For most of us, a book from someone in the wellness and fitness space can feel aspirational but kind of overwhelming: Oh, this cool fabulous person has cool fabulous thoughts on ‘living your best life’? I have four days of dishes and am wearing the same sweatshirt I’ve worn for three days. It’s easy to be discouraged when you get a one-size-fits-all list of shoulds and dos that are so frustrating and common in wellness circles.
But that’s not the feeling you have when you pick up Peloton Instructor, Under Armour Athlete and entrepreneur Emma Lovewell’s book Live Learn Love Well: Lessons from a Life of Progress Not Perfection that just dropped today. Instead, you get a look at the real whole human and thousands of little steps, setbacks and “yes, and…” moments it takes to make progress on the goals you set for yourself —and to evaluate honestly how those goals actually serve you at any given moment in your life.
Instead, you get a more intimate story: How a little girl from Martha’s Vineyard grew up to be the kind of person who could inspire folks to pedal their way to their own goals. You get a glimpse at how she coped with her parents’ divorce, her reluctant (but ultimately so worth it) introduction to meditation as an angsty teen, how she learned to find her own voice and fall even more in love with her Chinese heritage as a mixed-raced woman living in a time that’s been very scary for Asian Americans and, of course, how she’s cultivated her own wellness philosophy that isn’t about punishment, denial or perfectionism.
“I’m a big believer in loving yourself to success, and that requires being kind and patient with yourself. You cannot hate yourself into change; you must love yourself into greatness,” Lovewell writes. “Give yourself the time and care you need to really blossom into the best version of you.”
There are a few stand-out parts of this book, but I kept coming back to how Lovewell uses her life-long love of gardening (inherited from her mother, a professional gardener) to help people better understand her self-care philosophy and all the valuable lessons she’s learned from that tactile, nurturing work. It gets to the root (pun not intended) of her approach to wellness and fitness: It takes time, love and attention to grow the things you love. (And your own self deserves to be considered one of those things!)
“We all need different things to reach new heights. I’ve learned over the years that being around other creative people is my very own version of sunshine, water, and good soil. I also require regular exercise, vegetables, my partner, Dave, meditation, laughter, cats, my family, dancing, art, visits to the ocean, traveling, music, and my entire Peloton community (you boost my spirits every day),” Lovewell writes. “… After years of cultivating my garden and my life, I do know the basics of what I really need to thrive. If you feel like something is standing between you and massive growth, it might be time to get dirty. Dig into the raw materials of your life.Make decisions about where you want to foster growth and what needs to be cut away. Be observant, look for places where the sun shines brightest in your life, and seek out what nurtures you. You can have many different gardens, but you only get one life to tend. Make it big, make it beautiful, but, most of all, enjoy your time in the dirt.” With encouragement like that, you can’t help but want to get a little dirty.
You can pick up your own copy of Live Learn Love Well: Lessons from a Life of Progress Not Perfection online and in book stores now!
Before you go, check out the mental health apps we love for giving our brains and bodies a little extra TLC:
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