“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees, for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” – from Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You may have noticed we haven’t posted about our fitness challenge in a couple of weeks, and if you suspected it’s because there has been slacking a-foot, you were right.
I can’t speak for Jen, but I’ve been doing some thinking that hasn’t jibed well with forcing myself to follow a certain workout plan.
See, I’m generally really good at making myself do things; I can call upon my reserves of discipline and power through things – early morning runs, a hard workout even when my muscles are sore, that sort of thing. It’s that discipline that allowed me to lose all that weight years ago, and so it’s familiar to just live in my head and make my body do things, no matter how it feels.
But you know? I’m not really sure that’s the way to go right now. I’m tired. My body is tired. I don’t feel rejuvenated by exercise right now, just worn down even more. I feel like my body is craving gentle walks and lots of yoga and stretching, and, more than anything, kindness.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to try to get back to intuitive eating, and a blogger I really admire recommended a book: Eating with Fierce Kindness (doesn’t the title alone make you want to read it?).
Anyway, I’ve been slowly making my way through it (slowly because there’s a lot of self-examination to be done and I want to bring my full attention to the process) and honestly, it’s challenging me. I don’t often treat myself with kindness, fierce or otherwise, but I think it’s time.
Right now, treating myself kindly means not so much treadmill-running in the 110° shop at 6 AM or regimented check-it-off-the-list workouts. I know at some point, I’ll crave intense exercise again, but at this moment in time, I need gentleness and part of truly taking care of myself means noticing that, and honoring it.
Tell me: what does self-kindness look like for you?