Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Acceptance

I've been at my spa for two days now - this is the third. I'm enjoying the quiet, and the lack of any schedule or demands on my time. I've had time to sit and stare into space and nap and think. (In addition to hanging out in the pool, sauna, steamroom & jacuzzi)...

Last week, my friend/mentor/counselor suggested I spend some time meditating on the concept of acceptance - especially when it has to do with accepting my body size/shape and not trying so hard to change myself.

I started with the question, when did I stop feeling good about my body? I let my mind wander, and ended up in junior high school in a particularly painful memory of showing up at school in a new outfit (for the record - a turquoise blue mini skirt/sweatshirt set), and being told that I looked fat.

I remember thinking to myself, "No. I'm not," but wondering anyway. There was something so important about fitting in, I had to consider they knew more than I did.

I don't remember much more of the scene, but I can still recall the names of the girls I desperately wanted to have like me. They never did, and I did find other friends. But the feeling remains to this day, of looking outside myself for acceptance.

From that memory, I went on to think about when do I feel good about my body? And I remembered many times on the dance floor of various bars, just dancing because it felt good to move. Dancing because I loved the music and I couldn't sit still. Dancing whether or not I had a partner. Feeling all the different ways I could move my body. Loving the attention of people watching me. And, at the same time, not caring at all what others thought because I was having such a good time.

And now it is today, 2009 and I'm 40. I am a Jazzercise instructor, and I get to invite other people to my party, to dance with me. It is a good place.

It becomes even more important to allow my knee to heal completely, so I can go back to dancing. So I can remember it's not about my size or shape, but about the joy of having a body - the joy of moving it.

I'm noticing something as I write this post... I still haven't come to the place of acceptance of what IS. What if I couldn't dance? Would that mean I never get to that place of joy again? It appears I still have some work/meditation to consider...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I am the mother of an 11 year-old

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, so I never got around to posting about J's birthday. I went a little overboard in letting him have both a "ropes course" in the woods and a sleep-over. But I don't regret it.

This is the first time in 11 years he's had more than two friends around for his birthday (as school gets out at the end of May in the US. Here, we only had to have the party one week early).

In honor of his 11th year, let me introduce my oldest boy...

Here he is with a boy from his class who came to the birthday party. Unfortunately there are very few decent pictures of the ropes course they climbed on, because the camera was acting up. Just imagine a lot of boys high up in trees (with proper safety gear).


He got the first part of the cake at his party. He got the second half with family on the actual day of his birthday.


We got him a swiss army knife to replace the one he'd lost. But the small, square packaging was so obvious, I decided to hide it within a larger box. Then I decided to make it more fun, by wrapping it again. So he got to unwrap three times before he got to the actual gift.

video
You can see here how much he loved it. (The other thing in his hand is a gift card to iTunes from his grandparents).


The boy has been stealing my paperclips to make lock picks. (He requested a set of professional lock picks for his birthday because "these aren't sturdy enough.") Like I need to support his kleptocratic habits. I finally confiscated them all when he started to teach the younger boys how to do it.


Where ever we go, he finds the highest thing around to climb on. (That's E behind him crying because he can't get up). We have a rule in our family - if you can't get there yourself, it's too high. J can apparently go anywhere.


When we went to Versailles to see the fountains, it was a beautiful warm day. The boys got quickly bored with history and art, and started messing around instead. J was so good that day, letting the littler boys climb all over him.


He managed to carry all of them at least once, and here got two at once. This was the most fun for me - watching him loving his brothers.


Where did the year go? How did he get so big? And capable.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Birthday Dinner



I think this is the most expensive meal I have ever eaten. Good thing I only turn 40 once. And yes, it was exceptionally yummy! And the view was georgous.

The only not-perfect part was that there was never any aknowledgement of my birthday. The woman at the table next to us however, received a dessert with a candle. She looked confused. Maybe it was supposed to be mine.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

It's a Fine Life*


For your viewing pleasure - a field of rapseed, looking up.

It's official. I am 40 years old. Today. So far (other than a sore knee), forty feels pretty good.

I woke up early (not on purpose, but it worked out that way). I took myself for a brisk walk in the cool morning air. I returned in time to switch parenting duties with T, who left for work. Since the boys were still sleeping, I got out my journal and wrote a little.

I thought about something Jeremy Taylor says about how our dreams always come to us in the service of health and wholeness, and that our souls are always striving toward wholeness. It occured to me that this might be true for my body as well - it, too, is doing its best to heal. Maybe all I need to do is to get out of the way, and stop trying to push it so hard.

I am concerned that if my knee doesn't heal, teaching Jazzercise will be damaging to myself rather than good for me. Which, makes this really important. I'm getting support, and I'm attending to it. I think I'll be good for September.

After writing in my journal, the boys still weren't up, so I came in to check out my email and read my favorite inspiring blog. Within moments, I got a skype call from a good friend who had stayed up late (Colorado time) to wish me happy birthday. Then, after saying goodbye, I read a lovely letter from my mother, describing how my life was as a baby.

While I was reading, my brother (who is also in Colorado) skyped too, and I got to talk to him. By that time, the boys were up and got to say hello to their "Uncle Monkey Face" too.

What a nice way to start my 4th decade.

Tonight T is taking me out to a fancy dinner at La Maison Blanche, and next weekend I will take myself to a spa in Alsace. Life is good.

* It's a Fine Life