ConscientiousConfusion.com changing to Living-Consciously.com!

Living-Consciously.com Facebook cover previewI’ve been blogging here at ConscientiousConfusion.com since at least 2007. I loved the name of this blog initially because I have been described many times in my life as “conscientious”, even as young as my report card in the 1st grade! It’s just a word that describes my frame of mind at any given moment. And, of course, the process of being conscientious is nothing if not confusing.

But, let’s face it, it’s hard to spell.

Seriously, no one can spell it.

And it’s difficult for people to find me when they can’t spell the name of the blog.

For years, I have stalked alternative names but none have been available. Just a few weeks ago, I was clicking around on Network Solutions again (what, you don’t do that in YOUR spare time?!) and behold!! Living-Consciously.com was finally available! I was so excited that I bought it right away from my amazing hosting provider, Twenty70Hosting. I love Kelly so much. She is helping me through this URL migration process. Not easy for someone as technically challenged as I can be. If you are a blogger looking for a new host, please take my recommendation and go to Twenty70*!

I love the new name for many reasons, not the least of which is the yoga reference. Yoga is a practice of living inside the space we create to be conscious of our surroundings at all times. Religion is a spiritual process of being conscious of how we live in vertical relationship to God. Nutrition and fitness are functions living consciously inside our bodies, prompting us to treating our bodies with respect. There are so many reasons that this new domain is a great fit.

So, I am moving forward with the domain name migration with so much excitement! You may have noticed that my Facebook page is already looking different. I am so in love with the new cover photo that I have put it at the top of this post. You’ll be seeing the new name in the logo at the top of this page very soon as well.

The best news is: there will be a HUGE giveaway to celebrate the name launch starting next week! Please keep posted on the giveaway so you can win some amazing conscious living products from some wonderful brands by signing up for my blog posts via email. That way you’ll never miss a post!

Get ready to start Living Consciously!

 

 

* I did not get paid anything to recommend my hosting provider. I just love her so much!!

IG post: Showing skin

I’m experimenting with something for the next week or so. I notice that I haven’t been posting to my blog as often as I should, but  I post what amounts to mini blog posts on Instagram regularly. I can’t seem to find a way to automate the transfer of those posts into WordPress, but for now I’d like to try simultaneously posting the more thoughtful posts here.

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Original IG post text:

Side Plank #independencearmy – sorry for the amount of skin in this pic, didn’t have clients for my 6am so I did some flow of my own at home & these were the clothes I had on, couldn’t grab more without waking the rest of the family. Great way to start the day!

Adding:

First, let me say that I got nothing but positive encouragement from my followers on Instagram. Which is why I love IG, it’s such a positive place. Some of these friends I only know from Instagram! It’s like Twitter used to be.*sadface* My followers on IG are a) largely fitness buffs like myself, primarily interested in the poses and photography rather than oogling, and b) female. I have very few male followers and only allow those whom I trust to be professional.

But let me back up and provide context, in case you have been living in a hole each Spring when the blog posts about modesty re-circulate. The most popular post this year was this post from a woman asking other women to help her protect her marriage by not posting pictures of themselves baring skin.

I saw a lot of criticism of that post regarding the writer’s marriage, and I am going to completely disregard that as none of our business. I understand her intent, and as a highly conscientious person I seriously consider her legitimate feelings.

Once we know that someone is offended or bothered by something, we are responsible for what we do with that knowledge. To act upon our knowledge or ignore it is a choice.

Here is an example of what I mean.

At the beginning of this swimming season, I owned one swimsuit. A two-piece with full coverage of top and bottom that I wore before kids and through 2 pregnancies. I was planning on wearing it for another year when I participated in a discussion with very close friends about their comfort levels wearing bikinis at our neighborhood pool, some in regards to appropriate modesty front of the husbands. Because this is our first year to join the neighborhood pool and be around my friends’ husbands at a pool, I was not sure what to do. I had just purchased a second swimsuit so that I would be able to cycle between the two if one was in the wash. They were both two pieces! Both full coverage of chest and rear end, but definitely two pieces. Were they modest enough?

I choose to care about my friends’ comfort levels, so once they have shared their concerns, I am responsible for my choices in light of this knowledge.

What I am not responsible for is interpreting the reactions of those who have not shared their concerns with me.

Another example: My favorite tongue-in-cheek response to the modesty post this year was  this one: When Suits Become a Stumbling Block. The intent of that parody was to point out that it is nearly impossible for the person wearing the clothing to pinpoint whether certain clothing or behaviors would make someone else “think inappropriate thoughts”. And how ridiculous it would be to ask everyone else to stop doing anything that makes them attractive in any way.

While I am happy to honor the concerns of my friends who tell me what makes them uncomfortable, I am not responsible for determining all the nuances of every individual’s comfort level, as the satirical post illustrates.

So this is what I did: I went out and bought swim shorts for one suit and a tankini top for the other. It was the cheapest thing to do, and I hope it increased the modesty of them both. I did this because I love and respect my friends who were not OK with their husbands seeing women in a standard bikini. I still wear the non-tankini and non-shorts pieces in my backyard with the kids and my husband.

In light of such responsibility, which has it’s limitations within the knowledge we possess, one more thing I want to address about that modesty post (and comments that I occasionally get from other women/clients): it’s not ok to say that you would dress more scantily if only you looked a certain way.

I want to paste some excerpts of the comments I got on my IG post:

Don’t apologize! If I had your body I would walk around in my swimsuit. Everywhere.

Gorgeous bod!! If I looked like that, I would wear that little all of the time!!

I’d grocery shop in that if I looked like you!

If you re-read the modesty post, you will also find this line in her post:

If I was skinny with rock-hard abs and legs from here to Mexico, I’d want to take lots of pictures of myself. Mostly naked. I would want to post them with a nice filter on Instagram, and share them with whoever might see.

Here’s the catch, lady: you just told everyone else they shouldn’t. Which means you don’t get to, either

You couldn’t because of people like you, posting blog posts telling people who look a certain way that they aren’t allowed to wear certain things. Putting conscientious people like me, who genuinely respect your feelings and want to do the right thing, in a very odd place when it comes to clothing.

Which begs the question: are you asking other women to cover up out of genuine concern for modesty, or out of your own body image insecurity? I’m completely respectful of other women’s legitimate requests for modesty. I can and will dress according to specific requests, if needed. But I am not responsible for protecting you from your view of yourself, which is an impossible target for me to hit. I can’t see inside your brain.

My sweet Instagram followers are not judgemental or even critical. What makes me sad is that, at the core, the phrase, “If I looked like that…” expresses dissatisfaction with the speakers’ body. I get this from my clients a lot and I want you all to know that your bodies are strong and capable. We also know that the images we see in the media are not real. I want you to stop comparing yourselves and enjoy your physical bodies!

The reality is, there are some people like the modesty post blogger who are judging someone who is fit even more harshly than they would judge someone who is less fit. The same woman who applauded this awesome lady for wearing a two piece swimsuit might write that blog post asking that we not post pictures of ourselves at the pool because we’re not overweight.

As a conscientious fit person, I’m always open to constructive feedback. And I’m sure that I have body issues of my own. But please do not confuse insecurity with impropriety. Most of all, let’s examine our motives and stop the comparisons.

Where does a SAHM part-time worker fit?

image via memgenerator

When someone asks me “What do you do?”, it isn’t an easy answer. Do I answer, “I stay at home with my kids” or do I list off my various part-time jobs as a fitness instructor and blogger? Usually I do both. It’s such a weird place to be, a SAHM part time worker, right in the middle of both “mom” categories.

As someone whose significant other earns almost all of the income for our family, are my part time endeavors even significant enough to call “working”? Even combined, none of the jobs pay much. As someone who only works part time, I am definitely thankful for the flexible schedule that I get in exchange for the lower pay. I love that I can work a few days a week at 6am, part of one weekday, and then a few hours on the weekends doing things I love. It is all a huge blessing.

But there’s also the parenting part.

As a part-time worker, I don’t get the financial benefits or structure of full-time professional childcare I would have as a working mother. I know, because I’ve been a full time working mother. When I worked full time, we had a nanny who came during set hours. If I worked full time right now, the kids would most likely be in preschool. In both situations, they would benefit from the experience and training of a professional educator and childcare expert. Someone who would teach them to read before they even go to kindergarten, most likely. They would be taken care of during set hours, during which I would be free to do my work (unless they or the nanny were ill, of course — been there, done that!).

Instead of a professional educator and childcare expert, they have me. Well, part of me. Because I spend the majority of my “spare” hours in part time work, I am not using that time to scour Pinterest for worksheets, set educational goals, read about the developmental milestones they’re supposed to be hitting and target their activities accordingly, as most of my other mommy friends do. We have fun together, sure! We go somewhere almost every day, but it’s most often the pool, the museum, the zoo — somewhere that they can run freely and play, not learn specific things. The goal is to be physically tired so they’ll take a nap. My poor second child still doesn’t know any of her letters. Neither of them understand the days of the week. I think about what it takes to do all that, the extra hours that I can’t seem to pull from thin air, and I just want to take a nap too.

It’s only due to our food intolerances that I spend as much “homemaker” time as I do: making our own bug repellant, soaps, bread, and toothpaste. In fact, that’s probably how I am using the time that I should probably be teaching my kids valuable things like Scripture memory or full moon intention-setting. That illusive time goes to hand-making things to keep Little Sir from getting diarrhea due to stomach irritation. Driving to the chiropractor. I have to make a conscious choice every day not to feel bad about how much more I should be doing.

There’s the mommy guilt, but there’s also the career guilt.

As a part time worker, there are a ton of opportunities to take it a “little further”. Getting my RYT200 is one of those. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it, but I also know that it’s just not realistic right now. Taking that kind of time and financial resources away from our family while my children are this young is not something we are in a place to do at this time. But then another client or friend asks me to teach them what I know about yoga and I just want to do it SO BADLY!

If I am honest with myself, having one foot in the working world provides some welcome gratification in contrast to the endless energy suck that is my precious children. Not once will they say “thank you” to me (except when Daddy makes them!), but my clients and friends do say positive things about my part-time work. It takes a conscious act of the will every time to step back into those unappreciated Mommy shoes and away from the seemingly fulfilling fitness instructor/blogger shoes.

As I was writing the first draft of this post, my daughter came into the room three times asking for me to sing songs. It has taken me about 3 days to complete this post, due to interruptions of the same kind.

I know in my heart that these are the best kinds of interruptions. That singing all the songs is what life is made of, and not the Facebook-ing, the Pinterest-ing, the 6am classes, the handstand practice, the Sanskrit pronunciation.

My friend Janelle was speaking today of a kind of selfless support, of having a job that consists of supporting others: being the wind. I love that analogy. As a feminist, it’s important for me to remember that I can choose what work I do, and that one kind of work is not exclusive of another kind. I CAN be a SAHM and a part-time worker, and neither one is “not enough”. Both are exactly what works for me right now, regardless of how I answer the, “So, what do you do?” question.

Yoga and Patience

If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I’m participating in several daily yoga challenges.

Daily yoga challenges on Instagram by @conscientious

I am having so much fun with this! I just love learning new poses and the fact that it forces me to practice yoga every day!

In fact, it’s kind of difficult for me not to get carried away with it. I have these grand plans to get my RYT200 certification once my children are in school. That’s a loooong road, because 200 hours is a lot of hours. I know it will be such an amazing growing experience, intellectually and physically. I can’t wait! But wait, I will — until my youngest child is in kindergarden and I can go through the training without impacting our time together during the day. Because I already have issues being a SAHM saying “yes” to more things than I should.

I am also trying my best to wait patiently to learn how to handstand.

Every single day, handstanding against walls and trees and doorways. Falling, falling, falling.

All those 20-something yogis on Instagram, hopping right up into handstand like it’s no big deal!

And me, falling into a tree and skinning my knee in my *cough* upper 30’s *cough*.

My goal is to be able to handstand by the time I am 40.

If I wait to start my RYT200, I hope to be certified by then as well.

So I am waiting.

In both my yoga practice and in life.

Listening to my body. Trying to live in the moment without rushing anything.

In yoga, one of the Niyamas called Tapas applies. Tapas is:

…the practice of both mental and physical discipline. To practice Tapas is to exhibit determination in pursing daily practices and your life’s mission, while remaining joyful in the knowledge that outer discipline will lead to inner discipline.

…Stay in the present moment regardless of how uncomfortable it becomes.

– Beth Shaw’s YogaFit, Second Edition (affiliate link)

In Christian terms, disciplines are also very important. See this series on spiritual disciplines.

What are YOU waiting for? Let’s wait together.

Patience, Flexibility, and Living

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When I started my #30daycleanse, I’d been told that cleanses can be spiritual, or that there were things I’d learn about myself. I think the idea is that in the midst of intentional longing and desire, you rely on something outside yourself. For me, that is God. But there are other things I’ve learned as well.

Things have happened outside of the cleanse in the past few weeks that have perhaps sped up the thinking part.

Patience

It was so difficult for me to wait for the fog of the detox to end (3-5 days). It is sooo difficult to wait to be able to eat bread and fruit. I’ve had to wait to see the results of this eating plan, if any. I am still waiting to feel AMAZING. Where is the amazing?!

With the beginning of my kids yoga classes, I’ve had to wait to solidify my schedule as I see which locations meet minimum enrollment and which don’t. So difficult for someone with control issues.
Patience.

Flexibility

Without access to sugar or fruit, I’ve had to think differently about breakfast. Instead of daily oatmeal, I’ve had to substitute rice congee or barley. I’ve finally come up with a pretty yummy concoction of congee, barley, soaked & pureed dates cooked in apple juice and soy milk. Yum!

I was also able to attend a long-anticipated arm balance workshop this weekend at one of the studios where I practice. It was amazing! Going into the workshop with an open mind, I was able to do poses that were unimaginable before. So fun!

I might actually be slightly obsessed with balances, and frustrated often when I don’t have an opportunity to practice. I need to do them when I can, find the time.
Flexibility.

Living

The author of my particular regime emailed a reminder last week: are we eating to live or living to eat? I have actually never been someone who ate for fun. Sure, I enjoy the taste of many foods. But eating takes time and, for me, is often followed by feeling sick. So I ate to survive, not for enjoyment.

Spending the last 12 days restricted to only a few foods has made me examine why I eat. I realized that I miss flavor and variety. I miss eating a colorful array of fruits, vegetables and even breads. I don’t miss “junk food”, I miss fruit the most.

Another thing happened that reminded me to enjoy life: someone close to our family took their own life. The person was our age, so young. So many things to process, and so sad.

For this reason, we find ourselves on an unplanned quick-turnaround trip to a funeral. When you read this, we may already be back. Unfortunately, things have been a little chaotic since we found out. I stuck with macrobiotic eating until the last minute, sauteéing butternut squash in coconut oil as we left the house. I have brought all my macrobiotic foods that are portable. But when we reach our destination, we’ll be staying with family. It won’t be my kitchen, and I’ll need to eat what is served. Which is ok because I’m flexible. And so blessed to be
Living.

The words of the day are: patience, flexibility, and living. Go out & do it!