Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Well, for one thing, prior to my injury I was in a routine. And once workouts are part of your life, and your schedule, it never occurred to me there was another option. I just did it. I need to get back into a routine.
Why is that so hard? I have no more laundry to do now than before. I unfortunately do not have the distraction of someone at home to lure me back to bed.
I said to my sister that I think exercise has to become the number one priority until it becomes something we can't live without. Until such time as the benefits are apparent, and the routine is set, the exercise dates need to override everything else (within reason). Because I am here to attest to the fact that when you do master this, everything else still gets done. And there is still time for a full life outside the gym (or the bike or the yoga studio or whatever you decide is your thing). I have been on both sides. And it is NOT easy, but you (and I) can get there. So decide how important your health is to you.
Friday, October 10, 2014
I was able to do one race this season. It was towards the end of the summer, and I hadn't trained. A few people said "Good Luck", which was so sweet, but I wasn't racing to win. I was racing to be back in the game. To be with friends and my fellow paddleboarders, doing something we all love. And it was not an ideal day (sorry guys). It was upstate New York where apparently they have cold snaps even in August. It was freezing at the lake at 730am. Ok, perhaps not technically freezing since it was in the 40s, but that is definitely my definition of freezing...especially anytime prior to Thanksgiving.
Even still, it was a glorious day. I was on my board, chasing Nancy the entire 3 miles of the race. The sun was on my face, the water cooled my feet (since by then the day had warmed up and I was hot from the exertion). What could be better?
So why do we do what we do? Why do we get up at crazy early hours to jump or run or paddle or peddle? It is because it feeds our soul. At least it does for me. So find some activity that excites you. And get in the game. Be active. Stay healthy. Get happy.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
The period of time when I was closest to what I thought was the perfect body I was VERY lean. The trendy name for it at the moment is shredded. I guess I was that. I have never gotten more compliments, more gushing (seriously, people gushed) about my physique...ever. BUT, inside I was wrecked. I was just on the cusp of getting divorced and having the life I had built collapse around me. I was scared and sad and trying to find my way. I was putting on a brave face but I was muscling through each day. I wasn't eating enough. The stress made it nearly impossible to keep down a full meal. And yet, what people saw was the very thing we all think we want to attain.
That was about 6 years ago. I am now softer, fuller, heavier, happier, calmer, healthier, more confident, more joyful, more present in my own life, more sure of what I want, more willing to show the cracks in the armor, more patient with myself. I wouldn't trade that for shredded. Ever.
Who the fuck cares about perfect.
Authentic is much more FUN!!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I have historically found it challenging making decisions and trusting what is the right thing for me. It was far easier to let whomever I was with decide what we should do today. I think I know what I want but then I doubt myself. I over-think and over-analyze, in an attempt to make the best decision. I have always lived a bit more in my head than I would like. But in recent months I have been lucky enough (like how my perspective has changed from THIS) to be forced to slow down and listen to what I need, and then trust that voice. Instead of thinking I am being a wuss, I now listen when my body tells me to rest. When I am pretty sure that a guy isn't right for me, I move on and don't spend time with him just because he seems nice. When I feel torn about doing a particular activity, I am getting better at pausing (THE PAUSE!) to figure out why it doesn't feel right, and then adjusting my plan or actions accordingly.
When I take the time to get out of my head and out of my heart and listen to that little voice, I realize just how wise it is. It serves me well when I am not afraid to stop and listen.
And thank you to Elephant Literary Journal for the eloquent words above.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
So what is it I truly miss the most? My strength. The ability to do things for myself without having to think twice. Or the confidence that although my skill in a particular sport or activity may not be the best, my body would carry me through. I would not get wobbly halfway in. I could always manage to run a 5k...not always the most pretty or the swiftest, but I knew I could get it done. I could embark on a crazy ocean paddle race and trust that I would be able to finish, even though I have not yet mastered surfing my 12'6" raceboard.
But, as my sister has repeatedly reminded me, we are made from hearty stock. And I also know that my body has muscle memory and will happily (hopefully) remember all the training I have done and I will regain the strength I once possessed...and maybe even a little more.
So, as I set to the task of exercising again, and starting to lift weights and retrain, I like that I know my strength, and what it represents to me, is far more important than seeing my abs.
But lucky for me, they sort of go hand in hand.
Friday, July 4, 2014
And my friend...he got it. He understood and wanted to share my excitement. This was his text response when I filled him in on my day...
But even moreso was my answer to his next question.
In his very wonderfully Rob way, he asked that despite what a frustrating process this head injury has been, do I feel like I have grown in other ways.
With very little need to think about it I was able to answer. "Absolutely! I am definitely slower (in a good way) and softer (in more ways than physical). I think my empathy has grown. And I think I am closer to creating the life that I want."
Kind of a huge deal that an event which knocked me so far off my center back in February was to be such an host of life lessons. About strength, courage, vulnerability, patience, surrender, clarity, priorities.
Day in and day out life marches on, with all its struggles and joys, challenges and victories. But how easy is has been for me to keep moving and not notice them, and not pause to appreciate what I have and figure out what more I want. This 18-week pause has gone from being a scary, unfortunate accident to a wonderful gift of slower pace and introspection. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Well....;-)
Sunday, June 29, 2014
"it is because of the life we strive to lead, with grace and authenticity, that we attract others into our lives to help support and encourage those goals. We are all here helping each other to be our best selves and to catch each other in the moments we feel far less than best."
It wasn't something I had to think about or carefully craft ...it just flowed because it is what I feel. It wasn't until someone else re-posted it that I paused to reread it, then realizing it might resonate with others.
I was in the presence of this same friend just 2 days ago, along with another like-mined man, and I found myself thinking of these very words again. We all have choices about how we move through the world, with whom we choose to spend out time, and whether we give and share our truest selves.
Are you acting in accordance to what you feel? Are your thoughts, words and actions aligned? Are the people with whom you spend your time supporting you and feeding your soul? Do you feel good about your interactions with others?
I feel like I am still gaining traction on my desire to embody this daily. I definitely get lost along the way...or let's be honest, I get in my own way a lot of the time. I can, almost unconsciously, present what I think will be most willingly accepted by whomever is in front of me. Or I let my fears and doubts keep me from doing what it is I most want to do at a particular moment. But then, when I am thoughtful about my actions and choices, it is remarkable how beautifully things seem to fall into place, or at the very least, how comfortable I feel in the discomfort.
We all have different ideas about how we want to live and continue to thrive. But take the time to really think about it. Then I challenge you, as well as myself, to continue to make choices that will support that goal and create the life you want, with the people you want. Anything is possible.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
None of us are perfect. I am a far cry from it. And I don't aspire to be. That would be soooo boring ;-) But as my dear friend Shawn says, "Practice makes improvement". So today I improve a little. And I will be courageous and go out and do it again tomorrow. And if I keep repeating that, then eventually I will be running the loop again. And the molasses will be a distant memory.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
But now I say all those words with far more understanding of the struggle to return to it day after day not feeling strong or able to complete the task set forth. So if I have ever been Pollyanna about getting in shape, please forgive me. I will continue to cheerlead because I still believe it is what each of us needs to stay in the game. And I will encourage my students and friends to stick with it...slow and steady. But I will never again think it is easy and I will try my best to not be Pollyanna about it. Because if someone did that to me right now, I wouldn't be very nice ;)
Sunday, June 8, 2014
I have had a number of encounters lately in which people seem to feel one way and act another. You (that is the proverbial "you") were interested in me yesterday, but not today? So either you are fickle, you got scared, or I really am mean and still have no idea. Is it really so difficult for people (in this specific instance I am referring to men, but I think it applies to both genders) to actually speak and act in accordance with their feelings and desires? I realize what a challenge it can be, believe me I do. But it if is hard, then figure out why and take steps to get where you want to be.
Although this started as a commentary about relationships, it is clear to me that my questions apply to many aspects of our lives. To want anything in life...a new job/career, a better relationship, a happier marriage, improved fitness, proficiency at a hobby or sport...and not realize that it takes effort and practice and work and coaching is simply selling yourself short. We don't automatically assume we will be the best tennis player or a great surfer, so why do we assume we will be a great partner without similar effort to learn and improve? Do people not realize that the rewarding things in life take work? Or is it just too much effort and staying where you are at is safer, easier, more comfortable? Everything in life is a choice. Will you take the easy, safe option or will you strive for more?
Thursday, June 5, 2014
I just looked it up. FEAR is "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined." I actually think this makes me less "fearful" of certain things in my life when I realize that I am fearful of things that will not cause pain or injury...except maybe to my ego. So what if I tell a boy I am interested and he doesn't reciprocate? All I have done is compliment someone, right? I will not die from this, or endure any permanent damage. And what about the moments I am afraid of not being able to get back in shape after this injury. I can let that immobilize me, or I can harness that energy to create further empathy for those I train and coach (being able to so honestly say "I have been where you are. I know how you feel"). And then take a step forward each day to disprove that fear. Proving to myself and others that with each courageous step, we become stronger individuals (and I mean this well beyond the physical).
I used to believe fear was a negative trait. But the longer I am here, the more I realize that the vulnerability of it connects us all and allows us to learn about ourselves and begin to know that there is strength in our doubts, our fears and our insecurities, especially when we are willing to be transparent in all that we feel.
When we can look honestly at the emotion and what causes it, I think it helps us learn a lot about ourselves and teaches us amazingly valuable tools to move through and beyond the fear. And how exciting to find out what lies ahead?
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I think it is human nature, coupled with how our society operates, to always be looking ahead. Striving, pushing ourselves, berating ourselves for what hasn't yet happened. But I think a true sign of our strength lies in our ability to acknowledge and appreciate all we have already accomplished and overcome. I know for me this manifests when I start to think, "I didn't imagine I would still be single at 43". Or "why isn't my business growth happening the way I want it to?" Then I am gently reminded to think about all that I have learned in the last 6 years since my divorce. I have, on occasion, pictured myself literally looking back at what I have been though and how much I have grown. Then I know, and I see, that I am a much wiser, more open, stronger partner now because of the past and a smarter, more savvy business woman. This all helps me realize that progress is happening every day, even if the arbitrary "end game" hasn't yet happened. To be able to see how far we have come offers amazing perspective to the journey that lies ahead, and lends balance to the feelings that we are "behind", regardless of what stage we are at.
I think the ability to do this makes the forward motion less burdened with strife and perhaps more rewarding. And hopefully makes it easier to fully enjoy the moment we are in. Knowing that life isn't always defined by where you were or where you are going, but rather by what you are doing now, and whether or not you are present in the moment, enjoying it and living it to its fullest potential. Besides, who the fuck knows what will happen in the future anyway. If you spend your time planning for that, how will you enjoy where you are and appreciate how far you have come?
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Physical attributes were a whole different story. And quite honestly, at the time, I didn't believe I had any. I mean, what young girl does? (I think we need to rewrite the manual for what we teach young girls.) Perhaps I believed I had one good quality. It was hard to argue with the fact that I had pretty eyes. I mean, if strangers came up to me and told me this, then it must be true, right? So that I could say comfortably and confidently. But anything else? Not so much.
In the shadows of the night, I have come to whisper that I like my ass. I do. But am I allowed to say that without sounding arrogant? Conceited? Not sure... (see this earlier post)
But after watching my ass shift and grow and change without workouts from what I thought it was naturally...I realize that I had worked hard for the ass I admired. So you know what? I have officially decided that I am allowed to like any and all of my assets...especially the ones that are shaped by my dedication and hard work. So there! :-) And that goes not only for the outer assets but the ones being strengthened on the inside as well.
Try it. It's a tad scary, but kind of fun.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
It is not like anyone exactly said that I couldn't do anything and everything I wanted to do. Or that I wasn't capable or smart. Smart was actually an allowable trait to possess, as I recall. But do something that makes you happy was the message. And by the way, do it quietly and kindly. I remember going off to college not knowing what major to choose and my parents said we want you to be happy. Which I totally appreciate. (I believe my friend José was only given the choice to 2 acceptable majors). Except...I feel it was incomplete. I don't think my folks thought they were being remiss. I just think they believed I was never going to have to support myself, so just find something you like to do. No talk about reaching your full potential. Or dreaming big. Or making it happen. Nothing like that.
They sighed a proverbial sigh of relief when I got married at a young age. Ahhh. She is set now. Her husband will earn a living and she will have her babies since that is what I was "supposed" to do. Ha! If my mother only knew.
In my 40's I now find myself reevaluating what I want from my career...for my soul, for my personal fulfillment, for my lifestyle, for my future. Never was it discussed as I entered the adult world whether I wanted my job/career to provide a certain lifestyle, or financial security in my later years. Did I want it to be challenging? Exciting? What did I want from all the hours in my life that I will spend working?
I realize this is a sweeping generalization, but I wonder why men seem, on the whole, to apologize less often for asking for what they want? Or for being assertive? Or charging what they are worth? Were men given a different message from early on? That they were not only expected to accomplish things? But that they deserved to accomplish them?
What message were you given as a child? As a young adult? And what message are you giving your girls and your boys?
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I feel like I got a lot of messages growing up about how I should behave and how I should be in the world.
Children should be seen and not heard
Do what you are told and be a good girl
Don't call attention to yourself
And I don't remember if I was told this in so many words, but there was also a message that I should not be too confident, and definitely never bold...heaven forbid conceited. So how that translated in my head was that was it is appropriate to be humble but not really ok to be confident. As if that is a bad thing? I would say that the first 3 on the continuum were "allowed" and the last 3 were definitely not ok. It wasn't ok to self proclaim any qualities or strengths. That would be unladylike. Presumptuous. Why does the word inappropriate keep coming into my head...any of you fellow McDermott clan people know?
As I have aged (or let's say matured) and given myself permission to evaluate what I was told (rather than follow it blindly) I realize do not agree with the above assessment. I think the middle of this continuum is the preferred for me. The far left doesn't serve me and the far right is not in keeping with the type of person I aspire to be.
Self-assured is a good thing for us all to be. Be sure of who you are and what you are capable of. Confident is great. And you should be confident in your attributes and your skills and your talents. Confident in your beauty, your worth, your value in the world. Be confident in the things within you that still need work.
And by the way, what the hell is a "good girl"?
Monday, May 19, 2014
Then a friend who has been reading my blog offered to introduce me to a friend of his that had recently suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury). He thought it might be helpful to talk to someone who had been though it. I am sure he has no idea of the magnitude of that gesture.
It was a turning point for me. A fellow active female who had been sidelined for almost 6 months by a concussion. Finally, someone who truly understood how I felt. Who "got" it. That although I look fine, my head was foggy, and just not right. That the slightest overexertion creates a cascade of symptoms which had me running (not literally) for my bed. To have someone say "I have been where you are and you will get better. You will feel like yourself again. I promise." That was huge. Someone who has walked a mile in my shoes and through sharing her experiences was able to comfort me and allow me to surrender even more fully to the healing process. Gave me permission to acknowledge how bad I still felt and encouraged me to do what I needed to do to take care of myself. I still have not met her...we have only emailed. But I am so grateful to her.
I imagine for any of us...to know we are not alone...in our experiences, in our fears and insecurities. And to hear from someone who is older, or further along in the process, that there is hope and there is healing. I feel that is an invaluable gift. One that we can all give and receive at different points in our lives.
Friday, May 16, 2014
The riptide looked like this: my autistic son hit puberty and went to pieces. We tried him on a medication that made him manic and suicidal and proclaim allegiance to the great Sock God (we stopped the meds, obviously). I started to spend more time sitting outside his classroom than I did at home. My husband was facing down the last months before his tenure review, and my daughter was feeling neglected. I was trying to work forty hours a week, write a book, and I was in a pared-down, six actor touring production of Romeo and Juliet. I coped. I staggered on. Every day I got up and did the job in front of me and then went to bed and then got up and did it all over again. Every day.
Then we decided something had to change, so we enrolled our son in cyberschool, which, by the way, is a fancy word for "homeschooling with no control over the curriculum." Every day I sat with him for six or seven hours, struggling to help him focus, to help him regulate himself, breaking down tasks into steps he could manage, holding him when he melted down, sobbing in my lap like a toddler. I cut down my work hours, but I still worked at night, on weekends. I stopped writing. It was incredibly intense and difficult (and ultimately, very rewarding), and while I saw him for all the moments of all the days, I saw no one else. I stopped going out. I stopped talking to people. I used up everything I had and more, until I had nothing left to reach out with. I had no energy to ask for help.
But you know what was ALWAYS there? Always comforting? Always ready?
Or sesame bagels toasted and spread with butter and cream cheese. Maybe two.
Leftover Halloween candy.
Homemade any bread at all.
And little by little, I found myself again in thrall. Once again, I found myself regularly wandering through the kitchen looking for comfort, something to help me through the next hour. Once again, I wasn't choosing what I ate. I ate what I craved. And I consciously fed my exhaustion. Sugar was my safety net, and I was falling into it over and over.
Still, everything that had been true about sugar was still true, and now I felt like I was consciously choosing to poison myself. Which, you know, is kinda insane. So I decided to stop. Again.
This time, it took months. Every day I'd start, every day I'd surrender. Then the click happened (I never know why the click happens when it does. It's like those little pop-up suction cup toys that you press down really hard and then wait for them to spring up into the air with a POP, hopefully missing your nose.) I stopped.
And braced myself for two weeks of feeling like complete crap. But I didn't. Almost immediately I began to feel better again, less depressed, less overwhelmed. Less mean. Less (thank the gods, because I could hardly stand myself) needy. It was shockingly easy. My inner Catholic girl was almost irritated. Where was my penance, damn it? Luckily, my sane outer adult took charge, and I decided to be grateful instead. And eat more brie. Lots more. Hooray! I thought. I'm back on track and now I'll be good forevvvvvver. And then I nearly smacked myself because I am not a CBS Afterschool Special, and nothing is ever fixed. Nothing is solved. Nothing stays the same.
Maria's dealing with a particularly traumatic detour right now, but here's the thing. Life is all detour. We aim at things, we forge paths through our personal wildernesses, we might even find a bit of really well-paved road and think that we've finally found our way. But our way is all the detours and forged paths and bits of paved roads and cliff edges and deep pits and blockades that we wander along or around in our lives all strung together. What looks like a detour is really just another piece of our journey.
So whither next? Who knows. I'm just putting one (for now, sugar-free) foot in front of the other.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Thing is, I'd known for years that I was pretty much in thrall to the sweet stuff. And it wasn't simply that I was overly fond of those foods that exist primarily as sugar delivery systems -- carrot cake, Twizzlers, warm chocolate chip cookies, pistachio ice cream, fat chocolate bars with layers of smoothly dripping caramel. I did (and do) like all those things, but I also loved and sought sugar in more hidden forms: in lovely, cushiony white bread warm from the oven, in bagels the size of my head, in drippingly sweet honeydew melon, in perfectly ripe bananas, in deep, dark rum. I even preferred sweet vegetables (like red peppers, snow peas, and carrots) to other vegetables (like broccoli, about which I am still pretty meh). Heh, when I was a kid, I used to pour sugar from the sugar bowl over my fingers and lick them clean (don't judge me).
Then I read about the potential connection between sugar consumption and dementia. My relatively young, healthy, wise-cracking mother had recently been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers, and I was (as were my sisters and all our family) deeply shocked. Having someone you love get Alzheimers is like watching someone get run over by a bus in super-slow motion. You know what's happening. You musn't look away. You know how it will end. And every second hurts. And every second breeds fear. Is that going to be my fate? Will my own family have to watch me vanish by creeping degrees?
So when I learned about some promising research suggesting that the overuse of sugar (in the standard Western diet) might essentially be the root cause of Alzheimers (they described it as type 3 diabetes), something went click. Here was something I could control, unlike my genetics. And I went cold turkey. No sugar, no bread, no bagels, no nothing. I decided I would read labels, I would eat less fruit, I would break my addiction.
It was horrible.
I called Maria. "I think I'm dying," I gasped hoarsely. "I'm shaking, nauseous, I can barely move off the couch. I can't think, and my heart is racing. I will never be okay again."
"You're detoxing," she said. "Wait it out. You'll be fine."
Suddenly the heroin comparison didn't seem so far-fetched. It was like I had a ten-day flu, and then it took another few days before I began to feel anything close to normal. And after that, it was, honestly, easy. I ate eggs and cheese and chicken and lots of vegetables, berries, full fat plain yogurt, nuts until they came out my ears, almond butter, and thick, thick cream. I didn't want sugar any more. I didn't wander through the kitchen looking for something to soothe me, restore me. It was an enormous relief. I ate whatever I wanted (as long as it was low in sugar, and for whatever magical reason, that didn't seem to be a problem).
The only disappointing thing was that I didn't feel THAT different. I wanted, I don't know, to be suddenly glowing and sparkling like some healthy fiend who willing munched kale for breakfast with flax-seed milk and spirulina (and other super-duper healthy stuff with weird names). In fact, I didn't know how different I felt until I went away to the beach and had an ice cream. I mean, come on! It's against the law to go to the beach and NOT have ice cream, and I'm very law abiding.
And one Dairy Queen soft serve cone with colored sprinkles later, I suddenly had a blinding headache. Dizzy and nauseous, I curled up on the couch for an hour. I felt sick. I felt poisoned. From one ice cream.
And I felt like maybe not having an ice cream wasn't the worst thing in the world. And I was all like, yes! I am sugar-free woman, hear me roar.
Then life happens, which it tends to do, but sometimes it happens in gentle, predictable ripples, and sometimes it's a riptide. I was swept out to sea, where I found one very large piece of reassuring flotsam to cling to, and it was called sugar.
I took a detour. And got a little lost.
(Read part two here.)
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
One of the things I have been learning is how important it is to know our value. I think about this a lot. To have a strong, but clear and realistic sense of who we are in the world. To know the positives. But equally as important to own the less pretty aspects of oneself. The whole picture. The good and the bad. And to believe that the entire package is always enough. Let me say that again. Always Enough.
Would it be empowering to be able to articulate those things about yourself? Hard as it is...to speak both the pretty and the less so...I will go first...
I am 43
I am single
I am strong (often)
I am fragile (at times)
I am confident
I have a concussion
I am scared
I am funny (at least I think so)
I am silly (ask my class)
I am short (I know, I am supposed to say petite)
I am agile
I am a glass-half full person (most of the time)
I am intelligent (not mensa material, but smart)
I fear complacency
I am inspiring
I am afraid that without my outer physical fitness, I am less attractive, less desirable
I am vulnerable
I am tenacious
I am stubborn
I worry about a lot of things (but a lot less than I used to)
I suck at time management
I am a procrastinator (is that the same thing?)
I am honest (that is good and not so good, depending on who you ask)
I am learning that it ok to fall down (next time I will try not to smack my head)
I am good at taking care of others
I am not so good at taking care of myself (getting better as we speak)
I find humor in life's hard moments
I am open-hearted
I have trouble accepting help
and I am always enough
In case I forget, my sister gave me a bracelet to remind me.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it.
I am not saying it is easy. Shit, I get it. I am scared to start working out again. Will I be able to do it? Will my body remember how to squat, jump, pull, push? Will I be able to tolerate the discomfort of being so deconditioned? The answer if YES! And the answer for you is YES! We all choose to make time to eat, to brush our teeth, to see friends...why are you not exercising your option to take care of your body in this way?
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
So here is my invitation to you. I want to invite anyone who is interested to be a guest blogger. It can be a response or elaboration on something I have already posted. It can be focused on something you have been struggling with, or to vent about a detour in your life and what it means to you.
Please comment or message me if you are interested. I would love to hear from you.
Monday, May 5, 2014
I have been pleasantly and not-so-pleasantly surprised as well as intrigued by the various reactions of people to my ongoing injury. Some have been super supportive. Folks I haven't seen in months have reached out. Those I might have least expected have offered help...to grocery shop, or bring me food, or to drive me places. Some call me to check in, knowing I am lonely sitting at home doing nothing. Others have been noticeably absent, or had difficulty expressing empathy, or sympathy. There have been those who seem rather impatient with, or intolerant of, my slow recovery. When I get those less supportive reactions, I feel angry. But really what I think is that I am hurt. I even commented to someone that you learn a lot about people in situations like this. You see their true colors. But then I think some more...and two realizations come to mind.
The first is that none of us can ever know what is happening in someone else's life. What is transpiring in a person's life will inform how they react to me and my set of circumstances. Perhaps they, too, are injured, or struggling personally or professionally, and don't have additional energy or empathy. Or perhaps my injury, or lack of health, strikes too close to something in their past, some injury, or some family tragedy, or some deep-seeded fear of which I know nothing about. So maybe I have been too quick to judge another's reaction...without having walked in their shoes.
Then I wonder if it is all about the roles we play in our relationships with others. We all have many roles, and in my job as massage therapist, I help people. I take care of others. I wonder if it is hard for some to imagine me as needy. In my job as fitness instructor, I am the leader and I am strong. I wonder if it creates a sense of unease...knowing that I can be vulnerable as well. Life events will change the balance in our relationships. They shift the equilibrium. And perhaps not everyone is willing, or able, to notice and adjust to that shift, even temporarily. Hmmmm. I'm not sure. At the moment it is all a working theory. What do you think?
Monday, April 28, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The last few days have been frustrating to me. I should be better by now. Do I sound like a broken record yet? I mean c'mon...I took all that time off. I rested. I did nothing. But still my head is not right. I am easily fatigued, both physically and mentally. I want to will my brain to heal. To rush the process. But alas, I am reminded yet again, that all I can do is surrender to the healing process. I can choose to respect the brain that has served me so well for the last 43 years and give it the time it needs to regrow the neurons. It will not be on my predetermined schedule, despite the fact that I have adjusted said schedule a few times already. It will be what it will be.
When I first was injured, I was in denial about the pain, the severity of the injury. I pushed past what my body was trying to tell me. Worked when my head hurt, when I was exhausted. After all, I am tough. Macho, as a few have suggested. When I finally admitted I needed to rest in order to heal, I decided that would take 2 weeks (or a little less than 2 weeks after I attended to the last few clients appointments I didn't want to cancel). After that I will be better. Not so fast, Maria. Still not myself. But when? Why not yet?
After my chiropractor stopped just shy of an outright eye-roll, he suggested I stop "yelling" at my brain to heal (which is likely doing exactly the opposite of what I want). To fully surrender means to give up control. Surrender is scary, but perhaps, in a way, freeing. To just allow what needs to happen.
There is a striking parallel here to something that has been suggested to me for my life as a whole. Surrender. Surrender the plan. Surrender my tight hold on controlling the outcome. I do not know what the future will bring. I cannot control what happens. But then I think, why would I want to? At what point did I decide that my life would be better if I controlled everything? (that is yet another blog post).
No control, no plan. The wild and crazy ride strikes again.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
I have been thinking a lot about empathy vs. sympathy. On the list of positive take aways from the slip and fall is that I feel it will help me have more of the former. My friend, Claudia, sent me this great video from the ever-fabulous Brené Brown...a quick, funny and poignant reminder of what each of us can do to be more empathetic. I have definitely been guilty of the "at least" :-)
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
I get so caught up in certain small, insignificant things, that I often lose sight of the big picture. I mean seriously, nobody is going to give a fuck how fit I was, what size jeans I wore, or even what I did for a living, once I am gone. That certainly isn't what is etched in my brain when a loved one dies. And I would never want that to be what anyone would notice or care about, so why am I so worried about it?
Then that leads to think about what I would want people to remember. I don't want to go so far as to talk about how my obituary would read...partially because that seems a bit cliché...and partially because that just seems kind of weird. But talking more generally about purpose is probably along the same lines with less of the morbid overtones. My wise friend and coach, Christopher, has challenged me to articulate my purpose. And I have, at times, struggled with that notion. But thinking about what I would want someone to remember about me, or what impression I aspire to leave behind, seems easier to me. I hope the people I encounter along my journey will remember that I possessed a vibrancy for life. That I loved with an open heart. And that I inspired them...to do more than what they believed they could do...or to live with greater passion and authenticity. I want people to remember my spirit and my joy for life that I shared genuinely and wholeheartedly.
What started on Thursday as a somewhat sad post about a premature death is, for me, turning into a positive reminder about what really, truly matters in my life and how I move through the world.
Thank you, Jason.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Life is precious. He is leaving behind a wife and a young son. He is too young. We are too young. Unfortunate that it takes such a sad occurrence to remind me of what is important. We all need to value our life and our health and those we love...and try not to take what we have for granted. Figure out what is really important in life. Figure out where true happiness and contentment lies...and go after it. What are you waiting for?
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Now anyone who knows me could tell you that marketing and self promotion are not in my DNA. Give me a person, product, cause, or business that I believe in and I will shout it from the rooftops, but somehow I am insanely uncomfortable doing that for myself. The fact that I have been teaching hundreds of people in fitness classes for the last 15 years and only a fraction of them know I own a massage therapy business a mile down the road is an issue I will have to tease out in another post on another day.
Since I do own this business, I have, over the years, felt obligated to attend networking events and workshops to help me grow my client base. I remember being told by one "expert" that I need to have a 30-second elevator speech that would tell someone everything they needed to know about my business in that half minute. Seriously? Ugh.
So for a split second I got nervous that I was going to be tested on this elevator speech by my new friend from Minnesota sitting next to me at the bar. But of course I already knew he wasn't the type to be interested in business marketing.
I inquired to his intent and he said he wanted the 30 second elevator speech on ME. My life, my dreams, my desires. Yippee. Now that is fun!
I lit up. He wanted to hear what excites me and what matters to me in life and relationships. I realized that after some tough life events which led to deep soul searching I am able to talk for hours on the subject but also have become clear enough that I can easily and effortlessly nutshell my thoughts in 30 seconds. Way cool.
That is my kind of elevator speech.
What is the elevator speech of your life? What gets you fired up and brings passion to your world?
Sunday, April 13, 2014
I hope not but I am going to need to some help putting it into practice once I'm back from my sabbatical.
Today is Sunday...at least in the Americas (I am a little late for you over in NZ, Lisa)...good day to slow down, and feel some groovy! :-)
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I hit my head. Ok, I know I should rest. And I was convinced not to exercise. But take time off from work? What? I "can't". I "shouldn't". Why not? Some sense of obligation? To my clients? To some over developed work ethic? Maybe an unwillingness to prioritize myself? Or maybe I am just so tough that I can push through anything? Is there an emoticon for eye rolling? ;)
Have I mentioned I am a very slow learner? Very belatedly I have decided to take time off from work and rest my noggin. A very wise woman said to me last week that I should take care of myself...nobody is going to do it for me. So simple. Yet funny that it took me so many weeks to give myself permission to take care of my health in this way.
My friend Meredith and I are keeping a list of all the lessons being learned from this slip and fall event!