Wednesday Bubble: Becoming Bendy. A guest post by Patti Digh

Posted by on Feb 9, 2011 in Inspiration, women's health | 2 comments

Are you a resolutionist, you know, one of those people who make a pact to change [fill in the blank] every New Year’s only to find that you’re slacking about three weeks later and by week four, you’ve already forgotten  your promise to yourself ?

Been there, done that. Yes, we all have. However, sooner or later, we all end up facing our demons and excuses and backtracks and are forced to a long hard look and truly acknowledge that we don’t like everything we see. Sometimes, it’s that constant nagging that just won’t go away, and others, it’s a health scare or the loss of someone close that kicks our butt one last night and propels us into real action. My friend Patti Digh, who’s previously graced the Flashfree pages, recently agreed to let me share the hard look she’s taken at herself and her quest to ‘become bendy.’ Welcome back Patti!

I had a revelation this past year. Two of them, actually. Okay, three. Or twelve.

One: My husband, John, created a video for our oldest daughter’s graduation from high school, one documenting Emma’s life since birth to that moment of leaving home, going to college, walking into the world on her own. As I watched this beautiful progression of her life, it became so, so clear to me that I have spent the last 18 years trying to hide behind other people in photographs, buying and wearing clothing I didn’t love but that fit over my hips. Eighteen years. And probably, yes, longer even than that. Not walking in the world in jeans, a simple t-shirt and flip flops, but in every outfit covered by a big overshirt. Not wearing a bathing suit, never wearing shorts. Hiding. I watched it a few times, each time realizing that I knew exactly how I felt about my body at that point in time. “Oh, that’s baby weight,” I said until Emma was 10, for example. Every pound a witness to a heartbreak, a change, a fear, a celebration.

Two: I’ve spent the past year being tested for things. Ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and repeat. The morning they first tested for ovarian cancer, I sat in the parking lot sobbing, and then drove to the Chocolate Fetish and bought a nine-pack of chocolate covered caramels with sea salt and ate them all in the car. When I found out that test was negative two weeks later, I drove back to the Chocolate Fetish, bought another nine-pack of chocolate covered caramels with sea salt and ate them all in the car. I told Michael Scholtz, a brilliant wellness coach and personal trainer. “So,” I said jokingly, “do you think this means I’m an emotional eater?” He smiled a quiet smile. “Well, Patti,” he said, “if you had only eaten them when you thought you were dying, maybe not.” He paused. “But the fact that you ate them when you found out you would live… yeah, maybe.” We laughed. Yes.

Three: In November, I ended up in the emergency room with what I thought was a heart attack. It wasn’t. But my blood pressure was very high: 188/144. I typically have very low blood pressure. And I am now on medication to bring it down. I am not fond of taking medication and want to find other less intrusive ways to lower my blood pressure. “I want you to sweat six days a week,” my doctor said when giving me the prescription. I knew what he meant: lose weight.

There was an article in Wired Magazine a few years ago called “Change or Die.” It reported, among other things, that 90% of heart patients, when told they had to change their diet and exercise or they would die, did not change anything. Not even the threat of death got them to change their Krispy Kreme couch potato habits. Not even death.

I will change. Yes, I surely will.

As I start 2011, I no longer have in front of me the “lose 50 pounds” mantra. It is gone, irrelevant. While I do know that my natural, happy, comfortable weight is less than where I am right now, but I am no longer measuring happiness–or the lack of it–by a number. I am not concerned with a size, but a measure of wellness.

I am measuring wellness from now on by how bendy I am.

What is bendy?

Bendy is flexible, strong, able to run when it wants to. Bendy feels connected to body, stretched, confident, able. Bendy is a body not in competition with other bodies, and not even in competition with itself. It just is. Stretched and tall and aware of its Self. Bendy is a body to go along with a head; it is learning from the neck down. It is embodied learning. Embodied living. Embodied mindfulness.

I’m spending 2011 becoming bendy. Again.

I’m documenting that journey here for myself, and for others who might find it helpful.

About the author:

Patti Digh is the author of Life is a Verb, Creative is a Verb, What I Wish For You and Four Word Self Help. She has also written two business books on global leadership and diversity, one named a Fortune magazine “best business book for 2000.”  Patti’s comments have appeared on PBS, and in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, the New York Times, USAToday, the Washington Post, and London Financial Times, among other national and international publications. She speaks around the world on diversity, global business, and living intentionally.

Patti is also co-founder of The Circle Project, a consulting and training firm that partners with organizations and the people in them to help them work more effectively and authentically together across difference.

She lives in Ashville, NC with her husband, two daughters and various animals. She also likes Black & White cookies although they are now off the list during her ‘Becoming Bendy’ stage.


  1. 2-9-2011


    Loved the post….inspired me to do an 8 mile bike ride this morning…and eat a healthy lunch of thai veggies in basil sauce with brown rice!

    • 2-9-2011

      That’s great Lori. So important to start and keep going. Success is measured in small, consistent steps. Always!


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