Exercise, Music, and Pushing limits

I will admit that I am totally, 100% addicted to exercise in a way I never thought possible.  If I go a two days without it, I’m like Jonesing for a fix.  It’s weird, but it’s a good weird.  Every time I go to Sphericality, I reminded that I made a good choice.  I finally had the chance to take a class with the owner of said gym, Dorian, and she did not disappoint.  Like most of the other classes I have taken there, there was a focus on form.  Dorian seemed to take it a step further, and went around the class and tweaked our movements if need be.  Kelly also did this.  This is one of the reasons I am coming to love this gym.  It’s almost perfect for me.

I love music.  I don’t play it, or sing it, I just thoroughly enjoy it.  It is apart of my soul.  Yesterday, my friend Jenny had her first open mic at her place in Bath, PA.  There were a couple of firsts for me.  I read poetry (okay, I had done it once before), and I played music for a genuine first.  I played the cymbals.  Yes, I know that’s not much.  For me though?  It was HUGE.  I have always thought I didn’t know how to keep a beat, at all.  Yesterday I proved myself wrong, because I was according to Jenny able to keep a beat.  I also felt like I could before I asked her.  It was a night of firsts, bonding, and just celebration of a new, eclectic space.

I pushed through a few boundaries, reading my poetry in public and playing music.  For me, there are very few things more vulnerable than those two things.  Reading my inner-most thoughts out loud to the public is something that I am working on overcoming this year.  This was a first step.  Was it uncomfortable?  Hell to the Yes.  Was it worth that feeling?  Hell to the yes.  Happiness and freedom lay outside your comfort zone, and that is where I am pushing this year.

I am a different person than I was last year, and I’m pushing myself to be even more different next year.  When I say different, I don’t mean a caricature  of yourself.  I mean that you are becoming the best version of yourself, and finding your true calling in life.  Which may be so different than you ever thought it could be (like mine).  Be in love with who you are, or at the least be working on loving yourself.  I know it sounds weird (guilty) and new-agey, but trust me when I tell you when you feel peace with yourself and your mission, there is a peace inside of you that rivals no other.

Day 6, Gym 4

I am repeating one gym (Gold’s Gym)  because I had very little time today to find a gym, make an appointment, schedule something, and go before it would have kept me up all night.  Plus, it was the end of my three day pass.  I plan on doing two gyms on one day, anyway soon.  I felt like I should give my body a little break, although, I am not nearly as sore as I thought I’d be after really not working out much at all in the past couple of months.  Thanks to the combination of Arbonne Phytosport line, specifically the hydration and after workout, along with stretching before, during, and after exercise, I’ve for the most part been sore free.

hydration selfie

I have noticed that my stomach is getting tighter again, which is really good.  I didn’t get to take a before and after picture for a few different reasons.  I feel better, have more energy, and just getting out of the little cloud I was in.  It is doing exactly what I had hoped it would do.

Today I wanted to do strict cardio because I haven’t done that yet, and wanted to gauge my fitness level.  I did 12 minutes on the rowing machine, which is my favorite cardio to do in a gym (running, hiking for outside).  I did almost 2000 meters, which I thought was pretty good.  I held my own, too.  I didn’t get too winded, but I did start to feel it after about 7-8 minutes.  I have come to the conclusion that you can do all the circuit training, kickboxing, etc. that you want, and it is more fun than a piece of cardio equipment, but there is no substitute for straight cardio, unfortunately.  You take a pause in all the other ones, because you have to.  It doesn’t work without a break (even a 10 sec) one.  So, it’s time to get back to the love/hate relationship I think everyone has with cardio.  😉

Your True Self

Sometimes the person you have spent your entire life being, isn’t really your true self.  You may have been taught things that weren’t true about yourself and that became your truth, or you succumbed to the version of yourself that everyone believed was you.

This is the story you are telling yourself.  If you are unhappy with it, it’s is time to write a new one.  It’s your damn life, be happy with the choices, lifestyles, and career.

I have recently stepped into the person I am supposed to be, and that for whatever reason has been buried under a mountain of my own bullshit.  Over the past three years, in order, I have developed or done:  started a business, adopted a mentor, followed them around everywhere, did what they said, read a lot of books; developed self-confidence, probably for the first time, actually worked my business; got promoted, and taught and inspired others to be the best version of themselves, and then got promoted again. At times it was painful, but it was worth all of it to be building my future freedom.  Success is rarely easy.

When I got to train after completing Area manager with Arbonne, I got a standing ovation.  It is a moment I will never forget as long as I live.  It was reaffirming, it was magical, and I finally felt comfortable that this was where I was supposed to be. It was at that moment that I realized I am changing the world one treehugging hippie at a time.

me training 2-1-16

Me training at our Arbonne meeting

This is just the beginning of my life.  This is my true self that have unburied after a lot of painful growth, which I have written about before.  The person who I am today is so different than anything I have been in the past twenty years that sometimes it takes awhile for people to see me as I truly am.

The leader, the paddler, treehugging hippy, the person who has inspired an entire Arbonne nation to celebrate with me, and just overall badass, cargo pant wearing chica.  All of those are who I am.  I have shedded the skin of my former life because I’ve grown into my adult embodiment of myself.  It feels like home.

Striking Times

This has been my first Mother’s Day without my Nana.  I felt her on Sunday, I did.  However, for some reason, it is hitting more today for the first time in awhile.  There are so many other times where have felt her presence more, and it is beyond random.

It has happened when hiking, walking, paddling, and very occasionally driving.  I will see something, and out of nowhere WHAM there’s Nana.  I am a deeply spiritual person, and a lot of the emotion I express via writing. It just comes out better than if I do it verbally.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

The time I spent with my Nana before she died was directly related to my business.  It gave me the time freedom to go down to the shore, and give my Nana a facial and spend time during the week.  My flexibility gave me the time I needed to be with my family.  There are two things that matter to me more than other part of my life:  my family and my friends.  You mess with either of them, and you will regret it.

I get struck by these emotions and sentiments at odd times.  Generally when I’m tired, and my guard is down.  I got to have a final conversation with my Nana that others in my family didn’t get to have.  I would have given ANYTHING so they could have had that conversation that they so deserve.

She is with me.  In every heart ache, every barrier broken, every adventure, and every celebration.  She is there, and always will be.

My mission in life right now is that no one else that I know, specifically, has to endure that hurt.  They get to have that option, freedom, and say in their own god*&mn life.  It’s not about me, and it never really was.  But this just got real.

Goals and Disappointment

When a person sets a goal (big or small), and fails to meet it by their deadline, how do they react?  It depends on their perspective.  I missed a big goal last month.  Was I slightly disappointed?  Yes.  Has it crippled me?  No.  I am still determined to get it done.  I was actually filled with so much gratitude because so many of my team members achieved their goals, and the energy that was created will continue into this month to fuel everyone’s business.

Be unstoppable in spite of fears and doubts. Taken from the interwebs.  Unsure of where.

Be unstoppable in spite of fears and doubts. Taken from the interwebs. Unsure of where.

I did not change the goal to fit the deadline.  I played full out until the end.  When you bring it until the end, even if you didn’t make the goal, you feel like you’ve won.  You have momentum that continues to build, and that is an AMAZING feeling.

If you stop before the deadline though, and then give up on achieving it at all?  The pain of regret is worse than the pain of failure, and can stop you in your tracks.  We’ve all been there, knowing that we could have done something more.  However, dwelling on the past and beating yourself up about it does not serve anyone.  Move on and decide to do it better.

Nature and Respite

The last two weeks, I have sat in front of the ocean at numerous times.  Many at night, and a few during the day.  I have realized how peaceful I am while at the ocean.  I wrote a poem about 2 weeks ago.  How the tide seems to ebb my pain away.  It is still there, and it will be there for quite some time.  The ocean is especially emblematic for how nature seems to center me.  It brings me back to a specific time and place of riding the waves to shore with my nana, or the boardwalk where we watched fireworks.

However, it doesn’t need to be that symbolic.  It can just be soothing.  I was at a park watching the river, and I felt something.  Nana had never been there with me, but the creek reflected her essence.  It had her shine, her bright smile.  And it made me smile because of it.  Things don’t have to be concrete to be real.  Given my background, I have some trouble with that statement.  If you believe it to be real, then it is.  The difference has to be how you reflect on that experience and make it real to the world.

It is there how you truly bring your memory into the world as a living, breathing thing to share with others.

On a completely different note.  This blog has been an amazing experience in so many different ways.  I get to share a personal part of myself (something I am NOT good at) with others I never would have met before, and you get to experience what I write as you want to.  I also get to share my passion for nature, gratitude, my business, and my family in a way I never would have thought possible.  This has been another life changing journey for me this year, and it’s JUST begun.  Thank you to all of you who have subscribed so far, I feel honored.  I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am.

Grief, Trust, and Belief

I am not a big trust person.  It takes a long time to earn it from me.  I have been working on steadily for the past two years.  Every once and while, though, I get this urge and almost necessity to speak with someone who I don’t know very well.  I did that tonight, and it was about something deeply personal for both of us.  I honestly didn’t know what would come of our conversation, which started about a family event this past week.  It was an open, genuine, deeply “real” conversation that was both terrifying and quite striking.  And it morphed from a conversation about grieving and that process to one of an oddly fulfilling personal awakening.  The cool part was it all stemmed from my friend Kayla’s firm belief that my Nana was immensely proud of me.

When you spend almost your entire adult life being closed off from the world, and to open yourself up little by little is a bit daunting.  It makes one vulnerable and exposed.

I have had people tell me, “you are such an inspiration.” And I would say, “thank you so much, and I am glad I was able to do that for you.”   In reality, I never understood why I was such an inspiration.  FYI, this is not me being modest, I honestly didn’t know.

Kayla, my friend and colleague, clued me in tonight on why I am so inspirational (her words).

I met her last year in Vegas, and she was brand new.  Apparently, I said no matter what it was, “Arbonne is amazing.”  To me Arbonne is not about the paycheck, which can be incredible.  It’s about the relationships, personal growth, and self-discovery along the way.  And that is why I am an inspirational being in Arbonne (this is what others have told me).  I have persevered much longer than other people may have, because despite some setbacks, I kept going.  Because I SAW the potential, I saw where I was going, and I saw what I could become.  I hadn’t seen that before really, EVER.  I didn’t believe in myself, and I relied on others belief in me until I gathered my own.  My personal definition of perseverance is doing something long after the excitement and what you said you were going to do has worn off.  I am a person of my word, and yes, this is a lot longer than I thought it would take.  It IS happening.  My Nana saw it in me the last time we spoke, and it has provided a fuel for me to get it done.  She was proud of me.  She saw greatness in me, and she believed it to be possible.

I didn’t know what this blog entry was going to be about.  I almost just free-wrote it, and this is what came out of my head.  It’s important part of this journey that I am on to trust myself.

Community and Vulnerability

I am loving life these days, and in every aspect.  I am brimming with gratitude, happiness, and determination, along with a sense of self that I have never had before.  Why?  Many reasons, but one of the biggest is the community I surround myself with.

Photograph taken by unknown paddler.  Features Looie Voorhees, Diane Z, Grace Jones, Ruth Krieger, and Alexis Krukovsky

Photograph taken by unknown paddler. Features Looie Voorhees, Diane Z, Grace Jones, Ruth Krieger, and Alexis Krukovsky

I have many different communities I am privileged to be apart of.  Some of the characteristics they all have in common are a huge sense of support, unity towards a common purpose, mentoring, and constructive feedback.  Everyone is a collection of experiences they have throughout their lifetime.  It is one’s job to sift through it, and find one’s place where you can feel at home and “safe” at.  Where you can be vulnerable without having to worry about what people are going to think.  I started small by venturing out where I feel safest, paddling.  Since the summer it has snowballed into other areas, and now I feel at peace with myself.  Free even.

I think one has to be vulnerable to be great, because you have to get out of your comfort zone to achieve greatness.  This involves opening yourself to others, something which has terrified me for most of my life.  We’ve been taught that vulnerable is a dirty word, and it means to be weak.  In my experience, it’s the combination of vulnerability and mental toughness that brings people to greatness.  I have experienced within the past month what I would consider a shift.  I am making myself more vulnerable, and trying to be more open with people in my communities.  And I think it’s one step of many in my path to a greater sense of self and purpose.

Snow Days and Happiness

Remember when you were a kid, and Snow Days were King.  It was the ultimate gift.

However, when you are “an adult”, you forget about that.  You forget about playing in the snow, getting dirty, and just having fun.  You worry instead about the commute, the potential lost wages, and clean-up of snow.

Photograph taken by Looie Voorhees.  Boat sledding at its finest in Bucks County. PA.  So much fun.

Photograph taken by Looie Voorhees. Boat sledding at its finest in Bucks County, PA. So much fun.

All of the above are important, to an extent.  There is a magic about winter that people forget about.  For example, the majestic and serene scene of snow in the trees, this especially true in the woods.  Last winter, I participated in a lot of winter activity for the first time in about 8 years.  I had forgotten what a spiritual moment it is to experience.  As the snow is falling, and you look up into the trees and see the glorious stillness and pristine landscape; it is an unexpected transformative experience.

It is something I cannot begin to describe to you. I am not religious, but I am a spiritual person.  I realized something that maybe I was not alone and there is some kind of universal energy.  I found that gift in nature.

Personal Growth and Change

My life is enormously different than it was two years ago.  The reason?  Personal growth.  I have read so many personal growth books in that time, I could start a section at Barnes and Noble.  All of those books I thought were a bunch of new-age, feel-good b.s. (complete with me rolling my eyes at such things).  But, I was WRONG.  They have changed my life fundamentally.

Stolen from Facebook. I don't know who, but I love it.

Stolen from Facebook. I don’t know who, but I love it.

I am a scientist.  That is my background, and essentially my faith.  I love puzzles, I love questions, and I love figuring out how those two things intertwine.

When it comes to personal, emotional stuff though?  I was not so much about that.  I like cause and effect, clear and simple.  Human emotion is not about cause and effect.  It’s about experience and learning.  It’s about applying often the b.s. you’ve been through throughout your lifetime, and figuring out how to get past it to live a better life.

Does this sound familiar?  I have LIVED this life.  The life of hiding, oppressing, and down-right scared life.  Everyone’s life is different.  I certainly do not know your experiences, but I do know mine.  And I think being scared to be someone else, scared to live someone else’s story that you think should be yours, and scared to possibly grow out of that story is real for a lot of people.  It was for me.

Fast-forward to now.  I am happier than I have EVER been.  It was due to discipline, personal growth, and reliance on people close to me.  The last one was a big step for me.  The other two were easy.  Relying on other people, was not.  But it was perhaps the single biggest force in my metamorphosis into being a happy, content person.  Trust others; however hard it may be.

BE YOU.  Even when it is the scariest thing you might ever do.