Creativity, Self Empowerment

Journal prompts: Move your body

I’m going to come right out and say it: I don’t like to exercise.

I’m not exactly the fittest person in the world. I don’t enjoy running and I loathe going to the gym (I can’t think of anything more absurd than driving to the gym to walk on the treadmill).

But that doesn’t mean that I hate moving my body. I’ve found ways to do so that I enjoy.

move your bodyIt took me a while to get to this place, though. Because I used to be so focused on losing weight, I exercising solely for this purpose. It was all about burning the most calories, regardless of how much I might have hated every second of it. Exercise was simply a chore that needed to be ticked off the list to remove a little more guilt for being bigger.

Funnily enough, I’ve never really managed to maintain a regular exercise routine. I guess that’s because I kept forcing myself to do things I didn’t enjoy.

At around the same time I quit dieting, I also quit forcing myself to do exercise I didn’t enjoy. Now, I move my body only in ways that bring me joy.

Does that mean I’m not burning the most possible calories? Yep.

Does that mean I’m not the slimmest, fittest person ever? Uh, yeah.

But does that mean I enjoy the exercise I do? You bet!

So instead of pushing myself to go to the gym and run on the treadmill, I now go walking outside, in nature – with my pup. I do yoga using an app on my phone/computer. And when I have the time, I go cycling – outdoors. (Note – I have nothing against the gym. If you love the gym then that’s awesome. I just have something against forcing yourself to do exercise you don’t enjoy, which, for me, is the gym.)

How nice to finally give myself permission to enjoy exercise.

>>> Prompt:

What ways do you choose to move your body?

How do you exercise for pleasure, and how for other reasons?

Is exercise an enjoyable thing for you, or is it associated with negative feelings such as guilt or punishment?

What are some forms of exercise that you actually enjoy? What ways can you move your body that bring pleasure rather than pain? What would you like to do more of?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

What Inspires Me

Hope street

Today I went for a walk with a friend. We were talking about the creative business we will soon be launching, our biggest dreams and hopes for the future.

We were talking about where we want to be this time next year; what changes we want to make over the next 12 months to make our dreams come true.

We dared to imagine what our lives could look like if our business plans came true.

I explained the changes I was making in my own work life – some of which have taken courage and are scary. But I’ve been trusting my intuition to lead me. I’ve been letting my inner wisdom guide me.

As we walked, a beautiful monarch butterfly caught my eye, dancing through the early evening sun’s rays.

Every time I see one of these butterflies I think of Wayne Dyer and the amazing story from his book Inspiration. He believes that butterflies are a sign from the divine. I love this. Each time I see one, I take it as a sign from the divine that I am on the right path.

It was perhaps a coincidence that I saw the butterfly as we spoke about this. But I prefer to see it as a sign.

And then, I saw a literal sign – for a street:

Hope Street.

Again, a possible coincidence. In truth, I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in synchronicity. Meaningful coincidence.

There is no coincidence. Only the illusion of coincidence – V for Vendetta

And I didn’t even want to go walking, really. But by keeping my eyes and my heart open as we walked, I found myself receiving tiny messages from the universe. Tiny nods to keep going.

Self Empowerment

Be present to be inspired

I got home from work this afternoon and was in a bit of a rush. I had lots of things to do but I knew I had to walk the dog before I could do anything else.

So I threw on my walking gear, grabbed the dog and headed out. Usually I listen to an audio book when walking because otherwise I tend to get a bit bored. Today I left my headphones at home because I figured it would be a quick walk around the block so I could head home and get on with things.

And a funny thing happened. Instead of powering around the streets I noticed myself walking slowly.

I noticed myself noticing.

I heard things I never normally hear: the sound of the wind through the trees, the crunch of my shoes on the ground, children playing in a nearby park, the distant drone of a lawnmower, birds above me.

And it wasn’t just my sense of sound that was better – all my senses felt heightened. I noticed the warmth of the sun against my skin, and the gentle touch of the wind. I could smell the sweet scent of early spring flowers.

I even saw things around me that, for some reason, I normally don’t see. One house I walk past all the time has chickens in their front yard. Another has a cute little caravan nestled at the back of their lawn. I found myself noticing tiny details and wondering about them.

What made this walk different from any other walk I’ve taken? I was present.

Rather than rushing through the walk to get home, to get things done so that I could get to bed on time in order to get up early and make it to work on time… I was present in that moment. I was walking slowly and my senses were engaged. I was savouring the moment.

Sure, my heart wasn’t pounding, I wasn’t sweating profusely, nor was I toning my buns and thighs. But I felt a little more alive and a little more inspired, by being fully present in the moment. And now I find myself with a little more energy to go and work in my art journal, something I’ve been ignoring for days.

The word ‘inspire’ literally means to breathe in. By ‘breathing in’ the world around us through deliberate awareness, we can ‘breathe in’ inspiration.

If you find yourself feeling uninspired, take a moment to focus on the present. Savour what is in front of you. Sit somewhere comfortable and sip a cup of tea slowly. Sit in the sun and notice how it feels on your skin. Go somewhere that you can listen to the birds. Take a long bath and luxuriate in the feeling of the water against your body. Notice what your senses are picking up.

Breathe.