You won't even believe what I was thinking when I took this photo. I was on the side of the road at 7 a.m. in the morning, walking through knee high grass trying to capture beautiful spring flowers.
I saw some spider webs clinging to the moist undergrowth and thought I would hone in on a particular web to try and get a cool shot. I am not even kidding you, as I stepped gingerly through the greens I began talking to the undergrowth in my head. "Don't worry little spider, I won't step on you." I truly was stepping along trying not to do harm.
Only after I got home and zoomed in on this shot did I discover the planet I had caught on camera.
I just love this photo so much! I love the little stars reflected in the droplet of water. I love the way it dangles there so delicately. I love the way it seems to have been giving me messages, pleading for safety.
It reminds me of Horton Hears a Who. It reminds me that this earth needs our help. As I examine this photo more closely I wonder if that is my reflection I see in the light. It reminds me of how precarious life is, how delicate the balance.
This photo reminds me that we are all living on a little dew drop floating in space. We are all in this little bubble we call earth. It reminds me that we all can be sending out messages pleading for safety and love to something greater than ourselves. It reminds me how small we all are, yet so loved.
I don't imagine that the caterpillar spends a lot or time worrying what it is to become. The more you focus on what you want to be the more you can lose sight of who you really are.
One of my favorite necklaces has a plaque on it that reads "be strong". 💪
It does not say "get" strong. That would imply that I am not enough where I am right now.
I must grasp and reach for something that is in the future, that I do not "possess". Yes, we must earn our way - work hard to improve in whatever we are seeking BUT we shouldn't overlook the beauty in the state we are in within this very moment.
My necklace does not read "stay" strong. That would imply we must still the passing of time. Freeze like a dog when it's owner yells for it not to exit the front door or follow their human across the street. How boring would life be if we stayed in one spot?
We do NOT want to "stay" stagnant in our physical bodies or in our energetic bodies. Our hair is growing, our cells are changing. So true - we can not "stay" happy all of the time or "stay" depressed continually.
We NEED to constantly shift and flow through our lives. No matter how high the highs or low the lows we all know they will serve their purpose - bringing us to a greater understanding of ourselves.
The only thing we can rely on in life is CHANGE. We are constantly evolving - embrace that truth and cooperate with the flow of life - joy is yours!
I can't stress to you enough my firm belief that it is not my job to tell anyone else what to do. It's just so true!
Awhile ago I wrote a post called "Only You Can Turn the Switch On" - the same idea.
As a personal trainer I am qualified, in fact obligated and happy to tell you what to do to be safe and effective with your physical workouts.
Don't get me wrong - I love telling people what to do, just ask my family. But from an emotional standpoint I can NOT tell you what to do. It is completely up to you to get off that sofa or throw out those chips.
Sure I can come to your house and get in your face about it or go through your pantry or take you to the market to buy healthy food but once I leave - chances are you will revert to old habits.
It is my job to help you figure out how to dig deep and be your own coach, your own boss, your own motivator.
I love spending time with you and encouraging you but I can't possibly be with you every minute of the day. You need to fill that role for yourself and YOU CAN. You have the strength within you - you just need to take the time to get in touch with it,, admit it is there. Be AWARE of your own power and trust it.
I can help you figure out how to do that but then it's up to you. I'm so excited to watch you grow! So excited to be part of the process of encouraging you to stretch to your fullest.
When I was in high school my dad took me on a date. We dressed up and had reservations at an incredible restaurant. It was The Cove in downtown La Jolla, very upscale.
I recall this wonderful date so distinctly because it was so very rare to get my dad all to myself like this. I think we were celebrating my acceptance to the college I wanted to go to but I'm not sure. I just recall how happy it made me.
You may think...why does a dad need a reason to take his daughter on a date? In our case, it wasn't needing a reason that perhaps made it unique but the fact that we just did not have the financial resources to indulge in such outings very often.
My parents did the best they could, they did a fantastic job in fact, of raising 3 children with a limited budget. Some of my best memories come from dates like this, or tent camping trips.
I still remember this particular date. My dad was so very thrilled as we entered the restaurant and the waiter assumed I was my dad's girlfriend. He thought it was so funny, was so very proud and loved me so much! That feeling of his love is what I remember the most even to this day, more than 30 years later.
I also remember being so excited and proud of him on many of our camping trips as he made fire for our family campsite or figured out how to put up the tent.
The same kind of skills humans have enjoyed for thousands of years. The same skills children watch and remember today sometimes.
Of course, my mom could figure this stuff out too (and often did). This is not a comment on the power of the male gender but since my dad's birthday passed recently he has been on my mind.
It is not the activity itself that we are giving to our children but the memory. They will hold it forever.
It is the love and security that they will remember, not exactly what they ordered or what material item they may have received. It is not how many times you even give them a particular memory but the strength of your love.
If my dad was in the habit of taking me on fancy dates every month this one date may not be so embedded in my memory. So Dad, I want you to know, I appreciate everything you ever did for me - you gave me the best gift of all - your time and love.
The photo attached to this post is of my dad with his beautiful mom. I remember asking him years ago where they were when this photo was taken. He did not recall. He didn't recall who else was with them. I'm not sure if he even recalled this photo being taken.
But I do know that looking at that photo reminded him of his connection with his mom. He felt her love. Even after she was gone from this earth that feeling remained. That is what life is made of.
We always have that connection to those we love. That is the kind of gift that matters. That is the kind of gift that endures through the generations whether you are making a campfire, mashed potatoes or tamales - I will remember that feeling and pass it to my children.
Seems like an appropriate Spring time title right? One of my favorite phrases is "just keep swimming" but I didn't want to take anything away from Dory. By the way, Ellen is on my mind a lot lately...not sure what that means...
Anyway, a thought has been floating around in my head that I want to share. I get the best messages from the oddest places sometimes.
Last weekend at my daughter's water polo tournament her team was in first place on the first day of a two day tournament.
Now, I must explain, usually her team is towards the lower end of the rankings, wins are a rare treat. This particular day the first team they played had to forfeit due to too few players.
Yes, they all rallied and some of our team played on their team for a fun scrimmage. We lost something like 14-2 but that's ok - it counted as a WIN for us. Woo Hoo!
Later in the day we played a team and actually DID win! YAY! My daughter scored the very first goal of the game. Double YAY!
She is one of two girls on the boy team. So proud of her!! Now for this WIN it didn't matter if that opponent was the 4th level team of the other club (not sure of proper vocabulary but that means they were not the most skilled players that the club had to offer). That's ok, it doesn't matter. Our kids WON!
At the end of this day we were officially in first place because we had 2 WINS. Phenomenal! So Exciting! As the kids parted ways their coach tells them that they are in first place, if they win the games the following day they will win the entire tournament.
The kids were sooooo excited! Chatter about all the different scenarios of winning was so wonderful to hear! What a great feeling to end the day.
Well, one of the parents, bless her heart, tells me privately "I don't think I would have told them." We have a conversation about how many times they've lost, how sad it always is to see all the fancy trophies and they never get one.
She is so sweet, she loves her boy so much she doesn't want him to experience disappointment. I understand but I couldn't help feeling that even if they have that one night to dream about victory, the loss (NOT guaranteed loss, POSSIBLE loss) is not even there yet.
The excitement of possibly winning is so powerful! Why not enjoy that feeling as long as possible without holding back at the thought of failure?
Well, of course today I'm ruminating on this very important message. With all the things that are happening in my life right now - why stop myself from moving forward because I'm afraid of failing?
Why should anyone stop themselves from joy because of worry? It is not naive, it is not crazy, it is life - enjoy the happy times with abandon. Go all in!
The happy times are the ones to hang on to. Seriously, I really believe the kids will remember being in first place for years from now more than they will that they lost. And yes, they did lose the next day.
But now they know what it's like to feel like a winner even for that one night. Now they know what they are aiming for. Now they can hop from that one tournament to the next hoping and striving for that victorious feeling again.
It's better to hop from one victory/happy event to the next instead of dragging yourself there being bitter over bad calls and staying in that loss. Stay on that high and hop from one happy time to the next - you know it's coming - what are you going to do with the time in between?
Ok, so I was thinking about marketing strategies and realized that even that term makes me uncomfortable. There it is, that beast called "vocabulary". It seems so pushy to say "marketing".
I must admit - I am the first to hang up (politely of course, well, unless I can't hear them clearly or they hesitate before speaking) on obvious cold call salespeople. So annoying!
My Dad was a professional salesman for most of his life so I don't know where this attitude came from.
Hmmm, maybe subconsciously I didn't like the way he asked for business or just the whole idea of asking for business bugged me in some way?
Regardless, I know I'm not the only person to shy away from marketers BUT I am also the same person who will in fact buy things from people in person that I perceive as great products (ie. DoTerra Essential Oils, Pampered Chef, etc.) I absolutely see the value in direct sales of quality merchandise.
I must recognize that some products just truly are not available off the shelf (ie. Girl Scout cookies) or I need a little guidance in the face of product overload (vitamins) or advice on where to get the best services (physical therapy, best schools, hair cuts).
I must admit that I need and rely on people giving me information about their products. Is this marketing? Hmmm, well yes I guess it is.
Historically I don't have a problem either letting people know about products that are my favorites (Girl Scout cookies-come on - they sell themselves) or about services I recommend (like my friend Audrey Newmont and her empowerment workshops or Pam Dilbeck with her amazing personal training).
But am I marketing? Hmmm, no, I choose to think of it as "offering" information. I do not have a problem being told "no". It's ok with me if you don't want to buy my daughter's cookies; it doesn't affect my opinion of them. I am in no way offended.
It won't stop me from making the offer to more people. I have no problem spreading the word about certain great products or services. Why shouldn't I do this for myself?
I need to get my head wrapped around this idea. I am not "marketing" my personal training/meditation services - I am offering them to those that may benefit.
Those that want my services will let me know and those that don't will go elsewhere.
There are so many great trainers and different types of meditation out there. Everyone will find their unique fit. All I can do is send out the invitation and let people know I am here. I am not marketing, I am offering services.
Next time a telemarketer calls I will keep this perspective in mind (although they better speak up quick before I hang up the phone, politely of course).
OK so I've been up since 4 a.m. tossing and turning...and then it comes to me. Oh yeah, now is the time I'm supposed to get up and actually write some of this stuff down.
You have no idea how many blog posts have scurried across my brain in the last month yet I haven't been finding the time to write them down. Countless pearls of wisdom I'm sure...sorry world, once they fly by, they are really hard to retrieve.
Alas, here is one I can not ignore. The universe doesn't care when or how things happen. It's up to us. We have to take that step and we need to do it QUICK while the thought and intention is there.
Yes, I know the rule - think before you speak, sleep on it before you press send, don't speak until spoken to. The funny thing is ...life is full of confusing and sometimes seemingly contradictory rules.
I laughed the other day looking at the titles of some of my YouTube videos..."Just Say Yes" "Just Say No" "Oooh Baby Just a Little Lower" and I'm going to do one soon called "Get a Little Higher".
What's a person to do? Vocabulary can play tricks on us. Our brain wants so badly to KNOW what to do that it grabs language and forces it to its will. LET IT GO! If you stay in your head all the time you will miss out on so much. So much good action, intention, purpose, intuition that sometimes has no root in the limited vocabulary that we use.
I just did my first exercise video...so excited but of course I'm looking at it thinking some parts could be much better.
I feel trapped by the language I used in the video thinking of all the modifications or criticisms "professionals" could have of my description. But the bottom line is - I TOOK ACTION. I don't know where it will lead but I can't let my fear prevent me from going forward.
Follow your thoughts without over analyzing them. You may be surprised where they take you.
We laugh in our family about my "famous" phrase "hesitation is the mother of all accidents". I'm talking about insecure drivers that drive too slow and cause trouble for themselves or others. I'm trying not to let hesitation cause trouble in my own life right now. Wish me luck!
Just saying this stuff out loud (well on paper or I mean on screen :) seems silly. Of course you need to use your brain but I'm telling you - it seems to me that your heart may often know better.
In the Chakra Dyana Meditation that I teach, we focus on the root chakra as our grounding force. The color that we envision is red and the sound we chant is lang. The root chakra is vital to our balance.
When I train with my personal training clients, a huge focus is on balance. We may stand on one leg, or put a ball under our backs when we are on the ground....whatever is appropriate.
This kind of training is instrumental in gaining core strength and is so beneficial in gaining confidence to do every day activities (ie. stepping over that curb in the parking lot or jumping over that lego on the carpet).
Balance in physical training is so representative of how we need to find balance in our emotional, spiritual bodies as well.
Life is always throwing me curve balls. I need to try to remain as balanced as I can so I can react to the changes, whether everyday small changes or large life changing ones.
Whether it's a death in the family or buying the winning lottery ticket (I wish), sometimes you just never know what's coming down the pike. It helps so much to stay as strong yet flexible as you can.
Working on our balance allows us to navigate the challenges of life more effectively, with less stress and more resiliency. Not only are we able to avoid the pitfalls(or at least react to them more gracefully) but even when we fall our ability to recover quickly is improved as well. The amount of time we stay down is shorter.
When I had my knees replaced, it was a huge advantage that I had been working out so much up until the time of surgery. When one of my parts was out of whack the rest of me was strong so I could manage better.
This is called balance. But emotionally/spiritually balance can work in the same way. If we take time to strengthen our spiritual self we will be confident in knowing we can get back even if we do go off our path.
The time in between our downs in our spiritual selves (why am I here? what's the point? kind of questions) can get shorter and shorter the more we pay attention to our spiritual strength.
Whether it is meditation, prayer or enjoying a sunset - use what tools work for you to get centered and maintain your own spiritual balance as best you can in an ever changing world.
So this morning at around 630 a.m. I'm on the road with my son. Oddly enough, I just love this time of morning. The strangest things can happen when you least expect them. Keep your eyes open!
This morning I am thinking of a way to explain my meditation to new students. I am thinking of all the ways people can feel connected to something greater than/outside of themselves. Is it Jesus? Is it Buddha?
I am thinking to myself - I could ask "is it your favorite pet?". Seriously, it enters my mind "is it that golden retriever you loved as a child?" "Do you feel a connection to a beloved pet when you look into their soulful eyes?".
As this thought floats through my mind, I notice the billboard at the corner of Winnetka and Roscoe. I turn off the radio and point it out to my son and explain what I was just thinking. Life is so wonderful!
Yes, a lot of people are very aware of this connection we can have with animals. Yes, there are some people who may think this is crazy. Either way, for me, this morning seemed to be giving me a clear sign (pun intended) that some people surely do have a soulful connection with animals. It was a gentle reminder to not judge, everyone has their own connections going on. It's all good!
For all you dog lovers out there - I get it! Love is so beautiful! Embrace it wherever you find it. I'm going home now to snuggle my dog, the 5th member of our family!
By the way - this is supposed to be an amazing movie! I guess the other message I got was that I need to see it!
When I was about 12 I would take the public bus home from school. Usually, the ride went very smoothly but this one time I recall I was preoccupied and I missed my stop.
I was horrified. I sat there wondering what to do and decided that I would just stay seated and wait for the bus to come around the loop in our city and return to my stop. I was too embarassed, mortified in fact, to actually stand up and ask the driver to stop. It was too late!
I truly thought there was no way to undue this terrible mistake. So I sat there silently waiting, wondering how long it would take to see the whole town and ultimately get back to my stop. Surely the bus would right itself, right?
You can imagine my surprise when the bus arrived at the bus depot and parked in an endless sea of buses. The driver turned around and asked me what I was doing.
I nearly started crying. "I missed my stop, I thought you were going to swing around eventually". He took pity on me and helped me figure out how to get on a different bus that was headed out on the route that would get me home.
So often in life we may feel like we are trapped in a certain situation that is unchangeable. A job, a relationship, a living situation.
Most of us have had those situations where there may be some sort of upheaval and we have to step up and make a change - whether it is to step into a leadership role we never imagined or leave an unhealthy situation.
Sometimes your life situation changes in a way that forces you to switch direction. It may be scary, it may be risky - either emotionally, financially or socially - but sometimes you just can't deny it - you just have to step up and get off the bus. It is your life!
Listen to your own intuition to figure out which way to move but please listen. Don't worry if you've been sitting there for awhile - there is no judgment, just go forward and move. Now is the time. Welcome to 2017! There is so much happiness in store for you - go get it.