Aside

Who is your “teacher”?

I regularly attend a Vinyasa yoga class on Wednesday nights. Each week, there is a point at the beginning of class where we set an intention to focus on throughout the practice. This intention can be anything that we choose, whether it be patience, love, strength, happiness, etc.

Last night, we were asked to think about a “teacher” that is highly influential in our life. This teacher could be human, animal, nature, spiritual, literally anything in the world that somehow shapes the person that we are.

The point of picking this teacher, was to imagine that they were there, with us through the duration of our practice. They were there to give us confidence, feed us strength and encourage us to try our best. WearetheSame

I really enjoyed this exercise. There are so many times throughout the day (and I am sure others can relate) that I am hard on myself…too hard. I easily overlook the hard work that I do, and unintentionally focus on the things that bother me. I let these “bothers” outweigh everything else, and that easily sets the tone for how I am feeling. Having my “teacher” of choice there with me throughout the practice to remind me of the ways that I am trying my best and working hard, brought an unexpected feeling of gratitude towards myself.

Although this “teacher” brought me a sense of comfort while on the mat, it also made me think about how we live in a world where we are always seeking approval and acceptance from other people. I have come to realize that we should not need to always seek validation from others, in order to know that we are trying our personal best. YOU are the best person to validate YOUR own actions.   

If I can live each day, giving 110% at everything I do, I cannot be disappointed with any outcome that I may face. Everyone has their struggles, everyone has good days and bad days… the thing that I am working on, is realizing that regardless what each day may bring, I am blessed to be able to experience it.

Namaste ❤ 

WearetheSame


This post was written as a few months ago, and I just found it sitting in my “draft” folder (oops!!). I made a few changes/updates to be more relevant for today!
 Can you tell I have been learning a lot on my mat, which can be applied to the world outside of the yoga studio?!

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Here we go again…

I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, after some of the conversations that I have had over the past couple weeks.

I have been confronted a few times from my family and others, about my appearance, and concern with my health. As much as I know they care, and have good intentions with these “talks” sometimes I feel that more harm than good is done for me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I see and understand the concerns… but I don’t think it is always realized the impact that these words and confrontations can have on me.

I am an emotional person. I dwell on things, and let them linger and really bother me. Writing is a nice outlet for me, but it still does not resolve the fact that my feelings were hurt and I cant seem to let it go. What makes it difficult, is when I can be having a perfectly happy day, and one little comment of conversation puts a HUGE damper on everything. I can’t pretend to brush it off and smile all the time.

It is time for me to be honest with myself.

In 2012, I sought treatment for my struggles after I hit “rock bottom”. This time around, I refuse to let myself get there. Yes, I have been through a lot of life changes over the past several months, but that does not give me good reason to stop taking care of myself.

I have so much to be thankful for…. I have a new home, an amazing boyfriend (who I see a beautiful future with), a loving family, wonderful friends, strong faith, etc. etc. I feel like these blessings have been hindered by some of the hardships that I have been facing.

I am happy with my life. Yes, I may have slipped, but things have settled down and I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy each and every day.

CURRENT SITUATION:
In all honesty, I do not have the same thoughts and struggles towards food that I have had in the past. Yes, I maintain a healthy diet, but I am not afraid to splurge and treat myself once in awhile when the opportunity presents itself. I still have some hesitation when it comes to random snacking (which is crazy, because everyone should allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy a good snack).

I think now, the main thing that I worry about is exercise. I feel like I need to do something physical every day, and when I don’t exercise, I get somewhat anxious. I have been trying to spend less time going to the gym to lift weights, and more time enjoying yoga (Not go on off topic, but yoga has helped me so much throughout all of this…more on that topic later), walking my puppies to the park, or just enjoying a different hobby. What I want, is to find a healthy balance in my life. I would love to focus my time on yoga and meditation, and finding harmony between my mind and body.

Admitting a weakness is hard for me. But seeing the people I love and care about worry (about me), is even harder. I don’t like feeling vulnerable to this. Every single thing in my life is so wonderful, and it sickens me that I still have to think about this at times. I swore to myself a year ago that I would never go back to the place where I was in my past… I am not there, but I need to really work on keeping myself away (FAR AWAY) from there too.

I am going to reach out to find someone to talk to, outside of my family, friends and social circle. Having a neutral “third party” to vent/talk to has helped me in the past, and I have no doubt that it will help me again.

Let the journey to health and happiness continue…

You are where you are or ever will be is up to you. You are where you are today because that is where you have chosen to be. You are always free to choose your actions, or inactions, and your life today is the sum total of your choices, good and bad. If you want your future to be different, you have to make better choices.
—Brian Tracy

 

Living in the Present Moment

I LOVE yoga. I love the beauty of the practice, I love the serenity in the meditation, I just love everything about it! Anyone who practices, knows that there are a couple of things that are highly emphasized…

1. The Breath
2. Being present in the moment

There is something to be said about the feeling of “being truly present in the moment”. In today’s world, people always seem to be preoccupied with “WHAT’S NEXT?!” in their lives. Whether it be projects at work, things going on at home, never ending to-do lists, etc. people easily lose sight of what is happening at the current moment in order to be more focused on what’s to come… I am [VERY] guilty of this too.

I often find myself thinking about the future (future meaning any time beyond right now, haha). If I am getting ready for work, I am thinking about my evening plans. If I am relaxing at home at night, I am thinking about the weekend. I think about the summer during the winter months, I think about my life in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now… you get the point.

What I am beginning to wonder is WHY? What is the rush to get to “WHAT’S NEXT” in life?
Call it goofy, corny, cliché, whatever… but I am starting to realize that being more focused, and present in the moment may really change my outlook on things. Life is so short, and all of this time spent thinking about what is going to happen in the future is time wasted on what is happening right NOW.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I hate to admit it, but I think these everyday blessings are often overlooked because I am too focused on what is going to happen next. Although my daily tasks might not be all that exciting, I need to start looking at the simple pleasures that come along with my routine and enjoying each and every day for what it is.

I am thankful for…

  • Finding my true faith and having a wholesome relationship with God
  • Being blessed to have Joe in my life to love
  • Rescuing two healthy, happy puppies and knowing that we are giving them a great life
  • My wonderful, loving family and great friends
  • My career with PTI
  • My healthy body, that allows me to enjoy life and can help me accomplish any goals/dreams
  • Owning my own house
  • Etc….

Taking a moment to sit back and realize how much I have to be thankful for, makes me realize that there is no rush to get into the “next best thing”.  Whether it be enjoying a walk with my puppies, my commute to work, my “homemade” dinners with Joe, visiting with my loved ones, etc. I am going to make a conscious effort to take each day and look at the beauty in whatever it is that I am doing.
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(Please note, I understand that it is important to plan and think about the future. I am simply suggesting that it is equally important to look at the life you are currently living, and enjoying it to its full potential. You don’t want to miss the great things going on around you right now!)

Lent – Commitment & Changes

This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) kicked off the 2014 Lenten Season. Since (most) Christians know what this spiritual season represents, I am not going to go into exactly what it all entails.

When a lot of people think of Lent, they think of having to “give up” something they love until Easter Sunday. I have to be honest, each year I try to give something up… each year I usually end up forgetting about it 😦 I know, I know, that sounds bad… and I actually feel guilty writing that!)

Over the past two years, I have grown immensely in my faith… So this Lenten season, I am going to fully commit myself to not only giving something up, but also making a few personal changes to better my life.

ITEM TO GIVE UP
Gum… Yes that sounds goofy, but believe it or not, giving up gum is going to be difficult for me. Chewing gum is a weird “go-to” habit I have… whether it be after a meal, wanting fresh breath, if I am feeling anxious or bored, if I want to avoid over-eating/drinking, etc. I find myself resorting to it.

I have noticed how much gum I chew, and I realized it’s time to ditch it from my daily routine! So, I am going to give it up for Lent. I’m hoping that after Lent I am going to realize that chewing gum isn’t really anything exciting and just nix the habit all together.

*Disclaimer… I am allowing myself to have mints/mouthwash lol. No one likes coffee breath*

THINGS TO CHANGE
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a lot of changes in my life over the course of the past several months. Despite the excitement, joy and fun that have come along with these changes, there has been a lot of stress involved as well. I have been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about some personal adjustments that need to be made in my life, to make me the happiest, healthiest person that I can be. These changes are not something that can be done once, and everything will be perfect… I am talking about LIFESTYLE CHANGES!

Simple Change #1: Break the routine (again)
Some of the challenges I have dealt with over the past several years (I believe) have made me prone to become a creature of habit. I easily get comfortable, and just settle with what I am used to…whether it be good or bad for my well-being.

It is so easy to get stuck in your day-to-day routine. Every day I can pretty much pinpoint what I am going to do at different times during the day. From waking up, projects at work, meals, after work activities, going to bed…It gets old after awhile. Starting now, I am going to challenge myself to work on being open to new ideas, trying new things, going to new places, broadening my horizons. This is a lifestyle change that I am going to carry on beyond Lent. Obviously I understand that my life is not going to be filled with adventures every day… but even little things like trying a new recipe, taking the puppies on a new route for our walks, is a good place to start.

Think about: what minor changes can you make in your life that will make you a happier, healthier person? Is there something you would like to give up…a habit, an attitude, a certain “comfort zone”? Or is there something you would like to add back in to your life to make it more fulfilling?

New Found Freedom – Challenges & Changes

This winter has been tough. The weather has been unbearable and the changes in my life have brought on a lot of stress… Good stress. I have yet to write about it, but in the past few months I have bought a house, moved in with my boyfriend, adopted two puppies, leased a new car (ok, so the car factor isn’t much to stress about) and endured multiple “polar vortexes”.

Without going into details about what a pain in the ASS the house buying process is, I will say that I am a homeowner! I put an offer in on a house back in October, went through the closing process throughout October and November, and was officially a homeowner as of November 22, 2013. The initial plan was for the original owners, now my tenants, to have 90 days occupancy of the house prior to me moving in (around February 7, 2014 was when I’d take possession). I was ok with this because it gave me time to get some things purchased for my new home, and still be able to spend the holidays with my family at their house.

Anybody who knows me well enough knows that I am a person who likes to not only have a plan, but also likes to stick to that plan! It was bittersweet for me when the sellers called me less than 12 hours after closing on the house, to tell me that I could have possession of it in less than 2 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited to own my first home, and start in the next new exciting phase of my life. But another part of me was terrified to leave the place that I have called home for 23 years, to start this new adventure.

Joe and I officially moved in on December 14, 2013… Naturally, this would be the day that the first BIG snow storm would hit Michigan (I swear I haven’t seen the grass in my yard since we moved in).

It’s March, and things are now really starting to feel like home. It took me a couple months to get used to being on my own, with Joe, and taking on all sorts of new responsibilities. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t (emotionally) difficult for me at first. I missed my family, I missed Riley and I was somewhat overwhelmed with the idea of stepping away from my “norms” and creating new routines.

Throughout the past couple months, Joe has really been there for me. He has moved several different times over the course of the past few years, so it didn’t wear on him as much as it did for me. The one mutual thing that was new and different for both of us, was living with our “significant other”. We went from seeing each other several times a week, to always being with one another. I can honestly say that I am really enjoying living with him. We both understand and respect each other’s time, yet still love hanging out when we are home.

Back in January, we adopted two Black Lab Mix puppies from a rescue organization called “Home Fur-Ever”. We named them, Dack and Dexter (they’re brothers). They are about 4 1/2 months now, and truly are great dogs. Joe and I have been working very hard to maintain a strict training plan with them, and I can honestly say it is going very well. They boys were potty trained very quickly, and know their boundaries within the house. Obviously, there is an occasional accident, but that comes with the nature of puppies… they are still babies!

Dexter & Dack

We love our pups, and knew what kind of responsibility and time commitment they were going to be. I would be lying if I did not get stressed out on occasion, but the joy that they bring to our lives is well worth it. We just can’t wait for this damn cold weather to go away, so we can enjoy the outdoors with them…

Which brings me to my next topic… weather. I’m sorry, but FUCK this winter. If anyone is reading this, and is from Michigan or any part of the Midwest/Eastern part of the country, you know that this winter has been the worst in years. The unbearable cold, obnoxious amounts of snow, etc. etc. have put a lot of people into a state of depression. I usually do not hate the winter, but I am not too proud to admit that I have a severe case of the winter blues. I am going to just vent for a second, but I honestly do not remember a winter where I have been more sad, angry and just pissed off about the weather. It is amazing how this awful weather plays into my overall attitude about everything. I have been doing my best to stay busy and positive, but it is hard when it is flat-out miserable to be outdoors. I know I should be positive and happy… I have a new house and new puppies, and a lot of other great things going on… but jeeze, give me some sunshine and a straight week above 40 degrees… ok… that’s enough bitching about the weather!
MichiganSnowThis post kind of goes against my traditional “inspirational” update… but it’s been awhile since I have written about anything going on my life! This was kind of a way to catch up on the past few months… more to come soon 🙂

Stay warm!

20 Ways to LOVE Your Body!

Happy 2014! A new year brings new experiences and new opportunities. Regardless of your past, and what you may have been through, allow yourself the chance to make some changes in your life.

I found this list “TWENTY WAYS TO LOVE YOUR BODY”, and thought that it was a great reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself… both physically and emotionally. I highly recommend going through these twenty points, and asking yourself what you are going to do to be the healthiest, happiest person that you can be!

WriteYourStory

Twenty Ways To Love Your Body

  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
  10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it daily!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
  18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
  20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD
Source: NEDA Website