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You Know That Thing You Want to Do? What’s Stopping You?

I’m running the Colorado’s Women’s Classic 10 mile race on Mother’s Day. It’s been awhile since I did a race so I’m feeling a mix of nervous and excited. A friend of mine registered months ago. It took me a lot longer. Then one day she asked me, “What’s stopping you?” Those probably weren’t her exact words, but that was the gist.

And I thought to myself, “Ohhhhh, good one. What is stopping me?”

My default answer was, “I don’t know if I’ll be ready.” But if I’m honest with myself I know I can run 10 miles. What I don’t know is how long it will take me. I really don’t know. But it will likely be much slower than I want it to be. I decided that was a silly reason to miss out and signed up.

Within a week of registering for the Colorado Women’s Classic I told my husband I was thinking about signing up for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon in August. I’ve wanted to do it for years but living in California proved too much of a barrier. He responded with something along the lines of, “Do it. What’s stopping you?”

And I thought to myself, “Damn. What is stopping me?”

Fear of commitment. I was registered and about halfway through training for the Napa Valley Marathon when my mom was diagnosed with cancer in November 2015. We decided to move and I knew I couldn’t commit to training in the middle of life. I was finally building my base back up and looking at a handful of races last summer when I hurt my knee. It seems like every time I start to get serious something comes along to derail me. So I’m afraid to commit.

But then the next day we were chatting with our neighbors and one of them asked me if I had any races coming up. “You should try the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon,” he said to me.

Holy coincidence! “I was just talking about that one yesterday,” I said.

You know what he said? Of course you do. Some variation of, “What’s stopping you?”

So I sat with that for a couple weeks. What is stopping me? Fear. Fear I’ll have to back out for some unforeseeable reason. Fear my ego won’t be able to handle my pace. Oh fear, you tricky little bastard.

This morning I put fear in timeout and took care of business. I am now financially committed to and looking forward to a fun filled summer running the Colorado Mountain Half Marathon Series. (I’m such a sucker for an extra medal.)

Colorado-Mountain-Half-Marathon-Series

 

You know that thing you want to do? Start running? Try yoga? Change careers? Big or small, we all have a thing. Whatever yours is. What’s stopping you?

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I’m Grumpy! And Don’t Try to Stop Me.

 

Grumpy-Big-Girl

I’ve been feeling stressed, completely maxed out, burnt out and grumpy. Especially grumpy. I’ve been extra impatient with the girls all week and especially with Big Girl who, never a model pottier, seems to have forgotten how to use the toilet all together. She wets her pants at least once a day. At age 5!

We’ve had several serious talks about it this week, during which I have expressed my concern that all the kids will make fun of her when she starts kindergarten in the fall. I felt like I really got through to her. She said she was worried. And then she peed her pants 20 minutes later.

Yesterday morning the doorbell rang and she ran to answer it, naked from the waist down. (Don’t worry. It was only Grandma.) Because I figure it’s time to redo potty training. And, also, I just can’t deal with all that laundry.

My husband “helped” with the laundry last weekend. He put the clothes in the machines and pushed the buttons, but he didn’t actually put anything away. Thursday morning I could only find one pair of pants for Big Girl in the volcano of clean laundry that erupted and coated the entirety of our bedroom floor.

I figured I’d better throw a load in the wash so we’d have at least 10 pairs on hand for the weekend, but was deterred by a load of my own clothes sitting the machine. Remnants of my husband’s helping hand, a week old, damp and smelling like mold.

He forgot to put them in the dryer. It’s an honest mistake. I can’t blame him. But this week has felt like one unexpected crisis after another.

First there was a miscommunication with my husband that led to a frantic search for last minute childcare. Then the science museum decided summer camp immunization cards were due 2 weeks earlier than originally advertised and added some extra requirements to go with it. Then there was a technical glitch on my website that I didn’t anticipate and sucked up all of Thursday morning. Then there was an issue transferring money from an IRA in my Dad’s name into my Mom’s name that I had to suddenly deal with yesterday morning. Because understanding financial transactions are just not one of my Mom’s talents, and the law office we’re paying to manage this stuff doesn’t appear able to manage it either.

Did you actually read that last paragraph? I don’t blame you if you skimmed over it. It’s not an enjoyable read. Nor was it enjoyable to live.

There was a lot of discussion Wednesday evening at Yoga Teacher Training on the topic of non-attachment. This idea that we let go of expectations and let any unexpected turn of events just sort of roll off our backs.

Well, I’m clearly no good at this. All of this week’s unexpected work made my grumpy! I’m also feeling entitled, like I deserve to be grumpy. I don’t want anyone telling me that I should let go of these unpleasant feelings. I will eventually get over it. But it will be on my own timeline, thank you very much.

I went for a 6 mile run Thursday night. I felt more calm, more patient, more content and at ease with life during the few hours after that run than I did the whole rest of the week. Running makes me feel better. But listen. I’m not going to tell you that this is how you will feel or should feel after a run. You just do your thing and figure out what works for you on your own timeline.

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Say Goodbye to All Your Labels With These Two Words

So-Hum-Yoga-Inspired-Jewelry

It’s been a rough week. Everyone was sick. And in the middle of all the snot and phlegm and co-pays and Tylenol I was busy getting ready to open up my online Yoga Inspired Jewelry shop. It was crazy and hectic and extra hard, but now it’s done. The shop is open! There are malas sitting there right now. For sale.

I also have a few shop opening specials going on:

  1. The first 3 people to make a purchase will save 15% off one item (excludes custom malas) with coupon code FIRST3.
  2. All custom malas are 20% off until the end of May 2017.
  3. You can save an additional 10% off by subscribing to the blog. 

Or if you’d rather donate your savings to a good cause I am helping a friend fundraise for the Denver Strides for Epilepsy. Just enter the coupon code FORMAILI and I’ll set aside 30% for her fundraising.

If you’re sort of interested in malas but you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to do with one, start by watching the video in this post. Or observe my own mental chatter as I meditate with the mantra So Hum.

So Hum.

I am still sick.
I am sick of everyone else being sick.
I am tired. Physically.
I am tired of everything feeling so hard.
I am not sure why I didn’t just delay opening the shop.
I am also kind of wildly impressed that I somehow got it all done.
I am not surprised though, because I know myself.
I am determined.
I am, or at least can be, a perfectionist.
I am… a little intense.
I am passionate.
I am a lover. Of many things.
I am a writer.
I am a musician.
I am an artist.
I am a runner.
I am a yogi.
I am a math geek.
I am analytical and discerning, yet open minded.
I am a high maintenance, yet understanding and accepting wife.
I am, despite being a perfectionist, an imperfect mother.
I am a loyal and supportive friend.
I am an obnoxious, yet unconditionally devoted daughter.
I am a woman.
I am only human.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am part of the connection. Through words, through relationships, through being.
I am the miracle of life.
I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am that.

So Hum.

So Hum is a beautifully simple mantra meditation that you can practice with or without a mala. It’s a reflection on our connection to all existence. I like to sing this mantra out loud. But it’s also a lovely mantra to repeat silently in your head. Listen to the sound, “So,” with each inhale and the sound, “Hum,” with each exhale. With each repetition practice letting go of all the labels you’ve assigned to yourself.

I am an anxious person.
I am afraid of failure.
I am desperate for validation.
I am too easily angered.
I am not agreeable enough.
I am not pretty enough.

So Hum.

I am smart.
I am brave.
I am perceptive.
I am empathetic.
I am creative.
I am beautiful.

So Hum.

I am all of these things, and I am none of them.
I am a thread in the fabric of all existence.
I am that.

So Hum.

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5 Simple Ways to Improve Running Form

Running-Form

How about a little truth, friends? I usually sort of roll my eyes at running form. I’m a long distance runner, after all. I’m not looking to shave seconds off a race time. And I mostly believe the best way to get better at running is to run. But I’ve been applying a lot of my yoga training off my mat (and in my running shoes) lately, and there’s a few things I’d like to share.

What I like about these tips is they don’t require extra time for an extra workout or any special skills. All you really have to do is bring awareness, or mindfulness, to your body while you’re already running. Even then, I would recommend focusing on your running form only periodically throughout your run. For example, for a few minutes at the beginning and end of a short run or at the beginning of each mile during a long run. During the in between moments, breathe, relax and enjoy!

Relax the elbows and the fists

I often joke that I try to do yoga with my jaw and run with my fists. Whether it’s the jaw or the fist, clenching uses up a lot of energy that can be put to better use somewhere else in the body. So relax those fists! Give them a good shake. And notice if that tension has seeped up to the elbows. Chances are something less than 90 degrees is doing more harm than good.

Roll the shoulders down and back

And while we’re focused on the arms, go ahead and roll them down onto the back a couple times. If this sounds like a yoga cue, that’s because it is. It helps to neutralize the spine, something that’s just as important in running. Do you run with a jogging stroller? Do this 10 more times.

Look up

If you’re running on a technical trail this might not work. But if the ground beneath your feet is fairly predictable, go ahead and look up. Relaxing the arms, rolling the shoulders onto the back and looking up opens the chest up to breathe. Looking up also has a psychological effect. For me anyway. It helps me focus less on the physical challenges of running and begin to appreciate the world around me.

Engage the lower abdominals

My belly likes to flop out in front of me and drag my pelvis with it. I blame my girls and their stay in my uterus, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Just to be clear – this has nothing to do with how much padding is on top of our abdominal muscles. Gently engaging the lower abdominals helps lift the front/top of the pelvis, remove any overarch in the lower back and reduces the stress on the lumbar spine.

If engaging the lower abdominals makes it harder to breathe or causes you to tuck the tailbone you’ve probably gone too far. So ease up a bit. All we’re doing here is bringing some awareness to the abdominals and the role they play in proper running form.

Activate the outer hip/butt muscles

I pulled my left outer hip/butt muscle about 10 years ago, and it’s always sort of lurking there in the background. I know my outer hip/butt muscles are weaker than my inner thighs. I also know this is pretty common. Inflexible inner thighs and weak outer hip/butt muscles can cause the thigh bones and knees to turn in while running and can potentially contribute to or aggravate existing Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).

Even if you’ve never experienced ITBS it can’t hurt to bring extra awareness to the outer hip/butt muscles while running. All you really have to do is think about them. The effect is shocking and feels almost magical, especially when running uphill. I feel like I’m tapping into a hidden reserve of energy. On flat ground I find it’s impossible to NOT speed up. The trick is to then slow back down to an easy pace without losing the activity in the outer hip/butt muscles.

What do you do to improve running form? If the answer is nothing, don’t worry. Getting out for a run is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Photo Credit: Happy running by bradhoc is licensed under CC by 2.0 / Cropped and text added to original

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The Yoga in Running

Red-Maple-Tree

Sometimes I think there’s more yoga in running than in actual yoga.

I have a little bone to pick with yoga.

But before I go there I need to pre-apologize. I love yoga. I really do. It’s healing and transformational and life changing and about so much more than the physical postures. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All those things.

But it’s also a little judgey.

I know what you’re thinking. “No way! You don’t understand yoga at all, Laura! If that’s what you think than you don’t understand yoga at all!”

Because that’s what we talk about in the yoga world. How yoga is misunderstood. How Western culture has turned yoga into a fitness program, a perky butt in a pair of $100 spandex pants. We talk about how so many people practice yoga without realizing that it’s also about how we live our lives off the mat. It’s about the connection between the mind, body and spirit. About our connection to whatever we believe in that sort of feels like what you might call God.

And it’s true. A lot of people really only see yoga as exercise. That’s how they approach their practice. As exercise. But that’s not the only way to do it.

It’s all in the approach really.

*     *     *

Last Thursday night I couldn’t sleep. For no real conscious reason. As I lay in bed I thought about our house back in California. I thought about the Japanese maple tree in our backyard. I remembered standing in our kitchen just after we moved in. Looking out at it through the tall glass panes of our french doors. How remarkably beautiful its bright red leaves looked against the morning fog. I remembered the first spring I noticed a single red rose peeking over our fence from the kitchen window.

Red-Rose-Fence

I laid awake and remembered these things and wondered why I couldn’t sleep.

*     *     *

Saturday morning I went for an 8 mile run, a distance I consider long at this point in my life. It hasn’t always been and it won’t always be. But right now it’s long. So I took it easy. After a couple miles I had settled into a comfortable rhythm, my breath easy, steady. I don’t wear a heart rate monitor or a GPS watch these days, but I’m sure my pace and effort level were consistent.

I don’t remember what I was thinking about. Not much I suspect. When I turned a corner and felt a rush of emotion. I thought of the early morning runs with my running buddy back in California. Chatting about work and husbands and children, all the celebrations and uncertainties of life. I remembered running alongside her in the Benicia Run for Education in April 2014. I was working through a flare-up of an old injury and she was feeling tired so we walked a lot of the race that day.

She was diagnosed with terminal cancer just a few months later and passed away a few months before we moved to Colorado. You could call it her spirit, if you believe in that sort of thing, riding the wind, checking in on her loved ones. Or blame it on the memory, my brain, the right hormonal cocktail. But for a moment I felt like she was running beside me.

Tears came to my eyes and I let them flow as we ran together. I told her about how I missed my tree and that rose bush, her companionship and my old life. Even though I really love my new life. I really do.

She told me there’s been a lot of change. Good or bad. Change is hard. Go easy on yourself.

Then she was gone, as suddenly as she appeared. And I kept running. One foot in front of the other, same as before.

*     *     *

Later that day we learned about the Prana Vayu in Yoga Teacher Training. Different words to describe a concept we’ve already gone over. The idea that the breath is the connection between the body and the mind, the path to meditation and enlightenment.

I can appreciate this lesson because I’ve experienced it. Through running of course. Yoga is giving me language to describe what my running body already knows.

You see, it’s nearly impossible to run without breath awareness. And once a certain level of base fitness is established the breath flows easily, synchronized with the rhythm of the legs. Running at an easy, consistent pace is by definition a moving mantra. A meditationRunning at an easy, consistent pace is by definition a moving mantra. A meditation. Click To Tweet

That’s when we get to all the juicy stuff. The wisdom to understand our emotions. The ability to process and clear them from our body. A feeling of connection to something outside of ourselves.

So why is it then? Why do I feel like yoga judges running so harshly?

I suppose it’s all just a misunderstanding. Our culture has turned running into a fitness program. We beat our bodies and joints into the ground in order to get thinner, faster, better. But that’s not the only way to do it.

It’s all in the approach really.

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Big Things Are Happening

Garnet-Hematite-Mala

Big things are happening around here these days. Let me share.

My husband cleaned the ENTIRE HOUSE this weekend. Isn’t he the best? I don’t even remember how he forgot to pack my wedding dress.

Baby Girl is no longer staying up with me after Big Girl goes to bed at night! Instead, they both go to bed at the same time and Big Girl does the consoling. It’s a win all around. Big Girl feels super proud of herself for putting Baby Girl to bed, I get time to myself in the evening and Baby Girl gets to confront her fears! (I’m sure she feels really grateful for that opportunity.)

And she’s not the only one confronting her fears. After congratulating myself last week for pursuing my dream of becoming a yoga teacher, I asked myself what I’m afraid of NOW. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Losing my Mom
  2. That I’m a terrible parent
  3. Driving in the snow
  4. Having my blood pressure taken
  5. Talking, with my voice, about my business to real live people
  6. Sales tax laws

The way I figure it, there’s not much I can do about fears #1 and #2. Fears #3 and #4 aren’t going away, but I confront them as necessary. I don’t hide in my house or avoid the doctor.

Now as for fear #5. Anytime someone asks me what I do I say, “Mostly I’m at home with my girls.” You see what I did there? I used the word “mostly”. That means the same thing as “not entirely”. Clever people should pick up on that subtlety of language and ask about the rest of what I do, right? Not so, my friends. They pretty much just leave it at that. So from now on I’m going to answer with, “I’m a running coach and soon to be yoga teacher. Oh, and I also spend a lot of time watching my girls.” How about that?

Now that that’s handled, let’s move on to fear #6. A little while ago I developed a mala making habit. The gemstones are so pretty and the tediousness of the hand-knotting feels so very therapeutic. But it’s kind of an expensive habit and I really only need so many malas. After gifting several to friends it occurred to me that I could sell them.

So I spent many hours researching and trying to understand the Colorado sales tax laws as they pertain to online sales. So many hours, in fact, that a friend of mine complimented me on my dedication. I assured her it was actually a combination of perfectionism and paranoia driving my research.

This past Thursday I noticed a flyer at the YMCA asking for donations for a silent auction/fundraiser benefiting the kids’ programs. Donations were due on Saturday. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I dropped off a mala and made a commitment to myself that I will submit all the paperwork and open up shop online here before the auction at the end of April.

That’s right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. That's right. There will be malas. For sale. Right here. In just one month. Click To Tweet

If that’s not enough to convince you that big things are happening around here, let me just add – I also took a shower this week.

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The First Step on My Path to Teach Yoga: Overcome Fear

Overcome-Fear-Yoga-Teacher

To overcome fear we just have to do the scary thing. Like become a yoga teacher.

I drove past the Bikram Yoga studio in El Cerrito, California I don’t even know how many times before I finally decided to overcome fear and give it a try. Even then I couldn’t bring myself to do it alone. I had to convince a friend of mine to go with me. And when she stopped going I recruited someone else.

Over time I became more confident in my practice. I took comfort in the routine. Laying out my mat, a beach towel over top of it and a hand towel along its head, my water bottle just outside the top right corner. Rolling up the package into one, big bundle after class. Letting the cool air of the locker room dry the sweat on my skin. Chatting with my yoga partner before finally mustering up the energy to change into dry clothes.

I can’t remember when I first thought of becoming a yoga teacher. Just like I can’t remember the first time I noticed the studio. A seed was planted and over time the idea grew into my conscious awareness, showing up with roots so thick it felt like they had always been there. I knew with a certainty that I wanted to teach.

Yet I still came up with a lot of reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Teacher training was way too expensive. Not at all a wise investment given how much yoga teachers make. I couldn’t take the time off work. I couldn’t leave my babies.

But if I’m honest with myself, the real reason I decided not to apply for teacher training was fear. And not even fear of something reasonable, like the ability to practice for 3 hours a day in 105 degrees without becoming dehydrated. No, I was afraid of asking the studio owner for the required recommendation letter. Afraid he would think I was not even remotely close to ready, not at all teacher material. I was afraid he would think I was a joke. So I kept my little dream a secret. Not just from the studio owner, but from everyone, afraid that if I gave it voice someone else might judge me as harshly as I judged myself.

At one point I went so far as to develop a 6 month plan. I don’t remember all the details, but the basic premise was to practice a lot more and get a lot better at asana. I would practice and practice until I felt like I was good enough to ask for the letter without embarrassing myself. I would overcome fear by over preparing.

One day after class one of the teachers handed me a sticky note that read, “Bikram – This certifies that Laura is ready for teacher training.” It meant the world to me. Such a simple little thing, but I will never forget it. I taped the sticky note in my journal and it’s there still.  You might think this was the turning point, the validation I needed to overcome fear. Or that I at least used it as an opening to a conversation about my future in yoga. But no, instead I very emphatically assured him that I couldn’t possibly ever become a teacher.

When I look back over my life and my career, especially, I see the same pattern repeating itself over and over.

  1. Realizing something about myself, something I want to do, getting an idea.
  2. Coming up with a million practical reasons why it won’t work.
  3. Developing a plan to better educate or prepare myself for whatever the thing is.
  4. Doing nothing.

Because here’s the thing about fear. Here’s what I’ve learned. The only way to really get past it, to overcome fear, is to confront it. Sure, practice and preparation helps build confidence. But in the end we just have to do the scary thing. Here's the thing about fear. In the end we just have to do the scary thing. Click To Tweet

When we moved to Colorado a year ago I decided it was time. I picked a Yoga Teacher Training program. I met with the studio owner. I submitted an application. I began practicing at the studio, trying out different styles of yoga for the first time. A lot of the poses I hadn’t seen before, and I didn’t know what to do with all the props. I felt uneasy closing my eyes and the music was distracting.

But just as before, it gradually became familiar. One blanket folded in half twice and then in thirds to sit on. Two blocks at the top of my mat. A sweater and even socks to keep warm during centering at the beginning of class and savasana at the end. Head always facing the front of the room while prone or supine. Peppermint soap in the bathroom. Rooms full of teachers and students I now call friends.

This past weekend I took a class at the Iyengar Yoga Center of Denver. I talked a friend of mine into going with me, just like that very first day. Because new things never stop being a little scary.

After class the teacher checked in with us to see how it went. A lovely welcoming gesture. She asked me if I was a yoga teacher, and it meant just as much to me as that sticky note once upon a time. The only difference was this time I got to say, “Almost.”

Photo Credit: IMG_6683 by The Yoga People is licensed under CC by SA-2.0 / Cropped and text added to original

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Death and Meditation

Death-Meditation-Trail

I am recommitting to a regular meditation practice while we all process death.

I parked my car in the strip mall lot facing the home brew shop. It was an accident. I was going to yoga. I took a few deep breaths and willed the tears still in their ducts.

“Please don’t cry during yoga,” I pleaded with myself. It had been a rough day, week, month with Big Girl. Everything we read online said kids her age don’t understand the permanence of death. They think the deceased is alive and doing all the regular things somewhere else. Maybe they’ll even come back.

This was not the case with Big Girl. She got it. We didn’t even have to really explain it. When we told her Papa died she cried and said, “I”ll never get to see him again.” Every once in awhile she’ll stop me and say, “I’m so so sorry your Dad died.”

People tell me she’s so smart and often I politely disagree. She’s still learning to recognize all her letters and numbers. I’m not worried she’s behind but, at least academically, she seems pretty average. But then she goes and processes death like an adult.

Her Daddy travelled a lot for work last month, right after her Papa died, and now she’s having a lot of separation anxiety anytime he leaves. She wakes early in the morning panicked that her Daddy forgot to kiss her goodbye. I wonder if she’s afraid her Daddy won’t come back. That her Daddy will leave her like mine did.

My poor baby Big Girl. It’s like her little body can’t contain all these big, grown up emotions. She’s like a bright and brilliant star collapsing, under the pressure of gravity, into its core before exploding into a supernova. Except for she does this every day. Multiple times in a day. And it’s really hard. For her of course. And for me. Of course.

It was at the end of one of these days that I drove myself to a restorative yoga class, my thoughts consumed with Big Girl. I only noticed the home brew shop after bringing my awareness back into the present moment. Park the car. Turn the key. Pull it out. Notice the shop.

We all went there just a couple month ago. My husband, my Dad, the girls and I. My Dad started his career working for large breweries like Stroh and Coors before opening his own micro-breweries. For the last decade or so he worked as a consultant for micro-brewery startups. One of his last projects was teaching my husband to home brew. They were supposed to brew the weekend after he passed away. When I went through his email I saw the formulation my husband sent him for review 1 hour before he was rushed to the emergency room. Unread.

I went to yoga to get a break from Big Girl. I didn’t realize my Dad would be waiting there for me. So I took my breaths, tried to reign in the tears and walked into the studio. I managed to keep from crying for about 5 minutes, all the way up until the teacher asked how I was doing.

We chatted after class and she asked if I meditate.

“Sort of yes and sort of no,” I said. “I do, but not consistently.”

I’ve found it really helps during emotional times,” she said. Or something to that effect. My immediate, involuntary reaction was defensive.

“Meditation is not going to make it go away. You have no idea how big the emotional times are in my life. You have no idea what will help.” I thought these things not as words coming together into sentences, not as a voice in my head. But as a feeling filling up my physical body.

It wasn’t until reading the response to last week’s post that I fully processed her advice. She was trying to help, to share her experiences and the lessons she’s learned just as I am. The same lessons as it turns out.

Of course meditation isn’t going to make this go away. She knows that. The death of my father cannot be undone. My Mom will die too. My Big Girl is hard. And I will continue to feel all of it. Meditation creates space for these feelings. The feelings come up and we give them permission to exist, to flow freely through and out of our physical body. And somehow it really does help. I know this because I’ve been doing it for a long time.

So I plan to follow her good advice. I am recommitting to a regular meditation practice. It’s just going to look a little different than hers. Mine starts in a pair of running shoes.

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Suggestions Please for Growing This Business

Suggestions-Connect-the-Dots

How do you connect your body to your life? How can I help? I need your suggestions for blog post topics and product and service offerings.

I feel a bit scatterbrained this week. I’ve procrastinated writing this post as much as I possibly can. Mostly because I can’t decide what to write about.

I asked Big Girl for her advice this morning. She had about 500 suggestions, most of which I don’t remember. I do remember two options: ponies or the trash can turned robot. She was pretty excited about the prospect of a walking and talking waste bin.

My husband suggested I write about either Elmo or how awesome he is (after slamming him last week over the dress mishap). Turns out he’s about as good at brainstorming as he is at packing.

So I decided to ask Baby Girl for her input. She says I should write about, “Um…W”.

Sorry family. None of this works. I’m going to try another route.

If I ask myself what I truly want to do with myself, my career and my life it’s to help people. Not just physically, but emotionally too. I believe the two, the body and the mind/spirit are so very integrated. Exercising mindlessly does little to heal the physical body, and we cannot improve the quality of our lives while ignoring our physical bodies. So I want to help people. I mean, this is really it. This is the foundation. This is the core. My dreams are rooted in this. And I’m choosing the body as the vehicle because, at this point in my life, that’s what makes most sense to me. But it hasn’t always.

For most of my life I was taught to value intellect. I know all parents tell their kids to get good grades, but there was an extra emphasis on education in the household I grew up in. So I took the accelerated courses. I got the good grades. I did all the studying and earned a degree in engineering. I spent years working in a field built around data. Suppress your emotions, deny your gut instincts and base your decisions on numbers.

And all the while I found the most peace, the most contentment, the most clarity out on the trails, 2 hours worth of dirt etched into the tread of my running shoes. Lying on my stomach, my head turned to the side, my ear resting atop a beach towel soaked in my own sweat, the stink of my yoga mat somehow a comfort after 80 minutes of posturing in 105 degrees.

I still value my intellect. I still respect numbers and enjoy sinking my teeth into a good spreadsheet. But when it comes to my life I am learning to listen to my physical body. I’m making decisions with my heart, my gut and my intuition. My conscious mind is becoming aware of the lessons I have already learned with my physical body. I'm making decisions with my heart, my gut and my intuition. Click To Tweet

I was talking to a friend of mine this week about this business. I told her that there’s something here, but I also feel like it’s missing something. I haven’t quite figured out how to share what I’ve discovered in my own life. I don’t know how to translate these lessons into a product or service. I have lots ideas, of course. Lots and lots and lots of ideas and a foggy path forward.

I need help. Maybe you, dear reader, can do what my family and I cannot. Do you have any suggestions? What product or service would help you better connect to your physical body? What would improve the quality of your life?

My friend commented, “It’s like there are so many great dots. There just has to be a way to connect them all.” Perhaps I’ll find some overlap between your suggestions and the flood of ideas swimming around in my head. And we can create magic together.

Speaking of magic, check that shape with Nick Jonas. I dare you to look away from these cool moves and focus on something important and adult-ish. Like writing a blog post.

Photo Credit: connect the dots by Michelle Milla is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Original cropped

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15 Things That Are Harder Than a Marathon

Airplane-Harder-Than-A-Marathon

The last 2 weeks of my life have been a marathon. Scratch that. Harder than a marathon.

  1. Finding a cupcake in Manhattan.
  2. Vacationing with a vomiting toddler.
  3. Discovering 1/2 hour before you were to leave for a wedding that your husband did not pack the dress you intended to wear (even though you specifically asked him to pack it and only one other item).
  4. Discovering that the Express around the corner from your hotel does not sell dresses because, well, PANDA.
  5. Flying from New York City to Denver with a vomiting toddler.
  6. Flying from New York City to Denver with a vomiting toddler and a vomiting preschooler.
  7. Flying from New York City to Denver with a vomiting toddler and a vomiting preschooler, while vomiting yourself.
  8. Auditioning for Listen to Your Mother via FaceTime because your husband is out of town and everyone is still sick.
  9. Learning that you did not get into Listen to Your Mother.
  10. Dealing with your preschooler’s 1 millionth tantrum.
  11. Dealing with your preschooler’s 1 millionth tantrum alone because your husband is still out of town.
  12. Realizing that the stomach bug didn’t actually go away. It was just silently lurking for a few days, waiting for an opportune time to initiate your next spontaneous cleanse.
  13. Watching 4 kids aged 5 and under for 9 hours.
  14. Watching 4 kids aged 5 and under for 9 hours DURING THE CLEANSE.
  15. Not running at all because your body just can’t handle it.

This is real life friends. It’s harder than a marathon. Shit happens. In my case quite literally, as it turns out. But I got through it and I’m planning on a run this afternoon. Yoga tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Shit happens. In my case quite literally, as it turns out. Click To Tweet

What’s your plan? Do you or someone you know need help building one? My bio says I’m not an elite runner. (I’m not.) But I do happen to have a lot of experience figuring out how to make running happen in the middle of real life. And I’m looking for 2 new Personal Run Coaching clients. Check out the FAQ or ask me a question if you’re kind of interested but not yet ready to commit.

Photo Credit: Airplane by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped and text added to original