The Art of Love Lotioning

I teach an anatomy lab to aspiring physical therapists, strength coaches, doctors and nurses at the University of Texas.  I think this class, more than Fitness Leadership or Exercise Physiology, has given me an incredible appreciation of the work my (and your) body does.  SO much goes on to keep us in homeostasis that we don’t even spend an ounce of energy thinking about.  If we had to consciously depolarize a neuron to the axon terminal, release the proper amount of acetylcholine to stimulate the action potential in the sarcolemma, adjust the levels of calcium in the cytoplasm and help the myosin heads create the power stroke every time we wanted to contract a muscle, I’m fairly certain we’d all be paralyzed!

The Amazing Human Body

(photo source)

And that’s just muscle contraction.  Think about temperature regulation, digestion, pH of the brain, regeneration of skin cells, healing an injury, and sensory input.  Exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, growth, protection against germs and other invaders.  All of this goes on without us even knowing, and almost certainly without us even knowing how.  I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell my body consciously how to fend off an influenza germ!

Before I lose you in all the science jargon, I just want you to think about what an amazing piece of biological creation your body is.  Amazing.  

Because of this incredible capacity your body has to exist and function with little thought, I think it is such a shame that our society is so picky about what you or I should look like.

So, take care of your body.  It’s your soul’s only home on this earth.  Treat it with love and respect – it deserves it.  Shut out the haters – even your own voices.  Love every inch of it.

Every inch.

(photo source)

When I was first starting this journey of self-love, I created a ritual around  putting on body lotion.  Instead of just slapping it on without any thought, I started to slowly and deliberately apply it to each body part.  I start at my toes, thinking about the work my feet do every day to carry my weight and move me in the direction of my dreams.  I progress up to my calves and thighs and booty, grateful for the legs (though imperfect because of cellulite) that are strong enough to run my crazy soul to its content.  Squirt some more lotion and rub on up through my torso (though imperfect because there’s no six pack) I thank my tummy for holding all my organs inside, and for it’s curves.  At my arms, which could always be more toned, I pause to appreciate the love they spread through hugs and waves and high fives throughout each day.  This five to ten minute ritual of daily love lotioning helps me remember to appreciate this body that is daily bombarded with tips on how to be more sexy, thin and toned or less fat, jiggly and dimply.

Thank you body, I am grateful for all that you allow me to do daily.

Advertisements

A Lifelong Romance

Love Yourself First

Love Yourself First

Let’s talk about self-love.  I get the feeling from talking to clients sometimes that self-love is not quite as abundant as I would like for it to be.  A lot of women I’ve worked with or interacted with over the years seem to think they’re incomplete until someone (usually a significant other) loves them completely.  The I will not be whole until I find someone kind of mentality.  Or the I am unloveable, and it’s proven by the fact that I’m still alone kind of hogwash.  There also seems to be this fear that expressing love for oneself can be interpreted by others as narcissism, cockiness and even bitchiness.

Well, WTF y’all?!  I prefer to see it differently.  In no way am I trying to say “I love myself and therefore, I’m better than you” and also in no way does this love have to be a big public display of self-infatuation.

The journey to self-love can be scary and uncertain, especially if you come from a background of neglect, abuse or negativity from family and friends about you, your body, your personality, your goals.  A habitual perception that you are of no worth or value gets burned into your mind by those around you.  This negativity comes from all kinds of places.  Parents, significant others, coaches, the media.  Little reminders of ways that you are not good enough which of course makes it difficult for you to see how valuable you are!  Let’s start to change that today.

You don’t need others to love you in order to love yourself.  And loving yourself first may help you see the love in others, and feel worth their time and attention because my darlings: You. So. Are.

Once I started to think about and appreciate the things that made me me, I was less concerned with someone else validating my worth.  I don’t necessarily want to be single forever, I’d love a partner in adventure, exploration and life.  Someone to share things with, and split the bills.  But I no longer feel like I need someone to validate my value as a loveable person.  Like the Oscar Wilde quote, it truly has been the start of a wonderful romance with myself!

Let’s try this little exercise.  Think of something you love about yourself.  Any one little thing will do.  Then think of another.  As these ideas come to you, write each one down on an index card or sticky note.  Post them in places you see frequently through out the day to remind yourself of the value you possess.

I’ll get us started by listing a few things I love, or have come to love about myself:

  • My ass.  Absolutely.  It keeps me from fitting into smaller sizes of jeans and can be a little wider than I’d like sometimes BUT it also keeps my legs from a variety of running injuries and muscle imbalances.  Because of it’s size, it has plenty of fuel in it for that final kick in a race (affectionately called my jet-pack).
  • My dreams.  To run a race in every state.  To start a personal training business and work towards my own studio eventually.  Some people say it’s too hard, that I can’t make a living off that.  Or that it’s crazy to run a race in every state, a waste of money.  Once I learned to love my dreams, it didn’t matter what my critics say.
  • My smile.  Maybe it’s easy to love because other people do too.  But I see it as a way to spread joy and cheer to others.  Besides, it’s hard to have an ugly smile.

So there’s the start of my list.  Doesn’t sound vain or cocky right?  Now it’s your turn.  What do you love about yourself?  Shout it out on social media with the hashtag #februarylovechallenge!

February’s Theme: Heart Matters

Anyone else feeling like January quietly slipped out the 2014 exit?  With the month of resolutions, goals and motivation behind us, it’s time to step boldly into February with a new theme.  I’ve selected Heart Matters as the theme for February so all this month I’ll be talking about hearts and love.

Before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out.  The hearts I’ll be talking about are the ones beating in your chest – how to keep them healthy, how to make them stronger and why you’d want to do either of those things in the first place. But hearts aren’t my focus today.

Celebrate and spread this kind of love

The love I’ll be talking about is not the stereotypical-couples-only-Valentine’s-Day-Love that everyone associates with February.  That kind of love is great, and I absolutely think it should be celebrated, however…..as a proudly single woman, I have some other kinds of love I’d like to express and I’ll focus on a different group each week.

  • Self
  • Friends and Family
  • Strangers
  • Mother Nature

See, plenty of love to be go around if you’re single.  Hell, plenty of other kinds of love to go around if you’re committed.

February Love Challenge

I’d love it if you joined me in this month’s celebrations and committed to being aware of one deliberate act of love or kindness a day (by all means, more if you can!).  I will share my daily love to help spur ideas and conversation and I’d love to hear how each of you are putting love of all kinds out into the world!  Leave a comment below or share on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) with the hashtag #februarylovechallenge.