Begin Again

It’s November in Northern Nevada and the weather has just started getting wet and cranky.  I’m standing outside my gym in the rain.  My body is hot, and I can see steam floating up off my arms as I lean against the wet wall and let allow myself 1 minute to cry.  I had been pushing all of my built up emotions down and down and down, as far as I could, throughout the whole workout.  I finally had to step out so that I wouldn’t choke on my own feelings lodged in my throat.  “1 minute, that’s all you get.” I tell myself.

Pushing yourself physically in a workout will ALWAYS break down those walls we work so hard to put up.  It exposes you, makes you feel vulnerable and you cannot hide.  That is part of why working out is so uncomfortable for most people at first, and we don’t like to do it!   But eventually, it turns into a magical, victorious, HIGH, that us weird fitness people chase like a drug.  That feeling when you’ve conquered the initial discomfort and you start to feel stronger, faster, BETTER. Suddenly there is NOTHING you cant face out in the world, once you’ve faced yourself in the gym.

Fitness magic.

But…starting over is SO HARD.

“I am so tired of feeling this way.  Is this ALWAYS going to be how it feels?  Why did I do this to myself? Why did I stop??!  Will I ever get where I want to be?” I think to myself, as I struggle to catch my breath.

So MANY valid excuses…that mean absolutely NOTHING in this moment, because I feel defeated and robbed of all my confidence I had worked so hard for.    I lean over with my hands on my knees. I take in deep breaths and let the rain fall on my back, and my mind race.  Tears rolling down my face.   “Here I am, eating my own words.” I say out loud to no one, and laugh.

I stand up, wipe my face with shirt and head back in to the session to finish, because even though I fell off my wagon for a bit, I CANNOT quit.  Too many people are counting on me to BELIEVE in what I talk about everyday.

So here I am, walking my talk.

My 9 year old daughter has been asking everyone in our family if she is fat.

It’s been very subtle, but I have discovered that she has been privately polling multiple family members at different times and it shatters my heart.  She is NOT fat, though I know there have been kids at school who have called her fat, and she has become sensitive to it.  I recognize those feeling all too well.

I worry, is it because of ME? Because her mom is in THIS body? And her mom was in another body before that? And working on another body still?  Has she, despite my best efforts, inherited my shame?  Has her being present and aware of my weight loss journey/body image journey/self acceptance journey, done the opposite of what I had hoped? I wanted to show her that despite everything and ANYTHING, I am capable of AWESOME…so that she could KNOW that she is too?

Even just typing this, I can feel my insides start to ache with the thoughts of her not knowing how beautiful and magical she is.

I watch her when she doesn’t know I’m  looking, and wonder how I made this human.  Her little 9 year old girl face. Her nose is freckled like mine.  Her hair is thick, blond and short. She likes it just long enough to tuck behind her ears.  She is a tomboy who loves to fight and wrestle and get dirty.  She LOVES karate.  She hates pink and loves black and green.  But she also thinks boys are SO CUTE (especially Justin Bieber and her 20 year old karate instructor, AJ).

She is in love with love.  She thinks shes going to grow up and marry her dad.  She loves to hug and kiss and crawl ALL over us, and declare her love for everyone, much to the dismay of her big brother.  She’s obsessed with all kinds of animals (except creepy crawly ones) and her heart is so tender,  she cries instantly if an animal is lost, hurt or wounded in movies.  She loves to crank her music up and sing at the top of her lungs…but gets embarrassed and shrinks all the way down to the floor if she catches us listening.  She loves to laugh.  Once she starts up its hard to get her to settle down.

She is our favorite girl in the world!! My ladybug.

And some asshole kid called her fat?

Who could ever know the depths of how wonderful she is just by looking at her?

But isn’t that true for all of us? How do we so quickly forget that we are harboring all the BEST parts of ourselves inside of these bodies, and not the other way around??

Coming home from our conference in September was a climatic whirlwind. There was an overload of praise, contentment, pride and satisfaction with ALL THE THINGS!! And there was also recovery from being dehydrated,  and off of my regular routine of steady workouts and usual diet.   I happily let myself enjoy it ALL, and honestly never quite made it back to “normal” before going on another trip and adding insult to injury.  Slowly and surely I started to make excuse after excuse and feel like crap.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turn into months and lbs turn into more lbs. I gained some weight back, and started to spiral downward and feel out of control and lose heart.

The good news is, it is my job everyday at my club, to convince people that no matter how far they have fallen off the wagon…they can get back up and try again. It is my job to assure people that even though it SUCKS in the beginning…it turns into magic when you start to love yourself.  It is also my job to continue to KEEP IT REAL. All along, sharing this journey, with all of its ups and downs.

And my most IMPORTANT job, is showing my little girl that my value as a woman is not defined by the state of my body, but the state of my heart!

So, I had to begin again.

And, however many times I have to start over, I will. Again and again, I HAVE TO. Because I have to show my girl that there is so much more that makes a person special than what their body looks like!!

And, for those of us who continue to get back up and keep trying, despite seeing the results we want to see immediately, and despite all of the doubts, fears and setbacks…KEEP GOING.

Push through, until it is magic again.

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Attitude is Everything: Fat chick at a Fitness Conference 2.0

I just just stuffed my backpack above me, and sank into my plane seat. I take a deep breath and close my eyes with relief. Im ready to head home and see my family.

I’m exhausted.

Sunburned.

Dehydrated.

And definitely, hungover.

But I feel like I just won the lottery.

My heart is full.

My LIFE is full.

I look down at myself and and survey the scene:

Even though I’m still squeezed in close to my favorite travel teammate, I’m buckled into my chair with ease. It just keeps getting easier and easier for me to travel! I say a silent prayer of thanks, knowing how HARD this has all been for me before.

Walking down the isle of the plane, my sides no longer brush and bump the peoples arms, and it feels amazing to not have to apologize for my existence…walking that gauntlet of shame.

I’m wearing pajama pants, a Palm Springs conference tee, purple shoes, and my purple running man, manicured nails are clutching my purple water bottle and brand new copy of “Love Work” by Chuck Runyon. I notice my “persist” running man, flame tattoo on my wrist and wonder if I’ve not just stepped into overkill territory?

I’m a hot-AF-post-conference MESS!!!!! But, I LOVE IT.

You see, last year I struggled.

( You can read all about that here: https://mandimonblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/fat-chick-at-a-fitness-conference/ )

Last year, I was still trying to be invisible. Despite my efforts, I was still battling with shame, discomfort and embarrassment with my body. And, If I’m being completely honest, not much has changed for me physically in a year. I’m down about 30 more pounds from the Lake Placid Conference. I’ve gained muscle and more endurance, but this time the weight I’m most proud of losing, was in my heart and mind.

This year I was was promoted to manager of my Anytime Fitness club, and I took that position of leadership VERY seriously. I have battled with that dark part of myself that felt fearful and unworthy. I finally surrendered to the fact that my value as a leader was NOT based on a certain number on the scale. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have been offered the position, right?

Being FAT is NOT the worst thing a person can be.

Your value and worth as a human is not worth less if you are fat. But being miserable, ashamed, depressed, suffering with pain and barely alive IS the WORST thing a person can be. And THAT is what has changed for me with the magic of fitness. THAT is what I LIVE to show the people who come into my gym everyday. The scale will move…but I must PERSIST.

My value is here NOW. It always HAS BEEN. I decided to OWN the fact that I am “representing a possibility”.

Ive decided to OWN the fact that I actually have an advantage with my size, and that WONT last forever.

I have the ability to say,” Look at me…I work HERE. I workout HERE. I was changed HERE. I found out who I truly am in HERE. I was welcomed and loved HERE…and so are YOU.”

It has been the most powerful year of my life. Realizing that all of the members in my gym, that I have the honor of representing, are looking to me as an example of persistence, and they are proud of me…that is enough to snap me out of any self doubt or sabotage.

There have been MANY struggles and setbacks…and times where my confidence and resolve was shaken, but there has been a permanent shift in me, and it SHOWED itself this week in Palm Springs.

No longer was I desperately trying to blend in and disappear. I just literally, let it all hang out, and allowed myself to just be MYSELF.

Proudly, alongside my team…my family… just like I am everyday in our clubs. Why would I want to come to conference and be anyone other that who I am everyday with my people?? If I’m constantly urging them to step outside of their comfort zone and believe in themselves…shouldn’t I be??!

Last year I was afraid to workout alongside 2,000 people for a world record breaking 3 minute workout. This year, I jumped into a live, 45 minute group session on the purple turf, in the middle of the trade show, with tons of people watching (and the AF corporate head trainer/she-hero herself, Rachel Prairie!) and did NOT CARE. I know what I am capable of.

This is it. This is who I am, and this is who has been given this amazing opportunity to live in the crazy fitness world and grind.

I TRULY was “hired to inspire” and I am so unbelievably grateful.

To my team, each and every one of you has made more of an impact on my life than you will ever know. You have made me one of you since DAY ONE and I am forever thankful for how you have changed my life and never let me give up. I’m so honored to live this life with you guys.

And, to Brandon and Amber Borden, my club owners, who just won the 2017 O2i of the Year Runningman Award…thank you.

Thank you for changing my life, and then taking a crazy risk in hiring me, believing in me and pushing me to be better and better and BETTER. I am so proud and honored to be on #teamborden and am SO EXCITED the whole AF world got to see/hear how amazing and special you two are. Also, I’m sorry I “Kanye-ed” you on stage. With all this new confidence…I do declare, I literally could not help myself. 😜

What are you passionate about? 

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”  -Oprah Winfrey
I am passionate about the obvious things…my family, and friends.  I am very passionate about my marriage, and my kids.  I am passionate about my faith and spiritual life. 

I am also passionate about music.  All kinds of music.  Poetry, writing and reading.  Art.  Anything creative, really.  
I am passionate about summer camp with teenagers (near and dear to my heart), home cooked meals shared with people I love, winning  board games and all things DISNEYLAND.   Passion about things in life is what keeps things exciting! 
Sometimes we get so caught up in the drudgery of everything that we lose touch, and it takes effort to focus  back onto the things that matter and be grateful.  

Passion is when you put more energy toward something than is required, because you care deeply about the content or outcome.   

It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action.  It’s when you put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as you can, and then push for a little bit more (cue inspirational soundtrack). 

On this journey I’ve been on, I’ve uncovered some new passions.  Not just the obvious ones that you’re expecting though.  

Yes, I have new found passion and appreciation for the gym and working out. I never thought I’d ever be that guy, who’d say that but it’s true.  I love seeing how much endurance and strength I’ve gained and look forward to more fitness accomplishments. 

I’ve also learned to appreciate eating in a new way.  After a lifetime of using food as a tranquilizer and hating myself for it, over and over again…I have been learning to make peace with food for what it is.  
Food.  
Food is necessary for living.  
Not necessary for coping with emotions and stress. 

When enjoyed in healthy way, it provides optimal fuel for shaming everyone around you at the gym with all of your awesome skills.  I’m still working on this one, but more and more I am learning to LOVE myself with food instead of abusing myself with it.  I am passionate about THAT. 
Treating myself to eating well makes me feel good!  No shameful guilt afterwards!  I mean, sometimes an Oreo (or 6) might get the best of me, but I’m making progress. 

What has been the most exciting part of my journey has been all of the new and amazing relationships I’ve made.  I am absolutely passionate about people.  I am in love with the humans God has brought into my life.  My prayer is that I could bless you all as much as you’ve blessed me! 
I couldn’t even attempt to write down the names of all the people that have helped me and and spurred me on to get to this place where I am now.  
Family members who have always believed I could do anything.  
Old friends who have loved me, even while I was still deep in a depression. Cheering me on before I was doing anything cheer worthy. 
And now, new friends who are on 
this journey to health with me. Going to this place 6 days a week was bound to get REAL boring or bring some new relationships into my life!  I’m glad it didn’t get boring.  There is a camaraderie and a mutual respect between those of us that are fighting to get fit.  
A shared passion.  
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I am so grateful that I’ve chosen to make this change in my life.  Not every day is easy but it has been so worth it.
If you are feeling like you want to make a change, and live a life that you’re passionate about…start with being grateful.  Gratitude changes everything and anything into something to be passionate about. 
Even burpees. 

 

Reining it in

I love that my hair is long enough to pull up into the perfect messy bun.  No strays or stragglers.

I love that I opened this window on my left side and a burst of warm summer wind hit me in the face like a pleasant surprise.

I love that my Pandora is playing all the songs I like so I don’t have to waste any skips.

I love that my dog always knows just when I need her to snuggle up against me and be my friend.

I love that my babies are running through my house having fun despite me yelling at them to knock it off.

I know I will miss their mess and noise someday and I only need a moment of intentional gratitude to sober me.

I love that when I stop and take notice, I am overwhelmed with things to say thank you for.

The hardest thing about being a realist is that you’re really only a pessimist in disguise.

To halt myself from traveling down the familiar gloomy tracks and force instead a stroll down a brighter path…

Well, I’m more comfortable sitting in the shade.

My disappointment hangs from my body,

heavy and always inconvenient.

Protecting me from pain but hard to ignore…and if I’m being honest it only makes it worse.

But I am told to be in the light as He is in the light…

and I was.

Spent the fullness of time feeling welcomed and alive.

Now here we are again, and back to being the last resort.

Wasn’t quite ready to come home to the norm.

I have amends to make and bridges to burn, like calories…and we all know how good I am at that.

Frames and galleries of words that crowd my heart, and the space is getting limited in these chambers.

Bolted with hardware and welded to my arteries.

This kind of blockage requires a skilled surgeon.

Blood pumping through paths I’ve carved out to survive.

A masterpiece.
A bypass of emotion.

Today is a new day that has been made for my gain,

taking a new route and a fresh way.

I will choose gratitude.

What other choice do I have?!

I love that I have mastered the art of coming full circle, even when it seems pointless.

I love that a deep breath and honest words can set my focus strait.

I love that I will turn off this computer and leave the tears behind and get back to living.

Excuse my ramblings today. I just needed to rein it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

hey, you

Michael, Michael, Michael.

How did you end up with this deep thinker and heavy dreamer?

Complicating everything, and over thinking everything and DOING NOTHING about everything.

Stuck inside my head throughout the day, trying to sift and manage the disarray.

So many thoughts and feelings.

It must be hard being ONE with such a tortured artist type.

I’m moody and selfish and absorbed with sensitivity.

There are so many reasons for you not to love me, and grow tired of me.

Fed up with me and even angry with me.

And yet…

my husband.

Where in the world did you come from?!

What did I do to deserve this love that keeps on lasting?

Stretching beyond what I ever expected.

Just a moment paused in gratitude fills my belly with butterflies as if we’ve first met.

You are the most rewarding, most comfortable and safe place I’ve ever known.

So here is my poem for the day, my revised version of the over-used and over-done proverbs 31.

This is the Michael re-mix.

 

 

Who can find a dedicated husband?

He is more precious than the finest diamonds or jewels I could own.

His wife can trust him and he will greatly bless her life. 

He brings her good, not harm, all the days of his life because he has chosen HER.

He finds a way, always a way, to comfort and protect her.

He gets up before dawn to prepare for the day of work and toil.  He has no choice.

With his earnings he hands them over, to provide the fruits of fields and vineyards across their table. 

He is strong and full of life and a hard worker.

His hands are busy with tools and instruments of his trade.  

He is generous with his time and gifts and money, and constantly helps those in need.

He has no fear of the seasons to come because he has true faith that brings him peace knowing all will be provided for.

He repairs his own house, he solves problems as they arise, he dresses himself with the dignity of a true family man.

His wife is busy and well-known in the city gates, and he is proud of her and lifts her up to reach higher and higher because he alone can see how special and rare she is…even when she can’t.

He spurs her to be better and better…more of herself. 

He does all that he can to produce fruit and provide for his family.

He is clothed in integrity and honor and laughs without fear of any outside judgement or concerns of the future.

When he speaks, his words are kind and wise and he gives criticism with care and sincerity. 

He carefully watches over his household and strives to suffer nothing from laziness.

His children rise to greet him , he is their hero!

His wife proclaims from the mountaintops,” There are many virtuous and capable men in the world, but YOU surpass them ALL!!”

Charm is deceptive and arrogance DOES NOT LAST; but a man who fears the Lord will be greatly praaaaaaaised. 

Reward him for all that he does!

Let his deeds be publicly praised!

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Aside

New landscapes

There is much to be said about clutter and disorganization in your home having a direct correlation to your physical and mental health.  The internet is ripe with articles and testimonials about this phenomenon. Today, I was sitting in my backyard trying to have a clear and meditative moment when I decided that this was true.

My back yard looks like a desert wasteland.  You almost expect to see Mel Gibson dressed as Mad Max come walking around the corner of the house, covered with dust and scouring the land for supplies.  It’s embarrassing.   My husband and I joke about this to our friends but it is mostly to cover up the shame we both feel about having let it all go back there.  We have kids and a dog and Game of Thrones, obviously making yard work low on our priority list.  Its more like we warn people before they peek out the window.  We care about what our space and habitat looks like because it says a lot about who we are.  We are FAR from fancy but we try to make a good impression by sprucing and cleaning.  We want anyone who comes into our home to feel comfortable and welcome.  The success of Pinterest proves that we are a generation obsessed with cheap and easy DIY fixes for the home. We want to paint and spruce and decorate so that we feel “acceptable”.

It’s not that different from how we dress ourselves.   We primp and fuss with our hair and makeup, especially if we have somewhere special to be.  Clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories.  Women are known for paying attention to detail.  Lots of men are just as fussy about the way they look as us ladies are.  It’s just a necessary evil right?  We spend so much time showering, sugar scrubbing, shaving, lotioning and dressing.  Brushing, curling, straightening and spraying.  Blending, concealing, highlighting, and glossing.  Finally, we look in the mirror and survey if we are ready to leave the house.  Are we acceptable to be seen?  To step out in the marketplace and participate in life?   Even though these painted versions of ourselves aren’t truly who we are, they make us feel good enough about ourselves to go ahead and try.  We head out the door to conquer our day and the first time someone tells us we look nice we immediately say,”NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  No I don’t, I’m gross. But thank you.”  We mustn’t believe anyone when they actually compliment us, right?

If you busted your ass gutting out your back yard and pulling weeds and planting new sod you wouldn’t dismiss someone telling you how great it looked!  Why?!  Because you KNOW IT LOOKS GOOD GURRRL.  YOU WORKED HARD! It paid of and now you can take a deep breath, open a cold bottle of beer and enjoy.  Doesn’t that feel good?  To have gratitude for a nice space to sit and make memories in?  What in THE WORLD would happen if we treated our bodies the same way?  Like a sacred space, to enjoy sitting in and making memories with?

Looking around my yard and then my home I realized that in the same way I had kind of given up on my appearance because of not feeling good about myself…I had kind of done the same to my space.   Why has this evaded me?  Has there just been a massive point of no return?  Where I have given up caring about not only my body and how I can dress it…but it seems also my home and yard with it?

What would happen if I gave up fighting with myself this summer about how much I weigh, how I look or what im gonna wear and devoted all of that energy instead to rolling up my sleeves and cleaning up and fussing on this home that I have been graciously given?  What if my physical, emotional and spiritual self transformed in direct correlation to my feeling good about my living space as it had the other way around?

Am I crazy?

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The here and now

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“So line on up, and take your place
And show your face to the morning.
Cause one of these days, you’ll be born and raised.
And it all comes on without warning.”

– John Mayer, “Born and Raised”

Another summer is approaching.

Quickly.

It seems spring has barely unfolded it’s offerings before the heat of summer threatens to come on in and steal the show.

I hate to be the cliche person that seems baffled at how quickly time rolls by, shaking my head at all the young whipper-snappers.
But alas, here I am: amazed that before we know it, Memorial Day weekend will turn into Labor Day weekend and we will all be talking about how crazy it is that we are approaching the holiday season.

But don’t worry, I’m not asking you to dust of your Christmas bins. (Some of us just barely got that stuff packed back up!). Actually, I’m suggesting the complete opposite.

As I type this I am enjoying being a passenger on a family drive. Taking in the warmth and the sights and feeling like anything might be possible. Feeling thankful and joyful. Feeling like what lies ahead this summer may have the potential to be one of those great summers that songs are written about. One of those summers that are filled with smells and tastes and textures that will burn into your memory like the sun on your arm, resting on the open window of your car headed somewhere promising.

Wind blowing, music blaring.

I reach over and take this snap shot as we are driving and am struck once again at how simply God nudges us. These moments are all just brief snap shots. If you’re not paying attention you might miss it completely.

Miss out on a wink from your husband that speaks more to me than hours of road trip conversation.

Miss out on little fingers wanting to hold my hand for a moment.

Miss out on little voices yelling “slug bug!”.

Miss out on whatever is in store.

No, I’m in no rush. Today I don’t want to miss a thing.

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Pushing pause on a moment

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Right this minute,
we are all safe and sound.
I’ll take it.

Hold my breath and enjoy.
No one is mad.
No one is troubled.
Everyone is right where they should be.
My family.

There is a whisper of perfection.
So frail, we must talk softly.
So subtle, I almost missed it.
A fleeting glimpse.
A bubble bouncing
on a blade of grass;
the burst inevitable but gentle.

A moment demanding to be noticed.
As delicate as a dress
being saved for a special occasion.
Taking careful time to be revealed.
Appreciated.

So, stop and listen.
Sip and taste.
Savoring the sweetness swirled
in a heavy glass and enjoyed.

Cheers!

This moment,
where all is well and rare.
Kids are outside to play.
Laughing and giggling.
Today, it seems there are no monsters to slay and I can say
I’ve mothered them well.
Relax and welcome the swell.
Pride and contentment warm my face.

I smile and glow and celebrate
a moment of jokes,
hugs and welcome homes!

In an instant, a visit.
My brother on hometown soil.
Respite for this refugee.
Our hero,
our Drakie.

We all grasp at our chance to share him.
Slice his time like a juicy pie.
Against his will, but he won’t mind.
He has no choice.
Making the rounds.
Breaking bread with friends…
before his journey beings.

Right this minute we know we’re lucky.
To see that he is still himself.
Home and whole.
Here, and FULL of life and laughter.
Stories, glories and dreams.
Victories.

Burn this onto all of our hearts,
file it away as he goes.
So when he closes his eyes tight at night we will be with him there.
Wherever he will be.
Where a war will rage
to rob him of his joy
and memories.
Innocence and revelries.

We will be as real as we can be.
Tucked into a corner of his heart that he will guard fiercely.
Visiting when the coast is clear.

This is now, for real.

As real as his big, brown bag thrown into the back of my truck.
Heavy with the clothes and concerns he has packed up.
Tossed aside for a respite,
and peace of mind.

As real as his laugh that hasn’t changed since he was a kid.
Singing and dancing in cowboy boots and fringe.
Making everyone laugh as he always did.

As real as the curly red hair kept short on his head.

As real as this moment that’s already being muted.

As real as being fully alive as we are right now!
Sewn together in a way
I couldn’t describe if I tried.

My tribe.

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Bringing it

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” O TO make the most jubilant poems!
O full of music! Full of manhood, womanhood, in-
fancy!
O full of common employments! Full of grain and
trees.

O for the voices of animals! O for the swiftness
and balance of fishes!
O for the dropping of rain-drops in a poem!
O for the sunshine, and motion of waves in a poem.

O to be on the sea! the wind, the wide waters
around;
O to sail in a ship under full sail at sea.

O the joy of my spirit! It is uncaged! It darts
like lightning!
It is not enough to have this globe, or a certain time
—I will have thousands of globes, and all time.”
– Walt Whitman, an excerpt from “Poems of Joy”

I admit to being usually sluggish in Mondays. Today I’ve made up my mind to feel joyful and optimistic about the week ahead.
The thing that has been the hardest for me has been avoiding the trap of negative thinking. It can suck you under like a strong current.

I am taking a cue from my man Walt and am trying to find the joy in all that I have to do today. No matter how small.

O the joy of hot and fresh laundry from the dryer! Folded upon my bed, making a dent in the mountain that remains which leaves me feeling accomplished. Happy, fresh and clean.

O the joy of cleaning out my refrigerator! Knowing that my family has been this abundantly blessed to have not NEEDED some of these things?! God has provided all of our needs. Spoils are evidence we have been fed and nurtured to the hilt! Guilt and hassle melts to gratitude as I realize how spoiled and lucky we are. Wisdom teaching me this lesson, yet again, to become more vigilant in what I buy and prepare so that we don’t live in excess and waste.

O the joy of cleaning out my truck! The sand and empty juice boxes reminiscent of the adventures and travels I’ve had with my family. Trash and clothes. Shoes and toys…remnants of loud, healthy kids. The gum that’s been cemented to the door handle in the back seat I could have done without, but above it all…we have traveled. We have visited family from afar. We have explored, we have made memories.

O the joy of a Monday morning! I am blessed with a new week. A fresh start and hot coffee. How dare I utter anything but thanks?

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