Monday, December 11, 2017

Good riddance to that jealous bitch!

"What sort of love is permeated jealousy?  You are jealous because you are unaware that everything you need is inside you."
Peter Deunov

To look at it from the outside you probably never would have said "Jesus, that Jennifer is a jealous bitch."  But I cannot tell you my friends how many times that green eyed monster has made me suffer.  I'm not proud of it, but the story goes like this.....

I wasn't always a jealous person, but when life shows you insecurity, people become a threat.  Maybe she was model beautiful, or he could run faster and farther than I could, or they had cute kids and the "perfect" house.  
"Wow- look how much she loves him", or he got a  shiny new bike, or she won an award for philanthropist of the year.  
It really didn't matter, jealousy rose as my first instinct.  Opening Facebook was like opening Pandora's Box, and sometimes I would literally feel sick to my stomach.  Why was everyone’s life seemingly better than mine? 

My ego fought back, and I tried to protect myself by pretending to be strong, capable and beautiful.  There were the sickening displays of public affection, hand-picked race pics, fake smiles, sexy clothes and silly banter.  I became a peacock with a false sense of superiority.  But I still was a jealous bitch.
Feeling extremely sick, I honestly decided one day that was just too much trouble- and I chose to be 100%  genuine instead.  

Brene Brown said, "Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect."   That's what it took for me.  A strong sense of belonging in my relationships, my workplace, and for my self has allowed me to cultivate a sense of belonging.  A sense of purpose. 

I've stopped trying to prove myself to anyone, because I am finally aware that everything I need is inside me. So now when that green eyed monster joins the party, he and I dance together in a celebration of your accomplishments....and my wisdom.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

How I manifested the life of my dreams

Within all of us is a divine capacity to manifest and attract all that we need and desire."
Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I first saw The Secret, or heard people talk about the "Law of Attraction" I thought it was total bullshit.  Sure- my relationships suck, I have no money in the bank, and I'm constantly exhausted; but if I just have POSITIVE beliefs, my wildest dreams will come true!  Right.

At first, I ignored the possibility of this fool’s paradise- but then my best friend since second grade shared her experience, and I began seeing and reading more articles, and I hired a life coach.....and with my personal rule being that when I hear or see something 3 times "it must be a sign"- I finally acted. 
I was in a rut in both my relationships and my job, so those are the areas I concentrated on.  Fast forward 2 years and things are pretty damn awesome.  Here's how I made it happen:

1. I figured out what I REALLY wanted. 
We spend so much time bitching about the things that are going wrong, we don't even know what would make us happy. I was so far gone that I asked for help from friends and hired a life coach.  Laying it out there is tough, and you have to be brave enough to believe you deserve it, but this is the first step toward positive change.

2.  Write it down (I love a good list)
My friend Jennifer told me she made a list of exactly what she wanted in a partner- even what he would look like!  (She's happily married now.)
My first list was what I wanted in a relationship, including a partner that lived close by (that’s asking a lot, I know) and when it was clear that I would not get those listed things, I decided to move on.  They say that when one door closes another door opens so I went on to make the  "perfect guy list" and later the "what I want my job to look like" list.  
Oh, and I also noted that I no longer wanted to be stressed about money.   

3.  Send it to the universe
I understand that this seems corny as hell, but literally you just imagine with all of your heart what it would feel like to have these amazing things in your life, and you put it out there to the universe or your higher power that this is what you want. Then you let it simmer and the magic begins happen.  

4.  Take Action
Ah ha- here's the catch.  I didn't say that you just sit back and watch it happen.  You have to start taking ACTION.  For me that meant one thing at a time, and it meant talking to people and getting help.  It meant distancing myself from some people.  It meant taking a risk on a new and different job.  It meant trusting that those who love me had my best interests in mind.  It meant being brave- over and over and over, and celebrating each win along the way.   

Joy Page said that "to manifest your hearts desires, you must be your hearts desires."  
I have become my heart’s desire.  No, it’s not always sunshine and roses, but I made it happen!  
I manifested a life of love and peace, a life where I am truly happy.  
Perhaps it’s time to believe in a little magic yourself.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This is your brain on bullshit....

"I could see peace instead of this" 
A Course in Miracles

Ah Tequila- she is sneaky. 
Syrupy and sweet one minute, she is malicious and cunning the next.  
Tequila can take me from 0 to Bitch in less than 45 seconds, so I don't drink too many margaritas; and even though I didn't finish half of the soup bowl of frozen deliciousness the waiter brought us last night- it definitely affected me. 
Not to go into detail, but tequila was telling me to feel jealous and insecure. She wanted me to start a fight over absolutely nothing. She wanted me to be mean.  
However last night as those thoughts began to boil, something clicked.  I was able to understand that those feelings were not the real me. Choosing not to entertain them, I went to bed.   
For some lucky reason, I chose peace.  

So many times, our mind is like tequila, leading us to believe stories that are just not true.  It tricks us into believing that we need to feel anxious or worried. It tells us that we are not enough, or that we need to be fearful.
What if there was another way of looking at it?  What if we could see peace instead?

What if we went outside for some fresh air, or found our breath in meditation?
What if we allowed for communication, or even to step away for a bit if necessary?
What if we chose to be mindful, or to make a change?
What if we chose love over fear?

A Course in Miracles states that "Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter.  It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward.  It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises." 

Consider that the situation may not be as bad as we think it is. 
Peace is a choice.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Be Brave Enough to Take Action

"Even tiny steps in the right direction can signal a great turning."
Mary Piper

The lightning woke me before I heard the thunder.  
It was around 5 am on a Saturday morning (my alarm set for 5:30), and I found myself alone in bed once again as I treaded water in a 4 year long distance relationship.  For some reason on this particular day, my plans to bury myself in work could not mask the gripping pain in my chest. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but surely this is what the onset of depression felt like. 

I knew things needed to change.  

This voice had spoken to me before, but this time the words were not a whisper or a suggestion.  They were a scream-  the shriek of spectators watching an old woman cross the street as a breaking car squeals to a stop. 

I knew in order for things to change I would need to take action, but that thought itself seemed overwhelming.  I don't even how I came to the idea (perhaps divine inspiration), but the understanding that came to me that morning was that I needed to "start surrounding myself with good people."  

So just like Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob, I started taking baby steps toward meeting and talking to people who inspired me.  I asked friends to join me for runs or bike rides.  I asked for business meetings with my boss.  I asked friends to join me for dinner or coffee. One particular dinner turned into 2 hours of reflective conversation and perhaps a little too much wine, but I left that restaurant remembering who I was, what I wanted for my life, and what I deserved.  

This was my great turning.  I became brave enough to say what I wanted, and to know that it was time to leave the situation if it was not going to lead me to live my best life.

Since then I've taken many more baby steps.  
Baby steps toward feeling better by getting more sleep.
Baby steps to a healthy relationship with someone I dearly love, respect and trust. 
Baby steps toward a job that is less stressful and more rewarding.  
Baby steps toward doing more of what I love.
Baby steps toward becoming a writer.

Paulo Coelho says that "When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it".  I believe this with my whole heart.  Be brave enough to take action.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Create your own Damn Adventure

"Bloom where you are planted."

I read two articles today.  One where Men's Health raved about the nirvana that is Boulder, Colorado and the other article claimed Dallas, Texas as  "the worst outdoor city in America"  (Outdoor Magazine 2014)

Well hell,  Guess where I live.
So- here I am, a girl that craves adventure, who LOVES being outside and wants nothing more than to live my passion hanging out with the hippies, cyclists, trail runners and yogis in the mountains; but I reside in the Dallas suburbs.
Yee- haw.

I pouted about it for a while, and then decided that since I'm here for 6 more years, (and since I write a blog called "Adventures of an Ordinary Girl,") that it was time to "suck it up buttercup" and do something about it.  Thus, here are my ideas of how to have an adventure wherever you are.

1. Do something out of your comfort zone.
This could be anything from skydiving to volunteering at the homeless shelter.  My new adventure is teaching the "active older adults class" at the Y, and each and every day I am inspired by their strength, tenacity and love of life.  They scare me a little- in a good way- because they know exactly what they want and let you know accordingly.  They expect the best, which makes me better.

2. Play with your kids.
Have you forgotten how to pretend?  Play with your kids.  It's so fun to see the creative and amazing adventures they live out every day.  Make space for play and family time in your life and get ready to swim with mermaids, and to shoot the bad guys with squirt guns.

3.  Get outside!
Maybe we don't have the mountains or the beach, but we have a few man-made lakes and rivers and several bike and hike trails. Get to the water or out in the woods.   Yes, you will have to drive there, but the euphoria you experience as you see the sun rise over White Rock Lake or as you witness that bobcat winking at you at Rowlett Creek makes it all worth it.

4.  Buy local or organic
Head to the farmers market as if you lived in Seattle.  Shop at Whole Foods or Sprouts.  Good food- free of pesticides and other toxins is worth it, and the experience is fun instead of stressful.

5.  Take a class, see a show, try something new
Just get out.  Now that I live in Allen, it is so tempting to stay up here in my own little bubble- but there is so much talent available to us through theater, restaurants, museums and music.  Go experience all of it!  Soak it in!  From Broadway to burritos- we have it.  Eat it up.

6.  Hang out with someone new
We learn what we love through doing.  Introduce yourself to someone, and let them introduce you to new experiences. Have you ever eaten a little baby octopus' at a French restaurant before?  No?
Now that's adventure!!!

Oprah Winfrey said that "the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."
Travel to Machu Picchu, swim with the sharks in Africa, climb that goddamn mountain......
But the life of your dreams is happening right now, where you live.  What are you waiting for?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Perhaps You're Suffering From "Time Sickness"

"Time is an illusion." 
Albert Einstein

It's Sunday, my day off of work and all I can think about this morning is how many activities I can cram into it.  How much can I accomplish?  What can I get done?  I should of course work out, and clean up a bit, and contact some clients and perhaps get a head start on work for next week.....
I even said out loud that "I wish I didn't have to go to Sammi's soccer game " because it would take up so much time in the middle of my day.

Whoa!  As soon as that came out of my mouth I knew that my priorities were way off, but so many thoughts whirled around in my brain that I couldn't even think straight.  Fortunately  I know that when I feel that kind of anxiety, it's time to quiet the chatter a bit, meditate first,  and then make decisions from there. 

I have been following Oprah and Deepak's 21 day meditation challenge and sat down to day #3 (because I'm already behind)- a lesson on Recognizing and Healing Time Dysfunction.
In this meditation, Deepak describes the epidemic of time sickness.   Time Sickness, he states, is "the ultimate disorder because it throws the mind and body out of balance.  As we race against the clock  and measure every day on what we did or did not achieve- life isn't lived.  We know we suffer from time sickness if we feel there is never enough time, if we are constantly looking at the clock, if we find ourselves dreading the passage of time, or if we feel frustration or failure if we did not achieve all that we thought we should during the day. "

As I sat in silence after today's lesson, I recalled Aaron Conner telling me a few years ago that there "is no such thing as time."   In that moment, I couldn't quite wrap my head around that idea.....but today it occured to me that perhaps another way of putting it is that there is no such thing as a lack of time, because time is infinite.  If, as Chopra states, "time shifts depending on what is going on in the inside"  then time is of limitless abundance.  If you believe that we are more than just a body, time has no meaning.  Past, present,'s all an illusion.

Pretty deep I know- so what do we do with all that?  It all goes back to being in each and every  moment.  Each moment we birth our own experiences.  We can change them whenever we want.
If you find yourself dreading time passage, then find something else to do.
If there is never enough time, allow for space.
If you keep looking at the clock, undertake an adventure where the minutes are irrelevant.
If you are frustrated by your lack of accomplishment- then accomplish something damnit!

So, as I let today unfold, I walked by the TV and sat down for 40 minutes to see Shalane Flannigan kicking ass in the New York marathon  (inspiring the hell out of me). I decided to write.  I'll get a little work done after I watch my daughter score a few goals in her final soccer game, and perhaps sit and read a bit this evening if thats the way things unfold.

It's funny how thankful I was this morning for  the "extra hour" alloted to us as daylight savings time ends. Maybe if we could see the abundance of time available to us in each and every day, we could make every moment matter and in turn our reward will be a healthy relationship with time.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When You're Done Beating Yourself Up.......

"When you're done beating yourself up- come and see me." 

"When you're done beating yourself up, come see me."
We'll sleep in on a Saturday morning, then meander to the diner up the street for strong coffee and warm biscuits with Virginia ham.  We'll discuss the meaning of life and enjoy each others company as the sun caresses our skin.  You'll have to go too soon because you'll forget who you're with, but I know you'll be back.

"When you're done beating yourself up, give me a call."
You can put down your work for a bit  and we'll take the dogs for a walk on the trails.  We can pick up pizza on the way home and have a dance party with the kids.  Don't worry, a few glasses of wine and you'll be jiving with the rest of us.  I bet you'll even sleep like an angel tonight, carefree and content.

"When you're done beating yourself up, stop running away."
I want to take you on a trip to the mountains where you actually take time to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the view.  We'll meditate in silence, and I'll help you discover who you really are- someone who stays.

"When you're done beating yourself up, I'll send you a friend."
He's super cool, and he'll really dig you.  You guys have so much in common, that you'll just sit and talk for hours on end.  You'll adore him, I just know it.  Perhaps you'll even fall in love.....

"When you're done beating yourself up,  you will have to walk away from things that no longer serve you."  Trust me, its ok.  It's part of the process.  Let them go.   I'm here now.

"I'm so excited that you're coming to see me."
I've missed you!  Welcome home.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

People Who Make a Difference- See Things Differently

"When your vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, 
you will understand perfectly."  A Course in Miracles

Last night we went to see the movie Same Kind of Different As Me, a beautiful story about Ron and Debbie Hall's impact on the homeless community in Fort Worth.
(If you haven't done so, read the book- you will be blessed).
I'm not going to go too much into the details of the story because I encourage you to discover it for yourself, but what particularly resonated with me was Deborah Hall's ability to see things differently.  When she looked at the Union Gospel Misson, she saw beyond the exterior to envision a place of beauty and  potential, and more importantly she saw the people she served there as her friend and equal.

The Course in Miracles states that "God is in everything we see."
God is in your cup of coffee.
God is in the trees.
God is in a banana.
God is in that pen that you write with.
God is in you.
God is in me.

I know, it sounds ridiculous at first.  God is in the banana? 
Choose to see differently:  God made the banana and the people who farmed it so we could be nourished.
God is in the pen?
Choose to see differently:  God is in everything that you write, and what you write is creation.

When we look at everything in our lives through glasses of love, appreciation and open-mindedness we are choosing to see the purpose of the universe.
We can observe the why behind the anger, the beauty beyond the scars.
We will recognize wealth instead of lack, confidence beyond insecurities.
We know our infinite connection with all things, and witness peace instead of war.

There IS another way of looking at the world. 
Behold the light.
Choose to see everything differently.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5 Things You Should Never Feel Guilty About ( In my humble opinion)

"There's  no problem so awful that you can't add a little 
guilt to it to make it worse." 
Calvin- from Calvin and Hobbes

This week, I find myself in between jobs, with 6 free days.  You would think I would be ecstatic about it, but instead I find myself fighting guilt- for my conditioned self has told me all my life that busyness equals success.  Luckily, this morning I went out and was reacquainted with a familiar friend on the trails.  My authentic self.  The self that knows only truth and love.  The soul that knows that I shouldn't feel bad for doing things that bring happiness and peace into my life.  As she encouraged me to let go of the guilt, I started thinking about all of the amazing opportunities we miss because of pressures that we put on ourselves.

Now, let me start with this blog with a safety label- I have come to understand that ANYTHING in excess is not healthy, but how many times do we beat ourselves up over doing normal, everyday things because we feel we shouldn't be doing them for "X" reason.   Here is my list- maybe you can relate.

1.  Eating Food.  Drinking Drink. -  You did it.  You ate the donut.  It was warm, and creamy and so fucking delicious, but the first place your mind goes is that you "shouldn't have eaten that."  Of course now you're probably going to gain 12 lbs overnight and when that sugar high wears off you're going to spin into a world of pissiness your day is obviously completely ruined and you might as well go ahead and have a "cheat day."
Omg.  Eat the donut and savor its awesomeness- then move on and have vegetable soup and a salad for lunch.

2.  A messy house.  This one is tricky, because sometimes messes can make us more agitated and we would feel much better if we would just clean it up.  However, how many times have you missed out on inviting your neighbors over for drinks because the house was "messy" or lost your shit when your kid left their dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher?  In the grand scheme of life, do you need to let those clothes on the floor ruin your evening?  We are busy people, and everyone's house is messy at some point.  I promise.

3.  Sleeping.  Why do we glorify lack of sleep like it is a contest to be won?  Whether its sleeping late on a Sunday morning, or sneaking in a nap before the kids get home, just do it.  Sleep is medicine, and  you and everyone around you will be better for it.

4.  Sitting still.  Sitting still makes me feel antsy, but again that's comes from my own conditioned, exercise freak mind.  I actually used to get pissed when I would see others just sitting around reading a book or listening to music.   Didn't they have something that they SHOULD be doing?  Through my meditation practice I have learned that stillness is essential in cultivating awareness, which leads to so many other beautiful truths.  It's ok to just be.  Actually more then ok- its pretty awesome.

5.  Traveling.  There was a time a few years ago that I found myself confusingly depressed with $300 to my name and little credit.  I literally did not know what to do with myself, but I knew that I needed to get away from all of it.  I had miles, so I got on the American Airlines website to see where I could go with the miles that I had, and perhaps a friend that would let me crash with them.  I to this day have no idea how I made all of that happen, but I spent three beautiful fall days running trails in Virginia, got my shit together, and came home to see my business take off.  There are SO many beautiful places to go to.  Just plan it and make it happen.

There are a few more things I can think of.... alone time, exercise, baths.......we all have our own list.  In my mission to live more mindfully, I hope I can let go of guilt's stronghold.  It's too damn heavy. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A love story

This is a story about a boy who won my heart.  A love story.
Lets begin in the middle........

Have you ever been to a hotel where the shower head is so amazing, that you never want to get out?  And every single time you say to yourself "I wish I could have awesome showers like this at home!"
Well, after such a conversation my boy gets on Amazon Prime, orders the shower head and I am now typing this blog in said shower (kidding).  Now here's the big deal about showers for me: The alarm goes off at 3:45 am 5 days a week, and I stumble in the shower to lather myself in peppermint soap to wake my sleepy ass up. I work, workout and return to said shower a tired, sweaty mess.  A good shower is heaven on earth.  My boy understands.

Going back a few months....
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the coffee is noticeably delicious and you think "wow- I wish I could have coffee like this at home?"  Well, guess what?  My boy fires up his phone and we now drink said coffee every single morning.  Coffee to us is pretty much like taking a shot of life for breakfast.  On lazy Sunday mornings we sit, read the paper, and talk with over sized mugs in hand.  Coffee is heaven on earth.  Not only does my boy understand, he presets the coffee pot every evening so its ready for me when I wake up. 

And back to the beginning......
Have you ever asked someones opinion about a book, and they tell you that they have it if you would like to read it and they actually go to the post office and mail it to you?  That's the kind of stuff my boy does, and he follows up with "what did you think?"

He's the one that knows I hate grocery shopping and either goes for me, or comes with me just because.  He's the one that plays phone tag with annoying insurance companies.  He listens to my visionary chatter and encourages me to be true to myself.

The rest of the story is to be determined.....and life isn't always easy, but my hope is that my heart will continue to burst with mindful appreciation every single day.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

How lucky you think the world was made for you

"You're 50 years old, and you still think the world was made for you."
Ananya- in the movie Brad's Status

On rare occasions we go to see movies (mainly so Greg can eat popcorn), but its even more uncommon that a movie can affect me as much as Brad's Status did when I saw it today.
I had to get out on my bike for an hour this afternoon to process Mike White's way of getting our attention about what is important in life, because I felt so unsettled afterward.

In the movie Brad Sloan, founder of a non-profit agency,  experiences a confidence crisis as he starts comparing his life to the lives of friends that he went to college with.  Even though Brad has a sweet wife who works for the government, a prodigy son, and a cozy house in Sacramento, he compares himself to his buddies...constantly making up stories in his mind of how wonderful their "successful" lives must be.  He becomes obsessed with the fact that their grass seems greener, only to find out that they too have troubles of their own.

The quote in this movie that really made me think comes when Brad is talking to his son's beautiful, idealistic visionary friend, Ananya- a college student attending Harvard.

Brad: (after telling Ananya she should forget non-profit and go make money)
"Do I sound jaded?  I started out as idealist as any of your friends are over there."

Ananya:  "You know what I'm thinking?  I'm thinking how lucky you are.  You're 50 years old and you still think that the world was made for you. The people in my country, they make $2.00 a day, and are just trying to figure out where their next meal is coming from."

It felt like someone hit me on the head with a frying pan.
You still think the world was made for you.  

At a time when I've had some pretty important choices to make that seem to be a complete blow to my ego's "status,"  this made so much sense.
You think the world was made for you- what if people think you're a failure?
You think the world was made for you- you deserve more.
You think the world was made for you- others owe you something.
You think the world was made for you- it's all about me.
You think the world was made for you-  you think you have time.

So many times the world tells me otherwise......but damn, it's really not all about me.
It's not about my business, or my accomplishments, or how people perceive me. It's not about my Facebook status, or relationship status, or political views.  It's not about first place, or "making others proud" or trying to prove myself.

It's about belief in a higher good.
It's about a desire to make a positive difference in people's lives.
Its about vulnerability, and team work.
It's about "love your neighbor as yourself."
It's about looking people in the eye.
It's about us. You+me.

Together- we can do anything.
Would you be willing to let go of your ego, if you knew you could make the world a better place?
For me- the answer today is yes.  Let's do this.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sure - You Own the Sexy Undies, but You Really Prefer the Comfy Ones

"This morning when I put on my underwear- I could hear the Fruit of the Loom guys laughing at me."
Rodney Dangerfield

It's Monday, my day off.  I'm showered and digging through my underwear drawer....past the lace, past the satin, past the skimpy....because today's agenda calls for a trip to the dentist, grocery shopping and carpool hell.  Today is a solid, cotton underwear kind of day.

Now don't get me wrong, I have my g- string moments!  The hair, the make-up, a little dinner- a little dancing........but the reality is that most days are just not sexy lingerie days.  Most days we want comfort.  We don't want anything riding our ass or up in our business.  We want support.  Lycra that holds us, a dependable fabric that we can trust.  No scratchy irritations or constricting discomfort.

And while that bustier may catch his eye- don't we really want someone who thinks we're just as beautiful in his t-shirt and our Calvins?
Heck- they're just coming off anyway......

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Life is not a "To Do" List

"We are always getting ready to live, but never living."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

3:45- wake up 
5:00- teach TEAM 
6:00- small group 
7-9- take kids to school 
9:00- 3:00- clients, phone calls, meetings, work etc......
3:00- some form of exercise
5:15- take dogs to vet 
7:00- dinner for family 
8:00- so done.  Should meditate - but I'm too tired.  Ready for bed. 

Some people call them "to do" lists.  Some people call it "living by your calendar."
I'm starting to think its more like being in the prison of hell on earth.  
Sadly,  some days I wake up and the first thought I have is "how am I going to make it through this incredibly busy day?"  Every morning, the race against the clock begins- and I'm off........

I want so much more than just making it through the day.  I want to be present.  I want to be creative; to evolve and to flow.  I want to laugh and have intelligent conversation with my clients and my family.  I want to smile lines on my cheeks instead of worry lines on my forehead. I want to gift my time peacefully, not frenetically.....because you my friends deserve more.  And so do I.

In her article Why we Rush Through Life, Surah suggests that we busy ourselves out of habit, self importance, laziness, competition and control, false perceptions, pressure and avoidance.
Of course! We worry about others perceptions of us. We don't want to deal with our true feelings.  We want to be numero uno. We like the adrenaline rush. We want it all.

I'm the first one to admit that I feel extremely guilty if I don't have a full day planned, and that I'll even create a schedule that includes cleaning the closet just to feel better about myself.
Its ingrained in us that "busy" means "productive" which means "happy."  And by God I love the dopamine release when I cross things off of a list!

But its time to get out of survival mode.  What if we were to make space for creativity, conversation and fun without feeling guilty?  What if our focus shifted from "getting things done" to being present?  Just the consideration of it all rocks my world.  And so I strive....
But first- let me add that to my schedule ;)

Friday, September 1, 2017

10 ways to Chill the F*ck Out

"It's not stress that kills us.
It's our reaction to it."  

Some days, I completely overreact, and Thursday was one of those stressful days.
Perhaps it was for you too? The "gas panic" in Dallas was out of control, causing heavy traffic anywhere near a gas station.  Abundant fear caused abundant stress, and I lost 2 clients.  This, on top of the guilt most of us have been facing being so close yet, unaffected by Harvey (except for wonderfully cool temps)has made it a bit of a challenging week.  Personally- I've been in a complete funk.

In her article " 20 ways to Relax and Unwind," Magarita Tartakovsy explains that "Sometimes when we're exhausted, we gravitate toward activities that drain us more, or we think that we don't deserve a break."  My hand is raised.  Anyone else?
If we just worked harder, of course we would be more successful and feel better!  Well, I'm here to tell you Dallas, we need to chill the f*ck out, or we're all going to explode, both literally and figuratively.  Yes, literally explode- at least our heart will.

So- I've made a list of things that help me to chill the f*ck out.  Perhaps they'll help you too.
(In case you're  asking for a friend.)

1.  Get outside and play.  Improved overall health, reduced stress and depression, improved sleep, beautiful trails, mating rabbits and dragonflies.  What else can I say?

2.  Phone a friend.  Talking to someone helps you to look at your problems in a different way.  Maybe they're not so bad....or maybe its time to make a change.  Therapists listen to your problems without judging.  Get it the hell out!  I get by with a little help from my friends.  (stole that).

3.  Get a massage.  Physical touch distinguishes us from other animals, and humans need touch to thrive.  Pair that with the medical benefits and you have a win win.  Ask me for a referral.

4.  Have sex.
Speaking of touch.  7 reasons.
Right here:
An unnamed ex and I used to call it "time for a tension breaker." For a reason!
Surprise your significant other tonight, in the name of science.

5.  Stay present.  Do one thing at a time.  It's probably not as bad as you think.

6.  Be grateful!  Keep a gratitude journal.  What things are awesome right now?  Do I really need to worry so much?  Practice mindfulness.  Tell someone how much you appreciate them.

7.  Meditate.  I KNOW you say that you can't sit still, but you can.  Really.  Concentrate on your breath and watch the shit that is piling up in your mind be shoveled away.

8.  Listen to music.  Music can bring us in, or be a distraction.  As a unique link to our emotions, it can be an extremely effective stress management tool.

9.  Get in the water.  Let it caress and hold you.  How is the temperature?  Unwind.  Breathe.

10.  Eat amazing food.  Drink amazing wine.  Hang out with amazing people.  
This is purely my philosophy, because life is short.  It has to be the good stuff, and the good people though.  People that lift you up and make you smile. Food so good you close your eyes to savor it. Wine- because wine.   Get rid of the shit food, and the shit drink and the shit people.
All toxic.  Period.

So- can I get an AMEN?  Can we agree that its time to chill the f*ck out?
To live our most abundant and authentic life?
Happy to hear what works for you too.  Cheers!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Meditate to remember

"You don't have a soul.  You are a soul.
You have a body."
C.S Lewis 

For about two years my friend Aaron Conner has been encouraging me to get back to my meditation practice, patiently waiting for me to find that space again.  Last Sunday, I finally made the drive to Body Synergie in Rockwall for the 2:00 pm True Awareness Sangha.  Returning to a mindful practice always feels like coming home, and Aaron's warm smile and calm presence filled the dimly lit room with instant sunshine.

In the past, meditation has helped me to look inward to see who I am, but last week Aaron shared that meditation can also show us what (who) we are not.

We are not our bodies, small and vulnerable.  Too fat, too thin, too old, too tired.
We are not our egos, thinking we're more impressive when we put on airs.
We are not our minds, filled with fear and doubt.
We are not carpool lines or trips to the grocery store.
We are not excel spreadsheets or Google, or schedules.
We are not our addictions or illnesses.
We are not our past.
We are not our future.

A Course in Miracles states:  "The journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it."  
You are only love and light, perfect in every way.
Perhaps instead of busying ourselves to forget, we could take a few minutes to get still, sit quietly, and meditate to remember.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Willingness to See Things Differently

"I see only the perishable.
I see nothing that will last.
What I see is not real.
What I see is a form of vengeance.
Is this the world I really want to see?"
A Course in Miracles

We live in a fearful world. We are afraid of each other and afraid of ourselves.
In our minds eye we see vengeance and anger; scarcity and lack. We don't trust each other.
We've lost faith.
The stories of our past haunt us because we believe these hallucinations to be our truth, but the real truth is that attack thoughts are never real.
You are never upset for the reason you think.  You are upset because you see what is not there.

A Course in Miracles states that "what I see is the projection of my own errors of thought.  How could I understand when I have judged amiss? Our thoughts are not our own thoughts, because we are thinking without God."

Authentically,  God is love.
We are love.

If you believed that everyone was God- would you have a willingness to see things differently?
God (Love) is that person you so easily judge.
God (Love)  is your family.
God (Love)  is your co-workers.
God (Love) is that homeless man on the corner.
God  (Love) is your spouse.

"Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them, even though they are made of hate."  A Course In Miracles
You are not trapped in your images, at any moment you can change what you believe.
You can be fearless instead of fearful.  Grateful instead of mindless.
Open instead of closed. Trusting instead of suspicious.

My goal is to see differently.  
Could I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it?
Can I recognize attack thoughts?
Am I willing to let go of judgement?
Can I see that you are perfect? And that I am as well?

If so, there is no war between ourselves or others.  There is only love.
Everyday- I choose to ask the questions.... to see differently.
Love is the only way.  I choose to see love.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The more I pay attention, the more I see

"Only LOVE is real." 
A Course in Miracles 

The more I pay attention, the more I see that its not about me at all.

It's not about accomplishments; for we all are quite spectacular.

It's not about pain, endurance or suffering; because it's not about struggle.

It's not about money or possessions; each insignificant.

It's not about the body; for life is in our spirit.

It's not about me; its about us.

It's about a shift in perception. A return to love.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Let Someone Love You

Ever since my divorce I have been punishing myself in an ego driven roller coaster ride.    To someone looking in from the outside it may have seemed like I was riding high; running 100 mile races, completing an Ironman, success at work....but the mask I wore concealed painful lows.
Lows that I thought I deserved.

In her book A Return to Love, Marianne Williams tells us that "If I am convinced that I'm not good enough, I will have a difficult time accepting someone into my life who thinks I am.  The only way that I can accept someone's finding me wonderful, is that if I find myself wonderful.  But to the ego- self acceptance is death."

In my first relationship after my divorce, I clung to hold on. My belief was that surely I could make it work, that I wouldn't fuck things up in a relationship again....but my co-dependent desperation was like Febreeze covering up a pile of shit.  I finally realized that even though it would dry up and smell less- it still wasn't going anywhere because subconsciously I was unlovable.   I tried really hard to run away from my thoughts, my self, my ego..... but dammit- my  soul wasn't going anywhere, and I was damaging my body in the process.
I knew things needed to change, so I asked God to "put good people in my life."

He sent me Greg- so patient, kind and loving; and over the past year I have allowed that love to slowly seep back into my heart.
It isn't always easy, because I'm stubborn as hell (what?), but by allowing him to love me, to take care of me, I have been reminded of the love I have for myself and others.
I no longer live in fear.  Things are becoming less about me, and more about us.  Because I work closer to home and am traveling less, I get to see my kids more often and have a better connection with friends.  I'm finding balance, doing fun things, and attracting abundance and joy!

"All of your past except it's beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. A miracle is a shift in thinking from what we might have done in the past or should be doing in the future, to what we feel free to do right here."- A Return to Love

Thank you God for sending me the reminder that our eternal essence is love.  The ability to finally forgive myself is indeed a miracle.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tired of my own bullshit

"Starve the ego- Feed the Soul" 

A year ago while training for Leadville 100, I developed severe tendonosis in my inner ankle.
A year later, I find myself scheduling an MRI; not only for said ankle, but for my knee as well.
Think my body is trying to tell me something?

Thanks to kinder, gentler workouts like swimming and yoga- I am finally listening.  I really should stop beating the shit out of myself.  There is a reason that I'm the girl that can't touch her toes, why I'm constantly sore and tense, and why my run has become a limp.   My body is holding up the white flag of surrender.  Intensity is no longer serving me.

My favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert says " I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit," and I'm so sick of my ego driving my training bus.  There is more to life than running myself (literally) into the ground.

Perhaps I could try:
Staying up past midnight to drink wine and laugh with good friends, followed the next morning by strong coffee on the porch while the dogs lick my feet.
Yoga and meditation.  Stillness.  Silence.
Time for others.  More you- less me.
Delving in deeper instead of running away.
Quality over quantity.
Soul over Ego.

"For everything there is a season.....a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up." ( Ecclesiastes 3:3)
Breaking down my body is no longer the answer.  It's time to build up, and heal.
I'm listening........

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Throw Away the Mask- Being Authentic

"Authenticity demands WHOLEHEARTED living and loving even when its hard, even when we are wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we are afraid to feel it." 
Brene Brown

For the past two days I have been bathed in amazing energy, and am so proud to be associated with Life Time Fitness.  These group fitness rock stars teach, inspire and make a difference everyday.  From kickboxing to yin yoga- these gurus know their stuff, and they are damn good at what they do. You can't help but to leave their workshops knowing that you are forever changed. 

As I look back on the day, I realize that the reoccurring theme in each master class was the need for authenticity from a coach, leader or teacher.  My first thought was that being authentic just means not to be fake or false right?  But I heard it so many times today that I decided to research it a bit, and I found out that authenticity means so much more.

Brene Brown says that "authenticity is cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries and allow ourselves to be vulnerable exercising that compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle, and that we are connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit.  Nurturing that since of connection and belonging we can let go of what we think we are supposed to be, and embrace who you are." 

Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to truly be authentic?  Are you willing to feel enough?  Can you trust that it's ok to let go of who you think you "should" be and embrace yourself quirks and all? 

Brown goes on to say that " Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul searching struggles is how we invite GRACE, JOY and GRATITUDE into our lives." 
Authenticity to me means embracing the fact that we are damn good at some things, and maybe not so good at others.  It means going for it- even if you're afraid you might fail.  It means being such a bright shiny light that others are drawn to your energy.  It means falling down, and getting the hell back up.  It means loving again, and starting fresh every freaking day. 

Authenticity is a choice.  Forget the false stories of your past, show up and be real; or as Karen Collacutt said "Throw away all of the masks and put on your soul."
What makes you vulnerable, makes you believable.  And THAT is truly inspiring.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lean in a Little and Let Gravity Carry You

"If you want to get faster on the down hills, let go of your death grip, uncurl your toes and relax."
Paul Howard

With 2577 feet of elevation gain, St. George 70.3 was the hardest bike I've ever done.
From the first slow, hard grind out of Sand Lake Reservoir I realized: "Toto- you are not in Texas anymore."  What I didn't know at that time was that the mental challenge would be far more difficult than the physical challenge.

You see, I struggle like a beast!  Hard, hilly, rocky....bring it!  I will put my head down and power through.  I'm "Ram Tough" baby, and on the uphill- this flatlander would pass people. 
A lot of people actually. already know where this is going don't you?  Of course they would Ferrari by me on the downhill, leaving me in their dust like a 1971 Ford Pinto. 

Downhill has contradictory meanings. 
On one hand, it could describe that the hard part is over, and that things are smooth sailing from here on out.  On the other hand however, it could mean that things have gotten a lot worse over time- like "Its been all downhill since Trump has been elected president." 

During my race I found myself dreading the downhill.  They were scary and made me anxious. The lingering thought in the back of my mind was always that there was a serious possibility that I could crash.
I find myself doing this in life as well.  I have had a pretty tough climb over the past couple of years, but the hard part is over.  If I would let myself I really could chill, let go of fear, and enjoy the ride. 
It's time to lean in a little and let gravity carry me. By putting on the brakes- people are passing me by. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Soulful beauty

"You don't have a soul.
You are a soul.
You have a body."
George McDonald

We are so quick to dump on ourselves.  Maybe we have a belly bump, or we think that our feet are too big.  We have too much or too little hair.  Wrinkles, love handles.....we scrutinize every little thing that society labels  as "unattractive". 
But George McDonald suggests that our bodies are "temporary clothing of the soul," and if that is the case, shouldn't we be celebrating our bodies for all they allow us to experience?

This past weekend for me was the kind that makes you fall in love with being alive. Watching determined athletes of all shapes and sizes take on the mighty marathon. Sweaty kisses at mile 16. Eating food so heavenly I had to close my eyes to absorb the experience.  Laughing with friends while running in the sunshine.  "Mandatory holding hands" while walking through the Commons, and stopping to take pictures as often as possible.      
This weekend in Boston, humanity and all of its greatness gathered to exalt in the strength of our bodies. And it was fabulous.

And inspiring.  My soul craves joy, and my amazing body allows that experience. 
No more criticizing- only love. 
Thank you body, for being with me on this journey.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

You Can't Do Epic Shit if You're Exhausted

"I wanted to rest and play.  I wanted to connect and ask for help, and sometimes just stop entirely.  I wanted to listen to my own body and spirit instead of feeling like I was on a speeding train that left the station a long time ago and wasn't stopping anytime soon......."
Shauna Niequest- Present Over Perfect

I want to do epic shit.  I want to do the things and be the brand and change lives.  I want to leap and shout and influence.  I want to be brave and say what needs to be said. 
I have GOALS and AMBITION dammit!

But it's one o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon, and I can barely keep my eyes open to listen to my 80 year old client tell me again how pissed off  he is that he's getting old, and that his t-shirt has stains on it. 
 I'm dreading the swim that I have planned for this afternoon, and I get a call that I need to pick up my kids unexpectedly from school.  I grudgingly drive the hour  pick them up- barely able to  keep my eyes open.  I have nothing to give when my kiddos get in the car, and when we finally make it home I sleep for 2 hours. I'm grouchy and unpleasant to say the least. 
So much for productivity on Wednesday. 
But here's the real problem.  It's not just Wednesday.  It's everyday.  
I realize that I've built a life that I cannot handle, and that  I just can't keep doing this to myself. 

Most days start with a  3:15 wake up to get to work on time.  Thanks to coffee, I am able to fake it for at least 8 hours of my work day, but when 1:00 rolls around the brain fog is so thick I can barely function.  I usually get a second wind around 3:00- so I can get in some sort of training before driving an hour home and making dinner. I try to make it in bed by 9 pm, but my average sleep time for the past 96 nights has been 6 hours and 30 min. 
I'm lethargic, unmotivated, and frankly I feel like shit. 

The ultra runner in me says I should be able to ignore the pain and power through this to get to the finish line; but in real life the finish line is death, and frankly I'm not quite ready to go there just yet. 

Shauna Neiquest in Present Over Perfect describes a time when she decided to "make her life look more like her longings," a time when she chose to author her own pace and life.  Fortunately, with Greg's help,  I am learning that I no longer have to live in survival mode, and that I too can choose what I really want for myself. 

What would that look like? 
Connection to others and to myself.
More yoga and Pilates, less ignoring that my hamstrings are so tight I can barely lift my leg. 
Quality over quantity.

More listening.  Less talking 
Less "have to."  More "choose to."

More playing.  More outdoor time. 
Fullness over hunger. 
Relationships over numbers. 
More sleep
More space for creativity and writing.
More sweat.  More gardening. 
More time for those I love.

More shaking things up!
Saying yes to the things that matter, and no to the things that don't. 
More leaping and shouting and influencing and teaching.
More caring.  More love. 

More days off, and continuing education.
More reading, more authenticity.
More believing in myself- and voicing my opinion.
More trust- less guilt. 

I want to do epic shit! 
To be a fountain, not a drain. 
I better get to bed now........


Monday, April 3, 2017

This Mess is Actually my Life

"The ache for perfection leaves us isolated and exhausted.  We keep people at arms length, and we keep hustling - trying to reach some ideal that never comes."  
Shauna Neiquist- Present Over Perfect

This mess is actually my life.

The wrapping paper may be disheveled, but I picked the present especially for you;
And the lasagna may be a little soupy, but it's not Stouffers.

Some days I choose to sleep in, but on most days I put it all out there;
and I can tell you about every flaw on my body- while climbing that goddamn mountain.  

There is no budget, but the bills are paid
and no real "plan",  but I'm good at my job and love what I do.

I worry, I ponder, I leave.
I relax, I love, I stay.

This mess is actually my life.
Present over Perfect

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Its a Marathon not a Sprint- My Marriage to Running

" The marathon can humble you." 
Bill Rodgers

Ah running.....

It's been 15 years since we first met at that class at Run On!
In the beginning I remember being cautious and shy.....after all, you took my breath away.....but the more we hung out together the more comfortable I became.

We've been on many adventures over the years, like that time we crossed the Grand Canyon and back arm in arm, or fighting for that finish at Western States.  We've met inspiring people, witnessed many sunrises and sunsets, and even pulled a few all nighters under brilliant stars.   Sharing those experiences with you has given my life purpose and meaning, and I cannot thank you enough.

It hasn't always been easy though.  You've broken my heart, spirit and body more than once; but those times when we separated made me realize how much I really do love you.  There really is no substitute for the way you make me feel.
And the make up sex!

Speaking of our sex hot and steamy, especially in the summer months!
Sometimes you have to talk me into it, but I always feel better and more close to you after we make love.
I still find you extremely attractive after all these years, and those Tuesday afternoon quickies...well...they keep me smiling for the rest of the day ;)

Now that we're older, there is a lot less pressure to perform and we seem to have come to a comfortable agreement.  I'll take care of my body, and you'll continue to keep those endorphins coming.  Sometimes, we have to make compromises, taking breaks from each other or spending time with other friends...but in the end you know that it's you that I'm coming home to.

Happy anniversary to you- my friend and soulmate.
Here's to many more years of happiness together.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Finding contentment in pork chops, laundry and lice

"How do you measure a year in the life?  Measure in love."

I text:  " I want pork chops for dinner. Do you guys like pork chops?" 
Greg:  "Sure- one of the kiddos may not eat it, but we'll work on that." 
Me:  "Ok- I have one with lice, so I need to do her hair and I have to finish up this laundry, but then I'll go to the store so we can have pork chops with roasted vegetables for dinner. See you soon :) " 

Its Sunday, my only day off  after a 55 hour work week and you can see from the above conversation that I am not sitting around watching episodes of "This is Us" and eating bon bons as I would have liked.  Quite frankly, at this moment, I'm pretty bitter about that.  My child's head is full of crawling lice for the 3rd time THIS school year, I have 5 loads of laundry to do (all of my sweaty workout clothes plus the sheets and blankets that have become a lice casualty), and going to the grocery store on a Sunday ranks right up there in fun with poking my eyes out.
So, I do what all people do when they are feeling overwhelmed:  I take a nap.
And awake to this text:  "Hey- I can go to the store if you want...."

And this is when I realize:  I'm a damn lucky girl.

I got to comb my daughters hair, listen to her stories, and watch her do an uninhibited dance while waiting for the 10 min lice meds to do their stuff.  Cool bonding time- that doesn't happen often.

I have clothes to work out in.  And we have sheets to sleep on.  Oh- and a washer AND a dryer. 

I got to go on a grocery store date with my best friend, and we grilled pork chops on the back porch, and drank wine, and talked.  A lot. 

We ate with the kids until our bellies were full, listened to music that soothed our soul, and slept in a bed of well being. 
Its the best I've felt in a very long time. 

The Dalai Lama once said "Happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions." 
How cool to find contentment in pork chops, laundry and lice. 
Maybe there is hope for kale, work and wrinkles........

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Love is a verb

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
Moulin Rouge

Love is a verb. 
It's opening her car door and "Here...wear my jacket."
Dinner is ready, and "I brought wine."

Love is cleaning up messes and chicken soup when you're sick. 
"Want to run with me?" and "it's time for you to get some sleep."
Picking the kids up from practice at 9 pm, and Sonic runs "just because."

Love is concerts, plane tickets and road trips. 
A full tank of gas, surprises and sunsets.
Listening to listen instead of listening to answer. 
Perfect imperfection. 

Love is DO it, SHOW it, BE it. 
Love is action.
Love is a verb. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

You can stop beating yourself up now.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
BrenĂ© Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are   

You can stop beating yourself up now. 
There's a pile of clothes on the floor, unopened mail on the countertops and the bed hasn't been made in weeks......
But you have a warm, safe and comfortable home. 

Maybe you don't make as many home cooked meals as you would like, or you ate a cupcake just to stay awake this afternoon, or you decided that giving up coffee would be the equivalent of torture. 
But your belly is full. 

You can stop beating yourself up for the thickness of your waist, or the wrinkles that show themselves when you smile.  For the every day pony tail and your abhorrence of high heels......
Because you are beautiful just the way you are. 

You don't have to be "the best" at everything.  It's ok if you don't work 55 hours a week, or you have a terrible race.   You know that your best attempts at relationships sometimes fall apart, yet you continue to love.........
Because you are a girl that learns from her mistakes. 

Wouldn't you be so much happier if you stopped beating yourself up for your "imperfections"? 
Today, I gift myself with the permission to be human.