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Sunday, September 30, 2012

To be Safe... and Heard


Feeling protected from danger or harm is something important in life- otherwise, we'd live our lives in constant fear of being robbed or injured at any waking moment.
It's a known fact: "Safety" is a necessity for happy living. 
But, knowing we are safe from physical danger, though important, is not enough. What we also need, that is highly overlooked and under-appreciated, is a safe space to just... talk. 
No, I don't mean finding some secret hideaway on a private island where you share deep dark secrets with a friend at (although, that would be pretty cool!). 
I'm talking about having someone in our lives that we feel we can talk to openly, candidly, honestly and freely without being judged. 
It may sound silly. Everyone has friends and family, right? 
It is possible to have several friends, many acquaintances and a huge family... but, not feel safe enough to open up to any of them. Chalk it up to a personal inability to trust another person or being shot down before when we did allow ourselves to be vulnerable, sometimes we can have so many people in our lives.... but, still feel lonely. 
So, what happens when these things we want to talk about... insecurities, personal problems, conflicting thoughts... have no outlet from our minds?
They build up. And they grow. And they fester. And the negative energy recycles through the body. And they seep outwards as negativity and stress. And then, eventually, you crack under the built up pressure and you find yourself depressed, angry, and on a psychiatrist's couch, walking out with a new prescription for a pill that's supposed to fix it all. 
Many times we find ourselves afraid that the response to our words will leave us ridiculed, lectured, punished... anything but heardwhich is all we really need in the first place. 
I'm going to cut myself short here, because I could go on for a while on this subject because it's something I'm passionate about, which is why I incorporate in to my health coaching practice in a big way. 
Bottom line, here, is that some people have a close group of friends that they feel safe talking to. Others have just one or two. Some are fortunate enough to even have these people as family members! To those that do have these people in your lives, I hope you understand how valuable they are. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful


I drove my car to the auto-parts store, parked in the lot at 6:30, estimating I'd be in and out of there in under 20 minutes for a very simple routine replacement. I'd already paid for the part online and the technicians there allegedly switched car batteries out several times per day, so I was sure I'd drive off in no time. 
I watched as the technicians poked and prodded under my car's hood, pulling out WD-40, popping off bolts and making use of plastic zip-ties.
At 8:30, I stood in the lot, waiting for AAA to come tow my car home. 
Mysteriously, after the new battery was installed, my car refused to turn on. 
I smiled through the whole process, knowing anger and blame would do nothing to help the situation. I was also lucky enough that a great friend came to keep me company (after I realized I was running a tad late for grabbing a bite to eat with him). We cracked jokes and laughed, making light of the situation. 
It's good to have a friend that shares the same everything-is-fixed-by-laughter-and-dancing mentality. 
The AAA agent came within 20 minutes of calling for him. At this point, I was already thankful enough. I called home to explain the situation. My heart started to sink as Dad reminded me of the ensuing costs that were piling up in front of me in order to repair my car. I told him to expect me towed home in a bit. 
But, this night wasn't really an as-expected type of night. 
Enter, the most amazing AAA agent there ever was. 
Not only did he spend an hour diagnosing and making adjustments to my car, he fixed the problem, followed me home in case my car broke down again, pointed out more work my car definitely needed and offered to help fix them himself for an unbeatable price! I trusted his words and sensed absolutely no ulterior motive to his kindness which, unfortunately, is a rarity, these days. 
He double checked to see if the problem was truly fixed (it was) and gave me his information so I could call him for the other repairs. He drove away and I was filled with the purest of gratitude for having been sent such a pure-hearted savior that night. 
As I ate a late dinner, I couldn't shake the overwhelming thankfulness I had for both my friend that kept a smile on my face as I waited for help and for the amazing AAA agent. 
Later, I heard my mother on the phone with Grandma, wishing her a happy Korean Thanksgiving. 
Today, I am absolutely more grateful than usual for the wonderful people that are cross my path and for all the things I have.
Not only is life not that bad... it's actually pretty amazing. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Reason to Work Out




Exhale, lift, squeeze, hold, release, inhale, pause....

I was so lost in my meditative state, mid bicep curl, I didn't even notice a friend standing a mere few feet behind me, waving for my attention. 

This is why working out is my escape. 

The mind-body connection is, undoubtedly, highly important to pay attention to in order to avoid injury when lifting weights, but often overlooked is its incredibly centering, calming and empowering potential. It is meditation in motion with an added muscle-challenging intensity.

There are many things that drive my work outs and I've touched on them more than once throughout my relatively young blog. I've gone over why I choose not to work out for the calorie-burning effect, the amazing bond shared in a group fitness class, and the joys of trying something new, among other reasons. This reason is more quiet and strength driven. 

When I train clients, I try my best to make sure they understand the reasons for why they are performing a certain exercise. I don't care so much that they can lift something up and put something down- that's all well and good, but we'd both be doing each other a great disservice if I were just being paid to watch that happen. 

I want clients to understand what muscle they are working and why it matters. I want them to focus on the contraction and relaxation of the muscle fibers and mentally hone in on the firing of the nerves. I want them to not only strengthen their skeletal muscle, but their mind-body connection muscle as well. Working out then becomes a total experience.

Within the 24 hours of our day, there is already far too many actions that we mindlessly move through the motions of. Most of our days are spent on autopilot as we repeat the same things, follow the same schedules and carry out the same tasks, day in and day out. Personally, I believe we can all benefit from daily practice of being in the moment, even if only for a few minutes at a time. 

It would all do us good to learn to slow everything down and just breathe. 

But, I get a lot of scoffs when I try to get people to actually take time to sit. And breathe. and do nothing else. 

Sometimes, I don't even have the patience for that. 

So this is my alternative when I'm not trying my darndest to practice seated meditation. 

Exhale, lift, squeeze, hold, release, inhale, pause....

Strengthening my mind as I strengthen my body with every rep, every set, every workout. 

There's nothing like it. 

Ahhh....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Disarming Negative Emotions



When I coach clients, I teach them not to fear cravings because they are signals from the body.

Emotions are messages coming either internally from our bodies or externally from our lives. They arise for us to experience, assess and decode them, if we so choose to. Otherwise, they come and go, at times bringing us on a roller coaster of ups and downs. 

Uncomfortable emotions are the scariest to deal with. To fear or try suppress them is to give them power. If we take the time to understand these emotions, we can disarm them of any power they have taken on and actually come out with a valuable bit of insight. 

It's like finding the diamond hidden under the coal- we just need to chip away at the dark exterior. 

For example...

Jealousy, commonly perceived as a negative emotion, is wrought with insecurity, anxiety and fear. Seeing someone happier than yourself, a colleague being promoted to a higher-paying position, a significant other talking highly about someone other than yourself... All these things spur an ugly, uncomfortable feeling of wanting what someone else has. 

But is it a bad thing?

Let's find the diamond underneath. 

Jealousy is an indicator of a deep desire we have for something that will potential make us happy. 

So, you're thinking, "Well, that was kind of obvious. But, I still want something I don't have." 

Here's the beauty in it though- now that you know there is something that you want, you can start taking steps towards having it, yourself. 

Jealous of your coworker's promotion? Ask yourself- what is it that is making you feel this way? Do you feel like you want to move up at work? Do you envy your peer's drive to reach higher levels? Or is it the recognition that comes along with the promotion that you want for yourself?

Regardless of what is really going on underneath the surface, figuring out the answer to the question "what is it that I am really jealous of?" will guide you towards the steps you must take towards being happier and more satisfied with what you have and where you are. 

Then there's the whole issue of being content with exactly what you have. But, that's for another day. 

The message here is that a positive spin can even be placed on perceived negative emotions.

As long as happiness and positivity are always the main focal point, there is always a way to find meaning, purpose and a reason to smile in anything. 

Even when you're green with envy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seeing Past the Red


Back and forth, my mom and I volleyed words of anger. Her face turned red as she yelled and it was difficult for me to get one word in, edgewise. 

I avoid confrontation; I'm a lover, not a fighter, every day, any day, in the majority of situations. I prefer talking about a situation in a rational manner and responding instead of reacting. 

But, sometimes, fights happen. 

And they suck. 

Especially when they are with family and others that are close to us. 

But, that's who we usually end up fighting with. 

I'd like to believe that most people choose their battles, opting only to engage when the fight is worthwhile. Usually this takes a certain amount of care and consideration. Otherwise, why bother? 

That's the beautiful thing about most family fights- on most occasions, what lies beneath the yelling, the blaming, the tears... under all that ugly negative energy... is love

Whenever I can momentarily pull myself away from a fight and gain some perspective on the situation, I can usually find an empathetic understanding for my opponent's stance. In just about every case of Mom versus me, the reason for her anger stems from some mutation of her want for the best for me. 

Our differing views of what constitutes life satisfaction and happiness often creates conflict. I fight for acceptance of my views and she fights for me to adapt hers. (Ironic, the amount of negative energy coming from the common goal of happiness). The important factor to highlight here, though, is that my well being is important enough to her to be fought for. 

How could I be mad at that? 

In the heat of an argument, it's difficult to even attempt to find a positive angle to the negative situation. We see red, in anger, and it blinds us to the whole picture as our focus can concentrate on nothing else. 

Step back 
...
Create distance
...
Breath
...
Reassess
... 
Find the love- it's hidden under all that negativity... somewhere. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Feeling Fat?


How are you feeling? 

"I feel angry."
"I feel sad." 
"I feel happy." 
"I feel scared"

... All valid answers to the question at hand.

"I feel fat."

...Not so much. 

FAT IS NOT A FEELING. 

Feelings describe our state of emotion, not our state of appearance, and even if they did, I'd reason to say that bodily mass surely didn't develop overnight to suddenly create exacerbated sense of "fatness." 

It makes just as much sense to say "I feel fat" as it does to say "I feel purple." 

There's something more being said in this "feeling fat" statement- a lowered sense of self-esteem, a heightened self-consciousnesses, a harsher self-judgment... "feeling fat" definitely has an all around negative connotation. 

My main concern when I hear this statement, however, is not the identifying of oneself with this negative feeling, but more so identifying of oneself by a physical attribute (or perception of one). 

We are more than out appearance. 

Who we are is a compilation of our talents and hobbies, our likes and dislikes, the impact we make on others and the world- the way we look is, by definition, a superficial way to identify ourselves. 

Looks are fleeting; so much so that they can be changed through diet and exercise, plastic surgery and makeup. 

Personality and who we are at our core is everlasting. 

No amount of lipstick or designer clothing can beautify a bad attitude. 

Similarly, no amount of extra body weight or bad hair days can keep a bright, positive disposition from shining through. 

The next time we hear ourselves say we feel fat, let's dig deeper and find out what's really going on... What are we missing? What message are we really trying to get across? 

When I hear "I feel fat," accompanied by sad eyes and a wounded whimper, I know what I'm really hearing is more akin to, "I am feeling down on myself and could really use a hug." 

Of course, there are days when "feeling fat" can be accredited to overdoing sugar and salt intake the day before and the body physically retains more water... but, that's what elastic waist pants and flowy tops were made for. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Predicting Success


My grandmother intuitively knew when my mother was pregnant, both times, with my brother and me, without ever having to be told. She's made "predictions" like this multiple times- enough to be, almost, eerie. 

But, she's no psychic. 

She picks up the most subtle of cues in my mother's voice when she speaks and senses her energy, even from halfway across the world, in Korea. 

But, my mom believes my grandmother to have superhuman, prophetic powers. 

And therefore thinks her word to be the be all end all.

Good or bad. 

Grandma has told my mom to pursue business opportunities in the past because she felt they were sure to be successful. She's told her to have patience with me because she knew I would eventually come to my senses. She's told her to have faith in my father because he would do the right thing in the end. 

And each time she's been right.

Don't get me wrong, my grandmother has a powerful gift of intuition that she's strengthened over the years and it is awe inspiring, nonetheless. But, I can't help but wonder, what's really going on here? 

As much as I enjoy imagining my grandmother like this...

 

I'm thinking more that there's a self-fulfilling prophecy effect happening here. 

My mom trusts her own mother's judgment, putting faith in her words, never questioning their validity. If Grandma says it will be one way, so it will be. 

Most of her "visions" happen to be of positive nature, with my mother's best interest always in mind. Naturally. Every mother wishes the best for her child. 

When my mom gets off the phone with Grandma, she's always filled with not only wonder and amazement, but, most importantly, hope. 

Hearing my grandmother's encouraging words fills my mom with positive energy, illuminating her outlook on the future. Grandma assures my mom that everything will be okay- so it will be. 

Without hope, a positive attitude or trust that things can and will go the way we will them to, the already unpredictable future becomes overshadowed with with anxiety-provoking unease. 

To shine a bright light on our perspectives, seeking out the best possible outcome, and putting faith and energy in to pursuing that beautiful prize greatly increases the probability of success without even having to make the first move. 

Our minds are more powerful than we can ever imagine. 

We all have the ability to damn ourselves from the beginning by believing the worst will happen...

or

We can confidently have faith in ourselves and our individual greatness from the get-go.

Sometimes we need that "It's all going to be okay" push of positive energy from someone we love and trust to bolster our potential. 

But, how wonderful would it be if we could each start from within and be our own greatest source of positive reinforcement? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stop Feeling Guilty About Food!



We are our own worst critics. 

We tell ourselves we are bad and hold on to that badness, unwilling to forgive ourselves. 

We feel guilty for not always doing the right things or not treating others as we should. 

OK, I understand feeling bad for wronging someone. 

Or taking a toy from a baby. 

Or tripping a stranger and running away. 

But, for eating a cookie??

Please, we have enough to criticize ourselves for. 

Who's the jerk that vindicated the eating of delicious foods like a big juicy cheeseburger or a hot fudge sundae with all the fixings? I'd like to have a word or two with this person. Clearly, said person gets off on sucking joy out of life. 

Associating "badness" with foods is a wasted, negative-energy filled effort.

There is nothing innately angelic about sitting down to a slice of fruit as opposed to a slice of cake. The only thing that happens when we label certain foods as "good" or "bad" is that we label ourselves as "good" or "bad" for eating them. 

This goes hand in hand with being on a diet (I shudder at the word, itself) that has restrictions that define what is and isn't allowed. The dieter is then subject to many opportunities to cheat if the diet isn't followed, thus feeling the resulting guilt from eating the bad items. 

So much negativity!

I ate a french fry the other day. I do not think myself to be a bad person. 

We are responsible for how we treat our bodies. The hope is that we choose foods that support optimal health while also allowing ourselves to have foods that have little nutritional value, but great enjoyment value. 

We live in a world where these nutritionally-devoid, pure enjoyment-value foods exist. 

Instead of barring ourselves from them and creating feelings of guilt when we succumb to their allure, why not just accept their deliciousness and learn to coexist with them? 

Step one is to remove labels of "goodness" or "badness" from foods.  

Step two is to honor our health by feeding it the wholesome nutrition it needs. 

Step three is to be gentle with ourselves and allow ourselves the wiggle room to enjoy those "other" foods for the pure sake of enjoying them. 

We have enough to combat in this world. Let's leave the negative energy to the wars, crimes and offenses. 

Not food. 

Food is too delicious for all that negativity. 

Happy eating! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Reason To Be Happy


He's the happy-go-lucky, white beagle everyone loves that has a nose-in-the-air dance that is joy, personified. He exudes positive energy, no matter what the situation and never gets hung up on a negative thought for more than a single cartoon frame. He gives no explanation for his happiness and needs no reason to always live on the greener side of life's fence. 

He is happiness.

He is Snoopy. 

I find that simple things have great potential for life impact due to their vastly open capacity for interpretation. Enter, Snoopy, the cartoon dog from the Peanuts Gang.  

Funny how a simple black and white cartoon character from the 1950's that speaks no words can be an influential figure to 24 year old me, today. It's hard not to smile when you think of his trademark happy dance complete with piano tune in the background. 

Everyone, today, is busy. Everyone is stressed. Everyone has an endless to-do list and no one has enough time to do it all. 

We have become accustomed to being tired and frazzled. Antidepressants and self-medicating tactics are turned to far more often that they should be. We numb out the pain and demands of life and have no energy left to be happy. 

We don't smile and dance nearly as much as we should.

Perhaps, it may not always be appropriate to break out in a full out dance, but even when life is the crappiest of crap, we have the ability to break a smile across our faces. 

Life only puts things in our path that we are capable of handling. Sometimes these things seem so monumentally impossible to deal with, smiling and laughing about it initially is the only way to take the first stab at it. It takes the edge off. Try it.

But, how could we smile? There are bills to pay, places to be, deadlines to meet... What is there to be happy about? 

Snoopy needs no reason to be happy. Why do we?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Make it a Great Day"


In high school, the Dean would come on the loudspeaker and make the morning announcements. He would notoriously sign off with, "Make it a great day." 

It was customary to mock and laugh at that closing statement, especially since the tone of his voice was always so stoic and robotic with little to no warmth. It also didn't help that he was a disciplinarian that was somewhat feared among the students. 

Hearing it every morning, five days per week, for four school years, I must have subconsciously absorbed it; it popped in to my head, seemingly out of nowhere the other day even after being out of high school for years now. Today, though, I look back at those five words in a completely different light. 

Make it a great day. 

Not, "Have a great day." or the more informal, "Have a good one." 

MAKE IT a great day. 

It was as if he was empowering us all to choose the fate of our own days, hoping we would opt for the good over the bad. Maybe he was. 

It would be nice if "bad days" didn't exist. It would be wonderful if every day we felt healthy, motivated, energetic, positive. If only everything was always rainbows, glitters and unicorns. 

But, it's not. 

And that's reality. 

The bad days do help us to appreciate the good days much more, in comparison. After all, "the sweet is never as sweet without the sour," to quote "Vanilla Sky."

Here's the beauty of the Dean's sign off message though...

To a certain extent, we all have the power to choose to make our day as great as it can be. 

Yes, there are limitations on what we can control in the level of greatness possible in our days. We can't control the weather, the jerks on the highway that should have their licenses revoked, the clerk with the attitude or the mosquito that chooses to bite you on the nose on the day of your blind date. 

But, what we can control is our perception. 

I've said it before: change your perception, change your experience. 

Look through rose colored glasses and the world seems much more beautiful. Positive energy is a powerful force and one that is far underutilized. If we see our glass half full, the empty portion isn't just a lack of filling- it's a space for opportunity. 

It would be wonderful if everything in life always lined up so perfectly as to never have a bad day to suffer through. Wouldn't it be just peachy if every day, "goodness" just fell on our laps? Don't you envy those that seem to never have an "off" day? Those that are surrounded in and radiate positive energy? Lucky them...

But, does luck really have anything to do with it?

We could all benefit from being the positive force we want to attract in to our lives. We could all do well to laugh more and take the little things less seriously. We could all feel so much better about the lemons we are handed in life if we just learned to breathe, smile, respond instead of react, and make more lemonade... or at least make it a great day. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To Be a Performing-Artist-Nutritionist-Author-Trainer


"So... what? You're going to be a performing-artist-nutritionist-author-trainer?" 

That was the scoffed response I got as a junior in high school when a friend and I pondered what we'd like to be when we "grew up." I shrunk back in defeat, knowing that no one was looking to hire a "performing-artist-nutritionist-author-trainer."  

My interests were always everywhere (and still are, for that matter). I love art and writing, dancing and performing, cooking and nutrition, fitness and wellness... anything that stimulates my mind/body/spirit and challenges my creativity. I spent more time than I'd like to admit trying to figure out what career path was right for me. 

Finding myself was proving to be a terribly difficult task. 

I envied those that knew exactly what they wanted to do and the clear paths that laid in front of them. My path looked to be more like a tangled mess than anything with a sense of cohesiveness. 

For years, I slowly loosened the knots in the tangles, finding my way little by little, sometimes creating bigger messes along the way. I had a new job every few months and thanks to boredom and lack of passion, nothing seemed to stick. The promise of a big income or a steady paycheck seemed empty if it meant doing something I didn't truly love. 

So, it hit me.

If my perfect career didn't exist, I would create it. 

And that's exactly what I did. 

From that early age, I knew, at my core, what my calling was, but the noise of societal norms and the "shoulds" of life got in the way. Even though I always had a smile on, I knew I felt anything but comfortable behind a desk in an office or waiting tables and serving drinks. I ignored my instincts to follow my passions and instead pursued the things I thought I should be doing, instilled by my parents and the idea of what "grown-up life" was supposed to look like. 

But, as I grew up, the noise diminished, giving way for reason and passion to scream for me to take notice and take action. 

So I began with the things that made me happy and checked them off, one by one.

I love art and writing... started a blog
      dancing and performing... created my own stage with Zumba
            cooking and nutrition... became a nutrition counselor and play with recipes
                  fitness and wellness... got certified as a personal trainer & health coach

Voila~ I am a performing-artist-nutritionist-author-trainer!

It was only when I allowed myself to trust my heart that I began making sense of the tangled mess of a career path. I am still combing through the knots, gradually morphing my business, YOUfit, in to what it will eventually become. 

The progress is slow...

and, at times, discouraging...

but it's progress nonetheless...

and I'm okay with that...

because I know that this path not only keeps a smile on my face, but makes that smile authentic, from the inside, out. 





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Body-Happiness



We have become used to hating our bodies and it's a shared thought that's spreading to a younger population- an estimated 90% of teenagers are unhappy with the way they look, starting them off on a vicious and dangerous path to chronic dieting and pursuit of a perceived perfection. 

There's a reason why the weight-loss industry is a billion dollar one. 

Sad, but true, it is now more common to be unhappy with our bodies than it is to be completely content with our shapes.



We criticize our lumps and bumps in the mirror, groan at the parts that wiggle and flap and truly believe that happiness lies in the magical land of five-pounds-lighter. So, things go one of two ways: 


We make ourselves miserable on a diet only to feel it's still not enough...
OR
We get so frustrated with the confines of a diet program that we catch ourselves mid comfort-food binge feeling anything but comfortable. 

When we get a scrape, it heals if we would only stop picking at the scab. The good news here is that when given half a chance to, the body will heal itself

That's what this is really all about. 

There is an optimal healthy shape that each of our bodies are designed to hover around. Some call it a "set-point weight." I call it body-happiness.

Body-happiness is the point where everything in the body just... effortlessly works. It's the point where there is no struggle to maintain a number on the scale. It's the weight at which there are no aches and pains on the joints. It's where the body is not asking for caffeine, sugar or stimulants in order to get through the day. It's where our bodies want to be. 

But, we hurt it and take it away from that body-happiness. 

We hurt it with improper diet, rest and exercise, with a lack of self-love, with distrust and overall neglect. 

So, the body packs on extra weight as a response, in an attempt to protect itself from the pain. 

So, we attack the added weight with more negative energy and painful measures to make it go away. 

The body continues to respond to the negativity. 

And so on...

Let's stop this pattern before it does any more damage (because we know it's already done its share). Let's stop abusing our bodies and start realizing that since it's the only one we will ever have, we should start showing it some gosh-darn respect!

In a series of posts, I'll be focusing on body-happiness and figuring out how to get there. 

We all have what it takes to not only reach that optimal weight, but, more importantly, to give ourselves the acceptance we cry out for in the first place. 

We can redefine our paths of least resistance away from our unhealthy habits and guide ourselves to a place of health, wellness and abundant energy. It's what the body wants- to heal, to be comfortable and to find that feel-good body-happiness!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Loving Ourselves First



As I browsed through some blogs, I came across this on feelgoodeating.blogspot.com:

"A fool in love makes no sense to me. I only think you are a fool If you do not love."

What a beautiful quote! 

I believe that love is one of the strongest powers in existence. I could go on to argue that love gives purpose to life

Love is passion.
   Love is relationships.
      Love is respect for self and others.
         Loving yourself and others and to be loved is happiness. 

To love ourselves is to take care of our own well-beings. 

Without that fundamental base of self-care, how can we expect to provide the best love and care for others? Far too often, there is an imbalance between the energy we spend in the outpouring of care versus the energy used to make sure we are at our well-est. 

Imagine if we held on to a fraction of the energy we expend doing things for others, meeting others' deadlines, and making sure others know we love them. 

To love and care for yourself is not selfish, but necessary.

Making sure we feed ourselves nutritious, yummy foods, keep our bodies strong and limber with proper stretching and exercise, maintain mental stimulation for our brains and honor our needs for rest and relaxation are all vital for us to thrive and reach our fullest potential. 

To believe we do not deserve the same love we share with others is nonsense. To dishonor our bodies, minds and spirits through neglect, poor quality foods, physical and chemical abuse, and negative self-talk only broods more negativity. 

We all deserve happiness; taking self-care measures to bring more light and positive energy into our lives puts us in a much better place to be able to share that same bright energy with others. 

So here's to cooking a good, hearty meal, getting to the gym, allowing room for more laughter and taking long, soothing bubble baths to ease ourselves to restful sleep!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping the Enthusiasm


The little white dog kept her nose in a dirt pile, paying us no mind as we neared her lawn. Biscuit stepped on a branch, snapping it beneath her paw. 

She saw us.  

Her whole body perked up in attention and suddenly, the dirt pile held little importance compared to this stranger and her human. 

Off she bolted, frustratingly confined by the invisible fence her human had installed to keep her from running away. She reached the end of the zone, pivoted and sprinted back to where she had begun, the whole time keeping her eyes fixated on us as we stood still, watching her furiously dart back and forth, back and forth, yapping, yapping, yapping. 

I laughed at the tiny fluffy pup and her silliness, but at the same time, envied her ability to be so explosively excited at the most minute happening. My dog and I offered her nothing but stimulation, yet her tail enthusiastically wagged off in a tizzy, no holds barred. 

In the sheer simplicity of the yappy creature's joy, I realized how much more enjoyable life would be if we all allowed ourselves to feel such extreme happiness at the simple things in life.

I'm not advocating we do back-flips every time a new person passes by- there is a certain level of decorum humans (sometimes sadly) must adhere to. I remember being "spoken to" by a superior after giving a hug, complete with running start and a leap, to my boyfriend at the time, when he came to visit me at work. Apparently, this was not "acceptable" behavior. Hmph. 

Ok, so I understand (but won't always agree) that there is a time and place to express excitement at the highest volumes according to rules, codes of conduct, blah, blah, blah... But, I do think that we could all benefit from adding an extra exclamation point when expressing happiness when it strikes. 

Perhaps this means...

showing more excitement when seeing a loved one at the end of a long day,
or
not suppressing the sheer feel-good-ness that comes from a great workout,
or 
wearing a full-on smile as opposed to a weak grin when someone takes a moment to pay a compliment.

It truly is the little things in life that have the potential to make the biggest impact. Allowing ourselves to be happy and feel joy on the highest possible level is an important part of taking care of ourselves and our well-being. 

Smiling, laughing, expressing happiness offers levity to the entire body, mind and spirit... it's like giving ourselves a big, cuddly hug, from the inside-out. Why would we ever put a limitation on that?  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why I Hate Calories-Burned Monitors


By the time I was done with my highly intense 20 minute, hop-on-hop-off, sprint-a-minute-walk-for-two, interval training on the treadmill, the calories burned monitor displayed a whopping 428!

Yeah, right. 

In the world of fitness and weight management, numbers receive far too much power than they deserve. Calories, pounds, fat grams, carbohydrate counts... (all of that, in fact, is an entirely other topic in and of itself that I could go on and on about, but I digress...) I say- keep math in the classroom, where it belongs and leave the calculations to our accountants. 

If I could, I would smack a sticker that says "enough" on the calories burned monitor of every piece of exercise equipment. Instead of feeling the pounding of our hearts , the beads of sweat on our skin and the endorphin rush in our brains, we look to the digitized number on a machine to tell us good our workout was. 

I don't think so, ya big ol' pile of metal, wires, plastic and rubber! 

"I just burned 500 calories on the elliptical!" Great. Wonderful. But, how do you FEEL? 


When it comes to fitness, let's forget the numbers and reassess the reasons for working out in the first place. 

The truth of the matter is, exercise is a very inefficient way of burning calories. Gasp. I know. A bold statement coming from a personal trainer. But, think about it: In order to burn off the equivalent of one tiny M&M, you have to walk the entire length of a football field. No thank you, I have better things to do with my week. 

So... am I saying that working out is a waste of time? NO!

I don't know about you, but getting in a sweaty session at the gym makes me feel wonderful, regardless of what any caloric-expenditure equation will be able to tell me. 

At an intimidating 5'0", I feel empowered as I feel the heavy weight of cold metal in my hands. The feeling of accomplishment from hauling my body weight up into a pull-up and pressing twice that weight with my legs? There's nothing like it. 

When I'm doing my thing at the gym, I'm not thinking, "must burn off the slice of pizza I had this afternoon." 

...but, rather "wow, my body is stronger than I give it credit for!" and that's what it should be about- appreciating the strength of our muscles and recognizing the awesome abilities of our bodies. 

We should be constantly celebrating our individual power rather than suppressing it by punishing ourselves with diets, workouts that we have to rather than want to do, and telling ourselves we are somehow bad for eating one thing over another.  

I feel sad for those that drag themselves to the gym, miserably trudging along on the treadmill, glaring at the calories burned monitor, waiting for it to reach some magical good-enough number... They're missing out on a chance to really experience what it means to do something wonderful for their bodies and overshadowing a chance to experience a natural uplifting of their spirits by focusing on a number that, in reality, is far from accurate, to be quite honest.

Exercise is a beautifully intoxicating experience that I partake in on most days of the week. I don't do it to manage my weight, change my appearance or balance out my food intake- those things come as a bonus. I do it for me, for the health of my mind and body and to remember that I am strong, able-bodied and powerful beyond what any number will ever be able to tell me. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

There Is No Rejection, Only Selection


Change your mindset, change your attitude, choose your experience. 

To be a hopelessly positive person, is to see that there is a silver lining no matter how dark the cloud. 

There must be.

Lost a job? = It wasn't your true calling.
Got dumped? = Bigger passion is waiting for you.
Offer wasn't accepted? = It wasn't meant to be.
Hurt yourself? = Learn from it and improve. 


Among the few emotions that are frightening to me in their pain potential, rejection is a biggie. To be rejected is to have my ego bruised, my intentions turned away and my life invalidated. 

Okay, maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch...

So let's spin this:

 "There is no rejection, only selection." 

Ah. How refreshingly painless!

Amazing how a simple reconfiguration shines light on a dark, frightening thought, revealing its positivity potential. 

In my last post, I mentioned that we are responsible for our lives and that our personal realms of control are larger than we give ourselves credit for. This applies here, as well. 

To feel "rejected" is to fork over power to the "reject-or," leaving us no choice but to become the "reject-ee." Knock it off.

Just as I have a right to choose, so too does the rest of humanity. Being turned down is the opposed's choice to go a different route. In that, I graciously accept the new opportunity that lies waiting for me that I may have missed otherwise. 

There are no mistakes in life. 

Sure, I've shed some tears or ground my teeth in frustration over what I've instinctively labeled as "rejection" in the past, but had those experiences not been, I wouldn't be where I am today. I can look back and find reason for all that has ever happened to me and thankfully appreciate them for happening in the first place. 

I willfully use my power to choose to claw out the positive message hidden in every NO, THANK YOU, each GOOD BYE and all of the NOT SO MUCHes. It's always in there, somewhere and if it isn't...

Switching Over!

Switching from Tumblr!
Realized this is a better platform for my blogging... 
Hopefully I'm right!
Copying over all posts... here we go!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Choose Happiness


At every moment, we are responsible for exactly where we are and where we are not in life, how we feel, what we have and do not have and how we choose to perceive our surroundings and situations. 
Responsibility sucks.
Hang on. Let’s adjust this thought. 
Responsibility is empowering.
To helplessly throw hands up in the air is admitting defeat.
Surrendering to feeling things that aren’t ideal, rolling over and pouting over being unhappy with where/how/who we are at the moment- living the “it is what it is” mentality in general, is a cop out. Don’t like it? Change it. 
Yes, the Serenity Prayer’s preaching of accepting that there is only so much we can control and letting go of that which we cannot is still valid, but far too often, we skew the ratios, doing ourselves a major disservice. 
Happiness is a right. Choosing to be chronically miserable is just that- a choice. For the most part, we are all equipped with the ability of choice. After all, is that not one of the fundamental features of pump it means to be human? 
Erring on the side of restraint, I will choose to pump the breaks on the preaching and leave it at this: 
Take responsibility. Figure out where your joy lies and take the first step towards it. We are more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe. There is power in choice. Choose happiness. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lessons from a True Fighter


A middle-aged, physically fit man sat on a laptop at a nearby table outside the Starbucks I frequently use as my office. I smiled to him as he gathered his things to move to a table that offered shade from the beaming sun- “I shouldn’t really be in the sun, anyways.” he said to me. 
It was then I noticed the bruises and scrapes along his cheekbone and framing his eyes. Immediately, he picked up on my concern, pointing to the wounds, explaining that his profession as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter with a rather impressive boxing background. 
I believe that there is something to be learned from every person that crosses my path, so I perked up my ears and searched for the golden nugget.
He explained he had just won a fight and rattled off win-loss statistics from his career as a fighter- already, he had gained my respect and awe. Though I was clearly impressed, it wasn’t the fights in the ring that packed the heftiest punch- not by a long shot; matter-of-factly, Howie “the Champion” went on to recount a battle he had won two years ago with stomach cancer.
He went on to say he was on his way out of the fighting game, asking me to guess how old he was.
“I hate this game,” I replied. 
“44,” he said, slightly defeated. 
I shook my head as he identified himself as “old,” knowing just by his energy that he was far from finished with his life’s work.  
Having already handed him my business card after explaining what I do for a living, he took notice that I practiced holistic health care, going on to say that it was a holistic-medicine-touting doctor (that charged a miniscule fraction of the cost of the NY highly-esteemed oncologist) out in California that he credited his life to.
BAM! Golden nugget.
At that moment I felt endlessly validated for my choice to opt for holistic health care in my hopes to heal all of life’s wounds. 
Costing him parts of his internal organs, he refused to let cancer collect his life. He exuded pure gratitude towards his decision to go the holistic route in his recovery, easing the hesitations of my holistic-healing life-path decision, as well. 
Before me, sat a true fighter, both in the worlds of MMA/boxing and in life. From his win, he wore the bruises and cuts with pride, but it was the light of life he exuded that spoke loudest.