opportunities from the universe.

i jumped at the chance to sign up with Chalene Johnson’s 30-Day Challenge to master organization & achieve your goals. i’ve been doing chalene’s TurboJam program through Beachbody for a while now and started following her on Facebook, so i had learned that she is big on organization, prioritizing, AND her to-do lists. i knew that she had something valuable to say in this 30-day challenge and i knew that i needed the kick in the pants to move forward with a little hand-holding. this seemed like the best opportunity to take action! we are on day 2 today!

and then….or rather around the same time i discovered Defy The Box, a program by my Twitter friend, Leah Shapiro which strives to help you (me) create your own Kick-Ass Life. those who know me that just the semantics of that got me onboard.  we are on day 3 today!

also at around the same time i had been struggling with trying to get myself set and ready to start p90x, THE extreme fitness program created by Tony Horton and Beachbody. of course, i got sick and felt crappy and it just didn’t happen when i wanted it to happen (before Christmas). then i got an inbox from a Facebook & real life friend in a different town saying that she was going to start p90x on january 3rd and invited me to be an accountability partner with her in this whole process! whoop there went the universe AGAIN! of course, i was all over that like white on rice. tomorrow is the big day so i’ve been making preparations to start no matter what. i even checked out the Beachbody forums and stumbled across (the universe presented to me) a group which will serve as accountability to one another in starting p90x on, yup, january 3rd! i have all my equipment, have my schedule planned, have my grocery list ready, bought my “before” picture outfit (a size too small of course!), and am ready to Bring It!

now, another little tid-bit from the universe has been progressing since october. i heard a Facebook rumor that Beachbody was waiving the coach sign-up fee for all new coaches for some undetermined amount of time. it was true. i signed up. i’ve been using Beachbody products for a while, always going on and off, and never really finishing any one program. i needed accountability, hand-holding, and structure. this was, my gut told me, a way to provide that. nevermind that it might also prove to be a source of additional income or that i’d get some decent discounts on products i was buying anyway. i wanted the opportunity to be held accountable via representing a great company whose mission is to help people to be their best and to eliminate the obesity epidemic, one person at a time. of course, this all took my Beachbody coach, Dawn Barca, by surprise as i had not so much as mentioned any desire to be a coach to her in the past. she hooked me up with all the info and initial introduction to Beachbody coaching as a business and helped me to see that i really could fulfill one of my passions of helping other people lead better, healthier, more productive lives by way of Beachbody coaching.

fast forward to December (and another, closely related universe poke to my backside) and i haven’t made much progress in developing my role as a Beachbody coach and have not even had an official business launch. my excuse was that this was not a good time to do it: i just started a new job, i’m in a new town where i don’t know too many folks, it’s the holiday season, etcetera and so on and blah blah! after an email from Dawn to touch base soon, to which i told her “after the holidays”, i vowed to use my few days holiday from work to focus on getting caught up in my Beachbody training and make some plans. in the middle of all that, quite literally while i was watching a training video, i received an email invitation from Dawn to start a 90-day group challenge with other Beachbody coaches called 90-days To Diamond as a means of launching, growing, and progressing my Beachbody coaching business. it was somewhat last minute, but i knew it was a good thing and most importantly, it was another opportunity from the universe to move me in the direction that i truly want to go. guess when we start?! january 3rd! see the pattern here? i sure do!

so, i’m going to be adding & developing some pages to this here blog as a way to track progress in these areas and to develop my life goals for my new Kick-Ass Life, which definitely include being more organized, achieving goals, getting fit, helping others, and promoting the Beachbody lifestyle!

up at the top header, you’ll find new tabs for fitness and personal development. check them out, wouldja?

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new year, new life?

New year's resolutions

Image by malglam via Flickr

when a new year rolls around, it seems that everyone and their mama is ready to turn over a new leaf. nothing wrong with that, except that few will actually stick to it longer than a few weeks (or days) before giving up. i’ve done that countless times myself. i don’t want that to be me again. i don’t want to keep being “that girl”.

so in the vein of “if you keep doing the same things, you’ll get the same results” i’ve really been challenging myself to remove the box that i have created for myself and to create the life that i really, REALLY want for myself instead. i know what has NOT worked in the past and what has at least helped me move in the right direction so i’ve gathered a wealth of complementary information & resources to apply to my life, added a healthy dose of accountability in action, and decided to make things happen for me rather than to wait for things to happen TO me.

i’ve done the following things over the past several months to move me in the right direction:

1. begun to educate myself in mindfulness practices

2. trying to practice being more aware of what i’m thinking and doing and feeling and which things result in something good for ME

3. trying to be aware of my mistakes and WHY i made them in the first place, how i can learn from them, and how i can use them as lessons for improvement

4. working on bringing down the wall that i’ve built between myself and the world (and other people) and in the process, making myself more vulnerable, yet also more transparent. this has been a kicker…..and the challenge has been to keep the bricks from going back up into the wall when things go bad–and boy have they ever gone bad!

5. challenging myself. period. just challenging myself where i’m uncomfortable and those places / things are infinite in number it seems!

so in so doing, i’ve refused to make any new year’s resolutions. just that whole concept is self-defeating in my mind. i’m just gonna do some things differently with a clear end-goal in mind.

how about you? how are you dealing with or approaching this whole “new year” roll over?

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i believe in cultivating opposite, but complementary views of life, and i believe in meeting life’s challenges with contradictory strategies. i believe in reckoning with the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence, even as we fall in love with the miracle of being alive. i believe in working passionately to make our lives count while never losing sight of our insignificance. i  believe in caring deeply and being beyond caring. it is by encompassing these opposites, by being involved and vulnerable, but simultaneously transcendent and detached, that our lives are graced by resilience and joy.–Fritz Williams

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adding up.

wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. the daily work – that goes on, it adds up. — Barbara Kingsolver

we all have those “aha” moments, those inexplicable epiphanies that change the course of our lives if only for a blip on the screen. while those moments —-and believe me when i say i have had MANY of those moments over the past several months–are powerful and profound in many ways, it’s what we do next that really, truthfully changes our course in life. it is that “daily work” that happens between the aha’s that matters most. in fact, that daily work may just be a large part of what brings about the aha’s.

the kicker is that the daily work is hard. and i don’t mean physical labor hard. worse than that. it’s hard on the soul, on the heart, and on the mind. it ain’t easy and it ain’t pretty, this daily work.  it’s much easier to NOT do the daily work and just slip back into the hum-drum of life before….or at least to delude ourselves into believing it is the same as the life before the aha’s. of course, you can’t undo an epiphany. you can’t go back to seeing the world the way you once did. it’s just not possible.

doing the daily work requires that we really live consciously. we do ourselves a disservice when we try to live life by going through the motions. when we experience life fully, we challenge ourselves to be completely present in each and every moment. this means fighting the urge to utilize all those nifty defense mechanisms which have carried us so far in this life.

figuring out what to do different or even how to do this “daily work” is usually the first step. for every single person this will be different even if we each are doing essentially the same thing.  for me, learning to be still has been the major factor that allows me to really process and integrate change into my life on a deep and meaningful level. learning to be still at every level is really hard for me. i’m a fidgeter–physically, mentally, and emotionally. i gotta be MOVING! or so i thought. stillness is teaching me that i don’t have to be moving constantly, that i can make progress without doing.  mindfulness meditation has certainly helped me find my stillness, but it is not easy. i struggle to fight the urge to fidget–be it to scratch that itch just to the side of my nose, to mentally chase that thought down the rabbit hole of tangents, or to examine the emotions that bubble to the surface.

i’m getting better at it every day. i won’t be teaching a class on finding your inner stillness any time soon, but i’m learning what works for me and reaping the little rewards of perceptual shifts along the way. my whole world is opening up before my eyes, little by little, because i’m willing to do the work that adds up to inner peace.

are you doing your daily work?

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one’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.–george c. lichtenberg

it is easy enough to question everything in this world, but to come to terms with everything is a whole ‘nuther thing.

how do you? especially when everything contains the good, the bad, and the ugly. life has a way of throwing curve balls out of nowhere it seems and we are doing good to just hang on to our sanity let alone maintain equilibrium. so finding a reason or coming to terms with the curve balls is definitely a difficult task.

2010 held a whole slew of curve balls for me and my family. in terms of events and situations, i’ve encountered things i didn’t think i would and things that i thought i had time to prepare for. funny how that works.

as the year draws to a close and the new year beckons, i stand with a bit more humility at the door between the worlds of past and present. a hard won humility that perhaps i didn’t necessarily want.

perhaps the most important lesson that i’ve learned is love–in the giving, in the receiving, and most importantly–in the being. i’m much more open to giving my love away with no expectations, something significant considering the major trust issues that i had to struggle through (and still wrestle with) to get to here. i’m slowly learning to accept love when it comes my way….sometimes this means i’ll get hurt in the process, but i firmly believe that there is a reason, a lesson to be learned through it all. perhaps the most difficult lesson that i find myself in the middle of is learning to just BE love. now just wrapping my head around THAT has been a challenge.

the challenge continues as i learn more every day and learn, most importantly, to look inward for true happiness where i had always looked outwardly–to those people who i wanted to love & accept me, to those situations and things that i believed i needed or wanted, to society as a whole, to some stranger whom i believed held the key to unlocking all the secrets.

today, i can honestly say that i am ready to face “everything”, even though i don’t know what it will ask of me, what it will take from me, what it will give me, or what it will do to me. i am ready for everything.

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the bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists….japanese proverb

january 21, 2010…..that was the last date i posted on this blog. talk about a hiatus. but i had good reason. it’s called life. things that i didn’t see coming and things i did all happened–sometimes simultaneously, other times sequentially, but happen it did.

my mother and i were in a car accident on january 12, 2010. from that accident my mother developed a multitude of health and medical issues. i found myself being her sole care giver during that time as she was staying with me in new jersey at the time.

i had already been informed that my teaching contract would not be renewed for the 2010-2011 academic year, which was not so devastating to me as the idea of having to leave NYC. the academic job market, particularly in my field, was particularly sparse during that time. i began to look outside of academia in every possible geographic location available. funny how nothing seemed to work out except for possibilities back home in Mississippi.

even after my mother and i got back to Mississippi in June 2010, the hits from “life” just kept on coming. mama continued to have crisis moments with her health from time to time including multiple emergency hospitalizations, gall bladder surgery, and battling chronic fatigue. a dear and beloved uncle lost his fight with cancer and a couple of weeks later, mama was diagnosed with breast cancer. double whammy! mama had a single mastectomy one week, then a second surgery to remove additional tissue from the surgery site.

during all this time i challenged love. i dared it to come to me. it did, but for all the wrong reasons. i fell in love with a memory of a man i once knew, but who had become obliterated in a murky pool of despair and alcohol. he reached out, he startled, and he retreated further away into what was more comfortable for him than the uncertainty of possibilities. in my wounded state, i reached out to the wrong person and laid my vulnerability at his feet. he was what i thought i needed at the time. i learned so much from him and yet i learned that everything that i needed was within me all along….that it wasn’t him that i needed, but rather a painful impetus to let go of self-defeating habits and believes to which i continued to cling. of course, in the end, i projected so much upon him and he, mortal that he is, fell far short of perfect. poor guy.

so i moved on, literally and figuratively. in a new town approximately 3 hrs drive south of mama, i started out on a new journey–a journey that is mostly an inner exploration of all that i am and all that i am meant to be. a new job outside of my intended career path. a new kind of isolation that forces me to deal with the here and now. a new outlook with which i choose to see the world as a series of lessons toward greater enlightenment–some of which i will “get” and others–well– not so much.

some days i feel like i have no clue what to do and i try to remind myself that those are the days that i am supposed to just tread water and hang in there. maybe, just maybe if i focus on just hanging in there, i will expand my awareness of what the universe is tossing my way and what lesson plan we are on.

other days i feel like the flow is radiant. my mind, my body, my thoughts, my awareness, my response, my emotions, my soul–everything seems to be like water….moving over and around obstacles and barriers with the fluid beauty of  the oceans. those are the days that make it worth going through the challenging times.

what’s next, well i have absolutely no clue. that makes me a little anxious, i won’t lie. still, i try really hard to embrace the fact that nothing is guaranteed, nothing is truly known for certain, that all i have is right here, right now and all i control is how i respond, react, feel, and think.

so even though last year started out with such exuberant enthusiasm for the potential to change and grow that seemed to have been kicked dead square in the nuts, that change and growth still happened. change and growth were definitely the themes for 2010 for me.

the themes for 2011 are, perhaps, more of the same with a different musical arrangement and a rearrangement of lyrics. regardless, i am looking forward to the chance to sing.

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taking chances for change.

Love bravely, live bravely, be courageous, there’s really nothing to lose. There’s no wrong you can’t make right again, so be kinder to yourself, you know, have fun, take chances. There’s no bounds. — Jewel

today was a weird day. it started with obstacles and anxiety and ended with prayers being answered, and quite possibly, dreams coming true.  the future holds some mighty exciting opportunities..it always does, but this is what i’ve hoped for and even allowed myself to dream for recently. this time next week, my whole life could quite possibly change for the best. i’m gonna put my faith in the possibilities. something from the past has the chance to come to fruition. someone from the past may quite possibly give me the things i’ve needed all my life. some of those things i didn’t even know that i needed, but that something greater than me is bringing into my life and it feels so right. even though it seems a bit crazy.

this whole sudden, drastic change is scary and i know it won’t be easy, nor will it be flowers and bunnies, but for the first time i think that it will be really good. i gotta take a chance. if i don’t, i’ll definitely regret it. the possibilities are just too mind-blowing. i have no qualms about jumping in with both feet. at the same time, i realize that this “thing” that could come into my life could be happening now and how it is happening because of things yet to come require these wonderful things.

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance. — Harrison Ford


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