FEMALE.FITNESS.FIRE + WHY COMPASSION IS THE MISSING LINK

Okay, so this missing link isn’t missing; It just isn’t obvious. From the beginning of my blog, I’ve focused on three main topics, and continue to write about all things fitness, female, and financial related. The more I pay attention, these three topics are connected by one overarching (intangible) thing. It’s a feeling really, a sympathetic consciousness we call compassion. I know, I know, I haven’t always known compassion personally myself. Expressing emotion isn’t what I’m very good at a lot of the time, and I’m that person that has had to learn how to emote as a grown adult. But compassion is something that can be, and should be woven into our daily lives. I am starting to understand more and more how this one simple powerful thing really changes the game.

Compassion connects us. It bridges the gap. It can be subtle, it can be obvious, and it most always is beautiful.

I am driven. Every person who knows me can attest to this. There is always a goal, always a focus, always something that I am working toward. I believe in bettering myself constantly, which is why you can typically find me reading a book, listening to a podcast, or building something when I’m not training or working. While I know that I still have a long way to go in my desire to be more balanced and find meaningful and peaceful rest, and even when I’m not the strongest in the downtime, I thrive in the uptime. Running, adventuring, cycling, hiking, swimming, you name it. Movement is absolutely necessary in my life.

What is maybe different about my approach to fitness and movement is that I am compassionate in it. I am compassionate toward myself first. While I do push myself to my brink, I do my best to consider my body’s needs. This means backing off when I can feel my body telling me that it needs to take a break. This means not counting calories or obsessing over foods in an unhealthy way. This means practicing self care beyond the consumerist spa day that we see touted in our society as the cure-all. This means practicing body positivity on the regular. This means allowing myself to fail, and doing my best to learn from those failures.

Being Intentional In Your Movement

So, let me ask you, what does fitness mean to you? It looks different for everyone, because fitness is simply movement for the sake of bringing life into your world. Why and how a person moves is going to look different from that of every other person, of course, but at the end of the day, fitness is movement for the sake of health and also, life. For this reason, health should be a lifelong practice, where we should understand that the choices we make today affect everything down the line. Moving with intentionality is how we make health a viable and sustainable option.

And because I care about myself and my health, I have realized the need to care about the needs and health beyond just me. Movement, health and fitness don’t always dig into environmental issues, but they definitely impact them so maybe it’s time they do.

If we care about the health of our bodies, shouldn’t we also care about the health of our planet? I argue that we cannot have one without the other. We are connected by nature, and moving with intentionality and compassion means, too, that we should consider the impacts our movements have on this planet. My mama always told me to leave a place better than when I found it. It applied to my room where I played growing up, and it applies to the world where I move and play today. This means packing-in-packing-out. This means personally growing my own foods and making my own foods so that I can cut down on waste. This means paying attention to my carbon footprint, even when it includes racing, travel and more. This means choosing companies and races whose values align with mine. This means choosing athletic fabrics that are not made of plastic, or at least using a washing bag to help contain those plastics from entering the water when they are washed. This means being mindful of how the “normal” is affecting our beautiful planet and considering alternatives.

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. 

Investopedia

Alright, so lets talk about people, both those we see daily, those all around the world, and those of future generations. Everything is bigger than just us, and as long as we are conscious and compassionate enough to remember this, we are better off for it.

I am a lesbian woman. I am also a feminist. While I used to personally push back against using the term “feminism” to describe myself, I now embrace it. I am constantly working to become stronger at being vocal about equality. However, I struggle to understand and accept those I see putting the issues of women’s rights on a different scale than other marginalized groups. In my opinion, if you fight for the rights of one, you should fight for the rights of all. So yes, I am a feminist. And I am also fighting for all humans rights. Period.

“People who insist on dividing the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ never contemplate that they may be someone else’s ‘Them’.” 

Ray A. Davis

Being Intentional Through Human Connection

Feminism should be inclusive. It should be intersectional. Recently, we saw more jarring, horrendous examples of police brutality, and it makes me that much more certain that until we are all united in equality, none of us are equal. I cannot in any sort of good conscious fight for women’s rights alone. Any person who labels themselves a feminist should also have compassion for every other person on this planet. We should also fight for every other form of human rights. Anything less is hypocrisy.

Compassion in the world of feminism isn’t spoken of much. And I do understand why. Strong women admire strong women. But compassion isn’t weak. In fact, compassion may be one of the hardest, but most powerful, stances we can take. It isn’t sympathy, where we go around and feel sorry for others. It isn’t even empathy, where we try to put ourselves in other’s shoes to understand. It is being actively conscious and aware of every person’s story and struggle with the desire to help for their good as well as that of the common collective. It starts with simply caring about each other.

Caring about each other isn’t the hard part. It’s the fun part if you ask me. Celebrating your soul sister’s wins. Offering a hand when you’re able. Staying up late because a friend called and needs someone to listen. Having a conversation with someone you disagree with and listening to what they have to say. Sharing love and support can be in big ways or small. You don’t have to spend money to care.

Speaking of money, I believe that an uncommon and slightly radical form of self care and care for others is financial stability. Money has always been interesting to me. Maybe because I saw firsthand how financial struggles can change a family, a relationship, a home, and so much more. Maybe because my Dad geeks out over it, too, and I will always be a Daddy’s girl, so it sparked my interest. Maybe because I’ve always been an independent person, and so I’ve also had to confront financial “stuff” head on. Maybe because I just love me some math. This has spurred me to really work on my s*** financially.

So where does compassion fit into finances? Oh sister, it’s everywhere. First (again) we have to be compassionate toward ourselves when it comes to money stuff. Changing something for the better doesn’t mean hating where we are. Own up to it, sure. Own it. But don’t let anything define you.

Second, financial spaces for a long time have also seemed exclusive. One of my financial inspirations, Berna from heyberna.com, puts it perfectly when she describes the majority of those in the financial world as being “hella male, and hella pale.” All of our journeys are different. Understanding the weight of that can help us figure out our own finances and also be compassionate toward the journey of others. Why does this matter? Because money makes the world go ’round, but it affects everyone differently (examples here and here). We can and should be mindful to understand that while every person’s money journey is different, we are ALL worthy. And we all deserve to have a voice. We also all deserve to have equal opportunities, in the financial world as well as every other circle.

Being Intentional in Your Saving + Spending

When it comes to money, I still will ask you, what’s the point? The fact of the matter is that we all need money to live, but the variable of “how much” will be different for every person. The goal of obtaining money can be broken down to surviving first, and sustaining second. In my opinion, the purpose of money isn’t to simply have it, but to be able to have the life I crave now until my last day.

So, being able to learn basic tools to budget and manage my money so that I can simply survive is critical. It is wrong to gloss over this fact. (Did you know that approximately 54% of Americans earn less than they spend?) We can’t thrive if we don’t first survive.

Just as much so, the ability to continue to learn financial tools in order to put myself and those I love in the best possible position to continue to create the best possible life is also critically important. We all crave a life of meaning, of purpose, of vibrant fullness. Money cannot give us these things, obviously, but how we learn to manage it, by spending and saving with intentionality can help us structure this life we visualize.

For me, my best days are those that I get to spend outdoors, adventuring, and being active while connecting to others and connecting with nature. Being able to save with intentionality is key here, because I can have the stability of the everyday while I save for adventures in the immediate future, and simultaneously purposefully saving so I can make my entire life an adventure. I’ve learned how to structure my world to be able to save and spend with intentionality because I care about every single day, not just payday. This is a form of compassionate self care.

For me, the steps that put me on a path to FIRE look something like this:

Every second we spend and every dollar we spend impacts the world in a zero-sum game. We get so many chances to vote for what we believe in with our time and our money, so intentionality is vital. Having compassion as we navigate those waters is also critical, because we are all human, and we are always learning and growing.

We are all connected, and that connection matters. We should do everything we can to improve our world because it matters. This is one of the many reasons why I focus on intentional living, adventuring, saving and spending. Compassion should have a place in our movement, in our words, in our finances, and in our connections with every other human being. We are all better for it.

I respect myself enough to love both my current self and my future self. This includes saving intentionally, so that I can continue to live the life I love. This includes spending intentionally, so that I can cast monetary votes for the things, people, and places I believe in. This includes living intentionally, through movement, travel, and compassionate connection. Because I respect and love you enough too.

The world connects us. Nature brings us together and surrounds us with life. We should return the favor. For ourselves. For every other person. And for the planet. Be compassionate. It’s the strongest thing you can do.

Get fired up! Is there a topic here that you could stand to improve upon personally? Join my Accountability Group, and we can learn, grow, and get stronger together. Contact me here.

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