A Note of Encouragement and Understanding

A Note of Encouragement and Understanding

A friendly reminder to practice self-compassion and reduce your stress and expectations on yourself

We all wear many hats.

For me: Mom/Banker/Partner/Daughter/Sister/Friend/Caretaker/Bill Payer/Meal Planner/Grocery Shopper/House Cleaner/Cook/Driver/Laundry Doer… and on and on it goes.

I’m mediocre at many of these roles.

Stellar at others

interchangeable depending on the day

But you guys, this Covid-Stuff is no joke on metal health.

For ourselves, our children, our loved ones.

I have just been feeling so tapped-out in my energy, and super protective on where I give it because my day ends on fumes.

My previous standards for myself are vastly different from the standards I have today within how I conduct my life.

I need to work.

I need to pay my bills for the home my kids and I live in to feel safe and secure.

I need to feed my kids and myself. Shop frugally, batch cook so we don’t order out and actually eat some vitamins and nutrients for health.

I need to sleep 8 hours.

I need to wash the clothes we wear, and dole out the jobs where I can in my household.

I need to stay connected to my partner and our extended Brady Bunch family.

I need to communicate to my friends and family I love them, and hope they don’t take my lack of interaction as anything other than the position I’m (we are all) in. My fear is they will think I’m overdramatic because we all have our own issues and balance is illusive to most.

I feel like I’m successful and failing all at the same time. I provide stellar customer service to the best of my abilities, my kids are taken care of, I sleep like a rock most nights…immediately as soon as my head hits the pillow. I do not gym anymore, my pants are tight. I have not had a hair cut since January. I drink too much wine. I rarely socialize. I have lost touch with my friends. I can’t financially afford to do much more than skip the dishes once in a while; and project a free movie onto an at-home theatre. And go camping. Because free with fresh air and family. Couple of Dickie-birds and one stone.

I finally shared how I was feeling with a co-worker. I looked down while I talked because I thought I would cry if I met her eyes. When I finally did look her in the eye, she had this beautiful expression of understanding and care. She said a sentence I will always hold to my heart.

She said this with so much care and empathy…

“We have to wear masks all day at work; and yet we wear another mask. Thank you for sharing how you are feeling, because I thought I was the only one”

I forgot how simple a gift sharing openly with another truly is. How it immediately drops the shoulders and connects one another. How it bonds and frees all at once.

I’ve  played her words over and over in my mind since, because I don’t want to wear a mask on how I’m feeling. I want to share openly when I’m able, and give myself permission to do what is necessary for my immediate little family.  My energy needs to go there. I will practice self-compassion for the rest.

My worth is not dependant on doing all the things perfectly. To be a certain size. To always wear a smile. To pretend I’m not struggling. To give when my spirit is unable.

I will give all I have to the work I do; but when I leave I will feel all the feels.  I will breath so deeply when I finally take off my required bylaw mask. I will blare my music I love most all the way home. I will write. I will read. I will be quiet because I need that for my soul. I will not weed anymore. I will be gentle with my heart as I process missing my son.

I will always love those who are in my circle; I send out nothing but love and positivity whenever you trace the vines of memories in my brain.

That’s all I know today. I hope my co-workers words also give you permission to evaluate what’s necessary, what is for another time, and to share how you’re feeling with those you feel safe and connected to.

Be gentle with you, this is a season that will pass. Do what you have to do today to get through it.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

15 Years at Goal-Hindsight is 2020

Today is Year 15 of Reclaiming Life

It seems very contrite to write a blog post about being at a “goal weight” given the landscape of life we are all currently navigating. The “Covid gain” is pretty insignificant and natural as we change our everyday lifestyle habits.

What I’ve found necessary to stay healthy and mentally sane, is to focus on all 3 elements: Body/Mind/Spirit, which is a prevalent theme in my writing.

Last week I shared about creating a Contingency Plan; It’s been a go-to-sanity-saver and has provided much needed structure and stability during a time of change and uncertainty.

So, in keeping with yearly tradition on this anniversary date, here’s what I’ve learned in Year 15

~I can live on much less than I thought; I’ve streamlined my finances and really examined what’s necessity and what’s a luxury.  I have cancelled services, unsubscribed, decluttered, shopped less, sold some things curb side pickup, and simplified.  I channel that feeling I get when it’s completed…before I even start, because otherwise it’s overwhelming. One baby step at a time. You know you’ll feel amazing when you tackle that junk drawer, filing taxes, cleaning out the garage; feel the feels like it’s done already and then don’t hesitate to just start. The momentum takes over 🙂

~When I was a little girl, we had 3 huge gardens. And I helped my Mom and sisters garden all through my childhood. I vowed to never garden again; although I attempted to a few years running when my kids were young.  The whole process just didn’t feel gratifying nor therapeutic and weeding was a chore I decided was best left to the Farmers and the green thumb-ers. I am shocked to tell you that I have found so much peace and purpose in tending to growing things.  Like who even am I now?!

~If you have a desk job, you are over 40, and you’re not moving as much…your body will freeze up like the tin man by the end of the day. Chair yoga actually helps; especially, “Chair Pigeon Pose”. If you google it, a plethora of resources for seniors comes up. Legit cool for anyone who sits in a chair all day.

~Co-Parenting and blended family time during a Pandemic is tough. It just is. There’s a whole lot more to think about when you involve more than one family in cross-over time. I’ve talked to many in the same boat, or different boats, but all feeling the same way.  Whether you’re working full-time, laid off, working part-time gigs to make ends meet, staying at home all day caring for kids while in insolation, insert situation here…

Oh but wait there’s more!

Now let’s add schooling from home to that equation. Yet, as much as it’s a challenge for us parents (because let’s face it kids are already more scholarly than most of us); the kids are the ones who deserve all the kudos. For kids/tweenies/teens, their school life/friends/social activities are their whole world.

Oh but wait there’s more!

Then you add to their shoulders going back and forth between 2 families (or more cross over for blended families) and you have this grey area of “what’s right”.  You are forced to have very uncomfortable discussions with no real road map to follow. I have no advice here other than, if you understand this part, I’m sorry and I get it.

~I thought I was an introvert. I am an extrovert professionally, but I truly thought I enjoyed an intense amount of introversion recharging. That is until I couldn’t go see my family and friends like I used to. I think we are all realizing maybe “who were thought we were socially”, may not be our truth. It took a pandemic to realize it; and to sort out the importance of human connection. Now, if you are someone who has embraced their introversion, that’s cool too. If anything; I’ve found it interesting we are all figuring out what’s important to us. Won’t it be sweet to remember and act on all we’ve learned when life progressively gets more social?

~I don’t need a gym to workout; but I do need a plan Stan! For a while, I didn’t move as much as I did in the past, and that truly paid a toll on my mental well-being.  A reminder that moving even a little lends big results to my sense of health, well-being, and pride.

To finish this off:  Here’s a couple home workout plans you may find useful.

My at-home workout (3X week strength)

Download “Interval Timer-HIIT workouts” from your app store (there are other apps that work equally well). The ad. version is free and you can customize your intervals. I edited the Intermediate HIIT workout to include 16 sets with a 5 minute warmup/cool down.


The first “round” I choose 3 full body movements, all strength focussed. Side note: if you don’t have weights, use your own body weight, or soup cans/household items with a little weight to them works.

This will be my low interval of 1 minute. Three movements done in sequence; repeated for a total of 3 sets.

For Example:

  1. Squat to press
  2. Reciprocating chest press
  3. Reciprocating row with Tricep kick back

In between each 1 minute strength, your interval timer will beep a 30 second “high interval”. This is where I do my burst of cardio. Choose whatever is your jam! My choice is kickboxing; but since I’m at home alone, I will often dance it out.

Once you’ve completed your 3 sets of 3 strength along with your cardio high interval, there’s enough time for another superset. I choose 2 strength movements as my 1 minute low interval and for my 30 second high interval, I focus on core.
For Example:

  1. Alternating Lunge with bicep curl
  2. Alternating front raise (I kneel on a bosu for extra core for this)

For the 30 second high interval: Plank, knee up (variation of plank/mountain climber)

Do your strength movements for 3 rounds.

I have one minute left over for a plank before my 5 minutes of stretching.

I find this interval session so adaptable and easy to increase in difficulty or make easier for low energy days. You can make it muscle group specific or do a total body routine. I do this 3 times/week.

For a detailed exercise data base grouped by muscle group, check out American Council of Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/

Free Youtube workouts (follow their channels for more):

YouTube Mr. and Mrs. Muscle: Most of the free workouts are bodyweight and all have modifications.

I stumbled on this awesome lil space friendly workout the other day by Cambira Joy (love her energy)

My current read (Thank you Darrell for recommending more than once I read it, it’s a nugget of perfection): The Five People You Meet in Heaven
By: Mitch Albom
Have you read it?

Every year on this date, I post a photo of then and now to remember the path. This year, my amazing son is graduating. I’m so sad for him that he does not get that right of passage grad celebration this week-end. I’m really proud of him for how he’s handling it all with smile on his face. And as always, there’s playstation to keep him connected 😉 Happy graduation son. Love you!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

At work, when a major event happens, there are clear processes to follow. A fluid contingency plan is implemented and updated as situations evolve. I find comfort in processes that gift direction during times of chaos.

I had this light bulb moment the other day, why don’t I implement my own contingency plan for my personal life? Body/Mind/Spirt.

Protect my peace.

It sparked my creative mind thinking about ways to bring peace, purpose and joy into my day. I know exactly what feeds my body/mind/spirit. Interestingly, I’ve figured that out during times of hardship. I’ve taken the time to bring all the senses into that which feeds each element and then recorded it…in my mind’s eye or pen to paper. 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

Body

Go for a walk in the sun with my dog
Stretch at my desk when I feel my shoulder’s tighten and my leg’s stiffen
Lift weights. Make a plan, schedule my lift days. And lace up the shoes when I wake up (that’s the hardest part…the just doing)
Interval training
Kickboxing
Just move…Some days a little and some days a lot.
Go for a run
Ride my bike
Yoga
Work in my yard
Play basketball with the kids
Kayak (also spirit side)

Mind

Read a book
Learn something new. Daily
Meditate (a work in progress on that one)
Visualize at the start of each day and set intentions
Write
Teach
Play crib
Blog (this is also Spirit for me)
 

Spirit

Cook for my family, and dance while I cook. Cuban music is my jam lately.
Give to another: a kind word, a gift on a door step, a handwritten note. 
Add to my gratitude journal in the morning. 
Connect with my friends & family: phone, text, FaceTime, Zoom.
Write and support others through understanding.
Watch whatever makes me laugh.
Share the tricky parts of life. There is comfort within understanding we are not alone in our struggles. 
Garden: This is new for me, and huge! With the help of my family, we got our greenhouse functional again, and I planted veggies & herbs for the first time in years. 
 
 
Your list can be added to whenever you find an activity that taps into your senses, and makes you feel alive, centred, vibrant, peaceful, contemplative, happy, interested, etc. 
 
The hardest part for me is the motivation to actually do the Body/Mind/Spirit activities when I’m struggling. The last thing I want to do when I’m down is the very thing that will bring me back up.
That’s where trust comes in. I have to trust the proven results I’ve experienced before, and then take baby steps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just do one thing; which creates the momentum for the next. 
 
It’s been necessary in this pandemic to be acutely self-aware of my metal state and emotions…
Feeling bored…mindless tasks getting to me? See Mind section.
Feeling lack of purpose? See Mind/Spirit.
Feeling lethargic and low energy? See Body Section
Feeling fearful? See Spirit
Feeling depressed and anxious? See Body/Mind/Spirit
Feeling overwhelmed with having to self-regulate through a stressful day? See Spirit
 
They key is to know YOU. What brings about equanimity to your world? What calms your spirit? What gives you purpose? What makes you laugh? What is that task you get lost in and lose all track of time? What can you give to others to fulfill your own sense of accomplishment?
Fear is an all encompassing force that grows and breeds more…if left unattended. It seeps in every so slowly when you are faced with daily unknowns and grows like a flame.
 
So my friends….  
 

Please Protect your Peace.

As always, I hope you choose love over fear.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Power of Words

I have been absent from sharing. I’ve continued to write privately, as I sort through some challenges I’ve faced lately.

To sum it all: I started a new role at work; which involved a whole lot of learning, discomfort within the new, and excitement to take on new challenges. Longer hours melded to exhaustion at the end of my day; when I wiped away the last supper crumb from the counter and retreated to my couch. I’ve been able to be there for my kids in the ways that are important. I also want them to see me work hard; set goals, and achieve them.

My gym: ugh…I do not feel comfortable there any longer. The details of why are not important; I’m still going to sweat freely; but the freely part needs to be in a place I feel comfortable in.

For all the areas I feel confident within this stage of my life; there are also areas I white-knuckle it. And maybe that’s just the ebbs and flows of life: Career, raising teens, staying on top of grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, ensuring all bills are paid/living within my means, and keeping the home clean and decluttered.. Despite the clutter in the mind…the swirling of thoughts:

What do I need to do today?

Where am I supposed to be today?

How can I be in two places at once? Call a friend…

So, I live one day at a time. Where as before my life changed…I had the luxury of thinking in weeks vs. days.

Which brings me to the topic of today: the power of words. Or more-so, the power I give to words.

You see, there’s a difference.

One perspective gives all the power away to the words; and the other empowers me to choose how those words affect me.

The other day, I talked with a man I see occasionally. He had just returned from a trip, and it had been a few months since I last saw him. We chatted about his trip and then he said something (three times to be exact) which completely took me by surprise…

He said “You’ve gained weight since I last saw you”

I stared at him for a moment with my mouth open. And again he said “I had to take off my glasses to see if it was my sight; but you’ve definitely gained weight”

I replied “OK” ha! I seriously couldn’t think of anything to say to keep a semblance of composure and grace.

Once more for good measure, he adjusted his glasses and said. “Yup you’ve definitely gotten bigger”
(OH NO HE DIDN’T)

I replied “OK”

Because really it’s not OK to say that to anyone; even if it’s an observational thought that escapes the lips. I have no way of knowing if it holds judgment or not. And if I’ve learning anything from my incessant reading of self-help books; nothing is personal.

But you guys, the tears stung my eyeballs; and I felt shame.

Shame is the root of self-deprication and spiralling. The opposite is self-compassion and love.

It took me the entire day; and then the next, and now here we are at today…to work through the feelings from that one exchange.

One phrase has ran over and over on repeat in my mind:

Choose Love

For myself

And for others.

Even when it’s hard to love others.

I still have a choice in this, because the energy I put out to others; the love I show others, is important. It’s transferrable. As destructive as words can be, they can also be beautifully empowering to another. Choose love. And learn where to put your energy.

That’s about all I’ve figured out since then. Do you have a similar experience or story? Please feel free to share.

From my heart to yours (with love and acceptance),

Christine

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

 

 

The Sisterhood of Mothers

I watched an overwhelmed Mom the other day, wrangler her 2 toddlers in the midst of a busy business as they were screaming and fighting down the aisles.  Another Mom near her leaned in to offer some advice “Enjoy them now while they are young, because one day you’ll miss the sound of their little voices”

The overwhelmed Mom’s face fell further as the cloak of guilt surrounded her spirit.

I can relate and recognize both sides of the coin. One where you don’t realize the simplistic beauty of a stage until the next one arrives. And another where the weight of it all is exhausting. You feel up to the very top of your head with frustration and responsibility. You can’t breathe.

Through the years, empathy and understanding have flooded my Mom-heart connecting to my own Mother’s-heart within wisdom of life experiences I’ve shared with her. Separate experience in different decades, hers in her time; and mine in my time. Like traversing the newborn stage while also chasing another toddler to trying to balance a career along with raising teens all while dealing with a loss of a former life and rebuilding.

What I’ve come to understand more than anything; Mom guilt is the root of shame among Mothers. It’s destructive and dark. There’s no growth that comes from shame.

The centre of a Mother is a woman who is doing her best with the tools she has.

She does not have to feel grateful for the temper tantrum simply because one day her hard work will pay off in the form of a well-adjusted former toddler turned beauty adult.

She is not required to appreciate the miracle of life when it’s within a teen who would rather slam a door on her face than say thank you for forcing an education upon them.

What that Mom needs now is the right to be authentic and real. Acknowledged within her fruition and exhaustion. She is not superhuman. She’s merely human and there are days she wants to run from it all. From the expectations to be happy and grateful within the stages of screaming toddler; to the teen who spews anger when held to responsibility.

She does not need an elder Mom to impress the next stage upon her already guilt-ridden spirit; because she’s not there yet! She doesn’t know it until she lives through it. Just as I didn’t understand what my Mom did for me when I was screaming in her face to leave me alone. It’s the cycle of life; life lessons come organically in the form of actually living the life.

And yet, as I type this…I feel the Mom-guilt creep in for all the children without Mothers  and all the Mothers without children. Will this post be met with understanding as I intend it.

I’m writing this within the conviction that us Moms need a sisterhood of women to unite within understanding, compassion, and empathy. To acknowledge that Mothering is not for the faint of heart. It is thankless and crushing at times; and it is beautifully enriching at times. It can be filled with loss and anger one minute and yearning to be better and love deeper the next.

It’s Ok to take a trip away with your girlfriends. To sleep in when you can…nap it out. Take a walk alone or curl up with a good book in a hammock.

It’s not selfish to take care of your own needs along with those of your children.

There is no room for understanding and camaraderie when one Mom camp shames another for mothering in a different way.

This Mother’s Day I want to appreciate, acknowledge and applaud all those Moms who are trying their best. Who collapse at the end of the day on the couch with a glass of wine and some smutty reality TV on their PVR.

Those who stay home with their kids; and those who work full-time.

Those who stand in an aisle flanked by screaming toddlers giving into the chaos for a moment; and those who leave a full cart of groceries behind to carry their screaming toddler out.

Those who slip away for a break; only to realize they don’t really want a break; they just want the right to be their own person as well as a Mom. To have the freedom to feel the wide gamut of emotions that weave the canvas of Motherhood in all it’s successes and defeats.

It’s all OK.

Feel all the feels and then remember that through all the deep love you have for your family; you too are loved and appreciated.

Maybe not today.

Maybe on the day when your own once teen raises their own angry teens.

But certainly on more days than Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s day to all you Moms out there. Especially to my own Mom. I love you.

From my understanding Mom 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

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