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Winter Solstice & Lessons of the Darkness

Last night I set up a ritual bath for the Winter Solstice: winter greens, my strongest crystal, favorite candle & even a sparkly-green bath bomb (because 💁🏽‍♀️). I started by listening to @sarahjenks Insta-story breaking down the solstice, because she always brings witchy things down to earth for me & if you don’t already follow her you should. Her instructions were simple, to ask yourself “what is the darkness teaching me?”

I journaled on this— recognizing that I’m often the first to criticize and fear the dark days of winter, I usually start to get in my head as early as the end of summer, fearing the shortening days— afraid I’ll get depressed and lazy, that I’ll lose steam, that I’ll gain weight. I sat with the lessons this winter has taught me and realized they were truly gifts.

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I acknowledge the way I learned to sit in my grief. My father’s unexpected passing came in the spring, followed by a period of planning and interviews and survival, followed by a 600 mile hike in Europe, followed by navigating my way back in my Boston life. All of the busyness taught me that denial is a real and easy phase to fall into when your mind has a list of things to accomplish, and is physically half a world away. These dark days gave me time to sit in bed, sometimes for days, looking through pictures and videos and letting myself cry and scream until I fell asleep, then woke up to start over again. They gave me the gift of allowing myself to work through grief in a raw way that feels like a necessary step to healing.

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The darkness pulled me in, left me reaching for mindless habits and left me with fifteen pounds of extra weight. Although it would be easiest to punish myself and hate the extra thickness on my thighs or extra roll on my belly, I am challenged to instead continue to love the body I have and thank it for the mountains it carried me over this year (literally.) I continue to praise my body and choose to love it, while also strategizing how to keep on track with the mindfulness habits that help me honor my body with healthy behaviors.

The dark days and stress of two full time jobs with opposite schedules, plus the pressure of me going through the biggest heartache of my life & trying to find normalcy after spending two months abroad could have crushed my relationship, yet instead we decided to stop stressing about the pressure of what should be, and just be. It was like a big exhale, and now we’re ending our nights dancing in the kitchen to our new record player, which is a much more fun way to be in love than constantly worrying about what the future may bring.

As I sat in my green bath, adoring the extra squish my body has to offer these days, I poured over these lessons and then pulled out a lovely collection of Cheryl Strayed quotes that always seem to tell me what I need, and I found this page that reminded me that I am where I am supposed to be: processing grief and on the right path to loving and honoring my body– two of the biggest lessons of my year.

“Grief is tremendous, but love is bigger. You are grieving because you loved truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of death. Allowing this into your consciousness will not keep you from suffering, but it will help you survive the next day.”

Today will be a little bit longer, and tomorrow will too. Thank you to our Earth Mother for the seasons, for the lessons that come with darkness and also, starting today, for the gift of a little more light joining each day as a reminder to start growing a little more everyday as we transition into the New Year.

It’s natural to turn in during the darkness, but while you’re turned inward, can you tune into the lessons the long winter nights have brought you?

Happy Winter Solstice!

Body Positivity · Uncategorized

Your Thighs Can Jiggle Like Wonder Woman’s Too!

I’ve been kicking around the idea of sharing this photo and opening up this conversation for over a week, and then my boyfriend “shared” a Facebook memory from a year ago, a beautiful picture of us in which I had “smoothed” over my cellulite with an app before I even let him post it, and I realized how far I’ve come on my body confidence journey, so now I’m going to share my story of thigh-jiggle-freedom.

Just a beautiful couple on an Italian dinner date + legs smoother than a babies bottom (thanks, Facetune app!)
I have been SO AMPED in the last few weeks reading about how excited people are that they saw Wonder Woman’s legs jiggle on “the big screen.” Sure, she’s a fit, goddess, powerhouse with perfectly toned quads, but the choice to empower little girls, women and even men to watch how a women’s body naturally moves when jumping around is raising the bar for acceptance of ALL jiggly bodies.

Then, last week, I wore the shortest romper I’ve ever worn in public, after a lifetime of swearing off shorts for my cellulite covered “thunder thighs” (as the boys in 8th grade called them.) We were on a road trip through Rhode Island, eventually heading towards the beach and I decided it was finally the day to REALLY let my thighs breath. We stopped first in Providence, RI so I could get a tattoo to memorialize my father, but had arrived a bit early to my appointment, so we jumped out of the car to walk around Federal Hill with Rebel & check out the cool street art.

Road trips are tough work with these two.
I was so self conscious the first twenty steps of our walk, noticing immediately how much natural air I could feel on the thighs I had hid from the world for so long, trying to catch a glimpse of my reflection in every storefront to see what my legs looked like in motion.

All of a sudden I remembered Superwoman and her infamous thigh jiggle and I thought to myself “I am fucking Wonder Woman!” Just like that, I carried on through a beautiful sunny walk, one hand in my boyfriends, the other holding Rebels leash and the thoughts of my thighs melted away. True progress.

Later that day I saw that Dan had posted this picture of me on his Insta story. For the briefest second I considered being mortified that he’d share this angle of me to the world, but very quickly my mind course-corrected to say “DAYUMMM GIRL, YOU GOT IT GOING ON!”
The next thing I realized about this picture is how I’m smiling as I’m talking to the tattoo artist– and that’s because I was telling him the story of my dads only tattoo, a Packer G on his left deltoid that he claimed to have had the tattoo artist “use an extra long needle so it would go to the bone.” I got to remember my favorite parts of my dad, a goofy Packer fan, in a typically uncomfortable position where I was getting his words immortalized on my wrist, and for that I am so glad this photo exists.

The best reminder on how to keep on living.
Today, let your thighs breath, and if you’re scared, remember that you’re Wonder Woman too!

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Buen Camino!

I am Shelby, a 25 years old “traveling” critical care nurse who will soon be leaving the comfort of her West Newton, MA apartment to embark on a grand adventure! On June 29th 2017 I am flying to Paris, France for the beginning of a two month excursion that will end with my completion of the Camino de Santiago, a 500+ mile trek across Spain.

me

Originally from the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I have spent the last two years doing contracted nursing work around Boston, MA. Travel nursing has opened my eyes to a country and world that are begging to be explored, in the last two years I have not stopped: searching for new mountains to climb, compiling a list of the best lobster rolls in New England (#1: Eventide, Portland ME),  or enjoying “unemployment” between contracts by celebrating Christmas in Thailand and backpacking the John Muir Trail in California.

lobstah

 

I’ve used my Instagram account, @sisu_shelby, as a sort-of-blog for sometime to promote and share my travels, body positivity, weight loss in the ketogenic lifestyle, hiking/camping excursions and incredible partnership with my boyfriend + our lazy black lab. It’s intimidating to begin this venture into a new medium in which to share my stories, but there doesn’t seem to be a better opportunity than with the momentum I have in preparing for my pilgrimage across Spain! This platform will be used in a very diverse way to acknowledge all of the places I find magic in life, but will focus on my journey overseas for the next two months.

REBEL

I have a lot to say, am sloppy with words, and take too many iPhone pictures, but don’t let that stop you from following my journey.

Buen Camino! Happy Blogging!