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hanging chairThere is a delightful hanging wicker chair that I have ogled and admired for at least five years. I would stand in the store, imagining the stacks of books I could read and the gallons of iced tea – and maybe the occasional cocktail – I could sip as I gently swung in the sunshine. If only that chair, and all its promise, could join my life…

But like so many families, there are more pressing needs than a magical chair that sweeps The Momma to Zenland.

So the chair remained my little daydream.

But for my birthday last month, my sweet husband bought me The Chair. We aren’t really big gift-givers, so this was an especially big surprise.

Cue the heartfelt music to imagine my reaction to one of the most thoughtful gifts ever given to me…

Okay, now cut the music. Because it didn’t go down like that.

Instead, I let my head get in the way.

When I learned what my gift would be, I felt appreciative. But the chair had to be ordered from another city, so it was all theoretical at the moment. Therefore, I turned my attention to the nontheoretical tres leches cake with birthday candles. (By the way, nontheoretical cake is the best kind of cake.)

When we returned from a family trip a week later, the cushion for the mystical chair had arrived, and there was a voicemail that the frame was ready to be picked up at the local store. The sight of the cardboard box should have ramped up my anticipation of books and iced tea cocktails.

Instead, my mind went into a whirlwind of calculations about where else our funds were needed.

For the unanticipated trip across the country my husband recently took to be with his father after a surgery.

For the unanticipated extra airfare because my poor husband contracted food poisoning the day before we were to start our trip.

For the ceiling fans we’ve been planning to get forever.

For the braces our kids might, maybe, possibly need.

And I stomped my widdle foot and announced that the chair must be returned before it ever made it into our home.

Because my logical head said so.

Now, I am the first person to claim love for logic and thinking. But let’s be clear: our thoughts are not purely rational. They can be colored by emotions, assumptions, and expectations. The upshot?

Being too much in your head is not really a good thing.

Being in your head can mean you worry about things like calories and “clean” foods and how many minutes you need to run and whether or not your body is worthy of the beach.*

There’s an insidious belief system that says that if you are in your head, planning what you eat and how much you weigh, that you are honoring your body. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Honoring your body has everything to do with listening to it. What is your body telling you? Feeling like you’d rather take a nature walk instead of the intense workout you usually do on Tuesdays? More in the mood for cheese and crackers than a protein shake? Listen up. Taking care of your health is not just about food as fuel and willing yourself to exercise.

It’s also about gentle self-care. It’s about being nonjudgmental if your plan goes in a different direction. It’s about taking the time to just be in the world and stopping the whirlwind of activity.

When I listened in, my body told me that it needs to just sit its ass down and read a book sometimes. So in the end, the chair came to live with us.

It is everything I hoped it would be – except that a wine glass won’t fit in the cupholder.

The chair provides an open invitation to breathe and just be, even if it’s only for ten minutes on a busy day.

When you take a little time to breathe, it’s amazing how much space that opens up. Taking breaks gives you more energy and focus than if pushing through task after task.

So when it feels like you don’t have the luxury to relax, even for a minute…

Choose the chair. Always choose the chair.

* Want a beach body? Then take your body to the beach. Voila! You have a beach body.