What would you do if…

…you suddenly found yourself physically unable to do something you’d grown so accustomed to doing that it became second nature, ingrained in your being, a part of who you are and suddenly that ability was taken away from you?

THAT, my friends, is how I’m looking at the question that Tina posted for today’s 30 Days of Self-Love series.

Her post on body “gifts” struck a chord with me in a big way. She’s right – we don’t value our bodies enough for the gifts it gives us every single day. Gifts that not everyone on this earth has been blessed with. Able bodies that we truly do take for granted.

The ability to walk, to run, to leap, to bound.

The ability to strengthen and tone our muscles.

The ability to see with our own two eyes the changes in our body – changes from new workout regimes, changes from growing a baby (as Tina is right now, or as my sister is growing my niece right now!)…

Tina challenged those following the 30 days to think about what it is about their bodies that they love, what gifts they’ve been given do they truly cherish if they really sat back and thought about it.

I’ll share my comment I posted for Tina on her blog here, with a couple of additional “loves” added at the bottom:

I thank my legs for carrying me through countless workouts and for those legs that will help me cross that half marathon finish line. I am eternally grateful for good health and an able body to tackle such challenges every single day.

I thank my arms for being able to give hugs that show how much I love my husband, my sisters, my friends.

I thank my eyes for being able to see the sun rise and fall every single day and for seeing the smiling eyes of my husband who I love very much.

I thank my heart for keeping me going through tough workouts, for allowing me to push myself harder than ever, and enjoying an active, energetic lifestyle, and for the love it pours out for my loved ones around me.

I urge you to follow this movement if you can, even if you just start by listing the things that you love about your body, the body gifts you are grateful for everyday (or will be more grateful for now that you’ve sat back to really think about it).

From the trivial to the pivotal

In the final installation of my “what Operation Beautiful has taught me” series, I was totally bowled over by a story I read in the section of the book dedicated to faith (arguably my favorite part of the book). It was about a 21-year old, the typical college student, enjoying life, partying, etc. She soon started to see her weigh creep up and assumed it was simply due to excessive partying so she cut back, hoping that would fix the problem. When the weight continued to creep up, she realized something was wrong (mostly once she also broke out in a nasty case of hives). Fast forward to the doctor’s appointment where she was diagnosed (mid-surgical procedure) with stage 3C ovarian cancer. At 21 years of age. Whoa.

Soon – she was in the throes of intense chemotherapy treatments, fighting to live every step of the way. Soon – those trivial things that used to drive her nuts were the farthest thing from her mind. Survival was the only thing that mattered. The pivotal, not the trivial.

Now five years into remission, she has applied her near-death experience to everything in her life. No longer does she sweat the small stuff – stuck in traffic on the way to an important meeting, a bad day at the office, her jeans not fitting the way she wants – none of this matters to her anymore. She’s alive, she’s beat cancer, she’s in the midst of her own dare to be great moment.

This was exactly what I needed to hear after I’ve lately found myself slipping far too often into focusing on the negative – which is usually very trivial stuff in the grand scheme of things. Putting into perspective just how much greater life could be if we all stopped focusing on the trivial is an amazing thought. The possibilities are endless right?  I’m ready to seek and embrace my own dare-to-be-great moment. Are you?

Relax. (and smile). It’s not that big of a deal.

This last Operation Beautiful message, I caught at the tail-end of the book, also part of the chapter on faith. What I loved about this chapter in particular was how it drove home for me, something I’ve been struggling with for awhile – faith, and making life happen for me, and not to me. Which is a huge distinction. Rather than focusing on those trivial little things that add up to one giant “thing,” I need to focus on faith, because it’s faith that creates happiness. And I’m ready to embrace that – much like I’m ready to embrace Operation Beautiful, “paying it forward” if you will with as many Post-It notes as I can muster.

We are beautiful. Just the way we are.

Note: In case you were wondering, this series is not an attempt to sell more books for Caitlyn Boyle (though I’m sure she wouldn’t mind!), but I seriously hope you all run out and read this book as soon as you can. I was just so impressed and overwhelmed by it that I had to share it with all of you.  It’s an amazing experience and worth every second spent reading it. I fully plan to circulate my copy to my entire circle of girlfriends, it’s already making the rounds as I type this, in fact. 🙂