Moving Around

Vacuums

From the desk of: Erin

It turns out that my brain must need a specific quantity of goop to mull over. Now that my super huge work project is done and I have have outsourced a percentage of my childcare, I have a continuous stream of thoughts about experiments and projects that immediately filled the void and took residence in my brain.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to writing about or exploring the rest of the year:

1. Essential oils- beneficial or bogus?
2. 30-day “ab challenge” – Will I keep up with it? Will I see results? Are 30-day challenges really a good idea?
3. How possible would it be to truly cut out processed foods? Explorations in cheese, bread, and pasta making…
4. I started working on my 7 “art” projects requested by others. This is also turning out to be a way of reading/ re-reading classic books.
5. Poetry – reading various genres/ authors, responding, contemplating…
6. Anything else that excites me along the way.

What new or old projects are you excited about? If you ever feel like sharing, join us in writing or just comment below!

APRIL: Cultivate Creativity!

April is here, and with it a new resolution to add to the mix. This month’s resolution is all about cultivating creativity. Seems appropriate, too, as Spring – the season of creativity and rebirth – is getting into full swing. But before we explore this month’s theme, let’s take a moment to recap the previous resolutions’ progress.

 

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January was about getting organized. Much progress was made as I was moving into my new loft apartment during that month. (Read this post for more details.) And I’m still making progress in the organization arena. In fact, I finally got the rest of my office/craft room furniture last weekend. I’m currently working with getting that space organized and made efficient in preparation for this month’s resolution. These monthly resolutions are like gifts that keep giving. And each one benefits the others. It’s a beautiful synergy that’s happening here. Yeah!

 

February was about experimenting with healing my body through diet/nutrition. This has proven to be an amazing and ongoing adventure that is changing my life and my health in ways I never imagined. I worked a fairly restrictive elimination diet for two months. You can read about that experience here, here, here and here. This month I’m making even more changes to my diet with a new experiment in nutrition. You can read about it soon on my personal blog: Experiments In Bliss.

 

March’s resolution was to get my body moving. I had already been working with regular physical exercise, and am continuing to do so on an almost daily schedule. I’m doing strength/toning work an average of five days a week. I don’t have a car, so I walk almost daily, and my pace is a fairly brisk one. I’m trying to keep up some cardio work, too, though since my rebounder died a couple weeks ago, my cardio routine has been on a brief hiatus. (I did just get a temporary rebounder this weekend that I am hoping will last me until I can afford the very fancy (read: expensive) one that I am coveting.) I am cultivating my home yoga practice as well, and teaching two classes a week to boot. So, I feel like I’m working this resolution pretty well. I do hope to build on it even more as the weather warms up and I can get outside in the sunshine more. You’re absolutely invited to join me!

 

During this month I have become increasingly aware of how one can learn a lot about a person by the way they approach their fitness program. I have noticed that despite the increased physical difficulty of my Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis workouts, I continue to work diligently on the mat to perfect my form. In the past I would often speed up my movements using momentum to get the thing finished and to be able to say I did my workout. Of course, that negated at least some of the benefits of working out in the first place. I have noticed that I no longer do that. When I work out now, I actually try to slow myself down and work my body with the very best form possible for each movement in the series. I don’t beat myself up if I need to take breaks, but before I break I ask my body for five more repetitions. Sometimes that is all I need to continue through the discomfort. If not, then I take a break without guilt or shame knowing that I am doing the very best I can do. As a result my body is becoming steadily stronger with more endurance. This is being reflected in other areas of my life, as well. When I feel challenged by my work or by life, in general, I feel more capable of gracefully and agilely mastering those challenges. And that is a great feeling. Thank you, exercise!

 

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So that brings us up to date. April, as I mentioned, is about cultivating creativity. And I have been celebrating the ultimate creative endeavour all weekend: my birthday! This was a nice, big, round birthday. A birthday that carried me through the gates of a new decade of living. I am 40 now. That’s right … 4-0. As a child I had very definite ideas of what forty was, and the gist was that it was old. But, I’d like to send a message to my younger self:

 

Forty is not old. Forty is freakin’ awesome! I feel better than I ever have. I am comfortable in my skin and in control of my life … well, as much as I care to be. I have long been aware of the fact that I am a late bloomer, and I am embracing that fact wholeheartedly this birthday. I’m only just getting started. My mojo is just starting to rev. And I’m not going to let a number slow me down. Got it? Good.

 

Ahem .. so we were talking about creativity. This month’s resolution is to do something creative every week. Make actual artist dates a la The Artist’s Way. Have some kind of finished project to show for my efforts at least once a month. This couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’ve been feeling very removed from my creative spark, but also very nostalgic for it. This is one of those times of year when I start feeling the rush of the Busyness of Everyday beginning to snowball into an avalanche of Too Much To Do that bears down on me in a most uncomfortable way. So, it will be a good challenge to make some time for a little creative play amid all the work of living. I’ll be posting my finished projects either here or on Experiments In Bliss, so stay tuned for updates. However, if any of you have any suggestions for creative experiments, I’m absolutely open to hearing them.

 

How do you express your creativity? How do you carve creative playtime out of your busy schedules? How are you doing with your own resolutions? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comments below to share your experiences.

 

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I hope you’re all having a beautiful Spring full of showers and flowers.

 

xoxo,

melanie

Learning to Shake It

By Rosie

Hi there.  

When I first found out Erin was doing this blog, I thought, what a great idea! I should do something like that too! There are just so many things I’ve been meaning to do.  I finished grad school about a year and a half ago (egads, it really has been that long), and for a while after, I was just having a breather. But then I discovered something about myself- if left to my own devices for too long, I can be kind of lazy. And so, when Erin asked me to contribute to this project, it sounded like a great way to push myself a little harder and do some of those things I’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

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Me (on the right) with Erica, my awesome line dancing teacher.

First on my list of things to do: write more. Done and done. Second on the list: I’ve always wanted to learn to dance. Trouble is, I’ve never felt like I was very good at it (being 100% Caucasian and all that that implies).  I imagine myself gliding gracefully across the floor like a finalist pro on “Dancing with the Stars,” but I know that in reality I look a lot more like a week 1 B-lister.  Conveniently though, I have many friends who are excellent dancers, and I know I can trust them to teach me and not laugh at me, at least not to my face.

For my first dancing adventure, I decided to learn how to line dance. This choice is not obvious to most people who know me.  I am not particularly into country music, nor do I wear cowboy boots, hats, or belt buckles. (Although if that’s your thing, rock on.) But I wanted to learn because I have several friends who LOVE to go line dancing. I’ve been to line dancing bars with them a few times before, but I’ve never quite caught on. I imagined though, that with a little focused instruction, I could figure it out.  It seemed like the most important skills for it were being able to count and follow a pattern, and, despite lacking natural rhythm, I can do both of those things. So, I asked my friend Erica to teach me. Erica is a fantastic teacher and a really good friend, so I knew that even if I didn’t master a step, this would still be fun. I went over to her apartment one evening recently for my first lesson. My goal was only to master one dance and I’d call it a successful night. Before long though, we had worked our way through four whole dances- the Bombshell Stomp, the Canadian Stomp, Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, and, the one with the best name, the Tush Push.

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Concentrating on the “Tush Push.

 “I was a little amazed at how easy it was to fall into the patterns of the dances. At first I was super focused on the counts and trying to remember to turn to my right (no my other right). I had this awkward habit of wanting to start on the wrong foot, and that kept messing everything up. But it got better, and by the end of the evening it was coming pretty naturally, and I didn’t have to think quite so hard about it. I only need a semi-focus to stay with the music.  I started to feel like my legs knew what they were doing, and I even found myself enjoying the quaint corny-ness of the song lyrics. Luke Bryan’s song “(Country Girl) Shake it for Me,” became my anthem. I began thinking that maybe I should start looking for a pair of cowboy boots. But then I turned the wrong way again and bumped into Erica and decided I should probably hold off on that. 

It turns out line dancing was pretty fun once I got the hang of it. Now I am ready to try it in public. I’ll let you know how that works out.