Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Love yourself

The blog posts on Weightless have been helpful for me for these past 12 months, since I discovered, this blog. The posts on self acceptance and self love have been an encouragement and a help in the middle place. That space in between where you are and where you would like to be.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

Love your neighbour as well as you do yourself.

These phrases follow the answer an expert in the law gave to Jesus, during a conversation. The expert answered a question about life, by saying "...love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; AND love your neighbour as yourself."  Find the full conversation here.

In all honesty, that last part has been a sticking point for me, not the heart, soul, strength and mind part, not the love your neighbour part, I really do love my neighbours. Like many, I live out a big definition for neighbour.

It's the love yourself part, that's been a growth area.

In the month of May, I exchanged yoga for weights, for an outdoor running group and for outdoor cycling on my new bike. In keeping with my personality, I pushed my body too hard, in too short a time frame and had injured both of my knees.

As a recovering people pleaser, I listened to the sage advice of the expert bike fitter and not to my own inner experienced cycling voice. With the seriously uncomfortable saddle too high, the only stretchy place with my clipless pedal system, was my knees.

With my fitness routines interrupted, and feeling bugged about being held back by injuries, I had stopped blogging. I felt stuck.

With icing and resting my knees, I did manage to climb Grouse Grind, a mountain in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, only to re-injure myself again, once I was back home.

Mostly, I have been frustrated with myself and a bit off track, and not at all loving towards myself.

I easily slip into berating myself for being injured. It doesn't seem to matter to my mind that I received said injuries trying to be healthy and active.

Self-blame, anger, frustration, negative self-talk, you get the idea.

One day in June, I read Margarita Tartatovksy's poem, “what my body has taught me...” 

It made me cry, I think in a good way. It was a gentle reminder again of all that I can be thankful for. It feels like a good place to pause, give thanks and begin again on this journey of self acceptance.

I heard this gentle whisper in my spirit, "do this Kelly, love God, love your neighbour and love yourself, do this and you'll really live."

Margarita Tartakovsky, graciously responded to my request to include her poem in my blog. It is reprinted here with her permission. Please enjoy!

My body has taught me

what feels good and what doesn’t.

When I need kindness

and when I need rest.

She’s taught me to slow down,

and to use all my senses to wander this world.

She’s taught me about patience,

even though I’m used to running her to the ground

or condemning her for supposed flaws.

She’s taught me forgiveness.

She’s taught me that I am resilient,

even though I often forget that I am.

My body has taught me the beauty of laughter,

a piece of music,

a balmy wind against my face

and the soothing warmth of green tea with honey.

She’s let me release pentup powerful emotions,

pen stories and create art that I am proud of.

She’s taught me how to listen

and care for my needs,

especially when sickness strikes like it has this week.

She’s taught me that I am a warrior,

and that it’s OK on the days I am not.

My body has taught me to express love

and to experience it.

She’s taught me that pain is fleeting,

and to try again.

She’s taught me that I am a legacy,

centuries of memories and heritage running through my veins.

While I’ll keep forgetting and re-learning these lessons,

I am oh-so grateful for this body of mine

for carrying me

when all I wanted was to be anywhere else

but in my own skin

when I yearned to abandon and escape my body

and did on many days.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Copyright (C) 2013 Psych Central. All rights reserved. Reprinted here with permission from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2013/04/a-poem-what-my-body-has-taught-me/

Thanks for reading and keep moving,

Monday, 20 May 2013

I spy with my little eye...

Kitesurfers on Lake Erie May 18, 2013

Inspired by the Weightless blog, I set an intention to notice things this weekend.

We were staying at a cottage in lovely Rondeau Provincial Park and had the opportunity to be out in nature.

Our first walk on the beach, brought a bounty of beauty.

There were several kite surfing enthusiasts enjoying the winds of Lake Erie.

Wikipedia states, 
 a kitesurfer or kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without foot-straps or bindings. 
The colours were spectacular and the Kitesurfers are quite daring. While simply enjoying themselves, they put on a delightful show. 

Photo: I spy with my little eye
hidden frog

Caleb saw this huge frog, who was happy to pose for a photograph. I almost cycled over a painted turtle and was delighted to see five white swans which are somewhat new to Rondeau Bay. 

On one of many bike rides we heard a symphony of red wind black birds in the Marshes complimented by prothonotary warblers

While sitting in the backyard reading, which allows for a view of the beach and the forest, I always notice that it is such a happy place. It seems the squirrels and chipmunks and birds (warblers, purple martins, cardinals and common barn swallows) are having a blast re-aquainting with nature after a long winter. They sing and scamper to the beat of their own drum.
Prothonotary Warbler

I loved the delight of Caleb and Neil, while they fished off the end of the dock. They caught and released several species of fish; blue gill, pumpkin seed, sunfish and yellow perch.

I noticed and appreciated..

...the comfort of our bed and the crisp, fresh linens.

...the way my husband's skin wrinkles around his eyes when he smiles at me.

...the thrill of adventuring past our normal bike route to the edge of the park.

...how a good book feels in my hands and relaxes my mind.

...how a meal tastes twice as good shared with my brother and his family.

...how my Dad likes to spoil his grand-kids.

...how my Mom spent time with Blake.

...how the little cousins really enjoy playing together.

...how special it is to spend time with our boys before Blake moves away to college in the fall.

Because I had my eye out for noticing pleasure, this weekend was joyful on every account.

Thanks for reading and keep moving,

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hot Yoga Tales, the Finale

Kelly and Torsten

My yoga buddy Torsten and I finished the Rogerstv show, Hot Yoga Tales.

The days leading up to the final taping of the 45 minute Hot Yoga shows were difficult for me.

I had agreed to this volunteer commitment months earlier and always assumed that there would be between 8 and 10 participants and the instructor.  Instead, Rogerstv after a site visit, decided to have one teacher and 2 participants. No.Blending.In. Yikes.

Every insecurity and thought related to self acceptance was being challenged. It felt like every strength I had developed in my thought life about body image and identity and spirituality was being tested. It was much like the test my muscles endured learning yoga poses. It was "planking" of the mind and I wasn't sure I could follow through.

Several things helped.

I sent out an email to a few friends to admit my insecurity, "I actually feel a lot of pressure to do the yoga well, but mostly, it's 45 minutes in figure revealing work out clothes, on camera, that is bothering me."  I knew I had to fight my tendency to hide out and cry. I asked some women to pray for me.

My sweet neighbour listened and suggested some retail therapy. She firmly said, "you need a new top." The day we planned did not pan out because my little Caleb was home sick and throwing up. With a quick jaunt to the grocery store, I netted several work out items to try on.

Months earlier I had stumbled across the Curvy Yoga Matifesto and I revisited it. Two lines were helpful for me.
loving your own body opens the door for others to love theirs...
time we spent criticizing our bodies is now spent chasing our dreams...
A childhood friend, echoed the sentiment of the first line when she said to me, "do it (this show) for women everywhere..."  Somehow that helped me.

There was this woman at the gym who randomly said, "aren't you taking a year to live athletically?" I was gently reminded in my Spirit that change takes time and I was about 4 months in with this dream to live a healthy life. I am rich in time.

A blog post by Gary Morland as part of his Everything Fits series helped me to remember and recognize that self-obsession and worry is not helpful as did this fabulous song by Jason Mraz, entitled, "Living in the Moment."

Doing the Dr. Oz 3-day-detox-cleanse helped to reduce bloating and I felt as though my eyes and skin glowed, even though I would be nowhere near skinny. I liked it. I was challenged to stay the course of living my life without processed sugar and coffee and felt proud of the accomplishment of drinking 4 blended shakes a day made of healthy food.

The Weightless  blog has practical advice. It went beyond positive statements to just simply do this or do that. I found there were lots of suggestions to consider, for the middle place. That place where the positive statements feel fake and have no effect. There were actions I could take, for example,

"Taking self-portraits is a vulnerable act. Many of us barely like looking in the mirror. So capturing ourselves with a camera — a sort of permanent image — feels uncomfortable, silly and even scary."  Thank-you Weightless blog for helping to normalize some of my feelings.

Vivienne McMaster wrote beautifully on self-portraiture,  and while I am not in control of the Rogerstv cameras or post-production, it helped put my mind in a better frame.

part of the production and camera crew
Make-up. The days of the filming I had my make-up professionally applied at Victoria Bourque's Beauty Boutique. It was time well spent with Victoria, a lovely human being, who is a gifted "enhancer" of beauty.

snapped by friend Laura at her front door
This opportunity to be part of the show was awesome. I think my favourite part was the people, the conversations; with Jennifer, Dan and Julia at the Rogerstv studio, with  Cindy, the owner of Bradford Hot Yoga and some of the instructors, and with Torsten, the other ordinary person who had never done yoga before.

I had committed to learning some yoga and my body has benefited from the lengthening and strengthening. I have filled my journal with reflections on yoga and how slowing down, breathing and stretching fits in my life.

I like the practise in yoga of setting an intention. The final day of taping I set an intention for gratitude (always helpful) and FUN! Snapping pics made it fun for me and seemed to lighten the mood of all the nervous participants.

At the outset of this journey I had a really cool moment that I blogged about:

...the only person who needs to accept all of me, is ME.

So when this beautiful, self-obsessing, broken and healed woman was doing yoga in front of a team of camera and production people, all the while knowing that it will be aired, she was often smirking to herself and thinking, "this curvy suburban woman is having a grand adventure...living the dream." In those moments the fear dissipated, perfect love was driving it out.

Love has the run of this house, this soul. A journey that I once thought impossible is unfolding.

thanks for reading and keep moving,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sunshine and Rain Part 2

The day our bikes were stolen was difficult from the get go, the proverbial “I got out of the wrong side of the bed” scenario. It should have been raining, to match my mood.

Really, we argued about dumb, unmemorable stuff and spent vacation time vacuuming and scrubbing the van at a fabulous car wash in Florida. Even the airy freshness of our newly cleaned van as we headed to Starbucks for a Skinny Vanilla Latte was fraught with bickering between me and my love.

The next morning after working out, I sat in my stinky, sweaty workout clothes and obsessed over Craig’s list and other Bicycle pawn shop websites, looking for our bikes.

I was sitting indoors feeling sadness, bitterness, disappointment and some forgiveness.

Finally, around noon, I decided to take a redemption ride to the beach.

I would use my mom's comfortable Schwinn Voyageur bike, for  my ride.

On the ride, I found myself looking in every garage that was open and scanning the back of pick-up trucks as they passed me by, looking for our stolen bikes.

My mind was so wrapped up in yesterday’s news.

It does not feel good to be stolen from. I remembered that the enemy of my soul comes to steal, kill and destroy.

I felt these words deep in my spirit as I was cycling along…

do not let your joy, your peace of mind, your love for others, your belief that God is generous, anything that is of eternal value, be stolen from you… 

I stopped riding. Then I heard…

… if you look for what is lost or stolen too long, you will miss the LIFE that is happening right in front of you.

Enough time and emotional energy had been given to stolen bikes.

I wanted to notice what was right in front of me.
I wanted to notice what I did have.

I wanted to notice LIFE.

On that ride, I had an awakening. I would have missed the sound of the birds, the sight of the beautiful houses along the bay and the sound of the wind in the palms (one of my favourite things) and the lightly scented salt air as I neared the beach.

When I finally arrived at the beach, I tripled locked my mom's bike, enjoyed a delicious fish taco with mango chipotle - yum!- and had a nap in the sunshine.

post nap - love the blue water too!
It’s amazing that when we awaken to life, we can truly REST

Thanks for reading and keep moving,

PS. I wrap up the Hot Yoga Tales (new title) with Rogerstv Newmarket and Bradford Hot Yoga this week. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sunshine and Rain, Part I

These are my feet and cycling shoes, post cycling, Summer 2012.

I remember the feeling of taking my feet out of my cycling shoes after a long ride.

Relief, mixed with deep satisfaction.

The clipless pedal system, while not a fashion story, holds my feet securely to allow for the push and pull required on a race bike. This permits your hamstrings to lift through the back half of the pedal stroke and your quadriceps to push through the front half.

The pedal system contributes to efficiency, power and comfort.

This middle aged momma feels like a road warrior. It's a welcome change from the routine of life.

There is something that happens when I ride my bike.  I feel like a happy kid, mostly.

Happy memories of riding my pink banana seat bike, still float through my mind.

Being chased by two dogs, almost daily while riding my pink bike to school, also floats through my mind. They seldom chased me after school. There has been some healing on the dog front. Some.

It's not all sunshine and roses, some rides are harder than others, as in some routes have bigger, longer hills. Being really tired or not well fuelled, can make a simple ride, a challenge, akin to giving birth. I have cried during and after rides.

Still, I love my bike.

It's so comfortable with the carbon seat post, high performance saddle, amazing little bike computer, a GIANT OCR3W, fit exactly to my frame.

Sometimes I feel like I'm floating.

Last cycling season, we used our bikes as often as possible. Daily. Weekends. Vacation.

Pure joy.

Mid season, last year, I purchased new tires, because I had put so much mileage on my bike.

It felt like a positive accomplishment in a mindset not so positive.

Riding took my thoughts off of me and into God's beautiful world. That's a good thing.

We started cycling with another couple, Mike and Jocelyn, a veterinary technician who "dog whispers" to every dog that lunges or barks our way. Thanks God! Together we completed a scenic two day cycling adventure.

This winter, we took our bikes to Florida. (We live in Ontario, Canada)  We loaded them up in the back of our van, along with every other conceivable item, circa The Beverly Hillbillies. Neil drove, took a little detour for a hockey tournament in Lake Placid, NY with our younger son and caught up with me in in Florida. I flew. Yay!

I anticipated the cycling ride from Anna Maria Island to Siesta Key. I planned this sunshine route  in my mind and on-line.  I dreamt about feeling the salty wind on my face and the warm sun on my skin. I looked forward to wearing my comfortable cycling shades, that fit perfectly on my face with my well ventilated helmet.

I was ready to out ride, out race and out last even the fastest little dog.

Clipping into my pedals and exploring this neck of the world, from the perspective of my bike (with my man) was one the happiest things I could imagine doing this March.

Anticipating the feeling of slipping out of my cycling shoes and into flip flops, mid or post ride to check out the beach, while on my epic bike ride was so top of mind.

I barely wanted to Outlet shop. So much was my excitement.

photo credit
Neil arrived, we planned our highly anticipated ride for the next day. Sometime between a quick jaunt to a flea market and Shoe Carnival, our locked and secured bikes were stolen.

Stolen from a safe, quiet seniors community.


Keep moving everyone, thanks for reading,

ps. Stayed tuned for Part 2.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

It's fun to sometimes go to the YMCA...

For the past couple days between sporadic internet connections, I looked for a picture of active seniors. I Googled images of seniors in fitness classes, using weights, riding bikes, swimming... you get the idea.


For two weeks, I have been living athletically... in Florida.

Working out alongside a very active bunch of folks, most of whom had at least 30 years on my 40 plus years was a privilege and an inspiration.

While visiting my parents, who are "snow birds" in Florida, I attended the friendly YMCA with my Dad and Mom.

My parents are not crazy active, they are balanced active.

We did a Gentle Fitness Class with more than 75 seniors. The class was so inclusive, all ages, including very old, and all abilities. All my joints, including hips, knees, elbows, wrists, fingers and toes were gently worked out.

It was beautiful.

We did an aerobics class, with "grapevine," it made me laugh inside, it felt vintage.

Classic aerobics.

Listening closely was important because we were kicking this way and that way, hoping and jumping. There was sweating and our heart rates were up and I was happy.

Great mind/body workout.

Spin class was so fun and funny.

It was pitch dark, except for a roped cord of lights along the floor and the glow of the computer that showed us the "terrain." We were cycling "up hill" to classic 80's tunes. Jon Bon Jovi, was singing that "we're half way there," and the instructor says, "hang in there, we actually have more than half way to go."

Awesome workout.

Though most group classes were tempered for seniors, ironically yoga was not. While we got a good sweat on, I referred to it after as "Speedy Yoga," my husband called it "Yoga on Crack."

'Nuff said.

The spacious cardio centre and well equipped weight room were a delight. I ran my intervals on the treadmill almost daily and had fun with my own workouts using the BOSU ball for squats, shoulders and a version of mountain climbers.

photo credit

Swimming laps beside a huge class of seniors doing aqua-fit was distracting.  I have heard instructors complain about talking in their classes, let me tell you, this was a social free-for-all.

It was hilarious.

The instructor's voice sounded strained from shouting. I thought, give that poor woman a microphone.  Everyone's mouths and bodies were moving. There was evidence of great community being built. That statement feels like a future post.

I know this, we all have lots to look forward to... fitness doesn't stop... it simply changes.

Keep moving everyone, thanks for reading,

ps. those cute folks at the top are my "snow birds"

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


photo from Jen G. on her recent excursion to Hawaii
Last week, Neil, my handsome husband and I had a "date day."

I called him at work a few weeks back and asked him to plan to take a day off, for a surprise.

Our young son was quite delighted and seemed to love the sound of the word, "date day," roll off his tongue.

"Date Day" finally arrived and I unveiled the surprise.

Scandinave Spa at Blue Mountain.





Photo Credit
It was so restful to be in a quiet atmosphere and enjoy a massage, a leisurely hot soak, an uber quick cold soak and then a rest in a warm room with a view. 

That was the pattern. Hot, cold, warm, repeat. 

There was a sauna, but I was less able to relax, because it was reminiscent of Hot Yoga and any minute I felt like someone was going to guide me into weird and wonderful stretching and poses.

My favourite was the eucalyptus scented steam room. On the door, it said, "Absolute Silence." 

It was great for a talkative person like myself to be blissfully quiet.  While I am an extrovert, I do love my quiet hours.

Our spa dinner was delicious and nourishing. 

We spoke in hushed tones throughout the day and I wondered aloud if Neil loved the quiet day, with a quiet wife. 

Because he loves the whole me, he answered that he loves to listen to me.

Being at rest with the one I love, being at rest with the one who loves me...


photo credit
How do you make time for rest? What's restful for you?

thanks for reading,