Does Everything REALLY Happen for a Reason?

On Monday morning I arrived at my desk after a fantastic weekend that included a perfect mixture of training, DIY home improvement projects, and relaxation and flipped on my computer. As I was scrolling down my Facebook feed, I noticed that there was a buzz in the Advanced Meditation group I am a member of… something about a shooting in Minneapolis. It didn’t register to me, so I continued to scroll. Suddenly, I saw pictures of my friend, Justine Damond, whom I met at a workshop in Tampa earlier this year… and things began to connect… JUSTINE was the person who was shot and killed in Minneapolis. My friend was dead.

It was one of those moments when you feel like you’ve been punched in the solar-plexus and everything takes on a very tunnel visioned, surreal character. How could this be?

I started clicking on the links…

It seems that Justine heard a ruckus in an alleyway behind her home that sounded like a sexual assault was in progress. She called 911 and then went outside – maybe to wait for the police, maybe to see if she could help, only Justine knows why she was drawn outside.

Then, when the police arrived, through some as yet unknown sequence of events, one of the officers shot Justine through the driver’s side window of his squad car. The officers’ body cameras weren’t on and the police car video didn’t capture the event, so no one really knows exactly what happened yet and we may never know… and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

Justine and her fiance, Don, were supposed to get married next month. Justine told me the story of how they met and how she eventually moved from Australia to Minneapolis to be with him when we were together in Tampa. It was like a fairy tale! They were so much in love – you could see it in their eyes and feel that warm energy a mile away!

Justine was a devoted student, teacher, and practitioner of meditation and spiritual healing. She’s just one of those people that makes the world a better place just by being in it – a truly GOOD person. She was a very gifted teacher. In meditations we are taught to tune in to new potentials in the quantum field, and so I can’t help but wonder how someone who is so good at manifesting her desires has something like this happen to her? Surely this is not a potential that she has been meditating on.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. And I know there are those people out there who get very angry when people say that… people who have had such huge losses and traumas in their lives that they can’t possibly see any REASON or any GOOD that comes from it. But I believe it. I believe that very often it takes a long, long time to discern the good that lays hidden in something that on its face seems so unimaginably horrible.

I also know that Justine believed this too. At this moment in time, I’m having difficulty understanding what could possibly be the higher purpose for this senseless tragedy. It’s the same way I felt when my dear sister lost her son when he was born prematurely and lived only 7 minutes. What REASON could this possibly serve? What GOOD can possibly come from this?

But then, I look at my sweet niece, Maggie, and I know that she is the good that came from what happened to my nephew. And she is VERY, VERY good.

And so, as I grieve the loss of my friend and mourn the prospect of the world without her in it, I KNOW deep in my heart  that there is a reason for it and that good WILL come from it – somehow… even if we can’t possibly begin to see it yet.

Rest in Peace, Justine.

You are loved and missed.

 

Newton’s 3rd Law and My Life

Newton’s 3rd Law and My Life

Inertia [in-ur-shuh, ih-nur-], noun: the property of a matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force

During the past couple of months, my life has been an object lesson on the power of inertia. When I looked at my giant white board on May 1st, I just didn’t see how we would make it to June 26th with our brains and bodies intact! There was so much on our plates, including:

I committed to doing my workouts in the evening (which I HATE) so that I could maximize my creative time in the mornings. I was waking up at 3:15 a.m. and launching into my days, working hard (if not necessarily smart), getting shit done, checking all the boxes, falling into bed at 9 p.m. and then doing it all over again the next day.

To say that I felt like a hamster on a wheel is an understatement, but it was necessary for the short term – we were all working like crazy people. And, astonishingly, everything got accomplished and all the events were brilliant… the book is finished and proofs are on the way… I’m eagerly awaiting Module 7 of my IIN program which unlocks next Monday… the Your Brave Mind programs have really been awesome and we have gotten terrific feedback on them… daughter #2 is graduated, employed, and has a new apartment… training is going much better than I expected after a fairly significant break… and we are happily ensconced in our beautiful riverfront condo.

WE DID IT!

I really didn’t notice how tired I was. I was in a routine, doing what I do – getting up early and getting all the things done. Deb actually said to me more than once, “How are you doing it?” I didn’t know HOW… I just WAS.

Then, last Friday, Deb went to Maryland to visit daughter #1 before she heads to Hawaii for 2 years to pursue her Master’s degree. My instructions upon her departure were clear: RELAX and ENJOY yourself!

Huh? What?

I didn’t even know how to process those instructions, but I was committed to following them because I knew I needed a break… BADLY!

    

I spent 5 days essentially away from my desk. I ran a 4-mile beach race and went for a 30+ mile bike ride with Megan down the Canaveral Seashore on Saturday (which was amazing), then we went to brunch (which was even MORE amazing), and I spent the rest of the day on the sofa watching Harry Potter movies. I went to bed on Saturday night and did not set an alarm… And I SLEPT… and SLEPT… and SLEPT! I woke up on Sunday feeling drugged and disoriented. What day was it? Where the hell was I? Am I late for something?

No!  I’m “RELAXING!” RIGHT!

The interesting thing was that the more I “relaxed,” the more exhausted I felt. I napped throughout the day, went to bed pretty early, and slept 12 hours.

I texted Deb the next day and asked what was wrong with me.

I had invoked Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion – INERTIA! I stopped moving… and the longer I wasn’t moving, the more I wanted to just stay still… and not move. I had no motivation to much of anything but sit on the couch and watch movies.

So I did what any sane person would do…

I messaged my friend, Megan, and asked if she wanted to do an impromptu 25/2 brick on Tuesday morning. Always up for fun, she agreed. It turned out to be one of the best rides I’ve had in a long, long time!

I broke the inertia. This morning I was back at my desk early and I feel really, really good.

We all need rest periods. There can be no recovery without it. Our minds get fuzzy and the details start to slip our awareness. I become VERY forgetful.

I think it’s important to recognize when a rest cycle is called for, but I’m really bad at it. I love hard work and the more challenging the task, the better I like it. But, after this weekend, I realize that even I cannot go full speed ahead 24/7/365.

However, I see the fallout of uncontrolled inertia all around me. There are so many people out there who are stuck in their ruts like they are super-glued in place.

All it takes is a baby step to break the grip of inertia, but first, you have to become aware that you are in its clutches – and that’s a really scary place for a lot of people. It was a scary place for me 7 years ago. Baby steps… And if you need a kick in the pants, give me a call!

How do you break the inertia? Just do something different! Get off the hamster wheel! Change up your routine – even if only in some small way. It will make your conscious mind sit up and take notice, and then, once you’re noticing, you can take more baby steps… And if you need a kick in the pants, give me a call!

We’ve got this!

 

 

First Breakfast…

One of my commitments this year has been to wake up at 3:30 am and use the early morning hours to create: to write, to plan, to meditate… to do all those things that tend to get lost in the shuffle once the craziness of the normal day sets in. It’s required several things to change.  First, I’ve shifted my workouts to the evening. That’s been a TOUGH adjustment. I’m most definitely a morning girl and I really prefer to do my training before anyone wakes up (not after everyone has gone to sleep), but it’s a shift I was willing to make as Deb and I negotiated how to fit in my health coach training program course work. Second, it means I have to add a meal to my day. I really believe strongly in eating every 4-ish hours. So, when I’m getting up at 3:30 am, I need an extra breakfast to carry me through to smoothie time (~8 am).

This is my new favorite first breakfast (not to be confused with my favorite breakfast quinoa bowl that I still eat nearly ever day around 11:30 🙂 ). I absolutely LOVE avocados, but honestly, smooshing one up on a piece of toast never really occurred to me. Then one day, about 2 months ago, I saw a picture on Instagram and thought, “Wow, that’s a great idea!” Yeah, I know, I’m way behind on trending uses for the avocado. It is the BEST thing EVER!  Not too heavy, full of brain fueling good fats, and just enough to keep me filled up until the next meal.

And, my dear son, who has taken to ditching his morning cereal at home in favor of whatever nasty breakfast they are serving at school (don’t think I’m not onto you, Josh Flynn!), has started asking for avocado toast for his breakfast! I’m going to call that a #momwin.

I posted a picture of my first piece of avocado toast on Facebook and got so many comments about how to spiff up my eats. People said I should add tomato slices, or a squirt of lime, or an egg, etc. And I’ve tried every single one of their suggestions… and they are all good!  But, this is my favorite by far… Toast, avocado, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper… Perfection!

Perfect avocado toast with hot green tea! Mmmmm…

No One’s Going To Do It For You

My son is in 8th grade. He is a really smart kid, but he, like most 14 year olds, is lazy.  He likes the path of least resistance, and given the choice between doing homework and playing xBox or Minecraft or watching videos on YouTube (not that I actually GIVE him a choice, but that’s another post for another day), guess what wins?  Yeah, not so much with the homework. Up until this year, he has gotten great grades with minimal effort.  This is the first year where he has actually be required to put his nose to the grindstone and work for it.  And guess what?  His grades have sucked this year.  I mean really! BAD!

It’s kind of embarrassing because his Language Arts teacher is a friend of mine and I cringe when I do my weekly check of his online gradebook and see D’s and F’s in her class. I’ve tried talking to him.  He glazes over and it’s like talking to a wall. This last quarter, my teacher friend has assigned a project that was assigned at the beginning of the quarter and is due in mid-May. Her rationale, I’m sure, is to teach her students how to take a big huge project and break it down in to weekly milestones so they’ll be better prepared for such things in high school.

The project was assigned right before Spring Break and my son came home all excited to go out and buy the binder and dividers and such for his portfolio. And he kept talking about how great it was going to be and how he was going to get a head start on the project during Break. So imagine my surprise when I checked the gradebook a few weeks later and saw a row of F’s for his portfolio checks! Then I got an email from his teacher… my friend… telling me he was WAY behind on the project.

Yep, got it! So, I sat my son down that night for a heart to heart talk. I told him that life is pretty simple – you can either wait for someone to hand you success (and plan to wait a really long time and be pretty unsuccessful in the meantime) or you can decide to take the reins of your life and GET SUCCESS.  I don’t know if I broke through or not, I suppose time will tell.  And I suppose there are those who would say I’m a bad parent because I’m not making sure he’s keeping up to date with his school work.  But dang it, he’s 14 years old and I’m sick and tired of wanting his success for him more than he wants it for himself! His success is up to him, not me. I love him dearly, but I cannot and will not do the heavy lifting for him – he has to learn to do it and want to do it for himself.

I think there are a lot of people out there like my son.  People who are plenty smart and who have a lot of talent in certain areas, but they are waiting for someone to hand them success.  Let me say it again:

No one is going to hand you success!

You must go out and get it yourself!

Stop waiting! We all have everything we need inside us at this very moment to be WILDLY successful! Why do we drag our feet?

Fear?

Fear of what?  Failure?

When we sit back on the edges of life and wait for success to come find us rather than running out to meet it, aren’t we just failing by default?

My son seems to be waiting for something to light a fire under his rear-end to get rolling on his project, but has a gradesheet full of F’s in the meantime.  He’s FAILING! And there’s no reason for it.  He’s smart enough.  He has the resources and the tools and the time to get the job done.  But he’s just not taking action.

Sure there will always be shiny objects to distract us from what we need to be doing in any given moment, but are those distractions going to take us where we ultimately want to go? I hope I can make my son understand this lesson before it really bites him in the butt next year in high school.

As for me, I’m going to ride my bike!

Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Image Credit: 123RF.com

When Deb and I sat down on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, to begin our most recent round of coaching, she immediately tasked me with re-creating my “bucket list.”  This was a list of 30 things that I wanted to do, be, or have in my life.  The list could consist of ANYTHING – from huge, Level 1 goals like solving the healthcare crisis in America to super-simple Level 3 goals like getting a new pair of sunglasses.  I had the entire world of options at my disposal.  I came back to session #2 with my list of 30 things and proudly read it to Deb. Like most of our clients, I quickly discovered, much to my dismay, that my list was, in fact, composed of a bunch of very rhetorical statements that I had absolutely no emotional attachment to. Damn!

So, I went back to the drawing board. I started asking myself the hard questions:

  • What do I really want?
  • How do I want to send my days?
  • What feeds my soul?
  • What things/people/events/opportunities will help me live a joyous and fulfilled life?
  • What is my PURPOSE?

So, at session #3 I present Bucket List 2.0, and although I didn’t know “HOW” a lot of that list would ever transpire, I just knew that I wanted them.

Last week, without any warning whatsoever, TWO of my Top 5 Bucket List items fell into my lap.

Anyone who has read more than 3 of my blog posts knows that I have a great affection and respect for my friend, one of the people who inspired me to start training for triathlon, Meredith Atwood.  One of my top 5 bucket list items was to collaborate with her on a program.  I didn’t know what kind of program or what the topic would be. We had kicked the tires on some concepts before, but she is always going Mach 5 with her hair on fire and the timing just wasn’t right; however, it continued to be a goal, albeit a longer-term goal.

Another of my Top 5 bucket list items was to spend my days “playing” on social media and actually get paid to do it!

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from Meredith last week that started off, “Hey lady! So. I have been marinating on a new program, and I wanted to see if you and Deb might want to be involved with.”

WHAT?

UHM, YES!

And guess what?  The platform of the program is Facebook-based, so I will indeed be spending my days “playing” on social media!

So, this brings me to the distinction between “allowing” and “forcing.” We have to ALLOW the things we want to come to us and know that if they are based in love and are in alignment with our values and our purpose, they WILL come – they might just not come on our timetable or exactly in the way we first envision them.  When we try to FORCE an outcome and exert our will, the outcome is generally not what we hoped it would be.

Now, what is this new program?  It’s called “Your Brave Mind” and you can read more about it here and here. And it’s going to be amazing!

In a nutshell, Your Brave Mind will be a series of online events (hosted on Facebook) that will each cover a different topic in the area of mental toughness.  The first event is on the bully in your brain! Cool huh?

The bully is that little voice that speaks to you whenever you try to step outside of ​the box​, tackle new challenges,​ ​or​ make a ​significant ​change in your life. Everyone has​ tha​t voice, it’s just that some bullies are much louder and meaner than others. In only 5 days you will gain the awareness​ (and tools)​ you need to tame the bully in your brain​. You will discover:

  • What​ (or who?)​ the bully is
  • Why listening to the bully is the absolute worst thing we can do if we want to change an area of our life
  • How the bully got its voice
  • Why the bully is so mean
  • Why making the decision to change will never be enough
  • How to actually change the conversation with the bully in your brain

If you have ever struggled with the mean girl/guy in your head who tells you that you are terrible or that you can’t do something, etc., then this program is for you! Come join us!

  • Cost:  $24.97
  • Forum: Online group coaching via a closed Facebook Group
  • Duration:  5 Days
  • Starts:  Monday, May 8th

Register Now!

 

I can’t wait to get started!  🙂

Self Love… A Bad Thing?

I was doing some research this morning for a new project and I pulled up my go-to word choice tool, thesaurus.com and entered the term “self-love” in the search bar. I was actually taken aback when I saw the top synonyms…

WOW!  “Conceit”… “Narcissism” … “Vainglory” (had to look that one up)… “Vanity” – OUCH!

I certainly recognize that there are people out there who have true personality disorders that take the concept of “loving themselves” to the extreme, but my goodness, is it really so bad to seek a place where you can honestly say “I love ME!”?

Why is it that it seems so normal and no one seems to notice when you loathe yourself on a daily basis, but when you start changing and challenging those beliefs, certain people want to call you a narcissist or conceited or “up on your high horse” (as my Gramma used to say)?

Back in 2010 when I decided to change my life, there was some backlash. There were people in my life who did not like the changes they were seeing in me. There were those who actually felt MY efforts to change ME were a direct offense to THEM. It both saddened and infuriated me at the same time, but I was sick and tired of hating and abusing myself in myriad ways, so I was willing to do the hard work that change at that level demands. I never purposely cut anyone out of my life, but there were definitely those who wanted no part of my new life, and so they fell away, and that still makes me sad sometimes.

Am I perfect? HA!  Soooooo far from it! But I am BETTER! Better than I was in 2010 in a million different ways. And one of those ways is that I have chosen to love myself and to accept myself in all my imperfection and to keep fighting the good fight – to become even better each and every day. Some days I succeed and other days I crash and burn hard, but I’m always striving for better.

So, when I saw the terms above listed in response to my query for a synonym for “self-love,” it was jarring. Has our society and our culture become so jaded that self-loathing is the norm and anyone who dares to drag themselves out of the pit of despair is seen as an anomaly… a weirdo… an outlier? Is that where we are now? What about our poor kids?  Do they even stand a chance if we are into the 2nd generation of self-haters? Who can they look to as a model of a healthy relationship with “self?”

What does all this mean for our future? I don’t have the answers, but I think the questions are worth pondering.

 

Changes…

Changes…

I’ve posted before about the malaise I experienced after Ironman Florida and my efforts to figure out what I wanted and what was next. It’s taken some time and patience with myself, but I’ve decided on a trajectory that will ultimately make me a happier, more fulfilled person (and I’m pretty darned happy as I sit here, so YAY ME!), and I thought y’all might be interested in finding out what that decision is. During the coaching process with Deb, she kept coaxing me to explore what I REALLY wanted out of life… not what I thought I SHOULD want… or what I thought I could get… or what other people wanted for me… but what I really wanted deep down in my soul.

That’s a really difficult exercise for a person like me who is so hyper-focused on the needs of those around her.  I am a “caretaker” by nature.  I like taking care of people and making sure they are happy and that their needs are met – often at the expense of my own goals and desires.  My nature got me in deep trouble in my marriage, because I crossed way over the line of “caretaker” and into the realm of “enabler.” Things can get really bad really quickly when you constantly enable another person’s bad behavior.  I did that for 17 years. 😦

But I digress…

It took a lot of time and persistent effort to begin to discover what I really wanted. Deb has a lot of really great exercises and tools to tease this out of a person. I spent time thinking about when I was the happiest, professionally. What were the things that really lit me up? And the thing that kept bubbling up to the surface is that I just really love to help people get past the bullshit story they keep telling themselves that continually holds them back from achieving the things they want in life. And I am MOST happy, when I do that with people in the area of health and wellness.

A long time ago, I remember my sister and I used to walk around the track at the gym and talk about how great it would be if we could get paid to eat right and exercise. LOL. Of course logic would grab hold immediately and tell us all the reasons why that was a preposterous idea. Today, I look back at all the energy we put into that concept and I know that the decisions I’ve made over the past few years are a subconscious result of all those walks! Karate… Release… triathlon… Ironman… It’s all building to this…

I’ve decided to become a Health Coach.

On May 15th I’ll embark on a one year journey of education and discovery with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach.  I know that pairing the education I’ll receive along with what I already know about the mind will be a powerful combination, and that I will be able to help A LOT of people with a boatload of knowledge, passion, desire to make a difference, and “been there, done that” experience.

What exactly IS a “health coach?” A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients’ needs. I love this definition.  I have no desire to sit down and create workout plans for clients – there are so many truly GREAT athletic coaches out there who have that part nailed – rather, I want to work with people who have a true desire to change, but just need some help unraveling all the lies they have been told throughout their entire lives about health and wellness (and maybe even their capabilities). I want to help people get their mind and body in sync with one another, because when that happens, anything is possible!

In this day and age where “healthcare” is anything BUT “health” care and most people are one health crisis away from bankruptcy, I believe that more and more people are beginning to turn away from traditional medical interventions and are looking at what they can do to support their own health and wellness and get away from heading to the doctor all the time. However, when these same people start looking around, they become positively paralyzed by all the information and misinformation that is available.  Combine this with all the lies we have been told about how to be “healthy” and it becomes apparent that people will need guides to help them sift through all the crap out there.  I intend to be one of those guides!

There’s a lot of tweaking that will have to happen and somethings may have to give somewhere along the way, but I’m very excited about this new path.

Here we grow again! 🙂