Tag Archives: women

Make it non-negotiable

Today is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day. People who have met me via social media and in real life, know I make #templebuilding a priority. The days I get up and exercise in the morning are the days I’m off to a fabulous start. But there was a time when that wasn’t the case.

I’m a self-described athlete. I ran and biked like most kids in my neighborhood growing up. I was a gymnast in elementary school.  A cheerleader in middle school. I danced (band auxiliary) and sprinted (varsity track) in high school.

I engaged in fewer structured activities in college, although I danced (partied) several hours a week which definitely counts for something. After college I had an on again, off again love affair with local gyms.  I stocked up on exercise DVDs for the off again moments. Even as an elementary school teacher, I woke up early enough to exercise, chant, drive 30 minutes and still get to work by 7 a.m. I prioritized prayer, sleep, laughter, water and movement. They kept me in good spirits and good health.

When I became a full time doctoral student in 2007, things changed. I found myself a recluse when class wasn’t in session. All the time I read and wrote papers, thought about theory, drank coffee and ate McDonald’s. Seriously. All the time.

Me: May 28, 2012 after exercising at home.
Me: May 28, 2012 after exercising at home.

A few months in, the side effects from that “food” and the disgust from Super Size Me, spurred me to choose healthier meals.

(Sidebar: I didn’t eat fast food for a year after that, and with the exception of two iced coffees in 2007, I’ve never consumed McDonald’s again). I was no longer exercising, because who had the time? But I knew my body was ready to move again.

Despite my desire to exercise, it was a struggle at first.  I had to force myself to stop reading or writing to go for a walk or a short run. I argued with myself – one more page, or one more paragraph. Then another. I’d panic as I watched the setting sun, realizing it was now or never.  I’d throw on some fitness gear and get moving.

That happened many times, until:

  • I realized I always felt better after exercise, and
  • I scheduled it. I made it non-negotiable.

The very first time I put an exercise appointment on my calendar, my dissertation advisor wanted a meeting. I had to break it to her, “No, I’m not available at that time. I’m exercising then.” She, a woman very much into self-care, supported me and offered several other times even with her busy schedule. I understood then, to the degree I was serious about taking care of myself, I could figure out the rest.

And so I set my exercise schedule daily. I incorporated strength training, swim lessons, and running, all depending on my class and homework schedule. I treated exercise like any other important appointment. I was definitely going to attend, so I had to plan the rest of my day around it.

Over time it has become less of an appointment and more of a way of life. Sometimes this means running on treadmills when I’d rather be outside. Sometimes it means a 15-minute high intensity interval workout instead an hour of strength or cardio. Sometimes it means evening workouts although I definitely prefer sunrise exercise.

The point is, I’ve made it a part of my regular routine. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Happy temple building!

Other ways to serve

Prompt from BlogHer NaBloPoMo:

Would you ever want to run for public office? Why or why not?

No, I don’t have interest in holding public office, much less going through the stress of running. That being said, I am interested in politics and I would consider being more involved in the political process if the opportunity arose. It’s been on my mind a lot lately:

My tweets mention local politics in particular, but I believe smart, progressive women need a voice at all levels.  You can’t get to those larger platforms without standing on smaller stages first, and quite a lot of important decisions are made at the state and local level.

As for my involvement, there are a few things I would consider, albeit behind-the-scenes.  To begin with, I would compile research for key issues, conduct briefings, or write speeches within my areas of expertise.  I also think it’s important to contribute to the broader discourse on complex societal issues. To that end, I would like to work for a think tank, or design and/or conduct research. I want to understand and amplify stories that are often marginalized, and help those who would most benefit from forward thinking, heart-centered policies.

Although I have no intentions of throwing my hat in any rings, I will look for ways I can help create a more loving society.

NaBloPoMo September 2013

Sunshine and fibroids.

Naturopaths and nontraditional healers often mention the healing properties of sunshine. And depending on where and how we grew up, our parents and grandparents spoke of it, too. My personal relationship with the sun has always been one of respect and admiration… my mood and energy levels often mirror the brightness of the sun. So it pleases me whenever “traditional” research makes linkages between sunshine and good health.

Dr. Donna Baird, a researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health, suggested that sun exposure of more than an hour per day (Vitamin D) may lead to a decreased risk of fibroids. The results are tentative, and come from a single study of women in the Washington, D. C. area, but plans are underway to survey women in Detroit to see if findings are similar.

As one in a growing number of women who live with uterine fibroids, I’m interested in understanding their causes. Like many complex questions, the more we understand about the genesis of a thing, the more we can do to heal it and prevent it.

Read the NIH press release here.

Today in Women…

Today, two articles about women captured my attention for a good portion of the day. I share them here with little commentary, as in both cases, the content speaks for itself.

The first piece is Ashley Judd’s blistering critique of patriarchy and women’s and men’s complicity in upholding it. In it, she thoughtfully problematizes the media’s portrayal of women. It is fierce and awesome and bookmarked in my Diigo account  for future reference.

The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted. Continue reading.

As excited as I was to read Ashley’s piece, I was later reduced to tears – devastated to find out about legislated acts of violence against imprisoned women. I’ve been tuning in more to the politics of the prison industrial complex, and I’m the first to admit I have a lot to learn. Yet, the fact that women in 35 states are shackled while giving birth, was an appalling revelation. This article touts the good news that Florida (of all regressive places!) has put an end to this horrendous practice.

It’s unusual to hear of good news from the war on women coming out of Florida, but there is some. Last week Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill that establishes humane and uniform rules for the treatment of pregnant women who are incarcerated in any jail, prison or detention center in Florida. Continue reading.

I was encouraged to learn about the efforts of the Rebecca Project, and they are now on my list of organizations I’d like to support and/or partner with in some way. One of my goals this year is to write and publish an advocacy piece on a cause of personal import. I think I’m one step closer to at least finding the cause. Lest we forget, prisoners are people, too.