “doing the best I can” lesson lady that left early. “Doing the best I can” lesson lady brought her four or five year old daughter with her to yoga class. Because I arrived later than others, I established my mat in the back next to the child. The child was well behaved, but I was annoyed at her presence. I felt self conscious of her gaze in my direction when she wasn’t loudly leafing through her coloring book. My negative feelings caught me off guard, for I often grant support and prayers to moms with crying babies in public. Actually, even though my six babies are older now, I still secretly and selfishly experience a wave of relief that it’s not my baby causing the cascade of disapproving glances, reminiscent of Bono’s Feed the World “me” generation line, “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” I shuffled through all the possible scenarios why this mom had to bring her child to yoga class to ease my annoyance, when really sending prayers and love were all that were necessary to occupy my mind and heart. I know how hard it is to make time for your health and wellbeing while being a mom.

Prior to hastily setting up yoga camp next to the well behaved, but perceived nuisance nevertheless, child, I was verbally abrupt with my family. I huffed and I puffed my ever so familiar “nobody’s listening to me” monologue. Though it was different this time. This time I listened to my futile verbiage. This time, in mid-complaint, my mind scanned a bird’s eye assessment of the situation that I no longer wished to perpetuate. Be it ever so small, it’s progress. My recognition of my shortcoming allowed me to readily apologize. Feeling the Lionel Richie groove, three times this lady (that’s me) was graciously given opportunities to examine, grow, and practice forgiveness of myself and others. I am grateful for the examined life worth living!

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

“And no one will listen to us until we listen to ourselves.” – Marianne Williamson

I listened to myself, heard judgment, criticism, and complaints, and found insight, compassion, and love. These lessons, brought to you in rewound love infused hyper-vision, transformed my heart in a Grinch-like way, growing “three sizes that day,” three times a lady for three lessons and four cell phone rings.


I Love Boobs!

I love my boobs and boobs in general! I’m not a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with being a lesbian) and I love boobs! Whew! There, I said it. My naïve bubble that all women love their boobs (and boobs in general) popped a few days ago when a woman pointed out that women have different relationships with their boobs. What, not all women love their boobs or boobs in general?

I certainly have a different relationship with my stretch-marks-in-plaid tummy. It has been a source of concern for many years. I posted the below pic on Facebook to make peace with my squishy mom belly and it worked, mostly. Some days I still hold my hands at my hips pulling taut my rippled skin, much like my mom frequently lifted her skin up at her temples simulating a facelift throughout my childhood. Most days though, I forget to be obsessed about it. And on good days, I thank my tummy for a job well done (love my kiddos!) and call it beautiful.


It turns out that upon reflection, I haven’t always loved my boobs or boobs in general. I just have a short memory, one downside to living in the moment and another side effect of a lifetime of discrediting my feelings. I started binding my boobs with bras when I was in sixth grade. As a pretty colored ribbon runner during adolescence, winning the pinks, purples, and if I was lucky white awards, I wore sports bras that bound me as tight as Mulan. Yes, it is possible for a small boobed gal like me to be even flatter. Somehow it was wrong if my boobs bounced, even when my whole body was bounding like a graceful gazelle through gorgeous grasslands. No wait, that’s my runner’s high imagery. In reality, I was the one often struggling with the beet red face, static boobs, and 80’s bloomers. Okay, everyone else was wearing the same unattractive polyester uniform bottoms.

My first boyfriend (FYI high school friends, I never dated an Eagle) told me to “get over it” when I said it felt “weird” when he touched my boobs for the first time. I spent a good portion of my life not only out of touch with my feelings, but also out of touch with my body. The “Our Bodies, Ourselves” instruction manual that my college friends handed to me along with a mirror and a flashlight helped, but could not work miracles. Truth be told, my boobs physically hurt for much of my life. PMS was painful. My boobs hurt with or without a bra. But being true to not being true to my feelings, I called my boobs “sensitive”. I did not wince when putting on clothes because my boobs were sensitive. I winced because they were painful.

My boobs no longer hurt since starting to heal with the GAPS™ (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) protocol. I hope my two daughters never experience boob pain. By eating nutrient dense, gut healing foods they stand a good chance at having happy boobs. But more than being pain free, I hope they love their boobs. My oldest daughter is rather uptight about her boobs and boobs in general. She didn’t want me leaving the house to go to a middle school track meet dressed in the below pictured shirt because it showed too much cleavage. Really? What cleavage? If I had cleavage, I might want to show it. Needless to say, when writing this blog post, I derived much joy from sharing its content with my oldest daughter and scoring an eye roll or two. Hey, don’t knock it. After parenting for almost 16 years, eliciting eye rolls from my kiddos is one of life’s simple pleasures.


I hope my daughters never bind their boobs with bras. On October 13, 2013, I removed my bra in front of a group of female holistic nutrition students (now practitioners) to encourage participation in the bra-free day of the pink movement. Not one other woman in the room set her boobs free, not even the one singing “Who let the girls out?” to the tune of “Who let the dogs out?” with me. These are knowledgeable women who understand that without a free flowing lymphatic system, toxins accumulate and lead to disease. It must be because women have different relationships with their boobs and/or because they believe in the support myth. The support myth is that boobs will sag if you don’t wear a bra. Elizabeth Vaughan, M.D., explains, “Sorry, bras might make your breasts sag more. You have ligaments in your breasts. They are designed to hold your breasts up. If you wear a bra for years – or, worse yet, wear a bra 24 hours a day for years – these ligaments will atrophy (get weaker and smaller). The good news: If you stop wearing a bra these ligaments should get stronger and you should find your breasts perkier within about three months.”

Sadly, even the head holistic nutrition instructor expressed disdain for her boobs. Women DO have different (and complicated and changing) relationships with their boobs. For all of you who have lost part or all of your boobs due to cancer, I’m so glad you are alive! As for me, I am 2 ½ months of being bra free, emphasis on free. When the lymphatic system is flowing, the spirit sours. I am happier now than ever. Of course, it’s easy to work the layered look in the cold weather months in Minnesota. I’ll let you know how I fare with layers in the summertime. Why layers? Because as much as I love my boobs and my nips, I don’t want my nips to show. Funny, eh?

I hope you will consider your relationship with your boobs and show them some love. And if you love your boobs, in the words of Sting, “Free, free, set them free!”

Note: I chose to use the word “boobs” when referring to breasts in this post because “boobs” is such a fun word. I initially started calling my boobs “the girls” at home, but this only confused my family. I constantly had to clarify when I meant boobs and when I meant my daughters. Ha!