“We will not be shaken.”

I often do this thing where I play Christian praise music, and listen over and over until it moves me to tears. This happens around once per year, and instantly brings me back to my upbringing. Church, or some type of display of faith, has been part of my life since I was a wee tot. I went to church every single Sunday while growing up. And while I know this does not make for the perfect religious observer, I invested so deeply that at any given time, I was leading praise and worship in my youth group’s band, running Childcare programs during the church service, or serving a brief stint as an acolyte.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that this year has been a year of reflection around religion and spirituality. From my own journey, to the possibility of finding a church, it has been a year of ups and downs. Even more so, it has been a year of difficult conversations with some of the most important people in my life.

And the conversation continues to appear.

Have you ever been abandoned or rejected because of who you are at the core? Or as a result, have you ever faced that rejection in light of someone’s faith or religion? What did you do? How did you move forward? Did you make amends?

Could you make amends?

Let’s pause here for a moment.

Regardless of one’s tenure in DC, when your best friend visits from Miami, you do all the monuments, museums, and food outings as humanly possible (roughly, an average of 20k steps on the Fitbit this weekend, if you’re wandering what my version of, “humanly possible,” means). We started our Tour de DC at one of the newer national monuments, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Just as we were walking up to the beautiful cut-out of Dr. King moving through the rock, I was distracted by a mass of people singing on the other side of the granite. I temporarily separated from my friend, and decided to follow the music.

In the crowd, there were people of all races, sizes, shapes, backgrounds, ages, and abilities. It was powerful, and my body was instantly covered in goosebumps. There is something really spiritual about museums and monuments to begin with, and encountering a church service at the start of this intended-powerful day was something that truly caught me off guard. Eventually joined by my friend, we witnessed each person in the group of 75-100 having an impacting experience.

“Everyone is experiencing healing in some way,” my friend whispered to me.

This is when I started to cry.

He was absolutely right. Everyone was having their own moment. And looking around the group, each person was truly in their own space – whatever that space looked like for them. It was there space alone. And I was in mine.

“We will not be shaken.”

Again, “We will not be shaken.”

This lyric resounded over and over, and I looked around the crowd with tears continuing to fall down my face.

Belief. It’s a powerful thing. And no matter what you believe, the same can be found in various environments and capacities. This one just so happened to reflect a huge part of who I used to be, and also so much of what I was searching for this year (in the most edited, amended, enhanced, and different way).

The way in which religion appears as a support or antithesis to justice is a cause to pause on. I often do. And I did in that moment.

The unapologetic raising of hands. The worship. The community.

Loudly, “We will not be shaken!”

Despite the dissonance, and through the continued questions around hope, fear, and failure, I found myself in tears yesterday. Typically coming from a place of guilt, more than anything, these tears reflected hope. And the only way I knew how to fully capture my feeling in that moment was by quickly typing into my phone the aforementioned questions:

Have you ever been abandoned or rejected because of who you are at the core? Or as a result, have you ever faced that rejection in light of someone’s faith or religion? What did you do? How did you move forward? Did you make amends?

Could you make amends?

Will you make amends? 

While I sit at a trendy coffee shop in NW DC, I am extra aware that today is Sunday. And this day, for so long, meant so much more than it does in this very moment. And I am at peace with this discovery. Instead, Sunday has transformed into a day of writing and reflecting. Pausing. Sunday is a day for peace. My peace. 

What will you make of your day? Of your reflection? Of your heart?

Will you make amends?

Shaken,

Michael

Ain’t no party like a doughnut party, cause a doughnut party don’t (but probably should) stop.

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Let it be known, this post was almost titled, “When the doctor tells you you’re obese…”

Of course, coming off my, “Yes ogre,” post, I felt like it might be a bit aggressive to continue harassing myself with such strong speak (“Celebrate Every Body,” and all of that). But, yes. My doctor did tell me I was obese. Or, am obese, for that matter. And immediately after, all I could think was, Good thing he doesn’t know about all the doughnuts I consume on a weekly…er, daily, basis. Needless to say, I was instantly defensive following this exchange.

“But, I’m big-boned,” I argued.

He wasn’t having it.

“I have strong thighs and calves.”

“I hold a lot of water-weight.”

“Did I tell you I’m big-boned?”

“But food gets the most likes on my Instagram!”

“The doughnuts aren’t going to eat themselves!”

As a general FYI, “A doughnut a day keeps the doctor away,” is not actually a real thing.

Let’s pause here for a moment.

You should know, doughnuts are much more than just a sweet treat I like to parade on my Instagram. I grew up on doughnuts. I love doughnuts. I am one with doughnuts.

Aside from the step team I was on in my youth group, one of my more profound memories from the church where I grew up is what we called, “Fellowship Sunday.” On the third Sunday of every month, my church would turn our Fellowship Hall into a doughnut-smorgasbord. It was magical, and there were 5-10 tables covered in various kinds of doughnuts every single month. And the best part: I had no limit. I could eat as many doughnuts as I wanted on Fellowship Sunday.

And I usually did.

Long after my Fellowship Sunday sugar-highs, doughnuts have remained a big part of my life. I should also add, nowadays, not a week goes by without someone sending me some type of doughnut correspondence (found in the form of screen shots, doughnut shop highlights, doughnut paraphernalia, and the list goes on and on). I even had a friend pick me up from the airport once, and greeted me with a sign that, at first glance, appeared to read, “HEY MICHAEL, I HAVE DONUTS” (the word, “DON’T” was placed in tiny font between “I” and “HAVE” – she had jokes, apparently)!

This is not uncommon. And aside from my own doughnut-shenanigans, I kind of love the adventures I get to go on via social media and text (mine, and others’).

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When not my own doughnuts, I can always respect the doughnuts of others. And if Instagram tells you anything, it’s that my timeline will become immediately less appealing if doughnuts are no longer part of my weekly (daily) repertoire (or any kind of food, for that matter).

Let’s go back a few weeks to when my doctor called me, “obese.” Honoring my mother’s advice to a weight-struggling teenager (me), you can’t completely eliminate treats and sweets from your diet and remain happy. “Moderation,” she’d argue. And she was (is) right. Let’s be honest, there is a big difference between one doughnut per week and three doughnuts per day (I warned you, I’m a monster).

And my doctor is right, too. 

According to the Body Mass Index (BMI), I am actually around 50 lbs overweight.

Pause.

I know what you’re going to say – please save the, “But Michael, I’m a doctor [or medical student or nurse or someone who actively trolls WebMD].” The BMI is a product of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (or, “CDC,” as we call it on the street). These folks set the standard for nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. I understand your nutrition professor or life coach may have told you otherwise, but until this changes, doctors across America and insurance companies examining folks for the 40-year old price-break will continue to use this as a benchmark.

And, I’ll even half agree with you regarding the BMI BS – I really am big-boned.

Even while navigating my own issues with food, I was still very much like, eat whatever you want, live in whatever body you want, do you, be you, blah blah blah. But the truth is, you can’t actually eat whatever you want – without repercussions, of course. And through all my big-bone’edness, I, too, can’t eat whatever I want – and this goes well-beyond body image. I’m talking about health.

There are many truths in a commitment to living a bit more cautious with food. I love my daily doughnut(s), however as I am getting older, my body is starting to remind me that those little nuggets of joy aren’t what they use to be for me. I’m no nutritionist or life coach, but I know enough to understand that several doughnuts per day (even if they are my favorite food) is not the wisest decision – and on top of already living with a pretty unbalanced meal plan.

“Live your own life.”

“Celebrate every body.”

“Every body is different.”

“Let Michael have the doughnuts!”

“Go nuts for doughnuts!”

“Doughnut power!”

I appreciate your concern, but I’m cutting back. I have to be more responsible. And if I want to live a healthy and active (and long) life, I need to make some cuts as I draw closer to the one-month window of my 30th Birthday. This means no more calling myself, “Shrek.” And it means continuing to understand myself and my inner-workings (specifically, how to be more in-sync with a healthy body and healthy mind). We all have to be a bit more responsible.

And as one really important person in my life says, we have be kind to ourselves.

And this includes being kind to your body.

Doughnut-dreaming,

Michael

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The Social Justice Scroll

If you know anything about me, you know that I take activism very serious. And, virtually every single day, I get an email or Facebook message from someone who has an issue with my voice or my belief or my outspoken desire to make the world a more inclusive and equitable place. For example, last week Ireland passed marriage equality.

I cried. And I retweeted about 100 tweets regarding this momentous occasion. This is the first country in the world to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote!

Of course, this is just one of many huge experiences related to social justice that is happening in the world (and, including however you frame, “social justice,” in your sphere). Throughout the year, and as issues continue to plague our own country, people take to twitter, Facebook, and various blogs (I guess, this one, included), and air their disagreements and grievances, one way or another. If you’re in any way connected to social justice or equity/inclusion work, you will agree that, when these big things do happen in the world, the internet trolling is on a new level. And thus, all those committed to making the world a more equal place, are on full alert.

We enact, “The Social Justice Scroll.”

Quite simply, The Social Justice Scroll is a mere quick-read through the major articles and stories and statuses posted on any given topic (including the most-posted pieces and remarks with a large amount of comments or likes).

For example, I discovered this while scrolling through my timeline(s) last night:

“Not necessarily saying Jenner is a freak show, but come on people. I didn’t want to post about this but think about what we could accomplish if we spent all of this energy on things that truly matter.”

To pause, when you tee something up as, “I’m not saying…, but…,” you are probably actually saying just that. And, especially when your post is accompanied by a giant photo, reading, “Like if you think we should be worrying about serious things, not this national freak show,” and later noting, “But what got the most attention? A 65 year-old man playing dress up.”

“What you permit, you promote,” and all of that. And, what you post, you probably stand behind. I have a belief that nothing good comes from dodging your true feelings with the mask of, “I wasn’t going to speak up here, but…,” or, “I guess I’ll put in my two cents…” This is the modern day, “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but…” No, no, please do share those two cents of yours, and while doing so, allow me to move along quietly with gaining frustration.

Of course, it’s not long before the next piece pops up, and the next, and then one about Mike Huckabee’s opinion on Caitlyn, and then one about the next big issue, and so on, and so forth (of course, while not dismissing any issue as one being bigger than the next). And this happens a lot, people start comparing issues. Don’t even get me started on the hero-comparing that is happening right now (soldiers versus Caitlyn Jenner, Barak Obama versus Harvey Milk, and the list goes on). Can we please stop doing this? Can we please just pause and let a moment happen? You don’t have to honor that moment just because everyone else is, but you do have to respect that it’s happening.

I have a friend who often asks me, “Why don’t you just defriend all the homophobes and racists and sexist fools on your timeline? Or at least, why don’t you hide them?” And, to be honest, it has been this past few weeks when I realized the reason I do not get rid of those voices in my life is because I kind of thrive on the dissonance. It get a push from these perspectives, and it is far more impacting on me than reading a random article with no personal connection to the voice.

These are real people.

Let’s pause here for a moment. There are real people in the world who actually think a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not in an office or leadership role. There are real people in the world who have committed to a life of white supremacy. There are real people in this world who think all gay people should go to hell. There are real people in this world who like Peeps. I digress.

I keep these people around because I feel like if I have access to them, they have access to me – and with that shared accessibility, perhaps they’ll learn something. And, perhaps, I might learn something, too. I should add, Oklahoma is not the cause of this dissonance. For so long, and when I moved to Los Angeles after college, I cited my upbringing as the reason I have so many swaying voices in my life. The truth is, these people exist all over the world. And these people will continue to say hateful and small-minded things in order to make meaning of their own beliefs.

I know many would advise against this, however, I always read the “Comments” section. People will usually show you who they really are in any given comment section. It’s painful, but it’s very real. And, as is the social justice educator guilt. This, too, is painful. There are times where you (we) literally will not have the mental capacity or emotional understanding to make a post or write a comment or challenge a bigot. And you should know, you don’t have to. Because this is exhausting. Challenging people all day, every day, is exhausting. And many live this life within the mere makeup of who they are. Please feel the validation that it is okay to be exhausted of this.

And to preemptively address any individuals now annoyed and stewing over this post, I leave you with my favorite line from, “Tiny Beautiful Things,” by Cheryl Strayed (previously the advice column, “Dear Sugar“):

“We are all entitled to our opinions and religious beliefs, but we are not entitled to make shit up and then use the shit we made up to oppress other people.” –Cheryl Strayed

How can you create some dissonance today with those around you? Will you challenge the coworker using, “retarded,” as a derogatory term? Will you address the racial tension in your community? Will you engage with the family member calling Caitlyn Jenner a, “he-she it?” Will you challenge transphobic and homophobic political and religious leadership in your life or community?

Many are trying. And for every hate-filled post, there is one full of curiosity and questions (and not to mention the thousands that exist in opposition of the hate). Curiosity and questions are healthy. Please, remain curious. And be comfortable questioning so you have a better understanding of whatever it is in which you are inquiring. No one should fault you for this. And, further, no one should fault you for speaking up when you know something isn’t right or just.

YMCA of Boulder Valley CEO, Chris Coker, displayed courage recently. Will you?

Exhausted,

Michael

What world do you see

*Photo above taken from somewhere in the internet – thank you to the creative soul who designed this! 

12lbs

I would argue that 8/10 of my bad days are as a result of me starting the day feeling like an ogre-whale.

There is something about losing 12lbs, seeing a decent change in your face and body, and yet, still feeling like a complete fat ass. You see, if ever you’ve struggled with eating issues or body image stuff, you can almost always assume it’ll come back to revisit you at some point(s) in your life.

For me, the latest point occurred this month. There aren’t a lot of large people in China, and not just regarding height. I see very few “heavy-set” individuals, and I would argue, barely any who I would label as, “obese,” or anything near it. My body image stuff should be no surprise to those who are close to me, and to all those who read my blog, I have previously posted about my struggles as an ongoing life-barrier.

“Dudes deal too.”

This is something I have to repeat to myself quite frequently.

Dudes deal too.

Though, my issues with the scale, obsession with numbers, and my extreme relationship with food and working out are not the sole ways in which dudes deal. In fact, I have guy friends from many pockets of my life who deal in different ways (CrossFit addicts, extreme man-scaping, and manic tanning, to name a few). These are more socially acceptable, though, and these friends would assert that these things will still not ultimately cure them of their own struggles.

And I have benefited from this realization as well, all while intimately discovering that moving to China would not cure my obsession to be on a scale. Now, this was never an intended learning outcome for me, however the life goal has always existed deep within my being. To be honest, much of my self-conscious relapse has occurred via the scale I currently have in my room. Long ago I determined the scale to be pure evil, and that as long as one existed in my possession, I would curse it’s very existence.

But this hasn’t always been the case. I was a skinny kid. Lanky and skinny. I remember one time at my grandparents house, I stood on their scale and pushed up on the towel rack as hard as I could to see how high I could make the number. Seconds into my experiment, I let out one last large pump, only to push the rod right off the wall. My parents were embarrassed and I lied and said, “It just came right off the wall when I reached for the towel to dry my hands.” I was fooling no one.

Now days, I would give anything for that number to go down. And it has. I’m down around 12lbs over the last month and a half, and feeling better about myself than I typically did in the States. I get a lot of questions about the food here (which may mostly be because I’m still new to Instagram and like posting photos of my meals), and I’m certainly eating my fair share of culinary wins. I’m eating a ton. And the food quality seems to be much greater than anything I ever ate consistently in the States.

That is, except for the donuts. If you learn anything about me from this entire blog, you must first know that donuts are the way into my heart. I love donuts. So, it should be no surprise that when the local bakery I frequent had donuts in their case, I let out a cry of glee. I was pumped, and ordered one of each of the two kinds (I had to be modest, and also not reveal that I could have eaten a dozen right there on the spot).

Donut 1 had a mystery glaze on it, but also a few cranberry-like moments. It was glorious, and I would later go back inside and buy two more. But this follow-up purchase would occur after Donut 2.

Donut 2 on the other hand was a bit misleading. Aside from a Butterfinger-looking flake on top, it had a very neutral smell. I smell everything before I eat it, and a Butterfinger donut would have been a life-changing endeavor for me. Just as the first bite started to hit my tastebuds, I realized Donut 2 didn’t have Butterfinger flakes on top. Donut 2 was covered in a dried-up fish seasoning. I all but threw up and spit the hopeful bite back into the bag. This was a low moment for me, one which would ultimately lead me back inside for two additional purchases of Donut 1.

And three donuts later, I would walk away from the bakery in a pretty good place. You see, in China, I rarely have the obese-sigh moments I use to have after a one-night stand with Chipotle. Things are so fresh here, and incredibly satisfying. And even when I do feel full, I still feel pretty good. And although I started this post feeling like a -12lb whale, I would assert much of that to just be my self-conscious.

I am feeling good, and feeling fit. And more than both of these things, I’m feeling quite apologetic for the constant shame I put myself through regarding my weight. “Be shirtless,” was a mantra and a goal this year, and my friend Kay will often remind me of this desire. Needless to say, I’m working on building this confidence back up. It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress. But, aren’t we all?

It’s Fat Talk Free® Week back in the States, and this means an attempt to inspire change in the way we think and feel about our bodies (remember, body image and weight stuff affects us all in some way). Additionally, it’s about promoting a healthy lifestyle and balanced life in mind, body, and spirit. I’m down.

So, what does this mean? No more using, “ogre,” and, “fat ass,” to describe myself. I’m committing to doing better. Additionally, I’m going to work to support and embrace my friends of all shapes and sizes, and celebrate them with love and confidence. We are all on a journey, and no one should feel marginalized because of the way they feel or perceive themselves on any given day. Let us love, and show love by not using words to dig at our self our others.

Sleeveless, for now,

Michael

PS – The minute I come back to the States, I expect whichever special friend who picks me up to be standing at the gate, accompanied by a giant box full of donuts. I will eat one donut, and then give the biggest hug known to man! …then, of course, we will both take off our shirts in pride, and eat the rest of the box together.

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Wake up. Be ‘still.’

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I woke up this morning at 6:00AM, as I have naturally been doing since moving to China. The sun starts to rise somewhere around 5:00AM, it seems, and I am up shortly after. I imagine this has something to do with my inability to trust an alarm clock, and I am typically out of bed within seconds of consciousness. I have been this way my entire life. If not by the pure energy of the sun rising, an alarm clock can wake me up with just one attempt. I have never been one to use the ‘snooze’ option, and can remember just a tiny amount of times where I have overslept or slumbered through a wake-up call. But today was different.

I laid in bed this morning for two hours, reading and trolling the inter-webs. Feeling as though I was missing something, with each minute, I thought, I should probably get up right now. I poured myself a cup of tea and hopped back into bed. You see, I had nothing on my calendar today. I had no obligations, no solid friends here, and no real push to be up and active. And since my body wasn’t moving as it tends to be at this time of day, my mind began racing and reflecting. I was on overload. I took a sip of my hot drink, and inhaled the fresh air pouring into my room from the back door I opened just moments before grabbing my tea. Why the urgency? Why the mind-traffic? Why the anxiety and hollow feelings of insecurity?

Thus, Takeaway #1 from this experience: When you entertain the hustle of a busy life, you will always expect the hustle of a busy life.

This past two weeks, aside from the already-noted professional growth, I have felt an extreme reprieve from the, “go, go, go,” lifestyle I once held so dear. ‘Being still’ is a powerful skill to master, and one which intrigues me every single day. I once got in trouble at my first yoga class several years ago. I didn’t realize the attention, patience, and relaxation (and flexibility!) involved in this hobby, and ended up gigging my way through the entire class. Karma would only come back to visit me as I attempted to do hot yoga last year, and halfway through the instruction, passed out and needed to be pulled into the hallway to cool down. Nor my mind or body would truly allow me to relax. ‘Being still’ was a foreign concept, and I was merely a distant observer.

Alas, this again, leads me to the question which haunted me this morning, “Why do we force ourselves out of bed?” Why do we giggle through traditional yoga, and fail to prepare our bodies for hot yoga (which, my passing out at hot yoga can certainly be a metaphor for so many things)? Other than a job, a child, a pet, or a social obligation (which, clearly I have none of, on this particular day), why is ‘being still’ such a tough concept to master? Let’s pause there for a moment.

I am clearly generalizing here (and/or projecting my own life experiences on many of you), as I have friends who actually do master the art of ‘being still.’ Hell, I have one really good friend who even goes on yoga retreats. She is one of the most peaceful human beings I know, and I find myself always a bit more calm when I’m around her. The point here, though, is that this friend is rare. And I have noticed, as more people work, pop out babies, advance their career, grow in the community, take on new endeavors, get a new pet, or further connect online and via social media, they actually end up moving further away from truly having some sense of ‘still.’

So today, my weekend challenge is to fight off all urges to get out of bed. Relax my (your) mind. Fight the urge to giggle in yoga, and physically and emotionally prepare the body for what hot-yoga-like experiences are ahead. Decompress, and relish in these moments. Believe, and free the mind of any heavy burdens. Trust, ‘being still.’

And once you’ve mastered this achievement, finish your cup of tea, elect not to shower, and replay Muir’s, “The mountains are calling and I must go,” over and over until your first foot hits the pavement. In this moment, you’re truly living. Hit the pavement today, and every day.

Going,

Michael

Walk away from the donut cake and drop the cheddar-cheese-covered popcorn, Michael!

I say this with great certainty: few things in this life are worse than going to the dentist. Now, much of this sentiment is my privilege speaking, seeing that I actually have the opportunity and ability to see a dentist, however and nevertheless, this moment is one which I consider to be dreadful and terrifying. Insert dentist visit here. I had held out for too long, and just as my health insurance was soon to expire, I decided that three years since my last visit to the oral-hells was long enough. In the brief 45-minute experience, I walked out of that appointment with ten – yes, I repeat, 10! – cavities and an alleged need for a root canal. 

This probably goes without saying, however I am just going to put it out there: this is why I avoided the dentist. I didn’t need somebody reminding me that my face was rotting, nor did I need to have my mouth as wide as they were stretching. Though sore, I walked out of that appointment with my chin up, and my cavities unfilled (unfilled, mostly because there was not enough time to get them all filled while still on my insurance – I’m responsible, and obviously would have filled them all if given the chance…I digress, and had one filled to make me feel better about myself). This was a brutal reminder that I am actually not as healthy as I claim to be. Sure, the Fitbit has worked wonders, however in the past month or so, it has really only existed as a counterbalance to Sonic trips and bags (yes, plural) of candy. I’m practically thirteen again. Let’s pause there for a moment.

I was reading my friend’s blog last night, and just as I was nearing the middle of dinner (which, this particular evening, dinner consisted of a giant bag of cheddar-cheese popcorn – don’t judge me, times are tough), it hit me that the reason I loathe going to the dentist and other health-related realities, is because I’m actually not doing anything to maintain an advancing health – I am merely just retaining the status quo. Fitting, this particular post I was reading was written by one of my best friends, and titled, “Busy? Plan B is Sometimes Ok…” His entire blog is actually about health and wellness, and being an active and healthy human being. Comical that I read this blog, right? Some might assert I read each post only because the Endurance Doctor is actually one of my very best friends, while others would agree with me in saying, I actually do read it because I find his posts to be interesting and his tips to be relevant and helpful. I digress. 

As I am reading through his latest post about finding health during “crunch times,” I paused and realized he was my benefactor and I was his cause. Put the popcorn down, Michael. Good point. Now, time to dive into this newly found knowledge/advice/call-out. 

To start, the Endurance Doctor asserts I should be getting around 8-hours of sleep per night. The last time I got 8-hours of sleep in one setting was around 2006. There was this time in college where I was in bed by 10PM and sleeping a solid 9-10 hours per night. I was convinced I had mono, but my doctor just said I had, “an over-active mind.” What the hell does that even mean? Moving forward. Next, the Endurance Doctor (yes, I could just call him “Blake,” however I enjoy using his full credentials, just as I would hope you are referring to me as, “Writer-Activist-Once-Pooped-His-Pants-Goodman,” from here on out) covers what I like to summarize as, “Eat less, move more” (circa Rose O’Donnell, early 2000s). He frames this as, “Avoid Excess Carbs,” and, “Increase Baseline Activity,” however I interpret this suggestion as, “Take the stairs, don’t be a cow and have fifty pieces of cheesecake, model the way, buy a Fitbit, blah blah,” etc. 

The final two phases of this, get-your-life-together-you-unhealthy-monster, message, and quite possibly the most impacting of them all, are, “Plan Ahead,” and, “Listen to Your Body.” Now, I will tell you this… I never miss a meal, and I am certain I know when my body is hungry. “Hangry,” is real, people. And, in all seriousness, I have found my most unhealthy of times (sans the aforementioned cavity-sneak-attack) to be when I stopped paying attention to what my body was telling me. Furthermore, I have found that planning out an exercise or walk with a friend is so much better than having to drag your lazy ass off the couch and go for a run/walk/skip/prance – I speak this from personal experience. Preparing to leave the county, and having my teeth checked, blood drawn, and body maneuvered (two coughs to the left, please) has been somewhat of a wakeup call. Plain and simple, we only get one body. 

How often do we actually listen to our body, our heart, our mind? And not just in the physical sense, how often are we truly in touch with what is happening to or around us? Be in sync with your body, your mind. Be honest with yourself about what you (and your body) need. Then, be a provider to your self. Nurture. Impact. Soothe. And finally…go to the dentist. Trust me, go to the dentist. 

Changing pace, 

Michael 

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