September 20

Butting It Out

**Note 1** I actually started writing this several months ago. Then summer happened and came along with it were the tough choices of whether or not I’d rather be frolicking outside or banging my head against my lap top trying to string together words I’m happy with.

If only there was an emoji for my decision making abilities…

Oh wait, there is…

poo

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve turned out okay(ish) depending on the day of the week and the time of the month, so I suppose I’ve done a few things right.

I have, however, made one decision I can finally say I am – without a doubt – proud of and have zero regrets or second thoughts.

And no, it has nothing to do with my dating life.

**Note 2** At the time of initially writing this, my dating life was still on its nine-year hiatus and that has surprisingly changed, which is a story for another time.**

Anyway.

I quit smoking.

People quit smoking all the time… so why is this such a big deal for me?

My choice to begin in the first place isn’t one I’m proud of. Sometimes, you have to travel to the dark side to appreciate the light. Right? (Still waiting for the light to manifest itself into my romantic life).

**Note 3** Sometime last year, I was having a conversation with a friend about my lack luster love life. I brought up the topic of smoking and how I felt that it was something I had to give up before I could totally attract a healthy relationship – as much of what I had been attracting over the last decade has been toxic (not all, though!). I was treating myself with toxic habits and attracting similar relationships to the one I had with my self. Voila! Not long after butting it out, my perpetual single life smoldered out as well… again, a story for another time.

Regardless, it was a large part of who I was… and who I wasn’t.

In fact, I was such a stealthy smoker that most people in my life didn’t even know.

I was a mostly private – and heavy – puffer (of cigarettes, just to clarify) for 20 years.

Two decades.

That’s a long time.

For 20 years, I relied on these magic toxic filled sticks to make me feel at ease.  They were my dirty little companions in times of anxiety, excitement, boredom, and busyness. They were a social crutch. Ever been awkwardly waiting for someone at a bar? Easy, go for a smoke while you pretend to text someone.

They went great with wine, telephone conversations, driving, and they were my way to step back and quiet my mind. And let’s not forget coffee – nothing went better with caffeine than a dose of carbon monoxide.

Don’t even get me started on how great it was after sex… Well, so I’ve been told…

And I actually enjoyed it.

“Life is short… do what you enjoy. I could quit smoking and then I could get hit by a bus. It’s my only bad habit… I eat well and I exercise…. I really do take care of myself. I could have worse habits!”

This was my reasoning each and every time.

For twenty years I told myself that this was something I had full control over. I controlled them, not the other way around. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The mere thought of going somewhere and not being able to have a cigarette or needing to hide it sent me into anxiety. Despite being careless with my own health, I was always cautious and considerate of those who I shared my bad habits with.

My car was stocked with the necessities. Gum, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and body spray galore. I was like a Health and Beauty aisle at Walmart on wheels. Minus the Health part.

I had ‘quit’ several times over the years. Nothing stuck for more than a couple weeks, tops. I had tried the gum, patches, cold turkey and medications. The terrible dreams were one thing, but my raging bitch moods were another story. Don’t even get me started on being on Champix when you are PMSing. Guys, if you think we are too emotional then… think again.  You haven’t felt true toxic wrath until you’ve seen a crampy, high strung woman too bloated for her fat pants sans her cigarette. That terrifies even me.

I actually felt it was in the best interest of my own well-being and the safety of others to continue to light up.

Although I had ‘wanted’ to butt out for a long time, the one habit I never bothered to adjust was my thought patterns. I had always ‘worked’ on quitting smoking, but I never worked on my mind. For a while, I had only wanted to quit to have extra cash.

I had started CrossFit in 2012 to challenge my mental and physical strength. By no means do I consider myself highly competitive or even all that athletic, but I wanted something that pushed me just a little bit harder. I had only taken small sips of the proverbial Kool-Aid… which was enough to quench my thirst for a healthier lifestyle.

cfIt wasn’t solely CrossFit – much of it was also the changing social perception. Gone were the days of sandbox ashtrays in shopping malls and street corners. I had been a social outcast for the better part of my childhood and smoking was something I did to fit in to some -any- kind of crowd. Despite the changing laws and stigmas – it was still easy enough to hide. But, trying to mask the fact that I was losing a lung before the CrossFit warm-up was even over was getting to be a real challenge – and not the kind I signed up for. I dreaded things like sprints and thrusters, and wall balls and burpees were the absolute worst. And what was the first thing I did after walking out of the torture chambers? Torture my body even more. And not for positive gains.

The more I went, the more I began to feel like a hypocrite. That’s like claiming to be a nature lover as you nudge the remnants of your nic-stick into a sidewalk nook and cranny.

Finally, my mind began to change. Slowly but surely, I began to hate it. I had a hard enough time explaining to narrow minded people why I am was still single and child-less at 33, never mind trying to justify why I was dating the slick devilish darts.

smokeIt had occurred to me that my mind had been conditioned to think cigarettes were ‘cool’ and simply a part of ‘who I was’. The only way I could quit was to rewire my brain and adopt new ways of thinking. Rather than being accustomed to telling myself it was something I needed, I began to tell myself the opposite. (Now if I could only translate this into every other area of my life, I’d be set!) I also did what I have been seemingly good at in other areas of my life – I focused on the negatives. That’s right – but this time for good reason. I filled my brain with the very worst things I could think of. Rather than thinking about how much I enjoyed it with a cold beer on a hot summer night – I consciously thought about all the toxins I was polluting my body with and spent time asking Siri to show me blackened lungs.

One morning, I got into my car and left for work. I had one cigarette left. This is where panic mode would usually set in and I would need to b-line to the Mac’s store. I opened my glove box to dig out some change – only to have the content of primarily empty cigarette packages fall out. I stared at the pile of money I had turned into a toxic wasteland.

And that was it. This is stupid. I kept on driving – which might have been the best decision I have ever made.

Deep breath.

(Because I can do that now.)

 

February 9

5 Reasons Being Single Doesn’t Totally Suck

WINE

In 32 years, I have not celebrated ‘Valentine’s Day’, save for the bags of Hershey Kisses and trinkets my Mom would give me when I was younger (thank you Mom). I have yet to have someone Cho-Cho-Choose me.

As of this moment, I have been single for nearly nine years.

Not that I’m counting or anything, but that’s:

3,111 days
444 weeks and 3 days
74,664 hours
4,479,840 minutes
268,790,4000 seconds

Vday3(Thank you Google!)

While there are plenty of folks that don’t give a flying f*** about V-Day, there are always those that always feel a little bit ‘singled out’ while walking the grocery store aisles littered with love. It is also possible to feel both, simultaneously. I know I do at times.

As much as I would love to collide shopping carts with my life partner, I’m also an advocate of spending time single. Over the years, I’ve learned more about myself than some do in a life time. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, however there are some life lessons to learn that one should never live without.

If you are sick of seeing red and feeling blue, here are five reasons why being single isn’t totally terrible…

1. Because personal happiness should never be contingent on whether or not you have someone in your life. Finding your own source of happiness is key. Figure out what floats your boat and go do it. I know too many people that are only happy if they are in a relationship. Too many people that place their own value on whether or not they are coupled up. We all end up alone at some point in our lives, if you don’t know how to be happy with the person you are with (yourself), life is going to be a very shitty time for you when it happens. If you don’t want to be with you, why would anyone else want to? Being single is the opportunity to develop the ultimate relationship – with yourself.

VDay12. Relationships are a big deal. When the right one comes along – you hope it is for life. At least I do. Finding a good relationship is life is like finding a good job. There’s always going to be those soul sucking crap jobs in between, and it may take you years to find the one that resonates with you. Do you really want to be stuck at a job you hate for the rest of your life? Gross. There’s always going to be those people stuck in those crap jobs, because there’s always people who are willing to settle out of fear of not being able to pay their bills, much like those who settle out of fear of being alone. Do you really want to be stuck with someone for the rest of your life that you can just barely tolerate? Don’t settle. There’s far too many people stuck in relationships they aren’t happy with – if you’re single, you don’t have this problem. The options are wide open, my loves.

3. This one is for the group of singles that are kid free. There are a lot of folks that are happily married and enjoy the family life (I salute you)… but if you are like me, in your 30s and have yet to tie the knot and pop out a few babies, don’t dwell. Yes, there are some who feel their life calling is to be parents. I’m not one of them, which is a good thing, because judging by the quality of dates I’ve been on in the last near-decade, I suspect it may last another nine years and by that time I’ll be near menopausal. However, if your biological clock is ticking and it’s starting to look bleak – realize there are many ways to find fulfillment in life that don’t always involve kids. Until the time is right, which may or may not happen, find a way to leave your own legacy. Because you know what is sweeter than the sound of a baby crying and more entertaining than dodging poop? The ability to do whatever the f*ck you want, when you want.

4. V-Day is a commercial holiday designed to take your money. Nothing more than a visit from Saint Valentine, the Patron Saint of overpriced crap used to show your unwavering affection. The sentiment is nice, but love should be shared every day. We shouldn’t need a reminder. If you find yourself single on V-Day – don’t sweat it. Think of the dollars you are saving in our unfortunate economy. Which brings me to my next point.

WINE5. More wine. Yes, being single means you don’t have to share with anyone if you don’t want to. Take all those dollars you just saved and go by yourself a bottle box of liquid candy and enjoy (responsibly). Toast yourself and dream up all the things you want to attract into your life. Better yet, go do them.

See, it’s not so bad, is it?

Having said that, being single definitely does have its pit-falls at times. Craving human connection and closeness is natural. I’ve longed for it daily. How cool would it be to have someone you connect with on every level? Pretty neat, I’d imagine. But that being said, there is nothing that trumps loving yourself unconditionally first and foremost – essential to attracting someone who will do just the same. Enjoy your freedom while you have it, even if it lasts nine romance-less years. Being single can either be really shitty, or pretty damn amazing – it’s all on how you look at it.

Oh and as a side note – I graciously accept wine, chocolates (great for PMS week), flowers and dinners. “He” is out there somewhere… until then, I will treat myself.

But seriously, man… hurry the hell up, would ya?!

I’M WAITING PATIENTLY AND MY WRINKLES ARE NOT!

Vday2

 

 

 

May 31

Excuses, excuses

glasseswtf

I’ve been avoiding writing the same way I avoid questions like, “Do you have a boyfriend yet.” The difference is that one I’ve avoided by making plenty of excuses… the other… well, I don’t have an answer.

The last year or more since I’ve even bothered to write anything has been a juggling act and I’ve dropped the ball a few dozen hundred times.

I know I need to write and yet I avoid it. Why? Well, I will tell myself things like I have no time, work is in the way, I have nothing to say, and on and on.

The back and forth dialogue in my mind goes something like:

“I feel so inspired, this is going to be easy!”
“I can’t wait to get started!”

*Sits down to write*

“Nothing’s coming out…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, just get out of your own way!”
“This is stupid! Everything I try to write sounds like crap!”

*Texts friend to vent*

*Tries again*

glasseswtf“This sounds even worse! Nothing makes sense!”
“I don’t even know what my point is!”
“Who is going to care, anyway!”
“Blah!”
“I quit!”

“I can’t wait to get started!”

(And in case you’re wondering, yeah, I made that stellar graphic in Paint because it’s one of the few things that’s actually still working on my computer. Sweet, eh?)

I’ve been meaning to write a book for… oh I dunno, the last few years or more. It’s a vicious cycle. Creativity hits, words fill the page, PMS (a.k.a. nuclear emotional warfare) hits harder, self doubt blows up and before I know it I’m starting over. Again, and again. Approximately every 28 days. Not only that, the creativity process is an emotional one that stirs up a lot of energy (sometimes unwanted), PMS or not. They say writing is ‘therapeutic’, but I’m pretty sure that sometimes, after writing, I could use a good therapy session. Why? Because the process of creation is the thing that triggers the most emotion in me. Emotion = energy in motion.

Sometimes, I tell myself I have no business writing if I’m not in the right mind frame. It’s like I’m perpetually waiting for things to be just perfect. But, that would do little for authenticity.

I easily walk into the quicksand of negative self talk – in heels no less. I can barely walk in flats, never mind stilettos. I have a remarkable ability to focus on all the things that I don’t perceive as ‘right’ in my life and why they are preventing me from doing what I want. Which is nothing more than excuses, in other words complete bull shit.

However!

Yes, there is a however!

I put it this way… I think about living out my existence and what would haunt me forever if I didn’t do it. What would pick away at my soul eternally? That’s usually the thing you are meant to do. It’s not meant to be easy.

Hang on, I lost my train of thought again. Damn it. I’ve probably written about this very same thing before. Damn it, again.

Anyway, point is… you just have to keep going. What would have ever been created if no one ever got out of their own way and maximized their time? Get out of your head and just do it. Maybe it will be easy, maybe not. Probably not. Or, continually hang on to excuses, fear, and self doubt. What fun is that?! Where is it getting you?

That goes for me, too! I always need to eat my own words! It’s likely why I put them out there sometimes, to keep myself accountable.

My phone just beeped and someone just sent me this video… how synchronistic…

What are your excuses keeping you from?

If you’re tired of kicking your own ass and would like to keep me company on kicking mine, please join me HERE.

March 2

Let’s Jump Into Bed

messybed3

I’ve started to make my bed each morning. This has never happened. Perhaps, psychologically I feel that if I make my bed it will help to tidy up my entire life which some days feels like a disaster. That, and it’s a small task that leaves a feeling of pride to start the day off.

My inner child is stoked.

“Yeah Mom, Dad! Take that!! I totally just made my bed!”

Life = winning.

Amessy bed1nd at the end of the day, it looks even more appealing to climb into.

But, in actuality, it’s the same level of comfort.

So, maybe this small step can be carried over into the rest of the mess. Truth is, we are all a little bit messy. Some of us aren’t exactly where we want or thought we would be in life. Relationship woes. Marriage woes. Financial woes. Emotional woes. Woe is me.

Some of us have really messy beds.

But, look closer. Is it really, ‘woe is me’?

Fuck that. Not today.

WHOA is me.

It’s all perception.

We are taught from a young age that you ‘should’ make your bed. And if you want to, go ahead. Really. I am.

Because I want to.

It can be as messy as you want it to be. (Unless you share it with someone, it might need a little compromise. I don’t have this problem… yet.) Still though, it might need a little fixing up before you crawl in – and if you make it too tightly, you might kick your feet so that it’s a bit more loose. A little breathing room, you might say. The trick is to find the right balance.

Regardless, it’s your bed. It doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It doesn’t matter how messy it is. It might change on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll go for month with nicely tucked in sheets. Maybe you’ll go for twenty years with pillows strewn across the floor.

What matters, is that it’s where magic happens. (Okay, as of lately, I don’t know what this is like, but whatever, you get the point.) It’s where magic CAN happen. It’s waiting. Calling your name. Dying for you to jump in, roll around and make love to it. How you decide to play – to explore in it is all up to you.

It’s where dreams are made.

All you have to do is show up.

(Maybe relax a little.)

Whoa…

This is a metaphor for life.

Sweet dreams.

messybed3

February 22

Why I’m Never Going to the ‘Gym’ Again

grouplife

This might turn out to be a long winded post – so grab your coffee (or if you’re like me, a glass bottle of wine).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a problem with my fluctuating weight. I’ve always been pretty active with a regular gym routine, so I’ve never been grossly out of shape – but I’ve been at points where I have felt a little more than uncomfortable.

In 2011, I reached my highest point (ironically my lowest point) – tipping the scale at 200lbs, which, for my 5’7 stature was enough to make my favourite pair of pants split wide open in public. Yeah, that happened.

I didn’t know where it came from, but what I did know is that I strongly disliked feeling uncomfortable. It was time to change it.

grouplifeSo I did. I shed about 30lbs. Great!

I actually wrote about that journey right here.

And then I fell off the wagon again.

There was no real rhyme or reason other than I got bored.  Arms day. Legs day. Spin class. Weights. Over and over again.

*Yawn*

I felt like my body was changing, but as a person – I was not.  My mind wasn’t being challenged. I’d go to the gym and plug in my head phones and watch some uninspiring TV show, gawk at the other gym goers and fumble around the gym for a good two hours, sometimes breaking a sweat.

Everything felt so… monotonous.

I never gained the weight back, but over time I saw myself start to lose the definition that I had worked so hard for – and it seemed to happen instantly. I use the word ‘definition’ both figuratively and literally.

During that time, I had a number of friends that kept urging me to come try CrossFit. I couldn’t stand listening to them (sorry), I found them to be so annoying with all their “WOD talk”.

Seriously! Shut up already!

CrossFit?! That sport that proclaims to be for ‘The Fittest on Earth”?

How about the most annoying on earth!

I go to the gym, I work out, how could it possibly be that much different than what I do? How about you take a great big ‘wod’ and shove it up your ***!

What the hell is a WOD anyway?
Is this some kind of cult?
What’s a burpee? Does it involve beer?

(WOD = Work out of the day, BTW)

Not to mention that, there was a laundry list of other reasons why I didn’t feel like I needed to give it a try:

BUT, I already have a gym membership.
BUT, I LIKE to work out by myself at my own pace.
BUT, I don’t really do group classes.
BUT, I’m not in good enough shape to do CrossFit. (Which is equivalent to the annoyance of people telling me they’re not flexible enough to try yoga.. that IS why you GO to yoga, btw).
BUT, I can’t do anything overly challenging because of my problems with my right arm.

Etc, etc.

So, there it was – enough reasons why it seemed pretty pointless to bother. Save for some lacking motivation which will surely pass, I’m getting by just fine with my regular gym… so why change what’s not broken?

And here I am, entering my fourth month of CrossFit at Synergy Strength.

synergyLast fall, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I checked it out. I was almost immediately intimidated. OH. MY. GOD. I have just walked into the non-violent version of Fight Club. I’m breaking a sweat just by shaking in my boots.

It wasn’t that everyone there was ‘ripped’…there were all different shapes and sizes, but these people were STRONG. Stronger than anyone I had seen at a gym.

I didn’t want to go back. Not ever. Not only that; it was a pretty big eye opener for me – it showed me exactly where my weaknesses were. It was kind of depressing, actually. For all the hours I had spent in the gym doing bicep curls, leg extensions and working on building muscle, I still couldn’t do a single push up.  Climb up a rope? Not a chance.

With hesitation, I signed up to take the training (OnRamp) classes.

WTF am I getting myself into? Box jumps? I can’t do box jumps. After too many fractures, I’m terrified of jumping, period. This is NOT happening.

Maybe I should just stick with the regular gym. If I quit now, I can still get out alive.

BUT…

During that time, something else happened to change my mind. Without warning, someone I love lost the use of their legs. There I was, watching someone that’s cared for and provided for me my entire life lay in frustration day after day… as I was watching someone realize the real importance of physical strength… and watching someone who would gladly give just about anything to have another chance my mindset began to change pretty quickly.  And there I was, spending more time in a hospital than I cared to – for months – watching someone I love learn how to walk again from the ground up.

And I thought CrossFit was too much of a challenge?

<insert self bitch slap here>

I will never judge anyone based on what they do or do not do, but from that point on – my opinion on physical fitness is a little bit more pronounced. Quite honestly, perfectly capable people that don’t use their bodies to the best of their abilities drive me nuts.

You never know when that may be taken away from you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on taking what I have for granted. I plan on seeing just how much I CAN do.

If that wasn’t enough, one week after I signed up, I was in a car accident which put me out for a couple of weeks. It hit me (literally) at a  point during great financial/emotional distress and also cost me just about every dime of prize money I had won competing in a business competition for six months. I thought 200lbs was one of my lowest points – but during this time I felt even lower. I felt weak – physically and mentally. Honestly, I had no motivation to even go to CrossFit once I was able – but all that changed pretty quickly.

burpeesCrossFit has been without a doubt one of the best choices I’ve made in a long while. Except for learning what burpees are (unrelated to liquor), I’ll never like burpees. However, it’s been a few months and I’m starting to find that ‘definition’ again – and not just physically. With every ‘WOD’ I find a piece of me on the inside that becomes just a little bit more defined. I can’t explain it, but it has that kind of effect.

CrossFit strengthens the body, but more than that – it strengthens the soul.

Going to the gym and and finding your own sense of motivation is just as, if not more challenging. I’ve done it and I’ve succeeded at it. Sometimes, true strength lies in knowing when you need to reach out to others, too.  For me personally, something was missing from my humdrum work outs… something I found in CrossFit. The fact that I’m in and out in an hour tops is a bonus, but there is something about being in the ‘box’ that is just… different. In a good way. The community itself is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever been a part of – and that’s coming from someone who ‘doesn’t do group classes’ and ‘prefers to do my own thing’.

They define CrossFit as being the “Fittest on Earth”, but to me, it is so much more than the physical fitness. I’ve learned that there’s a pretty big big BIG difference between big muscle and big strength that is functional. It’s about your best form, function and pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits.  It’s about taking these and applying it to all areas of your life. It’s about being the best self you can be.

But isn’t it dangerous? Can’t you hurt yourself? Yeah, and you know what?? Getting in your car is dangerous, too. Spending precious moments of life riding the waves on the couch is dangerous. Never knowing your own strength – is dangerous.

(And by the way, a good CrossFit box is equipped with top notch coaches that make sure you don’t do anything stupid… something I never had at the gym)

Point of the story? Just because something challenges you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That doesn’t mean you have to step into a CrossFit box – but step out of your comfort zone. Expand your perceptions. What’s right in front of you might just be the very thing you’ve been looking for.

If CrossFit is about being your very best, I think I just might be an annoying CrossFitter until the day I die.

If you can’t beat ‘em, you may as well join ‘em.

September 6

11 Simple(ish) Things.

One of the constants in my life has been a dear friend of mine by the name of Rod Black. Actually, I’ve written about his significance in my life before. I call him a soul mate and quite often I think he is an angel in human form, as he always appears in my life at the precise moment that I feel even remotely troubled. There are a number of people I have very deep and meaningful connections to (they know who they are)… but in this case, it was Rod that inspired this piece of writing.

The past few months have been some of my most personally rewarding, eye opening and challenging. I’ve been discovering a lot about my spiritual side as well getting to know myself on a deeper level. With that, comes a lot of questions. I mean A LOT. There are days where I often question my place in life and what I’m supposed to do to reach my highest potential. And there are plenty of times I feel overcome with fear to do so.

There are times when I feel like I don’t really belong anywhere, and days when I feel completely unmotivated and detached from life. Some days, I feel like I’d like to float away.

It’s those exact days, when my phone rings and it is Rod, as if he is telepathically hearing my own fears and self doubts. I almost think he is. Whether I am in need of a gentle reminder or a swift kick in the ass, he is there.

I’m sure everyone can relate to those days where you feel incredibly stuck. You feel like any goal you have set for yourself is millions of miles away and completely out of reach. Those are also the days where every single roadblock imaginable seems to appear, and those are the days you really want to give up and float away. Those are the days your ego pays you a nice visit and makes you question everything you’ve ever done and makes you feel like it’s not worth trying anymore. Fear, personal loathing and self doubt cloud any kind of positivity or self worth.

I’ve had a number of these days in the past while. Thankfully, I’ve been able to recognize them, understand them, and accept them… or at least I try.  It’s part of being human and the only way to get through those times is to allow them. I’ve recognized that these days are not the essence of me, but my own ego.

Though it is easier said than done, the days I feel stuck and like none of my dreams are manifesting I try to picture my ideas much like a garden. You plant the seed, and though you can not see the activity taking place beneath the soil – with enough care and attention, you see that seed grow and take form.

It was during one of my recent moments of doubt and disparity that Rod called me.

He told me to make a list of some of the things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy, and that I admire in my own self. He told me I should always have this ‘list’ close by so that when I feel like I am in a funk I can refer to it.

“It works, Tanis”, he said.

I chuckled and said, “Hmmm yeah…sure…okay”, and  shrugged it off. I was in such a foul mood that day that I didn’t think I had anything to be thankful for, which is pretty ridiculous. Either way, I didn’t really think about it. I would have rather had a glass of wine and sat in a dark room sulking to myself rather than think about anything ‘positive’.

Then he asked me again. And again. And yet again.

“Did you do what I asked you Tanis?”

“Ummm…”

“You didn’t, did you. TAAANIS!!!”

“Okay, fine. I will. Like, what… do you want me to send you the list  or something!?” I joked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I’ll fill in the things that you are missing.”

So here goes…

11 Simple things that things I am proud of, thankful for, that make me happy and that I admire in my own self.

 (Note: I decided to start with 10 things… but at the end I had to add one more. There are many more than 10 which I will add in my own journal, but these ones came to me first in no particular order… and really, I’m cramming way more than 10 in here)

1.  Let’s start with the glaringly obvious. I am thankful for my family, perfect or not. Blood is blood, and I would not be here if not for my family.

2. Also on the obvious side – roof over my head, food to eat, water to drink. Air to breathe. Sunsets, stars, and simple things.

3. I am happy that my Mom taught me to read and write before the age of 5. I remember reading Nancy Drew novels in Kindergarten and writing and reading my own short stories to the kids as they were still learning the alphabet. I also got to skip spelling class from Grade 3 onward. During that time, I got to hang out in the teachers’ lounge and learn the fine art of washing dishes. I’m not sure if that is something I am happy about – but surely it will make my future partner pretty happy and I’m certain my parents thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  Regardless, reading and writing is something I’ve taken for granted, because it has always been a part of my life and I often forget there are some that never do get to learn. I’m sure my spelling and grammar skills were better back then than they are now, but either way – I was privileged to learn early on.

4. I am thankful for my ability to manifest things. This is one some of my friends have often told me I can do. Many times I’ve heard, “If you say it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen”. For whatever reason, this has not worked with manifesting a lottery win just yet – but other than that, I have come up with some crazy ideas that most would say “that’s not possible”… and I have sat back, followed signs from the universe, and literally watched my intentions manifest into form. What are they exactly? I’m saving them for my book (one day).

5. I’m thankful for my interest in music. I started with playing the organ (my parents’ choice) and played the flute in my school band. I played the drums in my teens and got booted out of the first band I was in – which prompted me to buy a guitar. Scratch that – my Dad bought me my first one. When I got good enough, I bought my second guitar which was a HUGE deal to me, because it was the very first big purchase that I ever did myself. I also remember the man at the music store that told me I couldn’t touch one of the expensive guitars basically because I was a girl… So I pulled out a wad of cash, said “Okay… no problem, see ya later!” and went to the competitors and bought and even nicer one.

6. I’ve been wanting to start my own business for a while and I’ve been working diligently on writing a business plan for more than a year as well as working full time, dabbling in some writing, taking evening classes and also trying to maintain some kind of social life. I’ve learned that I’m great at writing business plans and I’m pretty happy about that. On that note, earlier today I had an extensive Q&A session at a local firm and got questioned on nearly every aspect of my business. It was pretty intense, and at this very moment I am happy that I held my composure with confidence, even though there were some questions that totally stumped me.

7. I’m pretty happy that after three days of having no luggage in New York City, it was returned and I was able to wear clean clothes to Central Park. I’m also happy that I was *only* stranded in the Washington airport for 14 hours and not 24. Furthermore, I was even happier to leave New York because it was cold and hang out in balmy Texas for a few days where I got to take in the SXSW festival (another thing that was ‘impossible’, yet I intended it to happen and it did). Among other random things, I’m happy that I can fit through the ‘Leprechaun door’ at O’sheas and also, I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty thrilled I got to wear ‘Keith’s glasses’ a week ago. –>

8. I’m quite happy with my intuitive abilities. These are some skills that I’ve been developing over the past while but have improved greatly in the last few years. Everyone has them, not everyone knows it or knows how to awaken them. Often, I am able to read and feel other’s energy and sometimes I have the ability to see one’s aura/energy field. It’s a GREAT bull shit detector. There are times though, it’s more of a curse than a blessing as sometimes I am filled with information on others that I would rather not know or feel.

9. I am proud of my ability to network. I have actually never really thought about it because it’s one of those things that just seems to ‘happen’. Now that I actually think about it, it’s likely one of the things I do best and I’m pretty stoked on it. It doesn’t matter what industry I am in, I have an innate ability to attract precisely the people that I need or want to know. Because of it, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of my ‘idols’. Some of them, ten years ago I would have said “as if I would ever meet that person.” And because of both my networking and ‘intending’ skills, it’s afforded me some really cool experiences. I also know that people don’t come into your life for no reason. Everything is connected. Whether it’s an acquaintance or someone I  now call a friend, I’m pretty happy about each and everyone of them. I wouldn’t be where I am otherwise.

10.My yoga studio makes me pretty happy. It’s one of those things I never thought I would do, or could do. In fact, if you read this post – I was petrified of it. I also just signed up for a Qi Gong class – a form of Tai Chi/Kung Fu. I had my first class today and I’m already starting to learn even more about myself. I’m fairly stoked on this class and to try something new.

11. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my friend Rod. It was my interest in music that allowed me to meet him. I am proud to know him and proud of him. Rod had an experience years ago and was declared dead at the age of 19. Shortly after, he had a near death experience… much of which he writes about in his music. I’m pretty darn happy that he is here today. When I think of his challenges and watching him keep going, it challenges me to do the same with myself. He is the pure embodiment of passion and perseverance. I encourage you to check out some of his music here or on youtube.

So now I am sitting here reflecting on a lot of these experiences and memories and realizing more and more how much I have to be proud of.

The next time your having a bad day and your ego is kicking your ass… maybe it’s today… maybe it will be tomorrow… I encourage you to do the same.

We spend so much time focusing on and gravitating towards the negatives. Society is geared towards the negatives whether it’s via social media, TV, or our daily conversations. So much in fact, that we often forget to really truly focus on the positives.

What are some of the things about yourself that you are thankful for? What aspects of yourself are you proud of?

August 16

The Blog Post Without a Title.

I’ve had a few people ask me why I haven’t been doing much blogging lately. Truth is, I haven’t had anything to write about.

Okay, that’s not true, I always have something to write about – and actually, I have SO MUCH to write about, but how to possibly put it into words in a way most would understand is the challenge… which I touched on in my last post. For that reason, I’ve started writing a book… but the story is on going so I don’t really know what the ‘ending’ is quite yet.

I could tell you all about enlightenment, manifesting what you want in life, spiritual things, chakras, synchronicity, living ego-free,  and so on. The list goes on… and on… and on.

Wait, a minute. Ego-free?

A year ago, I was writing about dating disasters, douchebags, and dudes that can’t spell. My hobby was criticizing others… people that I don’t even know. And the more people that read and laughed, the better I felt. If that’s not purely egotistical, I don’t know what is. I think a year ago, the only thing occupying my mind WAS my ego.

So… now what?

I don’t know… as soon as I figure out a clever way to write with my current frame of mind, I’ll let you know. I’m drawing a blank… so much so that I didn’t even have a title for this post.

Advice = welcome.

I’d like to figure it out before my place starts looking something like this… it’s getting close:

 

 

July 20

Waking Up and Breaking Up

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling rather disconnected lately… which has ultimately led to my lack of verbal-digital-diarrhea.

While the past few years I’ve went through a number of growing pains in getting to know myself, the last few months have been even more intense… in a good way.

I’m not one that usually gets stuck for words… but it’s rather hard to put into words in a way that the vast majority of the population would understand, so for that reason I’ve kept a lot of things to myself… at least until I publish my book… (so far I have the page numbers started!!)

I guess to best describe it all – would be summed up as a ‘spiritual awakening’.

Stay with me here…

‘Spiritual’, however, should never be confused with the term ‘religious’… I will be the first to proclaim my distaste for what is nothing more than a corrupt, money grubbing, brainwashing organization.

Anyway…

That being said, I seem to have found myself living in a higher state of consciousness.

Huh?! Me?!

I know, right? <Insert wtf here>

Those that do know what that means will understand perfectly.

I’ve always had an acute level of awareness and intuition, though in the past while it’s been intensified. There’s a number of people and events that led me to where my mind resides now – but trying to explain those in anything less writing a novel or three would be impossible. Much of it started when I started seeing the numbers ’11:11′ popping up more often than what could be considered coincidental… which ultimately captured my attention.  However, that is a story all in itself.

Regardless…

So much of what I know about myself has changed to the degree that when I look back at some of the earlier posts when I first began this blog – I don’t even recognize the person who wrote them.

I’ve thought about removing this blog completely – as the person that began writing about dating disasters is not the same as the person that writes this… perhaps only in a physical sense… but then again going back and reading lets me  witness my own growth.

It’s ironic… when I started writing this blog, it was entirely based off the ‘ego’ as well as my past.

The best way I can describe a ‘spiritual awakening’ would be as the dissolving of the ego… or at least putting it to sleep. We all need a little bit of ‘ego’ to get by in a tough world. However, there is the letting go of fear, stress and toxic feelings like jealousy or anger. Letting go of your past. One becomes more connected to nature and energy and learns the ability to manifest their thoughts into physical form. (I have had some pretty astounding experiences with this… to the point where some might consider ‘unbelievable’… also saving for the book!)

A spiritual awakening brings about a state of ‘zen’… and who doesn’t like zen?! Especially when you can achieve it legally!

One begins to understand synchronicities and the adopts the knowingness that every single thing is connected.  One also loses the ability to pass judgement on others… which is why I find reading some of my earlier posts rather unsettling. Let’s face it, my entire collection of writing was based off judging others… something that I don’t have the ability to do anymore.

Those that have been through an ‘awakening’ will understand all of this, and those that don’t… it’s an amazing feeling and I hope you get to experience it.

That’s where the feeling of disconnection comes into play. At least for me. I haven’t watched television in months, there’s not much interest there for me, and I find very little value in it (unless of course, there’s a football game on). Then we have Social Media… I love social media and the ability to network and connect with others… however, I browse around and the vast majority of it is full of meaningless garbage and people who spend 90% of their time talking about other people or complaining about something.

I find it draining.

It’s disheartening to think about how conditioned we are  to pay attention to everyone else, and that many of us use it as ‘entertainment’.  We pay attention to others problems and faults rather than our own. We turn to others ‘drama’ to step away from our own deep rooted issues. And once we’ve done that… we don’t hold back on making judgments on others based off no real knowledge of the person… and for some reason it makes us feel better(I’ve been a huge culprit of this in the past). Of course not everyone does this, but I can certainly think of a few off the top of my head.

I’ll insert my own ‘wtf’ here. Because seriously, that’s just messed up.

And furthermore, our egos are more concerned with how everyone else thinks or feels about us rather that who we are at the core. We are concerned with ‘things’… material things, trivial things… all the kinds of things that in the grand scheme of ‘things’ don’t really matter.

Humans are the only animals on the planet that seek happiness with ‘things’. But true happiness works from the inside out… not outwardly in.

The universe is infinite, intelligent, and there is so much more to life than living behind the shadow of an ego. There is more than most of us will ever understand.

All ‘dating disasters’ aside, I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been since kicking my ego to the curb.

What a jerk that guy was.

 

June 19

You Want me to Bend Like How?!

I thought I had done a pretty good job over the past while of getting to know and love myself on a deeper level. It’s always something that is a continuous process, but it was a few months ago that my journey of the self reached a new level.

A friend of mine suggested I try a Hot Yoga class. I had been going to the gym for a number of months, but I needed to break up my routine a little bit and find some kind of balance. Crunches, weight training, and cardio are one thing…

But yoga?! Really? Doesn’t that require me to be all bendy and shit in front of other people?

I’ll admit, I was feeling more confident with myself as a result of reaching some of my fitness goals… but when I stepped foot into that first class, I felt a wee bit vulnerable all over again.

It’s going to be full of super flexible people.
I can barely even touch my toes.

Downward dog? Vinyasa? WTF is that?
Balancing poses? I can barely stand on two feet, let alone one. 

Not to mention… Hot Yoga… where practice takes place in a room heated between 40 and 44 degrees. This should be interesting… considering I’ve been so lucky with inheriting my father’s sweat glands (seriously, the man sweats sitting still).

That wasn’t how it was at all.

Nevermind… it was… all that and more. But there were several things that I ‘thought’ it was about, and wasn’t at all…

It’s not a competition. It’s not about who can go all the way into a full Camel Pose (———–>) without feeling nauseous (not gonna lie, I almost puked the first time… and I didn’t even get a quarter of the way into it). It’s not about how flexible you are. And it’s certainly not about the veteran at the front of the class, or the newbie in the back corner. It’s not about the girl who’s LuLu Lemon shorts look better than my Walmart shorts. And it’s not about the dude with the hairy chest, either.

It’s about YOU.

It is one continuous flow of energy of individuals who are there for the exact same reason – self acceptance and self betterment.

When I first started practicing yoga, I had a number of ailments. Stress pain was one of them. Some days it was so prominent in my neck that my only solace was sleep. My wrists and hands were in chronic pain for months from working at a computer. Let’s not forget about anxiety. Some days I would feel so overwhelmed with everything I wanted to get done in a week, that I would end up only worrying and doing nothing at all.

The health benefits are one thing… but the lessons that derive from it, I’ve learned, are fundamental to every single aspect of life.

When you practice yoga, it becomes literally impossible to think about anything else but yourself. You become acutely aware of every single feeling taking place in your body… and you have no choice but to examine your own self.

I remember in once instance I arrived late, and one of the few spots left was one closest to the mirror.

Crap.

I had been coming long enough that I’ve gotten better at the poses… but in front of the mirror? Shit, now I am really going to have to ‘see’ myself. For the next 90 minutes, I had no choice but to stare into my own eyes. And I had no choice but to embrace every aspect of myself at that very moment.

When I saw myself falter, I had no choice but to stare it down, and improve upon it.

Not only does it teach self acceptance… but acceptance of the present moment. There is no past and there is no future. You do not think about the last pose you just did, or the next one coming up. Each one requires so much attention and focus that there is nothing but the present moment.

Then there is the balance, the patience, and the focus. I have never not had any of these… but only to a degree. Practicing yoga has brought them to another level… which have relayed into both my personal and professional life.  And yes, now I can stand on one foot, too.

There are also lessons in determination and persistence. Often times, you find yourself in a position where you think you can’t possibly reach any higher or go any further. But you do. It’s about embracing challenge.

And quite possibly one of my favorites… is the loss of all negativity… and an increasing ability to just ‘be’.  I’m not really sure how to explain this one… but I have found that any negative energy I’ve harbored in the past is gone. Yoga is a self awakening… and with that comes the ability to love, and the inability to judge.

The ‘single’ journey has been pretty rewarding for me… but adding this element has added to it more than words can explain. In fact, I think for the first time I’m lost for words… and that doesn’t happen often.

On that note… it’s true that everything must first come from within… but sometimes it takes more than just your own self to do so…

Huge thank you to the crew Hot Yoga on 20th.

 

 

June 10

Say Good Bye to the Yo-Yo

Part of being single for an extended period of time is the journey through self awareness and the analysis of the self that comes along with it. Some people do not focus on this, some do, and some go through a period of complete enlightenment.

I’ve always had a pretty good awareness of my own self – because really, I’ve hung out with that person a lot over the last few years.

It wasn’t so long ago, however, that despite my best efforts – I was uncomfortable with my physical self. I have always had battles with weight my entire life, yoyo-ing back and forth between the ‘skinny pants’ and the ‘fat pants’ .  I’ve never been excessively ‘large’, but I’ve also never been that super skinny chick at the beach, either. I don’t really want to be.

There was a point last year, however, where I found myself hitting an all time low (kind of an oxymoron I guess… more like an all time high)… and even my ‘fat pants’ didn’t fit. I had tipped the scale at 200lbs.. hitting a size 12-14 – which wasn’t much, but for me, my frame, height, and my own personal self – it was downright uncomfortable.

The number on the scale though is besides the point. I was not the best I could be and I wasn’t fully happy with myself. I was only happy ‘enough’. And what’s the fun in happy enough – when there can be more?

Someone once told me, that before you can begin to make changes you need to positively accept that which you currently have.

So I did.

I sat naked in front of the mirror and stared into my own eyes day after day until I could come to a place of acceptance. That being said, there is a difference between acceptance and being content. Contentment keeps you in the same place.

I had been so consumed with my outside surroundings and ‘things’ that we perceive as ‘home’ that I had forgotten about my real home. My own body.

When you really pay attention to it, it’s a pretty amazing thing. I decided that I would stop focusing on what I didn’t have in a negative fashion, and improve on what I did.

Dad’s legs? No problem. At least I have legs. If I didn’t, the treadmill might be tricky.  Too much belly? Nothing some cardio and crunches can’t fix.

Point is – at that very moment, I decided to make some permanent changes… as well as some attitude changes.

Screw this back and forth shit. If I am going to do something – I am going to do away with the excuses and JUST DO IT – and keep doing it. No matter how many different dwellings I find myself in over the course of my lifetime – my body is really the only one I’ll ever have, and if I am going to be living in it- I best be happy with it.

I found it disconcerting how many people forget about their bodies and spend tireless hours fixing their house or their car. Material things that really have no baring on whether or not you have life.

I adopted a pretty vigorous fitness schedule. Not quite drill-sergeant-ish, but enough to make some of my friends question what it would take for me to skip a fitness class.  I also never once called it a diet. Diet, to me, sounds like a chore.

The moment I decided to think differently about myself is when I started to notice change taking place. Over the course of a few months I dropped 3 sizes and soon enough found myself at a healthy size 8. That wasn’t a number I had seen in a few years.

The physical changes were nice, but it was what happened on the inside that got a make over. I had more energy, more determination, and pushing through the challenges and the discomfort allowed me to relay that to my personal life. Every work out started to feel better than the last and never felt like a chore –  I knew even though I was going to be able to fit that dress I wanted – I was changing what was on the inside.

Change begins in the mind, followed by action and commitment.

I would probably say yes to that second date… as long as it doesn’t interrupt with my Spin class.