When a Hard Stop Catapults Your Career & Oh Yea, Your Life
February 21, 2019
It's mind blowing to me that one year ago to the date, I was completely lost. I felt sad...plain old sad. I had worked all of my life in healthcare and in the industry of wellness. And there I was on Feb 21, 2019, I was anything but well. Don't get me wrong. I was rock solid physically fit. The "data" told me so. Weight, blood pressure, blood chemistry, body fat, muscle mass etc...all in check. "Above average" for my age. "Good" data feels good to a person like me. It's validating. But my emotional health stood in stark contrast to the physical...stuck yonder, way over there....on the other side of the broad spectrum we call health. I didn't have hard data for it. It didn't matter. Besides, how do you measure a void in the heart?
On Feb. 21st, 2019, alarm bells went off in my head signifying that "later" had arrived. I would reclaim freedom and declare a surrender of a different kind. I would surrender my intense way of doing things. I would move on. To what? I had no idea. But on a wing and a thousand prayers, I knew I would figure it out. To say that stepping into the unknown of "now what" was scary is a vast understatement but the enticement of freedom eclipsed fear. I took my finger off the fast forward button and pressed the "stop" button. I pressed it hard.
There's a paradox inherent in surrendering. Surrender means "to give up completely". It implies defeat. My experience of surrender was the polar opposite. Surrender gave birth to a radical empowerment to dream up a new life, a new career in health coaching and deeper personal connections with family, friends and God. Surrender meant deliberately letting go of what wasn't working to make room for a new way of doing, thinking, living...just being in a "live now, not later" mindset.
I'm writing this lengthy post because I hope it will resonate strongly if you're feeling stuck in your health, your career or in any aspect of your life. Can you imagine what you might invite in when you turn a deaf ear to the negative untruths in your head like "this is just the way you are, this is just the way it is"? On the flip side, what creative expression of a happier and bolder life lies dormant within you waiting to be coaxed out? This past year has been a glorious adventure in finding that out and I'm pretty sure I've just skimmed the surface. It feels that way. It just hit me... that's what freedom feels like.
Nourishment Beyond Food
February 18, 2019
How are you nourishing yourself this week? It comes in many forms. This little guy is giving me so much joy this week while his mom is away. He's playful, mischievous, he's keeping me on my toes...and he's making me laugh! He's nourishing my soul.
We're so used to hearing about this and that diet for leveling up our nutrition. There are endless possibilities for just the right exercise program to move the needle on getting fit and healthy. We're supposed to get 7-8 hours of sleep, right?. There's great value in eating well, moving your body and getting adequate amounts of sleep but don't overlook the "simple things"in life that nourish your soul. Time with a pet, a sunset, a good belly laugh, the wind in your face, an unexpected opportunity to help another...these are a few of the infinite possibilities within reach to nourish those parts of ourselves that often get overlooked in the hectic schedules and fast pace of our lives. Slow down, get still, look around. Find something this week, non-edible, to fill up on, something that expands your heart and satiates your soul.
To Do or To Be?
February 16, 2020
What's on your to-do list this week? Mine is filled with leftovers from last week's list. Maybe yours is too. Wouldn't it be different and maybe nice to approach life with a "to-be" list?
I want to be more like my best friend who puts a positive spin on all of life's challenges. I want to be more like my dad who spends time with God. I want to be more like my sister who is laid back and has a huge generous heart. I want to be more like my daughter who is such a free and smiling spirit and my son who has great big life goals.
I want to be even more like me too. I laugh hard these days. I notice the little things that matter. I listen when I ask someone, "how ya doin'?" And I keep on dancing. What's on your to-be list?
A Non Traditional Valentine's Day
February 14, 2020
Happy Valentine's Day! While it's a day traditionally reserved for couples, to me, it's a day about love and appreciation. When I think about love relationships, I think about moms. Moms are a very special breed, whether you're a step mom, a foster mom, an adoptive mom, a mom-to-be or any other kind of mom. I have lots of mom friends. They love with all their hearts just like my mom. I have the best mom in the universe (maybe you do too). Here's a little love to all the moms on this Valentine's Day....and if you're a single mom alone today, know that you are not alone.
A Body Narrative & A Best Friend
February 12, 2020
Giving a shout out to my lifelong bestie! She's fierce, smart, beautiful inside & out. She's an "Iron Man". We've been friends forever because we share a lot of the same interests and we laugh....a LOT.
In June of last year, she completed a phenomenal feat..an Ironman Triathlon (it's for crazy people...crazy in the best way possible...like crazy good, crazy determined, crazy resilient). She managed to train and compete with a hip that had enough, more than enough...a hip that was just breaking down. She didn't know the extent of injury at the time but it was shredded on the inside. But in a mind over matter fashion, she killed it...the Ironman that is. Hats off to the untapped power of the mind.
She didn't bitch or moan about it. In fact, her perspective was the opposite. She talked about how good her hip had been to her. It carried and propelled her body over thousands of miles swimming, biking and running while training. The race itself was a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run...told you it was for crazy people. This hip held her up. This hip carried her forward. This hip hung on so she could accomplish a dream. This hip had been sooo good to her.
Last week, she had a hip replacement. It hasn't been a seamless recovery...good days, bad days kind of thing but as is typical of her, she gets it. Recovery ain't easy....takes patience. But my friend is an Ironman with competitive blood. She wants to to get going again. But, "nope, not now". She gets it. Hip speaking, she's listening and talking back... "what do you need?" To take it easy? Need some ice? A massage today? Point is..."you took care of me, now I'm taking care of you".
The idea of embracing pain (any kind of pain) is counterintuitive to what we know. Understandably, we want it to just go away. And, for sure, we should do everything we can to manage it and help it go away. Just don't forget to ask why it showed up in the first place. I've said it before, the body has its secret signals beyond the experience of pain. What is it trying to tell you? What are you asking of it? Can you be grateful for that body part for carrying you around, helping you get stuff done, for keeping you moving when it really just wants you to slow down and offer up some TLC. With a shift in perspective, one that's wrapped in gratitude, you might get a whole new take on the narrative your body wants to tell.
From A Hard Core Hit Girl Minding Her Own Business
February 28, 2020
If I'm not sweating, breathing hard and pushing hard, it's a waste of time. Hard core HIIT girl, hard core lifter, hard core lifer...Do it, whatever "it" is, do it fast, do it right...right?.....WRONG!
I took my first yoga class about a year ago and simultaneously started meditation. I did it in a commitment to slow down, to change up what wasn't working ... that being speed and intensity across the board in my workouts, my work, my life. What I discovered is the enormous potential for change in the mind. I cracked mine open like a coconut with one simple decision - a willingness to change. I discovered that when you change your mind, you change your experiences.
Yoga has me noticing a few things, namely how the body mirrors the mind:
When the mind relaxes so does the body.
When thoughts flow with ease, the body shows grace in movement.
When the mind gets rests, the body stops resisting and it cooperates with what you want it to do.
When you nourish the mind with empowering thoughts, the body taps into hidden physical strength.
When the mind learns to trust the unknown, the body is willing to take risks and those risks increase confidence.
This might read like an endorsement for yoga, it's not. I love yoga and can't imagine it not being a part of my routine. But before I committed to doing it, I made a deliberate choice to practice self care. That's the endorsement...self care...whether its yoga, meditation, a walk in the woods, talking to God, playing hooky from work or jumping on the bed with your kids. When you commit to self care and add a little know-how, embrace support and are willing to be held accountable to the change you want, you create the gateway to lightness, laughter and freedom in your life. And the people who you spend time with get the best version of you. As for me, I'm back in the gym lifting, running, jumping and breathing hard but nowadays, my mind offers up a definitive "atta girl!" and it feels right and good and I keep going.
What's A Health Coach?
February 10, 2020
She's someone who helps you stop having a "jump to" habituated response to everyone else's demands. She's someone who helps you tap into a reservoir of peace that you don't know you have. She's someone who makes you ok with slowing things down.
The Journey to Unbecoming You
March 9, 2020
What might unfold in your life if you could let go of all that holds you back, all that doesn't serve you and all the negative mental chatter that keeps you up at night? The idea of un-becoming isn't a typical perspective. But sometimes, it's exactly what we don't typically think of that creates the inner shift we need to course correct our life. Become more authentically you this week. Have a great one.
March 11, 2020
I feel envious and blessed at the same time. I got to spend a good part of my Saturday with my parents. They didn’t know it but I was observing them in awe. I watched my mom dance in the kitchen. I watched my dad dance in the kitchen. I watched my mom make dinner for my dad. I watched my dad appreciate my mom and insist on the clean up. I listened to my dad reminisce about when he met my mom way, way, way back in the fifth grade when they were 11...11! He brought his dating memories to life in vivid detail recalling how he would race down the subway steps in the hopes that my mom would be on the train that just pulled in. When luck and timing was on his side, they got to share a few subway stops on their way to school. When the timing was off, sometimes by a fraction of a second, the doors would close and my dad's hopes of seeing my mom were dashed. Seeing her through the window of the train as it pulled out of the station was the exclamation point on the disappointment. They have a love story…one filled with ups and downs like most but one that has endured the test of time to the tune of 67 years...67!
They never chased money. They never chased status. They chased experience....
with their kids first and foremost. Time is not on my side to have what they have but there's a great peace in knowing that they share a rich and unique history. My faith tells me they will be linked in eternity forever. And that feels really good. My dad just celebrated his 78th birthday on March 6th. My mom will celebrate her birthday on March 31. They don’t strike me as old people. They go to basketball games. They go out to lunch with friends. My dad coaches basketball. My mom works at the local library. They take care of Garrett, in the photo, like you would a baby. I don’t even know the half of what they’re involved in. But I do know this… They have touched more people than I will ever know. And I yearn for the love they share. I'm guessing we all yearn for that kind of love.
From Fleeting to Rock Steady
March 15, 2020
I remember a time, and it's not that much of a distant memory, when my mind was filled with worry. What if this? What if that? Should I say yes? Should I say no? What if I do? What if I don't? When the pendulum swings wildly and rapidly, it's unnerving. I imagine you've been there at some point too. Maybe you're there right now amidst the looping tidal wave of news broadcasted around the clock about the coronavirus. I believe wholeheartedly the stuff of life that comes at us tests us, be it illness, financial trouble, loss of a job, parental worries or a damaged relationship.
It's in times like this, I realize how far my thinking has evolved. It's in times like this, I'm grateful for the very real phenomenon of "change your thoughts, change your life". Sometimes we manage to get through our stuff with a flicker of hope, a flicker of optimism, or a few fleeting moments of faith and calm within the storm. We just make it through and life goes on. I believe this will happen with this virus. We'll make it through and we'll probably reflect on "what a crazy time it was". Most of us will reminisce about how our lives were majorly disrupted in 2020. Others will struggle with a profound sense of sadness from actual loss of life to a broad spectrum of missed opportunities and a heightened sense of vulnerability to what else life can throw at us.
I believe the catalyst for what needs to change in our own lives comes in the form of something that scares the crap out of us. That was true for me. l learned to transform those flickering and fleeting moments of hope and faith into a luminous, steady flame that even the strongest gusts of fear can't extinguish. I've learned that faith sucks the oxygen out of fear so you can weather the storms that come no matter what. There's an art and a science to changing your thoughts from fleeting to an unwavering, steady norm. As I said before, "when you change your thoughts, you change your life". That's not a cliche, it's straight up real.