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.

 

 

 

 

 

Break Up with Your Scale

Weighting scales with  measuring tape. Diet concept. 3d

It’s Day 14 of my 21-Day detox and we’re heading into the homestretch. While the daily discipline required to stay on course is intense, I’m loving the confidence that comes with cleaning out my body and mind while connecting deeply with my soul.

There are as many reasons to do a cleanse, detox, or a purification as there are people who do them. Many people, however, do them to lose weight. And if they diligently follow a particular protocol, they usually do.

Unfortunately, unless they continue with the habits put in place during the detox, the results usually aren’t sustainable. Granted, the first couple of days, no one wants to continue after Day 21. But about half way through when they start feeling better, they might consider it.  By the end of it, they may have lost all desire to go back to their pre-detox habits.

I’m all for breaking up with unhealthy habits. Because breaking up is hard to do, my first rule when detoxing is to Become a Badass. I mean this in the best possible way.

You must be kind and compassionate to yourself and others. But you must be ruthless with the terrible tales you tell yourself about your inability to stick with anything for more than a minute.

Cleansing requires considerable courage. Toxins come in many forms – from the foods we eat to the air we breathe to the people we surround ourselves with.

When I detox, I’m no longer able to tolerate toxins the way I did before. Becoming a Badass is an act of bravery. I have to let go of things I no longer need since holding on to them sabotages my health and well-being.

For example, as my first official act of Badassery, I broke up with my scale. To me it was a liar, a terrorist, a tyrant, and a thief.  I decided to no longer accept its feedback as a measure of success or failure during the detox or any time.

I refused to let the scale diminish anything I might innately know about my body, like how it feels, what it needs, how I nourish it, or how I find pleasure in it. I refused to let an ever elusive number impact my day, my mood, my perspective, or my relationship with myself or others.

I have no need to give my power over to something as fickle as a firecracker. A scale can’t measure if I feel lighter, leaner, or more confident. It can’t begin to measure how much clearer my thoughts or complexion are or how much more emotionally available and spiritually connected I am. It cannot imagine the thrill of embodying fully.

The thing is I’ve always possessed the power to expose the scale for what it is. I  trusted it more than myself when I was younger. But not anymore. I trust my body to weigh whatever it wants to when I am nourishing it well and moving it meaningfully.

As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I know the damage a scale and what it represents can have on self-worth and body image.  I’ve seen how it contributes to a multitude of eating disorders.

If you have a healthy relationship with your scale, you may not need to break up with it.  Maybe your issue is with something else. Whatever it might be, call it out.

This is necessary in order to follow my Second Rule of Badassery:  Take back your power from whoever or whatever shamed you or made you feel less than all of who you are.

I’ll leave you with these words for advice. “Never ask if anything makes your butt look big. Assume you look marvelous because YOU are marvelous. You’re a Badass, for goodness sake. 🙂

Who or what do you need to detox from this week?  I’d love for you to share if you dare in the comments below. 

Also, if you are interested in learning more about detoxing, I’m starting a new project called The Detox Diaries.  If you’d like to follow along, let me know and I’ll send you an email when the blog is ready.

No Matter What – Day 9

father applying sunblock cream on daughters shoulder, sun protection

Gillian is on holiday right now and had this to say about today’s prompt.  “Right now I’m sitting by the pool in Gozo trying to get my daughter to put on some sun cream which made me think of today’s prompt. 🙂 “

G:  You know that song – always wear sunscreen by Baz Lehrman?  What 5 things would you have in your version of that song?

P:  I didn’t know the song, but I Googled it and added a link on his name (above) so those who don’t know it can listen to it.  Even before hearing the lyrics, it sounded like a commencement address to me.  Since I’ve given and listened to many such addresses in my academic career, I realized I had heard snippets of this one before.  It’s definitely worth sharing.

A few years ago when I graduated into a new decade, I wrote a commencement address of sorts.  I called it my Midlife Manifesto and tried my hand at making a video.  If you’ve got some headphones handy and 3 minutes to spare, click on the video below to see my version of “always wear sunscreen.”

If you don’t have time right now, no worries.  Come back later when you do.  In the meantime, here are 5 new ideas to add to the mix.

1) Put your own oxygen mask on first. You can’t save anyone if you aren’t alive.

2) Move at the pace of grace.  Don’t just do something, sit there. Go when you know. Act with intention.  Do with deliberation. Let grace be your guide.

3) Put your whole self in and shake it all about. Do what you love.  Love what you do. You are one thought away from a new perspective. Why not choose the cheerier thought?

4) Always trust your cape. Believe in your Superpowers.  “She did not know she could not fly, so she did.”

5) Create. No. Matter. What.  You know the drill by now, yes?  Begin again.  And again. And again.

Want to share your version?  Please do so in the comments below.  To have Gillian send you daily prompts, email her at www.gillianpearce.com. Thanks for playing the No Matter What Game with us.  Gillian sends me prompts each weekday and I do my best to answer them no matter what.  I encourage you to do so as well to get your creative juices flowing.

The One That Got Away

Opportunity wooden sign with a beach on background

Whether it was the missed connection, the dream job, the international man of mystery, the lady in red, the big fish, or the 200+ inch, double drop tine buck**, nothing haunts us quite like the one that got away.

Having lived long enough to have made my share of questionable decisions, the best decision is to have no regrets.

If in the agony and urgency of attempting to make a life-changing decision I can remind myself there is not just one perfect soul mate, one perfect job, or one chance of a lifetime, this is easier.

Granted, these opportunities are rare. But I’ve come to trust that what is meant for me has a curious way of circling back around.

Through a series of outrageous occurrences, I was invited to Miami Beach for a creative writing residency by the founder and creative director of one of the world’s finest greeting card companies. The chance to spend a little time writing cards at the beach escalated into an opportunity to become an integral part of the company.

Anyone who knows me knows being part of a creative team of writers and artists and brilliant minds is a dream come true.  Everything about this opportunity beckoned me.  Exceptional people.  Exceptional place.  Exceptional potential.

Except for the equal and opposite dream I have been quietly crafting in my own back yard.

Before I had a home, a husband to be, and a steady job that supports my writing habit and frequent flights of fancy, I would often imagine in detail what a free-spirited, super successful, single person’s writing life should look like.

Suffice it to say, it looked like what I was now being offered. Living the dream for a few days was intoxicating.

Returning to the reality of my regularly scheduled life was excruciating.  Not because it isn’t alluring in its own right, but because I had been unequivocally altered.  Only those closest to me knew to what extent.

I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t reconcile the gap between achieving what I’ve always wanted professionally and the price it would exact personally.

In getting a glimpse of this parallel life in all its glory, I got that my dreams must evolve as I do.  Like an app on an iPad, I must update them regularly in order to address the glitches I fail to factor in when I originally envision them.

Life-changing decisions are not meant to be easy.  By their very nature they urge us to evaluate everything, question our assumptions, check our egos, inventory what’s important, and listen deeply to our own wisdom.

They are designed to wreak havoc.  They are going to cause some grief since something has got to give and some things have got to go.

Adding to the pressure, they are usually time-sensitive and affect other unsuspecting people.

We remember the one that got away with such angst because he/she/it catapulted us out of our comfort zone and demanded we address our soul’s deeper yearnings.

Whether we act on the invitation, take a leap of faith, and change our current trajectory or not, the real gift is conjuring up the courage to consider doing so.

To feel deeply, love flat out, and shamelessly want what we want reminds we are alive with infinite input into how we live our lives.

Living this way is both exhilarating and exhausting.  And will undoubtedly define us as the one that got away in someone else’s story.

Now go.  Discover creative ways to live your updated, awe-inspiring dream.  Live large in small areas of your life.  Or go big and still go home. Whatever works.  It’s up to you.

And when you get a minute, tell me about it in the comments below.

**I only know about such things because the buck is Bob’s dream.  No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

The Secret to Sustainable Success

front door standing welcome

I spent the better of Sunday pondering the secret to sustainable success as I sliced and diced and cordoned off portions of dietary staples for the upcoming week.

In terms of sticking to my new eating plan, the unequivocal answer is preparation. From shopping to chopping it’s all about the prep. This explains the impressive collection of colorful ceramic knives I scored for my birthday along with some bamboo cutting boards and mixing spoons.

Had you asked me a year ago if I would be spending weekends frequenting farmer’s markets, foraging around local food co-ops, attempting to plant an herb garden, figuring out how to compost, consorting with nutritionists, or getting needled by acupuncturists, I would have assumed you had me confused with my Santa Fe friends.

The truth is I didn’t embrace this lifestyle until recently when I discovered that eating well is the fundamental secret to success.

Please don’t confuse eating well with eating extravagant meals, preparing elaborate dishes, or coupling exotic spices with complicated and hard to find ingredients.

Eating well in my book means eating whole foods you can easily pronounce, readily find, and effortlessly digest.

We’ve gotten carried away with convenience, making it the number one reason we eat what we eat, when we eat it, even why we eat it.

I get it. We are busy people. Convenience soothes a stressed out soul.

But it wreaks havoc on our health. It was certainly messing with mine and I knew better. Yet I felt incapable of competing with its allure. Until I decided I must.

It’s been a year long journey into learning how to nourish myself. I’ve experienced as many setbacks as successes. But I am profoundly changed by the lessons learned and transformed by my training as an Eating Psychology Coach.

How I previously defined success has been seriously called into question. I didn’t spend forty years wandering around the desert only to get to my personal Promised Land and decide I liked it better where I came from because it was more convenient.

Oh no. There is no going back. Not even for mango margaritas.

I haven’t reached my Promised Land before because it’s incredibly hard to get here. It’s even harder to stay. Consequently, I’m determined to set up shop.

The secret to sustainable success is we are responsible for sustaining it. We have to pay attention and work with intention every day, course correct, scratch some of our best ideas, begin again, ask for help, be generous, have fun, and remember to give thanks for living in the land of milk and honey – even if it comes with a few mosquitoes.

I couldn’t have arrived here before because, admittedly, I wasn’t ready. If I got too distracted, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, all bets were off. I had no healthy snacks and I had no Plan B – or options for the rest of the alphabet, for that matter.  In other words, I was not prepared.

I couldn’t recognize success for what it was because I couldn’t recognize myself for who I was becoming. Suffice it to say, it’s been a work in progress.

And now that work is cut out for me. It may appear to some as the same work I’ve been doing all along.  However, coming from a new vantage point makes all the difference.

After 8 months of intense training, I’m thrilled to be able to call myself an Eating Psychology Coach and passionately practice the work that’s been a guiding force throughout my life.  

In the next couple of months I’ll unveil my new website along with opportunities for you to join me in challenges and adventures that invite you to sustain your idea of success. 

Sound fun?  Hope so!  Leave your questions or suggestions in the comments below.

EPCC-Coach-Badge-500x500

The Graduate’s Guide to Life

Promising Future

It’s that time of year when unidentified flying objects are most likely graduation caps.

Many, many moons ago I addressed my graduating class in an enthusiastic attempt to say something profound about what awaited us.  The truth is I had no clue.

What I know now is we’re always graduating from something.  A job, a relationship, a role, a stage of life. Regardless if we’d rather stay where we are, life is relentlessly nudging on us to the next thing.

Several years I self-published a book and designed a scroll for a few students I was mentoring called “The Graduate’s Guide to Life.”  The idea was to share life lessons learned along the way.

Although I offered these ideas in hopes of saving them the heartache, trouble, and consequences of making questionable decisions, these were precisely the things they needed to experience to grow their own brand of wisdom and confidence.

As an educator and avid reader, I like to learn as much as I can from as many different sources as possible. But nothing beats experience.

When I used to do corporate trainings, I’d often rely on the experts instead of myself.  I’d repeat what the gurus were saying without fully embodying the message.  This left me feeling like a fraud. Although the desire to educate was coming from a genuine place, the message wasn’t authentically mine.

I contrast this with the work I am doing now with my Eating Psychology Coaching and How to Get Your Groove Back classes. I have spent the last year immersed in this material and used my own body as an experiment to put this information to the test.  I have made major lifestyle changes so I can speak from experience and understand what clients are going through.

The results are profoundly different and I have never felt more on purpose or in tune with my life’s work. It’s also taken me a lifetime to get here.

Which leads me to my favorite words of advice to any graduate and one of my favorite songs.  Always trust your cape. (Even when it feels like an invisibility cloak.)

You see, I believe we each have superpowers. Despite protests and denials as to what these might be or how to activate them, I know you secretly know how, when, why, and where to best put them to use.  Maybe it won’t be for years, but one day you will have no choice but to claim them.

In this day of constant comparison, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out.  Of thinking you’ve missed the boat, missed your chance, missed your time to shine. Of convincing yourself that you are somehow not worthy and will never have the skills, smarts, looks, or advantages that someone else has.

Trust me on this. Your life is unfolding exactly as it should in order to gather the necessary experience.  You can and will need to course correct as you gain more clarity.  You are worthy, you matter, and you have something to contribute.

Never stop graduating.

Don your cap and gown – or cape as I like to call it – and celebrate.  Then go fearlessly where life is calling you.  The world really does need your gifts.

How To Get Your Groove Back

Beautiful woman enjoying life

Long before Fifty Shades of Grey there was Stella.  And Stella had issues.

Despite her highly successful career, Stella had lost her mojo and was determined to get it back.

She was of a certain age and just not feeling as groovy as she once did.  So what did Stella do?

She did what any woman cast in a starring role opposite Taye Diggs would do.  She went to Jamaica and had a wild, passionate affair with this hunk of burning love.  She definitely brought her sexy back.

But that was Stella, played by the beautiful Angela Bassett, and her story was fictional.

Even if you could afford to whisk yourself away to a romantic locale and discover a smoking hot lover (surprisingly this may be the same person who snores beside you at home), often this kind of reboot(y) is a temporary fix.

What I’m looking for is the real deal.  If I’m feeling funky, frazzled, and fatigued, the farthest thing from my mind is suiting up in sexy lingerie and stilettos. (If you’ve seen my shoe collection, you know I’m taking creative license here.)

What I really want is for the brain fog to dissipate, the chaos to transform into clarity, and the fatigue to turn into sustainable energy.  While a powerful love connection can do that, so can understanding and practicing the basics of mind-body nutrition,  the phases of nourishment, and the soul lessons you came here to learn.

Yes, you read that right.  I went from sex to science to spirituality in six sentences.  Because you and I are whole beings and the only way to get our groove back is to stop pretending we aren’t and to get in touch with all of who we are, not just the easy parts.

One of the key concepts I’ve learned in my outstanding Eating Psychology Coaching program is we must step into our roles as kings and queens at midlife.  Staying stuck in our roles and princes or princesses does not serve anyone. It may be fun and it may be encouraged by our society at large, but evolving into our higher selves is really where it’s at.

What do I mean by becoming kings and queens?  I mean rightfully taking charge of and owning our challenges as well as our areas of expertise.  It means contributing to our communities, serving those we are uniquely equipped to care for, and understanding the  value of our experience, connections, and failures as well as successes.

It means we are no longer plagued with such silliness as, “Does this tiara make my butt look big?” or “Does this Jaguar impress you?”  It means we now have time to make sure others have safe drinking water or proper child care or the ability to read and write.

The best way to get my groove back is to get in touch with what I am passionate about and actively pursue it.  It may start out as a physical desire that turns into a mental pursuit that becomes a spiritual quest. Or it may just be all that at the same time.

This week I’m inviting anyone in or near my location to join me for an 8-week discovery into this topic.  I’m teaching a weekly class called “How to Get Your Groove Back” on Tuesday nights from 6-7:30pm at my workplace, Clinton Community College Maquoketa Center.  I would love to have you join me.  If you are interested, call me at 563-652-5000 and I’ll fill you in on the details.

If you don’t live near me, never fear!  This is Step One in the grand plan of creating an online course so you may take the class wherever you happen to be.

I am in the process of redesigning my website and offering several exciting options for you to participate in from free classes to 30-day challenges to group coaching. The plan is to have this ready by June 1, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you have suggestions or ideas about what you would like to see more of, let me know.  There is still time to develop these for you.

So, groovy guys and gals, share if you dare and leave your comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!