Listening is underrated and an underperformed act

Dear Readers,

I had occasion to connect with a dear friend of mine on Sunday and it occurred to me how long it has been since we had time to talk. Scratch that, I talk to people all day long and they talk to me, but do we really LISTEN to each other? I am sad to say that no, that isn’t always the case.

I am diligently working on this skill and am so glad I am because in this chat, he said something I REALLY needed to HEAR. I won’t share what it was because it was important to me and will mean nothing to you. Later that night, I heard a similar thing when a friend opened up and was very upset and I didn’t have an answer which is hard but often true.

I honed that skill further when another friend in need said, I don’t want you to cheer me up (a tall order) I want you to listen, and I want to be in a dark place and be pissed at the world. I also will understand if you need to not be around me right now. Deep breath. Okay. First, you are family, I will always want to see you, and hear what you have to say.

Then in the same week, I needed to listen to myself when I was sick and needed to rest. I tend to be a workhorse, and not stopping for anything as unimportant as a little sickness, but you know what, this was not small, this was non unimportant. I needed to go home and rest. So I did. I do not regret it, your health is no small thing and I can tell you listening to your body is a great skill to develop.  I am posting this picture of a coffee cup a friend gave me which I cherish and I used during one of these conversations to take a thoughtful pause when I wanted oh so badly to talk…. but what my friends needed was a listener. I encourage you to take stock and consider, Do you listen or wait…………………………………for your turn to talk? friendsMartina

Think About It……

Think about it.

Failure is not the end of your story, its just a chapter in your book

Dear Readers,
I come to you today to talk about the journey, not the destination. I think its super easy to say, hey, I did it.. or we did it.. and bask in the glow of success never giving a though to the sacrifices and setbacks you experience among the way. For my purposes, I am going to tell you about a setback we are having right now in our journey to debt freedom.
We had projected by the end of November which is exciting and then Tuesday we found out that the car we are paying off (Murphys Law has a sense of humor) needs some repairs so the money we have been using to pay off the debt at an accelerated rate now gets to go to car repairs so its disappointing. In fact, I was trying really hard to not get excited about the debt free date at the end of November because I kept waiting for something to screw us up. Guess what, I was right. I HATE that I was right. Its certainly not the end of the world, but its worth mentioning because it is part of the journey. . (looking forward to that post when we ARE DEBT FREE) because its still coming, just slightly delayed.
In my career as an actress, I have failed many more times than I have succeeded.
I have auditioned many more times than I have “gotten the part”. As the speaker and writer Jon Acuff says, “Its about making reps”- or repetitions
Showing up to do the work, over and over, makes you READY for when they (the people casting) say YES. At the end of the day, when you get that goal, you don’t focus so much on what rejection has come before, you are so excited that you have won.
I also hurt my back in May and have not been able to keep training for the half marathon I wanted to do in January 2016, but I am focusing on the fact that I am now working my way back up to a 10K. Recently I slow jogged a 5K so 10K can’t be far behind. I am looking forward to the chapter (many months away) that I get to write about that success. Stay tuned, for more on that.
So put another way, if you fail, its not the end, its just a chapter in your book.
I love this quote from Michael Jordan who is undeniably a success story. MichaelJordan
Think about it…..

Spend time taking care of yourself, its the best investment you can make!

Dear Readers,

I do a lot of talking about self-care to my coaching clients. The idea normally involves a bubble bath, a cheesy movie or a chocolate treat. Today I am talking about the self-care you can do for yourself that helps your health. Doing something that makes you FEEL good matters. I used to run until I hurt my back so for now I walk. Most recently, I walked 1.82 miles with my husband (proud of you honey!) and that felt good for lots of reasons but mostly because he walked with me and was proud of himself for doing so.

But back to taking care of yourself, so in my journey to feeling better, I tried doing a lot of things. First, I stopped exercising at all, which has the double whammy of not being good for you and making you feel bad (no good).

Second, I went to see a doctor who told me, “you are getting old this is normal” – All due respect to your medical training, doctor but I am 38 and not even close to done working on what I can and can NOT do with this body of mine, thank you. (annoying, and a more than a little condescending, so also not good)

Third, I went to a chiropractor who asked me what do you do all day? Do you sit? Do you stand? Do you stretch? What do you do for exercise? After a few minutes, he was able to tell what was wrong and how to go about fixing it. HALLELUJAH! Now, I don’t want to give the impression that it is a magic wand, and I am all better. Like anything else in life, it’s not that easy. The chiropractor told me that in a few weeks I could go back to walking (I have done so!!!) and in a few months I can go back to running (patience, Iago!) but the biggest thing he shared with me is that I am in CHARGE of stretching, standing and walking and incorporating more movement in my day (hold on, time to stretch) and the people who are the most successful with maintaining health are the ones that manage their own care. WHAT A CONCEPT! Seems simple right?

Wrong. We are creatures of habit, so I have had to break the habit of constantly sitting, and every 30 minutes a timer goes off so I remember to stretch. After a few weeks of doing this, I am happy to report, I almost don’t need the timer… my body is adapting and the lack of pain is helping to solidify the habit. You will note that I said, “almost” because it is not worth it to me to “forget” that stretch so crucial to keeping me aligned and out of pain.

If you are the type to need some science to back up the fact that its bad to sit all the time, here is an article or two for you to peruse.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/killer-chairs-how-desk-jobs-ruin-your-health/

http://www.fastcompany.com/3021985/work-smart/the-science-of-posture-why-sitting-up-straight-makes-you-happier-and-more-product

If you don’t sit at your job and this doesn’t apply to you, great! Likely you know someone who does and this could perhaps benefit them, and help them avoid the issues I experienced.

So back to you, dear reader, what do you do for self-care? What do you do to maintain your health mental and physical? What habits do you need to break? What habits do you need to build? What can you do TODAY to make your life better?

Think about it…….

Meet Yourself Where You Are

Dear Readers,

Last week I wrote about “abandoning the checklist”– Wow, is that easier said than done. It turns out, old habits die hard and what you resist persists.

As many of you know, I have been having back problems, well I recently made contact with a great chiropractor and I feel optimistic for the first time in months that I won’t need back surgery which was a looming prospect.

It has involved adjustments and a change in behavior for me. Every hour, ( I set a timer) I have to get up and stretch. (my job is very sedentary and involves lots of not getting up and moving. I do walk around from time to time, but nothing like this.

Not only do I feel better, I get the chance to support my people better because they see my face, I don’t have it stuck on my monitor all day.

I could beat myself about the head and shoulders for not doing this sooner but I have opted instead to “meet myself where I am”…. So what does that mean?

  1. I will walk when I exercise not run for a while.
  2. I will LET GO of having to do a 1/2 marathon this year.

What do you need to do to “meet” yourself right now? Are you pushing yourself too hard? Do you need to push yourself, is it time to make that decision you have been putting off? Or is it time to give yourself some grace, and make a decision to tackle it anew tomorrow?

Think About It….

Health is a gift…. Do not SQUANDER IT!

Dear Readers, Some of you may have noticed a post missing last week some of you may not have.. Well I was sick which really made me mad because I got a flu shot, am exercising, (not as much as a should) but exercising, drinking water.. getting enough sleep.. (well again not as much as I should) ah wait, I am beginning to see a pattern here.. are you?

There is nothing like a bout with sickness to make you appreciate health. We all know what we are SUPPOSED to do for good health.. but we don’t do it.

Get 8 hours a of sleep.

Drink 64oz of water day.

Eat good for you food.

Exercise.

So when I did a personal inventory I have to admit I was pretty lacking in all of these areas, so I am renewing that effort with a vengeance. I know, I know, its not always possible to get 8 hours, kids (kids sickness), work demands, life demands but try. I tell you what, just do one thing on the list. Hydrate more.. even if it is just one of the things. Exercise– Take the stairs once a day, and take them slowly but take them. Yes, the elevator is faster, but what is your hurry? It’s your life, ticking away one minute at a time. Don’t rush, take your time. Stop and smell those roses.

I see people around me dropping like flies so I fought the good fight, I drank orange juice and did all the things I do when I get sick but I truthfully think it was my body saying, ENOUGH! I will force you to take care of yourself and if this is the only way, SO BE IT.

Don’t let this happen to you, do something to embrace your health today, its a great gift we ALL take way too much for granted.

Think about it!

It’s all in how you look at it-

Dear Readers,

Roughly a year ago, I decided to buy a treadmill to take away my excuse to not workout and actually get in shape and be healthier. We already had the healthy eating thing going and were actively working on eliminating debt from our lives.

On Saturday I ran what turned out to be a 3K not a 5K but because my goal was a 5K, even though I saw the cheering fans and signs for beer and water I kept running till I got the 5K done. This sounds really inspiring and it is, but it took someone else saying it to me to get me to see it. Why is it that someone else has to say, “good job” or “Congratulations on that presentation” for us to recognize our worth?

So on Saturday, I walk/ran the 5th 5K I have done in a year. When I consider where I was this time last year, that is nothing short of amazing– a brief recap–

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. -Zig Ziglar

The first one was January 18, 2014 – Vern’s No Frill’s 5K- I walked more than I ran but I did run for a while and hey as the guy writing times down said, “last place is asleep”

Second 5K was “The Biggest Loser 5K” and I ran it and walked it with my good buddy Susie Gidseg- my time for that was a little shorter and I felt exhausted after it was said and done but very accomplished

Third 5K was the color run which I ran walked with Jessica, Adam and their son Pierce which represents just a lot of fun, but for me, I hate being dirty or messy so I was breaking past a comfort zone on this one so it was less about exercise and more about mess but came together to represent both–

The Fourth 5K was “CASA Superhero 5K which was a huge milestone because my husband decided to do that with me for his FIRST 5K ever so I actually walked it with him and we created a Team “Haston Helping Hands” to help raise money for CASA http://www.casaforchildren.org It was very hot and probably the hardest 5K I have been until the 5th one.. which just happened-

The Fifth 5K was the “Trail of Lights Fun Run” which I don’t know how I got the notion it was a 5K but it’s not. It was a 3K which I discovered much to my chagrin as I saw the signs for the finish line when the voice in my ear said, “3K completed” “2 to go” so that was frustrating, it was at night as well which made it very hard to see, I was worried I was going to fall down at any moment and it really became the struggle to find a place to run amid strollers, walkers and gawkers! (it is Trail of Lights after all, some of that I should have expected) but I will know better for next time-

At the end of the day, my takeaways from all these are they each represent a 5K that I have completed, I intend to (deep breath) eventually run a marathon but its still pretty far off but as my life of late (baby steps, baby steps) have been celebrating the small steps that we take as we walk nay run in the journey of life. I need to make sure I stop along the way to appreciate that which I wanted to do and worked towards and not keep looking ahead to “the next thing”… very easy to get discouraged doing that so this is my attempt to avoid negativity and be positive. It’s worth noting that this time last year (I checked my social media log) I wasn’t working out consistently and now I work out 3 times a week most of the time.

I could get down on myself for not being further down the track but I am choosing to focus instead on the fact that tomorrow is Workout Day 89 and I am going to keep at it, because every baby step I complete gets me closer to Mile 26.

Think about it! 5KTrailofLights

Modification does not mean FAILURE

Dear Readers, 11 days ago I set out to do a month long cleanse “back to paleo” – with the goal of running continuously in the upcoming Turkey Trot. The reasons for this were myriad but mostly it was because I gained 10 pounds in one week (stress eating and cheat day has become cheat three days and then eat paleo) and it scared me. So I made a decision and after eating one last glorious pint of Haagen-Dazs Sunday, October 26th, and some very yummy cheese I went full on paleo.

Guess what, I am on Day 11 of the all paleo all the time diet and its working but it is easier than the last time we did this.  I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, I am not going to be ready and we have family coming to visit on that day so I need to be home to work on the dinner (something I never thought I would say) but things change.

So, my new goal is to make it to Day 14 of the cleanse and then eat some stuff that I love.. like chocolate and pasta and other yummy things not allowed on the diet mainly because life is short and I don’t want to deprive myself. I think in the past, I would have regarded this as a failure but now I see it as a modification.

Another modification is to walk/run the Trail of Lights on December 6th. I also think that the paleo cleanse I am on now will help me to eat less of the yummy things on cheat day… but only time will tell… I promise to be real and honest with you, my readers because while I want to motivate and inspire, I also want to be authentic and vulnerable. It’s one thing to say, okay I am going to eat all paleo but to accomplish it that’s awesome and I am patting myself on the back right now. (virtually)

So I pose these questions to you-

1. What are you working on right now?

2. Can you think back to a time you sacrificed ? Was it worth it? Why or why not?

3. Do you find that you have to consciously eat healthy or does it come easy to you?

Think about it!