Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Yes, Ma'am, I AM

Are you more healthy than you were a month ago?  

This question met me this morning, as I stood awaiting the water to heat for the pourover I enjoy most mornings. (My nod to ‘going half-caf,’though I sip it most of the day, so probably still a good cup each day.) I DO believe I AM healthier these 30 days later, but in what ways am I noticing? I felt the question arise again, finishing a gauntlet of ropeless double-unders and Fran burpees, I decided to re-install my Wholly Grounds coffee shop ‘gift to myself’ after my workout. Here at my dining room table, with my re-heated half-caf coffee then… (gently inviting, if still not the same as the Wholly Grounds shop I hope survives this time…)

I know I am more fit than I was a month ago, though I don’t have the InBody numbers to confirm what I know. I am staying close to my 8 a.m. WKO practice with CrossFit peeps, while listening more fully to my own body too. I rarely take note of anyone on the screen—too busy tending to my own movement and out-of-breath-ness—but it helps me anyway, knowing they are there, doing the wko too. I leave my downstairs workout space feeling anchored, grounded, for the day. 

Some "additions" to my fitness routines suggest to me “more fit”: some additional short runs for me, and walking to the Preserve most days with Brian and Nala—down a huge hill, into the paved loop (usually), then back up the huge hill. I’ll guess it’s a little over two miles/day. 

We don’t have a scale anymore—or at least we can’t find where I stashed the one we had, which I don’t remember throwing away. 😬 But my jeans are fitting differently, more loosely. Even the smallest size I have. I finally put the larger sizes into storage, with the future idea of donating to GoodWill. Perhaps not wise in the Era of the Virus, or EotV, as I’ll say. It is on my list to purge my closet today, placing into storage clothes I simply don’t wear anymore, whether for bodyshape or simply professional-need-decline. I’m feeling the need to clear out the energies of the old, methinks.

My eating rhythms have changed a little, but even that set of intentions seems refined and healthier for the era. My appetite waxes and wanes more than I was aware of before. Not sure if that is the change in appetite or simply my own awareness of it, with less automobile-mobility and distraction than I am accustomed to. I’m enjoying food less, but my diet hasn’t changed a LOT in the stress of the quarantine. Brian and I had already differentiated in my DH journey, really by late fall, so that hasn’t felt too hard. Blessedly. He is the grocery shopper (we actually think he’s already had COVID-19, mid-February), and I know he gets frustrated with my fresh vegetables and high protein preferences. I tend the ‘stockpile’ to make sure we eat all we buy, in time, before it spoils. I am sure to express my own gratitude for the efforts he makes on behalf of my body’s best path.

I do know I’m drinking more alcohol than I did in the workaday life I used to have. Work meetings at least twice a week, more like 3-4 nights, prevented being home or tempted into cocktail hour (which I often lay at Brian’s feet, in some blame, but I do enjoy it too :)). Being in quarantine has forced me—or shall we say 'invited me'?—to define more consciously, in communication, what my rhythms need to be for me. I’ve set up an intention, in the home, with Brian’s awareness for me but not him: an every third day option for enjoying cocktail hour, low-carb versions preferred. That means about twice a week if I take the option, three times when the days fall on Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. Sometimes I actually do refuse the 'option,’ as my body just seems happier with seltzer even though it doesn't relax my mind the same way. And then there are the days when a bit of rye over ice is nice to sip. Or pear-infused vodka in a seltzer, over ice. Tasty. 

Easter feasting was a bit out of the normal, but it was Easter and I love feasting in moderation. Lemon bread is simply yummy goodness that I take delight in baking and eating. All of it. Following up with a high protein-veggie breakfast, an afternoon of hot-lemon water and an evening of fasting allows my body to recover in some feeling-good ways. To be expected, my body’s appetite was HUGE yesterday, after the evening of fasting. Today is back to normal. I’m reminded how I dislike the ups and downs of the sugar crave patterns, and the sweet-tooth ‘recovery time’ after a feast weekend is easily met with herbal tea. Decaf chai is even too sweet, but helps reset that pattern/expectation for me. I can allow whatever I’m feeling to land in my body, apart from most emotional-food-eating I know all too well. 

I am also healthier than a month ago, internally, in my capacities to be-with, to receive and allow discomfort, dis-ease, sadness and more. My relationship to loss and grief is changing. Even anxiety and fear. What am I grieving today? has become a question I sit with a couple times a day, regardless of what I'm aware of feeling. I used to assess my feelings and try to respond/allow them. But grief simply accompanies me/us today. Of course, as I become aware of a particular loss—contact with friends, the feel of my life 'out there’ or seeing the countryside as I travel between Columbus and Dayton and Cincinnati, being at a coffee shop for some quiet writing time—I bow to it and honor it as part of this day. Underneath each grief is a beautiful thing about this life, after all. This morning, I felt the absence of a couple CF peeps particularly, so I honored that. Reached out a bit. It’s not the same, but I feel the grief because the connection is so important to me, cherished. I get to experience more connection than many get to...and I love that. We lost the first member of our congregational family two days ago, COVID-19. I learned a colleague’s mother died yesterday, same symptoms though untested. Each hits a deep belly sadness and an honoring of loss. Life would be less rich if I didn’t feel the sadness so deeply. So I welcome Ms. Grief in her stiff formal clothing and prim-and-proper funeral attire. I ask her to sit at my dining room table with me. I smile at her and befriend what she brings. I still wish I had a different companion, of course, but...she’s not as foreboding or impolite as I once feared.

Am I healthier than I was a month ago? Yes. In many ways… For me, my physical health is a boon for this time of quarantine--it is my best 'defense' and I am pleased with how I'm tending it. But health also means for me...being more attuned to the deep belly fears of those dear to me—to quote a friend—and simply being-with, feeling powerless except for the one thing in front of me to do. And, of course, staying with the physical activity, staying-conscious choices, and intentional actions of celebration and delight. 

A walk in the Preserve is coming, even with the chill, and a bit of a toast to this journey inward...beverage yet to be determined. 😜

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