It feels weird to begin a story about intention talking about death, but I’m pretty sure most of our community knows my mamma died very suddenly in October. I can honestly say I really didn’t know death until it knocked on my personal dressing room door that Tuesday morning.
To say everything shifted, tilted, and has been off-center for the last three-month begins to describe how I’ve felt, but only in a scratch-the-surface kinda way. There’s been a lot of messy middle, crying, lunching, movies, comfort food, and time with my siblings. And in all that looking for a new normal without my mamma I kinda let go of some practices and rituals that really work for me.
So, by mid-November my body was screaming from very little movement. I just so happened to come across a 28-day yoga practice challenge that looked simple and short enough for me to start where I was and do what I could. I felt compelled to mark on my calendar each time I got my mat out and went thru the sequence. I felt proud of my intention to do something small and loving, and let that be enough for a day. I felt looser, grateful for a body that could move and stretch and heal. Plus, my back stopped hurting so badly. I practiced loving myself when I skipped, and I got to play around with my morning routine to find time to care for myself first thing every day.
Y’all – it was small shift, a tiny tweak to my ordinary mornings. But/And it got the momentum going for intentionally caring for myself in a life that felt tilted and wrecked. By intentionally meeting myself on the mat as many days as I could, I bumped into gratitude for my legs and arms and back, and how they can still hold me up and help me throughout my days, no matter how sad, lonely, or hurt I am feeling. The practice reminded me that I always have a choice to love me. To cherish me, to put myself first so I can care well for those I live with.
So with gentle loving movement being practiced, I started recognizing that I still felt at odds with my body. I just did not feel good; bloated, foggy, forgetful, and it felt primarily physical. It just so happened that I was feeling all this in the middle of the holidays, also known as the great Season of Eating, Cheesy Snacks, and Over-Indulgence.
My intention began with becoming aware and telling the truth about how my body really felt, eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Since I have an autoimmune disease, I knew this was skating on thin ice. I also knew that suddenly depriving myself and jumping head first into deprivation mode was would be forcing an unsustainable solution. Like the proverbial beach ball under water. For about a week I carried around awareness of what wasn’t working, and also began looking for new ways to start playing with letting go of those things that don’t work for me (grains and dairy). My overall intention was to do all this without feeling deprived.
I started with where I was, on a cold snowy saturday at my dad’s house. Looking thru a cookbook my mamma had marked up and found a recipe for some easy grain free/dairy free muffins. Turns out my intention is muffin sized. Because I thought if I was gonna go to the grocery to grab the necessary blueberries and lemons, I might as well sketch out three dinner ideas that I would enjoy trying too.
The muffins were delish – and cooking different meals last week brought me back to a place of play and creativity in the kitchen I had been missing for months. Also, because I was doing what I could – only three dinners – I didn’t get all bent out of shape when not every single recipe rocked.
I am learning that honestly starting where I am, brings me into connection with my intention. Combining intention with the spark of desire, and a hefty sprinkle of creativity, brings momentum. This feels like a good place to call my new normal.
With Love, from Liberty Bain