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