WHY: Part II—Precious Fragments

This “Why” series is a way to bring me closer to you—by revealing my inner-most thoughts and being 100% vulnerable with you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking my words and embracing them with love and kindness.

The first time I was completely vulnerable with a man, it changed my being. Bringing it back now, I feel exactly the same as I did in that moment. My breath is ragged and my chest is warm. I have a sense of exhilaration that it happened, but also sadness that my moment with him has passed. The most important part of it, though, was that I felt liberated.

Whenever I go back and read the poems I wrote for my college thesis, I am so impressed at how much raw emotion I allowed to spill onto the pages. I wasn’t scared of making someone uncomfortable with my words or that they would judge me. I didn’t fear my teacher would read the lines and immediately fail me because I wasn’t Sylvia Plath at 22. I just wrote anything and everything that was inside of me, and it was good stuff!

I hear a song, 25 years later, and it reminds me of the times I danced in the summer darkness among the lightning bugs, and how I felt in the very heart of it. I remember the feeling of being absolutely free, absolutely me, without a care in the world. Granted, I was 10 years old at the time and wasn’t concerned with having a 401k or what I would be when I grew up, but so often, even as children, we burden ourselves with too many thoughts. You know that blonde chick that everyone makes fun of because she’s empty-headed? Sometimes, I envy her. Sometimes it is essential to let go of our thoughts and just feel.

One thing my belly dance teacher always reminds me to do is to let my emotion out while I’m dancing. Claudia says that a dancer can have the most technically precise moves and the most beautiful costume, but without tarab, there can be no complete dance. Tarab has no exact English definition, but the closest I can come up with is “a shared experience of musical ecstasy.” Or “When reaching the epic moment of a feeling derived from hearing music, whether it instrumental or voice or both together expressing either joy, pain sorrow or any other intense emotion.” (Written by Mohamed Shahin and Hanna St. John) This, to me, is exactly what it means to show one’s inner truth.

I have a friend who comments that his son lives fully in the moment, every minute of every day. His face lights up when he talks about how happy it makes him to see his child in this way. Wouldn’t it be great if we all lived in the moment like that?

These days it’s much rarer for me to let go. Is it because I’m older, set in my ways? It still happens occasionally if I’m dancing, if I am feeling particularly brave, or if I’m in a foreign place and just don’t care what anyone thinks. The most interesting times are when I’m wearing a costume or a wig; I’ve noticed it gives me a mental get-out-of-jail-free card. I wish I could let down this wall I have built with more regularity—I have the potential to free myself at any time. Why don’t I? Why don’t any of us?

I read a piece by Wayne Dyer before Christmas about making peace with relatives during the holidays. It struck me that, regardless of the focus on relatives, it turned out to be entirely fitting for this post.

The conflict seems too often to be a choice between being authentic, which means no peace with certain relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic. Being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your relatives. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with the closest relative of all—you.

Can I be extra real with you guys for a minute? Extra-extra real? It seems like, in the past, when I’ve taken those chances and displayed my authentically weird-silly-petrified-confident-lost-found-Quakerific-dancing fool-giggly-imperfect self, I haven’t gotten the results that I’ve wanted. And it crushed me. So I sit, and I reflect on Dr. Dyer’s words, and I wonder, can I be brave again? Is it worth it? I think we all know that the answer is, unequivocally, YES. In our minds we know it, in our hearts we hold it. The answer will always be yes.

In the light of the coming New Year, let’s carry on the tradition of challenging ourselves to be better, to improve something about our lives and to make peace with our authentic selves—whoever that turns out to be. You could make a list, like I did last year, or just hold the intention in your heart. Either way, I dare you to love and express the true YOU in 2015! If you’d like, please share one thing you intend on doing in the New Year that will create a more genuine you.

Vulnerability

14 in 2014 – Let’s Do This!

The time has come to set some new goals. It’s quickly closing in on the New Year’s Eve countdown, so why not? Before starting my list, I have to note that my numerology number for next year represents Beginnings. How great is that? That may seem like a given, considering that’s pretty much everyone’s theme for starting every new year, but I really think that 2014 will be a year of astounding changes and new opportunities for me, in particular. I have noticed that many doors have closed this year, and people or things that were clinging to me have been noticeably slipping away—some sneaking quietly in the night, and some going out with a bang. All of them needed to go, whether I was truly ready to say goodbye or not. As they say, out with the old, in with the new! So, without further ado, here is the list!

1) Have my last first kiss

There are no guarantees in love or life, but I’d certainly love to have my last first kiss in 2014.

kiss

2) Trust my gut feeling – and always be proud of the decisions I make

Sometimes I let fear rule my decision-making. Sound familiar? If so, congratulations! You’re human. Let’s work on it together.

3) Take a vacation to somewhere completely new

My initial thoughts are New York City and Miami. Who’s coming with me?

4) Finish the novel I started

I wrote 33,000 words of this novel, tentatively titled “From Rich Soil,” in 2011, and now that I have figured out the ending, I’ve got to get the words out of my head and onto paper (or into Microsoft Word, as the case will surely be).

5) Run a new race

I’m all signed up for Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon and ready to set a new PR! Actually I’ll be running at least two new races next year. I’m running the Chocolate Run next year as well as participating in their ambassador program. This race and the ambassador concept is a first for me, and I’m very excited to see where it will take me, in my running and in my writing. Bonus – I will be running in a new racing city: Seattle!

HC blogger_dark

6) Salsa dance in a new city

Speaking of Seattle, I’m thinking it’s time to take on their salsa scene!

7) Go wine tasting at a new winery

Taking fantastic winery suggestions and applications to be my partner in crime!

8) Take a new class

Nutrition? Samba? Archeology? What exciting things will I learn this year? I am a student of the world, and I love to learn continually.

9) Use my new tent as much as possible + rent a cabin or yurt on the coast

I bought a new Kelty and I’m eager to use it!

10) Go to Crater Lake!

One of the most amazing natural sights, and I’ve never seen it in person. How can this be that I’ve lived in Oregon for ten years and not seen this monolith??

Crater Lake 2

11) Be gentle

This encompasses everything and everyone. I vow to be gentler with people who are different than me, and I vow to be gentle to myself when I am feeling critical of my own actions.

12) Be healthy

I’m not going to state a pound amount of weight loss I am shooting for (although I have one in mind), but I will tell you that I want to be more healthy and only eat when I am hungry.

13) Triple the love in my life

No, this does not necessarily mean get married and have a baby this year (Please don’t tell my parents…they will use this against me). I just want to surround myself in radiant, hugging, giggly, sometimes blush-inducing LOVE! That goes for familial, platonic, and romantic love. Help me share the glow!

14) Be grateful every day

It’s a pretty simple idea. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how great I have it. Join me in remembering every day and treasuring the feeling.

Trade-offs

I was reading the always-entertaining, usually-funny-but-sometimes-serious blog, Shut Up and Run, on my lunch break today.  Normally, this blog is about the funnier side of running. For example, on her FAQ page, number 3 states:

Q: You seem fixated on bodily functions, why? Isn’t that gross and inappropriate?

A: Let’s get real. Everyone poops, farts, vomits, pees, sharts. The shart is my favorite because it’s such a surprise. Sometimes we do these things in the most inopportune of moments. But, we all do it. I like to tell my own stories to let people know they’re not alone. I do it for the greater good.

I love this blog because not only does it make me giggle, it also makes me think about and truly appreciate being someone who runs…a runner. It means a lot for me to be able to say that with a straight face. It’s also not just about signing up for a 5k and being able to physically move my legs. It’s a lot more than that. I have found qualities in myself that I never knew existed—the good ones, but also my limitations.

The post entitled More of This, Less of That in 2013 caught my eye and stayed with me. The list really got me thinking about what “resolutions” I could be working on in the new year and now that would improve my life. I will make a list of my own here, but you should really click on the link to read the original. It’s truly inspiring! Here are some of my own:

More ME time, less time feeling pressured to go out (partying in moderation obviously welcomed!)
More sleeping, less night-time Facebooking
More eye contact, less sheepish self-consciousness for no reason
Even MORE faith in the journey, less control freakishness over the little things
More writing, less complaining about how little I write
More loving, less pining
More body respect, less ignoring “gut” instincts

Speaking of gut instincts…that is a popular saying for a reason, people. Over the holiday break, I woke up one morning with a pain in my gut so intense that I ended up going to the emergency room on Christmas Eve. Have you ever experienced a ruptured ovarian cyst? Let me just tell you that it feels like someone is ripping out your insides with a pair of rusty pliers. I knew the pain was something foreign, but before I allowed myself the indulgence of recognizing that something was truly wrong, I asked about 15 people their opinion. Some people said to wait it out, that it would go away. Some people advised me to go straight to the ER. I got a heating pad and lots of tea, and tried to wait it out. That was dumb. Always LISTEN to your body. If it is telling you that the stabby feeling is bad, don’t feel like it’s not worth your time to get it checked out. It’s worth it.

In running as in life, there is always some philosophical feel-good hooey that ends up coming out of a crappy experience. (Oh, you sharted during an important race? That’s okay, you ended up writing a hilarious story about it and becoming an internet sensation!)

I may have been on bed rest for the last week, but I got so many things accomplished (like taking some real time to sleep!), and, most of all, I am glad I listened to my body. It’s a simple concept, but slowing down and checking in with yourself is a valuable lesson. And hey, it may take a little while to read the signs. I went from having a UTI last week to a ruptured cyst on Christmas Eve to falling and almost breaking my nose in the shower this morning (TMI?). Some of us are a little thick headed!! Cut yourself a break, but be sure and say thank you to your body and forgive your limitations. Recognize that some trade-offs might need to be made, and make your list.

See you in the new year!