awareness

Listen Again

Sometimes KT writes a line that really sticks with me. To be clear, many of her posts make me think differently and many prompt me to make a change in how I approach life or how I act. This is a little different…here’s my take on her recent post about listening and what a gift it is.

Here’s the line (and I encourage you to read the whole post): Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human.

Being a more intentional listener found its way into my goals this year. A series of conversations made me realize that I don’t sincerely listen to people as often as I should. I reflected on the fact that although people ask me all the time “how are you?” and I answer, I don’t often ask them how they are. I’m often so caught up in what I’m doing I don’t even look up. I may make a brief comment but not much else.

What am I telling people as I just let them walk by? I don’t look them in the eye. Sometimes I don’t look up from what I am doing. Sometimes I probably seem annoyed at the interruption.

I’ve been trying to reverse since since it caught my attention. When I think about it, I take the time to put down what I am doing and ask the person how they are. And then follow up with another question.

What I have noticed is that more people than I realized are hungry to share. Excited to connect. They want to tell me a bit about how they are.

I thought I was a decent listener. Now I see that I need work. The invitations to listen are everywhere. How many have I blown off because I didn’t make time or was just too into what I was doing to notice them? From my friends, my co-workers, members of my family?

Among the other unfolding lessons, the pandemic has taught me that people matter more than pretty much anything else. We can’t replace people or the opportunities we have to share with them. I have missed many, but I am committed to doing better moving forward.

I’m also on the lookout for the people who are dropping out of sight. Who haven’t I heard from in a while? Different schedules and limited opportunities to be out and about make those happenstance meetings less frequent. Who is telling me through their silence that they may need a friend? Who can I text to check in with? Who can I lift up with a funny post, a quote, a kind word? Who can I (re)start a conversation with? As KT often says, hope is free.

The motto of the StoryCorps podcast is: listening is an act of love. Who can I love today by listening to them? Who can you?

challenges, family

Body Shaming

Where to start with this one? I’m confident in my body and its outward appearance to others. I may not be a size two with an hourglass figure but that’s okay. I wasn’t built with that frame.

I’m thicker. I have more padding. Some muscles. Some fat. For years I didn’t always make the best eating choices. Those minutes on the lips last a lifetime on the hips is a true statement. Since I can’t change history, I live in the skin I have. The weathered skin. The unbroken shell. The thick-by-design to ward off all those who try to poke at my body image.
This is me as an adult. Have I always been this strong? Probably not, but it’s where I am today. Now for a young impressionable girl, she may struggle with body image. Why? Because the digital world is an unforgiving place. Let me just share a few examples:

  • You are a female athlete. A boy can feel intimidated if your body is stronger than theirs. What do they do? Bash you online. Why? To feed their own ego or soothe their own inferiority complex.
  • You are a female with some meat on your bones. Thick thighs. Big booty. Full chest. Are you different from others your age? Maybe. Does that make you a target? It could. Others may feel the need to pass judgment on you only because they are not confident in themselves. This isn’t always a male. Sometimes females act negatively.

What is wrong with kids today that they think it’s okay to ridicule another female’s body? Body shaming they call it. When the girl cries herself to sleep at night or does not eat for a year, who wins? Nobody.

Words hurt. Pictures tell stories and mark journeys. They should not be used to target somebody’s ego in a negative manner online. Unfortunately shallow folks choose the latter. As sad as it sounds. It happens. 

I am a social person. I’m also an online presence. One can take my pictures and poke fun for them. I am okay with that as it takes all types to make up a world. However a young impressionable girl may not have the same mental strength to do the same when their photos are misused.

If you have a son, raise them right. Teach them to respect women/females. If you have a female teach them that they should lift up other females not degrade them. Neither action is progress. Don’t allow your kids the ability to body shame anyone. It’s not right. It’s hurtful.

Every parent has the responsibility to talk to teens as they approach teen hood to young adults and let them know how the internet can be a tool as well as a weapon. Without that conversation they may not realize how their keystrokes can be damaging.

The repeat convo over and over is the next step. Teens need constant reminders from adults. Their brains are still developing. They may not understand that their actions have consequences. 

If this message reaches you, do your part if you are a parent and have the difficult conversation. If you are in the teen to young adult age group. Read and reread this post as many times as you need to. If you are not in either age group, pass in on or share the overall knowledge. 

challenges

The Solo Comp

Ah I signed up for a solo CrossFit comp. Masters age group. Local venue, national footprint. Just wanted something to do before the end of the year. I wanted to say I squeezed in another event to end the year with a bang instead of boredom.

Why? Because I guess I had nothing better to do. I guess I’m a bit neurotic. I guess I’m a bit curious. The list goes on. I guess I hang with some crazy friends who like to do weird things like me. 

I do a little practice session on event one. It was just 6 minutes but I wanted to die at about 4 minutes but I somehow pushed through with the help of my workout buddy Kim. I’m still here to write about the escapade so it wasn’t that bad. The event is above if you want to test the workouts yourself and see how you fare.

We opted to try another comp trial wod the next week. It was equality shitty. This time it was 9 minutes and another lung burner and sweat fest. I finished. I recovered but ugh it wasn’t pretty. Not feeling successful after two events. The photo below shows my pal after her efforts. She wanted to kill me for pushing her in the moment but she got over it quick. I think.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I practice wod 3 with another friend. This one was a whopping 7 minutes long and I took yet another beating. Now the reality is I have to do all three workouts in one day. Limited rest. Competitive environment and just me, myself and I to rely upon to get it done. Just me cooling off outside in the cold using the cement to cool down my body temp rapidly. Just 7 minutes to wipe me out. And I thought a masters competition would be easy!

Part of my issue could be that most of the events require body weight movements, some of which I do but not fast. I’m a thick fit type of body which equates to moving a lot of body weight in comparison to others that might be a bit more agile. Another could be I’m just not in the top shape I was a year ago. This happens.

I will do all events regardless because that’s what I signed up for. The measuring stick. I can’t always win and I may lose big. It’s okay. Part of the process is how to learn from the opportunity. 

How to show up.

How to rely on myself.

How to push forward when times are tough.

How to set an example for anyone watching.

How to celebrate my willingness to try.

How to celebrate me in general.

In life I rely on myself. I have others whom I can lean on from time to time but when push comes to shove it’s me. Competing on any level allows me to reignite the fire within, to keep on trucking day to day to get through whatever life hurdles I have to face.        

Less than 3 weeks until the event. Lots of hard work in my sights to prepare myself. Wish me luck. I probably need a little for this comp.

coaching

Coaching Me

When I coach others I inadvertently coach myself. I reflect on time points. I reflect on opportunities that have come and gone. I take a look at organizing and prioritizing. I reflect on my physical and emotional wellness and so much more.

As a professional coach I help others. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to see others succeed with a little encouragement or nudging. One side bonus for me is the self-reflection and personal strides I make in each engagement as I look at myself through the coaching process.

Today was a day of coaching. Helping somebody over a hurdle. Minimizing fear while capitalizing on self worth. Sounds easy but it’s not.

I love when others shine. I’m not such a fan of negativity or low self-worth. I think everyone should see their inner and outer beauty but many don’t.

When I can help one person understand themselves and how to grow with their own grit it makes me smile for days, weeks and sometimes longer depending on the case or hurdles conquered.

As we are in November I am celebrating all month being thankful. Today I am thankful for the ability to coach, inspire and mentor others. It’s one of the most rewarding pieces of my life.

perspective

Reflections

What do reflections tell us or teach us? If you look at your reflection in the water, the image may be distorted. If you look at your reflection in a mirror it may also be distorted. However if we reflect upon a picture, not much is hidden. A still moment of you. Marked in time.

Photos are often snapped by others. Said photos may show you a side, an angle, or a view of yourself you are not used to seeing. Or maybe it’s a version or portion of yourself you ignore purposely. It may even be a rude awakening of how you really look to others.

When you look at a picture you see you. The good. The bad. The ugly. How you reflect upon the visual image is completely up to you. 

You can focus on the negative or find the positives in any photo of yourself. For me, I have my moments where I look at the aesthetic piece and say ugh… but then I shift to what I can control. My attitude. My desire to improve. My ability to create change.

Can you look at your reflection and do the same? It’s a challenge of sorts. Take the blurred self-image and create the you that you want to see all the time. The look you want others to see of you. 

Maybe you want to smile brighter. Maybe you want to dress sharper. Maybe you want a new hair color. Maybe it’s a fresh haircut. Whatever you reflect on, you can change if you so desire.

My reflection inspired me recently. I won’t bore you with the details as the point of the post is I reflect on myself to improve. I mapped a plan in my mind to execute the improvement.

I did that! I invoked the desire to change. I charted the path. I put the work in. I valued me. I valued my time to change what I wanted to change in my reflection.

My change could be physical but it doesn’t need to be. It could be a spiritual change. A mindset change. It could even be an emotional change.

I noted in a previous post about how others are watching. They may watch whether you strut or walk timidly. That’s right your gait can tell a lot about you. It used to be the handshake in business that defined you but now thanks to corona and the digital arena we live in today we must adapt. Adapt our reflection to meet today’s demands.

I did just that. I asked myself or my reflection how I can up my game. What can I modify within to recreate, repurpose, reposition or redirect to suit my forward-thinking self.

I’m a work in progress. An artist piece that is moldable and remoldable. Never boring. Never stale. Dynamic. A modifiable masterpiece.

My reflection is shifting. Just like life.