Friday, March 13, 2015

Living in the present moment- Just fold the damn clothes!

"Do not dwell in the past, Do not dream of the future.  Concentrate the mind on the present moment."  Buddha

When it comes to folding clothes or putting the dishes away, I am the champion procrastinator.  That pile of clean clothes has been fructifying in a hidden corner of my bedroom all week.  I have an extra 20 minutes to spare this morning, so I set to begin the folding.  
But wait, my coffee cup is empty.  I can't fold clothes with an empty cup of coffee!  Coffee first.
And...I need music.  Pandora first.  
A text beckons on the phone- a client with a question.  Client first.  
Oooh look, someone has sent a friend request on Facebook.  Facebook first.  

As I finally begin folding, my monkey mind begins to race.  
Did I answer that email my boss sent yesterday?  
I wonder what my swim workout is for today.....I should look......
Did I write that appointment in my calendar?  
What should we eat for dinner tonight?  
The thoughts scrambled in my brain were so overwhelming that I had an Oprah "aha" moment. 
I realized the reason why I hated folding clothes.  The simplicity of it all forced me to slow down. 
"All you have to do right now Jennifer is fold these damn clothes.  It's simple.  Make them into a square. Put them in piles.  Walk them to the closet, or put them in a drawer.  Concentrate woman.  Clothes."
So I did.  I concentrated on the clothes.  The socks that my daughter pulls on to play soccer.  The bike shorts that protect my ass on long rides.  My work clothes, black and simple.  The warm towels that I wrap up in after a shower.  The lingerie.....well, we won't go there ;)
And in that moment, I realized these clothes were a blessing, not a chore.  

And- there was a blog to write!  But clothes first...........

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ask. You Shall Receive

"What do I do when my love is away
Does it worry you to be alone?
How do I feel by the end of the day
Are you sad because you're on your own?
No, I get by with a little help from my friends"
The Beatles

I've never been one to ask for help.  I guess I viewed having to do so as a sign of weakness; so I always got up earlier, worked longer hours, studied more, and stayed up late figuring out how to do everything by myself.  
Funny how things happen, but a recent life change has left me yelling  "uncle" and I've been forced to humble myself.  I've had to ask for help.  Tears well up as I write this because the support I have received from my friends makes me realized how blessed I truly am.  

I don't have to worry about moving anymore, a 2 bedroom apartment is waiting for me in March and my kids will have their own furnished bedroom.  It's in the perfect place for work and family balance. 
My new job stimulates and excites me.  I  have ownership over a new project, something I really have been longing for.  My brilliant co-workers are helping to grow my business and we work together as a team.  
My coach continues to push me, and it seems that almost every week I am introduced to someone who will teach me on my Ironman journey.  

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but I am so fortunate to have crazy friends who not only come along for the ride, but also let me bury my head in their shoulder when I'm too afraid to look.  Friends who remind me everyday that not only am I taken care of, but that life is amazing!

I realize now that I've been the guy in the old joke standing on the top of the house with God sending me signals for months: 

There was a big flood, and the water around a man's house was rising steadily.
The man was standing on the porch, watching water rise, when a man in a boat came along and called to him, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here." The man replied, "No thanks, God will save me."
The man went into the house, and the water starting pouring in. So, he went up to the second floor.
As he looked out, another man in a boat came along, and he called to him, "Get in the boat and I'll get you out of here."
Again, the man replied, "No thanks. God will save me."
The water kept rising. So, the man got out onto the roof.
A helicopter flew over, and the pilot called down to the man, "I'll drop you a rope, grab it, and I'll get you out of here."
Again the man replied, "No thanks. God will save me."
The water continued to rise, and soon covered the whole house. The man fell in, and drowned.
When he arrived in Heaven, he saw God, and asked Him, "Why didn't you save me from that terrible flood?"
God replied, "I sent people in two boats and a helicopter. Were you expecting angels?"

 Thank you God for the boat, the helicopter AND the angels.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This Shit's Getting Real- Why I'm Taking a Week off from Facebook.

"We need to see our situation for what it is.  We're not really crazy or stupid.  
We just don't see- that is, we don't pay attention to what we see." 
Steve Hagen 

Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I am what my friend would call "a Facebook whore".
When I pick up my phone, my thumb automatically hits the blue app with the lowercase "f" on it.  I have 8 notifications that are calling my name.  Yay!  Someone has acknowledged me!  Someone "likes" what I said, or what I look like, or what I've done.  Yay me!  So of course now I have to scroll through and read everyone's posts. Damn, I've lost another 30 minutes of my life looking into everyone else's, and the reality is that for every motivational and encouraging post I see, I also view one that fills me with automatic anxiety.

I've spent some time this week really looking inward; and through reading, listening and real down- home discussion I've found that right now, being in this moment as it presents its self is exactly where I need to be.

And, as hard as this is going to be for me, I think that means taking a break from Facebook.
(There. I said it out loud.)

Because I don't need to compare my life to yours-  hope is not a coping strategy.
I don't need to be distracted from the things that are really important and happening to me right now.
I don't need to look to you for approval or happiness.
I don't need to know where you are going, or where you have been, or who you are talking to.

What I do need is real conversation- look me in the eyes or let me hear your sweet voice.
I need focus and concentration on the present situation as it unfolds, especially with my new job.
I need to take care of my clients.
I need to be ok with who I am, where I am and who I spend my time with.
I need to train hard so I can accomplish the goals I have set for myself.
I need to be present for those I am blessed to be around in this moment.

Facebook has many positives. I have met so many fun and inspirational people-some of my best friends and workout partners. I've been able to re-connect with friends from my past.   I've been invited to cool events and celebrations.  I have used it as a forum to try to motivate and help others, and have learned from those more experienced then me.
I am not anti-Facebook and I'm sure I'll be back; but starting Monday I'm going to see what it is like to take one week away from my preoccupation with Facebook.
It's going to be hard!  But instead of picking up my phone in the morning, I choose to spend that time reading or meditating.   I will only post if I have something to promote my business or something to celebrate others success.  My mind is telling me that this is bullshit, but my heart is telling me that this is one small step forward towards really SEEING.  One step I can take in order to be present in the goodness of what IS!

Good luck to you on your upcoming races.  Find a new business contact.   Be well in your journey.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Be grateful.   Love each other.  Celebrate life.
Meanwhile, if you would like to talk to me- message me or text, or hey- pick up the phone and call.  Would love to hear the timbre of your voice or see your shining eyes.
Have an amazing week.  I'll let you know how it goes next week,  on Facebook of course ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?” 
― Erin Hanson

It's 4:30 am. I'm wading my feet in the water at the edge of the pool, glazed eyes staring at the glassy water.
My legs are heavy from yesterday's workout and I shiver at the thought of getting in the stinging water, so I sit.

It's 4:40 am.  I should get going.  I lower myself warily into the water.  It's not so bad, so I take a deep breath and dive in.  My breathing soon becomes rhythmic and predictable- strong even, and I am swimming.

Making that first move is always the hardest, and recently I have found myself just sitting there on the edge of unpredictability.  This swim, run, new job, relationship, (insert any part of your human being here) could after all be a complete failure.  I'll be working on commission, what if I'm not as good as I think I am?  It requires a move. What if I'm making a mistake?  What if I find myself alone again?

Paul Boynton, author of Begin With Yes, posted on Facebook this morning that "taking an action, no matter how small, sets things in motion.  Motion, no matter how small, means you are engaged with your life and making things happen.  Don't wait.  You will never have all the answers because each answer creates a new question.  There is a sweet rhythm here when you remember that one question, one answer, that is how life unfolds."

So, even though the water is cold, I choose to dive in with gratitude for new opportunity.  I choose to set things in motion. Another leap of faith that by engaging in life, I will be swimming steadily soon enough.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The 43 year Old Temper Tantrum

"You can't always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, you just might find 
you get what you need."
The Rolling Stones

Imagine a three year old on the floor of a retail store; red faced, kicking and screaming because she did not get her way.  Now imagine it's a 43 year old woman,  worried because she did not get her full pay check, scared of an upcoming move, and feeling unappreciated.
That spoiled brat has been me.
I've been so unhappy over the past few weeks, feeling that I wasn't getting what I deserved- that life wasn't "fair".  But yesterday, the death of a good friend's daughter put everything back into perspective for me.
Life doesn't owe me anything.

We work hard to get that payback, but it doesn't come.
We train for a starting line, but then get injured.
We imagine our kids will grow up to be a certain way, but the path they choose is their own.
We beg to be noticed, but are ignored.
We yearn for tenderness, but they roll over.
We crave adventure, but spend each day stuck in traffic.
We think someone is always going to be in our life, but then they're gone.

Truth telling-  it always turns out to be okay.
Because someone sent a gift card.
There is always another race.
Our loved ones have amazing souls.
I am surrounded by friends.
He really is just tired.
The cabin is booked.
We are never alone.

Life is bigger than me.
The ultimate gift and blessing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year of Gratitude

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” 
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Last year on the first of January, I found myself in church.  I'll admit that I'm not there much these days unless I am with my kids, but the pastor introduced a book called "A Simple Act of Gratitude- How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life" by John Kralik.
Inspired by a note his ex-girlfriend sent to thank him for a gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful for what he had by writing thank you notes.  To keep himself going, he set a goal of writing 365 notes in the coming year.  Thank you note by thank you note, his whole life turned around.

I read the book, and for a while I wrote the thank you my boyfriend for time spent together, to other teachers at my school for their help and guidance, even to the custodian at my school for putting up with my "less than organized" classroom.  But I found that even more invaluable were the  #yearofgratitude posts that I placed on Facebook acknowledging the amazing people and circumstances that the universe sent my way.  I have less money than I have ever had in my life, but the experiences I have had over the past year have blessed me ten fold.

For example:
I saw my first Joshua tree.  
My best friend texted me back when I was having a crisis, even though it was 3:30 am.
A Life Coach inspired me to take risks, and find what it is that I truly love to do.
I took the classes to keep my personal training certification, and landed a new job.
I wrote a business plan, and it was accepted.
Someone believed in me.
I completed the Western States 100 miler with the help of amazing pacers and the encouragement of others.
I've watched my kids grow into amazing people that I am so proud of.
My first coaching paycheck paid for my Ironman Texas entry.
I was given a second chance to love and be loved.
I am no longer stressed.
I work with people who inspire me to be better everyday.
The bills are always paid.
Friends check in on me, to make sure I'm ok.
I have a new coach that challenges me.
And I continue to grow through every experience that the universe sends my way.

As I look back on the past year, I am so grateful for every person, lesson and event that has allowed me to evolve.  May I continue to have faith and trust that I am cradled in love by God and the universe, and may I live each and every day as if there were no tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

.....but the greatest of these is love

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Dear One: 

I've come to learn that the greatest gift we can give each other, is to love one another.   I have no money this year to buy you expensive gifts to show you my love for you; so I decided to send you some promises instead. 

I promise to be present for you, even when I'm not in your presence.  
You'll always get a "good morning text, and a "good night" call.

I promise not to try to change you.
Even though I'm like a puppy dog in the morning, I'll remember that you wake up slowly.

I promise not to possess you, but give you time and space to grow.  You're my superman, I know you don't need saving.  

When you are at your worst, I will be at my best.  And when I'm at my worst, I'll try not to take it out on you.  

I promise to keep looking forward, and to be grateful for the lessons we've learned.  

I promise to remember your love language, and to speak it more often.  

And in this new year, full of hope and excitement, I promise adventure, full tummies and an abundance of love.  

Merry Christmas baby........