Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Loss and Gain, Love and Light.

Dear Reader (If you're still out there. I hope you're still out there. Baby, come back?),

It has come to my attention that I have started what could quite possibly be the most neglected blog ever. I would like to extend my sincerest apologies.

I would also like to explain that this neglect was not a result of a lack of appreciation for you, dear reader, nor was it a result of a lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter. To connect so quickly with savvy, talented, and funny fellow bloggers while sharing my true passion is an awesome experience, one that I hope continues.

2010 was full of losses and gains: I ended a lengthy and meaningful romantic relationship, experienced the deaths of my great-grandmother and grandmother, moved twice, at one point was working four jobs, and wound up (naturally) feeling a little less than peacefully insightful.

And I'm sure if we compared notes, anyone's list would be just as (if not more) hefty.

I worked really hard, burned out, and then was way too hard on myself for feeling so. The result? More burn-out.

I wanted to rip my hair out. "What do I possibly have to offer?" I thought, "How can I help others when I don't even know what day it is?". I felt the need to re-think and re-group, and the process involved a bit of a hibernation period. I knew I needed to get back on my pony, but I didn't even know where the darn thing was (and the one I pictured was looking more Chinese Crested than Shetland). I wanted to be the gleaming image, the absolute epitome of all that is good health, but I was feeling a little less than vibrant. As a result, I withdrew even more. I felt that if I wasn't feeling on top of the world every single day, then no one would want to hear anything that I had to share.

I eventually realized that I was doing okay, and that my much needed rest was well deserved. I started running more, began a meditation practice, nixed some of the toxic habits and people in my life and started doing what really matters the most to me. (And if anyone is truly interested, what matters the most to me involves really hot baths accompanied by good books, red wine, and bad singing. It also involves going to bed way earlier than what is deemed as hip or exciting.)

As I reflect on my experience of 2010, I fully realize that there is a lesson to be learned here. We know it, we've heard it again and again, and yet we rarely apply this truth: There is no such thing as perfection. And striving for perfection is not healthy. Not one bit.

Health and wellness is not a matter of self-discipline, denial, will-power or punishment. (I'd like you to re-read this as we approach January, the month of diet experimentation and gym vow renewals.)

Health is a matter of self-nourishment, self-love, self-appreciation, and patience. Taking the time to realize that you, _______, are beautiful the way you are. And the road to feeling better and becoming healthier involves making decisions based on what's going to make you feel good and what's going to physically and emotionally nourish you. I invite you to make a list right now of things you would enjoy doing in the coming year in lieu of things you feel obligated to do/things that someone else has told you would make you a "better person".

A major part of recognizing and practicing self-love is realizing that it is completely acceptable to slow down. We are human beings, not human doings, and we need time to observe that and just be.

You see, there is no pony. Or rather, the pony is within you. Searching for something outside of ourselves is not going to help us achieve our dreams. We already have everything we need. It's the realization of this that seems to be the most allusive thing, but I believe we can get there, step by step.

In closing, I suggest we toast 2011 with the realization that we're all pretty great. Let's get ready to rock it with positive changes and true self-love.

You are valuable, you're your own best asset, and you've got what it takes, so take care.