Living in Tahiti- Learning the Truth

There was a very influential year of my life that I don't think I have ever blogged about. It was the year that I moved to Ahe, French Polynesia, a tiny island off of Tahiti to work on an organic pearl farm. The island had no running water, solar panels for electricity, 1 store that was essentially a hut and only 553 people on it. Culture shock. 

The summer of 2011 I graduated college and asked myself a question. What do I want to do next? I had already worked 3 years as a personal trainer, my passion and career choice. I needed some freedom and adventure so me, my then boyfriend and his brother sold most of our items, broke our lease (whoops) and planned a trip that had no expiration date. 

My family truly thought I was crazy and did not really support the idea but I didn't care. When I think back it almost seems like a blur. Like a distant dream. But I learned some of the most important lessons during that time period. Things about my fitness, nutrition and emotions (which are 3 of the most important things to me, hence my health coaching :) ) that I don't think I ever would have learned otherwise. These lessons can relate to every single person. You don't have to travel that far and go to those extremes to learn. But sometimes you do..

1. Food. I started my trip as a 105 lb vegan that was obsessed with every little thing I ate. My menstrual cycle stopped and I was fighting anorexia. I soon realized after arriving to Ahe that I had no choice of what I was eating and had to take what I could get. Our first meal was chicken and potatoes which I forced myself to eat. I got my period back the next day and trust me, I did not expect that and had to use HUGE pads I got from the tiny store hut. I started to slowly gain weight again although it was very hard for me emotionally. Living in a place where there are few options you realize that food is fuel, not a luxurious decision. You don't eat for pleasure but rather to make you strong, healthy and capable (even though the food was so fresh and healthy- the owner and "father" of the farm was an amazing chef).

2. Fitness is not the gym. As a personal trainer, pretty much my whole idea of being fit was related to weights and a treadmill- I thought that was the only way to be healthy. Holy God is that so far from the truth. I was swimming in the ocean with sharks every day. Diving deep (or trying) to get baskets of oysters. Scrubbing and hauling huge nets across rocky beaches. Walking drunk across a skinny walkway over deep water (balance :)). Want to be fit? Make it a part of life. I try adopting that by walking, hiking, skiing and doing things outside as much as possible. We live in a society where that's not really normal. My answer to that is to stop being normal :)

3. Was I happy in life. I knew it all along which is the hardest thing to admit to myself. But I wasn't happy. I was in a relationship that did not fit me at all and there were so many red flags. I wasn't honest to myself about what I needed or wanted. And I let someone else take over that for me. When you aren't honest with yourself you are going to miss out on opportunities. Interactions. People. Growth. Beauty. Long talks. Peace. Connections. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

4. Simple living. The island wasted nothing. Our shower and drinking water came from a vat that collected rain water. We washed our dishes in salt water. Our fish came from the ocean in front of us and were caught by our friends. When we used the bathroom the fish ate our toilet paper. I had 1 backpack full of clothes. The sun powered our electricity. I could go on all day but the bottom line is we only used what we needed. It was liberating. 

5. Body image. I have always struggled with that. Ahe only had 1 mirror and it was permanently foggy and scratched. I had no idea what I looked like for most of the trip but I felt fat. I was always nervous about gaining weight because I had so little self confidence. Looking back at pictures, I was perfect. I always have been and I always will be. And so are you. You are perfect. Exactly as you are and it's cliche and true. My ears. My little belly. My introvertedness when I'm feeling introspective. My strong need to touch and be touched.  It's all perfect.

5. Do something "wrong". I came to the island with $2500, a one way ticket, student loans kicking in and no idea of how I will get internet to talk to my family. Truthfully, I could have planned better. But whatever. I learned some serious lessons like student loans are effing ridiculous, a 12 pack of beer in Ahe costs $80.00 and don't wait until the last minute to tell your grandmother that you're moving across the world. I love that I was naive. Living life to the T is not natural although it may seem like it is. We weren't born with cell phone location trackers, texting and calendar reminders. Doing things on the fly that are risky is okay. Some of them may end up being the best thing you have ever done. 

The trip was intended for fun but ended up being a schooling in reality. An experience of a lifetime. Just a reminder, "Life is not measured in the not the number of breaths you take but the moments that take our breath away." I love that and try to live by it. It's about time for a breathless moment with new people. South America?

Donald Trump and walking pneumonia

Donald Trump and walking pneumonia
Sometimes it takes a life altering event (like not being able to breathe or a new president being elected that grabs women's pussies) for people to make a change. It takes a catastrophe for you to be sorry you didn't do something sooner to prevent this. Now I get it. 
If we lived in a perfect world, kind of like the Native Americans, we would get enough Vitamin D aka sunlight, our food would always be nutritious, our relationships would be connected and we would work in conjunction with Mother Earth- things that are absolutely CRUCIAL for a healthy, happy life. Unfortunately, we are far from that.
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Ignorance. And I say that with an honest voice because I am mad at myself. I am mad at myself because I didn't care until now. Because I have never been effected by it until now. No, I am not getting blown up like people in Syria. My family has never been ripped away from me. I have never experienced living in a natural disaster. But now, the world has opened up my eyes to how fucked we are. By people who were put into my life and by my own natural curiosity. 
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Honor thyself

What does it mean when you honor thyself?

You slip into this silk. Like persona.

You hear the music in your head. The tune. The beat.

You move to it. Your body reacts without thought.

Your hair. It falls in your eyes.

You believe. You become. You are.

You become the mountains, fire, trees. The goddess. The sun. Sky. Wind. You are all one. Beautiful. Soft. Gentle. Strong. 

Your light shines. Inner. Radiance.

Honor thyself.