Reflection through Exercise

Ten years ago, I was facing the worst part of an extremely difficult time in my life. Being married to my husband had deteriorated my health and well-being; and when both were at an all-time low, I finally decided to leave.
I started the divorce process, moved out of my home, and left everything, including my precious dogs behind. Thankfully, I had another place to go and stayed with family members. But I had no car and as I was nowhere near public transportation, getting to and from in the city for work was difficult. I had to plan for hours of commute time.
I spent much of this time walking. And it was during this time, I reflected. I discussed with myself the past, the present, and the future. It was helpful for1910061_114375034910_3921763_n me as it provided awareness of who I was and what I had become. It also helped me plan for the difficult days ahead.
A few friends reminded me to be careful about my mental health. They, too, had gone through extremely difficult divorces and unfortunately, developed an autoimmune disease. They believed it was due to the stress they endured. This is when I started practicing yoga. I started with 3 days a week after work and then turned it into 5 days. I went because I felt it was a necessity. It brought awareness of my balance whether physical or mental.
Once I left Northern California and returned home to Denver, I realized I had lost about 25 lbs. and was in better shape than I ever had been. I needed new clothes and my shoe size had gone down one full size. I was certainly happy with the change and it was important because it kept me going in a positive way.
In my next phase of life, as a divorcee, I focused on fitness. I had a personal trainer, I took Chi-running lessons and started to run 5Ks. A few years later, I did my first half-marathon. I also realized that during my running routines, I would think quite a bit and continued to reflex on the past, the present and the future. This reflection was “me time.”132222_482295774910_1604990_o
This last summer, I finally completed an item on my bucket list. My partner and I walked several routes of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wondered how our entire eight hours of walking a day would be spent. Would we talk the entire time? Would I listen to my music? Would we meet others and talk to them? I didn’t know. Soon I would know, as the 3rd day of our walk, my iPhone got wet in a rainstorm and music was no longer an option. In addition, it was impossible to have a conversation as most of our hikes were up and down mountains, through muddy or rocky trails that required concentration on the placement of our feet. So, my time was spent focusing on the hiking and reflecting. I thought a lot and about everything. For example, how things in my past made impacts on my life today, and where I was years ago.18582606_10155327166944911_1457266115703116945_n
One of my biggest takeaways from the Camino was how reflection had worked for me throughout the last ten years.
Overall, by walking, hiking, practicing yoga and running – my awareness of me and how it shaped my present life and how it encourages my future has been priceless.

Aside

What am I grateful for?

When searching for “gratitude” or “being grateful”, my search engine came up with 233,000,000 results.  You might find a story about someone putting a stone in a pocket as a reminder of gratitude, someone logging gratitude in an Excel spreadsheet, or someone writing a daily gratitude journal.

I attached a piece of notebook paper on my bathroom mirror with “What are you grateful for?”. gratefulNothing fancy, but it reminded me of being grateful.  And I continue to remember to be grateful as much as I can.

Our family reunion was no exception. For as long as I can remember, our family has been getting together to celebrate Chilefest. This is our annual tradition of roasting and peeling green chiles from New Mexico, catching up with family members and enjoying fresh margaritas.Chilefest2017collage

I’m grateful that my parents are still alive and healthy and that we are all able to continue to share the stories of our past.

I’m grateful for my sister who continues to inspire me as she works hard as a mother, wife, professor, writer, and world traveler.

I’m grateful for my other family members who share varying views of politics, passions and pastimes because it fosters understanding, provides different perspectives and stimulates my worldly thinking.

And I’m grateful for my partner, who is my driving force and challenges me every day by playing devil’s advocate and motivating me with ideas.

233,000,001 results. My first blog and I am grateful.

IMG_20170607_191043.jpg