Tag Archives: Self Care

self love slacker

this weekend i attended what i thought would just be a lecture on friday night, but enjoyed the speaker and the content so much that i had to re-arrange my weekend plans in order to attend the day-long workshop saturday as well. it was worth it. as an episcopal priest and jungian annalist, pittman mcgehee had some wonderful things to say about the psychology of love (a preview to his book “the paradox of love” to be released in october). there is no way i could summarize the weekend in a brief enough way to hold your attention, so i’ll just leave you with the things that are sticking to me a few days later. (not sticking with me–there’s a lot more of that–just the things that i feel like could be sticky-notes on my forehead).

1. when pittman takes on a new patient, he asks them to pick up two forms of exercise: physical and spiritual. duh! this is sticking to me b/c i’ve been slacking on both, and both are forms of self-love! which was another theme i’ll get to.
2. people really desire 3 things deeply: meaning in general, purpose in particular and a place to belong. true dat.
3. let it be. agape is the “let it be love” that lets you be who you are and lets me be who i am and lets us love just like that. so simple, and yet maybe the most important self-love and other-love lesson to lean on. if i have to please you, that’s not love. if you have to please me, that’s not love. if i have to please myself, that’s not love. let it be, and let it be loved.
4. the “wounded healer” is a metaphor i’ve long identified with. how interesting, then, that Jesus was resurrected with His wounds. what hope for the wounded (ie: everyone).
5. maybe human becomings is a better term than human beings.

anyway, in light of some of these things, i’m going to get back to my 3x a week running schedule, my daily journaling schedule, and maybe even blog more. not because i should, not like a task, but a gift to myself that makes me feel better. at least the running and journaling have that effect. the blogging is more just to help me pay attention to the special and the sacred in the everyday.

today i’m paying attention to the fact that the paintings on either side of me are of charlotte and new york city. coincidence that i’m sitting between the two? they’re the only city paintings in this place. i’d buy them both if they weren’t $750 a pop. looking forward to nyc so much, but relishing every moment left in the queen city. that’s special.

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square one

this morning, i came to the end of my street and had to make a decision… left? or right? left would mean a 4 mile loop that i like better. right would mean a 3 mile loop. 3 miles. that to me feels like a cop out. i don’t want to say that i’m too good for 3 miles, but if i’m honest, i think that’s probably what’s going on in the back of my head. still, i’ve been unable to train for the past 4 months. my running has been inconsistent, at times painful, at times scary… it really stopped being fun… just as it was getting to be really fun! just as i hit a 5k pr of 23:42, i literally ran into some health issues that would knock out an average of 10 days of training a month. after months of tests, dr’s appointments, acupuncture and patient encouragement from jay, i think it’s safe to hit the road again… just in time to train for half-marathon season.

so i ate my slice of humble pie this morning at turned right, opting for the 3 mile loop at an easy pace. i’m convinced that anyone can be a runner. i’m proof of that. but just because i’ve been a runner doesn’t mean i can pick up where i left off. it’s back to square one. back to building up my mileage a week at a time, slow and steady, till i’m ready to pick up the pace.

last year i didn’t start training for half-marathons till september. this year i’m getting started a month earlier. if i’m patient, i think i’ll reach my goal and a new sub-2hr pr.

cheers to a fresh start.

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dr. no fun

i know i have lots of blogging to catch up on… ireland was awesome, and i’ll get to it soon… it’s just hard to keep up a blog when you don’t have internet at home. i quit blogging at work when i left my government job 🙂

quick story though.

i went to the doctor last week for my annual physical, blood work and all (i hate needles… unless it’s for acupuncture). i’m pretty healthy. my blood pressure couldn’t have been better. i haven’t seen my doctor since last year’s appointment… no need to.

at some point she asked me, “are you working out?” i said yes. she asked, “what are you doing?”

i told her i was training for triathlons, swimming, biking and running every week.

her response? “are you lifting weights?”

“um… only during the winter…”

“well you really ought to be lifting weights. you need to build muscles to strengthen your bones and guard against osteoporosis.”

since when does swimming, biking and running NOT build muscle? what?

then she asked if i smoke: no. drink caffeine: very little. drink alcohol: yes.

she said, “you really need to watch your alcohol intake as a woman to be sure you keep your calorie count down.”

ok… first… do i look like i’m concerned about calories? did i mention i work out? and shouldn’t you be more worried about the alcohol portion of the equation versus the calorie intake?

crazy talk.


au naturale

i’ve been experimenting the past few weeks with deodorant. see, antiperspirants are bad for you. really bad. anything with aluminum is bad. this is an especially sensitive topic for peeps with close ties to alzheimer’s, which definitely applies to my family. i’ve disposed of all aluminum pots and pans in my possession, and the next move is from antiperspirants to deodorant. i mean, honestly, i tend perspire with an antiperspirant anyway. i’m okay with that. i’m over it.

i’m currently trying out dr. hauschka’s floral deodorant. it smells like roses. but i’m not sure i do. so a lot of effort goes into discreetly smelling myself (not that discreet if i’m blogging about it, of course). if you’re near me in the coming weeks, feel free to comment on my aura, if you catch my drift. i’d appreciate the feedback.


dog flips

i finally joined the ymca yesterday. it’s a good 2.5 mile uphill battle on the bike to get there (and back… now i understand the “uphill both ways” concept), meaning i’m exhausted by the time i bike there, work out and bike back. but i’m hoping this will turn into a healthy routine.

i kinda shocked myself at the yoga class yesterday. this is only the 3rd class i’ve attended in over a year (though i toyed with yoga on my own in benin). this next phrase will make no sense to non-yogis… but we were in down-dog with one leg up and over when the instructor said, “now flip your dog if you want.” boom! i flipped my dog! without even thinking about it! that move used to scare me, and here i just stumbled into it quite gracefully. always nice when your body surprises you. i wonder if anyone saw the look of shock on my face.

posts like this will probably lead to an increased drop in readership, but it was seriously one of the highlights of my week.

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it appears that for every day of hanging out/working/living with middle schoolers (that would be last sunday through wednesday), i need an equal portion of sloth and sleep (thursday through sunday). but finally, i have emerged from hibernation.

i did peek my head out the door a couple of times during the 4-day respite. i went to the cardiologist for an echocardiagram. those are fun! it’s like an ultra-sound, except that i watched my heart beating on a screen instead of a fetus. small difference.

i later biked to the ymca (2.5 hilly miles), tried one of their yoga classes (i was impressed) and then biked back home. it pretty much felt like 3 workouts in 1, but i’m sure that will improve as i get back to an exercise routine.

finally, i went out with some friends and met some new peeps on saturday. always fun to meet new people. then two of us split off to take on the salsa scene. i’m pretty sure that in flip-flops, i could out-dance any girl there. they could all kick my butt in heels, though. which is unfortunate, as no real salsa dancer wears flip-flops. (sigh).


where it’s at: american healthcare

i know there’s a lot of hullabaloo about health care in the US, but i have to say i had the most pleasant, efficient, even surreal experience at the doc’s office yesterday.

i hadn’t been to the dr. in over a year (except for that little ekg back in benin), so it was time for a full physical, etc. i was reminded of the need for a dr’s visit when my chest started hurting on monday–oh, not that again…

so i called up a medical office and got an appointment the very next morning. amazing!

once there, i was struck by the cleanliness of the building. and the privacy! no need to strip down in front of random non-medical peeps here! (as opposed to benin). my new doc handled all possible medical needs quickly and thoroughly. she even gave me an ekg right there in my room, which was a lot less scary than the last one.

then she (the doc) sent me over to do some labs and x-rays… and by “over” i don’t mean across town… but across the hall! wow!

while i was waiting for my labs (like, all of 5 minutes) i noticed a woman come into the waiting room to check on the plants. live plants. she was checking the health of the leaves, watering them, dusting them… i mean, what is this place? with professional plant care-takers!?!

some peeps (or plants) don’t know how good they have it.

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gatorade saved my life

so yesterday i thought i was about to die. granted, i get a tad bit dramatic when i’m sick… but really, i felt like death. i lay in my bed with a cold rag on my face thinking of how i’d have to say all my goodbyes from behind my mosquito net… that instead of leaving africa next wednesday, i’d be leaving this earth this weekend. whoa is me.

though i usually live by myself, i’m staying with a friend my last days here. she decided to work from home for the afternoon after seeing my sad state. eventually, i worked up the energy to go to the malaria clinic to get my finger pricked. results were negative. i went to my doctor friend’s house. she was concerned. i had a fever and really low blood pressure. she handed me gatorade and told me to call her in the morning.

well, i’m not 100% today, but i feel sooo much better. turns out “heat exhaustion” can really knock you out… and progresses to heat stroke and coma if you don’t treat it with… gatorade. i’m under strict orders to stay indoors and lay low… which i’m not obeying… but i am wearing a baseball cap for the first time since i moved to benin. that should do the trick. i can’t spend my last days here indoors!!!

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sittin in my chair
sittin in my chair
waiting on malaria results
sittin in my chair

that’s the song i’m singing in my head right now… which is slightly crazy… which proves that i am not quite myself and thus a candidate for malaria, though i doubt that to be the case.

it started as an innocent sinus infection, and i doubt it will amount to more. but i have random weak spells and hot flashes, which could point to that most favorite of tropical diseases (it’s right up there with amoebic dysentery) malaria!

getting a malaria test is easy as pie and only costs $7, so it’s a good thing to do every now and then. i took a zemi ride to the clinic and sat waiting 5 minutes for a young girl to get tested before me. the lab guy pricked her finger and squeezed blood onto two glass slides (this is called a blood smear). the girl was about to cry, so i told her she had very pretty blood. i realize now as i type the words that i must have sounded ridiculous, but she smiled, so i’m guessing that’s okay. she left and it was my turn… ooooh needles. i will voluntarily and gladly subject myself to an acupuncture treatment any day of the week… but needles in a clinical setting? shots and the like? makes me whoozy. not wanting to be shown up by the little girl though, i took a deep breath and got pricked. whew. two blood smears and a cotton ball later, i was paying my bill and out the door.

now i have to wait 3 hours for the results. i could call, but i struggle with french on the phone… so i’m just chillin around the corner from the clinic at my friend rhett’s office… doing a whole lot of nothing. hence this useless post.

chances are i won’t be back online to post the results (which will more than likely be negative) till tomorrow. till then… you’re welcome to sing the malaria song in your head too.

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what’s an ekg like in benin?

oh, i’m so glad you asked.

well, i had to lay on a table in a room. there was a divider between me and some man laying on another table, which was a little uncomfortable for me (seeing as you have to take your shirt off), but i just closed my eyes and pretended he wasn’t there.

on the table was a long piece of pink paper. if you’ve traveled to the developing world, you know toilet paper is always hot pink. this was the exact same stuff, only wider.

so i’m laying on this gigantic piece of toilet paper, and a woman puts these colored clamps on my ankles and wrists. green for my left foot, black for my right foot, red for my right hand, yellow for my left hand. then she put these suction cups on my chest… not like what you see on tv in the states… where you basically have tape with little wires coming out… but suction cups (5 or 6 of them) with big blue bulbs on top and thick wires coming out. i basically looked like i had been abducted by aliens. the wires were hanging off a big wooden post. anyway… they pressed a button, i heard two beeps, and it was over in 1 minute. whew! i didn’t know what to expect, so i was just glad it didn’t shock me.

this whole time i was actually kinda scared, and really wanted to cry, but i’ve been unable to cry in months, so i seemed much braver than i actually was.

then i went into the doctor’s office with my friend kim (brian and kim were SO awesome to go with me!) and he checked a few more things, asked me a few questions, and gave me a clean bill of health! he said my recent chest pains are likely just anxiety, and that i should either lighten up or go home. me? lighten up? does he expect me to float? oh well. i’m going back for a check up in a month.

brian and kim took me out for a cup of tea afterward. and now it’s back to my day! running errands, setting up my kitchen, and teaching tonight!

in lighter news, the english fellowship crowd had a wonderful time singing Christmas carols and eating Christmas cookies yesterday. in true lau fashion, i sang the descant so loudly on every song, no one near me could sing the melody. such fun.

still working on my description of travels north… stay tuned…

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