Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hurdles

I was talking to my sister the other day about how hard it is for her husband to get into a workout routine.  As someone who, for years, never had to think about exercise and just "did it", I stopped to think about why it was so "easy" then and now, after a 6 month hiatus, I am in the same space...finding it hard to make the time.  Finding excuses not to get to the gym.  So what is that about?

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

Back in the game, with a paddle and a leash

As many of you have surmised, my head is feeling much better.  I have been hesitant to declare victory, but I dare say I am all better.  Over the last couple of months I have slowly been getting back to my former amount of exercise and activity.   What made me most happy was that it was in time to enjoy at least part of paddleboarding season.  I have been doing it for maybe 4 years now and it is one of my favorite things.  Being on the water is like nothing else.  So that is my excuse for being MIA with the blog.  I was too busy paddling, and getting someone dear to me hooked on the sport as well.  

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?  

The CT crew at the Cayuga SUP Cup.  08.2014

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

Perfect Body

What is the perfect body?  Is there even such a thing?  I know that a lot of people, including myself, struggle with this notion and some pressure to attain that perfection.

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

Slow down and listen



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

As I would wish it

I can't always take credit for the ideas behind my blog posts.  On a number of occasions they have come from comments made by friends about previous things I have written.  For example, after my post last week about What I miss the most, my longtime friend, Lisa, said "...hope the journey back to full strength is as you would wish it."  I think there was a time that I would have simply said thank you for the well wishes, but now I have more to thank Lisa for. 

As I would wish it.  Do I want the journey back to be as I would wish it to be?  Or am I ok with having the journey back be what it will be.  Let's face it, wishes can be a good thing...something to strive for, or they can be set up for disappointment.  I wish to have been that person married for 50 years (to the same person).  I wish I was naturally slightly slimmer.  I wish I could travel each year more than I do.  I wish my mother wasn't fading out of this world battling Alzheimer's disease.  

So what does it mean to wish for something?  Is it intention?  Is it putting our desires out into the universe so they become reality?  Is it goal setting?  Is it semantics?  I think wishes are good if they are things we can achieve.  Something to strive for.  But for me when I wish for something that requires control over a situation, I have started to think that a better route for me is to relinquish control and allow things to unfold as they should.  It is not as if that absolves me of the responsibility to work for the things I want.  I know I need to work hard to get my strength and fitness back.  But I think I will try to do it without a predetermined idea of what the result will be.  

Not sure.  I don't want my willingness to surrender to the process to somehow take away my ability to focus on a goal and get it done.  So am I really talking more about the process, or perhaps about my attitude while getting there.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

What I miss the most

It is interesting to me that when all this started I thought I knew what would be the hardest pieces for me.  Especially at the beginning, I was unhinged by the notion that I would no longer be slim and fit...and what that would mean to my self-worth, or my overall appeal.  This is one of those "everything happens for a reason" events because although I will always struggle with that a bit, I have had the fortunate opportunity to prove to myself that I am, in fact, the same person regardless of my size or the definition in my arms.

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

Gifts

Having friends that "get it" is an amazing gift.  After 4 1/2 months of no activity at all, I had 2 days in a row paddling with no adverse reactions!  To be on the water again is such a joy to me.  Being out there in the early(ish) morning with the birds and the ducks and no other sounds.  Glassy water with a slight ripple.  Hazy sunshine.  Paddling between the moored sailboats.  Pure bliss.  




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...

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So cool.  

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

Create the life you want

I recently wrote this comment in response to a dear friend's post.  

"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

Courage


On the heels of last night's post (if you missed it, click here to read) I thought this was particularly apropos...if not for you, then for me :-)  I talk a lot about courage.  And leading an authentic life.  Being courageous enough to show my true self.  It is a word I love and a quality I hold dear.  Since the meaning of the word is the ability to do or face something that frightens us, I see courage as strength of character.  But I often think of it when overcoming an obstacle.  A big hurdle.  Granted the hurdle might take time to overcome, but still a singular hurdle.  And usually pertaining to something in my personal development.  Dealing with adversity and such.  

Then I got to thinking that true courage can also be tenacity.  To get up every day and be the person you want to be.  Courage is about consistency, and perseverance.  And for the days that I don't quite make it, to be willing to try again.  



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

No more Pollyanna from me

I have a question.  WHY, if not forced to do so, would anyone stop working out?  I am not being facetious.  I seriously want to know.  Because getting back in shape SUUUUUCKS.  Plain and simple.  It sucks.  I can barely run a quarter mile at a clip.  Sigh.  I just went for what used to be a standard loop of mine and felt like I was running (and often walking) through molasses.  It sucks ass.  



And if it were someone else saying that, I would be telling them to be patient.  That fitness will come in time.  Soon.  Slow and steady.  A little better each day, each week.  And I will tell myself the same thing.  And I know it to be true.  It would be what I would tell my clients and my students.  I would cheer them on and say how impressed I am that they took the first step.  And all that jazz.  And I would mean every word if it.  

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

Man Up

I know I am dating myself, as well as admitting that while flipping through the channels I couldn't help but pause to watch the end of such a cult classic (don't dispute that with me...I will go to the mat for John Hughes any day), but do you remember when Andrew McCarthy's character in Pretty in Pink said to Molly Ringwald at the end of the film..."I always believed in you, I just didn't believe in me"?  Or something close to that.  I think it hit a particularly timely nerve for me, because when he said that I yelled, to the TV (yeah, I know), "Man up Bro!"



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

We are all the same

Fear.  A powerful and curious emotion.  Some have more of it than others.  Some hide it and some wear it on their sleeve.  Some push past it and act courageously.  Some let it hold them back from going after what they want.  And for some of us, the answer depends on the day.

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

To see how far you've come

We look ahead and often feel overwhelmed by all that we still have yet to accomplish. In sport, career, relationships, family.  Every once in a while we need an opportunity, or a reminder, to look back and see how far we have come.  In talking to a friend recently about his frustration about where he wanted to be in his career at this point in his life, I reiterated the words of a wise woman (or two) who suggested I take pause when feeling frustrated that I was not "where I wanted to be."  



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

ASSets

I have always been hesitant to be proud of certain things about myself.  Keeping with what seems to be my theme of the last few posts about what I was told as a child, I believed I was allowed to own that I was caring, and thoughtful, and generous.  And perhaps that I was smart, as long as I didn't flaunt it.

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

Girls v. Boys

WHY do we give girls a different message than boys?  Maybe it is no longer true.  Maybe it was generational.  Maybe it was only in certain families.



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

insecure...humble...self-assured... confident...bold...arrogant

Should these words be on a continuum?  And are they in the right "order"?  Are there some of these that are positive, or negative, in what connotation?  Perhaps the answer differs depending on who you ask.  

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

An Angel in a Stranger

A few weeks ago I started to feel like I was going a little crazy.  One too many "aren't you better yet?" inquiries and I was afraid that perhaps I had turned into a Sally.  But deep down I knew that if I could be working full time, I would be.  And if I could work out, I would be.  But WHY wasn't I healed yet?  And OMG, will I ever feel like "me" again.  I honestly think that has been the scariest part.  

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

How sweet it is! (Part 2) also by Francesca Amendolia

(Start with part one here.)

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?

Cookies.
Or cake.
Or chocolate.
Or sesame bagels toasted and spread with butter and cream cheese. Maybe two.
Leftover Halloween candy.
Homemade challah.
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

How sweet it is! (Part 1) by Francesca Amendolia

A few years ago, I started seeing more and more information floating around about how poisonous sugar is, how it feeds cancer, how it promotes inflammation, how it rots your teeth, how addictive it is, and so on and so on. It acted in the body like heroin, one science writer dramatically proclaimed.

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).

My sweetheart!
I'd also known for years that I could get miserable, deeply depressive hangover-like reactions the day after too much sugar, or too much bread. I had already perceived the cycle of dependence feeding dependence. I knew I ate sugar not just because it tasted good, but because it made me feel happier, calmer. It played with my brain chemicals, comforting me when I was stressed. I realized I was behaving much like an alcoholic with a bottle. I frankly didn't care. What good is life, thought I, without the joy of a crackling crust splitting open to reveal its soft, warm promise, like a yeasty geode. What use in living, thought I, without vanilla soft-serve crusted with rainbow sprinkles, me racing the sunlight to consume its melting sweetness?

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

Wildly imperfect. Always enough

It is no secret that this injury has been a huge curveball for me.  But please don't misunderstand.  It is not a bad thing.  Yes, it is difficult at times, but there have been numerous opportunities for me to grow.  And I have been learning over the past half dozen years to embrace all the challenges that make me stronger.

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

Perspective and Choice

I am not naturally slim.  I have not always been fit.  I was not a particularly athletic child.  True I was damn fast in the 100 yard dash in CYO track, but I certainly didn't excel.  

As a fitness professional I have received many comments in the vein of...
"I know it is easy for you to stay in shape" 
"I am sure you have always been active and fit"
"I can't believe you didn't play sports in high school/college"

I say all this because it is important (for me and everyone) to understand that it it not something that comes easy to any of us.  It is a choice to fit.  It takes effort.  And while that effort may be fun, it is effort nevertheless.  Until recently I always had the option to be fit.  And although I had not always exercised that option (sorry for the pun), over the last 10 years exercise has become something I enjoy.  Dare I say love.  It is fun to jump around and lift things and learn what my body can do.  I truly value the opportunity to use my body, as well as encourage and inspire others to test their limits.  And I like to think that I do it by example. 

Now being in a situation where I do not have the option to be active, I realize what a huge gift it is.  To be healthy and to have the choice to exercise and be active.  If you are lucky enough to have that option, please ask yourself, why are you not moving?  Why are you not finding the time to exercise?  Figuring out what you love to do and making it happen?


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

The 5 Stages of Loss (of Movement Freedom) by Meredith Koch


If you are accident prone like I am, then you have a basket full of stories about injuries and recoveries. Like the time I twisted my ankle while sliding into 3rd base (in case you were wondering, I was safe). Upon looking back at those injuries, I can laugh at them. But what happens when you get injured as an adult and your body simply refuses to heal in the normal 3-6 weeks?

I’ve been struggling with peritoneal tendonitis for the past 6 months due to a combined ballet and running injury. Like Maria, I am an active individual. Running, dancing, swimming, biking, skiing – movement is my natural stress reliever, my anti-depressant, my generator of happiness, a way of life. So through my denial (it can’t be that bad of an injury), my anger (no activity and in an AirCast for 4 weeks), my bargaining (with doctors for some form of physical activity), and the feeling of worthlessness (due to inactivity and thinking others see me as a lazy slacker), I have come to accept the healing process of my injury.

What does it mean to accept a prolonged healing process? Just like losing a loved one, the loss of movement freedom leads to methods of coping and rebuilding. I have chosen to prioritize my health over my research and pride. I have come to appreciate my body for what it naturally is, not what I want it to be. I have become more willing to try new things, like yoga, in order to optimize my physical limitations. I acknowledge that I cannot do everything yet, but I am doing what I am able to at this stage of healing.


And that could be the best lesson I could have learned from this lengthy recovery because now my body dictates what I do, not what my mind or pride says I should be doing.


Gratitude

Kindness from others touches me in so many wonderful ways.  I want to say a huge thank you to Karen, Kim and Stephen at Downunder Kayaks, SUPs & Surf in Westport.  I LOVE to paddleboard!  One of the things that makes me most happy is to be on the water.  I look forward to the warm weather every year so I can get out on my board.  I went by the store last week to rub elbows with those that can paddle (since I am still on the DL) and the reception I got from the crew there was amazing.  Like long lost friends.  And Karen jumped right into action offering me a chauffeured ride on her board so that I could enjoy some of the benefits of being on the water, without the exertion that could hurt my head.  Then she wrangled Stephen, who barely knew me, into taking me for a ride as well.  It was amazing.  I might even rent my services out as training weight to aspiring racers.  Lemonade, right? :)

There are certainly many challenges for me in this head injury.  But I love finding the unexpected joys, of which their have been many as well.  So to my friends, old and new, at Downunder, for being creative and finding ways for me to participate that don't involve physical activity.  Cheers!  This is why small businesses exist...a family in many senses of the word.  

See you all on the water :-)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An Invitation to You

When I originally envisioned starting this blog, I imagined it would have a number of benefits.  First, as a vehicle for me to share my experiences...the fears and pitfalls, as well as the lessons and the joys of this detour.  But also to hopefully be a support and inspiration for others who may have experienced the same or similar emotions around an injury or other such change in course of life.  I imagined that it might grow to be a group effort.  A place to share thoughts and ideas, frustrations and revelations.  

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

True colors...or perhaps role playing

Sometimes these posts start as one thing in my head and wind into something completely different by the time they make it to the printed page. 

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

It has a name

Here is my PSA on all the things I am learning about concussions. 



I have talked to 3 other women who have recently had concussions.  It is a huge relief to know that I am not alone in still feeling the effects almost 3 months later.  

Concussions usually clear in a couple of weeks, but Post-Concussion Syndrome (who knew?  not me.) occurs in a surprisingly large percentage of people who suffer head trauma.  Risk factors are

age
being female (although unclear if this is because women are more likely to seek medical care)
prior concussions
history of headaches

The severity of the concussion does not appear to be a factor in who gets PCS.  

Also it seems to develop in those that get a head injury from a fall or a collision (such as a car accident) rather than from sports. 

It usually comes on about 10 days after the injury and lasts from 3-6 months.  Mostly it manifests as severe fatigue, pressure in the head, headaches, brain fog and can include depression. 

Most importantly, the risk goes way up if one does not COMPLTELY refrain from all physical and cognitive activity immediately after the injury for a period of 2-5 days.  Which means no physical activity, no light, no noise, no computer, no reading, no nothing.

I hope you never know someone who gets a concussion, but just in case, I think this is useful information to know.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank you

To all the friends who have been supporting my healing process, my fears and frustrations and my writing.  Thank you, beautiful people.  I value each and every one of you immensely.  Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

(Sweet) Surrender

The title of the post was originally Surrender.  But by the end of writing this, I added the sweet.  Trying it on for size.  You can decide.  

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

Charlie Brown moment

Sometimes it is hard to look at the bright side, and the positives, and the lessons.  I try.  And mostly I can.  I believe I have even genuinely said that I think this whole concussion has been a blessing in many ways.  But sometimes...sometimes I am just frustrated.  About being injured.  About being "behind" on everything I am supposed to do.  And scared.  About being alone.  About being out of shape.  About my uncertain future.  

I know it will pass. But in the meanwhile.  ^^   This is how I feel.  I love the Peanuts gang.  Such an expressive bunch.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Empathy vs. Sympathy




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

Lesson or Lemonade?

After reading yesterday's post my friend, Kerri, posed this excellent question...

"Do you think that fate/God doled out your slip and fall circumstances in an effort to have you learn from the experience?

Or do you think the circumstances just happened and you are taking the opportunity to learn a lot about yourself?

Let me start by saying that not a particularly religious person.  Spiritual for sure, but I am a lapsed Catholic, much to the chagrin of my lovely Aunt Mo, who I fear worries about my soul.  But never fear, my soul is just fine :-)  So in talking about God here, may I presume to say that it covers your God, my God, a higher power, Mother Earth or whatever power you believe in or pray to?  

I am someone who believes that everything happens for a reason.  And in spite of my mad frustration about my tortoise pace healing, I am actually happy that I hit my head.  I am the first one to joke that mine is especially hard, so whether you call it macho, or stubborn, or whatever...I often need a good crack to knock sense into me :-)

I have often found comfort in the idea that God has a plan (even though I often struggled to understand what it is).  This faith has carried me through some immensely challenging times.  I wonder if it is a coincidence that this discussion has come up on Easter Sunday....hmmmm.  I think not :-)

But I also believe we all have choices about how we react to things in life...the road bumps, the craters, the tidal waves.  And I think the most important moments in our lives are the ones in which we decide how we react to the road blocks.  Do we turn around and retreat, or do we find an alternate route?   These moments and choices speak volumes about our attitude and help to define our character.  



So my answer, dearest Kerri...is that for me, it is both.  God places learning opportunities before us, the ones we most need.  And then it up to us how we navigate those situations and how we choose to handle the challenge.  Maybe not always the smoothest path, but I am grateful for the opportunity for growth.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Unexpected positives

I didn't post yesterday because I was wondering if it is disrespectful to a person who is imminently dying for me to think about my own death, which at the moment is a more theoretical prospect.  I am thinking that if someone else's death makes me focus more keenly about how I want to continue living, then maybe that is a positive thing.  Not totally sure, but here I go.  

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

Bayside memories

I have been dealing with this head injury for 2 months.  Still not myself.  I was going to whine about my frustration and fear over when my body will heal allowing me to get back to doing all I want to do.  Then I learned a childhood friend from the old neighborhood is dying from a brain tumor.  He has just gone into hospice.  Huh.  

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

Trade-offs

Life is about trade-offs.  I know there are people who want me to believe I can have it all. And true maybe I don't always think big enough.  But I'm sorry...in many cases...it's a trade-off.


I own my own business.  That means I have quite a bit of autonomy...but I give up a steady paycheck and paid vacations.  I am single and live alone so I always get to choose what's for dinner and I am in charge of the remote, but I am also in charge of all the chores and bills, and my feet get cold on winter nights. I am not saying any one option is better than another, only that it is interesting to note that every option has some good points and some less desired ones. Like not working out. I'm not as lean.  So slighter softer.  Higher body fat means rounder belly and hips. But, my breasts are bigger!  Well, maybe just fuller, but still!  Guess every one of us gets to decide what trade-offs we want to live with ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Random guy at the bar

I'm single and occasionally I find myself at a bar solo.  This particular evening I didn't want to stay home but nobody was available to join me so I decided to take myself out for a wine and a bite.  This guy sits down next to me (and let me not keep you in suspense...this post is much less about the actual guy then about the conversation we had) and within 10 minutes we had managed to cover that I am divorced and why I am divorced, all the places he has lived, what is remarkable about his kids and what we each do for a living.  But then it started to get interesting.  He asks me for my 30-second elevator speech.

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

Slow Down, You Move too Fast

Taking time off, especially when it's unplanned, especially when I haven't "earned" it, is hard for me. I covered that the other day. However, once I do it, I so love the slower pace. Over and over I keep hearing that Simon & Garfunkel song in my head...


I am slowing down and appreciating, as a friend suggested, smelling the roses.  It feels healthier to me.  But how do we incorporate this into regular life?  Not feeling rushed?  Not constantly feeling like there is something we are supposed to be doing?  Is the idea of slowing down that of an era gone by, like the haircuts in the video?

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

Time off

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!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reflections of you

What are the words you would use to describe yourself?  Or what if you were to ask your friends?  What would they say?  I know I would be thrilled to share with my friends what it is that makes them fabulous.  

I am lucky enough to have some of the best friends in the world.  No judgement on how great your friends are.  I am sure they are awesome too.  But I just wanted to acknowledge mine and all they do for me.  

For my birthday a few years back, one dear friend ask the other women in my circle of "sistas" to give her a list of words that they think describe me.  Then she had them all etched on a mirror as a border, so that every time I look in the mirror, I have a reflection of what those who love me see when they look at me.  So incredibly cool, right? 

So hard to take a picture of a mirror, btw.  But you get the idea.

I have been thinking about why it is so difficult for me to do this for myself.  Or why it is hard for any of us to know our own strengths, and own them, and remember them when we are not at our best.  What would your list look like if you did one for yourself?  Or if your friends were to give you a lifelong reminder of your fabulousness? (I know it is not a word, but I like it anyway)