Category Archives: Health

Life, perseverance & yoga

IMG_9486Droplets of sweat dripped steadily down my face & onto the black mat before me. How long is she going to make us hold this pose?  I grimaced as I struggled to stay in an uttanasana, in otherwords I was bent over attempting to touch my nose to my knees quite unsuccessfully.  The instructor continued speaking in her soft voice, which at the beginning of class I had found to be quite soothing; But after 45 minutes had become more of an annoyace than an assurance.  I didnt want to hear about softening my body to flow with the movements or how my breathing should bring me into a state of knowing.  Can we please just shavasana already I screamed in my head!  I was wobbly, unbalanced, my breathing was more of a deep pant refusing to coincide with any movements & Im quite sure I resembled a new born calf trying to hold poses that in my mind my body was never meant to attempt. My hands, feet, legs & arms all felt like they were on fire & I had no idea you could be so sore from yoga!  The embarrassment of gathering my belongings & limping out of the room was becoming less of a deterrent by the minute.

The thing is, I had put myself through this torture, I had paid $15 to participate in hot yoga & be tortured for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I berated myself, knowing that the word hot preceding anything would probably feel slightly like a dialed down hell.  Also, since the class was 15 minutes longer than most I should have opted for something that was appropriate for a woman that hadnt laid eyes on a yoga mat in over a year except to toss it into the trunk of her car.

When we finally reached my favorite pose, shavasana, I melted slowly onto my mat with a deep satisfied exhale & closed my eyes.   The room was silent aside from the steady beat of low music & periodic snores of a man that was obviously more spent than I had been, but my mind was blaring.  Thoughts flooded my mind & I eventually settled on thinking of how this class was much like my life.  You see, I have this vision of being a super bendy, impromptu split doing, yoga guru but In order to reach my goal I have to make the practice of perseverance in adversity a way of life.  I struggled through the pain of lotus position & wanted to stop at navasana but I eventually came to the realization that I had to push through or refuse to grow.

The urge to bypass the painful parts of growth in leui of quick relief is a universal human trait.  We want to be strong enough to hold ourselves up in an awe inspiring hand stand dont want to do the work to strengthen our arms.   We run from the hard work that will catapult us to the next level, seek refugee in partying or dead end dating instead of identifying the cause of & working through lonliness, or we put off tedious tasks opting for the much more pleaurable lure of procrastination.  I believe that we have so many options that can pull us away from the focus of our daily ‘practices’.  The pull of distraction & ease of giving up is something that can easily deter or delay success.  But if you keep your thoughts on your end goal, eventually you will get there.  You may be tired, sweaty & sore but you will arrive!

As we exited the class the instructor stopped me as the new girl in class & told me cheerfully that she hoped to see me again in class & guess what she did!

Love you lots & much success in all you endeavors!

Court

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The desires of your heart: Do you really know what they are?

In the book of Psalms it states that if you ‘delight yourself in the LORD, He will give you the desires of your heart’.  For a long time I asked God to introduce me to my husband so we could get started on the family I’ve had tucked away in my mind for at least the past ten years!   Recently, in one of my discussions with God a thought popped in my head that although I had requested my God given husband many times, this had not truly been my heart’s desire.  I didn’t quite understand this immediately but as I continued to marinate on the thought it became clearer as to why what I thought was my heart’s desire to usher in love was actually quite the opposite.  When in relationship, my thoughts and actions did not align with someone seeking to give and receive love from a man.  They were the actions (many times) of someone bitter and highly suspicious of anyone of the male persuasion.  If introduced to a guy one of the first things I would wonder was what was wrong with him or immediately pick apart things I didn’t seem to like about him in an effort to keep myself from wanting to get close.

I can honestly say that I’ve had men in my life that truly loved me (as best they could) and for a long time I focused on the negative effects of the one mentally and physically damaging relationship I had many years prior instead of recognizing what was before me.  They had offered me love and I did not truly accept what they offered.  As a result, the relationships were dead before they began, buried under a mound of past hurts, insecurities, frustrations and fears.  Of course there were other issues at play, but I know this was my biggest part in the demise of our relationships.  I could see love, always just over the horizon and thought I was eagerly paddling towards it but since I refused to do the soul work of breaking through the waves of the past love always seemed to remain at bay. 

I had based my theory of love on the relationships I knew about which mainly consisted of womanizers, women that seemed to have perpetually broken hearts and first hand experiences of dealing with men that were not mentally mature enough for a relationship.  I accepted these ideals, ingrained them into my mental perception of what ‘all’ men were and lived them out through my speech and interactions with men.  Men were dangerous, they would cheat on you and never stick around.  Throughout my life I began to accumulate the burdens of distrust, insecurities, over-analyzation, fear and judgement some through my own experiences and many through observation and they continued to grow larger and heavier.  So when love did present itself I acted from a place  of a woman laden with baggage instead of one free to love.  The bright  side is that eventually, I became a woman eager to lighten her load!

When I take stock of my actions in relationships and in relation to men in general I can see that my heart’s desire was not for love.  The desires of my heart were for the perpetuation of what I had known in the past and so that’s what I chose to live out.  I  didn’t trust men, spoke extremely negatively of them and always seemed to focus on the worst possible outcome, for example if I texted my boyfriend and he didn’t text me back within a certain amount of time my mind automatically flooded with thoughts of him cheating (a bit cray, yes I know).  So in an effort to ensure that my heart and head are on the same track I’ve been taking the time to focus on the positive, to accept what is and truly grow in love (starting with myself).

If you are wondering if your heart’s desires are truly matching up with your thoughts I would recommend doing the following

  1. Do a soul check:  Regardless of what your heart’s desire is, be it a job, a house, a baby or relationship, take some time to sit and think about how you truly feel concerning these things. Ask yourself if this really is what you want in your future?  Do you want it because you’re on societies time table and think you should have them by now or  are you receiving pressure from a source outside of yourself to push for these goals?  Make the all too common pro/con list.  If it turns out that these are things you really do want ask yourself if you are profiting in some way by not having them or is there a false fear that comes along with having what you truly think you want.  For instance if you  want a new job but are afraid of leaving the security of the job you currently have or maybe possess anxieties around job interviews or change in general.  In my case, I am working through a tremendous fear of someone else attempting to control me, giving up freedoms I have grown accustomed to and being cheated on.
  2. Flip the technique:  Once you know some of the mindsets holding you back, begin to counteract these by speaking life into your situation.  In other words turn the negative thoughts into a positive one.  For instance with a job, there is the possibility (and hope) that you will be much happier in your new position and or have increased job security.  In my case one of the things I try to focus on is trusting men and always acknowledging the security and contentment that will come along with my desired relationship.  If you tend to focus on the negative always remember to envision the flip side of the outcome.  Condition your mind to focus on the positive shifts whenever a negative fear based thought attempts to thwart your progress.
  3. Take action:  Take some action consistently towards your desire, set a goal of daily, weekly or monthly action steps or whatever will fit your schedule and work towards your desire.  It could be applying to a job a day, attending resume workshops or joining a toastmasters group to improve your public speaking and interview skills.  For me, taking action to better myself in relationships isn’t quite as concrete, but I chose to begin by loving me and consistently taking stock of my feelings and thoughts when in certain situations.  I have begun a daily meditation practice in addition to reading scriptures, prayer, affirmations, loads of videos and podcast but mostly taking the time to fully love and accept myself while expressing love to the people God places in my life.

Sometimes our heads and hearts won’t agree and that’s life.  But if we are the only one’s holding ourselves back from our goals we can always get them on one accord!  Here’s to your dreams!

Let me know what other things work for you in the comments!

God Bless,

Court 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you about my haul!

  
I am super excited about my thrift store haul today.  I don’t normally post about clothing, but this was just too good to pass up.  I’m big on shopping, but I’m also big on finding deals and using coupons.  Usually in retails stores you’ll find me making a bee line towards the clearance section, which is obviously a great way to save some cash.  But today there was no need as a couple friends and I hit up a couple of thrift stores in the area and I felt like I had gone to retail heaven with the deals I got!  It was enough it make me say I’m never shopping retail again (at least until the new year).  I purchased a bunch of items, (3 sweaters, 4 jackets, 1 skirt and 4 shirts to be exact) but wanted to share a couple of my favs with you! 

 

banana republic jacket – $12
  
 
elie tahari jacket – $12
 
 
$12
  
HD in Paris top – $5
 

The sacred morning

There is something sacred about mornings. As the blanket of night gradually concedes to the brilliance of a new day.  Somewhere between the tug of sleep and the steady nudge of morning, I find my sweet spot.  The sun covers my body in a warm blanket of light and the sounds of nature beckon to me a fresh start.  I cherish mornings like this when I’m not awakened by the sound of an alarm clock, or a blaring television. When I’m not feeling rushed, nervous or anxious about the day ahead, but can awaken with ease and in my bodies own timing.  I find much reward when I am able to give these gratifying mornings purpose by spending time with God.

But honestly, most of my mornings are no where near this gentle or serene, in fact I wouldn’t consider myself an early morning person at all.  So when I have to get up early my usual mornings consist of waking up to the harsh sound of an alarm clock which I have set to go off four or five times, rushing around groggy with sleep still in my eyes as I get ready for work (usually running late), walk my dogs, make my breakfast etc etc.  There usually is no time for God, or at least I don’t make time for Him.  It’s easy on the weekend’s when I’m alone in bed to pick up the bible first thing and read but mornings like this it usually doesn’t even cross my mind.

Proverbs 8:17 states, …and those that seek me early shall find me.  In some scriptures, early, is replaced with diligently, but either way our goal is to seek Him at a time when we are free of distractions and able to focus completely.  In the bible we see that Jesus, got up before the sun rose to pray so that there would be no interruptions or disturbances.  And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.  (Mark 1:35) This week I’m taking a note from Jesus and will do my best to wake up early and pray.  Who knows maybe it will stick, if you want to join me comment below and we can help keep each other on task!

Below are some biblical quotes about the morning…

  • Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
  • Psalm 143:8 (ES) – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
  • Psalm 5:3  (ESV) – O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  • Psalm 30:5  (ESV) – For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • I also ran across this cool fact about essential oils such as rose and lavender which are best harvested in early morning because the yield is the greatest during this time.  The amount of oil diminishes throughout the day, much like our energy in some cases.

Be blessed, and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Flaws and all

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Recently, I read about the leaking of Beyoncé’s photos sans retouching, in which she looks like a woman with some blemishes, smile lines and other imperfections that you would expect to see on any human walking the earth.   My mind immediately jumped to Cindy Crawford’s consented release of untouched photos, bearing stomach stretch marks and all.  It was refreshing to see a beautiful woman embrace what a culture of perfectionist has deemed unattractive as Cindy unapologetically flaunts her cellulite, flawed skin and other imperfections before the world.

Both of these instances garnered mega uproars in the social media realm and as expected, people applauded Cindy’s candor and the gifting of her middle finger to the world of retouching.  But the reaction to Beyoncé’s photos caused me to say hmmmmm.   Some fan’s were heated to say the least because she wasn’t the impeccable and unblemished woman they were used to seeing.  She seemed, well, human.   As a Beyoncé fan myself I thought she still looked great untouched and while she worked hard for her title of Queen Bey and her immaculate image,  it is just that, an image.  I also felt a twinge of empathy for the tremendous pressure she and other celebrities must receive to constantly remain that flawless face splashed across the television screen or print ads.  It can’t be easy to live up to those standards and yet many women try, while ultimately failing because no one, not even Queen B herself is perfect.  I see it in myself and those I love all the time, the negative self talk, ridiculous diets, and caked on make up to hide what society deems ugly.  There is a constant pressure on women to reach impossible goals of whatever is considered perfection at the time, even going as far as  disfiguring and harming  organs attempting to achieve the perfect hour glass shape or Minaj-esque butt.  It is an epidemic of self-hatred mostly due to a widespread massacre on our esteem.

But, what else is to be expected when we are constantly bombarded with a stream of ‘ideal’ women, when our husbands or boyfriends gawk at them, when we are compared to them or are criticized for not fitting the mold?  In a study researchers found that the amount of time spent on-line, watching television and reading magazines was directly related to the internalization of the thin ideal, body surveillance, reduced body esteem, and increased dieting in teens (NetTweens).  This alerts us to the fact that constantly taking in these portraits of supposed perfection will eventually have an effect on one’s esteem, especially if that person is already insecure and nothing like the images they view.  Although this study focused on teens, there is no age limit to the effects, young and old women are suffering alike.  In 2013 there were 15.1 million cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the United States and the number continues to rise each year (Plastic surgery.org).  Unfortunately, I have no answers as to how to stop such a systemic and deliberate attack on women’s body images that even some of the most monetarily successful women in the world aren’t immune to.  But I will begin with discontinuing negative self talk and urging those closest to me to do so as well, also I will try to embrace my imperfections, and love myself as I am, flaws and all.  Won’t you join me?

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