Mentors, Belief, and Reflection

Mentorship

I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my life. The first one I ever had was Carter Blankenship, and he taught me most of what I know about shoes and a little about workwear. He passed away two weeks ago. He was one of the first people to ever believe in me, and he called me his protégé. He looked out for me, taught me certain tricks of the trade with people, and he was proud of me. Always.

word cloud - mentorship

I have been thinking about him periodically in the past few months, and how much I wanted to get in contact with him. I just didn’t know how. When I find out he passed away, it hit me like a two-foot wave in the ocean. I felt a sense of loss and shock that I hadn’t felt since my Nana passed away. I am not comparing the two; please do not misunderstand me.

Belief

His family had a celebration of life ceremony today that I went to. Truth be told, I really didn’t want to go. I knew I needed to go, I owed him that much. I didn’t really know how much the man had meant to me until today when I was headed there. The emotions were like the waves during an outgoing storm at the ocean. Violent, but subdued. Periodic but all-consuming. It was a tough ending to a tough week.

Ocean Fury taken in October 2015 by Alexis Krukovsky. (c)

I hadn’t met his family, except once in passing years ago, but he talked about them consistently. He was always proud of them, as well.   I looked for people who may be able to help direct me to the family members to introduce myself. The first person I met was Bridget, and is an old family friend. A very lovely, no-nonsense woman who was helping to clean up, and she introduced me to Melissa (his daughter) and later Adrienne his wife. Adrienne knew exactly who I was as soon as I said my name. I was slightly taken aback by this because I hadn’t seen Carter in at least seven years, and probably closer to ten. He talked about me to his family, which he didn’t do often apparently.  He also called me his protégé to his family.  It was one of several moments of gratitude and humbled pride.  I spent several years getting to work with and learn from him, but still.

 Reflection

Some of us went back to the house to help bring in everything, and to relax. There were stories upon stories, laughter, and bonding. From what I knew about Carter, it was exactly what he would have wanted. Laid-back, relaxed, and people having a good time while remembering the man we all loved. He was always a bit of a trickster, and helping to carry everything back to the house was his way of getting me there.

I went not knowing what to expect, and left with a lighter sense of spirit. I also left with new friends, and a deep down belief that he was proud of me. Even still after all these years. I am not sure what the point of this entry was other than a sense of gratitude of the people I have and have had in my life.

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New Reality

This poem reflects about my current evolution of moving into my own place for the first time.  Enjoy 🙂

 

New Reality

sometimes
Revisiting
your

Previous
life

Causes

Reflection
Emotion
Pain

like tonight.

I came
back for
an evening.

the
Range
of

Emotions
are

Staggering
and

Perplexing.

It
feels

Foreign.

it’s now
Just a

place.

not a

home.

but
familiar.

What I
think it
may be
like for
amnesia
Victims.

Lost,
Open,
Vulnerable,
Afraid

also

Free.

I am no
longer

Shackled

by
my
Surroundings

I
Embrace

Love

Immerse

myself in
Them.

Blank

Slate
has a

completely
Different

Meaning
to me.

Another
Life,

Chapter,

Being,

Self.

 

Because of Us

Based on the title, this blog entry may not be what you think it’s about. I had a few  conversations about different topics with one of my mentors today, and at one point she stopped and looked at me. She said, “are you okay?” I paused a moment, and said, “yes.  I was just thinking about how different my life is then it was four years ago”.  I looked at her and said, “it’s mostly because of you.”

white party pic

She responded, “well, it’s all because of you, actually.” I retorted, “yes, I did the personal growth work. However, it wouldn’t have happened without you.”  She responded, “it’s because of us, then.”

Relationships are complicated, regardless of what form. Whether it be platonic or romantic, mentor or friend, or personal versus professional. Let me clarify that statement: meaningful relationships are complicated. There are two forms of relationships: the real, genuine do anything for you kind or the convenient kind. Sadly, most of the relationships I have had prior to the past four years have mostly been the latter.  I think that is true for most people.  It is just easier and safer that way.

Mediocre vs Rocking It

Relationships exist for a number of different reasons. Number one reason is to challenge us to be better than we are. Often times, people do not want to do the work to be better than they are. They would much rather be mediocre than rocking it. Quite frankly, rocking it often takes a lot of painful growth, so why not stay mediocre and content? Comfort zone, safety, and mediocrity are where most people live, and that is okay.  Human beings were not created to live a mediocre life, so what if you want something more?

The Change

A good, meaningful relationship, however, will ALWAYS push you to the next level. It involves tough, sometimes hard conversations that neither person wants to have. It involves growing towards your next obstacle instead of away from it. Most importantly, it involves asking the right questions, figuring out solutions, and applying those solutions to life. You cannot apply change to your life without application and action. It just doesn’t work. I am a byproduct of the work on both my business and myself. I take ownership of both. Which type of relationships are you in currently? Take inventory of your life and figure out who challenges you and who placates you. The placators are not doing you any favors, and are in actuality bringing you down.

Be in a relationship type where there are “because of us” moments and growth pattern.  It truly changes everything, and as with anything worthwhile, it starts and ends with you.

Ankles, Balance, and Improvement

I have had weak ankles since my first sprain, and the many subsequent sprains.  I have high arches, small feet, and am five and half feet tall.  All of those things are not helpful for ankle strength, and I had previously thought I was doomed to have weak ankles forever.  One of the many unexpected consequences of this fitness journey has been the improvement to both my coordination and balance.  These have occurred in a relatively short period time, especially since I picked Sphericality and started taking classes on a regular basis.  All of which seem to involve balance and coordination.

I have loved almost every single class, the instructors are great, and liked the boot camp (the pace was a bit over my head).  The instructor that has helped my balance the most has been Kelly.  She seems to stress it the most, and does many what she calls “balance challenge” exercises every class.  For me, they are definitely challenging and for anyone that knows me, I love a challenge.  I may have to reset, flex my ankle, and restart the pose.  I do not quit, which she pointed out to me.  I am a stubborn person when it comes to challenge, and I do not rest until I at least get better at it.  When you push your limits, you grow EVERY TIME.  No matter what area of your life it is, and your confidence grows along with it

Limits, Goals, and Expectations

There are a few things in life that can be as crushing as expectations, either by yourself or others (big or small).  There is an immense fear of failure in this country, and probably throughout the world.  This point of view is an immense scarcity in perspective.  I have learned far more from my failures than my successes.  Is it easy to acknowledge failure?  No.  However, there is not much accomplished when you pretend it didn’t happen, or worse, fail to take responsibility for the reason.  In my opinion, it’s only a failure if you didn’t learn from it.  Those eye-rolling, I used to be you.

I made a personal vow to myself in my business that regardless of if I was close to, achieved, or if I  wasn’t even close, I would go for it with everything I had.  I have had experience with doing the opposite because I thought not even trying to achieve it was better than failing miserably.  You know what the result of that little experiment is?  It makes you feel kind of shitty about yourself.  Because there’s doubt on top of doubt.  There’s doubt about your goal/ability to begin with, and then there’s doubt because you may have been able to accomplished the impossible if you gave it your best, die-trying effort.  And sometimes trying hurts, and sometimes it hurts a lot.  Failing hurts, too.

decisions regret

Regret also hurts and lasts far longer than any failure you have.  I have had many experiences in both.  Regret lingers because it haunts your subconscious.  There are a  couple of things crippling about regret.  The unknown of doubt, positive or negative, is a plague on many souls.  What ifs, because what if it worked?  How would my life be different?  The scale doesn’t really matter, either.  Been there, done that.  Big or small, lifetime or daily, the same thinking applies.  However, dwelling on the past and beating yourself up about it does not serve anyone.  Move on and learn how to do it better.

Weekend and Beyond

I spent the weekend paddling, hiking, and with family.  It was the quintessential perfect weekend, the only thing missing was live music.  I paddled approximately 12 miles, hiked about three miles on Sunday, and then spent the majority of Easter playing with my three year old cousin.

On Tuesday though, I was looking for a kick-your-ass workout.  Paddling and hiking are workouts, but they are different. They are generally short bursts of energy followed by lackadaisical energy depending on the conditions of the trail and/or water body.

Enter Sphericality.  I have made the determination that I will attend the 9:40 AM Pilates360 class on Tuesday because it stops me from goofing around all morning.   I love the instructor Tammy.  She is full of get your ass in gear, but in  a tough love kind of way.  She is all about form (which I am super happy about) and taking it one step further.  In anything, if you don’t push yourself past your limit that you thought possible, than you are playing small.  If you are playing small because of some fear of failure, the only person that hinders is you.  As they say, get your big girl panties on and deal with it.

dorian and I

Dorian, the owner of  Sphericality, and I after a Barre Class

After the class, I realize there’s a TRX class after that also with Tammy.  So, I also stayed for that.  It was my first doubleheader, and now I realize I have official become exercise-crazed.  As my friend says, that’s a high-class problem.  I was surprisingly not too sore the next day, just a touch in the arms.

One of my main focuses lately has been improving my balance, coordination, and getting my ankles stronger.  I have little tiny feet, high arches in my feet, and I’m not small.  All of those things lead to a need to improve the above.  My ankles have always been a weak spot.  I basically look at them wrong, and they go out.  Since I’ve been taking these classes, I’ve noticed them getting a little stronger.  I’m not sure how much my balance has improved yet, but I know that my coordination is.  It’s really satisfying to know that what I am doing in these classes not only improves my overall health, but also is having some positive unanticipated affects in the above categories.

Barre Boot Camp

This is my second boot camp class, which I enjoyed significantly more than the first.  It was less militant, more intense actually, and left me sweating.  I usually am not much of a sweater.

This is also the first class where I got progressively more sore as the day went on.  Is this supposed to happen?  My friend Jenny, who has been into health and fitness all of her life, said that sometimes it take up to two to three days for full soreness to set in.  I have proven her correct.  I was actually pretty excited when I woke up today because I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be.  I had some soreness in my glutes and hip flexors, but very little in my quadriceps.  This has been evolving, especially as I reached 7 PM tonight.  This thought has actually been a relatively common occurrence throughout this journey, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised each time by how not sore I have been.

This has not been one of those times.  When I say this class thoroughly kicked my ass, I am not exaggerating.  I may not have drank enough water beforehand, but still.  The soreness I feel right now is both reassuring (for some reason) and a reminder of how far I still have to go.  It’s reassuring because it means I’m pushing myself past the limits that I thought I could go.

I think it’s like personal development.  One doesn’t simply reach the pinnacle in fitness nor in personal development.  There’s always another milestone, another goal, and another obstacle.  I am loving what all this has brought to my life.

I am truly craving it now.  I went three days without going to a gym, and my friend Maria and I both said on Sunday we were going to do 6 flights of stairs.  Yes, six flights.  Both of us willingly did them because we were craving exercise.  This is a high-class problem that I am loving.

Fitness, welcome to a permanent part of my life.  Love, Lex.

20 Gyms in 30 days-summary

It turns out the 20 gyms in 20 days was a bit unrealistic, but you never know unless you try.  It’s better to aim high and fall slightly short, then aim low and miss completely.  This challenge did as I intended it to do, which was develop discipline, get toned, and in shape to go along with the weight loss through the Arbonne nutrition and clean eating program.  Now part one of my mission is complete.  I have picked out a gym, it’s Sphericality in Flemington, NJ.  In the end it came between Cornerstone Fitness and Sphericality.  Here are my synopses of the two.

 Cornerstone Health and Fitness in New Hope, Doylestown, and Warrington, PA.

cornerstone

This was my first gym I went to, and if the location was more convenient to where I am moving to shortly, I would join this gym in a heartbeat.  It’s about 30 minutes from where I currently live, but will be almost an hour from where I am moving to.  I can’t travel an hour to a gym, no matter how good it is.

Here are my reasons why it would be my first choice.  It has both kickass classes, and your traditional style gym.  The gym I joined in Flemington seems to be class based, and not open at anytime with equipment I can just use whenever the gym is open.  This could be a misunderstanding on my part for Sphericality.  It is also locally owned, very affordable for everything you get with your membership, and it has a definite community feel to it.  This is amazing since I only attended one class.  I truly do like the place, and if things were different would be joining there instead.  The atmosphere, camaraderie, the people, and energy of the place is perfect.  The locations are just not convenient for my life right now.

Sphericality

There are a few things that pushed Sphericality ahead of Cornerstone.  The convenience of the location, 5 minutes from where I work, the schedule of classes was convenient, and the overall vibe of the place.  I’ve taken two classes there now, and when I came back tonight the instructor, Kelly, said, “I’m soo glad you are back!”  It made me have a huge smile.  I had told her what I was doing, the 20 gyms in 20 days things.  She said, “you will come back here because we are the best.”  She didn’t mean it in a bragging, superior way.  She said it from a place of knowing her worth and the gym’s worth.  It played a role in my decision.

I will keep you guys apprised of my progress with the gym, results, and affects in my life.  I am truly hooked now.  I went like 2.5 days without going to a gym, and I was practically tweaking for a gym fix.  It’s one of the reasons I started to do this, to develop discipline and commitment to something outside of paddling and Arbonne.  I have found another niche to love and develop.  I can safely say, I don’t think I’ve loved my life more than I do right now.  It feels damn good.

Day 14, Gym 13

I travelled to upstate New York for an Arbonne training, and an incentive power hour.  It was pretty incredible.  Regardless of the training, I woke up early yesterday and hit the  small gym at the Hotel Hyatt in Balston Spa, NY.  There were some free weights, and four pieces of cardio equipment (2 treadmills, 1 recumbent bike, and one elliptical).  Since the elliptical was taken, I hopped on the stationary bike for about 15 minutes.  The hotel also had a pool, which is a very nice accommodation to have for a relatively small hotel.  The fitness room was open 24/7, and the pool from 6 AM to 10 PM.  As far as hotel exercise rooms go, it got the job done for me.  If you were there for a week, one might get bored.

Update on my TRX class from the other day.  A friend of mine told me that sometimes it takes a up to two or three to be sore.  Well, she was right.  It wasn’t the day after that I was sore, it was two days.  My legs, shoulders, upper back, and abs were a bit sore.  Nothing extraordinary, but I suppose I should have used my Phytosport line the day after, as well.  It’s a good sign.  It feels really good, both mind and body, to be getting back in shape again.  This time, just like when I did the clean eating challenge, it will become a lifestyle, not just a temporary phase.

Day 11, Gym 10

I headed to the Flemington, NJ area.  I went to one of the most well-known and popular gyms in the area, HealthQuest.  After my pleasant experience with LA Fitness last week, I was determined to have no preconceived notion about the place.  The lovely woman at the front desk let me do a workout, despite membership not being there which is usually a requirement.  She was quite nice and informative, so I asked about classes.  She got a schedule, and started to go through them with me because they were lacking a description sheet.  However, after this interaction, I had my first disappointing experience at a gym that I had worked out in.  I will touch on why, but first the positives of my past 11 days.

I have noticed a few things about my body progress so far.   My little pudge is just about gone, and my abs are somewhere in between slightly squishy and firm.  This may not sound like an improvement, but when I started 11 days ago there was just stomach flab.  Most of my small pants still fit, but I could feel the little distended pudge and didn’t like how it had crept up on me again.  My cardio fitness is slowly improving, along with muscle tone and endurance.  I weighed myself at 138 pounds, and was quite pleased with the number.  I, unfortunately, didn’t weigh myself when I started because it just wasn’t on my radar.  It may have been around 143.  I think I am most excited about the cardio fitness, and I’ll explain my progress in the next paragraph.

I started off with some light cardio at the rowing machine, which I wrote about in Day 6, Gym 4.  There I did about 12 minutes and almost 2000 meters, which is approximately 165 meters per minute (mpm).  Today I did 18 minutes and over 3,000 meters, approximately 172 mpm.  I wasn’t as tired, winded, and actually increased my rowing speed towards the end.  I am inspired to see tangible results so quickly.

I did my TRX routine, which is going to be a gym requirement.  I then went to the free weight area, since I hadn’t done that in a few days and wanted to work on my arms and core.  This was my first true disappointment in a gym.  The free weight area machines I have used have been mostly by a company called Hammer Strength.  They have either all or mostly been labelled at what muscle groups are targeted on the machine, how the machine works, etc at the other gyms I have been to.  At HealthQuest, this was lacking on a good number of the machines.  Some were labelled with print that said what they were, some of them were partially worn off, and I’d say about one-third to a little less than half were not labelled at all.  More than half did not have a diagram of the muscles that the machine targeted, and while I could guess at most of them, I find this is unacceptable for a gym of this size and cost.  It is not the gyms responsibility to be equipment police in regards to people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to make it as user-friendly as possible.

On my way out the door, I asked for the membership price for a single membership.  I was astonished at the astronomical price of $93 per month.  This does include all the classes,  but not children’s programs or some speciality programs.  This is according to the little brochure I was given.  She almost looked apologetic when she gave it to me.  I have not taken a class yet, and would like to take one before passing on a final judgement. This is an incredibly popular gym, and I would like to think there’s a reason for it.