Tag Archives: challenge

30 Day Mind and Body Challenge Finale

22 Mar

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

So it wasn’t really yoga, officially, but I did go to a stretch class a couple nights ago that was very yoga-like.  And although the 30 day challenge officially ended 8 days ago, that was my little nod to the loveliness that it brought back into my life.

It was actually my first yoga class of the whole challenge.  Because of my mommy status and my discomfort with leaving my little one at the gym kid’s corner, it has been easier to do yoga at home this past 30(8) days.

This challenge went through so many phases for me, and I really found myself shifting focus three times throughout the whole month.  I petered out in my yoga practice after the first 10 days or so… and although I continued to stretch far more regularly than I had done before, it wasn’t true yoga, you know?

But then again, I guess I shouldn’t say that.  Because one of the things I’ve learned through this, is that yoga isn’t just a practice you do on the mat.  It’s a state of mind, and a way of being present that you practice in your life.

Either way… around the ten day mark, my family went on a trip to Half Moon Bay.  That trip triggered my shift into the self-love aspect of the challenge, which I had all but forgotten about in my focus on the yoga.  It was there that I remembered how to pause in my day.  To breathe, and consider… what I really wanted out of that moment.  What my body needed (food? rest? movement?), what my mind needed (a stimulating book? a tv show entertainment? the emptiness of just being, in front of a fire, with a cup of tea?), and what my baby needed… because it was just the two of us for long stretches of time.

I realized how much my days at home are filled with activity, without very much consideration for what I really want or need at the time.  I’m playing with Mason, or making sure he’s entertained while I’m doing something else… and then when he naps, I go to the internet out of reflex.  Do nothing terribly important most of the time, while I half-heartedly try and figure out what I wanted to do during that nap.  And by the time I figure out what it is, and rush to do it, Mason is starting to wake up again.  And over again we cycle.

Half Moon Bay was a great weekend, for all of us.  And upon returning home, although old habits die hard, I’ve been able to bring more awareness… more Attention to our days.  Which makes me a happier lady, and a more fully present mama and wife.  And when I fall back into habitual mindless activity… I’ve been able to identify it much quicker.

My last shift was another mind, body centered focus… but a surprise one.  A groupon deal prompted a friend and I to sign up for 30 days unlimited classes at The Bar Method.  It feels like an amazing cross between pilates and dance techniques.  And although it kicks my ass every time I go, I feel stronger and more capable in my body after every class.  And the mental lift, energy and sense of discipline it’s giving me are an amazing handful of side effects.

So clearly… i think this challenge was rad.  And although I was enjoying my life as it was unfolding prior to these 30(8) days… i’m so smitten with it now!

Soooo a huge thank you to Laura, who’s amazing blog led me to this challenge, to Betsy who dreamed it up, and to all the fantastically brave women who participated.

I know I posted this video in the last post on this challenge… but it’s just so gorgeous that I have to do it again.

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge – first week

22 Feb

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

I’ve been wanting to write a post since the second day into this challenge!  But life is busy, right?  I have had so many lovely moments in each of the past seven days, each so different from the one before.  Some days I’ve been full of energy and excited to spend an hour or more on my yoga mat, some days I’ve been so full and tired and felt relieved to be able to squeeze in my ten minutes right before I collapsed into bed.  And I’m almost shocked to say that I’ve actually done some amount of yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY so far.  I’m super proud of myself for keeping up with this commitment.  And thankful for all the ladies participating in this challenge, and keeping us all motivated with their supportive, kind, honest, and funny words.

The first few yoga sessions, I was reluctant to give up my time during Mason’s naps… so we did yoga together.  I had recently gotten a mommy & me yoga dvd through a book swap website that I LOVE, and had only tried it once before.  He would got tired halfway through the first time and needed to go down for a nap… but while he lasted, he seemed to love it, which was so fun.  He would watch my arms go up and down and side to side during stretches, he loved being right under me and I coo’ed at him during a swan dive, and he sat or stood on my belly while I did bridge pose.  Mark even joined in once we hit the weekend, and it was family yoga!  I was in heaven!  There were grunts and giggles, pauses for diaper changes and a lovely shavasana at the end with a quietly kicking babe lying between us.

Mark even found a couple netflix yoga videos and did them on his own on the weekend days I worked.  I was thrilled that this challenge was catching on in our home!

baby yoga

One of my most inventive yoga sessions was this past Friday.  The morning flew by, I worked the afternoon away, and then Mark and I drove down to a Ryan Adams concert (ps… AMAZING) in LA, getting back home around 1am.  I realized on the way to work, that there was no way I was going to want to do anything besides fall into bed when we got home from the concert, but I was on such a roll, I didn’t want to miss a day!

Get this… remembering a quote that Lauren Emily put up on the facebook page:

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” -Sharon Gannon

I tried to bring the intention that I experience in yoga, to my work.  A little easier in my case, since I work as a massage therapist.  But wow…

You know, I’ve been doing massage for about four years now, and while I do feel I am “present” for every massage that I do, I have to be honest in that I’m definitely not present for every moment in each massage.  After doing thousands of massages… it’s almost like driving home… some of it happens on auto pilot.

But I tried to stay very aware throughout the entire first massage and an hour into the second (before I had to take it down a notch and just focus on the massage because I felt like I had been in a two hour yoga class!).  I tuned into my client’s bodies, and the changes in their muscle tissue as I worked on them.  I tuned into my own body, and how I held it, my alignment, and how I was leveraging my balance and shifting my weight to apply the necessary pressure. And I was even able to throw in a few yoga poses as I massaged.  Which felt amazing to me, and seemed to bring more of a centeredness to the work.  I warrior’d my way down my client’s back.  I stood in tree pose while working on their neck.  I took dancer pose as I ran my knuckles up their leg.  It took concentration, but I feel like it made the massage better for both of us.  I even did a quick sun salutation while their feet rested in warm towels.  Yoga while doing massage… who knew!

Here are a couple yoga videos that I’ve found on youtube over the past week… And again, if anyone wants to play along, do click the banner at the beginning of this post and link up!  This challenge.  It’s amazing.

((This video was posted by Betsy on the facebook page.  Phew! Quite a workout!))

((This one I found by searching bedtime yoga, nice and gentle, a great wind down))

((This video was also posted by Betsy, and I dream of having my yoga practice have this much of a seamless, graceful, gorgeous flow))

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

15 Feb

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for these types of mini challenges.  When I saw this post by one of my favorite bloggers, it called my name and demanded I link up.

I’ve been a yoga lover for at least the past decade.  And as you can imagine, it’s hard to keep up on pretty much any commitments I had in my pre-baby life.  Such is life with a growing, bright-eyed, curious baby four-month old.  But I re-learn everyday just how important it is to make sure I’m taken care of as well.  A 30 day yoga commitment (to start with, at least), sounds like a great way to make sure I’m giving myself that attention.

What I loved most about this idea is Laura‘s response to one of her comments, “you should join us! even if its just for 10 minutes a day!”

And that very well be all I have some days!  But 10 minutes is better than no minutes!  I even have a new Mama & Baby yoga dvd I’ve been wanting to try out.

Play along if you feel the urge!  Click one of the buttons above to link up on one of the lovely founding ladies blogs.

Livin’ the Dream

12 Jan

I just came across Martha Metzler’s blog where, rather than  making New Year’s resolutions, she’s giving herself a new challenge each week.  And I decided to play along, when the mood strikes.  I’m just going to state right off the bat, that I give myself pull permission to just pop in on any of the weeks that jive with me.

Her first challenge is what hooked me… because rather than cataloging all the features and habits that we dislike about ourselves, turning them into aspects to overcome… she asked us to list 5 things we DON’T want to change about ourselves.  Even for the relatively confident… it’s hard to do!

Here are my five.

  1. I’m very open to new things.  New thoughts, ideas, perspectives… I love to hear other’s explain their own beliefs and opinions.  New places, flavors, activities and experiences.
  2. I’m a great beginner.  I love to learn and don’t mind asking questions or admitting when I don’t know something.
  3. I love to read.  And as much as I love blogs and ebooks… I will always love holding a book in my hands.
  4. I’m creative.  I enjoy making things, and I make some pretty dang cool things.
  5. I’m a good listener.
It is… um… nourishing… to think of the things that I appreciate about myself.  Rather than the ones I’d like to change, or work on.  Thanks for this fantastic idea, Martha.
As a last aspect of that first week’s challenge, she asks us to post a photo that we don’t analyze or critique of ourselves.
Most of the photos taken of me in the last few months have not been taken alone.  So here is one of me and my little one.

Baby & Me

this post inspired by:


Deep breath and…. Artist’s Way – Week Two

7 Nov

         Yes, I just realized I’ve taken about a month and a half hiatus from my poor little blog.  And while my Artist’s Way update may not be the most fascinating thing to read… it’s the only way I really have of keeping myself accountable to the project that I’ve long since slacked on.
         I don’t know what it is about this book, and why it’s so difficult for me to get through.  Week 2 could more accurately be called Week 2 over the course of seven actual weeks… but here I am. Actually ready to move on to week three despite some very confusing and irritating hesitation and near anxiety over the idea.

         Now I most definitely did not do my morning pages every morning.  I could blame it on the busy month of October, which it was… and I could blame it on the unpredictability of my work schedule, which it is… but really, if I don’t write immediately upon waking up, before leaving my bedroom… then there’s a very slim chance that I will write them at all (Although the thought of them will loom over me all day).  So while my writing has been spotty, and even though I hate it half of the time when I am in the middle of it, I really truly can breathe better when I am writing them on a regular basis, so I’m putting more effort into making this a habit.  I’ve actually noticed that the times when I stop writing so often… are generally the times when I’m trying to avoid acknowledging a feeling.. or seeing the truth behind a thought that I’m trying to claim is something else.  Morning pages are like a conversation with myself I guess.  It’s hard to write a sentence that isn’t entirely accurate without being immediately aware of it.

         The exercises this week though, are always some of my favorite and I finish them quickly when I actually sit down to do them.  The time exercise always kills me, but always prompts me to make some immediate changes.  In fact, maybe I should do that one on a monthly basis, just to check-in.  I had to sketch out a break-down of the 5 activities I spend the most time on.  I spend an unnecessary amount of time sleeping… and while I’ve gotten better at not spending hours upon hours tooling around on the internet, I’ve replaced that with watching old episodes of either the Office, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Glee (no judgment please).  So, several weeks ago, I started limiting my time spent on both those activities, but I’ve since slipped a bit…

I listed ten tiny changes I’d like to make and I did make one of them.

I drew a little life pie, as she calls it, and rated my satisfaction in various areas of my life.  While I’m feeling fabulously about the Romance & Adventure, Friends, Work and Spirituality areas of my life… the unsurprising appearance of Exercise on the low satisfaction scale and the more suprising Play area are suffering.

One thing I thought was interesting… kind of sad… and perhaps explains the unsatisfactory rating of the existence of “Play” in my life was the last exercise that I did.  List 20 things I enjoy doing.  Easy, breezy, right?  Except it took me a while… I didn’t just bang out twenty things like i expected to.. I got stuck a few times and had to sit and think… and think… and think… That made me feel a little underexpended in the fun department.  When did this happen?!  I don’t know if it’s because things start to get so busy that even the fun things don’t always register as play? So I picked one, “reading for fun”, and started doing much more of that.  Not monumental, but a first step.

20 Things

So that’s that. Week two finished. It was called recovering your identity… but I think it was more of a navigational status report. A look at where you are, what you do with your time and what you’d prefer to be doing with it. Interesting results, to say the least.

AND…. This will be my first time every starting Week Three! I’m kind of excited. And for the record, I did do a couple versions of artist dates over the past seven weeks.  Here’s a couple photos of them.

Carpinteria Beach
A morning at the Carpinteria Beach

Painting Workshop
Painting workshop in Oakland

Reading under the trees in Alameda Park

Confessions of an Over-Caffeinated Brain

28 Sep

SkyI’ve been wanting to write, and the problem has been that there are so many things I’ve been wanting to write about that I fear they will exit the flood gates in a woefully unorganized fashion. I’ve spent most of the morning writing through various thoughts to be placed elsewhere, and caffeinating myself from an espresso machine that dispenses perfectly formed cups of coffee in the push of a button. I can never own one of these. I have enough energy to race around the building after two cups.

That aside, I have an hour before I have to leave for work, and in that hour I really want to write about the unknown.  Fear of the unknown, conversation with the unknown, and contentedness with the unknown.  And I’m giving myself permission to write about these things, despite how little I have actually engaged in dialogue with them, because how else do you familiarize yourself with something besides entering into conversation about it.  For me, for now, that means writing.

I think so many people have heard of that quote by Rilke,

I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer…

I bought that quote on a magnet earlier this year when I was going through an incredibly difficult and foreign experience.  I bought it because I knew that I had no answers or explanations for what had just happened in my life, and that it was so new that it would take me a while to wade through the unknown, and I wanted to remember to sit with those things.

Now I’ve not always remembered to sit with those things.  I’ve gotten frustrated to the point of tears over the lack of answers I’ve been able to provide for myself.  I’ve been so disgusted with my inability to neatly categorize my experiences that I’ve tried to detach from them, only to have them erupt in very misplaced areas.  Of course I’ve had those times where I’ve slowed down, let feelings ebb and flow, let the unknown simply be the unknown… but those times have taken work.  Constant reminders and monitoring.  It’s been part of my challenge to myself over the past week… to take those necessary first steps but at the same time to ease off on myself.  To stop demanding that so much of my time and efforts and evolution be constantly producing efficient results.  To stop insisting that I always be able to chart my progress, and instead, to let my life shape itself through those first courageous steps.

I’ve been ever so slowly discovering that the reason I’ve had such a hard time taking those first steps into the unknown is because so far, I’ve refused to acknowledge that somewhere along the way I became a bit terrified of the unknown.  A thing I’ve always appreciated about myself is my comfort with change.  The excitement I find in changing living arrangements, going to new places, exploring new vocations, learning new things and resting in the comfort that things will work themselves out.  If something doesn’t go as I’d planned, an opportunity will always present itself.  This is how my life has always gone.  So it’s been really hard for me to recognize that this relationship that I had with the unknown had changed from happy-go-lucky acceptance, to tight-fisted refusal to move forward without some kind of predictable outcome.

But my attachment to that fact that I held dear about myself has not prepared me for this truth… that I have become intimidated by those unknowns.  That recently I’m tending more towards seeing the possible failures and heartbreaks and humiliations in them rather than anticipating a world of potentialities.  And holding on desperately to my former disposition of jumping into the thrill of the new is keeping me from offering up to myself those small bits of support and comfort that might give me the courage to walk more slowly towards those potentials.  And maybe that means taking small steps through the unmapped landscape that results from loss.  Making slow-paced venture, and allowing myself some excitement over growing possibilities for the future.  And most especially, acknowledging that maybe all those things I’ve been afraid of and worrying over and have kept me immobile are of my own making.  And that I really am strong enough and deep enough to pull out all the necessary love and forgiveness and curiosity that I need in order to keep taking steps forward.

Phew. Now there’s a lovely thought.

21 Days. A week later…

19 Sep

21 Days

So.  It is almost a week to the day since I got a text message from Miss Kimberly Gill saying, Would you be willing to commit to 21 days of moving outside of your comfort zone with me?

Now, those who know my friend Kim understand why this text did not cause me the least bit of surprise.   A handful of clarifying questions, a sunset and a sunrise later, a post showed up on her blog, followed by an email to friends and family.   Yes, she was presenting a challenge to herself and those willing to join, to spend 21 days to doing things that she wished to, but normally wouldn’t for fear of being uncomfortable.

This sounded like a fantastic idea to me!  I love to play these kinds of games, like little dares to myself.

So I added my affirmative comment to her post, read over the others, and set about with a pen and paper to figure out what my plan of attack would be.

I started listing things that I had really been wanting to do but hadn’t because they’ve felt too silly, scary or otherwise have made me squirm at the thought.  As my list grew, panic began to set in at the thought of tackling all of the things that I’d been putting off for weeks, months, some for a few years!   That panic proceeded to plague me for the entire week.  Lovely, hmm?

Enter David Whyte

He reads this poem on an audiobook I downloaded:


Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.

Start with your own question,
give up on other people’s questions,
don’t let them smother something simple.

To find another’s voice
follow your own voice,
wait until that voice
becomes a private ear
listening to another.

Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don’t follow someone else’s heroics,
be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

~ David Whyte ~

Start close in.  Don’t take the second step.  Or the third.  Start with the first thing.  Close in.  The step you don’t want to take.

So I reconsider… and I remember an email I got this week from the Inner Mean Girl brigade.   It was about ditching expectations.   Lightening up on an unattainable quest for perfection and underpromising instead of overpromising.

Start close in.

I think about the 21 day challenge again.   I know that I have a couple of security blankets, ie. things that keep me cocooned inside of my comfort zone.   Mainly they are: sleeping far later than necessary and extreme internet usage.   Both of these things eat up time in my day like no other, and set me off in a cranky mood because of that time I feel like I’ve wasted.

So.   In an attempt to broaden my chances for exiting my comfort zone… I’m going to start with curbing those things first.   AND in an attempt to wig out my inner perfectionist, I’m not going to overpromise.  I’m not going to lay out my master plan with my list of 21 things and my do’s and don’ts for the next 21 days.   I’m going to start with those first things, and let the rest unfold.   That’s what this 21 days will be about for me.  Starting now.


The Artist’s Way – Week One

19 Sep

         I have tried to do the Artist’s Way dozens of time for about the past three and a half years.  I’ve tried to do it solo and I’ve recruited friends… I have yet to make it past the second week.  The morning pages are something I’ve managed to keep, however sporadically, and remain one of my little source of sanity.
         So here I am, once again, at the beginning of the twelve weeks.  Mary and Megan! I’m keeping an eye out for your posts!

Week One.
         I actually do not like this chapter one bit. The reading is interesting, but the exercises… the monster hall of fame and writing a letter in my defense are not in any way appealing to me.  Nor is drawing a villanizing picture of one of my past jerks.  I know that she says that the things you resist are supposed to be the ones that are really cathartic for you… but really, I just can’t think of people in my history who have been particularly discouraging to any budding creativity.  You know, besides myself. If I reach… I could say a couple art teachers.  Only because if you turn work in late,  and my work was always late, it gets completely discounted. Other than that, I’m at a loss.
         The Champions were a cinch, two of my lovely college professors and a former boss. And actually, they stand out to me more so because they were supportive and encouraging of me as a person, in creative endeavors as well as most other things.
And of course… who doesn’t love the imagining 5 different lives exercise?! Always one of my favorites. (btw I was a writer, a professional dancer, a model, a teacher and a full-time mom. I want to know what you were!)

         My artist’s date… I always feel like I have to pack a bunch of really amazing things into a couple of hours… but I tried to start “feeding the well” slowly this time.  So, I spent an hour in an art store. Art Essentials is conveniently located two doors down from one of my jobs. I didn’t buy anything… I just looked, and touched, and read descriptions of tools I didn’t recognize, and entertained a variety of potential projects in my head as I walked through the aisles.  Simple, yes. But I had a blast. I didn’t even realize an hour had passed until I was out.  I flipped through books, looked at the phases of painting sunsets, different drawing techniques, metal art pieces and suggested camera angles.  I picked out the kinds of portfolios I would want to have, should I ever have a need to fill a portfolio.  I looked at dye, clay, woodworking tools, walnut oil based paint, canvases, composition books, and rows and rows of gorgeous papers and textures.  Did I mention I had a blast? And of course, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos with my phone too (at the top)… literally a feast for the eyes, hands and imagination.

         As for my morning pages. I did miss one day. But I decided to go easy on myself because I’ve been pretty damn good with them otherwise.  I even got so caught up in complaining one morning… that I went straight through to the fourth page.  Is that something to brag about?

Okay girls, passing the torch! And I’m far more excited for Week Two’s exercises.

Built up thoughts that pour out at midnight

8 Sep


you said exactly what you’re feeling right now?
you let your no be no and didn’t back down when someone pushed back?
you let yourself say yes to something that delights you even if it appears foolish or impractical?
you stand by your intuition and decide it’s okay not to explain or apologize for your wordless wisdom?
you ask for what you need and don’t wait for someone to offer or understand?
you allow yourself time to let go of the struggle and do nothing at all?
you stop doing that thing you do just because someone expects it?
you take things at face value and decide there is no reason to walk on eggshells after all?
you assume that underneath everything is NOT something dark and dangerous or scary but something more like goodness and love?

what if you assumed that compassion for yourself is a powerful way forward? that being gentle with who you are right now is a kindness that spares the world a certain kind of suffering?

what if you could let yourself imagine being held in a divine embrace?

sitting in my room tonight, holding the what ifs, wondering if you are, too. sweet dreams, dear friends. i’m thinking of you.
-Jen Lemen

That felt like a direct challenge to me. So here is exactly what I’m feeling right now, however unperfected.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A LOT. About so many things. And at so many points, I’ve also thought, I should write that out… Writing it out helps me to figure it out along the way, expands my own consideration of it.  But as soon as I evolve one notion, another flicker starts to attract me in a different direction.  For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships. What makes them strong and lasting, nourishing to each other… what causes them to deteriorate or transform into a sustained energy suck. And going down this thought path keeps leading me back to myself over and over again.  To consider the ways I relate to others and the ways I relate to myself.  The thoughts and habits that keeps me alive and strong and enchanted with the world, and the ones that cause me to feel like I’m withdrawing from it.
I listened to this talk yesterday, with a man named Mike Robbins. Right before he and his wife had their first child, he had a mentor that told him that he had two main jobs when it came to his new daughter. The first was all about teaching her how to get by in the world. Things like tying her shoes, blowing her nose, crossing the street safely, and all of that stuff. Then he says, “But the second job you have is the most important. And it’s harder. You gotta teach her how to love herself.” And Mike says, ok… how do I do that? And his teacher says, “Well you love yourself. And you let her see that.”
It’s got me thinking about how many things that is true about… how much more of an impact something has when you can witness someone living it.  How much more you can reach out when you have your own reserve to reach from.  My friend Megan just wrote a post about an exercise she did.  Imagining herself at her own funeral, standing in front of all the people most important to her in her life… what one, brief message would she want to give them all.  She chose, “Love one another.”  I think that’s beautiful. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a Storypeople quote that says, “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again.  That’s what takes a real hero.” I agree with that. But I’d add to it.  Try waking up every morning & loving yourself all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.  Love yourself ((be patient with yourself, don’t demand immediate perfection of yourself, encourage yourself, listen to yourself))… so you can love one another.
So, ever so slowly… I’m holding up pieces of myself up to the sun… inspecting them to see which beliefs and habits still hold any sparkle for me and which have dulled without my realizing it.  There’s times when it’s an overwhelming process. When I feel like I need to show some kind of tangible measurement of my progress in order to know that my days are being well-spent. But I’m finding that this kind of work doesn’t respond like that.. and trying to remind myself to be gentle.
I feel like I’ve had so many lightbulbs go on at such a rapid pace in the past several weeks that I almost haven’t had time to catalog them all… which is what I’ve been feeling like I have to do. I had been trying to put a finger on why and I came across a few lines in another blog that sparked some recognition in me… “Just as surely as my outer geography has changed, so too has what’s inside. I’m in need of new inner maps; the old ones don’t seem to be of much use here. They no longer match the terrain.” (Kate’s Ordinarium)  I feel a need to re-orient myself to my own life again, because I feel like I’ve made a lot of changes recently and haven’t quite caught up to myself yet.
I guess I’m writing these half formed thoughts now as another reminder to myself. That everything is always evolving. That the more comfortable I can become with the parts of me that are unfinished or not quite smoothed out and nicely packaged and presented, the wider and more steady my foundation becomes.  As one of my new favorite writers Jen Lee says, the more we are loved, the braver we can become.  And for me that includes loving all those parts of myself that are still being worked out.