The Road Less Traveled

There is a time and place when just fitting into society is the ideal spot to be. If you go mainstream, you just might find it easier to blend in and hide, while in plain sight. The vast majority of people do that without even knowing it. They like it there, living vicariously through others. Their whole life can come and go without leaving that bubble. That’s great if you can sustain a bubble. Have you ever blown the perfect bubble? Even perfection only lasts an instant before evaporating into thin air. So is a bubble where you want to be?

Going along with the flow doesn’t mean it’s easy. If life were only that simple. Life is an expertly crafted dance, worthy of a royal command performance. It is a choreographers dream assignment. It has all the richness of sorrow, joy, excitement, suspense, and triumph. None of which are in perfect measure.

When you go with the crowd, you learn societies expectations. How to deal with other people. These things become essential life lessons. We are born with a clean slate. With each life experience we learn to weave a tapestry of who we are and who we want to be. This doesn’t stop when we finish school, or reach a certain age, where people think you should have some common sense. No one can go it entirely alone, so learning how to fit in feels good. That is until you feel squeezed into a box with little air to breathe.

Sometimes we are put into a box by others, it’s not always something we have control of when it is done by someone else. When it happens, the only way out as I see it, is to prove that you don’t belong there. If on the other hand, you have somehow put yourself into a box, well that is a far more serious matter entirely.

If you are in a box of your own making, remind yourself that you constructed the box. Because you are the builder, you have the blueprints of its construction. With the blueprints, you know exactly where every nail is. Get your trusty hammer and start removing the nails. The box will collapse, and you can emerge from the confines that you put yourself into.

Remember, even the people we may not particularly like, can teach us what we don’t want to become. In their own way they are their own role models. So I am grateful for all those people that made my life challenging so far. From the bully in kindergarten, to the cruel individual that put acid in my drink as a teenager. The co workers that, let’s just say “ did not play nice “ They all left their mark. It is all those experiences, the good and the bad, that give us texture and colour as humans.

Have these bad things made me jaded? Heck NO !!! As being mainstream clearly isn’t easy, a person could not be faulted for thinking it isn’t for the faint of heart. So let me ask you this, if living is going to be a challenge worthy of any great warrior, how much harder could it be, to just find your own path, walk tall and embrace the adventure.

We have all experienced the grid lock of a rush hour in any city. Personally I have never understood the term “rush hour”, as you certainly can’t be in a rush to go anywhere, while standing still, now can you? Ask yourself, is that what you want, gridlock with the masses? Now take a moment to envision yourself as who you really are. You know, that person inside that few people rarely see. That diamond in the pile of rock dust. Isn’t that really the you that wants to come out and play?

Sure, your own path might make you vulnerable. There is the very real possibility of failure at any point. Let me tell you this, you are guaranteed to fail at some point. We all do. It’s the growth you achieve from the failure, that turns that failure into it’s own success. From that success you create a new layer of wisdom. It’s wisdom that protects us from continually repeating the mistakes. With wisdom all things are possible.

Have you ever looked up to someone and thought to yourself, wow, they have it all figured out? Even the wise ones among us only have some stuff worked out well. The cool thing about choosing the road less traveled is that it is far less congested. It gives you a better opportunity to take in what is around us. To experience the joy of being. To learn, develop and grow.

If you are going to climb on board, you might want to pack safety gear. You see there is no safety net. Not physically anyway. You are your own safety net, and your true friends and family are coming along for moral support.

Did you know that even going with the flow, doesn’t give you a safety net? If the thought of blazing your own trail puts you into an instant state of panic, then you are just the right person for the adventure. If you weren’t scared then something would be wrong.

Here is another question, do you want to look back on your life knowing that you played it safe, or do you want to have experienced the pitfalls and triumphs of packing as much as you can into the life you have been blessed to have? If either way is going to be hard, why not choose adventure over safety?

Are you sitting there reading this going, what the heck, where would I even start?

No one way is perfect. For me, each morning without fail, I do a personal reset. I continue on with the positives in my life, but any lingering negatives from the day before is put into check. Sometimes if you are going through a difficult time personally, or are in a time of transition, you can’t always just forget what is going on. It would be nice if we could. If I could do that, I would be a very wise person.

The reason a total reset isn’t always possible, is likely because the trouble continues to be ongoing . I call these events “crap tsunami”. Face it, we can’t ignore what is staring us in the face. When that happens, I settle for just not adding to the debris. That to me, is what would be worthy of a self high five. As the crap tsunami begins to subside, then I try to increase the amount of negativity that I let go of each day. Then eventually the negativity is minimal.

When you aren’t weighed down with excess negatives, you can then turn your attention to the positives and build on them. Yes, be grateful, but for the good as well as the bad. When you are on the road less traveled, even if it only putting your baby toe on the surface to check it out, it doesn’t matter, you are on the road my friend.

At first you might think holy smoke, I can’t believe I am doing it. Think of that as just the initial launch to move you forward. Strap yourself in for the ride. For we have achieved lift off. The universe is ours.

Self Help

Self help, in 2008 was an 11 billion dollar industry in Canada. That was 10 years ago, so I can only imagine what the cost is today. Most of that money is spent on quick fixes that just don’t work.
The clue is in the title. We need to priorities the SELF in self help. We can’t just show up. It is after all, an investment in yourself to look after you. You need to put something in though, in order to get something out. We all get, that help is great, on those occasions where we need it. Other than that, we figure we have things all figured out, am I right? Why then, can we go into any bookstore in the country and find how-to books on absolutely everything!!!! From how to kick ass in business, to finding your inner zen. 
We all have things we can work on character wise, and this author is no exception. If we think though, that we can be “fixed” without working on it, then we are fooling ourselves. We can’t spend $20 or even $50 or more on a book, spend a few hours reading, and think a life time of potentially poor choices and its ramifications suddenly vanishes. 
A vast majority of the situations we find ourselves in, we have played, at the very least, a small part in creating. We just don’t want to admit it do we? We can’t always blame someone else. We need to say, this is where I find myself, at this moment. What do I need to do to move forward. 
It isn’t a game that we can just coast along, get other people to do the work we don’t want to do, then turn around and blame them when something else goes wrong. Starting right now, take a moment, to picture what it is that you truly want. They might be things, that aren’t things at all. 
Like a recipe, to achieve the perfect outcome, you need proper ingredients. So when you have a clear picture of what you want, break it down, to discover, what ingredients you need to have for the success to be realized. This is SELF HELP, setting the ground work, to achieve your dreams. 
It seems to me, that we are just as proficient at talking ourselves out of things we don’t want to do, or don’t want to put the effort into, as we are proficient at talking ourselves into things that we really wanted anyway. Retail therapy perhaps, or changing would like to have a house keeper, into, I need one. That’s quick justification for what you wanted all along. Perhaps we just think we deserve it.
it is my experience, throughout life, that if people see that you are making a true effort, they tend to help if they can. Your success then becomes their success. We might get by with a little help from my friend…. as the song goes. Then you help someone else, with something you can help with. I believe the current term is paying it forward. 
Put self into self help
Quit playing the blame game, it sucks your energy, 
Be kind to yourself and others 
Offer a helping hand and mean it. 
Be honest with yourself 
Give back 
Embrace the life you have, not the one you wish you had 
Set realistic goals You might just find the help you needed was in you all long, rather than between the pages of a current self help best seller. 

Are you a sloth or a speed racer?

I was reading today about a young professional cyclist, Michael Goolaerts, age 23, who was on his 109th km of bicycle racing during his first Paris – Roubaix professional road race, when he suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest, fell off his bike into a ditch by the road and lay unresponsive on the ground. He died later that evening. That is incredibly sad. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and those that knew this young man. Yes he was doing something he loved when he died, but no one expects to die at 23. It could have been an unknown pre existing heart condition. It is too early to tell.

It was then out of some curious interest, I found myself googling how many professional cyclists had died during a race. There was 115 since they began recording such details. If you include those that died while training for the races it is closer to 150. That is a lot,

As a novice rider, at first I found myself quite alarmed by these facts. They were professionals, if they died, the cautious me, is screaming, what the heck am I doing on the road even on my trike? OK settle down, I told myself sternly. For many years, helmets weren’t even being worn. I also know, that flying down the road at high speed, just won’t happen if a bike is in my control. There is always potential for those freak accidents though.

As it happens a lot of things can be potentially unsafe. Crossing the road, has been hazardous to me recently, yet I still do it daily. Just this weekend, there was a horrific bus crash carrying a young Canadian hockey team, 17 people perished, last time that I checked. It could be potentially more. People don’t just stop driving.

Any day, could be potentially your last, with the odds adjusting depending on what you are doing at any moment. My dear father told me, that I must live every day, and I do. Filling the days with joy, movement, friendship and laughter, as best as I can.

While my thoughts were still actively dancing in my head, I couldn’t help but wonder. Are we in more potential danger when we choose to stay still, rather than “ GET A MOVE ON “ ? Yes, actually I think that might be more true, than we want ourselves to believe.

When I hurt too much to move, I could have easily given a sloth, a run for it’s money. My body did it’s best, but began loosing the battle, at a somewhat alarming rate. It doesn’t matter, that I had every justification to continue sitting still. The medical profession sanctioned my stillness. If I was any stiller I would have been dead. Only my loved ones, could have told the difference, I was a death, waiting to happen.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen, or I wouldn’t be writing this right now. A note of warning from someone, who came dangerously close to reaching the point of no return, when your body no longer performs the functions to sustain life, but begins to prepare for death.

Fortunately, our bodies are generally far more forgiving, than we probably deserve. Thank goodness for that. Even the then challenging move of lying on the ground lifting my legs a mere 1 millimetre off of the ground, made a difference.

The one thing I told myself, right from the very beginning of my health recovery, was , It took a long time, to get as bad as I got, so I can’t expect things to turn around quickly. I became committed to the long haul, and for most things, the change was far quicker than I could have ever hoped for.

As for the life long things that I have never been able to do, well they are taking considerably longer. In my bodies defence however, we are now on stuff that I have never done. Some things never worked correctly since birth. My calves were a knotted mess. Is just one example. It hurt, even when I touched them. Now, with prolonged effort, and Harley’s determination to get things functioning as they should, I now have done a seated calf lift of over 100 lbs and can actually walk on my tip toes.

That may seem like no big deal , but it is. Even if I just state the obvious, being able to stand on my tip toes without risking a fall, allows me to reach more cupboard content without grabbing a chair, or asking for help. All humour aside, it is more than the reach potential. It means that my body has created a far more supportive network structure. It helps my balance, I don’t get the horrible cramps that I got regularly since birth either. I even bet there are more things I can do now, because they are starting to work, than I have even thought of. Abilities are waiting to be discovered.

At the end of the day, are you more of a sloth, or a speed racer? Either, can get you killed , when you stop and think about it. Actually I am somewhere in the middle, no longer am I a sloth, nor am I being scouted for any Olympic speed event of any kind, in any sport. I will say, I am far more a movement girl, than that still one I used to be. Still finding my wings to soar. I do know this though, My body has worked very hard to keep me alive. Sometimes, without much help from me, and now, I am listening to my body, and working hard, to give my body what it needs to keep doing a good job, It continues to be a winning combination.

Why I continue to spend money on a personal trainer

In our current economic climate, when we always seem to be looking for ways to cut costs, one thing that remains in my budget is a personal trainer. Why is that? The answer is simple really, I think I am worth it. Self care, pure and simple.

Personal trainers aren’t just for the elite or celebrity wanna be’s. They are a great wellness tool for everyone. The already fit people among us, continue to get fitter, while those of us that are unhealthy, can make great strides to regain lost health. Wouldn’t you love to have, being unhealthy, a thing of the past. Even the already healthy, can keep things ticking along nicely with a good fitness plan.

Here are my top reasons why I continue to have a personal trainer

The exercise program is created around individual abilities and builds from there. No cookie cutter one program fits all mentality

I want my better health to continue

Dr visits become much less frequent

You become more in tune with what is going on in your own body

Feel more alive, able and independent

I am less likely to slip back into poor habits

Great resource for how to overcome many health issues

Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever

They can really motivate.

Regain old abilities, and create new ones. The phrase “ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t apply to people

Your body appreciates the attention.

Less potential for injury. Who hasn’t overdone it from time to time. A trainer knows, when to scale back and when to ramp things up.

You are pushed harder than you would do when you are going it alone

Lose weight naturally, increase metabolism, strengthen bones

IT FEELS FABULOUS TO FEEL GOOD

Choosing a trainer is a personal thing, they aren’t all created equal. Find someone that is truly invested in your success. They shouldn’t just dial it in. A knowledgeable person is essential. The other absolute necessity is communication. That creates a strong foundation on which to attain your health goals. Be honest, they are not mind readers, tell them if something is working, or if something isn’t. They need to know that. If you are getting bored, don’t just give up and look elsewhere. They literally have hundreds of exercises in their arsenal. If one isn’t to your liking, they will have a different one that can get the same job done.

Give them a chance. It is easy to not know why they are getting you to do an exercise, that you don’t particularly like. Don’t just refuse to do it, it is likely a movement your body will thank you for in the long run. You don’t need them to be your best friend, that doesn’t mean they can’t become friends over time. Find someone that you can enjoy spending the time with. If you don’t, it will just be one of the reasons or should I say excuses you use to stop.

Just like any professional, you are paying for their expertise. Allow them the courtesy to do their job. When I was left to my own devises, my health was in serious jeopardy. Under the care of my personal trainer though, I am now thriving. That to me, is worth everything. I happily spend money now on prevention, rather than medication. It is really a no brainer to me, now that I know better.

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When the body and mind disconnect

 

I have been having pain for a few days that had really grabbed my attention. Pain has a way of grabbing our attention, like nothing else can, right? This one was somewhere new, the back of my knee. This particular knee has had multiple surgeries, so I am quite accustomed to different pings and pangs. This wasn’t ordinary, in the decades that I have been dealing with this, the back of my knee had always managed to avoid agitation. That is, until now.

The pain was sharp, demanding, and lingering. I did the usual stuff that I do when that happens, and got nowhere. I thought about all the things I have done, over the last few days that might have caused it, and was confident that no one thing was to blame. Blame really is a wasted mental effort, after all, it is the resolution that counts.

Previously, I would have stayed home, and vegetated on the sofa, either listening to music, or mindlessly watching the television. Firmly believing that a few days rest would absolutely take care of it. The current, slightly wiser me, knew this was exactly the time, to avoid the couch, get to the gym, and check in with Harley. He is, after all, my man with a plan.

He was very quick to agree, that my right leg had become very tense. Most likely,I thought because it HURT. No one wants to make themselves hurt. In fact, we would be most unusual, if we did not do everything in our power to avoid it. So we tense up, a natural reaction, but one that only seems to serve to make matters worse.

He asked me to really concentrate on making a certain muscle work, it was an exercise that we had done countless times before, so I knew what he was asking for. I thought of nothing else other than the movement,. My mind was literally as empty as an amusement park in a hurricane. I was only thinking of the task at hand, and the movement that had been requested. Repeatedly, I tried in vain to engage the muscle. There was nothing.

So what was I missing? My mind was present, my brain knew the move, and my body made the motion. What more could anyone want? The exercise was becoming futile. Was coming to the gym a waste of time after all? On the verge of giving up, I thought this is ridiculous, I would say I was more mildly frustrated, than annoyed by this point, but the scales were about to tip, if something didn’t happen. Now what ???? I hurt, the offending muscle was playing hide and seek, and we were going around in circles, ending up as we were when we started.

Then instinctively I started back at the very beginning. It resembled those times when you have to retrace your steps, when you are looking and looking for some misplaced treasure. Then you discover it, right back where you thought it was all along, even though you would have sworn, that you checked there with a fine tooth comb. What do you know, suddenly the muscle fired like a fine sports car ready for action. What the heck just happened? Why didn’t it do that in the first place? Once the correct muscle took on the work load, my pain dissipated. Without pain medication. The angry muscles that had tighten around the problem area released, returning to their regular duties. I could move properly. Hallelujah, peace was restored.

The moral of this story is this

Sometimes in life, it isn’t about keeping going, doing the same things over and over again, to no ones satisfaction. It becomes about stripping things down and starting from the very beginning again, as though you had never done something before.

Often we need our mind, body and spirit harmoniously committed to one another. When either one checks out, nothing happens. We might think something is going on, however just as surely as your computer doesn’t work without a wi if signal, nothing gets accomplished.

This small example, goes deeper than getting a muscle working. In the bigger picture, it is easy to keep doing something the same way, either because it has worked in the past, or maybe, that’s just the only way you know how to do something. It takes something else entirely to take things down to the foundation, look at the situation with fresh eyes, and be brave enough to begin again.

At the end of the day, when things hurt, do your best to be brave, take stock of what isn’t working, and be prepared to make changes, even back to the beginning if you need to. In order to be our best selves, sometimes the universe has to align to make that happen. The body, mind, and spirit need to be re synced on occasion. For if any one is missing, the journey becomes increasingly more difficult.

 

The Dance of our thoughts

 

In the stillness that is reserved for the middle of the night
Sleep eludes us,
The brain begins an inthralling dance.
It’s rhythm drawing us in.

The mind races,
Ideas,
Fleeting images of random thoughts.
An imaginary jigsaw puzzle,
Without picture reference,
Methodically we attempt to piece together a picture
Making sense from nonsense

Frustration,
Anger
Desperation
They all make an appearance,
Jumping from one to the other,
Never settling

Mental exhaustion
Stifled screams demanding to be heard,
Madness

Set the thoughts and expectations free
Their.grip no longer holds us captive
Blissful serenity
The peace of feeling nothing
The mind releases, its grip
As sleep envelopes us.

 

Resolutions aren’t just for New Years

We all do it, for whatever reason, lack of time, or, perhaps to be honest, lack of interest. We procrastinate, when we would rather be doing anything other than the task at hand. We can call it anything we want. When we want to do something, it is truly amazing how our schedules get changed, or we work harder to save for a holiday just because we want to.

Is it even possible, to somehow change our outlook so we are more likely to do the stuff we are putting off?. I believe so. It becomes more apparent to me every day, that our mind has immense power. It’s a matter of making it work for us, rather than against us, that is crucial. How, you might ask does someone do that?

With New Years just around the corner, let’s use that as an example. Some people are considering their resolutions. That annual march toward almost guaranteed failure. If it is to give something up, smoking,’for example. It is my observation, that people smoke more, because the end is coming, and they want to enjoy their last puffs. It’s the same with food. I’ll diet starting tomorrow, or next week. So I will make the most of it until then, and stuff my face with millions of calories. OK, make that thousands, but you get the point. Would I have done that if I hadn’t put it out there in the universe that the diet was to begin on a certain date? I don’t think so.

My biggest successes begin quietly. I don’t announce to the world that I am giving up something. I find, when you do that, it just makes people watch. Not, unlike the people that can’t stop themselves from staring at an accident, some quietly cheer us on, while others are watching, waiting for the crash of failure.

I decide what my goal is, then explore what I need to ensure success. Sometimes, it is as simple as observing those around me, people that even just appear to have what I want. I will let you in on a secret, it doesn’t even matter, if they actually have what I think they have. It could be all smoke and mirrors for example that they appear successful or not. It doesn’t matter, simply because the smoke and mirrors are their reality not mine.

At the earliest conception of a plan to regain my health, instead of seeing someone healthy and wishing it could be me, i saw someone healthy, and decided that , that was going to BE me. When I tried and failed on my own. I didn’t just say poor me, I went back to the drawing board, decided I needed help, got an amazing person involved and haven’t looked back. There are times, that you have to call in a professional, and above all, stand back, and let them do the job you are paying them for. If your plumbing goes, you call a plumber, the job gets done. It isn’t a sign of weakness to look for help, it is in fact, a sign of strength. Face it, you have to decide you need help, before you ever explore getting the help.

My successes only get louder, once I have achieved them. Then, it becomes time to let the world know what I have been up to. New Years resolutions are voluntary. I personally don’t do them. If there is something I want to change in me, I just quietly work away at it, and see how long it takes anyone to notice.

Avoid the self destructive traps. If for example, you, workout, then promptly reward yourself with a tasty muffin or glass of wine, you could actually find yourself gaining weight because the reward has more calories than you burned off.

Perhaps resolutions are counter productive. It becomes a willpower tug of-war. I will fight the demon and triumph. Really? Everything doesn’t need to be a battle. Yet, we put our armour on and go to battle anyway. Then are disappointed when we fail.

Instead, I suggest , deciding the direction you want to go in. Formulate a plan, and allow yourself to picture your success. Make your goal attainable, and quietly work away at it. It is not a race. Get the help you need along the way, but above all be prepared to help yourself. Anything worth achieving is worth working for.