The Heart of Balance

I’ve read a lot about balance lately, seeking the middle and avoiding the extremes of anything. “Avoiding” can create resistance however, and resistance can insight imbalance.

What you resist will persist…as the saying goes.

Catch 22

Last week at my day job, I had a conversation with a co-worker about personal training.

She said to me “but you don’t do that anymore”

I immediately felt defensive. Like I lost a part of my identity within an area of my spirit that is very important to me.

I will always strive to articulate and share the gift of health and fitness as it has changed my life. There were many years of my life that I lost to self-deprecation and defeating behaviours.

It’s not about fitting into a certain size.

Or out-running or out-lifting the person beside me at the gym.

For me, it’s a way I can channel the tricky stuff into self-love. To move and live the way our bodies are designed.

It’s seeking the middle.

Balanced.

Mind/Body/Soul seamlessly working together to appreciate the simple joys in life with vivacious energy. Actually experiencing life.

I struggle with the extreme side of the fitness industry.

Push past physical pain.

Eat your boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.

Skip dinners out with friends or loved ones.

Devote all your free time to sweating in the gym.

Craft yourself an ass you can bounce a quarter off of.

Pick apart your body in the mirror, oh tomorrow you can continue the pursuit for that perfect physical frame.

Never fit enough.

Never strong enough.

Just never enough…

Ugh, it’s a dangerous game leading to self-obsession.

Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture.

The Why’s.

The heart of drive which lives behind action.

I am seeking the middle.

Living in the right now.

I took some time to answer: Why is health and fitness important to me?

So I can live freely in a frame that isn’t restrictive to movement.

So I can run paths lined with golden trees and feel the euphoria that comes when I find my rhythm.

So that I can better keep up to my kids whose curiosity for life and hope for their future inspires me.

So I can enjoy food without feeding the extremes. Binging/Restriction.

So I can FEEL. The good stuff right along with the tricky stuff.

Understanding that maybe happiness is found within life’s ordinary moments.

The way the sunshine slowly seeps into my living room giving life to cherished photos as I do my Miracle Morning.

The way my son Lucas asks daily: “How was your day Mom?”

The way my daughter Tess side hugs me like it’s no big deal. But she closes her eyes for a brief moment.

They way my son Ty pokes his head out of the basement dramatically and yells “HI!” And we recap our day.

The way my kids tease each other at the kitchen counter as they eat banana bread.

The way my dog excitedly greets me at the door everyday like we’ve been apart for years.

It’s just so simple, but I have overcomplicated it.

I am doing my best at parenting solo (not truly solo, but solo in my home).

And I’m going to focus on the small victories within  my day.

The little bits of happiness that weave a big happy.

I’m going to treat those I love with respect and care, and do the same for myself.

I’m going to spread a little sunshine and happy to others.

Because why not? Oh my…this life has enough negativity and shame within it.

I wish the same for you…

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Summer of Surrender and Acceptance

I’ve taken some time off from the gym.  This summer has been full of working, camping, walking, a few runs thrown in and kayaking.  One of the gym regulars I’ve gotten to know came into the bank the other day.

He asked me: “Where have you been? Are you Ok? Please come  back.”

I told him all was good, I’m on a break. I’ll be back soon!

A couple days later, I went back to the gym to get a workout in since I really “should”.

But you know what? I was tired. My body was tired. My spirit was tired, I did not want to be there.

I kept my head down so I didn’t invite any conversation with the regulars whom I’ve come to respect and really enjoy.

I felt a bit deflated when I got home after. Disappointed I couldn’t lift as heavy as the last time I was there. Feeling bad because I wasn’t my chipper self ready to uplift others.

The truth is, I’ve had my own emotional “stuff” I’ve been working through. Learning to move on from the past.

While I recognize I do not live in the past anymore, it doesn’t change the fact that living within a new life will challenge one to deal with old thought/behaviour patterns.

I do not choose a mediocre life.

I want an authentic life rich in experiences and quality.

I want to surround myself with people I adore and support, and they in turn offer the same support.

I want to feel this life.

I know happiness is a choice.

I also know that to etch my happy; I have to work through the tricky stuff.

Awaken the parts of me I’ve numbed and closed off as a protection.

I had no idea until recently, the degree in which I have guarded myself in order to feel a sense of security and control over my life.

I’m not even entirely sure how to work on that. Except to be a lot more self-aware when it’s happening.

As a trainer, I learned a lot about Programming. How to program a workout for optimal results. Set into cycles. One building off of the next. But there’s also a cycle of rest and recovery that is necessary or you’ll over-train and burn out.

I thought about that the other day when my inner voice told me to please rest.

Recover.

Be OK with the ever evolving challenges presented when you start over and rebuild a life.

Stop trying to help everyone else and work on my own struggles.

The stuff exercise can’t fix.

Nor food.

I am happy, that I know…but it doesn’t mean I have to be happy all the time. I don’t have to spin it back to positive within every experience. I can honour that it’s hard to learn how to live after divorce. It’s hard to open yourself up again.

It’s just hard.

And that’s OK.

I’m going to have the courage to sit in the shit.

Be who I inherently am within.

Give myself permission to grieve, feel anger and hurt.

And then keep on moving forward.

Maybe that’s what life is….A series of cycles of amazing good, and equally amazingly difficult.

All of which mould one’s character and create a depth of beauty within the spirit.

Of loss and renew.

A heart growing in strength because of resistance to stagnancy and complacency.

I’m going to just surrender to it all and keep my faith in my higher power.

Trust my instincts.

Trust others again.

Know my worth; not just as a female, but as a person. (Side note: It’s funny, when I look back to just a couple of years ago and realize the weight I placed on my actually weight. It all seems so insignificant and silly.) 

Understanding that there is a great purpose for my life. For your life. For all of creation.

The summer of surrender and acceptance….

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Trap of Self-Deprecation

I was outside weeding my yard the other day, and I stopped to chat with a neighbour. She told me she was going to a woman friendly gym now. She expressed that she wasn’t comfortable working out in the “muscle head” zone and was happy to find a place to sweat with just women.

And it got me thinking that I was very thankful that I found my comfort in the gym I go to; where both men and women sweat freely.  But it also made me think about the fact so many find the gym atmosphere intimidating; and I was one of those once.  I tried to remember how that view evolved for me. Because it was a slow evolution into confidence.

Again, it comes down to a shift in my perception away from athstetics to training for my health and vitality. Learning to love my body for what it can do vs. how I “look”. These legs can run, these arms can embrace, this core keeps me stable, this back allows me to bend down and pick things up. Functionality to enjoy life better.

With that in mind, I went to my gym. I saw a regular there, and we paused to chat briefly.

She explained to me her challenges within her training, specifically around the body parts she wasn’t happy with. “bat wings” and if she dieted to lose more weight, it would affect how her ass looked. It made me uncomfortable to reduce her body to outward appearance, but more so I was uncomfortable because that’s the trap I have fallen into personally…the self-deprecating trap.

I’m writing about the woman’s point of view; because I am one. 😉 I’m sure men deal with this in a different manner. There was a moment within our exchange where I  could have validated the self-deprecation by adding in my own insecurities about my body. But at that moment, I made a conscious decision not to.

I said in reply “I think you look amazing. You see yourself differently than I do. And I am happy with my body”.

Because I have learned to be. Happy with who I am at whatever weight or level of fitness I happen to be at. Fitness is my outlet to pour whatever I happen to be going through…stress, anxiety, determination, the urge to push myself and see what I’m capable of, internal conflict…and spin it back to good vibes. I don’t care how I look while I’m doing it.

I have learned my worth is not determined by my frame; or the way my butt looks in a pair of jeans. But that sure is the marketing specifically targeting women “10 tips to get a lifted butt” —-> I’d probably get more traffic to this post if I labelled it that.

OK, let’s get real for a moment here, will the quality of my life be any more fulfilled if in fact my butt was lifted? ha!

And as women, wouldn’t it be better to skip the self-deprecating bullshit we impose, and just love ourselves in all the levels body/mind/soul?

How are we supposed to teach our daughters self-respect and worth if we are picking apart our own bodies in the mirror every day?

So I make a conscious effort to give myself a nod in the mirror. To look at my body in a way of love, and respect for the vehicle it is. A vehicle to take me places, love others deeply, and explore this world.  Going to the gym allows me to build a strong foundation to move more effectively and efficiently in everyday life tasks.

I hope to be able to explore life further when I actually have money saved to do so, and I recognize that’s in my later years.

If you don’t use it you will lose it.

I want to be Betty White old. Full of vitality!

Lift to build muscle. Eat quality to fuel your daily activity. Run/move to feel alive and because I’m able. Read this for further perceptive: https://reclaiminglifeblog.com/2015/03/25/the-face-of-ms/

But I refuse to stand in a gym and talk about all the things I don’t like about my body. It’s a disrespect to myself and devalues the totality of the woman I am, which has little to do with my bat wings or my not-so-lifted-tush.

That’s all I have to say about that!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

On Conformity: Words to my Daughter

Last night I went to bed before my kids. That’s what happens when you raise teenagers; they outlast you more often than not.

My daughter came into my bedroom to say good night and I could tell there was something on her spirit. I have learned to elicit the truth of her heart, I simply have to ask one question.

“How are you feeling right now?”

In the split second after I ask, I just have to look into her eyes to understand the answer.

With tears in her eyes, she explained to me that she was feeling bad about fitting in and that other kids don’t always “get her”.

You see her heart is deep and pure. She has so much compassion for other’s within. She often befriends the new kid as soon as she sees a hint of uncomfortable. She will turn back to help another if they fall. She will make those around her laugh if they are sad. She reads me too after work, and sometimes even when I tell her my day was ok, she’ll come and give me a long hug within perfect timing.

She’s expressive, creative, loving, and artistic.

I inwardly asked for guidance last night to find the right words to make her feel better.  Not words that will placate or pacify; but rather to give her a long-term perspective. Words I wish I knew as truth when I was a teenager.

These are the words my heart urged me to say to her…

These teenage years; JR. High, High School, are so minute on the scale of life, but also important in that you have many choices.

Work hard, get the grades which will give you many options to build the future of your dreams. If you decide to go to college, you will meet so many people who have the very same interests and drive. It’s a little more specialized.

Do not conform. You know who you are, and you are also learning about yourself. You are growing and evolving in character. Hold your head high. It’s ok to be “weird”. Everyone is a weird, some just wear masks to hide it.

These people who you want acceptance from; they will probably not be in your life after school is over. I promise you’ll look back and wonder why you cared about their opinions. Just do you, and build that future which is so very bright and full of hope.

You are kind, and loyal. Your true friendships will adore and cherish you. I had one main ride or die friend in high school, she is still my best friend today (and we are going to visit her and her kids soon). It’s not quantity, but quality.

But whatever you do, please don’t dim your light for anyone. Walk proud and understand your worth. You are so very worthy of all you want in life.  Study hard, and use your brain. Use your words for love. It’s OK to walk away from anyone who doesn’t show you respect. Because you respect yourself.

The entire time she just held my head and nodded. This morning as she was eating her breakfast I asked her “How are you feeling this morning?”

And she replied with a smile  “I’m good” and her eyes spoke that truth. I lifted my chin up with my finger, pulled my shoulders back, and said “Head high my girl”

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

The Value of the Present

June 14th, 2018

I’m sharing my writing for this morning.

Today, I ask that I speak with intention and bring peace and understanding into my interactions. Within seeking my goals and purpose, I loose a thread of understanding within the fabric of this life…to live that purpose within the stage I’m currently in. The now.

Us humans always want “more“. We get lost in the pit of not enough.

But what if the job, the social network, the family, the stuff that fills a home, the car, the frame we currently walk around in, the clothes on our back…whatever it is that makes up our current life..is enough.  And what if it was taken away?  Then what value does it have?

There is always someone less fortunate that you. Always. Whether that’s within skill, emotional development, health, or wealth.

Perspective…

The body you have now is someone else’s goal. And that can come down to  the ability to walk, run, or simply move.  The legs you wish were smaller, another does not have the ability to move on their own.

The children you raise, is another’s heart’s desire.

The partner you dismiss or ignore is another’s wish for one last moment with theirs.

The annoying tasks in life such as grocery shopping, doing laundry, standing in line at a bank to deposit a pay check…taking care of life’s little responsibilities…is a flicker in the eye of a past that once was to someone who lost it all.

The good health you wake up with, is yearned for by another in a hospital bed.

So in framing it all in that way, maybe this place I’m in right this second is part of a bigger plan, or maybe it is the plan.

Can I be humble to recognize the priceless quality within my many blessings?

Can I be thankful for the work required to keep  this life, this body, these relationships, this home that keeps us safe and warm running on quality?

Can I find purpose within the ordinary?

Can I be the example to my children they deserve?

Am I giving my all to the job I have right now?

Can I have the courage to let go of the elements that do not support my happiness and self-worth? And can I release those elements with love for all that I learned (that is the better question)

We all have gifts, use them as a way to enrich this beautiful life for others.

It’s not in “what can I get“, but rather, “what can I give” that enriches not just my soul, but others.

If you can make another laugh or smile. Do that!

If you can teach, then teach.

If you have learned valuable lessons found within some of your toughest life challenges…ask that you use those for purpose. I promise you life will bring to you someone who desperately needs that knowledge and understanding in their right timing.

There is always beauty in the present if you open your eyes.

I will remember this as I go into holidays this summer. To enjoy time with my family camping, and be grateful that I can actually take that time to build more memories.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

A Post of Uplifting if you Need it

Life has ebbs and flows. High highs and low lows.

Often, I didn’t even recognize one of life’s Highs until after I passed it. Like when I’m driving to work, and I see a group of Moms huddled together with their coffee’s after dropping the older kids off at school. The younger kids are chillin’ in wagons drinking juice boxes while the Mom’s talk about life. I recognize now, that stage was one of my highs in life. Simplistic and beautiful.

However, when I am in a low…oh man, do I know it.

The times of adversity in life are easy to spot. Where it’s hard to lift the head off that pillow every morning and darkness settles in. THEN you miss those light times and wonder why you didn’t recognize that light.

So, if you find yourself in a low, here’s what I want you to know (because I’ve been there).

While it may not feel this way, you have been handed the gift of expedited growth of Mind, Body, and Spirit if you choose that. It’s easy to feel confident, strong, prideful and loving to others when you are in a high time; however, when life’s rug is pulled out from under you…that’s the true test.

You will learn so much about yourself and others. Who your true friends are. The tricky part if letting go and moving forward without holding onto anger and resentment. Let go, for nothing is personal to you. You never know what others are going through too. And sometimes our tricky times in life is simply like holding up a mirror to another.

The only person you can change is you. So now that you are in this place..

Who are you?

Who do you want to be?

What life do you want to create?

The answers to those questions are found within the lows. I realized my lows were a gift to my spirit and my character. They were and are a time of awakening. The phase I can actively choose love over fear. To rise up and meet the challenge to be extraordinary within ordinary pain. Because pain is ordinary. We all have it in some form or fashion.

We are actually not separate at all, we are one in suffering.

Be intentional with your time. Find these elements in life which make you feel alive! If the true joy in life is feeling fulfillment, purpose, and meaning…then where do you find that? Seek purpose. Identity what is meaningful to you.

For me, I find fulfillment and purpose within true giving. I expect nothing in return. It’s not “what can I get?” but rather “What can I give?”.

Develop your intuition to listen to your body/mind/spirit. Rest when you need to and then use that energy for purpose YOU believe as fulfilling.

Rebuild with quality.

Quality relationships built on respect, acceptance, and genuine care.

Quality career where you just do your best. Actions + Words = Integrity

Quality down time. In the lows there is hermit time…that’s OK! No guilt there! Rebuilding is tricky business, but recognize that you will feel recharged to go out into the world again and do the things that make you feel empowered.

Find the fun in life.

Try new things.

Explore.

Find the fun within movement: kayak, hike, go paint-balling, throw a dodge ball at  a trampoline park, swim, waterslide…find that inner kid again. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait to create and play every. single. day?

I want to encourage you to frame the lows with this truth: All the experiences in your life have brought you to this place. There are no mistakes. You are faced with forks in the road, and choices to make. Choose Love over Fear. If you choose love, you’ll mould yourself stronger than you’ve ever been. That love has to start with yourself. Treat YOU as well, or hell…even better than you treat those you love most.

You will become an elevated version of yourself.

You 2.0

The lows breed compassion and empathy.

All that pain and discomfort will transform into peace, understanding, and happiness. Anxiety and fear of the unknown is replaced with inner calm and assurance. But you have to choose that. 

Remember, you always have a choice.

Choose to stay within the discomfort and not run from it or numb it with external factors. You won’t find purpose within food, alcohol, material possessions, insert numbing facet here. Numbing just forces you deeper into the pit of self-loathing and you deserve better than that.

You deserve to feel accepted, loved, and appreciated.

Choose for yourself exactly what you hope for your children.

Choose love my friends.

Rebuild with quality.

And then one day you’ll be minding your business, and you’ll recognize the familiarity of a low within another. Some strangers. Some friends you’ve grown with for years. Some you let go of. But you’ve now been gifted and equipped with tools to uplift another because you are one within that low.

It’s also within those moments you’ll realize how far you’ve come. How much you’ve grown. How beautiful this life is and how wildly unpredictable.

One life.

Create whatever you wish it to be.

Fulfilled.

Purposeful.

Full of meaning.

All within your power.

Lift your head, it will all be OK. Better than OK!

Extraordinary. Exceptional. Top Shelf.

You got this!

From my heart to yours,

Christine.

The Two Questions That Can Change the Trajectory of Your Life

Over the past couple of weeks, I have started my day by asking 2 questions which have translated into more knowledge, faith, and in turn action.

These two questions, while they sound similar, are actually very different within their intention.

  1. What do I need to know today? Show me.
  2. What do I need to learn today?  Show me.

Show me what I need to know…

There is a rooted knowledge within which is an inner strength…your intuition. A flame that’s always ablaze although at times it may feel like just a flicker. You know what you know. It’s a part of your being and it’s strengthened through your experiences/choices. Your value systems live within your intuition. While you may be open-minded to other’s points of view, your intuition will always guide you to what is right for you…if you listen.

Asking: What do I need to know today? is like asking for your intuition to kick into overdrive so you take the right path for you and in turn those who depend on you.

Show me what I need to learn…

There are elements within each facet of life which require more knowledge to truly find fulfillment.

Careers, relationships, parenting, health & fitness, etc.

Like when you start a new job; Obviously there is a learning curve that you will climb if you seek knowledge and put in the work to retain the information.

Listen.

Observe.

Learn.

Retain.

You can approach life the very same way. By putting out the intention that you are hungry for knowledge and willing to learn, I promise you…life will hand you lessons all day. It’s crazy how that works. Please try it. I would love some company in this experiment. 😉

Those lessons will come to you through opportunities, people, circumstances, challenges, and adversity. It will be uncomfortable. Sorry, but it will.

At one time, I was disillusioned with thinking if I put out good, I would always receive good in return. While a whole lot of good came my way, there was also a whole lot of shit too (for lack of a better word).

It dawned on me, that all the tricky stuff carries with it something I need to know and something I need to learn. I’m talking about lessons about myself…not others. I can only change me.

You do you. I do me.

And I will take responsibility for my life, and the steps I take to reclaim it. Onus on moi.

Step back.

Look at the big picture.

I have this 2 and 5 year plan. I have always been a goal setter, but my goals have changed to quality of life and I have taken time to name what makes my life feel rich in fulfillment of mind, body, spirit.

Quality: High standards. Rich in experiences. Focussed on values, and the hierarchy of those values. Conscious choices. Top shelf living. Intentional and with care.

When I started asking those two questions, it also came with the realization that there’s so much I don’t “know” and need to learn. Surrender to that humility.  Be humble within my inner strength and areas requiring growth.

As simple as it sounds to start the day with those two questions…which it is…I was blown away with the experiences that came my way. Almost immediately. I could write several post about it, but to simplify…here’s a few.

~I was approached at work (bank job) with specific areas I could grow and be more successful at reaching my targets. Not just broad suggestions/ideals, tangible skill-sets that allowed me to exceed those targets and gain constructive feedback.  It’s a very empowering feeling to have knowledge that can translate to success within your career. It builds confidence and you just walk a ‘lil taller.

Show me what I need to learn: If you seek knowledge, opportunities will come to you. Ask questions, and even more comes your way. Ask the right questions, be specific.

~A bunch of things broke down in my home, and I had to find ways to structure my budget to pay for those things. It made me more hungry because it came from necessity…not just “want”. We are not talking “mamma needs a new pair of shoes” here, we are talking about plumbing, transportation, and a roof over my head…literally I need shingles.  ha!

That very month, I booked more photography sessions than I have in the earlier 4 months combined.  The right people came to me at the right time and it worked perfectly into all of our schedules. I also feel fulfillment in giving them photos/memories while being able to better support my family.  At the same time, I learned ways to save and be smart with my money via bank job. I learned to ask for help, which is intensely uncomfortable for me. Like level 10 discomfort.

Show me what I need to know: There’s a simple beauty within the moving parts of synchronicity. Trust in myself and my abilities. It will all be taken care of. I have a support system. I don’t have to do it all alone.

~The other day at my bank job, a woman came to my wicket whom I’ve served before. She has the most beautiful joyful vibe. She wore a bright tie dyed shirt, a big wicker brimmed sun hat, and a smile that lit up the entire place. She is rich in experiences and many years my senior. I respect her, and I hardly know her. We look eyeball to eyeball when we talk; and there’s always a smile that travels right to our eyes. After her transaction, she said to me: “You remembered what I told you weeks ago about my travels, my family. Thank you for your care. You have a very peaceful loving spirit”

Show me what I need to know: The true joy of life is connecting with another in a pure way through genuine care. Good eye contact, a sincere conversation where you are actually investing in learning about another. Loving kindness. It matters…oh yes it does. The gift of time and attentive interaction, even if it’s for a few minutes, is important and felt by others. One spirit to another.

I challenge you to ask those 2 questions before you start your day today.  And then open up those beautiful eyes and take it all in. Let those life lessons pour in and enjoy the change of life’s trajectory. Top shelf.

From my heart to yours,

Christine