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Our Message

This is the sound of all of us, singing with love and the will to trust.” – The Wailin’ Jennys

The Internet is an amazing place. Thanks to a few friends who kindly shared a recent post, it’s reached more people than I ever could have imagined. According to one comment, it’s even on someone’s fridge (blush).

I am surprised and honored and so very grateful that this message has resonated with dear friends and people I don’t know alike. And moreover, I feel inspired and hopeful that there are a ton of people out there who are living this message — walking the walk and talking the talk — for themselves and for all of the little ones who are watching.

It’s become very clear to me over the last week that this is not just my message. This is so many people’s message; I just happened to write it down one night before going to sleep. There is so much more I didn’t capture about what makes exercise such a beautiful thing. One reader told me she crosses out “to lose weight” on fitness studio paperwork inquiring about goals and writes in “TO HAVE FUN.” Another person talked about the need to re-frame what it means to work out — expanding beyond “training for marathons and skiing” to include things like “tossing bales of hay, turning the compost, doing water aerobics, faithfully doing your PT exercises, or simply walking the dog” (SO AWESOME). People commented about foundational fitness giving them the physical and mental strength to battle illnesses and setbacks. And dozens of men posted about this being an important message for little boys too (I agree — it’s one I try to teach my little boy every day alongside my daughter).

So thank you all for taking the time to read this blog, and most importantly, for all of the ways you are being the change you want to see in the world. I started this blog about a year ago as a personal project guided by my long-standing belief that “a woman’s health is her capital,” and as it’s evolved, I’ve found myself coming back to the theme of taking care of yourself so you can take better care of other people. It’s my hope that this little corner of the Internet thrives as a place for inspiration and ideas and dialogue about what it means to be well — disrupting what’s not working and holding fast to what is.

I can’t wait to see what we all come up with.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. It was one of my most read and shared post on Facebook! You did a great job!

    December 4, 2013
  2. Chris Henry #

    Brynn – Your blog post really resonated with me. I have seen my mother’s generation check out on physical activity as something to be given up with age. I saw her and others lose the ability to do the most basic things, like trimming your own toenails. I have seen my daughter’s generation obsessed with appearances, weight, diet, magazine images and being good enough but never feeling good enough.

    Through many trials, my daughter struggled with a life-threatening eating disorder (anorexia). We both learned a lot through the ordeal, and she will need to maintain a lifetime mindfulness for a balanced life every day. At 23, she is now able to enjoy hikes in the hills of Arizona and tossing a softball with her husband. She has the energy to work, grocery shop, study and be fully engaged with family and friends. She is developing the resilience to deal with every day stress — a lifetime and day-to-day task for us all.

    I see my older sisters all staying active to the best of their abilities. I am especially inspired by my sister who is 71 and has had rheumatoid arthritis for many years. She swims almost daily and has a fitness trainer to maintain her mobility. Her attitude is great and her life full.

    At 58, I love to walk in the woods, and I am thankful every day that (as you say) I can hear the crunch of pine cones beneath my feet. Through tai chi, I have learned the concept of balance in all aspects of life. Some days it’s hard to keep your balance — exercise, nutrition, rest — with everything coming at you. But in general, I feel good and grateful for everything I can do in a day, including trimming my toenails.

    Some of us work at jobs that require sitting at a desk 10-plus hours a day (that would be me). Some of us juggle jobs and young children (or caring for elderly loved ones). All of us have strategies to fit in the things we love, the things that keep us going and allow us to do our jobs and care for others. Because life is a marathon.

    Two things in response to your post. First, I would encourage your readers to honor themselves and their bodies’ limits on any given day. That involves really being in tune with oneself so you achieve a balance between slacking (which I am guilty of on many a day) and over-doing (which I have also been known for on occasion … and often paid a price). Sometimes time is your enemy or unexpected stuff happens. Don’t beat yourself up. Thankfully, there’s tomorrow and the next day.

    Second, you say the purpose of caring for yourself is so you can take care of others. Yes, we are all caregivers. I suggest the first person we should care for on any given day is ourselves. Like they say on the airplane, “Put your own oxygen mask on first.”

    Keep writing, Brynn. You have a lot of wisdom and good energy, and you have created a great forum.

    All the best, Chris H.

    December 4, 2013
    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Chris. I love your perspective and agree that striking a balance to be well is difficult — particularly when what it means to be well is different for every person. We all need different things, and I agree, self knowledge, self understanding, and self love are critical to helping us navigate healthy lives. Are you a writer? These are beautiful comments. I think I will post an excerpt on my Facebook page tonight. Be well…I look forward to staying in touch.

      December 4, 2013
  3. Hello, I liked to post your blogs on my website but I don’t see a way to get in touch with you.

    Please let me know if you are interested.

    Thank you!

    December 4, 2013
  4. Brynn, I can’t stop thinking about your post. I posted it on my blog. I believe exercise is to feel good/live good, not for the beach bikini but…you know what, I’m really liking the looking good part, too! I was 50 lbs overweight in my 50’s and if you’re young and never been overweight you could never know how horrible it is to be middle aged, fat and just frumpy looking. It actually made me a nearly invisible person out there in the world. Now, not only am I slim and fit but I have changed my appearance in recent years. My hair (great cuts/color), my skin (skin care routine), my clothes (attention to detail and fashion), my shoes (no more orthopedic shoes for my overweight body and I actually wear heels on occasion), my makeup. I do enjoy getting second looks.

    I reflect. Am I wrong? Am I narcissistic? Am I wrong to enjoy looking good? The conclusion I reach is that as a society we appreciate beauty and things that are well cared for. A beautiful home, a beautiful park. As a society we take pride in our surroundings. So yes let’s make our environments pretty and ourselves pretty, too. But do I want to be an object of desire (to the extent a 66 year old could be!) or maybe admired for being well cared for? Look at Gov. Christie. If you’re a Republican (which I’m not) he might be a great candidate for Prez; he’s losing weight right now because he knows people might not vote for an overweight person. I think we would judge any candidate who didn’t care greatly about their appearance.

    So I say to myself, you go girl. Be fit. Look good. Spread the word about fitness and the joy that goes with it.

    What do you think???

    xxoomary rawles (fitforrestofyourlife.com)

    December 4, 2013
  5. I can’t stop thinking about your post. I posted it on my blog. I believe exercise is to feel good/live good, not for the beach bikini but…you know what, I’m really liking the looking good part, too! I was 50 lbs overweight in my 50’s and if you’re young and never been overweight you could never know how horrible it is to be middle aged, fat and just frumpy looking. It actually made me a nearly invisible person out there in the world. Now, not only am I slim and fit but I have changed my appearance in recent years. My hair (great cuts/color), my skin (skin care routine), my clothes (attention to detail and fashion), my shoes (no more orthopedic shoes for my overweight body and I actually wear heels on occasion), my makeup. I do enjoy getting second looks.

    I reflect. Am I wrong? Am I narcissistic? Am I wrong to enjoy looking good? Do I only think I look good if I fit society’s image of slim? The conclusion I reach is that as a society we appreciate beauty and things that are well cared for. A beautiful home, a beautiful park. As a society we take pride in our surroundings. So yes let’s make our environments pretty and ourselves pretty, too. But do I want to be an object of desire (to the extent a 66 year old could be!) or maybe admired for being well cared for?

    So I say to myself, you go girl. Be fit. Look good. Spread the word about fitness and the joy that goes with it.

    mary at fitforrestofyourlife.com

    December 4, 2013
    • I agree — we all appreciate beauty. I just think it should be framed as a nice bi-product of exercise, not the motivation. But as I’ve said to other readers, this is how I feel…we are all amazingly different and will see this issue differently. All the best!

      December 4, 2013
  6. Congrats, Brynn — you should feel so proud of being the voice for this message. Love love the post and love you! xox

    December 4, 2013
    • Aw, thanks Rebecca…you are perhaps my most faithful follower. Hope to see you soon. XO

      December 4, 2013
  7. That was an absolutely fantastic post, Brynn, and I’m not surprised it has gone viral and reached some of us on the other side of the globe. I have two young daughters, 7 and 2, and i think i will print this out and put it up it their room! of course, they already have a good sense of the beauty of hiking in nature and the inportance of exercise, as they either join us or see us doing it almost everyday. But sometimes we also need powerful words to urge us on and remind us of the raison d’etre. Thanks again – we now also have a new blog to follow: wellfesto!

    December 5, 2013
    • Thanks so much for your comment! I just checked out your site — great content. I’d love to have a reason to be an expat for a few years! 🙂

      December 7, 2013
  8. Well done Brynn. I’m happy I found Wellfesto (as a result of your recent post as a matter of fact).

    December 5, 2013

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