“7 Sources of Stress You Tolerate Too Often”, by Marc Chernoff

466406_506094246105806_2119849326_o-1“Life is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not endured and tolerated. Which is why today is a perfect day to stop tolerating…””7 Sources of Stress You Tolerate Too Often”, by Marc Chernoff1. People who are purposely difficult.

Don’t let anyone’s negativity stop you from being happy. Negative company will never give you a positive life. Examine what you tolerate. Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive. Happiness is found around encouraging, loving people.

Learning to ignore certain people is one of the great paths to inner peace. Life gets easier when you delete those who make it difficult.

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
―E.E. Cummings
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Like with habits, I think we get used to being around certain people, friends and family members alike, and may or may not always be aware of their influence and impact on us.

In the past few years, I have learned to stand firm with whom I was becoming which was someone who no longer sought to please others. The irony of being someone else is that often times we end-up unhappy and out of alignment with ourself and attract those who aren’t true to who we are and may not appreciate who we are trying to be.

With maturity and experience, we gain the confidence to be who we are truly and some of us are just born and discover early on who and what they are. If we think about the people who are endearing, they are often those individuals who emanate happiness, laugher and comfort in themselves.

As I get older and my priorities shift and change, I have made the conscious choice to surround myself with those who uplift me and, almost by default, they have replaced negativity.

To choice !

— at FNS Training Center.

Should versus IS…

medalsIf I stayed with should, I would be living a very different life today. I would have convinced myself that my circumstances were permanent to a certain degree and that change was not really an option and not something I had the strength to make. I would have continued fulfilling the prophecy that I started believing about myself.

When two people start generating negativity unintentionally or by habit, it becomes not only detrimental but toxic. I know this is what happened to my relationship. We didn’t intend for this to happen and each of us on our own were and are not negative people but together we became negative.

So my should told me to work it out and that it could be done and was possible. My should also told me that we had to make it work for our children and that being a product of divorce myself, I knew what the potential effects and consequences would be and that I couldn’t perpetuate the cycle.

Should also questioned my dedication and passion for fitness because it meant replacing “volunteer mommy time” with “me time”. I felt guilty but then I asked myself exactly what and why. I had spent the first 6 years of their lives completely dedicated and devoted to them and their lives from diapers and nursing and being on call 24 hours to being a member on a school PTA, in class volunteer and teacher of an after school elective…

I know I could have been more involved these past few years but the fact is that at the time, I made choices and decisions because that is where I was at and what I wanted and no longer what I should. By following my wants and needs, I regained my identity and along the way, who I am as in IS started replacing SHOULD BE and today I am now a product of IS. I am no longer a should and I have had to transition and it has been hard at times.

I had an exchange with a friend this morning and I told her that I have purposefully chosen to distance myself from certain groups because of the transition I am currently living and she asked, “why, you didn’t do anything?” And she’s right but I choose to take time and create space as I settle into my life of IS and no longer SHOULD.

BELIEVE…your heart will not betray you, follow it as you navigate your life.

Change…

maldivesThey say do what you can today when you can and want because tomorrow is not a guarantee.

I also understand that sometimes we can’t always do what we want today because we have other things we must do based in reality and some times our dreams can not sustain our reality. What I’m also discovering though is that dreams are rooted in passion and passion is the common denominator and determinant for success as we read, hear and learn about different successful companies and their leaders and founders: they all started with an idea when matched with passion became reality.

It’s this balancing act of keeping our dreams alive while living in reality and also taking small but tangible steps towards realizing our dreams that make it some times challenging to live our dreams and not get caught-up and immersed in the daily to do lists and activities of life.

As I surface from the logistics of divorce and my move to a new abode and the start of a new routine and schedule, I’m not only blessed with the opportunity to start anew but also living the reality that change can be unsettling and making dreams a reality isn’t always an obvious endeavor of steps 1,2 and 3.  So I go about my day with my usual routine of exercise, emails (school and otherwise), my blog (which has till this day been not only an outlet and blessing but effortless as well) to figuring-out what next in terms of being able to share, help and inspire while supporting myself with the help of my family.

I am a worker and always will be… I like activity, I like to be moving and I like knowing that something is going to be accomplished. I have had an idea of what it is but I’m still not sure how but guiding me is the mindset that I am motivated by the “fear of regret” more than anything else so there is nothing that seems too absurd or worthless in trying.

An exercise that was once shared with me left such an impression because it makes one realize that if change is not made today and put-off repeatedly, before we know it, we are looking back with regret. Imagine and project your life 5 years out, if you were to continue on your current path, would you be happy? If not, then change is necessary.

To believing that we all have a choice to live our dreams and passion and to wake-up daily excited about the opportunities that lay ahead!

“Why not?”…

whynotAs the discussion continues regarding an image of a fit 32 year old Mom surrounded by her 3 children all under the age of 4 with the headline “What’s your excuse?”, I ask myself “Why not me, why not you and why not us?”

We do what we choose and want and what we want and choose to do is determined by our WHY. Over the past year, I have learned that why is another word for passion. “Passion is a powerful or compelling emotion or feeling” and emotions are the relentless propellers towards achieving goals and dreams.

There will be roadblocks, naysayers, excuses and reasons but if our WHY is strong enough, the what and how will make themselves evident. Believe!

Meditation…

yogaThe power of meditation used to be a mystery but I recently experienced a 15 minute meditation with a friend who also shared the benefits of it and how it has helped them to reverse the negative chatter and thoughts that we sometimes allow our minds to succumb.I know I am guilty of allowing myself to analyze, assume and talk negatively to myself when it’s not only unwarranted and unmerited but simply destructive and an inefficient use of time and energy.
What my friend shared and I learned from the exercise is that meditation is about not only quieting the mind but respecting the gaps between our thoughts and actions and training our minds to become unconditioned: akin to a baby’s mind that is void of experiences and thus has not yet gained knowledge and thoughts.
Like with any change and new habit, the hardest part is the first step of action. I have the tools and certainly the time but have not yet incorporated meditation so I will make this one of my monthly goals.  As a wise young soul once shared, weekly intentions and monthly goals are our map.  Without a map, we are more likely to meander and wander so with this new addition to my map, I hope to improve the quality of my life by replacing negative chatter with peaceful and/or positive thoughts.

Power of decisions and choices…

poolsideIt occurred to me today during my workout that though I may know how I explained to my children my recent participation in a figure competition, a few of my Mommy friends and others may not know.

Now that we are living in a smaller space and our time together is that much more valuable, I have noticed that we tend to herd around the house. When I’m in my bathroom, the kids naturally gravitate to my bed and, when I’m in the kitchen, we are in the family area so naturally when I tried on my figure bikini, my children were close by and, consequently, I shared with them the competition.

I explained to them that everyone has their own reason(s) for competing and that Mommy’s primary reason was to illustrate that we define who we are and that if we allow labels to define us then we have essentially usurped our power to decide and make choices.

They are aware of my blog, fitness as part of my lifestyle and, now, they are also aware that we all have the power to make decisions and choices. Believe!

Journey…

inba2The photos represent a ten year span…Life is a journey and one that we may not always anticipate as planned but with each and every decision and opportunity, we create a path we choose and hope to look back upon with a smile and no regrets!

This past Saturday, I participated in my first figure competition in Oakland, CA: INBA’s “The Night of the Natural Champions” (International Natural Bodybuilding Association).  It was a 2 month journey that should have involved a strict food plan (of macro numbers protein, fat, fiber and carbs), exercise and learning to walk and pose.  I failed at meeting my food plan numbers but attribute a six year lifestyle and mindful eating to an extent as my preparation.  I was honored to have placed at the show.

What I’m learning is each goal we set creates a path of memories, a patch in a quilt of life and either serves a specific purpose or is part of a longer term plan. This competition was an experience I chose because I wanted to prove to myself and represent to other Moms’ and women that we not only have the power to define ourselves by our choices but also to choose our mindset.  I am a Mom in my 40’s recently divorced but I am also an individual who continues to have goals and dreams.  One life, believe :)!

Anew…

pauloToday I literally ran into my past. On the one hand nostalgic, on the other hand relief and realization that I have moved-on since my divorce.

They say that when couples part, friends side and change. In my case, I never thought this would happen but it has and, along the way, I’ve gained new and parted with old.

As I mature, I realize how valuable and precious time has become: time with my children is priority as I now share custody of them so I choose to surround myself with people who encourage, support, understand and relate to the me of now and whom I can reciprocate equally.

I feel liberated and empowered knowing that I am now living a life of choice, intention and purpose and no longer shoulds. Believe!

What, how and WHY…

viprquoteSince I stepped into a fitness facility six years ago encouraged by my family to take a break in the day, my life has transformed in more ways than one without plan. What transpired was a newfound passion for fitness that empowered and gave me strength to believe in myself.

Today, I am asked by friends and Moms’ what and how but what I’ve learned is that it’s all about the WHY that will sustain long-term lifestyle changes. Thank you www.fns360.com and Brian Nunez for the support and all that I have learned this past year including the WHY for all that we do.

For me, exercise and diet are just part of my lifestyle now and for those who know me, I don’t have the perfect diet but I’m mindful of the quantity and quality (to an extent) of my diet and love my exercise routine.  So as I approach another experience this Saturday, my first figure competition, I am fully aware of the changes I needed to make to be my best but I also realize that I was undergoing life altering changes simultaneously and made the choice to participate as I am which is the result of six years of a lifestyle.

I share this experience with a dear friend who represents dedication and commitment in every sense of the words and set a goal to be her best for this upcoming competition for which she has accomplished.  We are what we choose and want. So to my dear Mommy friends who ask me what and how, I say, find your WHY and you will be what you want and figure-out and live the how. Believe :)!!