Year 14 at Goal

Today is the 14th year since I reclaimed my health and dropped the 100. Every year on that special day, I write a post about what I’ve learned this past year.

I’m not sure where to even begin this post, as I’ve truly struggled this year to find balance and have been down on myself at times.

In many ways, I’ve made amazing headway I’m very proud of within my career, family, learning to open up again and trust, and love deeper. To open my heart and home again and be present in the free time I have.

In other ways, I’ve felt depleted within my energy levels and unable to get in the amount of activity I’ve learned fuels my self-confidence and self-efficacy.

You see for me, it’s all connected. If I can’t get out and move my body daily; I feel it internally/mentally/emotionally.

I started working full-time (which happens to be a desk job); scaled back my photography business, continued my learning within my personal training certification, woke up earlier to study towards my mutual fund license, as well as parenting my three kids.

I don’t entirely like the word “single parent” as it implies I have no help…and that I do so solo. I have support and a whole loving tribe who cares.  My kids are older now, and they help me so much.  They are my biggest support system and my reason for all that I do. I’m so proud of them.

As this post is about maintaining a goal; this year, I learned to shift my goals. Relax on one area while I focus on another.

A number on a scale is not the end all be all; and it has little to do with the totality of who I am as a woman.

Movement is a way of celebrating what my body is capable of; it is not a punishment. I’ve needed to find activity I love to do rather than ticking off a list of minutes to get in my “cardio”.

With the melting of the snow after the longest stretch of cold; I began walking my dog at night. At first he struggled as I did, to complete the uphill portion of the walk. I had resigned myself that Teddy was just getting older and with that comes limited mobility. However, my dog taught me if you keep at it, a little more at a time, you’ll grow in strength and stamina. He cries as soon as I get home now to go for that walk; and he can walk twice as far as he could 2 months ago. Old dogs can learn new tricks. He’s become my accountability coach. 😉

I learned I was overtraining in the past; as I now have more rest days. As a result; I can lift heavier than I ever have before…despite gaining this year.

I’ve struggled with night time cravings for food this year; as the stress of the day melds to boredom when it all quiets down.  I haven’t struggled with that for years; so it was humbling to realize how much stress plays a role in emotional eating. I’m working on that area. Like a smoker who has just one drag and all of a sudden is smoking again. That’s the only thing I can equate it to.

As always; I am a work in progress. I want so desperately to be a good role model for my kids. To show them their Mom can work hard towards her goals and succeed. I finally want for myself all the forward success I’ve wanted for my children.

Life moves in ebbs and flows; and I’m on the learning ebb; which I believe with my whole heart will produce an abundance flow. I may not have a lot of time for a social life at the moment; but someday I will. The progress of my life through raising kids has shown me that there are seasons.

I know I have grown a lot this year as I now feel all the feelings so much deeper now; where I was once numb. My instincts scream at me; where before it was just a whisper. I have been gifted humility as I’m more self-aware and can see where I’ve made mistakes within relationships. I have tried my best to make amends when the door opens for authentic connection and have admitted my short-comings. “I’m sorry” was spoken more this year than in the last 10 combined. And I mean it whole-heartedly. I can be better.

This year, I’m most proud of my children and that I’m a better Mom to them; because they deserve the best. They continue to grow, molt, and mature into incredible kind, giving, tenacious, positive, and loving people. I’ve said sorry to them as well this year; for all the ways I let them down when I was down. I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong; and ask for forgiveness.

I’m looking forward to the next year at goal; as I continue to take in all the life lessons around me and support others in their own growth.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

A Letter to the God-Sized Hole of the Evening

A few months ago, I learned to start my day with 2 intentions (which turn into actions):

Show me what I need to know.

Show me what I need to learn.

I feel pulled to share this morning’s writing… Full of vulnerability and fear, but also hope and surrender. I’m just going to type what I wrote, without edits or grammatical fixes.

April 15, 2019

“Show me what I need to know”

The purest form of truth about yourself is in the morning. You are inspired, loving, calm, centred, grateful, hopeful, energetic, and peaceful.  Somewhere through out the day, parts of you unravel. Like tugging a piece of thread, it pulls away lending to layers of fray.

By evening, you feel a hole. I’ve heard the term “God-Sized Hole” and it’s accurate. It’s something I want to feed, fill with external stimuli. I feel it in my throat and in my heart like a lead blanket on my chest; constricting my breathing. There is nothing external that will ever placate it or remove it. It just grows with every attempt.

“Show me what I need to learn”

You know who you are at the start of each day. It’s YOU. Remove whatever you can through out your day which affects your equanimity. Remind yourself of your truth. Silence the voice of doubt/I’m not good enough/that deceptive narrative of self-loathing.

Bring it back to this present moment.

Where all is as it should be.

There is no pain in this moment.

There is no shame of the past.

There is no fear of the future.

You are taken care of.

Surrender.

Trust.

You’ve been gifted a new path full of choices, opportunity, a fresh perspective, new people who are all placed at this stage of life to teach you. Circumstances to build your resilience. Reminders of what you value and order of importance within that value system.

A faith that guides you and sustains you.

The God-Sized hole lives within your mind; but it is not who you are.

You are worthy and complete. Complicated yet simplistic within your needs.

Abundance is yours and it’s already part of your today.

Your purpose is within shifting focus for yourself and others; so they may also understand their greatness and wholeness.

The soul needs no reassurance.

It’s the centre of all.

It’s the light; there is no darkness.

It’s always burning, creating, evolving, full of freedom and ever transforming within shades of LOVE.

It will guide you back to who you always were and who you are.

Read this at night.

Read it when you are confused, afraid, sad, full of shame.

You are deeply loved and you deeply love others. In all their stages and phases of growth and within your own too.

Practice self-compassion; shame is the root of destruction.

Your life is ever-expanding and evolving just as it was meant to.

You have all you require now. More than.

There is nothing to feed.

You are already full.

Full of love and purpose; fulfilled and grounded.

Your soul is on fire with it.

Just let it be.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Finding Equanimity in a Line-Up

The other day, as a long bank line snaked to the door, I had this thought…

Don’t look to the end of it. Focus on the person in front of you only. Take good care of them. And then the next and the next.

And that’s how my life has been lately. If I focus on the line: the things out of my control, the weight of changes and forks in the road, the big tasks ahead to keep up a business/another career/certification/doing best for my kids…all together it’s just one big long line up to the door with eyes pleading to hurry up.

But if I focus on each one singularly, with love and attention, I’m able to bring some equanimity to each element.

The word of the year…

Equanimity: The ability to calm and centre yourself especially under stress.

When I first read this word, I knew it was the singular most important trait I needed to learn. Most of my reading has been centred around it; learning tools to bring that balance back no matter what stressors pop up in my day.

You can’t control all the stressors in life; but you can change your perceptions, build resilience, and learn to traverse the path of adversity with clarity and a calmness of spirit.

Don’t focus on the line friends…just the beautiful face in front of you.

The rest will be taken care of in due course.

Trust in your abilities. Continue to learn and grow.

Situations, people, opportunity and loss are there for a greater purpose. Open your eyes to the lessons right in your back yard.

Wax on wax off.

Have a great day!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Forest vs. the Tree

You know the saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees”…

The other day I was talking with a co-worker and we chatted about the next phase in careers. She told me she hoped one day she would be as knowledgeable as a Senior staff member; and worried how she would she ever get there. She felt defeated that she wasn’t growing as fast as she hoped. Now, this girl is 20 years my Junior and we are at the same phase in careers. For me, I can see the next 20 years for her clearly as I have witnessed her work ethic, intelligence, and wisdom beyond her years. Plus I’ve lived the years she’s about to go through. But she’s staring right at one tree. There’s a whole forest beyond.

As I was explaining that POV to her, I realized I’m staring at one tree too.

Within every stage of life, it’s easy to stare at one tree. The more narrow your focus, the closer you are to that one tree. The bark is all up in your eyeballs.

If you are feeling worried about the details of this stage, remember there is a whole forest beyond it.

A whole world of learning, growing, opportunity.

Take a step back.

Trust in the ever-evolving stages of life and just do your best.

You learn the most when you are handed challenges. Expedited growth, which is a gift when you get out into the forest.

Have a great day!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

We are the Same

I had a conversation with a woman who is pregnant with her first child. Newly married, full of hope and excitement for this stage in their lives. I could relate to her as she spoke of her hopes and dreams for her and her baby’s future. The stage where it morphs from a marriage to a family.

As conversations go, I reminisced about that time in my life. I could clearly see such parallels within our experiences. I was brought back to that excitement within my reverie.

I can’t recall the exact wording she used, and it wasn’t offensive to me, but I realized within our similarities, she saw me differently. Now, there’s no denying I’m a 40 something divorced woman with adultier kids.

At that moment within my mind I said “Oh, she thinks we are different. But we are the same.”

I share this not to criticize her, but rather because it convicted my own spirit. I realized I often see others as “different from I” which causes a division rather than a connection with others.

I have struggled with feeling judged in the past, but how am I feeding my own judgments of others if I can’t recognize how we are the same?

Perhaps it comes with wisdom that builds from life experience. Or maybe it comes from the gift of humility through loss.

There is something so freeing and comforting when you realize we are all connected within our dreams, goals, hopes, desires, failures, fears and trials.  Beautiful connection, we are not alone. We are all navigating life the best way we know with the knowledge and tools we were given.

We are the Same.

At the root of “same” is feelings.

Working Moms or Stay-at-home Moms: we have the same love for our children. We lay awake at night worrying about their futures and vowing to do better the next day. Whether you are a Mom to a newborn; or a Mom to a 40 year old (Love you Mom).

Married or Divorced: There is no perfect marriage. Some make it through those waters, and others choose a different path; but I would hazard a guess that all who walk down the aisle do so with hope and a whole lot of love.

Those who have children; and those who choose not to have children:  We all feel purpose. We will live our purpose how we see fit; the urging of our spirit to pour our heart into something greater than ourselves.  We will find fulfillment in life our own way.

Faith: There are so many religions; I won’t pretend to know the doctrine of each. I do know that I’m called to love; to give more than I take; to serve others and spread a little compassion..and that’s about all I know.  We are the same within love.

I think as humans; we seek to understand…and when we can’t understand another’s viewpoint or choices; we just see difference. But *what if, we seek out those elements that unite us. That we can relate to; in even the tiniest of ways.

Focus on what we stand for; rather than what we stand against.

So today, I will seek out the same. I will look for ways I can learn from others and practice listening to understand. I will celebrate that feeling of unity. I will be grateful for the gift of life lessons which have bred compassion, empathy, and wisdom.

We are the same.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Weight of 8 Pounds

In 2013, I started to weigh in and record it once a month only.  During my losing phase, I became a slave to the scale and my moods yo-yoed along with whatever that daily magic number showed.

It’s been over a year now since I took a sit-on-yo-butt job.

I’ve gained 8 pounds.

Oooooh so dramatic.

Confession time…

I have a love/distaste relationship with gym-culture.

On one side you have a collective of people from all different backgrounds/classes/job roles all in track-pants sweatin’ it up. There’s a mutual respect and camaraderie that evolves.

Uplifting and motivating.

Like this gentleman whom I’ve witnessed for well over a year, running the track with a weighted vest on. He’s older than I, and he gives it all he’s got.  I realized today, that he runs so much more effortlessly and he must have lost the equivalent of an entire person from his frame. He whizzes by us all, WITH A WEIGHTED VEST ON PEOPLE. Much respect man.

Slow motion high-five..

But then there’s this other side of gym culture. The focus on an unrealistic standard, not enough, never happy with one’s aesthetic appearance, and scanning others bodies in comparison. The idea that the most important and perhaps valued part of a person is the frame she/he walks around in.

I happened on a woman today, nameless for this post, who gave me the ole’ body scan.  Full on scan top to bottom. Now, I have no way of knowing what her scan meant, nor is it any of my business what another thinks of me…but you guys, I felt this wave of embarrassment which is embarrassing.

She must have noticed the 8 lbs. It might as well be 80 pounds.

My mind went all the shades of insecurity. By the end of the workout, my head was down. I felt no power within. Just embarrassment “how could you let yourself gain 8 pounds. You are on a train to obese town again”

And so this is why I’m writing this blog post today, because I recognize how silly it all is. How insignificant it is. How I am not alone in the comparison game. In the “not enough” world that lives within the minds of many women.

In my current profession, I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a breath of fresh air in comparison to the personal training world. I didn’t know I needed it until I found it. There is very little focus on fitness levels. There’s a focus on memory, fast thinking, retention of information and stellar customer service…but whether or not someone is 8 pounds more?  Meh…it’s like saying I aged 8 days. Zero Facks given.

When I got home, I sat alone in my happy place. My home. And I spun it back.

The weight of 8 pounds does not account for the following…

The year I’ve spent focussing on working and changing careers, taking care of my kids, and studying for the next chapter.

The strength I’ve worked hard for this year. Because it pushed me out of my comfort zone daily, and makes me feel empowered.

The time spent around the supper table, talking and laughing. Movies with the gang, sharing licorice down an aisle and learning much more than I ever thought I would want to know about Marvel movies (which for the record are pretty bad ass).

The quiet voice of my instinct awakening again as I’ve learned to trust myself and surrender the rest.

The feeling of peace I have now that my life is on a good track, where there was so much uncertainty and worry about my future before. I didn’t know if I could keep my home, if I’d have to move. Move my kids away from their friends and schools. If I could start a new career. Or meet new people. If I could laugh again or if I’d always hide behind a forced smile as I was grieving. Starting over is no joke. It takes more courage than I ever thought I had.

There’s 3 elements to staying on an internal-pride high-vibe if you break it down.

Self-Confidence (self-efficacy). The belief you can lean or accomplish something

Self-esteem: how much you approve of or value yourself (often evaluated within comparisons)

Self-compassion: how much warmth we can have for ourselves, especially when going through a difficult experience

I think the hardest one is self-compassion especially if you have high standards for yourself (and in turn others). Without self-compassion there is an element of shame that seeps in and shame is the killer of dreams and moving forward within actions.

So today I will remember to be gentle with myself. I will choose what to give significance to. Perspective is everything.

We all have one life. The difference between a good one and a bad one, lives within your perceptions.

And today I realized just how silly 8 pounds is to my life. I know how to be healthy and keep on rocking a lifestyle that works for me. Balance. There are cycles of rest and recovery and working hard too, in other facets beyond a gym.

I hope you will  be gentle with yourself too, you are so worthy of whatever amazing life you create.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

90 Years of Wisdom Delivered in a Bow and a Smile

At work, there is a Mother and Grandmother who come in regularly. Although we do not speak the same language, or in the case of the Mother…bits of the same, we do share the same warm smiles. Each time they come to my wicket, the Grandmother bows and smiles the largest warmest grin that dances within her kind eyes. She reminds me of the wise Matriarch in Mulan.

I’m sure it’s comedic to watch. She bows. I bow. We laugh. She bows. I bow. X10 bowing. on repeat.

I can feel her spirit every time. I know nothing about her past or present other than the beautiful aura she carries with her. A brilliant smile, and uplifting presence.

Yesterday, the Mother came solo.  I asked where Grandma was. She replied that she was resting at home.

She leaned in to my wicket and said to me “You know, my Mom loves you. She thinks you are beautiful and you are very kind.”

I told her I adored her Mom’s energy and I too thought she was beautiful. I wanted to expand more but she pointedly said…”My Mom is 90 years old. She’s always happy. Always smiling. Always thanking. She loves to live.”

I could see how much she appreciates having a Mom who loves life the way she does.  A gift to her family.

Another Zen Joy person who crossed my path. ❤  I am so grateful for these light-sharers who’s mere presence illuminates any room. Who make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who make you believe in the good within the world. That happiness and gratitude is something you choose.  And spread it freely.

While I struggle some days to choose it; I see that Grandmother as a symbol of what I’m working toward. A countenance of loving life.

I used to think happiness was what I most sought after in life; but perhaps it’s fulfillment within life’s various stages. The not seeking the next chapter.

I’ll be happy when…

Rather, I’m fulfilled now with all that I am and all that I have (none of which are the material variety; but the human interaction kind).

My eyes continue to open to what’s important to my spirit. I embrace every lesson which comes my way; and they are often packaged in welcoming smiles and gentle energy.

90 years of wisdom encapsulated in a warm smile and gentle bow. Zero words spoken yet all the words I need (which I’m having a tricky time articulating just how much they mean to me).

Thank you Grandmother.

From my heart to yours,

Christine