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Category Archives: Philosophy

We all know we’re not doing everything we could be doing for maximum health, right?  Who among us gets all the sleep we need in a perfectly dark, cool, quiet room?  What about getting all the movement and stretching we need and all the water we need while breathing crystal clean air and eating perfectly healthy food in a totally stress-free environment every day?  Anyone?  Bueller?  I certainly haven’t met anyone living that life.

But that’s no reason to throw up our hands in surrender.  Modern, westernized living may not be the ideal prescription for health, but there are a few small changes each of us can make to ensure that our bodies work pretty well for a lot longer than average, if we’re just willing to do them.  Yes, I’d love to see each of my clients (and myself, for that matter) move out into the wilderness and and totally commit themselves to health.  But until that comes to pass, try these six things for a better functioning body, now and as you age.

1.  Move more.  We’re all too sedentary and that’s just a fact.  I’ve seen 671 different clients so far and I think 5 of them were getting enough movement every day.  All 5 of them were under the age of 1.  Back in the day when we needed to move to find and prepare food, to carry water, and to travel from one place to another, we moved all day. Now, we can do all those things with very, very little movement.  The more your move, the more your body will thank you, so try adding movement breaks into your work schedule as well as your weekend relaxing schedule.

2. Move differently. Think about the different positions available to a given body and then think about the positions your particular body assumes in a given day.  I think I only get about 10 if I’m not careful: sitting in chair, standing, sitting on couch, lying down to sleep, sitting on the floor to put shoes on, reaching my arms up to pull a shirt over my head…boring.   When was the last time I tried to do a cartwheel?  Or army crawled from the bedroom into the living room?  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve EVER army crawled from the bedroom to the living room, but I totally could.  I’ve walked that trip a gazillion times.  Why not mix it up with a crab walk or a bear crawl?  Somersault.  Hop on one foot.  Build an obstacle course between the bedroom and the living room.  Move all of your body in all of the ways.

3. Spend time without shoes on.  I know I sound like a broken record and I’ve said it a million times.  But it’s just so dang important.  Our whole entire body is supported by our feet. And most shoes restrict and alter the ability of our feet to support our bodies.  Let your feet do their jobs!  If you’ve spent your whole life shod, start small, with a few minutes a day on the carpet and work up to hours outside on natural terrain.  Since you’re already building obstacle courses in your house this winter (you are, right?), build a pillow path along your most-used routes to gently build your foot, ankle, and knee strength up so you can be barefoot in the grass when it’s warm enough.

4. Squat.  This is one of those movements that is required for a healthy spine, a healthy pelvis, and a healthy digestive system.  But thanks to chairs, tables, toilets, and outsourcing our food production, we don’t need to squat throughout the day, many, many times a day.  So most of us don’t.  Which leads to so, so, so many problems down the road.  Pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, constipation, and low back pain, just to get started.  Incorporating just two minutes of squatting into your day, every day, can drastically change your expected health in the long run.  I’m not talking 30 reps in the gym, but actually hanging out in a squat.  Ideally, you’d have your heels on the ground and your tailbone untucked while squatting, but after a lifetime of not needing to squat, most of us can’t do that squat without years and years of stretching and bodywork (Rolfing can help!).  Like it or not, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones all grow into the shapes we use the most.  Which means after not squatting your whole life, you can’t just start doing full, proper squats today because you decided to.  But you can start the process.  And that’s what matters.

5.  Hang.  Just like with squats, we used to need this movement for survival; climbing trees to scout our direction of travel or to look for danger, to pick delicious food from branches, to stay safe, etc.  And now, well, when was the last time you swung from the monkey bars or pulled yourself up into a tree?  Unfortunately, just like with squats, most of us have long lost the flexibility and strength required to safely extend our arms above our heads and support our full body weight.  If we hadn’t, I’m sure we’d see a lot less TMJ, thoracic inlet syndrome, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, and on and on.  Alas.  Start by stretching your arms overhead to touch the doorway every single time you walk through one.  Work your way up to being able to hang your entire body weight from your hands.  Then starting swinging and pulling your self up.  Take it slow, but hanging and swinging can be so much fun!

6. Twist.  Our spines are designed to move in three main ways.  Forward and Back.  Side to side bending.  And twisting.  Luckily, getting into and out of our cars usually requires a little forward and back movement, as well as some side bending, so our spines get those movements regularly.  While we could probably all use a little more of the ‘back’ than the ‘forward’ and more side-bending in general, the twisting is the one that we’ve really let go of in this modern existence.  And the one place we used to get some twisting in, checking our blind-spots while driving, is now being phased out with back-up cameras and safety sensors and whatnot.  So, build it back into your life however you can.  I mean, putting on some oldies and actually doing the twist is probably my favorite of the options, but there are plenty of times throughout the day you can easily just look over your shoulder and give your spine a lovely squeeze.  For bonus points, do some twists while hanging from the monkey bars and make your body feel like it won the movement lottery!

That’s it, peeps.  There are books and podcasts and videos and such about how to safely increase your flexibility and strength in any and all of these ways (check out Katy Bowman’s work for my favorite source), but just getting started is the biggest challenge.  Happy moving!

 

 

Rolfing is a big undertaking.  It’s not cheap, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of bravery and vulnerability, and there can be many uncomfortable side effects in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental realms of your life while getting Rolfed.  And so, I am often asked by my clients, “What can I do to help?”  When undergoing such a possibly transformative process, many people want to make sure they do their part to help things along, and to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck, so to speak.  (Which is awesome, btw.  I love when my clients are really invested in the process of transformation.)

Generally, most of what you can do to support the work of Rolfing, whether you’re doing one session, or the 10-series, or ongoing work to unravel old injuries and patterns, is a lot of stuff that we all know we should be doing regardless, but is extra helpful if you can do it around your sessions.  Drink a lot of water.  Eat the food your body is asking you to eat.  Stretch and move when and how your body asks you to stretch and move.  Rest when you body asks you to rest.  Don’t sit in one position for hours on end.  In short, pay attention to what’s going on in your body, then respond accordingly.  It’s so obvious, but a lot easier said than done.

There are, however, a few things specific to Rolfing that can be beneficial to supporting your sessions.  Exercising immediately after a session is not a great plan.  So, get your workouts in beforehand, and make sure you can take a rest day after your session.  Actually, this applies to more than just exercise.  If you have the freedom to schedule your sessions so that you can relax and tune in to what your body is asking for afterwards, that can be super helpful.  Even if you do hear your body screaming that it would like a nice, long walk after your session, it’ll be hard to manage if you’ve got back-to-back meetings scheduled for the rest of the day.  Also, letting your body be a body without many other inputs is great for the integration of the structural changes we’ve made.  This means no shoes, no tight or restrictive clothing, no sitting on/in furniture/cars, and no movements that don’t happen in nature (i.e. no treadmills, no ellipticals, and no lat pulls).  Pro-tip: If you need a machine or a piece of equipment to do it, it’s probably not a natural movement.  So save that stuff for after your session has had a while to settle out and your body has found its new normal.  Obviously, it’s hard to go 24 hours in our culture without shoes or sitting in chairs or cars, so I’m really just asking that you mindfully avoid these things as much as possible, but there’s no need to get obsessive about it.

And on the emotional/spiritual front, talk therapy can be very helpful for processing and integrating the changes being made through your work with Rolfing.  As I like to say, “There are issues in the tissues.”  If any of these emotional issues come up during your sessions, I’m happy to talk about them, but it can also be super beneficial to work with a trained therapist, social worker, or counselor who can more thoroughly and skillfully help you get to where you want to be.  I’m also happy to coordinate with your therapist so they have a better idea what you’re going through (as so many people, therapists included, still don’t know what Rolfing is), if that’s at all helpful to you.

But that’s it.  Try to be aware of what your body wants and needs (both physical and mental) and create space to do what you want and need.  That’s all it takes to support your Rolfing sessions.  That, and enjoy your new flexibility, balance, strength, and stability.

(And buy a whole new closet full of barefoot-shoes, and get a moveable stand-up desk, and probably quit your job, and do pilates and yoga, and start walking a lot more, and climbing trees, and sleeping outside, and throw away your phone…  But that’s it.)

The only thing I do every day is brush my teeth.  I mean, technically, that’s not true, of course, because I open my eyes every day and I breathe every day and I eat every day and I drink water every day.   But you know what I mean.  The only helpful habit I’ve cultivated (that’s not demanded for life) is brushing my teeth every day.  Some people do yoga every day.  Some people meditate every day.  Some people take a multivitamin every day.  I brush my teeth, and that’s it.

Not that I haven’t tried to do other things daily.  I’ve gone through (relatively short) periods where I meditated every day.  I’ve taken different supplements for weeks or months at a time.  I like yoga.  But brushing my teeth is the only thing I do every, single, day.  So, when it is suggested to me, or I suggest to myself, that I start a new something, every day, my response, both to myself and to others, is usually something along the lines of, why bother?  How many bottles of half-finished supplements have I thrown out because after 3 weeks of diligent supplementing, I’ve completely forgotten about them until they expired?  How many yoga/gym/class memberships have I purchased for a great month of sweating to be followed by a few months of guilt and eventual cancellation?  Which means that I often don’t do things that I know are good for me.  Things that would make my life better.  The knowledge that I’m probably not going to be able to keep this up every day, forever, stops me from even starting.

But then I went to the dentist.  For the first time in 4 years.  Don’t judge me.  And the dentist said I needed to start flossing.  (I know, I know, I should’ve started flossing a long time ago.  But I didn’t.  Probably because I tried to to it every day, failed, and gave up.)  As it stands, I floss when I’m bored, standing in the bathroom with the medicine cabinet open, and the floss catches my eye.  As you can imagine, this is about twice a year.  Or, not as often as I should be flossing.  The dentist had the audacity to suggest that I should floss every day.  Which is approximately 363 times more per year than I’m currently flossing.  Naturally, I thought to myself, “That’s not going to happen.”  Clearly, my dentist hadn’t gotten the memo about me only doing one thing every day.  But then, something strange happened.  I went home, and the next day, I flossed.  And then, about a week later, I flossed again.  And then a week after that, I flossed again.

And then I felt silly.  Why even bother flossing once a week?  And then, I thought, “Wait a minute.  What if it’s not silly?”  I mean, flossing once a week has to be better than flossing twice a year, right?  I mean, it’s 26 times better than flossing twice a year!  And, if I’m 34 (and a half) now, and I live to be 100, I could end up flossing 3,275 times more in the next 65 and half years than I would if I just stuck with my regular schedule of twice a year.  That seems to me like a pretty significant improvement.  So maybe it’s not so silly.

And who knows?  Every now and again, I might get the urge to floss twice in a week.  Or three times.  Maybe next year, or in 2020, I could commit to flossing every other day.  Which might not be enough to make my dentist happy, but it’s a helluva lot better than twice a year.

As you may have gleaned by now, I’m not one for new year’s resolutions.  Not that I have any problem with you having them.  By all means, go right ahead.  They’re just not for me.  But, that being said, I do have things I’d like to work on this year.  And I’ve decided to try applying my new flossing approach to them.

For example, I’m trying to sit less, and stand and move more.  And instead of saying, “I will only stand while I write emails and check facebook; never again shall I sit!”  I’ve put my laptop up on a pile of books so that it makes more sense to stand than to sit.  Sure, I can and do take my laptop to the couch when I want to.  But now it’s more effort to sit than to stand, so through my own laziness, I’m standing more than I was before.  I’ve also switched to walking to work more than driving or riding my bike.  I’d love to say that I only walk to work and that I never drive.  But I drove to work on Friday and that doesn’t mean I’m a failure.  I’m still standing and walking more than I was before.  And I count that as a win.

I’ve gotten really excited about this idea of little changes over long periods of time adding up to big differences in the end.  And letting go of the idea that a habit is only good if I do it every single day.  It just makes me happy to come to terms with teeth brushing being my only every-day-habit.  I don’t have to do push-ups every day.  I don’t have to eat kale instead of cheese burgers for the rest of my life.  I don’t have to meditate for an hour a day, every day.  Doing 5 push-ups this week is better than no push-ups.  Even if I swap kale for a cheese burger once this year, it’s a step in the right direction.  And 2 minutes of meditation are better than zero minutes of meditation.

So that’s what I’m going with.  Baby steps.  And no beating myself up when I don’t floss.  Compassion always, even (especially) for myself.

Can I talk to all my ladies for a few minutes?  We need to talk about boobs, or more specifically, bras.  Gentlemen, if you’re a life-long bra wearer, please, read on.  But generally, I’m talking to my women-folk here.

Dearest bra wearers,

For years, I have held off on saying something.  Like, from the beginning of my career as a Rolfer.  See, one of the things that drew me to Rolfing was that you (the client) got to do whatever you liked doing.  I had had a chiropractor tell me when I was in high school, that I shouldn’t go into landscaping, because it would be too hard on my back.  I’d had a surgeon, a doctor, and a physical therapist all tell me to give up on running after knee surgery.  I don’t really like being told what I can and can’t do.  Just ask my mom.  Rolfing never asked me to stop doing what I loved just because it hurt.  Instead, Rolfing attempted to make the hurting go away, so I could just enjoy the loving of the thing.  And that’s a major, major thing I love about Rolfing.

But.

There are things I see in my office, over and over and over and over again.  Things that make me cringe.  Things that make me sad.  And at a certain point, doesn’t it become my responsibility to say something?  As part of your healthcare team?  I want to be a good Rolfer and all, and not tell you what to do or what not to do.  But at the same time, I feel like I gotta say something.  What if I just tell you what I’m seeing and you can decide for yourself what you want to do or not do about it.  Okay?  Okay.

What I see is this: bras are suffocating us women.  When I think about it from a fascia standpoint, I’m not at all surprised.  If I wear a restrictive garment around any other body part, the body will change accordingly.  It’s like how shoes change the shape of our feet (and everything above them).  If you know anyone who has worn glasses their whole life and you ask them to take their glasses off, you can see the indentations in their heads, just above their ears, and usually at the bridge of the nose.  This is the whole idea behind braces and why they work to reorganize our teeth in our mouths.  How many of us have indentations in one of our middle fingers from where we hold a pen when writing?

So I understand why bras, too, would leave their mark with a tight band around the rib cage, just under the breasts.  Just like with shoes shaping feet and glasses shaping heads, you can see the indentations a bra strap leaves on the rib cage.

But then I started wondering about the benefits of bra wearing.  What’s the reason we’re wearing them all day, every day?  I understand there are several benefits to shoes.  Besides warms toes, protection from broken glass, and fashion, they’re required by the health department in restaurants.  I’m guessing most people who wear glasses their whole lives do it because they gain a benefit from having corrected vision and that benefit is worth the cost of having a slightly dented head.  Straight, well-organized teeth are highly valued in our culture, and probably easier to keep clean and healthy.  I will take a dented finger bone for the pleasure granted to me by writing.  But bras?  The cost-benefit analysis gets a little murky.

Why do we wear bras?  What is the benefit, here?  Well, they hold boobs up and in all sorts of positions that boobs don’t naturally come in.  They hold boobs still (or more still) during exercise and activity.  They make boobs look bigger, higher, smoother, and less dynamic than they actually are.  They minimize the appearance of nipples.  And they provide any extra layer of protection from the elements.  So, what it comes down to is mostly looks, with a little bit of function.  When I really take a good look, it seems like the number one reason I wear a bra is because it’s expected that I wear a bra.  I wear a bra because everyone else (with boobs) wears bras.  You know what they say about jumping off bridges just because your friends jump off bridges, right?

Really breaking it down, I realized despite my relatively high activity level, I ‘needed’ a bra for less than an hour and a half a day, on average.  I don’t like my boobs bouncing around while I run because it’s uncomfortable and I have sensitive nipples.  Same goes for when I play volleyball.  That works out to be about 9 hours a week that I ‘need’ the support of a sports bra.  And if I hadn’t coddled the damn things since I got ‘em, my boobs would probably be fine unsupported while I ran and played volleyball.  In addition to these ‘highly bouncy activities,’ I’m active in many other ways (walking, hiking, dancing, climbing trees, stretching, cleaning), but it’s actually fine if my boobs move during those activities.  That’s what they were designed to do. And it’s super fine for my boobs to be unsupported, free-flowing fat-bags while I do stuff like write, cook, read, watch tv, drink tea, and eat meals.

So, if I’m wearing a bra most of my waking hours, let’s say for 14 hours a day; but only 1.5 of those hours do I need a bra; then we’re looking at around 12.5 hours a day, every day of wearing a restrictive garment for no reason other than everyone else is doing it.  If I asked you to put one of your arms (even your non-dominant one) in a sling for 12 1/2 hours a day, every day, just because, how would you feel about that?  If I asked you to do this starting around the age of 10 and told you to do this every day for the rest of your life, how would you feel about that?  Why did we all agree to do this again?

Here’s the thing.  Your life would be severely limited if you put one of your arms in a sling for 12 1/2 hours a day, every day, but people live without arms.  Your survival does not depend on you having two functioning, sling-free arms.  You know what your survival does depend on?  Breath.  You know what a bra restricts?  Yeah.  See what I’m saying here?  See why I can’t just be quiet about this?  We need to breathe.  Yet every day, for 10-16 hours a day, most women (and girls who are on their way to becoming women) wrap a strap around their rib cages and voluntarily limit their breath.  The thing that keeps them alive.  Because everyone else is doing it.

What.  The.  Heck.

When I first started my practice, I thought, “well, that’s just how it goes with women.”  And I am so done with that.  It may be how it goes with women right now.  But, it’s not how it has to go.  There is no reason I can see, from a health perspective, for women to wear bras all the time.  They’re not cheap, or easy to maintain, or super convenient.  It’s not like any of us accidentally fell into the habit of wearing them because it was so fun.  If wearing a bra is more comfortable for you during certain activities (like me and running, per esempio), then by all means, be my guest.  But watching Portlandia?  Sitting at your desk checking emails?  Almost any activity besides jumping and running?  Think about it.  If we free the boobies, we begin to free the breath and the ribs, the shoulders and the neck, the sternum and the heart.  Sounds ay-okay to me.

I don’t want you to think that I’m this shining example of braless living.  I’m not.  But I am trying to wear a bra less.  Putting one on later in the day, taking it off as soon as I’m home at night.  Seeing if I can just be a little more conscious around my bra wearing instead of automatic.  I’m not going to tell you what to do or what not to do; I still want to be a good Rolfer, after all.  But if breath is important to you (and it is, trust me), maybe you might want to bring a little more consciousness to your bra habits as well.

That’s all for now, ladies.  Breathe free and prosper.

-Theresa

I don’t know about you, but for me, summer is non-stop, and I absolutely love it.  There are just so many opportunities for movement that I don’t feel like I need to “work-out.”  It just happens.  Volleyball in the park, riding my bike instead of driving, a hike with friends, camping, dancing at weddings, long walks with ice cream on a warm night, the list goes on and on.  And as a general rule, I know I feel better when I move more (serious injury not withstanding).  More activity equals more joy.

I also love the fall, but as the temperatures drop, the hours of daylight lessen, and that myriad of movement opportunities seems to disappear just as quickly.  Volleyball leagues end, my bike seems like a chore because of all the layers I need to wear, hiking seems more tedious for the same reason, it’s too cold to camp, wedding season is over, and ice cream doesn’t hold the same appeal if I need to put on a coat first.  It sounds like a much better idea to cozy up on the couch with that book I’ve been dying to read and a blanket on my lap.

So this is when I really need to be careful that I’m still getting all the movement my body needs and wants.  In an effort to make sure I don’t lose my summer-time happiness, or, for that matter, my summer-time muscles, I’m trying to consciously up my movement wherever and whenever I can.  And I really mean wherever and whenever.  I’m trying to wiggle my toes and shift my weight from side to side while I wait in line at the grocery store.  I’m trying to do squats and calf raises at my office while I wait for clients (don’t laugh too hard if you catch me in the middle of a squat when you come in).  I’m trying to walk while I make phone calls instead of sitting on the couch or the bed.  I’m trying to dance while I fold laundry.  Can I do 5 push-ups while I wait for the water to get hot in the shower?  As I write this, I’m lying on the floor, kicking my feet behind me, just to try a different position from sitting.  I’m looking for races in the winter and spring to keep me motivated through the desire to hibernate.  I just listened to a Katy Bowman podcast where she mentioned building obstacle courses through her house, just to keep things interesting.  The cats will love me forever when I finally do that.  Maybe this is the excuse I’ve been looking for to jump on the bed to my heart’s content.  Just like I’m always trying to sneak more vegetables into everything I cook, I’m now trying to sneak more movement into my day.

What about you?  Do you have a plan to keep you moving through the fall and winter?  Got any tips or tricks you want to send my way?  I’ll take all the help I can get.

Happy moving and happy fall!

I want to try a different way. I want to dream into being a place where we focus on the basic work of living. Where our periods of rest and activity are determined by the sun and the seasons and our small internal voice that says ‘sleep’ or ‘go, do things.’ I dream of a place where we lie down when we are tired. Eat when we are hungry. Celebrate when joy bursts out of and through us. Where we work hard during the day because we are strong and our bodies get stronger and feel better when we use them. Where the work we do is meaningful and creative and necessary. Where art is created and valued. Where we live in dwellings that support and nurture our spirits as well as our bodies. Where we eat food we grow and gather and prepare ourselves. Where we talk to each other and laugh with each other and give thanks with each other and dance with each other. Where we remember the beauty and grace of simply being alive and what a magical gift that is. Where we take care with this life we’ve been granted.

I’ve been reading, listening to, and watching a lot of good stuff lately. If you’re interested in being heartbroken and inspired, like I was, here’s a short list:

SassyPants, I don’t know what it is.  I’ve had a block about writing a blog post for so long now.  Months and months.  Clearly.  Every time I had the thought “I should write a post,” I would immediately start shutting myself down.  Why?  What do I have to say?  Nothing important, really.  And whatever I have to say, I’m sure they’ve heard it before.  Probably from someone smarter and more articulate than me.  And in this world of so-much-information-available-all-the-time, I don’t really want to add to the clutter, do I?  No, I do not.  So there, I should NOT write a blog post after all.  And so it went.

But today, I’m choosing a different option.  I’m not making a resolution, ’cause I’m not a resolution sort of girl.  I’m just writing this one blog post.  Whether or not I have anything important or smart or articulate to say.  I’m really excited about 2015 and I know a lot of other people are, too.  Big things are on the horizon.  I’m training for my first ultra marathon!  I’m committing to strengthening and deepening the relationships that feed my soul!  I’m going to try recipes I’ve never tried before (including tonight’s African sweet potato peanut butter soup)!  Someday I’ll actually put plants in the planters in my (still new to me) office!  It’s going to be great.  And that’s reason enough to write.

So, happy new year!   I’ve missed you!  Maybe I’ll write again before next year!  (But I’m a big fan of setting really small, extra-manageable goals, and I don’t want to promise something I might not follow-through on, so let’s just play it by ear, shall we?)

Hey SassyPants, I know it’s been a while.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve just been so quiet and introspective this winter, ya know?  But it’s starting to feel like spring, and I think it’s time for me to speak up again.  Today, I want to talk about getting shit done.

Here’s the thing.  I love the drama (and the minimal commitment) of drastic changes.  Phrases like “go big or go home” and “I’m all in” and “just do it” are my kind of phrases.  I have been enthralled with cleanses for a long time now.  The Master Cleanse; the apple juice and olive oil Liver and Gall Bladder Cleanse; the Crazy, Sexy, Diet adventure cleanse…you name it, I’ve tried it.  They seem so much more manageable than eating healthy, good food every day.  I’d rather do 200 squats a day for 5 days than something long term like 20 squats a day for the rest of my life.  But I’m learning a lot about the other end of the spectrum lately, and it turns out, I kinda like the slow and steady route, too.

See, I’m training for a marathon, for the first time in my life.  All you super-runners out there, I don’t want to hear about how many marathons you’ve already run.  Really.  This is a big deal for me.  Before I started this training program, the farthest I had run was 7 miles and that was back in college and it was miserable every step of the way and I probably walked at least half a mile in there somewhere.  Two weeks ago, I ran 19 miles.  And it was pretty fun.  I was definitely smiling through most of it.  Weird.

I started training for my first half marathon back in August, so you can see what a long and slow journey this has been.  When I drew up the schedule to train for this marathon (which is in April) in the middle of November, it looked so huge and daunting.  Months and months of running.  But the thing is, every day, I just have to do what the little box for that day tells me to do.  Sometimes I have to run 3 miles.  Sometimes 8.  Sometimes I don’t have to run at all! And sometimes, I have to run further than I’ve ever run before.  But magically (or, exactly how all advice ever given on exercise would predict) things got easier with practice.  Who knew?  And while those first 3-mile runs in August were awful and hard and full of thoughts that I wasn’t going to make it, I now find myself looking forward to the challenge of those longest runs.  20 miles this week and I’m pretty excited.  I know I can do it, which in and of itself is bizarre.  One of my colleagues, Meg Maurer, always says, “You have to eat the elephant one bite at a time,” and I think she might be right.

I’ve watched myself start to apply this lesson in other areas of my life.  Cleaning the whole house once a week (or worse, once a month) is exhausting and overwhelming and daunting.  But if I draw up a schedule and just give myself 1-2 chores every day, the bathroom stays cleaner, the fish tank gets scrubbed, and the kitchen floor gets mopped on a regular basis.  I never have to devote a whole day to cleaning, and the fish never have to suffer through a green tank.  Taking a dance class, I learned that practicing the new moves for 10 minutes a night every night was way more effective than an hour once a week.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I feel like I’ve heard this before, maybe once or twice, but it never really clicked until now.  Better late than never, I suppose.  Also, let’s see how many clichés I can use in one blog post, eh?

So, yeah, I’ll probably still do a cleanse every spring.  I still think there are times for taking giant leaps of faith and making drastic, sweeping changes.  But I can finally see how taking itty bitty baby steps everyday can add up to giant accomplishments you never thought were possible.  Like running for over 4 hours.  I hope we can all continue to learn new tricks as we age.

On the bulletin board today:

Want to host a Demo Day at your workplace?
A few of you have mentioned an interest in introducing me to your coworkers.  I love this plan!  If you want me to come to your workplace and do a little intro talk and/or set up to do some demonstration sessions, just let me know.  We can figure out what will work best given your workplace situation and go from there!

Meditation/Bodywork Retreat
The Posture of Meditation:  Breathing Through the Whole Body in Crestone, CO.  This event was amazing last year!  It’s being offered again this spring, and once again, I’ll be one of the Rolfers on the bodywork team.  The dates are May 30th through June 8th, and registration is currently open.  There is a cap at 40 participants, and it’s expected to fill rather quickly.  More information can be found here: http://www.dharmaocean.org/events and I would be happy to answer any questions about last year’s event, if you’re at all interested.

I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist.  At least, not yet.  I don’t know the rules of Buddhism, and since I was raised Catholic, I’m used to very strict, non-bendy rules.  With Catholicism, you can’t just wake up one morning and declare yourself a Catholic.  You need to be baptized Catholic.  You need to be confirmed Catholic.  If you’re not born and raised as a Catholic, you probably have to go to classes and take tests and have meetings and do other horribly boring tasks before the Catholic church will allow you the honor of calling yourself a Catholic.  And so, while I love what I  know about Buddhism, I also realize I know very little about Buddhism.  And I certainly haven’t been baptized or confirmed a Buddhist.  Nor have I gone to Buddhism classes, taken Buddhism tests, or participated in any horribly boring Buddhist meetings.  I don’t even know if any of those things are available to fledgling Buddhist wannabes.  That’s how much I don’t know about Buddhism.  So wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist.

BUT.  All that being said, I’m drawn to the idea of ‘Buddhist economics.’  From what I understand, there’s a tradition in Buddhism, of the teachers offering their teachings on a donation basis.  There is the implied understanding that all those who benefit from the teachings will then go forth and share those teachings with others-also on a donation basis.  After all, it would be bad juju (technical Buddhist term) to get something for free and then turn around and try to make a huge profit from it.

I’ve been curious about this concept for a while.  SAME cafe in Denver offers lunch on a Pay What You Can basis.  I’ve read stories about other restaurants in other cities doing the same thing.  My shaman offers sessions on a sliding scale.  And when I do a Pay What You Want Week for my birthday every year, it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.  It’s all so fascinating to me.  Can it really work long term?  It sounds so very lovely, and community oriented, and utopian, and magical, and full of opportunities for people to rip you off and take advantage of you…  But SAME has been open and operating for 7 years now.  It seems like it can really work long term.  Which leads me (in a very long and roundabout way, I know) to my point; and that is this:  I’m offering all my sessions through the end of the year on a Pay What You Want basis to experiment.  Then, I’ll reevaluate.

Just to clarify.  I’m offering healing sessions on a donation basis.  I am not expecting you to then go out and offer healing sessions on a donation basis, unless you yourself are a healer and feel drawn to do so.  I am simply hoping that with less pain, you will be able to start your day with more energy.  With better range of motion you will be able to greet your coworkers with more kindness.  With a better night’s sleep you will be able to meet your children with more patience.  Pay it forward in some way, shape, or form.  You know; standard hippy dippy hopes and dreams.

If you already have a session booked, you can pay what you want for it, everything else stays the same.  If Pay What You Want or sliding scale situations make you uncomfortable (I know you’re out there), feel free to pay my regular rate.  I do have a couple of rules for this experiment, just to (try to) maintain my sanity. 1) Pay what makes sense for you.  I don’t know your economic situation.  Please don’t ask me what you should pay.  If you can give a little more, please do so.  If you can’t, no worries.  Consider your life right now and pay what makes sense for you.  2) Please limit your form of donation to money, consumables, or experiences.  No stuff please.  I have enough stuff.  And a tiny apartment.  There is no more space for stuff.  But money is nice.  So are homemade cookies and bottles of wine.  So are scuba diving lessons, concert tickets, and horseback riding adventures.  Just no stuff, please.  3) Lastly, I beg of you, don’t make me regret this.  Don’t book 12 sessions, then show up for none of them.  That’s rude.  Don’t book a session and show up 30 minutes late, either.  Don’t get mad at me when I’m not available to work with you all day and all night and weekends and holidays.

I think those are the only rules I have.  Pay what makes sense for you.  No stuff.  Don’t be rude.

Oh my gosh, SassyPants, I’m so excited/nervous about this experiment!  I feel like we should place bets on the success rate or something.  But that’s not very Buddhist.  Or is it?  I really don’t know.  I’m just a fledgling Buddhist wannabe.

Much love,
Theresa

Sometimes the world makes me so sad.
Today is one of those days.
Why are we so awful to each other?  Why are people afraid, based on the color of their skin?  The shape of their genitals?  The people they love?  Why don’t we take care of our own?  Why don’t we teach conflict transformation in first grade?  Why do we pay football stars millions and midwives pennies?  Why do we live in isolation?  Why don’t we learn to be human?  To be ourselves?  To listen to our gut instincts and the earth and each other?

Sometimes I get so tired.
Today is one of those days.
Tired of concrete and asphalt.  Tired of beige and white and more beige.  Tired of fluorescent lighting and corporate ladders and not having health insurance.  Tired of artificial…flavoring and coloring and chocolate and plants.  Tired of mass produced and every highway exit looking like the last one.  Tired of looking up the weather instead of looking outside.  Tired of not knowing my neighbors.

Sometimes the world mows me down, bowls me over, and completely uproots me with its wonder and beauty.
Today is one of those days.
Cool, quiet mornings.  Surprise meetings with friends.  Chatting with someone across the ocean.  Breakfast in bed.  Kind words from a stranger.  A garden walk with an excited pup.  A purring cat in my lap.  Thunderstorms in the middle of the heat.

Sometimes it’s too much.
Sometimes it’s just enough.
Today is one of those days.