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.

chapters

Be Kind Project…

stopbullyWhen I saw this particular drawing my daughter created with her stylus and iPad mini (this generation’s freehand drawing), I was touched by its message and encouraged her to share it.

As a tween herself, Nicole can relate and empathize with the rite of passage of being a middle schooler and the impact kindness versus bullying can have on one.

It is our hope that by encouraging kindness in our personal interactions, we can have a ripple effect on worldwide peace.

Thank you for your support.

Her drawing is now available on shirts that can be purchased directly at:

http://www.booster.com/bekindproject

The Power of words…

holidayusThere will always be those who will disagree, judge and toss-out negativity but, as a friend wisely advised, “don’t allow others to choose your future”.

As a Mom of a teenage daughter, I am not only aware but sensitive to the power of words. To an adult but especially a teen who is navigating their way through life and establishing an identity, a negative comment can have the power to be not only unsettling but somewhat debilitating.  Our children model our behavior and words and so, it is our responsibility to live with compassion, care and kindness.

After reading the book entitled, “Odd Girl Speaks Out” by Rachel Simmons, and seeing the movies “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Lone Survivor”, I believe the message is the same and, that is, when our lives are at stake, it’s basic emotions of love and kindness that matter and override any pre-existing prejudices, judgements and negative feelings towards others. We are kind and loving by nature and negativity stems from pain, anger and hurt.

“We can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond”.

Lifestyle plan…

colinYesterday I had a conversation that left me thinking again about health and fitness.

I feel fortunate that fitness has become part of my lifestyle and is a passion and serves a purpose. I never set-out with a particular goal but I have been asked how and what. I attribute how I am to part genetics, eating (though I am far from a model example) and a regular routine of exercise. I have been asked on a few occasions about how to get arms like mine? I am now tempted to say this:

I have been on a 6 year program of regular exercise and mindful eating without depriving myself of the occasional treat. I still enjoy my daily granola/oatmeal mix and venti peppermint mocha but I realize I can not eat everything I’d like at any time.

There are days when I’m tired but I’ve identified a facility where I enjoy their group fitness classes which serves my purpose and which I complement with yoga and running during the week. I don’t know when this plan will end as I intend it to be a lifestyle plan.

Giving thanks…

NicoleheartHappy Thanksgiving! Thankful for a lot on this day and for my family’s encouragement to share my journey…helping one person find strength in making a decision/creating an opportunity will be but a bonus to the therapeutic exercise this page and my blog has provided me this past year.

There will always be different interpretations of experiences in life but our choice as to which one we choose. Believe!

drawing credit: daughter 12 years

“We are what we believe…”

TD

I chose to be a full-time Mother because I had the fortune of choice but also, admittedly, because I didn’t believe my full-time career warranted me returning to work over the choice of being a full-time Mom. I realize now that I allowed self-limiting beliefs to dictate that decision and to claim any success that could have been.

Now in my 40′s recently divorced but equipped with experience and maturity, I believe that anything is possible. I learned along the way through balancing my life that being the “perfect Mom” came at the sacrifice of ignoring my needs as an individual and, ultimately, paying a high price through PPD (postpartum depression) and a failed marriage to a certain extent. As a new Mom, I did what I thought I was suppose to do which was nurse for 2 years, join a baby group at 3 months, enroll my children in music, gym and swim classes and play and read to them at 6 months.

Fast forward 6 years, through fitness, I regained my identity and not only the realization that my life was not in alignment but that I was unhappy. No amount of therapy and effort helped because my heart was not in it. So after finally finding strength to follow my intuition, I awoke on July 15, 2012 to do what was needed to allow myself another opportunity to live life as I imagined: happy and without limitations.

Re-reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and with a friend’s reminder of the book’s lessons, I realize that when we limit ourselves, it is based only on old agreements we made about and with ourselves of what we are capable of and our reality is what we make of it. To believing anything is possible and believing in yourself. Love.

 

 

 

 

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

four_agreements“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

I read and am re-reading because as a dear friend pointed-out, I need to understand and incorporate into my life and not just read words.

I know for sure as I navigate my new life and transition from where, what and how I was as a wife, daughter, sister, mother, friend and individual to who I am and wish to be today that the Four Agreements are the key to successfully making the change: impeccability, not take things personally, not making assumptions and doing my best.

To responding from the inside out and not playing victim to circumstances and others because what is said and done is usually a reflection of them not you: this is not taking it personally. Reading into what someone says is making assumptions so taking what someone says at face value is essential for mental health. If we have a question, asking for clarification prevents misinterpretation and possible unnecessary angst. If we do our best, we will reflect upon life without regret and being impeccable with our word will leave us at peace knowing we said what we meant and meant what we said.

I am living change and family, friends and those around me are living change as well interacting with me. Who, what and where I was a year ago is not who I am today because it required an enormous amount of strength to regain control and be captain of my life realizing that I was FULLY accountable and responsible for my happiness and not laying blame on others, my situation and every other reason I could think of for not making change.

Believe!

http://www.toltecspirit.com/

Purpose…

mcomPosted on Facebook this morning:
Racing around this morning preparing to leave for school, so many thoughts occurred to me…my daughter who is 12 years is living change daily which means I’m observing, witnessing and living it as well from her demeanor in the form of stances (i.e. hands on hips), expressions (i.e. there are two of me in the house now?!) and behavior (i.e. privacy), my own situation and then there is my son who just turned 9 years and seemingly is the one who is making the most sense these days.It almost suddenly occurred to me that it’s all about the INSIDE OUT and not OUTSIDE IN!

When we are internally directed and driven, we follow our heart, intuition and are in our zone and almost oblivious to our surroundings not in a bad way but in a way that abets us b/c we are immune to the doubters, naysayers and those who may questions our intentions, actions and US.

I have to remind myself that I need to live from the inside out so that despite my circumstances, surroundings and situation, I am able to remain the same: secure in who I am at my core and living the essence of me. I find this tricky at times because it’s human nature to be empathetic yet we can not allow ourselves to be so influenced that we lose our sense of direction and who we are and seek approval and acknowledgement from outside.

This brings me to my recent conflicting feelings towards Facebook. There are times when I realize there is a fine line between posting for purpose and posting for approval, acknowledgment and self-promotion. I describe Facebook as the People/US magazine for civilians. Though it’s a way for us to stay connected with old, current and business friends and family, it’s also a platform to present ourselves as we wish to the outside world.

My concern with Facebook individually is that it’s very purpose is externally driven and unless we are secure at the core, our posts, comments and interactions can start to direct, dictate and determine our mood, day and life?!

I purposely attach the photo to this post because I know once I posted to inspire but I can now see how it could be interpreted as self-promoting and it leaves me doubting my intentions now and the purpose of FB in my life.

“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.