Climb Every Mountain



A year ago I took my first hike with a friend. To a place she recommended but a pace I set. And for the first time in my life I was ready to set my own pace. This was more than a fun scenic hike for me, I reached out to her because I was ready to conquer a fear that had haunted me for a long time - a fear of physical activity with others. It terrified me. Specifically the idea of taking too long in a group activity and being the last one. Being the last one because of my speed, my body. It not being able to move like everyone else’s. Burning calves, heavy breathe. I would panic. I felt bad for them. I felt bad for me. But I always felt worse for them. I didn’t want to hold them back, I didn’t want to be a burden so I would hold myself back and sit out or give up, usually crying, usually after. I never wanted anyone to know it hurt me.

I often have flashbacks to gym class and always being last. The ENTIRE class waiting for me to finish the mile.

Memories of many walks in New York City when I would be a block behind the people I was walking with. One in particular as we were rushing to make it to an event makes me cringe to this day. They were so far ahead of me. I was struggling so much to make it seem like I was “just taking my time.” They didn’t wait. We made it to the concert in plenty of time that I wonder why we were in such a rush to get there.

Looking back to a beautiful dessert hike in Arizona where I should have been soaking up my surroundings but instead I was the last in the group full of strangers that didn’t know how uncomfortable I was. How hard it was for me to have just shown up, over analyzing every detail leading up to the moment we started moving through the dessert. They were full speed ahead and I was stuck in the back, apologizing to the guide the entire time eventually crying begging her to turn around going back. A hike never completed. One I longed for. 

A time on The Swamp Rabbit Trail on my very first bike ride telling the group I was with to go ahead without me, through tears and shame. 

Looking back on these memories I realized that shame I carried was heavy. It paralyzed me. It took me out of a lot of things before I even tried them. I missed so many experiences because of this and the ones I did try, my mindset got in the way. I wasn’t present.  I played out the entire scenario before I took my first step. And when I took that first step I was worried about the next one. It was exhausting. I was tired of being tired.

So I text my friend Danielle and we planned my first hike.

I wanted to stop waiting, I had already waited for so long on so many things. So, we hiked. It was one of the most beautiful days. I cherish all the new beginnings I’ve had this past year and this one holds such space in my heart.  I stood on the top of that pinnacle and the girl you see in this first photo is on the brink so much change. You can see it in her smile, I can. But she started changing before she made it to the top. Before she even got out of the car to take the hike, or before she went away on her wellness journey the week after, before she lost any weight. She wanted to pursue one of the things that scared her in the body she was in, just as she was. In the only moment that was guaranteed. The one she was in. So she did. Even though she went slow. Even though her knees creaked with every step. Even with her kind friend stood by her side every step of the way and reassured her throughout. She pursued. And from that day forward the minute she saw the sunset on top of Craggy Gardens she continued to pursue fiercely, deeply and for the feeling she had at the top of the world that day.

There have been other hikes since that first one. And there will be more. But what started there that crisp fall day still remains and always will. A year later I rented a car after my shift at the coffee shop, chasing daylight to make it back to the place where so much began. To see the sunset, to feel the cold air on my lungs and to look around at the 360 degree view. To soak in a full circle moment of growth and gratitude. I went 5 miles above the speed limit while driving and thinking about everything that has happened since the hike last year and I cried the entire way, Mumford and Sons After the Storm on repeat. This lyric more fitting for me now more than ever: “Get over your hill and see what you find there...”

I hoped for a moment of reflection, celebration, while being able to walk up the mile craggy walkway hopefully with a little more ease and a little less out of breathe than last time. And I arrived to be greeted with that part of the Parkway closed for the season. My tires slowed to a stop, I turned off the song, my heart sunk. I text my friend who was with me in spirit. I wasn’t going to get to do the hike I had hoped for, looked forward to. To be able to climb and reflect and pause. I pulled off the side of the road to an overlook nearby and cried some more with the lyrics in my mind even though the song no longer played. I had put a lot of pressure on a moment that wasn’t going to happen. Not all moments are exactly how we hoped them to be.  I took a deep breathe, I got out of my car and slowly walked to the edge of the overlook, teetering on the edge, balancing, reminded of the beauty that surrounded me even though the view was different than the one I was hoping for. It was such a beautiful view. A different, beautiful view. The air was cool and the sun was setting under the clouds. I was alone. Peace. Breathe. In and out. In and out. The girl in the last picture was feeling just that. She was having her moment of reflection, celebration and pause that she had hoped for after all. You can see it in her smile, I can.

So parked on the Blue Ridge Parkway, miles away from my original destination even though I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  I kept breathing, crying, grateful for the lesson I was learning that day. It was an important one.  The lesson wasn’t in this one specific sentimental hike and in climbing to the top again a year later. The lesson was in realizing that I’ve been climbing every single day since I first started.

 My first happy hike. Standing on the edge of so much beauty and change. 

My first happy hike. Standing on the edge of so much beauty and change. 

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My sweet friend Danielle packed us a picnic and we sat on the edge even though I was so scared. 

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And we savored every moment until the last of the sun set. 

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A year later. Celebrating the hike that didn’t happen but the hike I’m constantly on. Peace. Pause. Reflection. GRATITUDE. 

 The view. Different than I had originally hoped for but exactly where I needed to be.

The view. Different than I had originally hoped for but exactly where I needed to be.

Sarah Polite
Dear Me, Love Me: Self Care Sessions at The Ness Fest


A year ago I wouldn’t be writing this post. That is what makes it even more beautiful. It makes each word mean even more to me to be able to share it with you. To reflect and celebrate the difference a year can make. I’m grateful for it.


The Ness Fest is this weekend. It’s a two day festival here in Greenville that will be celebrating wellNESS, goodNESS, fitNESS and wholeNESS. All things that have been the foundation to my journey this past year. Especially wholeness. Wellness is wholeness to me. Wholeness has become so influential in my life.


When I heard about this special community driven event happening for the first time I knew I wanted to attend it, something I wouldn’t have been able to say a year ago. My health and wellness journey hadn’t quite started yet and while I had done a lot of personal work to leave NYC and get to Greenville to pursue a better quality of life I was still on the path to the start of this part of my story. Hilton Head Health was on the horizon and the change that followed it was something that seemed far away to me even though I hoped for it so deeply.


That is why today it means so much to me, eyes full of tears typing this to you, to not only mention that The Ness Fest is happening this weekend and that I’ll be attending it but that I’ll be there both days hosting Dear Me, Love Me: Self Care sessions.


YES. It’s happening.


I am so thankful that The Ness Fest is creating a comfortable space for me so that I can welcome others into it, for US to sit and pause, to reflect and write TOGETHER.


This past year has been an immersive lesson in self care for me that’s included writing daily and documenting each moment of this wonderful and wild journey not by focusing on things like the number scale or my new pant size but through my words and what I’m feeling in these experiences.  In between the bike rides and yoga classes they’ve had the long lasting impact on my health and have become so important to me with the new lessons and perspective I’m gaining along the way. I’ve found my voice. On the days I feel solid and on the days I’m uncertain. On the days I want to shout from the rooftops and on the days my voice shakes. Especially on those, I keep writing. And with every word I write even if no one else reads it, my voice keeps getting stronger. My truth compass guides me. Speaking my truth and writing has been such a beautiful gift that I’ve given to myself that I want to share that outlet of self care with you wherever you are, exactly as you are and however you’re feeling. 


In addition to journaling I began writing myself letters on my birthday each year and in moments of celebration as a way to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the year head. In the middle of it all. Between change and transition and movement. Life is always in motion and we’re moving so fast that I thought The Ness Fest would be a poignant moment for you to pause, reflect back and look ahead by creating these 20 minute self care sessions for you to sit down with me and write a letter to yourself.

 

If you could handwrite a letter to yourself right now, today, what would it say?

 

We send love notes, congratulations cards and words of encouragements to our friends and loved ones. We sign our notes to them with love and well wishes on birthdays and big occasions. Sending them nothing but the best and all the love, but what if we sent that to ourselves? Just because we need a reminder of all that we’re doing. That we need encouragement of all the things we want to do. That we need someone to tell us we’re OK,  that we’re working hard, that we are proud of them. That we are proud of us. Write to yourself like you would your dearest friend and pen pal. After you seal it we’ll hold onto your letter and mail it to you right when you need to receive it and probably when you don’t even realize it you need it. 


I would love it if you stopped by to see me this weekend and write to yourself about the weekend, about your life and about all the things on your mind and in your heart as you experience the festival and prepare to take all the moments home with you. Here is the link for more details and the full schedule. You’ll be able to schedule everything there including self care time with me.


Here’s to trying something new this weekend that maybe pushes you out of your comfort zone in a way you thought you couldn’t a year ago. I’ll be there doing the same right along beside you, grateful for the experience each and every moment along the way. This festival is for all of us- to bring wholeness and wellness to our lives and it can be scary. Remember a year ago I would have been scared to try. Feeling that it wasn’t for me. Looking for someone to reach out their hand saying, I see you, you belong here, let’s do this together. If you’re feeling this way too- send me a message on here so we can get you to experience the thing you don’t think you can do. You can.  You belong here. We all do. It’s worth it to try. Let’s do this together. 


The Ness Fest details HERE

Schedule self care time with me HERE 

 

Love, light & gratitude, 

Sarah  

 

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Sarah Polite
KEEPING IT REAL: Cleaning out my instagram feed

I laid in bed. I felt heavy. I was doing the social media scroll on instagram that takes up so much of my time. So much of our time. I went to an old friend’s profile. One I hadn’t spoken to in a year and one that hurt me deeply but one that I needed to always see what she was up to. Why did I always need to see what she was up to?

I knew what it was- just to know. Even if it hurt. A lot. My way of being connected to her even if it was toxic, depleting. But every day I did it. The curiosity would pull on me. It became a part of my routine.  Every morning- I’d wake up and grab my phone, open instagram and scroll through. Once I was done soaking up the vibes of others and feeling their influence even if I didn’t always want to feel it I would type in her name to my search bar. I didn’t follow her but I’d still look, and then watch her stories. Sometimes twice. My mood would feel heavy. My heart would too. Like a gray cloud over both. Almost to torture myself of a friendship that ended. I hoped she was happier now. From what I saw and what she put out there, her negativity remained. I felt it as she complained on video, in her car with a fun face filter. I watched and wondered what part I had in how she was feeling. Ultimately I knew it was less than I thought but in that moment it felt like all of it. I took it on.

I had to stop. I didn’t deserve this. 

So that next morning I woke up and did the same scroll I always did but this time after I watched her stories one more time feeling the weight she was giving me I did it.

I blocked her.

After I let her go and felt the relief I realized there are others that impact me just like her. Those that stir up things that aren’t always positive for me. Triggering thoughts and feelings. Those that weighed me down without even realizing they were. So I continued clearing my feed. Once I started I couldn’t stop which is normally how my constant instagram scroll starts and continues.

That morning in my bed though it was different. Instead of feeling heavy and weighed down from her and them like I normally did, mindlessly scrolling, painfully comparing I slowly unfollowed and muted all of people that made me feel anything other than worthy. No one should ever let us feel less than enough. I was lightening my load. The burden of all their BS that wasn’t mine to carry.  I was thoughtful and mindful as I continued to clean. And while I did it I realized that I have the control over my instagram feed and who I let into it. I’m trying to establish boundaries in my life and starting with social media is a great place to build some.

I can like people in real life and not like them on social media. A lot of it comes from learning  that many of us aren’t always the same people as we project online. It makes me really sad that so many aren’t their true selves across the board privately and publicly but that is their choice. My choice is how I let them into my life and affect me. So, I continued to clean.

The way we start our days set the tone for the rest of it. I challenged myself and changed my routine. Instead of waking up and grabbing my phone and doing a social media scroll, then checking email, I now lay there and think for a few minutes. Set an intention for the day.  Read a bit from a book I’m enjoying or write a few pages of thoughts fresh from my head into a journal beside my bed. I practice gratitude and make note of what I’m grateful for. These small acts are all good things. Things that make me happy and bring me peace. It starts the day in a calm, creative manner instead of filling it with other people’s lives and days and projections before I’ve even started mine. Some days it’s shifted my entire perspective, starting positively and with things that bring me joy.  Our time is precious. If we are spending time online it should count towards something,  to add to our day, to fill us up, not take away from it and tear us down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

I want to be surrounded by the vibes I hope to put out into the world- good ones. I want to be inspired and inspire and so I did it. I cleaned out my feed just as I would clean out my closet this time of year. Instead of swapping out the short sleeves for sweaters I instead swapped out comparison to community. Connection. Inspiration. Freedom.

Raise your hand if you feel this way too and have people on social media that you always go to to see what they’re doing. Just to know. Even if you hate doing it. Even if you don’t like them that much. Maybe you love them but it’s still stresssful for you. To compare yourself to them. Even if you don’t want to. To feel like you’re missing out on their plans because you’re not there. Even if you’re happy with the plans you’re currently having or the plans you’re not having. The second guessing. The doubt. The FOMO (fear of missing out) instead of JOMO (Joy of missing out). Even if it hurts you. Being reminded of the things we don’t have instead of all the things we do have. The ones that stir up negativity you don’t want to feel....but you go, scroll and look anyway. 🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️🙋🏻‍♀️

I’m sending a loving challenge your way- Stop.

Stop doing that to yourself.

Stop going to their feed so often to see what they’re doing.

Stop going to their feed at all.

Mute them. Hide their stories. Whatever you need to do. They’re taking up valuable space in your head and in your heart. It’s hard. I felt guilty at first but I also know that feeling will pass instead of the lasting impact they have on my daily outcome. And guess what? Fun fact-If you mute them they’ll never know you did. Muting keeps it private. Unfollowing is also a powerful tool to clearing the way but they could know you did. If that matters to you if they know then it may cause more drama than the intention of it all. Honestly, I was so thankful for discovering this mute feature in a time where so many people I know track their followers and the unfollows they get. I know if I unfollowed certain people I would get a DM or text message asking why. That would be hard for me. This way you’ll never be asked or confronted for your choice. I never want you to be confronted for choosing you. And you can unmute them anytime- only if you want to.

You deserve to be inspired. Uplifted. Connected and a part of a community that supports you the way you support it. Anything less is not worth your screen time. Your head and heart time. Your soul time. As followers we are in control. We are responsible.

They say we are what we eat. I also say we are the content we consume. We are also the content we create. As creators we are also in control and also responsible. Being an “influencer” doesn’t speak to me but being a person of influence does. We all have that roll whether we have thousands of followers or none. Both online and in life -we influence.  So fill up fully with the goodness you deserve and put out intentional things. Speak words that don’t intentionally hurt yourself or others. Positivity radiates and so does negativity. Know that our intentions matter. Our actions matter. Our words matter.

Why are you posting what you post?

To show you’re doing something cool? Because someone else is doing it? To make someone jealous? To project you’re feeling better than you are? To try to be someone you don’t always feel like at home? Or to share your passion and creativity? To share your art, your music your writing? To share your story and your heart? To pass along a message that means something to you? To connect with other likeminded kind humans?  To help others?  To motivate? What are the reasons for you?

There’s a big difference in the first part of that list and the end of that list. Where are you located on it? Maybe you don’t realize where you fall.  Didn’t notice. Didn’t care. Don’t care. But I urge you to just check in with yourself when you can. Not with everyone else. Not determining the success of your instagram post with how many likes and shares you got but with how you felt about what you posted. The moment you felt when you took the photo and wrote the words and released it for others to experience. But with you and your why. Sit with it. See how you feel. I love to always check in with my heart and intention of why before I ever put anything out into the world. Sometimes I write and it takes me a while to give it to anyone else. I like to be certain. To be sure in my soul. Intentional and deliberate. Honest. Like today’s intention. To let you know how I’ve been feeling with social media in case you feel it too. To give permission if you need it. To make a safe space for you where you know you’re valued and heard and that you’re not alone in this world where instagram can connect us but also isolate us. To let you know what my heart has been feeling and to share my story so you can relate if it resonates. If it doesn’t may it give you to freedom to share something that is on your heart too. To know you’re not alone. I feel it too. We all do. To continue to slow down in this social media society where living in a social media society matters so much.

But so does our happiness. Our peace. Our confidence in ourselves without followers and likes and others to a validate what we’re doing even if we crave it, have become used to it, told by everyone else that’s how we should hold value and stock.

Once we change our feed to be full of people, places and businesses that bring us the good stuff our conversations about social media will change. Our perspective will change. We’ll spend less time gossiping about the feeds that bring us down, that make us doubt and we’ll talk about the good ones, the ones standing for something on the platform they’ve built to empower, educate, support and engage in a way that makes this world a better place.

They call it a platform for a reason. The definition of a platform is an opportunity to voice one’s views or initiate action. What does that look like for you?

 

Get cleaning. 

With lots of love & a lighter instagram feed,  

Sarah

 

P.S- Did you know that when you spend less time scrolling on social media and checking the profiles of people that stress you out and bring you down you’ll have more time to live life freely and unfiltered while not comparing yourself to strangers on the internet. 

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Sarah Polite
Note To Self

I sat down today to get organized. To write my to do list. It’s long. To set my intentions for the month. There’s a lot. Schedule myself for the weeks ahead. I’m busy. Write down ALL that I hoped to do, to accomplish. Be productive. Make the most of the day.

And as I started my list this came out instead.

So I kept writing and writing and writing these words until I didn’t need to feel them under my pen anymore. The rhythm of my writing as a reminder if I ever forget. Here’s to never forgetting. I stopped. My eyes full of tears and my pen out of ink.

My to do list can wait.

THIS list is the most important thing I’ll accomplish today. 💛

 

 

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Sarah Polite
So Sarah, what do you do??


This post is a year in the making. Something that has been stirring in my heart for a while.

A question I get often and every single time I meet someone new, which has happened a lot this year as I’ve moved to a new place surrounded by new people. I was even asked it last night. Surrounded by a group of new faces. Sitting around in silence waiting for the answer, asking because they didn’t know.

“What do you do?”

A simple question.

They ask me curiously, probably out of habit as a part of the introduction, but it stirs up so much more for me. It stirs up so much more than the quick answer they may expect back. The elevator pitch I don’t have prepared.

This question has become a part of our daily conversations and greeting when we introduce ourselves and for a long time I stumbled over answering it.

I remember when I first moved to Greenville, without a job it’s almost like every single Uber driver I rode with knew as they asked me about my career before I had even finished buckling my seatbelt. The question that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and felt like I had to answer it since I was in their backseat. I would close my eyes and cringe each time I heard the words from someone I didn’t know. For a while I tried to think of the one “thing” I did and what I was and how it would define me. Even before I moved here. Even when I had a job and food blog and all the things that made good answers to this question. So as I rode in the back seat because uneasiness was sitting in the passenger side I tried to get my elevator pitch across in my 4 minute car ride with a driver I may never see again. Why did I care so much what a stranger thought of me? Why do we care so much what strangers think of us?

One week specifically I remember I answered differently each time I was asked, to see what felt right and would eventually become my thing. For a woman who at the time didn’t have a job and had experienced a major life change I wasn’t giving myself much grace and was spending a lot of time trying to come across to people I don’t know like I was OK and doing something great. But guess what? I was OK and I was doing something great. I was living my truth and on my own journey even if it couldn’t be easily explained in a title and short explanation.

Then I started answering differently.

I stopped trying to define myself. The first time it happened I ran into my nice neighbor from my apartment building at a food event downtown. We didn’t know each other very well and had only met a couple of times with short hellos accompanying our run ins. He was with his wife that day and since we had a few more minutes together than usual when I went to go say hello he waved back at me and asked “So, Sarah, what do you do?”

And just as quickly as he asked it I answered. I told him why I didn’t resonate with that question and instead I was going to tell them what I was currently passionate about even if it wasn’t a job. I could tell at first he wasn’t expecting my response and I was worried I had upset him for not answering the question he had asked. My face was a little red from the rush of adrenaline I felt. From saying what had been bubbling up inside. For saying what I felt. Justice for all the people feeling what I was feeling, or just justice for myself.  I initially wanted to apologize after I spoke from my unemployed creative dreamer’s soap box, but didn’t. For going against the grain. I still didn’t. I owned that uncomfortable moment where I didn’t answer to just answer, box myself in and continue on. I wanted them to know what I was excited about and working on even if I wasn’t working full time. So I told them.

After that interaction the conversation started to change about this topic for me because I started changing the conversation I was

having about it.


We’re more than our jobs. So I started telling people what I was doing other than what my job was. Or lack of job, depending on which month this year I was asked the question.


How many of you have a full time job with a passion project on the side that you pour yourself into when the work day is done no matter how tired you are?

 

How many of you have a side hustle that brings you more joy than money it generates?


How many of you have a part time job so living life to the fullest can be your priority?


How many of you feel pressure to have the next step figured out?


How many of you have a full time career but you wish you had more time to pursue things that made you happy?


How many of you are unemployed for a circumstance that brings you stress to think about it?


How many of you are choosing to not work right now to press pause and reevaluate?


How many of you don’t know what you want to do next?

In certain seasons in my life I’ve been able to raise my hand to ALL of the above and the one thing I know for sure is the answer doesn’t get easier depending on the scenario I’m in.

Even when I had a career, a full time paycheck and health insurance it was hard to answer that question. I wasn’t always happy with my title. My job. My career path. There was a time I felt bad because of that. For having an opportunity a lot of people wanted and not being fulfilled by it. For having a passion project that brought me passion and wanting to spend more time doing it than the job I went to college for. For having a side hustle that brought no money but brought me joy. A job I was fired from brought me such shame when I was let go because they never told me why. When I decided to leave a steady income to go without one because I was seeking pause and perspective and the pursuit. When my passion project changed and so did my path. When I took two part time jobs at places I love to pay the bills so that living a full and healthy life I love could become my priority.

Sound familiar? Maybe a few or a lot of the above speak to you. Maybe contentment fills your heart with where you currently are. But no matter where we are on that path that question can sometimes can bring up all the things that we feel we aren’t instead of all of things we really are. We are so much more.

I was recently on a job interview and one of the men interviewing me joked about the dreaded “where do you see yourself in 5 years question” and said he wasn’t going to be asking me that but then proceeded to ask one very close to it.

He asked “What are your ultimate career goals?”

Pause.

He then mentioned passions I had previously discussed earlier in the interview like writing, yoga and health and wellness. He then asked if that is where I wanted to end up. Maybe one of those would be my ultimate career goal?

Still pausing.

My internal monologue started racing in the silence. I thought to myself - I don’t know why acting like I know where I’m going to end up has any impact on where I currently am. I also don’t want to just “end up” somewhere. I want to dance there, run there, glide there and float there. Twirling along the way. Laughing hopefully. But not just end up there.

There are lots of goals I have for myself so why did I have to pick just one? What if it changes? I hope it does change and I accomplish lots of them. Even ones I haven’t spoken about yet. It sounded so final. I don’t know what the future holds. So I paused some more when he asked it because I didn’t know. I wanted to do all the things I loved but not be defined by them. I paused when he asked it because I actually did know. I knew it was OK to not have the answer but I think the comfortable silence for me, uncomfortable  silence for him signaled doubt. Could he read my mind? He then quickly filled the quiet and followed up with “... or are you still just figuring it all out?”

You know what happened next.

“Aren’t we all?” I responded back. I was serious, but he laughed.

I didn’t take the job.

I had a wonderful reminder on thoughtful question asking with a woman named Barbara the other day. She sat with her outspoken husband next to me at my favorite coffee shop. I was writing in my journal which is where you can usually find me on my days off. We were both from the same town in Pennsylvania. How random and amazing is that. Or not random at all. Small world filled with big reminders. I knew I liked her and that my story would be safe with her.

She asked me about myself -not what I did but who I was and I told her. About my path to Greenville from NYC and my health and wellness journey.  How I work part at both my favorite coffee shop (where we were currently sitting) and also at my favorite taco shop. How in my free time I love to do yoga and ride my bike and write.

How I’m figuring it all out but love that I am.

That I’m grateful.

“My my,” she responded, “that’s a full life.”

I sat in silence and my eyes welled up with tears. I grasped my pen tighter, sipping my coffee as I responded, “it is.”

In a world moving so fast pushing us to climb the ladder and get that next title, promotion, raise, and prestigious award, please, go at whatever pace you need to. Your own pace. Even if you need to pause some days and crawl the other days. You’re on your way.  It’s OK to go at your own speed and not run after others just because they’re running.

In a world where we need to always seem like we have to have it figured out it’s OK not to. I have a secret: no one really does fully we all just act like we do. Especially on social media.

In a world telling us we should be making more money, doing a job because it makes you happy and brings you joy and where you feel like you’re making a difference is rewarding too and brings in a different kind of abundance even if it’s not in our bank account.

In a world always trying to make us be someone better and more successful than we already are, be yourself.

There’s only one you. There’s only one me. That’s our power.

That’s our gift.

The more I share my story and my words and respond to this question how I want to instead of how I think I should I realize that the journey I’m on is bigger than an elevator pitch and that living my life just as I am is better than anything I could ever put on my resume.

💛Sarah




 

 

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Sarah Polite
To the one who said I couldn’t ...

Doubt. It sometimes creeps in and sticks around for a while. Like when you’re making a cup of cozy tea and manage to get honey on your fingers as you’re trying to sweeten it. Then the bottle gets sticky. The counter. Your clothes. The more you try to wipe it away the stickier it gets until you finally wash it off but it still feels like there’s a little bit left - a reminder. That’s what doubt is like for me and for a long time -I was stuck.

I remember back to my early days working in daytime television I had a producer have me write her scripts for her. She thought she was giving me the valuable career experience I needed as an aspiring producer and instead she was giving me years and years of self doubt. I would submit these scripts after working really hard on them and shortly after proudly putting them in the shared folder where they lived for everyone to see I’d get a call to come into her office.

My heart raced.

I went.

She had the scripts printed. She had scribbled all over them. Scribbled in red pen. Scribbled in red pen all the things that were wrong with my writing, my words, my grammar... my story...

Me.

She told me how stupid I was. How I couldn’t write and that I would never be able to write a proper script. Red pen. Red like my face as I headed back to my desk. Red like my face every time I thought about her for years after. And guess what? For a very long time I believed her. The words stopped coming because I was scared of what she would think. When I started worrying about what she thought I worried about what everyone else thought.  I became hesitant and didn’t consider myself a good writer or even a writer at all . That title scares me still. All titles do.

After that experience I wanted to protect myself, never feel that level of shame again for my work, for being me. I didn’t believe I would be able to become a TV producer like I had dreamed because I couldn’t write scripts or tell stories. My next job didn’t require me to so I stopped pursuing that path and writing all together. I was fearful. I would have someone proofread anything and everything I was writing even an important email over and over and over again. I would rather it be edited, changed and read less as me and more as “correct” than actually get my point across, my message, my story.

The doubt remained.

Sticky like that bottle of honey.

I still believed her. But now - I don’t. Not anymore. Never again. Through my posts on here and Instagram I’m thankful that I’ve found my voice even if my grammar isn’t perfect and my voice sometimes shakes. I used to feel like I had to hide that. Hide the uncertainty, the shakiness, and how I was feeling. Shove it down and be OK, continue on with the grind and push through. Take her abuse without showing her and everyone else it was affecting me. Well it did affect me for a long time in an unhealthy way until I used her negativity to fuel positive change. Positive words and more of them.  To talk about it all - honestly and vulnerably. The shift started as I was posting about food and events in NYC and important moments and life experiences started happening that I wanted to share. In a new way, through my point of view.  So I did.  I started sharing less food pics with short quirky food puns and started sharing my heart. Deeply. Word by word. Because I felt moved to share my story. So I continued to share and share some more. 

Every time I write I think about how I was told I couldn’t. But I can. So I will. 

I’m sure you find spelling errors in my posts all the time and even this post but it’s OK- I write because it brings me joy and when I write I write so you feel like you’re hearing me tell it to you. Directly. Like we’re sharing a cup of coffee at The Village Grind and talking the deep stuff, run on sentences and extra exclamation points. The words flow now. No red pens in sight.

But just as doubt lingers it can disappear.

I put myself and my writing out there in a new way this week.

The idea of it was scary at first because of my old stories aurrounding it but I knew I was ready. I AM READY. So I submitted something to somewhere that would mean a lot to me if my words made it in there. I wrote from my heart about someone I love doing something really important for my community. And I told his story. I treated it as if I were writing to all of you on here because I am and always will be and then... I hit send on the email. I didn’t even have someone else edit it for me before submitting it. Those words were mine as well as any potential spelling errors in there too. And I was proud of them- all of them. Of me. My eyes welled up with tears the minute I sent it. In that moment it didn’t matter to me the feedback I received on the other end. The editing or suggestions. The changes. If it gets published or not. I was doing the thing I was told I couldn’t do, that I would never do and that makes this the happiest ending to my story. 

Actually, this is just the beginning.

I can’t wait to write more.

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Sarah Polite
I took a trip to L.A. and I didn’t post about it on social media


What did I do instead? Enjoyed every moment of it.  What?!  Don’t worry It’s OK, I’m OK, I had a wonderful time, I promise. Even if I didn’t Instagram it. I was present. Mindful. Inspired. Connected. Here’s how: 

 

I met new friends who originally inspired me on the internet and we got together in real life without documenting it. The conversations were so much more powerful because I was fully invested in talking to them and not sharing and saying what we were talking about as it was happening. I wrote about each conversation and what they meant to me. In my journal. Words that they made me feel. So I could remember the feelings long after my time with them ended.

Intentional connection is beautiful and there is something almost sacred about keeping it between the people involved in that special moment. I’m cherishing those talks now and taking the wisdom from them and sharing them in my life when inspired to. There are three separate women specifically who I feel have already changed my life just by being in it and the conversations we shared. I won’t be tagging them in an Instagram post because they know who they are and I’m so thankful to say they’re my friends now in addition to being the very talented, inspiring people I follow on Instagram.

 

I saw an old friend from another coast and another part of my life that seems like both a lifetime ago and yesterday all at the same time. We celebrated where we both are on the journey currently while I kept my phone in my purse. We ate amazing vegan food in the candlelight at a popular new restaurant that was so good you wouldn’t believe there wasn’t cheese in it and we laughed and talked about deep things and our hopes and goals. In that other life when we knew each other I would have needed to document that vegan Mac and cheese. But guess what? It didn’t make it any less delicious not to this time. It made it more special. We then walked down the street to a tree full of chandeliers and there was such a magic in the air I knew a photo wouldn’t do it justice so I closed  my eyes really tight, holding onto his arm, pressing pause and also holding onto the way the air felt on my skin and how full and happy I felt from way more than just the food and drink.

 

I attended a writing workshop and sat in a room full of strangers that didn’t know me by my Instagram handle. They listened to my story and got to know me as Sarah. I sat there soaking it all in and taped the two hour workshop on my phone while I listened deeply to every word she spoke, sometimes even with my eyes closed. If I was intently  focused on my insta stories and typing out what was being said in the moment it was being said I know I would have missed what was being said in the moment. I scribbled notes along the way. A souvenir I’ll cherish.

 

I wrote every day. Messy and scribbled in my journal and most pages and thoughts left unfinished. I’m not worried that I didn’t finish what I started writing but celebrating that I wrote every day. Most of the words I wrote while there still haven’t seen the light of day yet and maybe they won’t, but to make time for writing daily, no matter what the outcome was liberating and has become something I’ve been really focusing on. The joy of the process of it all and I’ve been scribbling messy thoughts and notes down every day since. 

 

These are just a few of the mindful moments I felt while on the West Coast. In the moment I kept them to myself which at the time felt so needed. I always love to bring you along in what matters to me but I honored the deep feeling this time that I needed to fill up my cup so that I can continue to share with you in other ways. There will be a lot of other ways. Old and new ones. Through my writing exercises I practiced, new experiences and new perspectives gained and the inspiration I found while there in all the things and people that impacted me. Especially in the lessons I learned and the encouragement I received. It all lives on after the stories fade from our timeline after 24 hours and the trip comes to an end. It feels like this trip is the beginning... 

 

To experience life without showing it constantly is really hard in today’s social media society but it’s possible. And beautiful to do. I’m learning to navigate life both online and offline. Currently it seems I’m spending more time offline and that has been an important lesson in living in the present. It’s been soul shaking to pause and reflect and pursue that. What really matters. How to connect deeply with others without the screen between us even if the screen brought us together in the first place, especially if the screen brought us together in the first place. It’s worth pursuing and I want to give both myself and you permission to do that when we need it.

 

Here’s to living fully without always showing we are but when we do show it to show it with heart, truth and intention. ❤️

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Sarah Polite
Where everybody knows your name

A part of my heart will remain in this corner, this space at 1263 Pendleton even after The Village Grind moves across the street after today. If you’ve been there even only once, then yours will too.

The sweet smell of lavender mochas and morning buns, Sunday donuts and the unforgettable fragrance of brunch burgers next door through the shared space. The window where the light pours in. Where the rain hits the glass. Where the people pass, walking by waving and smiling. I smile back. I see them. They see me. The sound of the coffee grinder whirring occasionally but always at the exact moment when he tries to tell me something. We laugh every time it happens. I love those moments. Where so many words have been written. Where so many stories have started and been told. Where I’ve spent full days on the corner sofa talking with friends old and new instead of doing anything else. You’ve maybe been one of those friends. Entire days. It’s worth it. Always worth it. And I always leave more inspired than when I arrived. Always. My friends behind the counter that have become my friends in front of the counter. The connections, conversations and constant company Lindsey & co. have cultivated here.

It will continue. Like an inspiring conversation that remains after you’ve left it. Like a warm hug that keeps you comforted after it ends, these feelings continue after The Grind closes at 4pm and we’ve all gone home. After this original, special, one of a kind place transforms into the new, special one of a kind place - it all remains. Honoring the old and looking forward to the new- can’t wait to settle into my new window seat across the way on Wednesday.

 

 

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Sarah Polite
Slowing down in a social media world

 

I’m feeling moved lately to change my pace. 

To disconnect to reconnect. To put the phone down more. Here are a few things I’ve been practicing recently in this pursuit:

Writing less on my laptop and picking up a pen and paper in it’s place. Writing throughout the day and scribbling in my journal, taking notes, drafting things to come. Even if it’s messy. Especially if it is. It takes more thought this way. I like that. It connects me to the page and what I want to say and how I’m feeling. I feel it deeper.

 

Wearing a watch so I don’t keep checking the screen for the time. Because when I do I see the notifications and always go online. Always. Hearing the tick of the second hand click click click around grounds me. 

 

Carrying a camera . Even if it’s big. No matter how the photos turn out. Taking them for fun, not for perfection. They can’t be filtered. Snapping a shot and putting it away. Not 10 takes. Putting them in an album. Even the bad ones. They still make me smile. There is something so intentional about shooting with film. I want to do more or that. Not knowing how it turns out until it does- just like life.

 

Writing in a day planner instead of using my calendar in my phone. Plans resonate more with me when written down instead of typed into the screen. They feel more special.

 

Writing postcards to friends on my trip. Telling them the stories and thoughts I would normally text them. Thinking of them feels a little deeper when I don’t always tell them I am and writing it down and sending it to them across the country means something even if it’s slower.

Pausing for joy in the moments and not always posting that joy in the moment. 

Connecting more with humans in real life without documenting I am. Taking the connections I’ve had through this amazing platform and taking them to real life and to coffee shops to have continued conversations.  Looking them in their eyes. Deeper. More intention. Mindfulness. Awareness. Getting back to basics. To feeling without it always having to happen through my screen. To scribbling messy, handwritten notes in my beautiful journal that turn into posts like this one. 🧡

 

 

 

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Sarah Polite
THIS IS A BEACH BODY.

The subject of the email read “GET BEACH BODY READY” and the body of the email guaranteed us a bikini bod by summer if we signed up for a membership. Well, summer is here and so is my response to them: THIS is a bikini bod. EVERYBODY in EVERY BODY already has a beach body. Just. As. We. Are. 👙💜

 

 

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Sarah Polite
L E T G O

 

A lot of things come up for me on my mat in yoga but this mantra has been a daily one.

LET GO.

Let go of what no longer serves you. Take what you need, release the rest.  It’s so easy to hold onto it ALL. The good, the bad and everything in between. A hoarder of emotions. A heavy, cluttered heart that needs a spring cleaning AND a garage sale. I’ve been there. I needed that garage sale. Badly. But then I started cleaning out and releasing what brought me shame, sadness and made me feel less than. What no longer served me and my happiness even though it was easier to carry weight than to let it go. Emotional eating was that for me. And over the last few months I did, I let it go. It didn’t bring me the good I deserved. In the moment it brought comfort but then it brought shame. It still creeps up occasionally like an itch that needs to be scratched, but I don’t scratch it. I resist the temptation to rekindle my relationship with the habit that met me nightly, but the release and letting go created a void. It was a part of me for so long it left a spot open. Wide. And I noticed wanting to fill it with other things. So every time I’m reminded to LET GO I ask “what no longer serves me?” These are 2 things that I’m releasing for the month of June to see what comes from it as they currently don’t. 1)Alcohol: I’m a social drinker. Casual & fun. A round of shots for everyone! So much fun in the moment so much shame the next day. The texts to friends asking for reassurance on my behavior and beating myself up for not stopping at a point where I don’t feel out of control. Not wanting to lose control and be present in my life. So- this month I release it. 2)Mindless shopping: Buying extra stuff, just because. Strolling the aisles and not thinking as I put things in my cart. Excess. Quantity over quality. Retail therapy. The shame I feel at the register at the total amount that I may not always have. The continued shame as I head home and realize I don’t need the things I purchased. I have all I need. This month- I release it. 

Here’s to what serves us. What brings us joy and roots us in happiness, mindfulness and gratitude. May we find more of that by letting go.

 

 

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Sarah Polite
Stand in your truth

 

 

{Stand in your truth even though you’re scared. Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Live your truth no matter what anyone else thinks.}

A year ago I quit my job in TV- the one I’d been at for 9 years in a career I’d been in for 14 because of a dream that I’d had for as long as I can remember. I didn’t leave for another show, promotion or raise. I left to come here. For change. In search of a better quality of life. Hoping for health, happiness and simply because I felt like I needed to be here. And so I came. Without my next big career move in place or even a paycheck. The hustle and grind suddenly stopped after hustling and grinding for so long. To do that-to walk away without the next thing lined up maybe didn’t make sense to most, but it felt right to me. Reckless to some, rewarding to me. For so long I made decisions out of fear, and after some hard work I stopped. It was exhausting- the fear. I started listening to my feelings instead. It was freeing-to feel. To do what was right for my heart and soul not what I thought others needed or what looked good. To do what I deserved. Not making decisions for worry of disappointment.

Truth is always there. Even when fear wants to cover it up, and we forget about it, truth remains, asking to be set free even if it’s quiet at first. And so I did. I set it free. When the day came to speak the words that had been there for some time - they flowed. You know those conversations you think of all the ways they could play out?  The ones that scare you? This was one of those. But as I said the words “I’m leaving” I actually smiled as I said them. It was effortless and easy - Just like me in that moment. Should it have been harder? No. Because - it was my truth and I was just speaking it.

Once the words came out and I started digging them out from the dirt and fear that were covering it, smothering it for so long, it got easier to continue. At first my voice was a whisper and then it shook. I continued speaking. My truth started to grow from deep below. And as I continued to share it and speak it, the stronger and stronger, louder and louder my voice got, my truth got until it became the only thing I’ve spoken since.

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Sarah Polite
A lesson on loneliness

Q: What is the lesson of a lonely heart?

 A question I’ve asked myself a lot lately and had trouble finding the answer. June was a lonely month. June was also an amazing, inspired month full of so many moments of joy. So many. But now that it’s July and the cloud that occasionally hovered above me the month before has lifted I’ve been reflecting on what made it appear in the first place. As I did I had a major realization. At first I just thought- I’m single so that’s why I’m lonely. Makes total sense. Still does, except that wasn’t it.

The last few months I removed a really good friend from my life. Emotional eating was pretty much my BFF. Sure, this friend wasn’t good for me, sometimes we have friends that aren’t. But they were always there in the moments I needed them. For as long as I can remember. They made me feel better. Until they didn’t. And then I needed to say goodbye. Once I parted ways with emotional eating I noticed I wanted to fill the void it left with other things, new “friends”. But I was aware and decided I’m not filling voids with things or people. So I took a break and removed them as well. Gone. That quickly left a lot of wide open spaces wide open that I used to pack in and fill up. And I felt it, deeply. Cracked open. Feeling. Lonely. Missing the ways I used to feel better instead of feel deeper. 

As I was thinking about all that I’ve removed the last couple months I started thinking about all that I’ve added. Why do I have to fill the void with things that hurt me. That numb me. Why can’t I fill the open spaces with LOVE AND ABUNDANCE. More love and abundance than what’s already there. So much that I’m overflowing with it. So I decided to let it in. As much as would fit and then add a little more. As that gray cloud lifted I found my answer to the question I was seeking. 

A: I AM ENOUGH. Without the emotional eating. Just as I am, where I am. With all my feelings, baggage, messy stuff that makes me me. With all the beautiful stuff too. The love and abundance I’m choosing. Without distractions. Without another person. ENOUGH. Just me, wide open, all of me.

🦋 That was the lesson.

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Sarah Polite
Month three: full of reflection, hope and not one resolution in sight

Month three. A point in time that seemed so far away for so long was finally here. It arrived quickly and silently and before I knew it the holidays had passed and 2017 was coming to an end and 2018 was beginning. New beginnings- there were so many surrounding me in the months leading up to this one but this month was going to be preparation for maybe the biggest new beginning of all. Life after this transformative experience in my new home. Transformative- causing a marked change in someone or something. I was changed. And just as quickly as it all began it was officially my third and final month at Hilton Head Health. 

 

 

Week 9

HAPPY NEW YEAR - So, what's your New Year's resolution? This question and tradition is engrained in our culture year after year lists of goals and things we're going to get right this year.  Until we don't. And what is right anyway? Should, shouldn't, better than we were last year, than we are currently. I love New Year's and new beginnings but there is a lot of pressure on a moment at midnight and a fresh slate for the year ahead. By the beginning of February I've forgotten half of the things I wrote down and the rest I'm doing because I should not even because I want to.  And when I stop doing the things there is shame and sabotage and so much disappointment - in myself. That is why this year I decided in this new season I was in entering in this new year I resolved to not make resolutions. I wanted to be kind to myself just as I was and celebrate all of the things I did this last year and was currently doing. It was a lot. And I never wanted to forget it.  I love goals but sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in them and have our eyes on where we're hoping to go that it's easy to miss all the progress in the present. 

 

 

Week 10

I woke up one morning. It was a normal day like any other but I felt IT. It was that feeling that everything I was doing here felt like second nature. It wasn't something I had to do or felt like I should do but I knew I would do and could do.  I KNEW this would be a part of my life moving forward. I had hoped it would be before this but today, I FELT IT. That health and wellness was important to me. Self care, strength and loving my body no matter where it is on this journey. Forgetting the story I had told myself all these years about what my body can do. Unlearning what society has taught me about beauty. Sharing it and celebrating it. Every step of the way. This ordinary day on this regular week ended up being extraordinary because I knew I could. 

 

Week 11

This was the week I wanted to soak it all in. Seeing the end in sight and holding on to the feeling I had being right where I was. It was the week I started counting my "lasts" around campus but I knew they were all just beginnings. I remember being in a hip hop dance class with one of my favorite instructors Ashley and after class I hung around like I normally did but this time both of us told the other how much the experience has meant. How much we would miss each other. But that we have one more class together. One more. In my heart I hoped so many more but I knew that no matter how many times I return there will never be anything as sweet as that first time of discovery and learning in that way of the unknown and uncertain. And I cherished every minute of it. Closed my eyes tightly hoping it would remain just a little longer. 

 

Week 12

A week I never thought would arrive or could arrive was here. In someways it flew by. It other ways it felt like the perfect pace of time. I remember before this even began I couldn't imagine how I would feel and who I would be on the other end of this experience. Three months felt like such a long amount of time but in my whole life it's just a flash in the pan. That is the most beautiful part of it all. I went into this unsure but wide open and came out so certain and cracked open even wider than I ever thought possible. I was hopeful. I was ready. The last three months lead me to this moment and everything ahead of me was possible. I wasn't scared but inspired and excited to go live this new life. And I knew I would be back soon. That's the thing with those places and people that us. They remain with us forever no matter where we go. I knew this was just a chapter in my story and that it was just getting good. 

 

 

 

Here's to surprising ourselves. To wanting more for ourselves and going out and taking the time to do the things we never knew we could do. We deserve them. Here's to health AND happiness ahead. Here's to just getting started. 

A new kind of healthy, 

<3 Sarah 

 

"Welcome to the Dr. Oz Show, we're so happy you're here..."

For eight years those words were my opening line. My greeting card and my welcome to all the guests that came to The Dr. Oz Show. I was the Travel Supervisor for the show and was responsible for all of the guests once they were booked for segments. My team and I were the ones who got them to NYC for their taping, taking care of all their travel accommodations behind the scenes while they were in town and at the studio for the show. 

After 14 years in NYC and eight years at Oz I recently left both in August to take an inspired leap and move to Greenville, SC to focus on unchartered territory- myself. To do the thing I was scared to do. To go and see what was out there for me so I didn't have to wonder what if.  To listen to my truth and to follow my inner compass even if I wasn't sure where it would lead.

After traveling thousands of guests for all those years I realized that I took care of them easily and often without taking care of myself. It was time to. I was looking for a shift in health, wellness and perspective that I had never experienced before. But once I started to look- I found it, or actually, I think it found me. After my move to Greenville I was connected to Hilton Head Health- a health and wellness resort within driving distance from my new home where I ended up staying for three months and changing everything. Changing my perspective on a lot of things but especially myself. It's where I saw myself in a new way that I had never seen myself before. Once I started to choose myself it was powerful and got easier with each choice but once I decided to choose my health and that I deserved it-it was even more empowering. It has never been about the weight or losing it to me. Never about a number on the scale or a size dress on the tag.  It was about the movement and the knowledge and the sustainability of living a full and healthy life without being restrictive, deprived or shamed. 

And just like that in a beautiful blur and only 6 months I went form NYC to SC and then back to NYC to share my new journey with the person from the person from thats been there from the start of it all- Dr. Oz. It was a wild and wonderful full circle moment that I never expected to get but so thankful I did. To show up at the studio and be the one welcomed and greeted with open arms the way I always tried to welcome guests was a powerful moment of pause, gratitude and reflection and I wanted to share my behind the scenes moments with you from this special day. 

 

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I walked by this sign on every tape day for years as the audience lined up right next to it before each show. As I walked in this time passing the audience like I used to I knew it was different so I paused to take a moment to reflect on how big of a full circle moment it was.

     

 

 

I had to check in through security at the front where I always greeted all of the guests. It was weird and wonderful to be the visitor this time. I made sure to wear the name tag just in case anyone asked me to do any work that day. 

 I had my own dressing room! This was part of my job each show day to escort all of the guests that were going to be on the show to their rooms! To have that happen to me was a surreal moment.&nbsp;

I had my own dressing room! This was part of my job each show day to escort all of the guests that were going to be on the show to their rooms! To have that happen to me was a surreal moment. 

 Hair &amp; makeup time!&nbsp;

Hair & makeup time! 

 Getting hair and makeup done- BEFORE

Getting hair and makeup done- BEFORE

 AFTER&nbsp;

AFTER 

 The best part of this whole experience was my best friend Nicole produced me! How amazing is that? It was the best and this is a photo of us before the show. Me sitting there in disbelief listening to her talk about the segment and trying not to cry (spoiler alert- I cried anyway. She cried too. OK - we all cried. EVERYONE CRIED.)

The best part of this whole experience was my best friend Nicole produced me! How amazing is that? It was the best and this is a photo of us before the show. Me sitting there in disbelief listening to her talk about the segment and trying not to cry (spoiler alert- I cried anyway. She cried too. OK - we all cried. EVERYONE CRIED.)

 It's almost SHOWTIME!&nbsp;

It's almost SHOWTIME! 

 Last few moments before my segment with Nicole. She's giving me a pep talk and I'm thinking about what I was going to say out there in front of everyone &nbsp;but reminded myself to just speak from my heart.&nbsp;

Last few moments before my segment with Nicole. She's giving me a pep talk and I'm thinking about what I was going to say out there in front of everyone  but reminded myself to just speak from my heart. 

 A new point of view.

A new point of view.

 And just like that it was over! But it's only just beginning. It was amazing and something I'll never forget even though it was a beautiful blur.&nbsp;

And just like that it was over! But it's only just beginning. It was amazing and something I'll never forget even though it was a beautiful blur. 

 This moment says it all. The segment had just ended, we got a photo and I smiled and told him "we had fun, didn't we?" and that I was thankful for the chance to catch up. When you watch the segment you'll see from my face how excited I was to be there with him and talk about my journey and Hilton Head Health. I think you'll also be able to tell from his face he was just as excited.&nbsp;

This moment says it all. The segment had just ended, we got a photo and I smiled and told him "we had fun, didn't we?" and that I was thankful for the chance to catch up. When you watch the segment you'll see from my face how excited I was to be there with him and talk about my journey and Hilton Head Health. I think you'll also be able to tell from his face he was just as excited. 

 Did that just happen? YES YES IT DID! SO much fun to have one of my favorite people that have meant so much to me along this journey be there in person to support me from Greenville, SC. Thankful for Taryn on all days but especially this one!&nbsp;

Did that just happen? YES YES IT DID! SO much fun to have one of my favorite people that have meant so much to me along this journey be there in person to support me from Greenville, SC. Thankful for Taryn on all days but especially this one! 

 That's a wrap! With my best friend AND producer Nicole after the segment. We both cried so hard during and after the segment and I'm the most thankful that she was the driving force behind this experience. She gave me the greatest surprise in the segment that I can't wait for you to see!&nbsp;

That's a wrap! With my best friend AND producer Nicole after the segment. We both cried so hard during and after the segment and I'm the most thankful that she was the driving force behind this experience. She gave me the greatest surprise in the segment that I can't wait for you to see! 

My episode of The Dr. Oz Show is set to air Friday 3/30. Check your local listings here to see where and when you can watch it! 

Sarah Polite
Month two: four more weeks and even more lessons

Month two started out with sickness and ended with a strength I didn't know I possessed. In between? So much inspiration and growth that added on to everything I had learned in month one. 

Looking back it was a beautiful blur and I spent most days in as many classes and lectures as possible trying to soak it all in and give it all I had. The result is a later than hoped blog post recapping all of it but many moments of being present and aware. Sometimes the moments pass us by and we just have to feel them and live them and and write about them after. This was my month for that. This was the month I came into my own here and learned that this is what I want to be have in my life moving forward. Movement. Health. Wellness. A new kind of happiness. This is the month I realized that I won't just be strong and healthy here but I can be strong and healthy out there too. That's liberating. This month was the best month for so many reasons. 

Here's some reflections week by week: 

WEEK 5: Self care is health care.  I had just wrapped up my month long program and I got so sick that I had to take some serious time to regroup and recharge. This was so hard for me as I wanted to keep the momentum going from the weeks before it and continue on. But, because I was sick, I couldn't. It took me a full week of rest to realize one of the biggest realizations for me I've ever had- movement is important to me and I missed it while I couldn't. WHAT? Yes, I missed movement and working out. What a revelation! THIS was the moment I realized I liked it and it made me feel GOOD instead of something just to do to get an end result. Sure, there were goals and acommplishments in the first month that drove me to continue on and to work harder and get better but THIS week showed me I want to work out just because it feels good and just to feel it. We should feel good. Let's do more things that make us feel that way. 

 

WEEK 6: Getting my groove back. This was my first week back after being sick and easing into my new program- Living Well. It's designed for me to pick the classes, lectures and activities I want. I am the captain of my ship and I was ready to sail. I knew that after 4 weeks of a structured guided program to go it on my own could mean a lot of trial and error situations of things I like,  don't like as much, and things that make me feel both challenged, capable and uncomfortable. It's all the things happening at once, but isn't that like life? Finding out what works, what doesn't, what inspires us and makes us happy, and what no longer serves us and then we can adjust accordingly? I loved the idea of it. The option to get ready for life when I leave. I also knew that after being in a group setting for the first four weeks meant that I needed this time to see how I planned my days.  It all happens here and works towards after here.  The classes I like now will most likely be the classes I seek out there when I head home. My fitness style is important so that I know what works for me in everyday life. Instead of trying things that don't fit into what makes me HAPPY and feel good. This program is full of options to challenge and prepare for that and every day after week 6 was a deliberate, conscious decision of how I can take every single thing and apply it after here.  And with that came choices and power. Power comes from choosing for you.  And deciding for myself and feeling it all fall into place the definition of just that. 

 

WEEK 7:  Strength is what I was looking for all along. Personal training has always intimidated me. I've been a member at gyms before and had a complimentary meeting with trainers each time where I would struggle through a workout, feel shame somehow about where I'm at on my journey and never make another appointment with them again. And they never reached out to check on me to see why I never called. Just another face, another client. It was a vicious cycle that happened a few times. Along with that weights were an unchartered territory for me. How to use the machines, what weight was good for me, and to look as little out of place as I could was my only goal. They seemed scary and like you had to show up and know what to do. I always walked right by that section and hopped on my elliptical machine. Deep down I had a feeling of longing to learn it but never did. "Maybe someday." I thought. I knew this was an uncomfortable space with me so I decided in month two I would sign up for personal training and we would focus on one of the things that scare me -strength. . 

Two days a week we met. My first session started with me nervous and rambling on about how nervous I was and the same session ended with me lifting weights heavier than I thought I could. Two 40 pound sand bags. As he loaded them up in my arms I walked back and forth across the gym floor. Slowly, and I didn't make it far but - I made it. My trainer believed I could. He pushed me in a kind and encouraging way that made me want to do more. "You're strong. Stronger than you think." That sentence is in my mind forever. Words I had never heard about my physical self were both eye opening and empowering. That's what it's all about. Challenging ourselves and seeing what our beautiful bodies can do. It's been a big part of my week now- these training sessions, the growth I'm seeing and knowing I'm stronger than before. That's where the strength was all along- in myself. 

 

WEEK 8: There's no place like home for the holidays but no matter where I am- Hilton Head Health will always be with me. In a last minute game time decision I went home to Pennsylvania  to surprise my mom for the holidays. She had no clue and it was one of the greatest moments to show up on her doorstep Christmas Eve causally wishing her a Merry Christmas.  She said for the first time in her life she was genuinely surprised and it took her until I left the day after Christmas to believe I was really there. Leaving a safe, inspired place like Hilton Head Health can be daunting especially while in a groove and after the journey and experience here or during one of the most food filled times of years- the holidays. I decided I was ready to leave for a couple days, head home and dive right into an Italian Christmas with food and family. I feel like by staying here for so long I also needed to incorporate real life experiences into my experience here since real life is waiting for me when I depart. 

It was amazing to pause, spend time with family that was proud of me and happy to see me and also be aware about the family dynamic and food and how it plays a role in my life and how it impacted me growing up. Everything was a reminder, a revelation, an ah-ha moment and it was amazing to see this holiday through new eyes and an improved self awareness and perspective since the last time I was surrounded by Christmas cookies. As I have been thinking about it since, I've realized I have so much to say about it that I've been thinking about a separate post about what food really means to me. Currently, in the past and as a child. Don't we all?  I would love to share these thoughts with you and hear how you can relate and how food has been a part of your life too. More on that soon, but- it's so important to self reflect and be aware and I get more comfortable with both as they're happening and in hindsight. The greatest reflection of my entire trip was that It's a beautiful thing to spend time with people that know you a certain way and as you show up differently for the first time -they still love and support you.

 

Snapshots of a month to remember. December- that started and ended totally differently. That's the beauty of it. To start the month in one place and end it in another. Growth and challenge, both physically and mentally. Awareness and celebration and honoring what is needed for myself. Getting more comfortable the more physical I become and knowing one thing for certain- I'm just getting started.


<3 Sarah

Health, WellnessSarah Polite
How to measure a month

When I started this I actually couldn't imagine being here right now.  A month in, done with one program and about to start another and totally being happy and at peace. With wellness, health, fitness, movement, and most importantly, myself. Just as I am and where I'm at. 

It's natural to go to the scale to sum up my experience so far here.  To tell you how much I've lost and you decide if it's good enough. It's so easy to rely on the scale, to be motivated by it and to be derailed often. It's an easy way to measure how great of success I've had with the amount of weight I've loss each week, but I won't. There's so much many more things worth measuring and celebrating from the last four weeks. How do I measure my month of success at Hilton Head Health without mentioning the pounds? 

Here's how. Celebrating all the non-scale victories this month. 

Showing up to the unknown and jumping in with a smile. Every single day. 

Finding movement that I LOVE doing and know I'll incorporate into my life when my time is finished here. 

Being aware of the habits that have been holding me back from a healthier life. Talking about them, working on them daily. 

 Trying things I never thought I would try before being here and feeling comfortable doing them. Kayaking. Hip hop dance. Pilates reformer. TRX. Things I would never sign up for before, and signed up for even if I wasn't sure. 

Rewriting the story I've always told myself about my body and ability. 

Being open to new information about diet, fitness, health and emotions. Not being scared of the stuff I don't understand and wanting to understand it. 

I'm no longer out of breathe from walking to and from my cottage. 

Improving my benchmark times over the month and shaving at least two minutes off on each of my activities. Parking lot circuit, indoor mile, pool benchmark circuit and THE OUTDOOR MILE. 

Not being able to do a squat on day one. Being able to do many squats (low ones) at the end of this month. 

Lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol. Something my doctors have shamed me about for years but never worked with me on improving. 

Feeling muscles start to form. 

Being honest with myself and you daily. 

Trusting the process but staying curious about it. 

Seeing my skin start to clear and stop taking my acne medicine. 

Opening up to the other ladies in my group and building relationships when it would be easier and more comfortable to go it alone. 

Eating mindfully and slowly something I never did before. 

Waking up easier and earlier in the morning and having more energy throughout the day. 

Getting up from sitting after a long period of time and not having my feet hurt anymore. 

Being told I'm strong and knowing it. 

Not focusing on the number on the scale but going off of how I feel instead. 

Looking forward to the next month ahead. To taking the things I've learned this month to using them in all I do from here on out. 

 

Where were you a month ago? Celebrate where you are now no matter where else you think you should be. 

 

<3 Sarah 

 

 

 

I'm posting the photos below not to dissect and discuss how my body has changed or to receive compliments but to honor where I was on that first day and where I was on that 30th day. THAT is worth celebrating. <3 

 

Wellness, HealthSarah Polite
Food for thought: Why am I here? Week 3 at Hilton Head Health

We sat around the table and were simply asked a question in four words that left me speechless.

What is your WHY? Why are YOU here?  

I looked around the room and saw everyone shift in their seats. Their eyes looked up and they were hoping this was a rhetorical question instead of one we had to answer in front of everyone. It was just for us. The question and the answer to our why. The intention to our why and the reason we are here right now in our lives doing what we're doing. I could tell that some ladies didn't know. Some knew all too well and this wasn't the first time they had answered this question and it was hard for them to revisit it. Some never had thought about it before and just did the things they've been doing because they were told they should or had to.  

Out there it's easy to get clouded with influences and reasons that may interfere with your why and your motivation daily. Someone telling you you need to lose weight because they don't know how to love themselves. Doctors shaming you for health reasons to try to get you to diet because that's all they know how to do. Relationships reasoning you into changing because they may be unhappy. Society telling us all the things that are wrong with us instead of telling us what we are doing right. But here, it's a safe space that creates a place that is easier to focus on ourselves and for what we actually want and need to continue on this journey. Everything is illuminated. A space for people that have often focused on everything else but ourselves for so long.  Even if our original reason for arriving changes once we get here- then even better. Growth. Progress. Change. The right kind because we want to not because someone is telling us to. Our whys are now making it more about us and less about them. Focusing more about health and wellness instead of size and weight. I think when the why is our own reason and personal and genuine the rest will follow. 

I could tell you my why but I feel like there is a sort of sacredness to it. I'm finally doing it for me and that's the strength of it all. There have been other times I've tried to lose weight for other people or reasons and it never worked. Sure, it did initially but it never stayed off. This time, it's for me and this time it's not about the weight. It's about everything else but that and that is why I know this time is different and this time is beautiful. 

What is YOUR WHY?  Don't worry, the question and answer is for you and you alone. Think about it. Reflect on it and cherish it.  <3

Week 3 reflections: 

Doing things for ourselves isn't selfish, it's actually the furthest thing from it. 

There is so much pride and hope seeing other people transform before your eyes. They walk taller and faster and easier. Confidence. Mobility. Strength. 

A holiday away from home is a holiday full of more gratitude for the place you miss.

Thanksgiving can be more about the food on the table. It can be about the people you're sharing the meal with, the conversations you're having and the fact we have a beautiful plate in front of us even if it's not the Thanksgiving we are used to. 

Sometimes breaks and rest days are necessary. We can't be all or nothing all of the time. Take time for you so you can continue on stronger than before. 

Our stories inspire others even if we aren't trying. 

Mobility is a gift we have and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Self care is an act of health care. 

Eat the special whole waffles for breakfast the day they’re on the menu. Enjoy them and don’t agonize over any calories after that moment. 

Long catch up phone calls with friends that make you smile are necessary. So is seeing the friends that make you laugh until you cry. 

Listen to people's stories. Deeply. Quietly. You'll find out more about yourself than you think. 

Happiness is contagious even on the hard days. 

Laughter is the best medicine especially when you didn't realize you needed it. 

Finding our fitness style is an important thing- it's not all treadmills and ellipticals. 

Do the things you didn't think you could do but have always wanted to do. 

Our bodies want to move and get better and healthier. We just need to help them to do so. 

 

Be good to yourself this week,

<3 Sarah