A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to tag along with my son and his kindergarten class on a field trip to our city’s Museum of Art.
Though I work from home and see my kiddos pretty consistently throughout the day, there is nothing like seeing your child in the context of hanging out with his buddies. I had so much fun witnessing this side of him. Side note: I’ve never heard such a heated debate about Pokemon trading cards in.my.life. #kindergartendrama
Anyhoo, about halfway through the trip, one of the guides sat us down and asked us to gather round so she could read us a story. After some mischief management between a couple of boys still having a heated debate about Pokeman, we all settled in, ready to listen.
As my eyes scanned the gallery, taking in all the different pieces of art, reminding me of how uniquely creative we are, I listened to the story and teased out a theme in the story that had a really cool application to our health. I absolutely adore children’s books and the best ones teach us (the grown up) lessons, sometimes when we least expect it.
And so it was with this special book called, Ish, (by Peter Reynolds, if you wanna check it out).
In it, this young boy named Ramon absolutely loved to paint. It lit his soul on fire and he spent most of his existence trying to express the world around him in his own artistic way. One day, his older brother, Leon, leaned over his shoulder laughed, and snidely asked, “What is THAT?”
Needless to say, Ramon was crushed. He threw in the towel on his passion because someone else didn’t think he was “doing it right.”
While I’m sure you can come up with plenty of examples with regards to how this might apply to your life, let’s think about this for a minute when it comes to our health.
I think it’s safe to say we all want to be healthy, right?
The gift of being healthy grants us so many things we take for granted until we become unwell. For example, having the energy to keep up with our kids, having the confidence to show our children what it looks like to embrace our bodies, having the strength to lift five bags of groceries + three kids all at the same time. 😉 Just to name a few.
But the pursuit of being healthy? Oy. That’s a whole other ball of wax.
There are SO many experts out there telling us *exactly* how to be healthy. One shouts “Eat Paleo!!!” The other shouts, “No, Vegan, you monster!” And yet, another is waving a calculator telling you it’s all about counting the calories. The advice is a never-ending waterfall of confusion.
At least that’s how I felt when I first set out to change my health five years ago when I was struggling with infertility. I assumed (subconsciously) that I knew nothing about taking care of my own body and that I needed every expert out there to tell me exactly what rules to follow. It just seemed easier that way. I think on some level I didn’t want to be responsible for the outcome of my decisions. I wanted a diet expert to blame. #confession
Of course, since then, I have acquired tons of nutrition knowledge and am in no way discounting the benefit of having that knowledge. It certainly has the power to change our behavior, and ultimately our lives.
Equally (if not more equally) important is being tuned into your own body and needs. Because your body is always, always, always talking to you, my friend. She desperately wants you to listen and compassionately respond.
And chances are, you don’t need to do a juice cleanse. Chances are, you don’t need an all-or-nothing approach to food groups. Chances are, you don’t need a “reset.”
Perhaps you just need to go to bed a little earlier.
Maybe you need to talk more kindly to yourself.
You most likely should assess your stress levels.
And you definitely need to radically and unconditionally love yourself no matter where you are on this journey.
Okay…let’s jump back to Ramon to wrap this little story up. You’ll be glad to know there’s a happy ending.
In an interesting turn of events, Ramon discovered that his little sister had been “stealing” all of his artwork and taping it up in her room in a sort of makeshift gallery to adore on her own time.
When Ramon found out, he was at first outraged, then humbled.
Someone else had seen the beauty of what he was trying to create. His sister had reminded him that his intuition was spot on. That his path was exactly right. Not so much because it was “right,” but because it was his. And only HE knew the right path.
At one of his drawings, she exclaimed, “it’s vase-ISH!” And as he studied his drawings he began to see them in a whole new way. “They do look…ISH,” he said.
He felt light and energized. Thinking “ISH-LY” allowed his ideas to flow freely. The chains of restriction and conformity had been broken. He was able to tap into his own knowing and create what the world needed from him.
And, that is my hope for you…I want you to be healthy-ISH. I want to be the sister who comes up beside you and says, my friend, you’re doing great. I see the beauty in your efforts.
I want you to think freely without conformity and listen to the unique needs of your body and soul.
Don’t disconnect yourself from…yourself just to listen to what some stranger thinks you should do. Incorporate a powerful dose of both expert advice AND your intuition. Cuz ain’t nobody know better than mama.
We moms have an intuition, a knowing, a sixth sense, like no other. And, not just about our children. But about our health.
We may try to use supplements, or diets, or detoxes as short-term band-aid fixes. But underneath all of that, we know there’s something else that will help us to experience our health on a whole new level. We just have to be courageous enough to listen and then do something about it.
Only you know the answer to that. And, I hope you discover what it feels like to feel your own version of healthy-ISH. It’s the best gift I’ve ever given myself.