Yoga Mom – The Ethical Quandary

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The past few days all I have been speaking about at my lectures has been on Teaching Methodology and Ethics and what it takes to be a good teacher. Today was supposed to be my last class of this teaching program and I was going to close it with a heartfelt interactive, deep-dive into values and teaching with integrity and on purpose.

The Ethics classes are my favorite. I actually surprised myself when I started enjoying them as much or even more than my Yoga Anatomy classes! But that’s another story… So, I was really looking forward to teach this class today.

Then, last night happened. My youngest had a bad tummy – and woke up this morning with a pale, sallow face – unaffected with my enthusiastic, ‘Happy Childrens Day!‘ and not caring for any breakfast.

I knew he was unwell, because he had taken the effort to shower and get ready for school but was still complaining about his tummy.

I also knew that I had to get to class in a couple of hours – which meant one of two things: either Avi accompanied me to class (and struggles with being unwell and car sick) or Avi stayed back at home – alone. Or I could reschedule my class…. (while my brain shouted, ‘but it is the last class today!! and another part of my brain retorted, ‘No! There is another class next week!!‘)

Not to forget, that a sneaky voice in my head was also gloating, “Teaching ‘Ethics’, are you?”

It was getting late, I was multi-tasking – dressing up, desperating refreshing the cab app that only showed, ‘No cabs available at this moment. Try again‘, feeling Avi’s forehead for a fever, planting guilty kisses on his soft cheek as he slept.

I felt torn – torn between the ethic and integrity of being a teacher readying for class and being mom.

My cab was finally booked and 17 minutes and I still wasn’t comfortable with what I was about to do. And realized that there was, after all, one more thing I still could do.

I called the yoga school.

It took all of 3 minutes and 2 calls – 1 that I made and 1 that was returned.

And it was sorted.

I sit here at home watching my baby rest, his forehead warm, his cheeks slightly flushed, but both our hearts happy and comforted that we are next to each other. The class was managed, my lecture was rescheduled, my team-mates assured me to be with Avi – it was clearly my priority.

Values play a huge part of who we are and who we choose to become. Our values help us resonate with the kind of people who support us in shining those values, that become our ethics – both for work and for life. They become our code of conduct and truly shine light on the integrity of what we stand for – what we believe in.

I am today because of my children. Everything I do, every choice I make, every ordeal I am faced with has them as my centerpiece. It isn’t being where I am today –  but I love it. Even though there are times when it feels like I’m rowing a full boat with a single oar – possibly broken even – I recognize that there others in the boat who are helping it move ahead by paddling with their hands – supporting me. Friends, family, near and far.

Today, it was my yoga community – who supported me – not once making me feel any pressure or guilt – helping me act in accordance with what my inner compass was guiding me to do. My core that wanted to stay with my child – that ethical code of conduct, that yama and niyama – that was nudging me to stay true to my dharma and not pushed into karma.

The quandary is real, so is integrity… but the support system around us that helps us stay afloat living that life of integrity runs deeper still.

I Teach Yoga – with Electric Blue Hair

whatsapp-image-2018-09-28-at-10-42-27.jpegYesterday I streaked my hair an electric blue and magenta.

It was a deviation from my erstwhile choices of red, pink, purple – yes, still a bit outrageous, but in a sedate kind of way.

This time, it was blue (and magenta).

And not just blue (and magenta) – it was also a neat uber close crop on one side – a neat woman undercut to compete with my son’s from just the day before complete with sexy long fringe side swept and splashed with panels of electric blue (and magenta).

My mother loved it. My brother loved it. My kids love it. I love it.

So why this blog?

This blog, because I triggered a reaction – in some others and then, as I noticed it, in myself.

The reaction questioned my choice – the looks ranged from surprise, to appreciation, to a second-look and wow… and at the other end of the spectrum brinking on envy, nonchalance, refusal to meet my eye, or a quick look to my hair followed by an uncomfortable silence.

And these reactions were from other men and women alike.

Honestly, I was amused – really, I was. I was amused at the stark discomfort that some people felt at my extreme comfort I had in being me.

But more than amusement, it was the realization that stereotypes are always going to challenge a shift. And what exactly was the shift here?

3 panels of blue streaks?

So let’s see…. Did that make me any more or less of – a mom? or a mother of teens? a mother of three?? an Indian woman/ mother? a yogi? a yoga ‘teacher‘??

Or was it just that it was incomprehensible for a woman who ‘supposedly‘ facing so many challenges in life, to go out and have her hair done… and colored in an outrageously, wild and defiant color? Ermm… or was it just not fair for her to be unapologetically herself, happy, in-charge of her life, taking each day as it arrived every morning, fixing the fu*k-ups and still showing up to life – on and off the mat? With that 100-watt smile that is her trademark and a laughter more infectious that the viral that seems to be doing the rounds?

So what gives?

Either way, I don’t think my yoga mat disapproved. I don’t think my asana faltered any more in my arm balances than they were wont to. I don’t think my practice judged.

But I guess, somewhere in being triggered by the unspoken judgments where breaking free from preconceived ideas and stereotypes simply because of me being me, I had fallen prey to it.

And, well, it stirs the pot of upset and inner frustration. (Even yogis get upset and frustrated, in case you were wondering – at least contemporary yogis who can still call a spade a spade!)

But, well, operating from values mean a whole lot more than the trigger that upsets and frustrates. So, The Curvy Yogi still shows up – every day, every moment. She shows up with her flaws, with her imperfect perfection and her perfect imperfections…. she shows up with her mat and without, with her smile and her laugh and her gathered wisdom and learnt knowledge… and she shows up with that authenticity and integrity that form the crux of her being.

And yes, of course, she shows up as the Indian mom who teaches yoga and trains yoga instructors in electric blue & magenta hair!

Namaste

The Harshest Critic

I love Ayurveda.

I love it because it is so intuitive and customisable. I love it because it has been a flashlight showing up my personality, quality and traits… as well as my eccentricities, biases and not-to-favourable attributes.

As a pitta-kapha, I get to enjoy my spirited personality as well as diplomatic tact – I take my natural courage and spearhead through life, taking charge and moving forward headfirst into whatever I need to address- and then sit back and think about ‘what just happened‘ later.. Oh wait, that’s my Aries nature, I think.

Regardless, Ayurveda has taught me to understand myself much better. I’ve come to learn what I’m naturally good at and what I tremendously suck at.

Last week, was the time for reflection – no, it was time for some traits to reflect back on me…. and the week was brutal.

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I’m not sure what exactly had caused the imbalance, but I was in a heightened mood of volatility – not angry or raging, but hot and intense. I was exacting, scrupulous and feverishly meticulous. And that was just the pitta speaking. When it came to flex, I was at my kapha best for being bull-headed and stubborn – reluctant to let go and angry at myself for being so.

My body rebelled by retaining a stubborn inflammation in my feet, that surprisingly would completely disappear during my asana time…. and the doctor’s question, “How is your stress life?” just about validated my suspicion that the inflammation was because of the stress that I was subjecting myself to.

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I didn’t realise how harshly I was berating myself until I found myself, in the dumps of a bad day, speaking with a friend over some common work, rushing to save a sheet we were working on… but not before making sure all the alignments were proper and the bold & italics were in their rightful cells.

I was unwell, I was angry (at the blood report, at the doctor, at the suspected blood culprit, at the prospect of endless other tests…), and other appointments going for a toss,…. I was furious at being out of control… that I was ferociously and vehemently being stubborn to not give up until I had the mere Excel sheet under my control.

PHEW!

Was not a joke, no it wasn’t.

Imbalances are real – and even if you don’t subscribe to Ayurveda, our personalities are even more real. Our thoughts really do make up our reality and I realised that my thoughts were being critical – hypercritcal …

Of myself.

I realised that while yoga was helping me this week physically, I had skimped on the deeper aspect of yoga that I was not paying heed to.

While I was called to being compassionate and yogic as a principle, I was not applying it to me.

Oh, the kind of self-depreciation, self-doubting and self-criticising words I kept repeating in my head. Even my acceptance felt like it was just to challenge my own self. I was fighting with myself.

And I wasn’t going to back down.

Until that reflection really caught me like a deer caught in the headlights.

I caught myself.

And it was time to get down into the much to disentangle myself from this mesh of self-reproach and castigation.

I turned back to the mat – my confidante, my ally.

And I turned towards the philosophy of yoga – my yoga…. for that solace that comes from knowing it is a source of comfort and faith.

I chose to work through my imbalance and really allow the yama & niyama to work through me. I chose to allow myself to be kinder and more compassionate to myself – to soften my heart towards myself just as I would to others.

I’m reconnecting with myself this coming week – through the yama.

And I’ll be reminding myself to just be a little more gentle with me – this is a lot, this is work… Just let me be kind to myself as I go through this.

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My furtive L5/S1 love affair

I woke up at 3am yesterday and immediately sensed something different. I was in no pain, I was sleeping on my side, It was that part of the night when the fan was actually doing is job of keeping us cool… but I knew I had woken up to a physical alarm bell. A quick body scan later I zeroed in on my source of discomfort – the outer side of my left calf was intermittently tingling.

I knew what it was. Somewhere somehow I had compromised my back and this was my L5/S1 knocking the door, seeking my immediate attention.

The tingling was adamant even after I got out of bed, shifting as I shifted positions – more pronounced at times, disappearing at other moments. There was no pain – that, to me, was a good sign. As I sat on the toilet planning my course of action and attempting to steer my mind away from panic, the numbness made way for some mild warmth down my outer calf. My doubts confirmed, I washed up and decided on doing the one thing I was good at.

That was definitely my L5/S1 acting up. Listening to my body’s wisdom and joining hands with the resource of my knowledge bank – I took to the yoga mat.

Here was my routine and observations in practice :

  • Samasthithi (conscious neutral spinal posture immediately stopped the tingling)
  • No suryanamaskar – but I wanted a forward bend, so moved into a slow padahasta followed by a hastauttana to wake my spine.
  • Hip rotation and pelvic tilts standing – followed my isolated hip rotations.

I needed to focus on my need – my back – so I moved directly into seated asanas

  • Butterfly baddhakona
  • Janusirsasana – right is always easier, but getting out of my own way consciously really made accessibility possible.
  • Sukhasana was easier with right leg in front as the right calf rested on the toes of the left foot.
  • Cat-cow – soo grateful to my 10mm mat as my right knee is still iffy (the right leg still has the titanium implant so…)… but keeping the knees wider took the pressure off the knee itself.
  • Superman
  • Sphinx
  • Cobra
  • wide knee child’s pose
  • Ardha dhanura
  • high plank, dolphin plank
  • crocodile pose
  • mild pigeon stretch
  • supine pigeon
  • half wheel
  • Malasana
  • bridge
  • jataraparivartana
  • knee hugs
  • shavasana
  • yoga nidra

Post practice: There was absolutely no tingling… my guess, it was a mildly compressed/ trapped nerve due to posture (I’d gladly blame the movie hall seats at Lido Mall and the taxi seat the previous day!)

So I totally chilled out the rest of the day… bolster under my knees… and I feel, well… as good as new!

This love affair with my back really puts awareness in focus… it is so easy to not pay attention. The fear of throwing my back out is real – the pain excruciating – the consequences dire! Listening to tiny signs takes learning – it is a skill to actively listen to subtle signs – not impossible and very beneficial.

Stay well…

The Return of the Prodigal Yogi

I took a while to choose the title for this blog. I was chewing on AWOL, astray, MIA, AWOL (again) and finally settled on the first thing that came to mind when I had to write this – prodigal. Yes, well, technically, there wasn’t any extravagant wasting of money, but the allegory wasn’t lost on me. And while the narrative of the prodigal son’s return ends up stirring our moral and conscientious values around money, loyalty and parental indulgence despite the misplaced audacity and belligerence of their children, I couldn’t shake off the deeper feelings of welcome and acceptance after my brief hiatus from regular practice.

So, yes, the prodigal yogi has returned – and with that return, comes an insight, an understanding and endless opportunity to do what I absolutely love – introspect, dissect and make sense of the whole experience.

For, in the grand scheme of things, what else is yoga otherwise, if not to apply and make sense of life through it?

But, the making sense would have to graciously make way for a little synopsis of a 2017 that came and went with ravaging ferocity – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Yikes! That fracture
The fracture that gave me the BREAK I needed

Although the fracture took a toll on my physical availability, years of practice, allowed for more basic strengths to come forth and establish themselves. Creativity, detachment, acceptance and presence of mind – all these qualities, amongst others, presented themselves at times when they were needed the most, unbelievable to onlookers even. The year went on to heal the fracture, but it also deepened the wounds with emotional turmoil, mental unrest and a sense of disquiet that often saw me questioning my own spiritual allegiance. Thankfully, the year ended with hope and faith emerging strong and gracefully setting me back on the path that I had, through circumstances, strayed away from.

So…

This return to path, inevitably for me, also returns me to the 68″ x 24″ of space that is mine – the yoga mat.

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Cleared for practice, with some limitations, I spent the months since September 2017, courting doubt and befriending procrastination, succumbing to a truancy from yoga that reeked of fear and justified the absenteeism with much fervor to anyone who asked me about it – including myself.

I didn’t even include yoga, or any of its affiliated words in my 2018 goals.

I chose to just wait and see – or so I’d like to believe.

And yet, my faithful yoga mat, with humble grace and perseverance, stayed put right where I last left in – in a place that was visible to me every single day – undemanding yet urging it a way much like best friends who’ve lost touch, or perhaps even had a falling out, and have forgotten why.

Until a few days ago, I finally took that step to her, my yoga mat (yes, she’s a she) and made up.

The prodigal yogi had returned.

But in my story, I didn’t ask for a third of anything, I didn’t ask for results, I didn’t ask for a quick fix to lost time. I didn’t ask for anything, actually. So we just picked up where we left off.

And that was enough.

I went through the practices I had often taught my students – the centering, the intention, the breath, the asana… and slowly fear and doubt crept in.

Insidiously, those questions attempted to seduce me away.

“Can you do this? Should you be doing this?”

I wasn’t sure. I was pretty much tempted to wait till September 2018 (doctor’s visit to schedule the next surgery for the implant removal) or a blurry intention to take a doctor’s opinion on indistinct asanas.

It didn’t take long for the realization to hit me – I was doing what I had trained myself to do over the many, many years of living in my cocoon of safety. I was allowing myself to be lured to a space of pseudo safety to avoid challenging the presumptions of harm, injury and hurt that could possibly cause me pain.

What’s the worst that could happen? I’d feel sore, have some pain, not be able to get into the asana as I’d left it months ago?

So???

So… I practiced what I preached.

I showed up.

I followed the moves and cues that came like second nature. I paid attention to alignments that were new to me. I discovered that I was working with an entirely new body! I tensed at attempting my Suryanamaskara. I marveled at coming down in Ashtanganamaskar, yet noticed my grief at being unable to take my leg back in Ashwasanchalana. I was kind to my right ankle that cried in Veerabhadrasana and grateful for its amazing strength in Vrikshasana. I paid attention to those little crunches in my ankle that reminded me of nuts and bolts instead of bone and sinew and asked them permission to explore this new territory. Natarajasana that was available on the left side but urged me to move to the wall into Saral Natarajasana for the right. Hamstrings were tight in Downward Facing Dog, but my spine that was supple in Sphinx and Bhujanga. The energy of Kaliasana strengthening my legs and conviction to face obstacles and the grounding into Ekapada Rajakapota that allowed me hope that all is not lost.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. It did (a bit). It was scary. I often tell my students that we don’t have X-ray machines or vision to see what’s happening inside our bodies, but we do have sense and awareness. So I used that – and fell back on what I knew I had to do.

I listened to my body… and I stayed with it. It was a new body, a newer practice and I loved it enough to respect its limitations.

Without a grudge and devoid of judgment, the mat and the practice welcomed me back into my space – like a childhood bedroom that has been aired and kept ready for my return. No questions asked, just acceptance, compassion and space – to show up and move on.

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Dust yourself off….

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There are a couple of things that led me to where I am today… well, more than a couple.. but let’s start with a couple. I don’t think I’ll spell them out here, but for the majority of them, they all seem similar. Most of them were shorter-lived, but the last growth-spurt lasted the longest.

The easiest and most damaging way to explain would be, “I failed… yet again”. I’ve seen myself letting go – free falling until the next net caught me. Then I’d find myself lazing on the hammock… net.. whatever … for a while… and bounce upwards.. usually propelled by some guilt. Success would follow… I’d ride the wave at its peak and then slowly float downwards again.

And it’s one of the patterns that got me to where I am today.

Only thing is, this time, I was aware that I was aware…. does that make sense? Maybe.. maybe not.. It may seem like a pathetic excuse.. but for me, it’s a shift in how I make excuses.

Truth is, I fell… I was human, I fell.. I make a mistake, that soon followed  to be a series of mistakes, correction – poor choices, many were conscious choices, but most were consciously unconscious ones… you know the one where you think you’re taking a calculated risk, but actually, you’re giving in to a weakness that seems to have a grip over you? That’s the one I’m talking about. I knew the consequences, I know the pain, yet.. something, somewhere wasn’t connecting the dots.

Spending some moments with my thoughts before drifting off to bed, I was thinking, what would really drive me to make a permanent change? And nothing qualified for the top spot… Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Maybe it was a temporary funk, maybe it a collective set of hormones (mine + pre-teen + teen in the same household qualifies for a hormone buzz), maybe it just is the muscle relaxant that’s fogging my thoughts, who knows?

So I’ll do the one thing that I know I am good at doing – dust myself off & start again.

Who’s to judge? Who’s to blame? No one…  So I step on the line, and walk… one step at a time – one foot in front of the other.. This time, hopefully, the path is longer… much longer.. because everytime the one  thing  I hold on to is the hope of making it longer than the last time…

Image credits: youtube lyrics by Aaliyah

Testing the waters

An injury is never a nice thing to experience. An injury, for a yogi, takes things one notch deeper – now, we’re talking on way too many levels.. and boy, does that ego pulsate with the bruise! I mean, there’s nothing wrong in getting hurt, of course, there isn’t! But, in my case, I went through a couple of days of disbelief – How could I do something like that? After everything I’ve been through? After knowing the agony of immobility so up-close & personal, how could I consciously disregard & snuffle out that little voice of reason that was begging me to NOT join the tug-of-war?

Tug-of-war, yes. (still feeling a bit of shame-facedness), but chin-up & onwards… Easy to say when the injury is taking this long to heal! 3 weeks already – 1 week  stuck in bed, unable to move, 20 mins roughly to push (or get pulled) out of bed, another 2 weeks of  practiced straightening up, get those core muscles working, suck my navel in, straighten the back, and many days in the company of the hot water bag (and some ice occasionally). Today, I can stand, I can walk, jiggle my  hips a bit (when I’m feeling a bit naughty), but still cautiously avoiding any sudden jerks & twists.

And that’s where the yogi’s journey takes a rap on the knuckles. The ego , justifiably, bruised. Where was my ‘conscious awareness’? Pfft! The hypocrisy (?) of a yoga teacher? Ouch! That stung – quite deep.

So last week, I took a few hours to pause & introspect. Basically, I just sat with my thoughts. What was I doing? Clearly, not much. I was gingerly stepping one foot in front of the other,  being over cautious and, well, being over cautious… and scared.. and still looking at my yoga mat in a guilty, sheepish, chastised sorta way. My practice, my composure, my philosophy.. everything was taking a rattling.

Slowly, I took one peek out of my shell and remembered the one mantra that had kept me going back in 2009 – ‘It’s bad, but it could’ve been worse.’.. closely followed by my one single rule of life that Deepak Chopra taught us, ‘Make your Karma your Dharma’.

The funny thing is, when you’re in pain, the sheer agony of it makes you forget all these valuable lessons that give you the ‘a-ha!’ moments. And you have to take time to pause & urge these great thoughts to resurface & make life work again.

And Dharma it is that brought me back to my confessions page. You see, my back has been my ‘bone of contention’ for many years now. My back has held me back from things and at the same time, often given me driving purpose to BE who I truly want to BE. So, once again, my back has drawn me back to regroup, recompose and use as a guided gauge to slowly, surely and steadily re-tread my yoga path.

Now all this comes after waking up at 1:45 this morning, feeling utterly gutted. The past few weeks involved mobilization exercises on the bed – some things being hard even on an orthopedic mattress, others being relatively easy. I still could see my trusty yoga mat in my mind’s eye, patiently waiting for me everyday. Unable to go back to sleep, my mind was abuzz with all sorts of thoughts – grand motivated ideas interspersed with doubtful, nagging ones – practically all of them attached to an undertone of “What if I can’t do what I could do before?” “What if I can’t do what I used to teach?”

By 2.45 am, I was done with all these dodgy ideas .. there was only ONE way to find out what I could & could not do….  and that was by unrolling my mat and getting on to it.

And so, this morning, 11am, that is exactly what I did.

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I rolled out my mat and stepped on it and then… I took 5 whole minutes to soothe my pounding heart. I wasn’t doing to jump into a 70 minute routine. I wasn’t going to get into my marichaya or kakasana or, heck! Not even a chakrasana… I was going to do what I felt like doing.

The first suryanamaskar, in itself, had me trembling with a constant barrage of ‘dont bend back too much’ & ‘go easy on the forward fold’. I was humbled to find myself fumbling again – a distant memory of a beginner yogi.

By the second round, I regained some lost ground.

Gently moving to the warrior series, I accepted that my hurt side was still cringing, so I modified the pose to an easier level and mean-ed it over on the other side.

I knew my body was desperate to test out the Natarajasana and this time, my hindsight-led voice-of-reason reminded me to  take it easy… so I slowly tested it with an easier alternative. … and hey! It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be!

And then, came the biggest challenge – bridge pose. Seemingly the easiest, most beneficial, I was simply unable to lift my hips on my bed during my 2am guilt trip trial. So I decided to give it a go.

It was  the moment where I would have an experience to seal the next many weeks of rehabilitation. Deep breath in, squeeze glutes,  tighten the core and .. lift….

And I lifted.. a little wince, but VERY close to where I was before.

And there I was….   the yogi redeemed… the yogi, whose faith in the system and her own self had been restored. This would work… It never is as bad as it seems. It’s always worse in your head than on the mat… and my mat, well, it was there for me… allowing me to make my karma, my dharma!

As I’m here busy blogging this experience, I can safely say, the on-the-mat mobilization helped a great deal. I feel happier, I feel restored, I feel back on track, on purpose…. and above all…. I feel like a yogi.

Image courtesy: http://www.printinghub.org

I accept myself… wait, What?

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this morning…

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Photo Credit: Meg Gaiger (Harpyimages)

It bothered me…. a lot…. I decided to ignore it, hide it from my feed, do whatever, but then I realized that the reason I was so upset was not because it was a child in the picture playing with scissors and the obvious reference to trying to be someone else (that the media is highlighting as preferred!)…. No, not because of that… because I saw someone I knew in that picture..

I know someone who would have done something like that if that special blessing of ‘cowardice’ laced with ‘common sense’ hadn’t yelled loud enough. Yes, I know that person very, VERY well.. I know when she looked at herself growing up, totally unaware of the appreciative glances, but only saw flaws, too much skin, too much bone, too much hair, too much fat, too much of the ‘bad’ stuff, too little of the ‘good’ or ‘preferred’ stuff.

I know when her loved ones were helping with strategies on camouflaging what is unacceptable in society and making do with what would probably be a better alternative to present oneself in a mask. Sometimes, it looks so unnecessary, but with flawed body-image, it becomes a chronic, regressive pattern of self-sabotage and reducing self-worth.

I know… because once upon a time, this was me. My story. No, it wasn’t as bad as taking those gardening shears and getting to work.. and neither did it manifest in some form of eating disorder –  it didn’t. But it DID affect me on a more deeper and darker level and ambushed me whenever I least expected it to whenever I found myself in a position stuck with the ugly, emotions of self-worth, adaptability and independence.

So why is this image stirring a need for conversation on The Curvy Yogi’s page? Everything! Because … the karma is now my dharma. I appreciate the role that media plays and I very strongly support the role of stronger women (and men) to promote their children to go beyond what a 100 year old media plan is portraying and look deeper.

And it calls for truly and wholly accepting ourselves. It is not easy – I’ll tell you that. We are our worst critics. I still joke with friends that I’m available to donate fat if the option arose.. we all laugh, but a part of me prays that science came up with that advancement – in a safe and secure procedure, of course. I have been through moments of gloom when I thought of taking the easy way out  – liposuction, abdominoplasty, some other nips & tucks… and then remember that although I don’t frown upon those who chose to, I really am not quite into cosmetic procedures anyway…

But my point here is.. we’re not clay models who can easily be pushed into various shapes and take form – we aren’t! We’re human beings. Yes, we may have made some choices in life, poor ones even, that have left us to where our bodies are today…. or, maybe we are just born this way.. Either way, every moment of today, I have a choice – a choice to either take the darned short cut & nip, tuck & conform to what commercial sizing charts wants me to fit into…

Or… I take one baby step at a time.. and learn… forget… and re-learn again and again that it’s OK to love myself… that it’s OK to accept myself, wholly and completely .. with all my rolls, scars, stretch marks, etc… with all my flaws and imperfections – that if there is ONE person’s criteria that I need to conform to , then that one person is me  & myself… No one else… not now, not tomorrow…….

And to the little girl in the picture that spoke a thousand words and more to me, thank you.. for reminding me where I wanted to be… but to all the little girls out there, give the scissors to an adult honey… go out & play.. enjoy the sunshine, chase butterflies & rainbows, dream big, dream small, laugh, make friends, fall in love, fall out of love, live…

And… Wait, What?? Yes!!! Just remember to accept yourself…

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