On A Love That Lights Up the Sky...

Quick story:  There was an evening last Summer when I was feeling particularly down in the dumps (happens from time to time, yes?) and became so exasperated that I began writing out a list of things that were bumming me out.  

As I glanced back over what I had written, I realized that it was mostly comprised of things that I don’t like about myself (which is putting it mildly) and it was beginning to look like the makings of an EPIC pity party.  Nothing like a shameful shin-dig to bring your health issues, physical shortcomings and mental weaknesses together so that they can laugh about you behind your back (while they drink all your wine and knock over the fancy vase of flowers on your nightstand).

Get out of my room, you jerks!

I immediately wished I hadn’t wasted time on such a useless task!  Ripping up the pages made me feel a leeeettle better, but what really made a difference was the bright little thought that floated into my brain and softened my heart:  

“You are fully, fiercely & faithfully loved.” 

Though I felt (and often still feel) quite unworthy of such a weighty claim… It’s something that I believe with my whole heart to be true for each one of us.  Whether that love comes from your soul mate or your parents or your BFF or your children or your God...

You are worthy of every last speck of that sizzling shine. 

(And how blessed are you if it’s all of the above?!)

As my own shimmering thought faded, I suddenly felt challenged to start a new kind of list: One filled with a collection of things that I know to be true, and ways I try to add meaning and merit to the world around me.  It is not something that I’ve revisited more than two or three times since then, but knowing that it is in my notebook and ready to light up my sky has kept me from finishing the plans for the original pity party.

If anything, today’s Pepper Letter is to make sure you know that someone, somewhere is sending you love in a major way right this very moment... I hope you can feel my hugs from here, and please feel free to share this sentiment with anyone in need of a little extra love this week! :)

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

P.S. - Have you ever seen a little baby love a Mama so much?  Thanks to my right-hand-gal (Haile!), for sending this along and brightening my day.

P.P.S. - Any crazy Valentine’s Day plans I need to know about?  Did anyone else choose TOMORROW as a day to move across the country for 6 weeks and still happen to not becompletely packed?  NO?!  Ok - Just us then. 

On Dancing Like a Crazy Lady...

I was on the Stairmaster at the gym today, and there was a chica on the machine in front of me dancing like a TOTAL crazy lady.  

(Don't get me wrong - The moves were PRETTY amazing.)  

It brought new meaning to the term: “Dance like nobody’s watching” - and there was nothing I could do but give her a mental set of massively uncoordinated high-fives from my ascent up the steps of the Taj Majal*.

Three reasons I was tickled by her groove-fest:

Reason 1.  My gym-time is my me-time, and I make a point to prioritize it the same way I would take care of a gift for someone I love.  Lately though, I’ve noticed the urge to multi-task has been sneakily creeping in, and I’ll admit that I’ve accidentally let things like work emails, to-do lists & correspondence with friends become a bit of a distraction from my usual kick-butt sweat sessions. Girlfriend up ahead was not focusing on ONE single thing beside busting a move to the tunes in her ears (can't stop wondering what she was listening to!), and it gave me a petite reality check when I realized what a good time she was having.  

Reason 2.  Just minutes later, the topic of discussion on the podcast I was listening to turned to shame & self-doubt.  The story being shared was referencing how children are BORN knowing how to dance, but that we often become anxious about our own steps because we begin experiencing shame during the process of becoming an adult.  The irony of the moment was not lost on me, and I loved the fact that I was witnessing the total opposite of someone who cared about what people thought of her (in a public place that is sometimes known for things like judge-y faces and dwindling self-esteem, no less)

Reason 3.  This lady was dancing on a freaking STAIRMASTER and I STILL cannot quite believe that it didn’t result in any traumatic injuries or leading headlines**.  It was a sassy little sight to behold, for sure, and I came home wishing that I would have asked her lead the rest of us in a group class… I have a feeling she might be on to something in the fitness world!  (The jazziest new craze since Zumba?)

Calorie-burning aside, I think challenging ourselves to have dance parties in unexpected places could be a very big step in the right direction.  Obviously there is a time and a place for everything, but major props to ANYone who is brave enough to work on becoming who they are in public.

Trying to reverse those cautionary voices that say, “You’re not good enough to be yourself in front of others!” is one of the many things I work against daily, and I’d like to think that getting my groove on with other spicy ladies is a great way to put my white-girl-wiggle*** to very good use.

Any chance that you can relate to this sort of mood-boosting movement?  You guys have been FLOORING me with your heartfelt responses to these letters, and the highlight of my entire week has been getting a chance to chat back with you here.   (For REAL.) 

Love you to pieces, and I'll catch you back here next week!

XOXO - Jessie Pepper

P.S. Those sweetie-pie pals of yours immediately become friends of mine... I'd love to have you pass this note along to anyone you think might need a boost today!

* Ohhhhhhhh, the things I tell myself to eliminate boredom on those silly machines.  Though I’m very thankful to have the chance to work out indoors, I miss my runs along the river and our workcation can’t seem to come soon enough!!!
** TRAGIC ACCIDENT in NJ CAUSED BY TWERKING NEAR A TREADMILL. (Miraculously avoided.  Thanking my lucky sneakers.)
*** You’re welcome to view the video proof of me busting out my best moves with some blogging buddies after a couple of beers.  And why YES, I'd LOVE to come your next party. :)