What I Learned from my Teen Daughter…

I am learning as much from my children as I think they are from me.  As I am settling or adjusting into my role as a teen parent, I can firmly say that nothing that I was told and/or read could have prepared me for how I would handle it.

It’s been over a year since the depths of teen despair, and, as I reflect on the subtle and not so subtle changes I’ve made in how I interact with my daughter, I realize now and accept that I was as much a part of the issues we experienced while she was figuring-out who, what and why.

In the past few months, I’ve consciously been saying and doing a lot less and, consequently, been hearing, seeing and allowing her to assume her space on her own terms.  It’s been hard to bite my tongue and let her be but what I thought was best for HER is exactly what she was protesting because she was screaming, “I am me”, literally and figuratively.

As I listen and watch as she navigates her path into who she is and will be…it’s a beautiful thing that I’ve learned and allowed her to be.

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Sustainability in Health and Fitness…

FullSizeRenderSummer has meant wait time between kids’ activities…today, I started thinking about sustainability in health and fitness.
Fitness became a passion during a very vulnerable time in my life. I had lost all sense of self because I became 100% Mom and wife and didn’t think about nurturing myself. I think back to why and what led to the decision of becoming a full-time Mom and it was not only a fortunate option that I fully embraced but also one that made sense since I didn’t think my job merited someone else taking care of the kids.
Having just turned 49 years old this year has meant more to others than me as it’s just a number and not something I think about when I exercise, teach and go about my daily life. I attribute my health to a lifestyle change (mental and physical) and believe that health and fitness is much more than pounds, appearance and results for sustainability. I know my why stems from my heart and is the reason for sustainability. To identifying our health and fitness whys’.

Fear…

I was afraid of change

It took almost 4 years to make a decision that I never wanted to make (2012)

It was mutual

Kids are resilient and they are my heroes

The transition has been more smooth than any of us could every hope for but it requires forgiveness, effort and with the childrens’ best interest foremost

Don’t ever lose hope

It may seem impossible

But decisions are choices

Dictate your current

One life, make it yoursholidayus3.jpg

AM versus WILL…

While walking Freddie this morning, I thought about the message in the below article, and, it made me think about the power of words. What would happen if I replaced WILL with AM in my internal dialogue and, I thought, WOW how powerful it sounds to be saying to myself “I AM” and “I AM DOING” instead of “I WILL” and “I WILL BE DOING”. By simply changing one word, we can BE and DO and start creating that reality instead of WILL and waiting for that perfect moment.

Now as a Mom and more mature individual, I realize that WILL, WHAT IF and WANT results in unmet potential and mediocrity and that there is no perfect moment. The most important step is taking one.

(And I have lived the power of words and mindset these past two months as an instructor. By simply changing my internal dialogue to I AM A GREAT INSTRUCTOR instead of I WILL and I HOPE, the quality of instruction and my class have improved and is evident in the feedback and attendance). I hope by sharing that we can all start being kinder, gentler and more empowering with our internal dialogue and selves.

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/the-perfect-time

Living Truth…

maya_angelou_heart_5481I had a chat on Friday that left me kind of down because my words and actions were not in alignment with my truth. I was tempted to justify and excuse my feelings to stay the course but instead I started to reflect.

It led me to listen to a plethora of Tedtalks last night featuring Oprah, Tony Robbins and Pico Iyer (through Oprah). What they all have in common (aside from their success) is that they are all living their truth and, in doing so, able to make their greatest contribution because they are living in their highest state of potential.

Pico Iyer in his TedTalk “The Art of Stillness” shares his love for travel when he thinks most of us have the opportunity of stillness away from our on the go lives. Practicing stillness allows us to create the space and time to allow us clarity.

But the biggest “aha moment” was that “FAILURE IS INFORMATION AND OPPORTUNITY” ~Oprah.

Often times when something doesn’t work-out, it’s because we didn’t really want it or believe in it and, if it does, we are left feeling unhappy or unfulfilled. I do believe that living our passion creates conviction, an undeniable force, that leads and pulls us in a certain direction.

I believe childhood dreams are often our truth and essence.

To live truth as I know it and not allow fear of failure and fear of what others may or may not think is my lifelong goal.

To BIG DREAMS, LIVING OUR TRUTH and going forth with COURAGE! Loves and hugs!

Blessings…

MM

One week ago today (almost one week after my daughter’s graduation), we learned that a beloved teacher of my daughter’s died from a tragic hiking accident. He had personally written and read out loud on tribute day a short description of each and every student in the 8th grade (70 students in total).  This was only a fraction of his contribution to each and every student he met, taught and spent time with in the past 25 years at this particular school (one of two schools where he taught).

He exemplified universal love and acceptance and this is the religion he taught at a catholic school.  Every assignment began with questions and not directives because he wanted his students to create their own models of what they thought religion meant and not what he thought it did or what it meant to him.  His philosophy was about the individual and connecting with and celebrating individuals strengths and differences.  He treated each child with such positivity, empathy and respect that my daughter along with her friends spent their free time pre-practice and during the day in his room just chatting with him.  He was the go to teacher, counselor, coach and de-facto parent and friend to so many children, students and appreciated by all parents.

There is a void and will be a void when the students return to school though they will be next door on the HS campus.  The incoming 8th graders will never know Mr M but they will certainly hear and have heard about him.

Through tears and, at times, shock and disbelief, people have shared how they are coping with the loss.  One parent shared how she reminded her daughter when she mentioned missing him that we can continue his legacy by remembering how he was in our daily interactions with others.  Another parent mentioned that he once said that any day he lived past 52 years would be a blessing  as both his Father and brother passed at that age (he died at 57).

Too soon but grateful our children met and knew him.  It’s hard to understand why things happen the way they do but it’s times like these when being philosophical seems to help: it helps to believe that the universe works in its own way.

I think about how much he accomplished in his lifetime and how others can live longer lives and not accomplish a fraction of what he did.  I share as a reminder that every day is a blessing for which we do not know the duration so we must embrace, appreciate and live fully each day.

“Positive Mantra NOT Negative Chatter”

SDWhen I run, jog and/or walk, I often find myself thinking more thoughtfully and today’s thought fell upon how much negative chatter consumes so much of my daily thought.  How is it possible I make it through the day without serious self-esteem issues affecting my daily interactions.  Worse, I couldn’t recall the last time I had a day devoid of negative chatter, how sad I thought to myself.

Then I started thinking, and pardon my generalization, how is it that men can (so seemingly and easily) celebrate small accomplishments yet women find it more difficult to celebrate any success without qualifying it.

I don’t ever recall a Mother proclaiming she was amazing for all she had accomplished during the day because, after all, she was ONLY doing what was expected.  And the comment, “what ELSE do you do?” upon answering your vocation as a Mom.  I was dumbfounded when asked this once…as if!

Back to the negative chatter…I would like myself (and all of us women) to replace negative chatter with positive mantras.  With each step I took on my run today, I imagined quashing each and every negative thought that came to mind. Let us support each other in celebrating our successes how little or big they may SEEM and replace our negativity with positivity because we DESERVE it.

Do it because you can and will even if you don’t always want until you can’t.  My intention is to be more positive with my thoughts for not only myself but my daughter and (son) and to find inspiration to live a life of passion.

Just yesterday, I couldn’t stop watching a clip of Stephen Curry receiving his MVP award and remarked to my son, “what an inspiration” to which he replied, “but you aren’t even a basketball player”.  My response, “every word of advice he shares can be applied to anyone’s life”.  He walks his talk and is all he is because of what he deeply believes with passion and purpose. Believe!

“Grass is the color of choice”…

javcaveI have been asked “is the grass greener on the other side” and I don’t think it’s about being greener somewhere else but rather which color we choose to see wherever the grass may be.

A few years ago, I unintentionally started sharing how fitness empowered me to make changes in my life. My situation wasn’t unique but quite common in many ways. As we experience the passages in life, people change and grow either together or apart leaving two scenarios: to make it work or to move on.

I shared a lot and when I look back, I’m surprised. At the time, I believed in sharing inspired by the women who were making the choices and changes I was embarking on and never thought I could or would. It served a therapeutic purpose during a sad and difficult period.

I realized then and know now that there is no right way to being a Mom, wife and daughter but there is a choice in living our life in alignment in being confident in who we are, what is important to us and what makes us happy.

My family encouraged me to find a hobby to give me a break in the day from being MOM. I couldn’t fathom leaving my children with anyone and it wasn’t until my eldest was 13 months when I left her for two hours while I attended a bikram class. Our first vacation might have been when the children were 3 and 7 years.

The grass may seem greener on the other side but the grass always ends-up being the color we choose to see. Life changes are not easy and I am not advocating any particular choice. Incorporating fitness into life is as sustainable and important as we make the life changes we choose. “Fitness is a lifestyle, not a destination”. To being YOU!

Life is a journey not a destination…

yogaThis is a post I shared on my FB page a couple of months ago that I had trouble sharing back then.

Sometimes we get lost along the way… We think we know what we want and we start acting upon it but, along the way, we get distracted and we are not where we planned to be. And, sometimes we think we have accepted a situation and moved on but we haven’t. I thought I had processed and resolved all issues relating to my divorce but I hadn’t and this prevented me from moving on.

They say change is often a symptom of a deep-rooted issue and also the impetus of action: this is where I am today. Having initially ignored issues that started to bother me with my settlement to keep peace, I can no longer ignore them without moving on.

It stagnated my personal development and prevented me from pursuing something purposeful and potentially sabotaged a new relationship. It also perpetuated my weakness and bad habit of wanting to please others and playing victim. We assign our own self-worth by demanding it and not allowing others to assign it to us.

Essentially unable to ignore the issue anymore, I am addressing it in order to regain my self-esteem and belief. I had postponed taking a personal training exam for the longest time. I will be re-taking it as I did not pass the first time. I know I rushed it and may have self-sabotaged my efforts because I was not willing to address certain issues that were bothering me then.

If we don’t believe we can do it, no one else will. To believing in ourselves, to effort and to living our lives with purpose! Love.