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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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

What Now?


I'm at this new, interesting stage in my life lately where everything I used to find passionate determination in has kind of wavered. While I'm excited to always continue to improve my fitness level, I'm pretty happy with the way I look and feel. I feel almost complete apathy when I think about finding a long term relationship and am enjoying the light, casual dating. I feel like my biggest compulsions (to dwell on the negative, social anxiety, fear of loss, etc.) is pretty much completely under control. Even just keeping my physical environment in control, neat and tidy, is no longer a challenge. Everything that used to rule the direction of my thoughts, my life, are either now on autopilot or irrelevant.

So, what now?

Well, that's what I've been thinking about lately and I'm getting excited to realize that it's almost as though I've laid this sound, orderly foundation that allows me to move on to bigger and better things. I've liberated my mind above silly, shallow things like feeling the need for a perfect body or yet another boyfriend. 

Here's what I'm left with. My new, more meaningful, goals.

1. My son's evolution. This, of course, has always mattered to me. However, having just passed his 8th birthday, I am aware that he is halfway to driving age! He is only 8 years away from the day he will pull out of the driveway and make decisions I will have no control over. This is crunch time people! I can't control who he is or even who he will become but I can control what filter he sends all of his life decisions through. I need to make sure I am fully tuned in to his emotional and spiritual growth in this way. I will do this by:
  •  Making sure I am fully present when we spend our quality time together each day. Not just physically present, but emotionally present. 
  • Expose him to more new things. This one presents a challenge because he tends to fight me on this lately. He would rather be at home building Legos. However, it is my job to make his world bigger and to recognize that the discomfort he feels at the prospect of experiencing something new is normal. The discomfort I feel at the prospect of having to deal with his upset is also normal. We both must experience that discomfort anyway!
2. My career. Lately my business has been on autopilot. And it has needed to be! While my mother was sick, I needed to be able to just float along and just exist while we all went through that. However, recently she and I both feel re-inspired! I feel a passion growing inside of me to breath new life into the studio and offer new services. And we are already starting to add new classes and workshops. Things are happening! Here is how I intend to continue this new momentum:
  • Remaining steadfast in my vision and never doing anything to make a buck. The days of me taking on clients who want to lose 5 pounds to be bathing suit ready are over. They have been for a while now. But, more than that, I want every action I take, every client I take on, to reflect my beliefs and values. If I feel someone is truly incapable of embracing my approach to holistic fitness, I need to direct them elsewhere because it is imperative to my success that I am always working from an authentic place.
  • Develop a concrete business plan and outline steps to accomplish this.
3. My health as I age. As I approach my 4th decade in this body, I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of preserving this one and only vessel I have to hopefully get me through many more decades. The days of excess are behind me. I find myself more and more focused on not overtaxing my body so that it can always be in a state of cleansing and healing. Here are the elements I've began incorporating into my life to accomplish this:
  • Sleep! More and more I understand just how vital this is. Our bodies detoxify when we sleep as well as clear out the stress hormones from the day before. Both play a huge role in the anti-aging process. 
  • Being good to my liver. This involves restraint when it comes to alcohol and sugar. Furthermore, consuming things like warm lemon water upon waking, dandelion root tea or extract, milk thistle and raw apple cider vinegar tonics are easy ways to help the liver do it's job. The liver helps keep the body free of toxins.
  • Controlling stress. Stress can literally kill us! There is some stress we can't do a thing about. However, eliminating unnecessary stress, getting a good night's sleep and a daily practice of meditation are great ways to control stress so it doesn't control me.
  • Water! Nuf said. 
4. My spiritual self. This is an ongoing theme in my life but becomes more important to me as I go on. I find myself turning a little more inward and upward as I go through this life. I feel a sense of calm and acceptance the more I nurture this part of myself. The ways I have accomplished and/or will continue to accomplish this are:
  • Meditation. My daily meditation practice has become a sacred time at the beginning of each day that puts me in a place of mindfulness and deliberate intention for the day ahead of me.
  • Church. Christian churches are ample so if that is your path, you will have little problem finding many options. For others, finding a spiritual place of fellowship can present a real challenge. A few years ago I discovered the UU church. This is the perfect solution for someone like me. I've gotten away from this one because of the travel time and an undercurrent of politics that can sometimes be a little unsettling. However, this church never fails to nourish my soul when I go. It inspires me and gives me a sense of community and purpose each time I'm there. It also offers volunteer opportunities which leads right into my next goal..
  • Being of service to others. I have learned to really embrace this one. It is amazing to me how fulfilling this is. To give of oneself to others so freely with no expectation of any compensation in return has turned out to be some of my biggest growth experiences where I find purpose and peace.

So I'm nowhere near done. As I look over my list of goals that are now important and relevant in my life, I am so moved to realize how far I've come. It makes me realize how much growth I've already experienced in my life but also inspires me to know I'm nowhere near done! On to bigger and better things!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Today?

What will you do today that will set it aside from all the rest?
What will make it not fade into the background with all the other days?
Decide now. Time is ticking away.
Take that side road you always drive by and wonder where it goes.
Pack up dinner and announce to your kids that you're eating dinner in the backyard tonight.
Do something big. Do something small.
Do anything different. Make it something beautiful.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Let Go


It's human nature to cling to the familiar. It feels safe. The unknown feels scary. 

"Sometimes it's hard to move on, 
But once you do,
You'll realize it's the best thing
You've ever decided to do."

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Open to Everything, Attached to Nothing


I always think of what my mother told me years ago about how she quit smoking before I was born. She said that she finally realized she was going to be miserable either way so she decided to be miserable without cigarettes.

That's how I've come to look at letting go of things and people that don't contribute in a meaningful way to my life. Life experience has helped. The food that made me overweight and sick. The men who broke my heart. Enough wisdom allows me to let go of things that may feel good in the moment but definitely don't serve me in the long run.

I'll add that letting go of the concept of "true love" and "forever" has also made me feel so free. Yes, if it happens, great. But desperately clinging to that concept wasn't making me happy so now I'm single by choice.

I approach life now with a "hands wide open" attitude. Palms opened upward to catch anything life throws at me but fingers spread wide to let anything unnecessary to a life well lived slide through. "Be open to everything and attached to nothing."


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Growing Past Pain


A few months ago I dedicated a couple posts to discussing the pain of my final break-up with an on again, off again boyfriend over about 3 1/2 years. At the end of our relationship, he had done so much to destroy our foundation that I resented him and had zero trust for him. I refused to truly let him back into my life. Instead of trying to earn my trust back, as he promised he would, he started fresh with someone new. 

When he first ended it, I didn't know about the girl and I found myself (while still sad) extremely relieved to finally be out of the grips of that toxic relationship once and for all. However, once I found out about the girlfriend and that he had obviously met her while he was still with me and had overlapped our relationships, ultimately choosing her over me, my ego was obliterated. I, however, instantly recognized that much of what I was feeling was pride and vanity. I had gone from "pretty okay" just days after our break-up to a sobbing, sleepless mess for weeks. 

So I faced my ego. 

I didn't go out and seek validation from other men. I, instead, sat with my feelings of unworthiness. I looked at myself in the mirror for long periods of time until I didn't hate what I saw. When I felt alone at night, I literally wrapped my arms around me and comforted myself. 

Deepak Chopra says, "The best way to get rid of pain is to feel the pain. And when you feel the pain and go beyond it, you'll see that there is a very intense love that is wanting to awaken itself."

This has become my mantra.

I have never ever in my entire life handled my emotions in such a healthy way as I did all of that. And keep in mind that all of this was on top of seeing my mother recover from yet another surgery and come to terms with the fact that her best chance of beating her stage 3B cancer was to enter the mysterious world of alternative healing. (Which, by the way, we feel may actually be working!) 

So I started off very much inside myself. Feeling my pain and lots of introspection to follow as I confronted my ego. I talked to my counselor about it. How do I overcome ego? Is it even possible? It was actually the one and only time she didn't outright say that I could overcome something. She said, "this is such an intricate part of who you are that I don't think you can overcome it." 

Ironically, my ego said, "Oh yeah, I'll show you." 

Okay, so I am not going to sit here and claim that I have overcome my ego. But I have faced it down and challenged it to the point where it no longer rules my life anymore. How did I do it? With a little concept called "desensitization". This is where you expose yourself to a stimuli so many times that it basically loses it's ability to affect you.

I started putting myself out there every chance I could. I would talk to strangers in public at every opportunity. Sometimes they would look at me weird. Other times I bonded with strangers and they occasionally even became friends. Then I got on a dating website and deliberately sought out the most attractive and/or intimidating men I could find and met them for coffee. I knew I needed to meet them if the thought of meeting them triggered a fear of rejection in me. Some completely validated me. Others weren't interested. I started attending Crossfit 4-5 times a week (whereas, before I was going once a week and only because I was paying for it). I started looking people in the eye there and talking to people, which can be very intimidating in that environment. 

I knew I was on to something when a man I was really starting to get interested in suddenly lost interest in me for reasons I still don't quite understand. I felt the pang of rejection in my ego for about a second. I braced myself as I waited for the unworthiness to set in...but it never did. 

Here's my theory as to why: I had exposed myself to judgment from so many people that on a subconscious level my ego self had recognized that no one person could define me. 

My feeling of worthiness has grown from within. I am now the person who validates me. Which works out well because I am the one person I have control over. 

An interesting side-effect of this challenging of my ego is that I have made my world so much bigger. 

I've tried to avoid going into too much detail about what made my last relationship so toxic but I will say this much because it is relevant to this post. He pushed me to make my world small. He was so jealous and possessive that over time I had learned to look at the ground when attractive men were nearby. I knew not to get too far away from my phone when I wasn't with him....which wasn't very often. Having friends was always a minefield that I gave up trying to navigate. I wasn't allowed to be fully engaged in life. I wasn't allowed to grow too much because I might outgrow him. When I say "I wasn't allowed", I mean, of course, I set that limitation on myself. 

As a result of my challenging my ego and getting out in the world, everything has broken wide open for me. I have had so many amazing experiences and, without my nagging, acute fear of rejection, I embrace being out in the world and meeting new people. As a result of the frequent Crossfit workouts I was too scared to do before, my fitness level has drastically improved and my body, at one year shy of 40 years old, looks better than it ever has and continues to improve every week. I've also made friends with quite a few people there which is starting to expose me to even more experiences. I've discovered new hobbies that tug at my heart. It's been a whirlwind of new experiences to the point where one day I completely forgot to be sad and insecure over being left for another woman.


I've also found myself in an interesting new stage of life where I am perfectly content to date without commitment. Even as I get to know a man and feel an attachment to him, I feel zero desire to put a label on it. I know he could walk away any time...but I've also learned that he can do that anyway! So instead of creating a commitment out of fear, I enjoy each moment with him and trust the universe to point me/us in the right direction in the future. I'm over living in fear. It's SO 2015!


So this past weekend I really took a chance and, mainly out of curiosity, unblocked my ex on Facebook and finally allowed myself to see pictures of him and his new girlfriend. She was cute with a very athletic, toned looking body. He looked the same as he always had. I pretty much expected all that. But here's what I didn't expect....I. felt. nothing. I mean, nothing! Nada. He looked like a stranger to me. I delved deeper expecting it to hit me any time. And I was prepared because I've learned not to run from pain. I braced myself, ready to have one last good cry when needed. But nothing!

In addition to truly sitting with and feeling the pain (which I am absolutely convinced is the only way to heal properly and move past something), I had outgrown him! The life he represented felt so long ago, so tiny, so unfulfilling. The connection I always thought I felt with him? Superficial compared to connections I've known since with both males and females. I suddenly remembered a lesson I had learned quite a few years ago when I was struggling to get over the love of my life. 

I noticed that every time I made my world bigger, that he, by default, felt like a smaller part in that life. I hadn't meant to accomplish that with my most recent ex but that's exactly what I did. I grew so much that I accidentally grew right past all the pain. Even sitting there looking at the girl he chose over me, I didn't feel invalidated. His power over me was gone. His opinion so meaningless. I closed my laptop and finished getting ready for a night out with friends where I laughed uncontrollably, met new interesting people and made my world even bigger.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Tribe

 




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.

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