Dear, Dear Sweet Soul,
I started running because everyone in my family ran. When I was 11 or 12, I would bike next to my dad on training runs on the farm roads near my hometown. When I was 16 years old, my Cajun cousin came to live with us for a summer. That summer, I ran everyday with him, my dad and my mom. Sometimes we were a troop running through the woods, but I will always remember it taught me that running was fun and meaningful.
In modern medicine, specifically maternity care, the one question not on our SOAP notes (the way providers take notes during a visit) is about your soul, your spirit, your heart. The one question I would always ask my Midwifery patients, "How's your heart?" At first they'd look all cock-eyed, sort of like your curious dog, and say, "My heart?" I'd say, "Yah, your heart." Eventually, they'd tell me how they were doing and get into their soul body.
This is the body we are not talking about in most of our doctors office. It is the body that is a part of your cellular body, many would argue it has nothing to do with your DNA cellular, but yes it does. The arguments would stem from the fact that we can't detect your soul in blood tests and on MRI's and ultrasound; and there's not a ton of evidence supporting that spiritual health is meaningful to regular medical practice or protocols. I beg to differ.
What I know from working with hundreds of women during pregnancy and childbirth, attending a handful of deaths as a hospice support (including my daddy's death), tending to the soul body is as important in our medical care as the physiologic, neurologic, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. It is deep in the tissues of your body after the brain releases chemicals like oxytocin that you carve new pathways for trust, security and strength. I don't believe it's that my friends in the medical establishments disregard this notion, I just simply believe it's that we're not teaching providers about this body responsibly and intuitively.
So, as the new postpartum years care provider, I want to introduce to you a little bit about moving your soul as part of your active rest routine. When I am on the road and traveling for work, I seek out mommas from this community with whom I can run and ski. It's my opportunity to connect with you and get our blood moving together. I was recently on a trail run with a momma and instead of talking about what plagues us and bitching, we talked about all the good things that bring life to us. When we came around a steep, big curve, and out of the woods and I shot my arms out and said, "Joy, joy, joy...I feel so much joy." It sounds so cheesy and maybe it was, but in that moment it was like every cell in my body was filling up with air, strength, movement, support, friendship, brilliance, resilience, and it made me feel ecstatic. When we finished, she said, "When you started screaming out 'joy' I was thrown off, but then I got it and it made me smile and fill up too. I want to run with you all the time." Please, I need more running partners when I travel.
Active rest, again, is getting to a place where you want to move your body because it fuels your whole life including your soul (if you're an Atheist, this community might not be for you just an FYI). During active rest, even though you're exercising, you are being restored, rejuvenated, loved-up-on. Invigoration and health are your primary goals. With active rest, weight-loss or toning your muscles isn't the concern, because strengthening and trimming just happen over time, because you're committed to the connection between your body and soul.
In the weekly newsletter I send out, I give a tip to my subscribers called, "Something to Move You." This tip is always about exercise and moving the body in ways that fulfill you, bring lightness and energy to your body. A physical tip that brings you awareness and deepens your soul connection. When I initiated the weekly letter, and included the three tips with postpartum mommas in mind, it was important for me to incorporate physical wellness into this new postpartum movement. The main reason: because many of the moms I work with and hear from really struggle to get out the door and commit to regular exercise once they're back at work and raising a functional family.
So if you've been afraid of your body, afraid of what you're going to look like in that yoga outfit or running shorts, put a different outfit on and get out the door. Take a deep breath and create a personal mantra about you taking care of your body, your soul, your heart, your health for you, first, and second your family, third your career, and fourth the betterment of this world.
Get around your fear, because on the other side is the most incredible woman and mom. Use your active rest time to ignite the stagnant passion welling up inside of you, shake off some restless energy, and let your soul shine. If you're committing to a path of active rest, please share it with us in the comments below. Tell me how it makes you feel and helps your soul thrive.
I hope you have an incredible week. Thank you for showing up today. If you know a mom who could benefit from a big, resourceful, soulful hug time and time again, please share this with her.