Friday, April 19, 2019

Adjustments to Expectations

"You can't move on to a new life until you unpack the old one - or burn it down to the ground." - Danielle LaPorte
 
Most times I don't want to watch it burn... There were so many aspects of my life in Illinois that I loved, but there is a balance of letting things go in order to free you for what is possible. I honestly didn't think of my move as starting a "new life." I just focused on the opportunities and the excitement. Definitely the excitement.
 
Throughout my relocation, I limited the amount of time that I looked at the life I was leaving. I still do. The pain, hurt and sadness is too much. It was definitely flawed and challenging, as most lives are, but I directed my attention on what I needed to do.
 
It's not quite been two years yet, but I know I was changing for a while before my job offer from Austin was extended.
 
Driving around different parts of my new city, I already have feelings of nostalgia from my arrival and acclimating. It hasn't gone nearly as smoothly as I had hoped, yet, when I look at my current life, I still find the belief that it will somehow all be okay. And there is still a slim chance that it will even work out to be fantastic
 
So, there is a balance between treasuring memories and directing attention to what lies ahead. I remain open to chances and being mindful to live my current life one moment at a time. Every moment is about the perspective you have with it. I am not where I want to be... but I am closer than I have ever been, and there is a lot to enjoy.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Change of Year

The first month of the New Year closes this week opening up to February.  January 27th, and I have not set any true goals for myself for 2019.  I want new achievements, but after the past couple of years, reflecting on my life, I'm sorta out of ideas... kind of sick of the roller coaster, too.

Yet, the last four weeks have surprised me with new opportunities and abilities already!  Usually, when I set out to "get something," it seems to shift further from my grasp.  And amazing experiences were able to be mine without my asking, but based on just who I am (Nutcracker, JFL Cheer, bridal show modeling...).

My life just sort of "happens" to me.  If I want something and go after it, it inevitably becomes an even greater challenge.  All things have been difficult except for obtaining certification as a Professional Event Coordinator.  While I had to study and pass exams, it went well, and I even achieved Honors in three of the five courses.

However, that was the easiest part.  Once I held the piece of paper, I had to struggle to find clients... so that I could work my ass off for them.  It was intimidating to approach wedding and event businesses and "sell myself" to them, as well.  For fifteen years, I was able to fill a role that I loved, but it wasn't easy.  I tired of the stress of never knowing how many clients I could land, and being a Type A personality, I needed stability.

For the past year, I have had a similar experience with my Wellness certifications.  Instead of traveling, I submitted videos of my classes to apply after studying the course work.  That led to a conference call to review my submissions... For someone who can't stand seeing herself on video, yeah that comfort zone was out of sight.  Then, hooray! The official document arrived!  Let the connections in the Austin fitness community begin!  ....Or not.  Well, slowly.  So far, I have met a handful of awesome people who, if they haven't helped me, they have at least provided encouragement.  But I have had to face a lot of rejections if any reply at all. My friend Angie reminds me that I've accomplished a lot in the first six, now twelve months of this endeavor.

If I weren't employed at a state agency office, okay, a "quasi agency" since the facilities management office refuses to allow me to reserve my own spaces for classes, my challenges would be even bigger.  And the women (and men!) I have been blessed to meet teaching around the Capitol have been so incredibly inspiring and amazing!  Maybe I am biased, but I think it takes even more courage to workout in the middle of the day and go back to your desk with "gym hair."  For my class in particular, working out to some funky dance moves with co-workers... that requires even more of getting out of your comfort zone!  I am both, proud and so impressed by this crew!

I was so blessed to open my class to the public at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, where I did not gain any new participants.  My friends and state employees came, along with my amazing daughter.  Then I met the incredible Sonnie at Lache Movement, where three new people attended my class, which made me super happy!  With the holidays, I didn't set any new dates and instead focused on learning three new routines to rotate into the mix as well as a new Warm Up song.

So, I was pretty content with it at the time... which in my life, is when things happen!  I was invited to hold a demo class at an apartment complex, and afterwards, I was asked if I could start doing the class for locations with which the company has fitness agreements.  In February, I will start holding classes for Shape Up Corporate Fitness at a few buildings around Austin.  Angie had suggested this a year ago when my 'location search' began, but I had no one specific to contact.  The places I emailed never replied, so I completely lost hope for doing it.

And voila!  Here we are.

For 2019, I think my main "resolution" is to sincerely lighten up more about my path and really, REALLY hold on to my mantra of "When nothing is certain, anything is possible." (Mandy Hale)

For the rest of my mission of wellness, I have started two new books and listened to a few recordings as the main accomplishment I want to make this year is believing in myself and being more "me." Whatever that is.  Personalities change, preferences change, the things that light the spark into a fire inside you change.  None of us have it all "figured out" because life cannot be completely determined.  At least not in my case.  Honestly, I don't want it to be. I can say at least I'm not bored! Frustrated, quite a bit. Frightened, of course.  But I'm interested to see how my new year unfolds, and it's already been pretty exciting with a lot of potential.

Please comment with your new goals or any situations you have had like mine.  It would help to know I'm not the only one!  Cheers to you for 2019 - I hope it has started well and is amazing for you!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Good Day to Die?

We all have good days as well as days that feel like continual struggle... but in the "good" moments, do you ever truly think, "If I died right now, I would die happy."

Only when I am in crazy traffic or on airplanes that I have these real, raw questioning moments... mostly because those times seem quite logical that my life will be taken abruptly, but that reflection can occur during great success, too.  "Now that I have accomplished 'this,' I can die happy."

We honestly don't have any say, though, and we all know that. Whether it is a day of joy or hours filled with challenges... whether we have thirty more years on this earth or just months or even moments remaining. No one knows. However, it is in our control to live life fully while we can.

We need to do what makes us happy, but more than that, what makes us feel alive. Yes, pain and sorrow remind us that we exist, but it's the excitement and fear and fulfillment that invigorate our core.

I am currently working on feeling through all emotions and feelings so that every experience will help me live my best life. Even if it's frustration of locations for my fitness class or my feelings being severely hurt by a friend or enduring yet another great disappointment, I want whatever day my life ends for me to feel with every bit of my existence that I did my best... and it can truly be a "good" day to die.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Changes with Others

I have spent a lot of time, and I'm sure wasted too much energy, analyzing "why" I am here in Austin. I would like to believe that I could have found locations for my dance fitness classes in Peoria... it certainly should have been a lot easier given my established relationships. Could have been.  Nothing is guaranteed.

With every non-reply and every "our schedule is full" and every "pay us this much" response, I am all the more grateful for teaching at the State Employee offices.  While I still struggle to get space in the rooms there, the support of my participants overwhelms me.

Just in the past month, I have not only had the joy of their participation, but I also received three gifts... a sweet pencil that says "Shine Today," an inspirational calendar that is actually making me excited for January! and a traditional Chinese Mooncake.  All three tokens of appreciation brought me tears of joy and heartfelt surprise.  The Mooncake, however, stood out.  It is named after the Moon Goddess "Chang'e" and symbolizes a spiritual feeling.  'To share this expresses love and best wishes,' and to receive it from Yanmei means a lot to me.  She is one of my dedicated supporters who I have been SO very blessed to watch come out of her shell and gain confidence - and she says she feels stronger.  Having her hand this to me... telling me how much my classes mean to her... I truly can't express the impact it has had on me. 

I hate being insecure.  My self-doubt borders on destroying me every damn day.  If I can do one small thing and empower any other woman to not feel this dark feeling of being unworthy, I should know that that is success.  In my mind, I know I am making a difference.  I'm not changing the world, but if I can improve the world for a handful of others, that is priceless.  And it's more than I ever thought I could do.

With one of my inspirations retiring this month, I am hoping to gain more opportunities to encourage others. In addition to dance fitness, if... no, WHEN I obtain the Group Fitness Instructor certification, with the help of my new friend Charlotte, I hope to add the toning class of Total Body Conditioning.

These ladies have more drive to exercise than any group I have ever known.  Their dedication and energy is impressive, but I love most that they are supportive of one another.  When I worked to become certified with SHiNE, I had hoped to get to know some of them and get them out of their comfort zones a bit and let loose.  I did not consider the bonds and connections we would make and continue to develop.

I always loved the term "fitfam," but besides my soul sister, Marypat/MP!!!, I had not experienced it.  Now, in our classes, my heart swells when I see them rock my new dance steps and listen to their feedback.  Receiving gifts from them touches me so deeply. I hoped to instill confidence; I am blown away to make an impact. To be thought of outside our classes is the greatest compliment.

My research reflected that the Mooncake is not just a food, it's a profound cultural tradition deep in Chinese people's hearts, symbolizing a spiritual feeling.  Honestly, that is what I want in dance.  It isn't just movement. Dancing for me is a freedom of everything... Why I do it all the time, as much and as often as I can.  If I can lead others to hold more confidence, then Mister DJ, please, play on.

Mooncake Credit: https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/mooncake.htm

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Physical Changes

Weight and body image have always been and continue to be struggles for me.  I am currently, however, in the best shape of my life... but I work damn hard at it.  I am finally learning how to accept compliments.

As a teen, I developed quickly and had no pride of my physical appearance.  Becoming a grown woman, I battled with changes in my metabolism.  When I was (finally) pregnant with my daughter, I was nauseous the entire first trimester and consumed each brand of cracker on the market to settle my stomach... leading me to gain 40 pounds, and had a 4 pound baby.

I have no desire to tell anyone what "works."  I am not perfect and am not at all an expert in health nor fitness.  I DO believe that everyone's body is different and what is effective for one individual will not necessarily be the best option for another.  And I DO advocate that you have to find what works for you.

For me, that became running (for the second time).  In my 20s, I ran a little, but with Midwest weather and when I working full-time, it fell by the wayside.  When Hope was three years old, however, I became more committed to it. Running two to three times per week, I splurged on a treadmill so that rain and freezing temperatures could no longer lead to excuses.

I've also studied Pilates and Yoga so that as muscles are developed, I can also maintain flexibility.  Another belief shared by most: you need to do more than one style.  It keeps your workouts from becoming mundane and it helps develop multiple muscle areas rather than just toning like just your legs all the time. Now that I am leading a dance fitness class, I am able to select the routines that target all areas of the body.

When I went back to work full-time, I began getting up at 4:50 a.m. to exercise.  It was hard.  It's still hard to do.  But it's my priority, so I make it happen.  My largest blessing, though is that working by the Capitol, I get the advantages of all sorts of additional workout sessions!  Since I am still "new in town," I am still working on finding a public place to hold my own fitness classes.  Yet, I at least get to provide dance fitness to state employees... which I LOVE. 

When it comes to nutrition, anyone who knows me knows that I eat.  Moving to Austin, I cut down a lot - when you cook for one, it's seldom elaborate!  Again, I want to say that what one person finds successful for his/her body type will not necessarily work for another.  A few things that I truly hope my readers will respect if they do not agree: I will not become a vegetarian because I love seafood, I appreciate chicken, and I will not give up the option to eat bacon.  I only eat red meat about once every couple of months.  I avoid "fast food" as much as possible.  All in moderation. (Refer to my "There will always be cookies" blog!)

I am sharing this is because this is the third time in my life that I have actually felt pretty "good" about where I am physically.  While I get nervous about it because I don't want to get comfortable, I remember that it's never, ever too late to instill your own improvements in how you value your health.  There will be failures and days you don't do as well.  Just like falling, however, it's okay as long as you pick yourself back up.  Start small, build, and most of all - be patient.  With age, hormone changes and health issues, weight fluctuates. I am growing in my self value, and I refuse to let it slip ever again. 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

My New C: Coach!

Wow!  Six months ago, I achieved my goal of Certified Dance Instructor for SHiNE Dance Fitness!  It was a struggle to secure rooms in the state employment offices, but the support has been incredible.  Gracious, encouraging women have helped me along the way, and I just could not be more appreciative!

Public class locations has been a greater battle.  Since I am new to Austin, making connections at dance studios, gyms and activities centers has been an even larger challenge.  FINALLY, in September, I am going to be able to host introductory classes on Saturday mornings.  The Arthur Murray Dance Studios is letting me use one of their studios.  I have no idea how many people want to wake up early to shake, sweat and SHiNE at 8 a.m., but I am excited to find out!

Still studying for AFAA Group Fitness Instructor certification, as well, I am also looking ahead at the next six months.  I am definitely open to new opportunities and have a lot of ideas!  I also know all too well that there will be more hurdles for me and many more rejections, but the photos of my amazing participants who dance with me and the emails I receive from them continue to encourage and inspire me.

When I started this endeavor in December, I fought self-doubt, pushed myself out of yet another comfort zone, and apparently I'm doing a pretty good job!  #coach

Saturday, August 4, 2018

One Year Later...

A full year has passed since I moved to Austin, Texas.  When I reflect on all I have learned so far, it is astonishing.  I have suffered many disappointments, but I have enjoyed more personal triumphs, and overall, it has been good.

In twelve months, I have been blessed to make some terrific new friends and great business connections... I have continually pushed myself out of my comfort zone and not only learned my way around South Austin, I then adjusted to living just Northwest of the city.  Seriously - the different format of frontage roads and U-turns under all the highways, it really feels like mastering a totally new way of driving.

My new little car... she is so fun. I am sad that I no longer have a vehicle to pass to my daughter, but all things happen for a reason... and it saves me additional drivers insurance anyway.   #brightside

Speaking of, Hope has handled her transition Like A Boss.  I am continually amazed and impressed by her resilience and strength.  I didn't want this to happen to her.  As much as I yearned to move to a warmer climate and a more progressive city, I had no desire to move her from her high school.  When the opportunity was presented, however, there were too many reasons for me to leave Peoria.  What I love most is that Hope recognizes them all and appreciates them.  She is learning to not only cope with disappointments, but she finds the positives of the situations.  That took me far longer to develop, and I'm still working on it!

While I have times of sorrow missing my loves and friends in Illinois, I hold them in my heart, and I know that I will see them again.  The strong connections will always remain no matter how far the distance.  I've received so many supportive messages that when I do feel all alone in this huge, exciting city, the words spoken and sent to me give me comfort.

My goals have altered as well.  One year ago, I wanted to connect to my true self while learning a new employment position in a government role.  Six months ago, I achieved certification as a Dance Fitness Instructor and am now studying for Group Fitness Instructor with AFAA.  I am continually trying new things and having a really great experience.

No one really knows where their path will lead, but I am still enjoying my journey.  My new mantra has solidly become "When nothing is certain, anything is possible." (-Mandy Hale)

Perspective.  Positivity.  Peace.