I’ve been thinking about the physical expectations of a wellness advocate – I see many pictures of yoga instructors twisted into impressive poses, and I know that’s not me. At 51, maintaining my weight and flexibility is an ongoing process. For most of us, managing our health gets more difficult as we age. As a skinny kid who worked out all of my adult life, I never thought it would be challenging for me. I remind my daughter and all my younger friends, to relish in your youth because it doesn’t last forever. The never-ending energy, effortlessly toned thighs and ability to easily recover from pulling an all-nighter will one day become a thing of fond memories. Enjoy every second of it. If you continue to learn and grow, it will one day be replaced with wisdom, which is far more valuable than a perfectly flat stomach.
I’ve been thinking about the lifestyle expectations of a wellness advocate – I see self-proclaimed experts proposing perfect diets and I know that’s not me either. Should we eat only plant-based whole foods? No caffeine? No white sugar? No oils? Must we abstain from weekend margaritas or occasional hookah? Do we have to meditate every morning at sunrise, run a marathon a year or do our yoga every damn day, without exception? Are our affirmations always in our hip pocket ready at a moment’s notice? Is any of this really possible over the course of an entire lifetime of ups, downs and shit happening? Or does this create a quest for the unattainable and become just another stress factor to manage?
I’ve been thinking about the emotional expectations of a wellness advocate – I see less dialogue here and this is all the way me. I had a conversation with one of my favorite yoga teachers yesterday about authenticity and how important it is to have someone in your life that you can be REAL with. Like, totally REAL, like I screwed up but I’m not going to kill myself REAL. Like, this is the worse day of my life REAL. Like, I need help REAL. We talked about our country’s suicide epidemic and speculated about how people reach that point. I know that mental illness is also REAL – I have plenty in my own family and have faced my own battles, but it also has ROOTS. My theory is that we have a national crisis of authenticity. We are so obsessed with perfection, that at the end of a day of social media and other filters, many of us feel unrecognizable to ourselves and deeply alone.
Up until about ten years ago, I used to wear foundation every day. Then one day I inadvertently skipped it and someone commented on how beautiful my skin was. Are you kidding me? I wonder how many other ways that happens to us – we put on a mask that we think is beautiful and the real beauty lies in the imperfections beneath.
I encourage you to consider your own masks. Are they physical like makeup, hair or nails? Or subtle like building emotional walls between you and your loved ones? Or profound like holding on to secrets that absolutely nobody knows? (For the record, the Catholic church still offers confession, and therapists are vowed to confidentiality if you don’t trust anyone you know.)
The process of self-reflection and unearthing can be awkward, but the reward is so deep and juicy it’s worth the effort. REAL connection, support and love is resounding and priceless. You can never have those things when you show up in the world as anything less than your most authentic, beautifully flawed and truest self.
I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is from my run on Sunday morning. I love the way it captures being on a path. FYI – Most yoga studios offer referrals to therapists. I do as well. And, there’s nothing inherently wrong with makeup, hair or nails. However, they’re definitely worthy of reflection.