Take Care of Your Body. Thank it for all that it does.

It’s easy to consider the people, places, and the things that you love most and give them gratitude. It’s what we’re socially encouraged to do. It’s what we know.

What is harder, by far, is to have gratitude for ourselves. And, even harder, is to have gratitude for our bodies. I’ll be honest: for all the exercise that I do, I don’t naturally love my body.

Sure, it’s a fine body.

But it could be better.

I’m sure you get that. And, right about now, you may have trailed off thinking of the ways yours could be better.

DON’T.

That’s not what this post is about.

This post is about acknowledging the work that your body does every day. EVERY DAY it works to get you from one place to another. EVERY DAY it holds, pushes, lifts, grabs, hugs, shuffles, hustles, and works as you ask it to. EVERY DAY it works hard. EVERY DAY it gives and gives.

And how do we thank it?

By nitpicking what it isn’t. It isn’t, for instance, perfect. It isn’t photogenic. It isn’t desirable. It isn’t. It isn’t. And it never will be – at least as long as you maintain the mindset that it needs to be a certain way.

So today I practiced gratitude for my body. I retracted negative thoughts that were critical of my body. I thought of ways to compliment it. And I listened when it felt tired, achy, or stiff.

In the morning, this practice of body gratitude began on my yoga mat. I practiced for 15 minutes of light stretching, movement, and brought energy and attention into the sleepy corners of my arms, neck, back, and hips.

I ate a healthy breakfast (scrambled eggs with spinach and feta), drank tea, and hydrated.

I choose breath over stress when the boys were getting ready for school. And went to a heated power yoga class after drop off.

After yoga class, I came home and made a green smoothie, more tea, and a vegetable-packed lunch of Tex-Mex quinoa and avocado.

A FREE Whole30 coaching group to set you up for success. Start your new year off right with a healthy diet.

At night, I taught yoga. And I noticed the difference what a day of body-consciousness does for my body. It felt stronger, cleaner, more available. It felt better than it normally does. And I felt better, knowing it was in a good state of being.

So today, I have pages from my album to share.

I also have a challenge for you.

Gratitude Challenge for your body wake up early, do yoga, eat healthy, hydrate, walk or exercise, get to sleep

And here’s my book from today.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

The picture is of me holding my kale smoothie. It was mildly appetizing, but definitely not as filling as I hoped. In this case, I listened to my body (see that practice in action?!) and decided to eat a little more.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

Okay, fine, a lot more.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

I wrote a long matra to my body as my gratitude for today. It’s a little long, so I justified the text to both sides of the page and lightened the font to a dark grey to give it more of a patterned look.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

I also painted with watercolor. WHICH I LOVE. And I don’t do nearly enough of it. So it was a lot of fun to bring that element into this layout.

 

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

I’m having WAY TOO MUCH FUN with this album. Seriously.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

The page on the left is a painting that the boys made after they got into my paint supplies earlier this year. I was upset for a half a second, but the results were a lot of fun. They would make pages every day if they could.

And the colors really add to the book.

30 Days of Thankful 6x8 Mini Book | 2015 Gratitude Project by Julie Gagen, How I Sustain Blog

I love how it came out! Share links if you’re doing this project. I’d love to see what you make!

 

xoxo,

julie

CZ Design’s 30 Days of Thankful project is an opportunity to reflect on the people, places, and things that you’re grateful for. You can also follow along on Cathy’s Blog or follow me on Instagram to see what I’m thankful for this year. And here’s a link to my 2012 project, my 2013 Project, and my 2014 Project. You can read all of my posts for this project under the tag 30 Days of Thankful.

Julie Love Gagen

After unexplained illness, with no diagnosis, forced me to take medical leave of absence in college, I chose yoga as a path towards healing. For me, it was a gentle way for me to get back into my body. And the experience, and practice, gave me the confidence I needed to believe I could heal. It worked. And it’s been magic ever since. In 2012, I chose to do a personal wellness challenge – 30 days of Hot Power Yoga – in celebration of my 30th birthday. The studio I picked was Baptiste Yoga in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The studio which, just a few years later, would be the inspiration and the setting for my RYT 200-hr Yoga Teacher training. The style of yoga I teach is a little different from what you’ve seen before. In my class, we focus on strengthening your core, elongating your spine, and finding the ideal position for each body, regardless of what it looks like.

(3) Comments

  1. I love your style! I’m brand new to watercoloring, but want to learn. Just took the Big Picture Classes watercolor class but didn’t paint along yet. What paints do you use? Do you have any tutorials or other examples of your watercolor work on your blog? (I’ll be looking in the meantime…..)

  2. Thanks, Nicole! I don’t have any tutorials on my site, but if you go to @PaintPaperStudio on instagram, she has some fun watercolor process videos. I use the “Prang” oval-16 semi-moist watercolors. They’re easy to carry around and there is enough variety to keep me inspired. I think the critical thing is finding the right brush for you. Once you have that, it’s a lot of fun!

    And I’m really glad you asked about my work, because I did two major projects using watercolor this summer and never posted them! YIKES! You can see some of the books here: http://www.littlepaperprojects.com/category/little-summer-joy/

    Hope that answers your question! And thank you SO much!

    • You’re welcome! I appreciate the leads on the paints and some tutorials you like. Thanks bunches! Glad you got back to me. I’ll let you know if I create anything….

Comments are closed.