February is here; it's now 31 days from the start line if you are using January 1st as the beginning. Even if you are not, tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. I am writing this so I can say it to myself. So often I look so far up the road that I miss the subtleties that is walking beside me. It is far easier to offer this advice than it is to absorb it for oneself. Well, I am practicing not looking so far out there that I miss the sweetness that is right here, right now. A quote that I have used in my Warrior Within class reminds of just that:
"Watch your way then, as a cautious traveler; and don't be gazing at that mountain or river in the distance, saying, "How shall I ever get over them?" but keep to the present little inch that is before you, and accomplish that in the little moment that belongs to it. The mountain and the river can only be passed in the same way; and, when you come to them, you will come to the light and strength that belongs to them."
Quote from M.A. Kelty, "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly"..... Theodore Rosevelt.
Author, lecturer, mentor, Brene Brown,PhD.,LMSW picked this quote off her pinboard after reading a particularly mean-spirited anonymous comment from a news website - and said, "If the critic doesn't count, then why does this hurt so much?".
This year has been full of practicing the art of vulnerability and the courage to show up regardless of the situation; to practice just being in the moment without the mindset of someone having to win or lose; to work on what is being asked of me in any particular situation, not playing small so another feels okay but more important, not armoring up in a defensive manner. Is this Daring Greatly feel good? Not always, no way. Choosing authenticity and showing up without, masks and armor; choosing to live on life's terms without tapping out or taking the edge off does feel, at times, quite unprotected and "out there" for the critics to poke into your self confidence. But the alternative is to be the critic, the one who points the blame finger at another, the one who plays it safe by staying out of the arena. I have plenty of bruises, broken ideas, dead ends and unfinished business....but what I do know is this; the one who practices standing in their own light, sending out their own frequency of benevolence, who is willing to have the courage to show up and practice whatever they are wishing for and reach for it, regardless if they fail - are the ones who have really lived and experienced what being "real" is.
It's a New Year, full of possibilities. Consider embracing all the possibilities by daring greatly.
Gratitude is contagious. People get it. They receive it and more often than not, people will pay it forward. Gratitude by definition means, "a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation". When I am in the presence of gratitude, there's a distinct "feeling" of appreciation and thankfulness. Many times I have no words to wrap around this awareness, only what is intuitively felt. Gratitude awareness is a learned attribute. The brain is hardwired to default to the "monkey mind", the land of scarcity, the frenetic place I now call "crazy-busy". If we don't train our brain to be aware of where it goes, the mind will wander. Being aware of what you are grateful for pushes the pause button, creates space for the brain chemistry to work with the chemistry that enables calm and wellbeing.
Gratitude Enhancing Awareness
1. Share what has touched you - let the words of appreciation be caught by another. This may give them the courage to share their own pieces of gratitude - paying it forward.
2. Focus on certain aspects that serve you in a positive way and block negative flow from taking up space. Train your brain to fuel up on the warmth of appreciation and thankfulness - block the default of scarcity, not enough, lack, and fill up on what is present as it is.
3. Self Congratulations! Acknowledge when you discover you are in the land of appreciation, no matter how large, small or in between. The smallest of awareness is many times the most significant in life.
4. Try not to think - Just sense. Lean into your intuition. Feel the warm fuzzies for a moment. Smile and push the pause button. Your brain chemistry will respond with the "happies", the chemistry that brings on calm, tranquility and quiet.
Physical. Emotional. Financial. Spiritual. Mental. When was the last time you took personal inventory of these centers that make up YOU? What areas are you balanced in? Where are you over drawn or over committed? Where are you thriving and on top of the world and what areas needs nurturing and restoration?
You take care of your finances, your gas tank and your obligations on your calendar; you arrive at your meetings, take stock in what needs to be done at work, with the children's school and the local community events - but do you take time to do your own inventory of yourself?
September has always been the 9th month and the beginning of the last quarter in the year. If you are following your lifeplan, and it is working for you and you are thriving and joyful - take a few moments and reflect on what is the positive power behind this lifeplan. Share it with another - meaning, share YOUR story, your experience; what is keeping you on the path of focus, direction and inspiration to keep on keeping on. IF you are not where you wanted to be, 9 months into this year, I ask you to connect with someone who can hold your story and guide you into taking personal inventory and offer different perspectives on working with what's going on.
Life flows. Life meanders. Life offers experiences that do not necessarily need a right or wrong judgment, just awareness. And if in this awareness you find yourself over drawn in one aspect, you can reassign life to deposit more into the coffers that have meaningful balance.
If there is anything I can do as a wellness coach, personal trainer or friend, just ask. I listen well. Courage. Choice. Change.
In remembrance of all those journeys that changed our best laid plans, those anticipated and unexpected losses, setbacks, disappointments and changing of what we thought life was bringing on - I am borrowing this quote from a person most of us have heard of. He speaks from experience. There is always hope for a peaceful resolve, a compromise, an apology. The Warrior Within is about taking off the protective armor and false masks and practice standing in the strength of integrity, compassion and awareness that you can make a positive difference in life as you stand in front of adversity. We are at the beginning of the second half of 2013. Trust me on this; regardless of how broken you may feel today, you will perservere and triumph - believe in the possibility that this can happen.
"In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement." Abraham Lincoln
"Humankind has woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together". Chief Seattle
"Elegance is a glowing inner peace. Grace is an ability to give as well as receive and be thankful. Mystery is a hidden laugh, always ready to surface. Glamour only radiates if there is courage and bravery within. Glamour is like the moon; it only shines because the sun is there." C. Joyful C.
Is it time to check in with your body? Are there messages for you to pay attention to? Are you fueling yourself wisely, adjusting your fitness goals to work with changing family dynamics and work projects? Are you acknowledging signals that you just might be over using particular muscles or joints? Take a moment to take inventory of your physical body. Without your body, you aren't going anywhere.
Without the strength to endure a broken heart, I would not have been able to move on and work through one of lifes' greatest losses. The gift of finding this strength allowed me to have hope. It is this strength and hope that enables me to reach out to another and share their loss. Together, without needing to know each other, we find ways to move forward - Imua (Hawaiian for "move forward").
"If we don't listen to the voice of the soul, it sings a stronger tune. If we don't go looking for what lies beneath the surface of our lives, the soul comes looking for us." Elizabeth Lessor, "Broken Open"
The word, "Nalukai" is a Hawaiian word meaning " a wise soul who has weathered life's storms". Each one of us has story, a journey that has taken us to the discovery of our inner strengths - like it or not. You do not need a horrific event to break you open - it can be a change of plans. My friend, Tricia McCarthy has taken the sacredness of life's journey and given it meaning in the form of a beautiful jewelry line - one's story in a single word. Influenced by her love of Hawaii and the time she spends there, Tricia blends the beauty of the islands and its language to create jewelry for each person’s story. I wear the pendant, "Inspire" (Ho'oulu) but I also identify with Maluhia (Peace), Ponopono (Balance), Aloha (Love), I Mua (Move Forward) and Ikaika (Strength). Go to www.Nalukaicollection.com - tell me what speaks to you. What is your story in one word?
The Warrior Within is the Nalukai: Nourish your mind, spirit and your soul with at least as much attention as you give your body. What you take in - what you pay attention to - will closely reflect the quality of what you can give out.http://www.nalukaicollection.com
After launching the fitness class, "The Warrior Within (BOSU)" nine months ago, my take-away from the experience is a source of inspiration. Those that sign up for this class are usually stunned in how grounded they feel during and afterwards. It no longer surprises me that tears well up or that one will nod to another in agreement on what is being shared. We spend time standing on the floor, on the BOSU, shifting weight, experiencing new balance points, feeling off center and deepening the awareness of working with instability, unexpected situations and deepening the connection of the mind and body. Then there is kneeling, sidelying and turning the BOSU over for the ritual of closing the eyes and exploring senses with the minds eye. Throughout the class, I use metaphors to connect the body, mind and spirit, inviting a personal soul journey as they physically work on different planes. This class is limited to eight participants and is done barefoot with a resistance band, a soft weight ball and a quote that I read aloud. This quote is one that is meaningful to me and it is something that sets the intention of the class.
The inspiration for this class came from an instructor who made a lasting impression on me at the 2011 Inner IDEA Conference. Lawrence Biscontini has a presence that connects directly into your soul with his words and the manner in which he takes you on his journey into being.
One of the most inspiring quotes I am sharing for February, is one from Sandra Kring:
"As you count your blessings for all that surrounds you, don't forget to count your blessings for all that you have within you: A mind that reasons, remembers, and imagines; A body that moves, mends, and creates; A heart that emphathizes, fills, loves, breaks, and loves again; A spirit that is wise and strong and emits the best of what you brought to this good earth."
February is a special time of year for me; one of celebration and reflection. It's not only my birth month, but that of my mother, Donna, my mother-in-law, Ingrid and several very special friends. It's also the Angel month of my son, Sean, Mom and her mother, my Grandma Lea. I am reminded often as I work with the energy in Circle of Life, that blessings do flow from each of us; from within. So as you count all your blessings that surrounds you, don't forget to count those that flow from you. I am a recipient of those blessings. For that, I am grateful.
"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself." - C. JoyBell C.
Life has a continutity that is ever-changing and we are no different. Our bodies are constantly repairing, rebuilding and discarding; our minds are listening, observing, exploring and implementing, whether we are aware or not. We make decisions and judgments, some that support us on our journey and some that have the power to derail us. As we begin a new year, I want to ask you to practice a deeper sense of self-compassion, connecting with those who have the capacity to lift you up, not bring you down, to look at the choices that raises your self confidence in living your life with courage, compassion and connection.
Brene Brown, PhD. states, "Our culture teaches us about shame - it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren't born craving perfect bodies. We weren't born afraid to tell our stories. We weren't born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren't born with a Pottery barn catalog in one hand and a heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us - from the messages and expectations of our culture."
Much of my life work has been dedicated to recognize "triggers" that keep us stuck and explore the possibilities of rising above the "crazies". It doesn't have to be a "go-it-alone proposition; rather the research by Brene Brown shows that talking about vulnerability, shame and connection, shining light and exposing our triggers does create a less rattled way of living.
Those of you who have worked with me as your Wellness Coach have had the experience of discovering motivating goals by integrating a Wellness Vision into the change process. A vision is a compelling statement of who you want to grow into and what life sustaining behaviors you will be consistently doing when you get there. It's different than a 3-month goals or weekly goals, rather "the big picture". What is your big picture? Write down 3-4 sentences describingh your 2013 Wellness Vision? If I can assist in your process, I am here.
Here are some examples of visions:
- A year from now, I will be more fit and more well-rounded in my exercise program.
- A year from now, I will have spent quality time being active with my family.
- A year from now, I will be a professional who has a variety of revenue streams.
- A year from now, I will feel less fear and more adaptable to life's experiences.
- A year from now, I will be a guest speaker for various organizations.
- A year from now, I will mentor someone who has been struggling with similar past struggles I have experienced.
- A year from now, I will have several social outlets to involves myself in.
I met Mr. Wetter at the resort I work at a number of years ago. He hired me to train him on the Pilates Reformer and we hit it off immediately. I never thought about calling him by his first name, nor his wife; it was always, "Mr. Wetter". He introduced me to his wife as "Mrs. Wetter" and it just was that way.
I heard that he died earlier this year. At the knowledge of his passing, I felt his presence - he was a compassionate man and I still hold him in high regards. He was a business man with a huge heart; spoke directly and straight forward and had a gentleness about him that touched me deeply. This is a quote that he had in his office and I believed he lived by. I have adopted the same philosophy:
"Let me die working still tackling problems, unfinished tasks undone, clean to its end, swift may my race be run. No laggard steps. No faltering. No shirking. Let me die working. Let me die thinking. Let me fare forth still with an open mind. Fresh secrets to unfold, new truths to find; my soul undimmed, alert. No question blinking. Let me die thinking. Let me die laughing. No sighing over past sins; they are forgiven. Spilled on the earth are all the joys of heaven, the wine of life, the cup of mirth quaffing. Let me die laughing".
I wonder if he knows the heart print he left with me? If he didn't, he does now. Thank you, my friend.