Back to the Future

 

Time and space have always presented a particular challenge for me. In theory I know I’ve made several trips around the sun, but depending upon the day or the circumstance, I can feel anywhere from age 9  to 90.

When I’m feeling older and wiser, I want to travel back in time to tell my younger self to stay curious and to allow the answers come in their own time.  I want to reassure her that she will find what she’s looking for in the most unlikely places and what is meant for her will not elude her.

Lately, however, my younger self wants to tell my mature self a few things. Specifically, my past self who spent the majority of her time teaching fitness classes in gyms, studios, and corporate fitness facilities wants to remind my present self how to be at home in my body.

A couple of years ago, I decided that in order to do my best work, I had to be my best self. This meant getting myself in shape – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, you name it. I was determined to get my groove back and set out to do just that.

Because I had lost my groove gradually through a series of habitual, unconscious choices over the course of a decade or two, I had to get it back through a series of intentional, deliberate actions on a daily basis.

I spent half of 2014 and all of 2015 educating myself about nutrition and how to properly nourish myself and others.  I became a certified eating psychology coach and guided a few friends through a purification process that left us all feeling fabulous.

But feelings are fleeting.  Taking it to the next level in 2016 for me is about embodying.  It’s about getting out of my head and fully inhabiting and listening to my body.

A brief glance at a photo of me in legwarmers and tights back in the day made a new approach to getting physical necessary.

I found my motivation in Erin Stutland’s  Shrink Sessions.  She has combined the words of wisdom it has taken me a lifetime to master with physical actions and movements that ground these concepts in muscle memory.

Her workouts, Soul Strolls, and meditations are incredibly empowering.  One day it occurred to me that Erin is who I wanted to be when I grew up. Or at least who I wanted to be when I was her age.

As I reflected on my early fitness career, I realized I had been very much like her.

In a surreal Back to the Future moment, I marveled at the perfection of finding this soul sister across time and space and allowing her to train me (without even knowing I exist) in the present for the future that awaits.

Listening to Erin’s mantras on my iPod as my dog and I stroll along the snow covered trail, I think about the technology and infinite intelligence that connects us and delivers perfect messages at precise moments to the people who are poised to act on them.

The kicker is we may never know the positive impact we have on each other. That’s why it’s both courageous and imperative to put our work out in the world for its own sake.

We live in incredible times and the abundance of information, education, and inspiration at our fingertips is staggering.  There are experts ready, willing, and able to guide us through any transformation we care to experience.

The amazing thing is when we look outside ourselves for help, we often get to see own brilliance mirrored back to us in others whose future or past resembles our own.  It’s easy to project greatness and success onto someone else, declaring we would never have the discipline, the talent, the chutzpah, or the support to do what they have done.  But we can’t recognize something in others we don’t also have in ourselves.

This year don’t hesitate to call on your past self, your future self, or your alter ego to help you evolve into your best self.  Then stay tuned as to who shows up to collaborate with you.

What words of wisdom might you have for your time traveling self?  Share if you dare in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Resolve to Evolve

Active woman walking away from the camera through winter snow

My walks this week have been considerably different than last week. Six inches of snow can certainly up the intensity.

It reminds me that it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference over time.

As we launch into a new year, I’ve decided to give up the big goals and stick to the smaller, saner ones. They are easier to commit to, be held accountable for, and correct immediately if I veer off course.

In other words, the perennial goal of writing a NY Times best seller has been “right-sized” to writing at least one blog post each week and growing my subscriber list by 50 readers a month.

Getting in shape specifically means adding a Shrink Session three times a week along with the daily dog walk. It also means learning how to do more than one exercise on my Total Gym.

Losing the need to lose weight becomes maintaining a healthy weight by eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables every day. And chocolate every other day. :)

These small substitutions can be made for any big, hairy audacious goals you may have. Like compound interest, if you stick with them, you will experience exponential results by the end of the year.

That’s what happened for me in 2015. I took a series of small risks month after month that paid off in unexpected ways.

In January I attended a Live Your Message workshop in Los Angeles where I met some truly inspiring entrepreneurs as well as fellow coach Jillian Pearce who I later collaborated with on the No Matter What Game.

In February Bob and I went to Tucson where we did a photo shoot for my website with the folks from Purple Nickle. My friend and fellow Lost Lady Kerry Milligan offered up her beautiful home for the shoot. And I finally got to visit the funky little art town of Bisbee, Arizona.

In March I facilitated my first How to Get Your Groove Back class and connected with a fantastic nutritionist, Karla Schmidt, and Dr. Richard Betts, an acupuncturist and functional medicine doctor. These two have provided immense support throughout the year along with the brave souls who joined me for the first class.

In April I coached four friends through a 21-day purification process that changed us all physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Together with the eight-month Eating Psychology Coach certification program I completed in May, these experiences were game changers for my health and the health of my friends.

In June I was practicing the KonMari Method of getting rid of clutter and made enough headway to facilitate a 31 day challenge in July called Get Stuff Done 1 x31. 

The small stuff I got done led to an incredible opportunity in August to go to Miami Beach and write some cards for Cardthartic. Once there I was offered the job of my dreams. Ironically, I realized I am already living the dream. In Iowa. I didn’t see that coming.

In September my staff and I successfully orchestrated an event at our center which took equal parts planning and praying to pull off without a hitch.

In October my friend Barbi and I did our second 21-Day purification. When we finished I coached another friend through the purification in preparation for her wedding.

In November I got to speak to a great group of women at the American Business Women’s Association meeting.

In December I upped my technological abilities by experimenting in audio adventures and upgrading my phone. I also tested my organizational and attitudinal skills by hosting two holiday events.

I share my year in review in hope that you will reflect on all you’ve done and become in the last year.  I hope you will recall all the risks you took and the things you experienced that led to new and different people, places, perspectives, and things.

Sometimes we’re so focused on what we didn’t do or accomplish that we overlook all the things we did do, all the lives we did touch, or all the random acts of kindness, cruelty, or twists of fate that shaped our lives.

For me it’s more about who I become as I resolve to evolve – at New Year’s or anytime – than when I arrive.

I think Miley Cyrus might have been on to something when she sang these words:

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

Here’s to an evolutionary new year!

I’d love to hear about your Year in Review or New Year’s Resolutions in the comments below.

 

A Choice Instead of a Chore

Chistmas music background

Today we wrap up the Top Ten Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming Through the Holidays.  I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these tips this week.

Recording these certainly stretched me beyond my comfort zone.  With writing I can always edit.  With Vocaroo I got one shot to get it right. Clearly, that didn’t happen, but it was fun trying!

Yesterday I heard this fascinating tip on happiness from Shawn Achor.  He said “Joy is what we feel when we’re moving toward our potential.”

In that respect, this was the best way I knew how to spread a little joy to the world.  Next up, I’ll try video.

Click below to listen to today’s tips or you can read the tips below.

  1. Silent Night…

Take some time out to get quiet and tune in to the gifts of the season. From the sound of carolers outside your window to the squeals of small children on Santa’s lap to the brightly colored lights decorating the streets where you live, notice the abundance of beauty that surrounds you.

10. Joy to the World…

In the end, it all comes down to attitude. This season examine your beliefs regarding what you “should” do, “must” do or “have to” do. Now consider altering your perception of these things by “choosing to” do them instead. You may decide some of the things are simply not worth the energy it takes to accomplish them. When life becomes a choice instead of a chore, the world looks a lot brighterand you have more energy to spread that joy around!

Wishing you the Merriest and Healthiest of Holidays!

Home for the Holidays

Atmospheric Christmas window sill decoration

Listen to tips 7 & 8  of my Top Ten Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming Through the Holidays by clicking here…or reading below.

 

  1. I’ll Be Home for Christmas…

Many families are spread out over the country. This can present not only logistical challenges, but financial and emotional ones as well when you attempt to make it “home” for the holidays. Determine if the benefits of being home are worth the stresses you may encounter getting there – especially if you are organizing this pilgrimage for your household. If home is where your heart is, then may the force be with you in your travels! But if traveling makes your heart weary, know you can create the feeling of home wherever you are. Volunteer at a shelter, a church, or local charity. Your presence there may be the best present you give and receive this Christmas.

8. All I Want for Christmas Is…

What do you really want? What will having this item do for you? How will it satisfy your soul? What about those on your list? What might they really want? Can you give it to them in a more authentic or direct way? Is it possible for you to make something or do something that brings them more joy than the buying an expensive gift that busts your budget?

Share your tips or let me know what’s on your list in the comments below.

 

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Couple near fireplaceThis week is all about the audio.  I’m giving your eyes a break so your ears can hear these tension tackling tips and keep you humming through the holidays.  Since I don’t actually sing anything, there is no threat of getting the Christmas carol stuck in your head for the day. (But I do hope the tip sticks!)

Today I have three tips and tunes to share with you.  You can tune in above or read below.

  1. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

Too many of those nuts, candies, and homemade delights might tip the scales out of your favor. If you are sipping Jack Daniels to handle your woes or to prevent Jack Frost from nipping at your nose, the additional indulgences could wreak havoc on your health. The potential to pack on the pounds over the holidays is certainly possible. To prevent you from becoming a weight bearing statistic, pay attention to the partridge and hang out around the pear tree instead of the party table.

5. Making a List and Checking It Twice…

Don’t expect your already overloaded mind to remember any more than your way home and the names of your immediate family members. Count on lists to remind you of those things you have determined you must do. Make as many lists as necessary, but review them all before taking action. Prioritize, organize, scrutinize, and compromise, if necessary.

  1. Deck the Halls…

Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Designate a room, corner, or cupboard as your own. Then decorate that space as only you know how. Your spirit needs nourishment and encouragement. Give yourself the time and place to celebrate what is sacred to you.

Okay, that’s it for today.

In a nutshell: moderation, expectation, and decorations.

Leave your comments or favorite tips in the comments below.

 

Tune In Tuesday

Business Data

Today is Tuesday so you get two Top Ten Tension Tackling Tips instead of one as a little holiday bonus. Rest assured no tunes were harmed in the recording of this audio since I did not actually sing.

If you’d prefer to read today’s tips, here they are.

  1. Let It Snow…

Let it go. No, you don’t have to wish for that fluffy white stuff to perfect the holiday picture. But it is wise to acknowledge that there are certain things that are out of your control (like the weather). What is in your control is your reaction to events. Try to let go of your expectations and accept things as they are.

3. Dashing Through the Snow…

Movement is absolutely essential to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Maybe now is not an opportune time for you to start a fitness program (because Santa has your new exercise equipment, right?), but there are many ways you can incorporate movement into your day. Having to park three miles away from any place peopled with shoppers gives you an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a little aerobic activity. Carrying your purchases back to that same location might be considered strength training. It’s amazing how many ways you can work in a workout.

Let me know how you feel about snow, letting go, and dashing about. Or share your favorite tip for humming through the holidays in the comments below.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Cane golden retriever con cuffia e occhiali

I’ve been told I march to the beat of a different drummer. Well, today I wanted to share the voice I hear in my head.

If you’re like me sometimes you are a wee bit busy and don’t have time to read even the shortest blog.  But you may have a moment between appointments or during your commute to listen to something.

In my resolve to evolve, I wanted to branch into audio before taking the terrifying plunge into video.  So here is today’s best effort. I promise the recordings will improve as we go!

Here is the first of my Top 10 Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming Through the Holidays.  If you’d prefer to read the post, you can do so here.

And yes, my dog did listen intently to the recording.  If I would have actually hummed the tune, I’m sure he would have howled right along with me.

If you like this audio blog, let me know.  If you’d prefer I stick to writing, you can let me know that, too!  And if you have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them.  Leave your comments below.

 

http://vocaroo.com/qrcode/Vocaroo_QR_Code_s1ApYzDjcu9U.png

http://vocaroo.com/player.swf?playMediaID=s1ApYzDjcu9U&autoplay=0
Record music with Vocaroo >>

Keep It Simple, Santa

Composite image of santa claus delivering gifts with bicycle

It happens every year. I vow to keep calm and carry on. And then the Christmas season comes  upon me with such a clatter I have to continually check in just to see what’s the matter.

What’s usually the matter is I have cluttered up my schedule and complicated things by attempting to do, be, or have too much in a tiny little window of time.

At the end of the year when all I really want for Christmas is enough peace on earth to reflect on a year well lived, I have to resist getting caught up in the buzz of busy-ness that creates a holi-daze.

Of course not everyone loses it this time of year. Some might even suggest it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I suspect they have a strategy. This year I’m going with Keep It Simple, Santa.

A co-worker tells me she limits shopping to four items for her immediate family.  She gets them something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

I also know a few wise men and women who give the equivalent of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This roughly translates to something that recognizes the recipient’s divinity, purpose, and suffering along the way.

Admittedly last week was not one of my better weeks.  The story I was telling myself was not one that made me feel very good about myself or anyone else, frankly.

I’m a coach. I know better. I help people find a way out of their funk all the time. I have a toolkit of tricks, my own set of gifts from the Magi I wasn’t using.

Until I remembered that no matter how hard it is to be kind and generous and believe in the greater good despite any and all evidence to the contrary, it is the only way I want to go through life. I want to believe in good for goodness’ sake.

So yesterday I found my toolkit and took out my #1 tool – gratitude (gold). I started counting my blessings instead of the random boxes of holiday decorations strewn from one side of the house to the other. I told myself I get to make up whatever story I want to about my life and the people, places, and things in it. Why not choose something supportive, even enchanting?

Then I took out tool #2 – movement (frankincense).  I proceeded to do a week’s worth of Say It, Sweat It, Get It workouts and was sufficiently humbled but equally elated by the aftereffects. Doing them as intended for 5-minutes each day wouldn’t have been so shocking to my system as doing them all at once, but I was delighted to discover I still had it in me. I’m now a huge fan of Erin Stutland’s approach to fitness. She keeps it simple. (Not to be confused with easy.) And it was all for free! Now that’s supportive.

And you’re reading tool #3 – expression (myrrh). I wrote and wrote and wrote, slept on it, edited and edited and edited, and finally pressed Publish. Writing is how I make sense of my life. Yours may be cooking, skiing, restoring houses, collecting antiques, square dancing, mixing music, playing cards, whatever brings calm to the chaos.

All of these tools remind me of the first of the timeless truths on my Top Ten Tension Tackling Tunes to Keep You Humming Through the Holidays.  You are only one thought away from a new perspective.

In my grand attempt to end the year on a high note of grace, gratitude and goodwill, the goal is to keep it simple.  Or, as Kris Kringle shows us in Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, put one foot in front of the other.

What about you?  What strategies get you through the holi-dazeShare your favorites in the comments below.

 

Get Your Gobble On

keep calm and gobble on background

It’s here! My favorite holiday of the year.

A day set aside to feast with family and friends and give thanks for all the good gathered over the course of a year.

Since this year Bob and I decided to host this production at our place, I needed a strategy for getting my gobble on with grace and gratitude.  Keep Calm and Gobble On seems to be the best strategy so far.

Thanksgiving is the kind of food-centric holiday that could keep a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in business all year.  With every imaginable issue surrounding food and nourishment having the potential to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time, it’s good to have a plan.

Instead of dispensing advise on counting calories or carbs or suggesting you exercise til the turkeys come home like so many well-intentioned articles do at this time of year, I’m going to politely ask you to ignore those messages (since most of them lead to guilt and shame) and pay special attention to this one (since it might lead to an epiphany).

As difficult as it may be, do not numb out, check out, or let food or drink take you out of your discomfort in the moment. Stay present.  Be mindful.  Amazing things occur when you are aware enough to notice them.

Granted, if you are surrounded by your closest kin, you may have moments where you want to drink yourself silly or stuff your emotions like the bird you may be eating.  Or you may be so tense or hyper you rush through your meal without digesting anything but the non-stop stimuli coming at you from every media outlet available.

I get it.  There is a lot going on.  Most of it out of your control, I might add.  So please, stay calm.  Relax into the wonder of it all. Or if that’s not possible, wonder how to relax into it all. Stressing out gives you indigestion at best,  gas at worse.  And then you’ve got a whole new family legacy to live down.

What would it be like to simply trust your body and allow your belly to inform your brain what it needs to feel truly nourished?  What if you could just breathe into the meal, take your time savoring the food and the conversation, and ease into any emotionally volatile territory without full armor?  What if you could acknowledge the time away from work or your daily routine, allow yourself to be interested in the people you are related to, and celebrate the sacredness of the tradition itself?

This day is different from all other Thursdays.

Not just because we are encouraged to eat more and shop more than at any other time of year.  But because this is something we do in this country that unites us and reminds us we came from a collaborative crew.

The logistics and effort involved for so many people to get where they are going and have something to eat when they arrive is mind-blowing. Travelers, grocers, producers, retailers, advertisers, chefs, assistants, truck drivers, hospitality folks, entertainers, waitstaff, housekeepers, neighbors, pet-sitters, the list goes on and on.

It takes a village to get our collective gobble on. Whether that be a small one, a virtual one, or a global one, it’s all so impressive. For that village, and my tribe in particular (if you’re reading this, that means you!), I am most grateful.

I’d love to hear how you are getting your gobble on in the comments below.

 

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How Now, Brown Cow?

For a do to Jersey cows on a green grass

Last May I fell completely and utterly (I would say udderly but these are steers) in love with four Jersey Boys.  And I don’t mean Frankie Valli and friends or the guys from Jersey Shore.  The boys I’m talking about are four legged doe-eyed beauties like the ones above.

This love affair started the day Bob and I drove to Wisconsin to pick them up.  We were on Day 11 of the 21 Day Purification program.

I remember Day 11 because it was the first day we could add meat back into our diet.  For ten days we had eaten only fruits and vegetables. Our weight loss had been  steady, and in Bob’s case remarkable, so we weren’t sure how adding meat would affect our losing streak.

When we drove into town we headed to the scales to weigh the cattle.  Although this was an entirely different scale than I was using, I had to report to my group that adding meat resulted in a 2800 pound weight gain.  (This was the beginning of my breakup with the scales.)

What I didn’t know was how much these magnificent creatures would cause me to question my decision to eat meat.  I quickly became concerned with the conditions of cattle everywhere and how they (and other animals) are treated.

Granted, I grew up on a farm so I knew in advance how this story would end.  The men in my life are hunters and insist on reminding me of the cycle of life.  But I am blown away by the cycle of love and the capacity critters have to offer us comfort in exchange for a little kindness.

My Jersey Boys were full of joy and curiosity from the moment we got them home.  They  took to the pasture like it was their playground and we were their playmates.  Because they were bottle fed, they followed us around like puppies and ate apples out of our hands.

When I started scheming about ways to keep the boys with us for decades to come, Bob started limiting my visits.  He said my plan to keep them in the basement over the winter was not going to work, not even if we kept just one.

He did consent to keeping them with us longer than any other steers.  However, today he loaded them in the trailer and took them for their final ride.

Bob pretends it doesn’t bother him, but what he doesn’t know is I know he bought two bags of apples earlier in the week just for them.  When I went to say goodbye to them, they nuzzled up next me and I burst into tears.  They had no need to know why I was distraught.  They wanted only to comfort and nudged closer.

For a long time I stood there crying like a 4-H kid who had just said good-bye to her  champion steer.  People say they are just animals, but I know they become our confidantes when we spend time caring for them.

Despite my intellectual understanding of impermanence and the way nature works, I mourn the loss of love in any form.  These bovine bodhisattvas taught me a great deal about love in a short time.

I could put my heart on lock down and become defensive and fearful.  Or I could ask, “How now, brown cowsHow do we live and love knowing loss is inevitable?”

Like my cow-ncil of elders, I suspect my Jersey boys would reply, “By never missing an opportunity to love… however and whenever it shows up.”