Bringing Your Body Into Balance

My 100+ pound weight loss is what grabs people's attention. However, my weight loss was merely a side effect of finally taking my health and happiness into my own hands and finding that perfect balance. Body, mind, spirit. It all matters.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Tribe

I refuse to accept any less in my own life and, in my opinion, we should all live this way.

We will inevitably have to spend time around "low energy" people whether it is work related or family members.

However, any time I get to choose, I choose people who inspire and energize me and allow me to do the same for them. I am finally at a point in my life where I will quickly give any negative, low-energy person their walking papers so fast they become a little blind-sided by it.

Harsh? Maybe, but how many years do we waste before we begin to value whatever we have left? And it doesn't have to be done in a mean way! You can gently send someone down their own path without you in love and light.

My parents used to always tell me (and, of course, I never listened), "you are identified by the company you keep." I finally get how true this is!

The tribe I have surrounded myself with brings such light into my world. I can't really remember how I ever functioned before now...maybe I didn't.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Follow Your Heart

When I operate from a place of ego, I notice that I feel less energetic and inspired than when it is from a place of heart. 

When I turn inward and do what that tiny but strong voice from my heart center tells me to do, I can move mountains. I work for hours without looking at the clock. I laugh and play with my son without checking my phone. People are drawn to me. Life feels full and rich.

More than anything, when I follow my heart, my path opens up in front of me and all I need do is follow it. Without fail, it leads to happiness, financial security and more opportunities to follow my heart. 

Life is too precious to live any other way.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Magic of Letting Go

It's crazy how, when you pay attention, you'll notice messages coming to you in life. For a long while, everywhere I looked, I saw the message of "shedding ego." Now, I won't say that I suddenly just shed my ego and now I'm all evolved past it. But what I will say is that I have never cared so little what people think of me as I do now. 

Note: I still care. I still catch myself wondering why such and such didn't like me or what so and so meant when she said that slightly snide sounding comment. But I am able to release my fear of inadequacy and recognize that no one person's opinion of me defines me. Especially when I am growing and evolving every day, every single moment, so the person they judged isn't even who I am anymore! And, furthermore, their perception of me is sent through their own filter that is made up of all their life experiences. How in the world can I accuse myself of being the problem?! So, more and more, I am able to acknowledge it and release it with a fair amount of ease.

Which leads seamlessly into the next message that is now popping up in my life. Letting go. 

It started with letting go of my attachments of people's opinions of me. But now it's unfolding into so much more. A perfect "for instance" is not anticipating how I think any certain plans should go. This is actually pretty vital for a parent of a young child. We've all done it. Fantasized about that perfect outing we would surprise our child(ren) with and how they would be elated and it would be an amazing day....only to excitedly announce our surprise plans to them and have them collapse in a crying heap on the ground and scream that they just want to go home. 

It takes so many more forms. A few I've mentioned recently. Meeting a man and projecting the possibility of "forever" onto him. Envisioning exactly what I think my business should be or anticipating when I'll finally work through all my writer's blocks and have my book completed.

Now I surrender. I let go.

And letting go of an idea of a concrete outcome is different than not caring about or planning for the future. 

I look at it this way. God, the universe...however you want to identify that amazing force of life that propels us through our existence, is laying out a path in front of me. When I see the path it is not my job to figure out where the path leads or to try to gain complete control over the outcome. These are my ONLY responsibilities:

1-Turn inward and ask my wise mind "where is my passion for this?" I need only put my whole heart into whatever is in front of me always with a spirit of being of service to others with an underlying sense of self-love so that I am not neglected in the process.
2-Be fully engaged in that moment.

And that is literally IT!! 

How freeing!! What an unbelievable sigh of relief I've finally been able to take to realize that it is not my job to control how all this ends. My heart is my only guide. My love of others, love of myself and love of every precious, beautiful moment life provides me. The rest is details that I place in the hands of a force far greater than my tiny self. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Learning to Surrender

I am learning to surrender. 

Life keeps changing and sometimes it's scary and sometimes it's super sad and other times it totally blows. I latch on to ideas of who I think I should be or who I think other people should be and that attachment kicks me in the butt every single time. 

But more and more I'm learning to let go and allow the current to carry me where it may and it makes life downright magical at times. Instead of trying to pigeonhole myself into the career I think i should have, I passionately throw my heart into what I'm doing and the business just comes. When I stop forcing friendships or relationships that I think make sense in my life, new people appear right in my path that make no sense in my mind but make me look at life with more joy and howl with laughter. 

When I can finally detach from what I believe the outcome should be, I can enjoy watching in amazement and awe as my life unfolds before me.

Trust the path 

Friday, July 22, 2016

I'm Taking the Weekend Off

I'm giving myself the weekend off...from my "monkey mind."
I vow to walk through this weekend with awe and joy for every small thing.
I will not pick apart and criticize myself or those around me.
I will attempt to live this entire weekend beginning today until my head hits the pillow Sunday night, completely immersed in the beauty that is this existence...and then hopefully it will overflow into the rest of my life.
I hope that anyone who reads this will do the same. When we operate from a place of gratitude and joy, the world opens up to us, we just have to get out of our own way.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dropping into the Pause

Someone recently asked me "what's the difference between sitting quietly and meditation?"

I was about to respond and I hesitated. 


What is the difference?

I knew there was one! But I had to really think about it. I'm sure there's a cut and dry definition that I could've googled and read to him. Instead, I told him what meditation was to me, what it's done for me.

This is timely as I just finished my morning meditation and feel centered. 

Meditation makes my "monkey mind" not quite so chattery. It doesn't bounce around with no control from me quite as much. 

Does my mind still race? Oh my goodness. Constantly. Even when I sleep. I often wake up and feel like I just walked out of a loud room where everyone was talking at once. 

But, over time, meditation has given me pause. 

I notice these little segments, maybe lasting less than half a second at times, where there is silence. 

It has allowed me to master this half a second pause between my thought and my reaction. 

I used to have a pretty nasty tempter and be impulsive in many other ways as well. Whether it was snapping on someone in traffic, sending a text and regretting it, or shoving ten cookies in my face after a stressful day. I just felt like I had no control over my responses at times. 

Over time, with my daily practice of meditation and mindfulness exercises, more and more I am able to drop into that "pause" between thought and reaction. I am able to live my life with more dignity. I am healthier because I take a moment to remember how I want to honor my body instead of escape my current (and temporary) state of mind. 

More than anything, meditation and harnessing a little control over my mind, has made me acutely aware that I am not my mind. I am not my thoughts! I am the quiet observer. And while my cute little human mind bounces all over the place, I pause.

Monday, July 18, 2016

All Contributing to a Life Well Lived

At 38 years old and uncomfortably close to approaching a decade into being single since ending my 12 year marriage, I have met a lot of interesting men and had thousands of new experiences as a result. Realizing the extent of these experiences makes me reflect back on the first real relationship I had after my separation. While highly dysfunctional, I can look back now and realize that it was one of the most necessary and meaningful relationships to date.

I went from bored, overweight, TV watching married woman to rock climbing, white water rafting, hiking, camping, running, dancing, eyes wide open, athlete. And I owe so much of that to him. Yes, there were times he broke my heart but, all in all, he cracked it wide open to life. He also provided the proof I needed that this deep soulful connection with a man that I so strongly desire can, in fact, exist. The love I felt for him was overwhelming and compelled me to follow him places I was always scared to venture on my own.

When I left my marriage in 2009, it was not my intention to still be single 7 years later. I honestly thought I would quickly find that man I had been dreaming about so long and finally live in the kind of relationship I always wanted. I've since learned that the dating world is a confusing and sometimes heart breaking place to navigate. Especially at my age where most men are single for a very good (actually, bad) reason.

However, I'm finally at a point where I truly embrace being single almost all the time and, although I still hope to find my soul mate someday, it would be bittersweet to meet "the one" right now because I am enjoying dating and being tied to no man. I want to have more butterflies before first dates. I want more first kisses.

Yes, there is something to be said for the Friday night when I kick my legs up on the lap of the man I will grow old with and we settle into a cozy night of wine and chatting (no TV though! Please God don't ever let my life get that boring again). But lately my Friday nights have consisted of competitions to see who can eat the hottest peppers as tears run down our faces, big belly laughs with men I don't care if I ever see again, learning about new interesting places, music festivals, new food, nice kisses and, my favorite....lots and lots of new people.

Just recently I met a man that threatened to throw me off this course of fun, casual dating. And, I must admit, I was quickly ready to be thrown! This picture was from our second date where he guided me through my first pottery lesson.

His gentle yet manly voice reverberated through my insides, stimulating my mind. His intense blue eyes would lock in on me and make my heart race. He would place his hands gently over mine and my entire body would respond. That second date ended with slightly awkward but amazing kisses that proved to me, after the devastating heartbreak of my last relationship which was so intense and passionate, that a new man could still create these strong responses in me.

From the very first time I spoke to him, we had a meaningful connection. Of this I am certain. He seemed as excited as I was. I had an underlying fear as I allowed myself to be pulled into this amazing feeling of connecting with a man that I was as intellectually attracted to as I was physically, which is very rare for me to find! I started having "the thoughts" the "what ifs". Could he be the one?

I left our second date feeling really good about things, with curious excitement about where the future might take us.

Then it happened.

He still wanted a third date but something shifted after that. His excitement turned to borderline indifference. Although he stayed in fairly consistent communication with me, and still does to this day, something had definitely changed.

My heart sank. I battled the feelings of rejection and inadequacy that threatened to bubble up.

At one time, I would have chased him. I would have devised how to get his interest back. I would have agonized over what I did wrong. Instead, I almost instantly tried to dissolve the entire thing. I wanted no part of it. He surprised me by arguing and telling me he really liked me. I chalked it up to my own fear and insecurity and agreed to keep our third date. But the almost indifference remained during that span between our second and third date.

I was really looking forward to the activity we had planned as well as his company so I decided to keep the date. But with disappointment yet unwavering resolve, I took him off my list of options as a potential mate. Because, regardless of his feelings for me, he wasn't making me feel the way I wanted a man to make me feel and I suddenly realized that meant he didn't meet my requirements for a mate! Realizing this made his opinion of me inconsequential. I don't need to figure out they why of it. It is empowering to finally recognize your own value instead of allowing others to dictate it at will for you. It also frees you up to notice other amazing men in your path who you would not have seen had you been busy chasing someone who was doing anything other than adoring you.

So, instead of canceling the date altogether, I decided to shorten what was originally supposed to be a very long afternoon with him. Instead, I took that time to get in a good workout and grab a bite to eat with a guy I had been chatting with but to which I had not given much thought (because I was already becoming hung up on the other guy). That "quick bite," a mere afterthought meant to be a sort of buffer, ended up being amazing! We laughed and had deep and meaningful conversation that rivaled that with date #2. I also suddenly noticed, without the distraction of another man, that I was wildly attracted to this guy and have since really connected with him. When I told him goodbye, I felt good about where I was, mentally. The chances of him being my forever guy? I have no clue. Based on my track record so far, probably not. But that's not the point. I did that night on my terms with my own best interest at heart instead of a man who was regarding me as a afterthought.

Had I stuck with my old pattern, my entire evening would have consisted of me placing myself in front of an only slightly interested man, hoping to somehow make him believe I was once again worthy of his attention. It would have ended with me either going home feeling disappointed and rejected or maybe I would've worked extra hard and somehow roped him back in (because I'm pretty clever and have done it with men before!) in which case I would've gone home in the beginning stages of my shiny brand new dysfunctional relationship in the making.

Instead, I headed into my second date of the evening prepared to just have a good time and nothing more. We had a wonderful time volunteering at a local event with the public and I discovered a new interest of mine. I've already started looking into volunteering for other events. At the end of the night we grabbed a drink and then just walked around the city and talked and laughed. I was completely in the moment. I was done questioning where it would go. Because had already decided it would go no further than that night. I was completely immersed in the perfection of that single moment. The cool summer breeze, the laughter and talking in the distance. The company of this amazing man. When he grabbed my hand and pulled me to a dark spot, I didn't question whether he was doing it because he wanted to be my boyfriend. I had decided my heart was best guarded with this man. His intentions were inconsequential. I wanted to be kissed. And when my head absolutely positively spun with one of the best kisses of my life, I didn't question if he would call me tomorrow. It didn't matter. There would be many more great kisses in my life. I was completely focused on this one for now.

Once I was finally able to let go of the concept of "forever", not only do I protect myself from winding up in yet another toxic relationship to avoid being "alone" but, I can suddenly enjoy each man, each lego building session with my son, each moment with my beautiful, precious loved ones, more completely. "Forever" is bullshit!! It's a limiting idea we place on our short little human lives. And "forever" is sometimes a nightmare. I think about so many men in my past who I am unbelievably thankful they were not forever. I have replaced "forever" with NOW. Right now. This moment as we breath in that invisible, magical force that animates us and allows us every experience we will have between now and our last breath.

I can honestly say that I am 100% there. It's been moving in that direction for quite a while but I have officially arrived. I love life. I love every beautiful second of it. Yes, there are sad, annoying, even painful moments but there is beauty in those as well when I can pry my brain out of it's natural tendency to dwell on the past or the future and instead be fully engaged in that moment of just being alive and the human experience that comes along with it.

What an amazing way to live! Suddenly I am so tuned in to the slope of my son's nose and the little bit of a squeak that is left in his voice that will someday very soon be gone. Yesterday as my family gathered together, there were moments where I almost floated above all the noise and laughter and took little pictures in my head of these magic moments that one day I will flip through in the album that will be my memory. I notice how rays of sunshine filter through leaves and I no longer try to grab my camera and (unsuccessfully) capture it. I take a picture in my mind. Thousands and thousands of snapshots of my life well lived.