A year ago today

Last year, I gave up plastic bags as my New Year’s Resolution. Looking back, I am proud that 95% of the time I carry reusable bags into stores.

  • I have insisted no bag, as I carry my items out like a weirdo.
  • I have had my share of take out restaurants bag my food, it seems too hard to explain it and I give in. (I’m looking at you take out Thai and your delicious curry).
  • Much to my husband’s irritation, I buy yet another new reusable bag.

I see this as an overall win. What made it most worth this relatively small change, was the discussion opportunity it opened up. I’ve talked about plastic bags all year. It became a part of me, part of my personality. I’m pretty sure everyone I come into conversation with knows my feelings on plastic now.

I thought a lot about what I wanted to tackle in 2019; practice yoga, drink more water, do more work, do less bad, do more good, eat cleaner, workout harder, cut down on screen time, and my personal fav: write in my blog more.

Everyone has tried these resolutions, I’ve tried all and most, multiple times… Drinking more water is the only thing that stuck, until now.

So what made this year different? I had a purpose beyond me. If I saved a couple of bags, great. But that wasn’t were the value was. It was in a social conversation. The connections that I made by opening up about something I am passionate about without hesitation or fear of judgement. I believe in and am fiercely dedicated to this cause  I’ve dedicated an large part of my study to single use plastics.

For the next year I’m going to keep the focus and momentum to reduce single use plastics. An essential part of me is my love of the ocean. I love all water, our rivers and lakes. They are beautiful but their value is beyond; it’s an essential part of our ecosystem. Therefore I am committed to go plastic cup and straw free this year.

Don’t get me wrong, just typing that is so scary! It’s a big under taking, and it will not be easy in any way. But I’m ready. I will figure it out, get creative, think ahead.

The important part to me isn’t one straw. It’s passing the knowledge along. One straw, one bag, one cup. What difference does that make? It makes a difference, every piece makes a difference. If every person I talk to looks at their straw at a restaurant and thinks, ‘I don’t need these at home, why do I need it here?’ The thought has been planted, meaningful connections between cause and effect, and hopefully changes a few perspectives along the way.

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Progress, not perfection 

I grew up thinking perfection was possible. If you weren’t perfect, you weren’t trying hard enough.

That thinking can literally kill you. I tried it, it doesn’t work and more importantly, it’s exhausting. There is a horrible let down when you fall short of that mark. Shame, self loathing, you name it, I’ve felt it.

There were a lot of times where I heard, “if you would have just tried a little harder.” Today, I’m still trying to break it. I try so hard that I collapse into tears. Not just crying, shaking in the corner sobbing. 

I know I can play victim, it’s super easy! Look at what I’ve been through, I say. Look how life has kicked me when I was down. Oh poor me. But that just gets me stuck. Not progressing, just sitting in the sorrow and helplessness of self pity.

But really, I’ve come out of all that junk stronger. I actually am proud of myself and like who I am. I’m finally getting it together. Letting go of what life has handed me and looking forward to the amazing things to come.

It’s easy to look at people and think, it must be nice, they’ve had it so easy. But no one escapes life and death. Everyone looses, everyone triumphs. There’s no hard or easy, just life. No winners, no losers, just everyone trying to make it through.

I’ve got scars, I’ve had struggles. I make that very public. But today I embrace my progress. From victim to warrior, from endless pain to contentment in any situation. Not always perfect but always progressing. 

Most importantly, surrounded by smart strong people, that have been through the ringer too, who encourage and remind me, keep moving forward and making progress in each and every day regardless of circumstance or struggles. 

Confidence Hit After Hit

Confidence is a funny thing. I can easily feel confident, completely genuine and killing it. Then a few things happen, maybe in one day, maybe over time, and I feel worthless. 

In yoga, in work, in life in general, things can get very personal. It’s easy to feel it is specifically just me, but maybe these little hits happen to everyone. I can’t help but think who I am is not good enough. 

Relationships end, friends fade away, I am pushed out so things are handled by someone more competent. When I feel judged, I feel like there is something wrong with who I am.

I try to remember, others own their behavior. When negativity is directed towards me, it’s not about me. It is just so hard to not feel like I don’t measure up. It seems like when I’m most myself, when I feel I’m being authentic and accepting and loving the person I am; I am pushed away. Left in the cold, how can I think any different than I’m not okay the way I am. 

I just want to be me. I don’t want to be judged or be pushed out of what I am doing. I want to be accepted for who I am. Not just accepted but lifted up and affirmed for the effort. For my success and for my openness. 

The things that are who I am at the purest and deepest level are unacceptable. I feel like I’m winning and it’s like the universe says, not so fast. As soon as confidence comes, everything falls apart. 

I’m never cocky, at least I don’t think I am. I’m more often not confident at all. But days like today knock me down to size. 

I know some of my posts are encouraging, some are sad, but they are real. Whether you like me or not. If you think I’m honest or full of it. I hope you find something that strikes you as true and raw. I hope you see the ups and downs in my life and know you aren’t alone. 

Facebook and Instagram frequently just shows the best parts, but life isn’t like that. We are all just trying to figure it out as we go. There’s no manual on how to deal with the bad and accepting those big hits that just don’t feel fair. 

We all just move on to the next. Taking each day as one day at a time. Breathe in, breathe out. And just keep going, what other choice do we have? 

I love me. I wish everyone else did, but they don’t and they won’t. Acceptance of that and who I am, is where I can start and where I can rest.

Humility 

Something I’ve been working on in the last week, finding humility. This is all about the world revolving completely without me and definitely not around me.

Sometimes I get stuck thinking I’m over important. I get caught in my head. It’s all about others affecting me. But I am reminding myself that it’s not about that in the end. It’s about what good I put into the world.  

The more humble, the more helpful I become. I see others for the value that they bring and I can see the value in everything.

What works for me is looking at the beautiful mountains growing and changing in front of me. The leaves blowing in the air. The river runs and the birds sing. All valuable and all not affected by me. Every thing is beautiful and great. Every piece of this planet is amazing, and I’m just lucky to be a part of it and share my love with all around me. 

Why I cancel coffee and say no to lunch 

I’ve talked a lot about my introversion. Is that the right word? Anyways, I always wonder if I’m the only introvert in the world. 

It’s probably more likely that introverts can’t find each other because we both want to hide in our car and never talk to each other.

My car is my safety zone. It’s like a little bubble of aloneness. I don’t have to talk to people. Maybe a little wave. 

For some reason, I do really well in business meetings. I can talk with confidence and give my pitch or ideas with no sign of my anxiety. But person to person, with no idea of what to say, or might come up. It’s scary. 

So I avoid, I cancel. I avoid “lunch” like the plague. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but when it comes close, the anxiety builds and it’s the last thing I want to do.

So why do I do this? Maybe it’s the unknown. Maybe it’s those variables that hold me back. I know why I hate chit chat, mingling and small talk. Even typing it makes me cringe.   I believe this is because it’s not real connection. It’s surface talk. No one gets real, just shallow talk. But when it has a chance to actually get real and deep, I avoid.

You might question why I can do this, type my feelings and be completely real and open with every aspect. Writing is a whole different way of communication. That happens to be how I connect with my feelings and organize my thoughts. I don’t know why I share it publicly. Always hoping that I connect with someone who feels the same way and help them feel okay. Or maybe letting you feel okay with what you are going through.

It never started out that way, it was a place to record my story. Mostly for my daughter and those going through a prophylactic mastectomy. But somewhere along the line, I’ve shared everything. It’s been my therapy and my art. I found a place and a way to incorporate writing into my problems and what is going on in my life.

I’m sorry if you’ve been someone I’ve avoided, canceled, not answer the phone, or return your calls. Or purely saying no to “lunch” or anything that involves small talk. It’s not you. It’s me. My insecurities, my fears. Everything in me avoids face to face, small groups, large groups. It doesn’t differentiate, it just is my reality. 

Nature and yoga

Tonight I practiced on the deck, looking at the most beautiful view. I thought about listening to music. But there was something lovely in the sounds of the outdoors.

I listened to the birds singing to my flows. I felt the gentle wind that cooled me right when I needed it. I balanced finding a focal point on the hills. I looked up at the half moon starting to make it’s way into the blue sky. 

My body moved with grace. I had more focus and balance than I have ever had. I connected my soul with the beauty around me. Something very special in this practice moved me. Meet the outdoors around you and you’ll be at peace.

Mastectomy chest stretch 

One of my favorite post mastectomy yoga stretching is laying on my back on a bolster (you could also use a rolled up towel or a pillow.)

Laying on your back with the bolster or pillow strait up the spine from the base of the spine to the neck or head. Let your shoulder fall off to the side opening the chest.

You can keep your arms to the sides and work on getting them out to the sides as you get the scar tissue or the tight muscles if the are above implants. This will slowly open up the muscles and will help get back to full range of motion.