Can you be alone with yourself?

Do you ever just spend time by yourself. I mean completely by yourself. No noise. No distractions. No nothing.

Go ahead. Find a quiet place to relax. I’ll wait for you. Either your bedroom or another quiet place in your house will work. Turn off all the noise. Tune out all the noise. No TV. No music. No anything. Take some deep breaths. Let’s do five. Now you can either just hang out here or open your eyes and just be in a relaxed position. What is relaxed for you? For me it is lying down on my bed or even just sitting comfortably on the floor. Okay. You there?

Now, I want you to start thinking about how you feel. Think about how your body feels. Let’s do this for five minutes. Feel everything. Feel your feet and legs and hips and chest. Feel your arms and hands and head and neck. Feel uncomfortable yet? What are you noticing? Anything feel tight? Is it hard to relax? Quiet your mind. Count backwards from 100 if you need to in order to turn off the noise.

Next up, I want you to explore a little more. What emotions are you feeling? Do you feel content or irritated? Do you feel anxious or sad? This is the time to feel. This is the time to explore this stuff. There is no noise. There is just you and your thoughts. What are you thinking? When is the last time you did something like this? When is the last time you were completely alone with yourself? By completely alone I mean with absolutely no noise. Does the silence irritate you? Does it drive you nuts?

See, most of us can’t handle ourselves. We can’t handle being alone with ourselves because it makes us think. It makes us reflect. It makes us wonder about things.

Do you even like yourself? When we don’t have the outside distractions, it forces us to face ourselves. Sometimes it’s hard to like ourselves. Do you find that is the case?

In our everyday lives we create a billion different distractions so we don’t have to deal with ourselves. We are always busy with something. And, when we are alone, we have noise on, such as the radio or the TV or spotify or pandora.

We distract with noise. We distract with music. We distract with TV and we distract with our phones. We distract so we don’t have to deal. We don’t like to deal. It’s hard to deal.

I want you to deal. I want you to face yourself and deal. Relax and think about things as long as it takes for you to start dealing. Write down some goals. Make the goals financial goals. Make the goals fitness goals. Make the goals relationship goals. Make the goals life goals. Once you have done that, go find a mirror and look in it. Look at yourself without judgment. Look at yourself with confidence. Look at yourself. You are beautiful. You are competent. You are adequate. You are capable. You are enough.

I received a box in the mail with some essential oil perfume samples. The samples of the perfume oils are Vibrance, Love, Passion, Calm and Grounded. The quote on the outside of the box, interestingly enough, has everything to do with this post. Here is the quote:

Every move I make in this world is done with Vibrance. I am open to giving and receiving Love. My life is full of Passion. My thoughts are at ease and I am Calm. I speak my truth and I am Grounded.

I love that quote. Start practicing being alone with yourself. Take once a week or more and shut out the noise. Shut off the noise and learn about yourself. Don’t be afraid to like yourself.

Your Path. Your Rules. Your Pirate Map.

Your path. Your rules. Your pirate map.

What is your path? What are your rules? Are you just washing out of life and not living it?

What I mean here is your fitness and nutrition path. What does that path look like? What do your rules look like? What does your life look like?

Did you know that nobody can tell you how to walk your path? Nobody can tell you what kind of workout to do. I find it so interesting that people will say you need to do this or you need to eat this in order to lose weight or feel better.

The truth is, you just need to do something. It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to start at A, take three steps to the left and land on B and then turn four circles until you stop at A again. Just kidding, but I think you know what I mean.

The most important thing is to find something you like and do it. If you don’t like to run and someone is trying to make you start running, well that’s never going to work for you. Walking 20 minutes a day is a great way to get moving. It is so good for you too.

Eating doesn’t have to be complicated either. Eat more protein and vegetables and you will be way better off in the long run. Drink more water and take some fish oil. Don’t overcomplicate your eating.

I was at my kettlebell recertification this weekend and the Master Instructor, Dan John, is definitely a master. He introduced us, or me anyway to pirate maps, which he discovered from Pat Flynn, who I religiously follow. I can’t believe I haven’t remembered Pat talking about this. I think it is a fantastic way to take the complicated things in life and make them simple. The pirate map. The pirate map is the easiest way to get from point A to point B, if you will.

So, if you want to make a pirate map or to do list or do this list for yourself regarding your fitness and nutrition, your pirate map might look something like this:

  1. Drink a glass of water upon waking.
  2. Eat protein at ever meal
  3. Eat two different vegetables at every meal
  4. Walk 20 minutes every day
  5. Strength train 3 times per week
  6. Meditate 5 minutes before bed
  7. Be in bed by 10 p.m. on weekdays

Simple things like this, simple habits like this make you better in the long run. Post your pirate map where you can see it every single day. All day. Every day.

What about a pirate map for life. Something like this perhaps:

  1. Be grateful
  2. Tell people who matter you love them
  3. Get rid of debt
  4. Don’t be afraid to struggle a little bit
  5. Be kind

So, you get the idea how these work. You could make a pirate map for anything in your life, such as financial goals, life goals, fitness goals and even relationship goals.

What will you put on your pirate map?

 

 

Am I ready?

As I am getting ready to post this, I am sitting at my kitchen counter checking to make sure I have everything I need. I have my carry-on packed. I have my backpack packed. That’s my go to when I travel. I have my ticket. I have snacks and water.

I have a lot of emotions flowing through me. I have a lot of questions being asked of me by myself. Did you do enough? Did you work hard? Do you think you will do well? Do you feel ready? Can you go?

Well…the answer is I’m not sure. All the doubt is creeping in. The negative talk is telling me I didn’t do enough. The negative talk is telling me I didn’t work hard enough. The negative talk is telling me I won’t do well. The negative talk is telling me I’m not ready and I can’t go.

I feel empty. My tank feels low. It’s been a long road. I’ve had injuries to overcome and just when I am starting to feel good it’s time to go. But can I?

Guess what? We all have shit. We all have problems. We all have life. We all have something we have to deal with. It’s not new to any of us.

The important thing is to not dwell on the negative talk. I’m trying hard not to do that. I’m trying hard to stay positive. I’m trying hard.

If you are wondering what I am talking about. I am talking about my recertification for my kettlebell certification. I have to recert every three years. I am certified level I and level II right now and this is the recertification for both of those. It’s not easy AT ALL. It’s exhausting, mentally and physically.

The Master instructor is Dan John. Ever heard of him? He’s kind of a big deal. I am super excited to work with him. He truly is an amazing coach and more importantly an amazing person. I will probably fan girl all over him. I did pack one of his books so he can sign it for me. Weird? Not at all. He’s that amazing of a person.

So tomorrow morning I hop in the car about 5:30 a.m. and head to Rapid City. I catch a plane to Denver and then to LA – the land of the pretty people. I will Uber of Lyft to the hotel because I’m sure as hell not renting a car and driving in that traffic.

I get to see my good friend Rene again. I absolutely love her. We hit it off immediately at our Level II three years ago and then the Progressive Calisthentics Certification. Talk about an amazing person. She is one of a kind. Such a beautiful person with an absolutely beautiful soul. She is such an inspiration. NOTHING keeps her down.

Even though my tank is feeling empty. I am not going to use that an an excuse. I am going to dig deeper. I’m going to push harder. I’m going to be uncomfortable as fuck and I am going to grow!

Rene – let’s do this!!

 

The anchor dress story

The dress was white. It had a nautical pattern. There were blue anchors and gold-colored boat steering wheels. There was also the color red on the dress. I was only four or five. Blond hair, freckle faced, tan legs and knock knees. I was such a tom boy, as far back as I can remember. I’m not sure how or why I was even wearing a dress. Tom boys didn’t wear dresses. For some reason, I liked that dress.

I was playing with my cousins. If you’ve ever seen the movie with Kevin Costner, called The War, we were probably like the Lipnicki family, always looking for an adventure. Translation, always getting into trouble. It’s a great movie by the way. One of my favorites.

Some parts of this story I don’t clearly remember, but at the same time other parts are crystal clear. It is so strange how our brains let us remember and how our recall of certain events happens. The dress, for some reason, is pretty clear.

We lived in a super small town. The town was Hurley, SD. It is near Sioux Falls, the biggest city in South Dakota. The population of Hurley, today is 415. See. Super small. Not much going on there. There was Main Street and a park and a school. We lived in a little house that was white with brown trim. Like the Euclid house, this house also had a fire. That’s a story for another time. In all fairness, I have never tortured animals.  🙂

There was a big tree that had a fort in it. I wanted so bad to climb that tree and get in that fort. We walked there from someone’s house. It must have been from our house. It seemed like the tree was far away. Our driveway was laced in rock and everything else seemed like it was dirt. I don’t think there were actual sidewalks. It sure didn’t seem like it. There were brown and gold leaves with curled edges on the ground too. It must have been fall. We got to the tree. It was a tall tree and it seemed like it was way up to the sky. It was so exciting.

My cousins went up and I talked them into letting me go up too. The ladder steps to get up consisted of a little piece of wood with a nail in the center attached to the tree. I remember getting up there and feeling like I was on top of the world. It was amazing. I could see everything. It was so cool. I felt as free as a four or five year old could feel. Heights were never a problem at that age.

Pretty soon that rush was gone. Pretty soon I looked around and nobody was there. Pretty soon I was scared. They left me. I had no idea where they went. I was stuck up there. I was stuck in the tree fort. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to get down or if anyone was coming back for me.

I sat down and cried. I was yelling and yelling, but nobody came. It was getting cold and by this time I had to go to the bathroom. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had no idea how I was going to get down. I didn’t know what to do. Nobody was coming to help me. Nobody was coming to get me down. I was so scared. I peed my pants in my pretty dress with the anchors. I felt terrible.

The symbolism of the anchor may be why I remember this story. In tumultuous times the anchor is a sign of stability and strength. It is a symbol of security and being grounded. I remember looking at the anchors on that dress. I think the anchors helped me that day. I think the anchors gave me strength. I think the anchors helped me have the self confidence and courage to climb down from that tree fort. I can barely remember climbing down. I must have run home after that. I just remember being so scared, but more than that, I was so upset about peeing my pants in my pretty anchor dress.

Her name was Nancy and she had really red hair

When I started gymnastics I was in 6th grade. Actually, the summer after 6th grade. I learned about it from a friend in my grade. She had been in it for quite some time and I was immediately curious about it. I had really never heard of it before.

I signed up. I was hooked immediately. I LOVED it. I was a strong kid and this fueled by passion for being strong. I practiced all the time. Day in and day out. I was always practicing splits and cartwheels and handstands. I practiced handstands so much that I made myself so tired that I fell and broke my collar bone. That was super intense pain. It never set right and to this day I have some problems with that side of my body, mostly trying to keep square and not twist during movements such as kettlebell swings and even pull-ups.

By the time school gymnastics started in the fall, it was time to get the brace off. It was the day practice started. I was so excited. It was finally time to dig back in. It was finally time to get strong again. It was finally time to work hard again.

We had some really cool upperclassmen who were there to help guide us underlings to gymnastics success. One of them was Nancy Teske. Her name now is Nancy Boe. She was so nice. She was so helpful to us peons. Gymnastics wasn’t huge back then and a lot of us youngsters were on varsity. It was a lot of pressure for us. It was a lot of hard work, but the older girls were there every step of the way for us and wholeheartedly supported us.

We worked together during summer gymnastics too. We actually got to be in the “new” gym instead of the old grungy one. I actually miss that old grungy gym. There were stall bars in it and the peg board. I would love to have those two items in my home gym.

When I worked during summer gymnastics, Nancy was the boss. I remember Cathy Cowan and Nancy Stoeser too. They were so fun. I totally remember wanting to be like all of them. They were so cool and so together and just so enjoyed life. I could tell. They had fun. They seemed so grownup.

The thing I remember most about it was the music. There was a separate little room with a record player. You had to physically go put on an album that you wanted to hear. The one we chose over and over was Cat Stevens. The songs included Wild World, Peace Train, Oh Very Young and Morning Has Broken. I’m listening right now on Spotify and it takes me right back to that gym.

I think when we are young and we have good role models to look up to we should tell them the influence they had on us. Nancy and I both had sons who were the same age. They graduated together. I think we were at the parent/senior party and I gave her a letter and CD. I can’t really remember exactly what I wrote in that letter, but I know I told her that she was a huge influence on me. She influenced me to make good decisions in life. She influenced me to stay on the straight and narrow. She was cool like that. She was the type of person that you wanted to please. You wanted to make her proud. I looked up to her and I wanted her to know that. The CD I gave her was Cat Stevens.

I think it’s pretty cool and ironic that she became a teacher. The most underrated profession. The influence of teachers is immeasurable. I bet she was an amazing one! I hope she is enjoying her retirement.

I think so much in life we are afraid to tell people what they mean to us. I think it’s okay and I am doing it now as much as I can.

 

Oh baby baby it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it’s a wild world

 

do you wonder?

Do you ever wonder about things? How far back can you remember actually wondering about things?

Can you go back to single digits? I think I can. I remember always wondering how I was going to climb the next tree. I remember trying to figure out which one had the best branches. I wondered how long it would take me to do double jumps. I wondered how many push ups I could do. I wondered. Is that considered wondering or is it considered something else?

Wondering means to think or speculate curiously. Oh yeah, that’s my jam. I wondered all the time as a little kid. I curiously wondered. I wondered curiously. Every day I did this. I think we all did. Then as we get a little older we wonder about different things. More grown up things. More things that may also be construed as worry. Still wondering curiously though.

I think in the single digits for most kids the wondering is pretty harmless and it is a curious wonderment. Like I said before, figuring out what tree had the best branches so it would be easier to climb. Super innocent.

As a tween or teenager, we start wondering about other things. We wonder if someone likes us. We wonder if we are pretty enough. We wonder if we are fat or skinny or if someone is going to talk to us or if we will be able to sit with people at lunch. We start wondering if we are going to get good grades. We wonder if we will get asked to the dance. We wonder if that certain boy likes us or is going to talk to us. We keep wondering.

Moving on up to high school I think those wonders are still there, but then we add more. We start to wonder where we will go to college. If we will go to college. We wonder how much money things are going to cost. We wonder if we will have good enough grades. But I can guarantee we still wonder if we are pretty enough. We wonder if we are fat and if people will like us. We wonder if we are good enough. We keep wondering.

Then we move into young adulthood and our wonders grow even bigger. We wonder if we will get married. We wonder if we will have kids. We wonder how many kids we will have. We wonder if our husband or wife is going to be nice to us. We wonder where we will live. We wonder if we will get a good job. We also still wonder if we are pretty enough. We wonder if we are good enough. We wonder if people will like us. We keep wondering.

The next step is an adult. More wonders. Now we wonder if we can pay the bills. We wonder when will be able to buy a house. We have kids and we wonder how they will do. We wonder if they will be good members of society. We still wonder if we are pretty. We wonder if the stretch marks and cellulite have ruined our bodies. We wonder if we are fat. We wonder if we are good enough. We keep wondering.

Where does this come from? Not the regular wondering, but the body image wondering and the being good enough wondering? We are being taught at a young age to think we are flawed, to think there is something wrong with us. We are taught that if we are “fat” we are ugly. We are taught that skinny is the best way to be. If you aren’t skinny you are ugly. If you have one ounce of fat on your body, you are ugly. If you don’t have perfect hair, or skin or teeth, you are ugly. Who started that shit? More importantly, why do we still need to wonder about this?

This past weekend I hosted my Body Image Without Prejudice Women’s Retreat, where over a dozen women came together to have a good time with good people, good workouts, good presenters and good food. We talked about body image, overall health, mental health and grief. We talked about a lot of things. This was a place where nobody was judged. We didn’t have to wonder if we were good enough. We didn’t have to wonder if we were ugly or fat. We didn’t have to wonder if anyone was going to like us. We didn’t have to wonder.

I think this is a super important issue among women. The sooner we can quit wondering about this stuff, the more we are NOT passing these wonders onto our daughters. Our daughters are beautiful. We are beautiful. We shouldn’t have to wonder about that.