perspective

Are you Broken?

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On any given day we are all a little broken. It could be a simple hangnail type of broken, a big breakup type of broken or anything in between.

Some days we break a little, like a small crack in your cell phone. Some days we seem to be broken in a million and one pieces like the shattering of a mirror. Fortunately for us, there are bandaids for little boo boos, bandages and Advil for bigger cuts and bruises and then there is always the gym, counselors and good friends to help you when the heavy kind of broken happens. Loss of a loved one, divorce, mental breakdown, financial losses can all leave one broken which is just part of life but we all need to find coping mechanisms to deal with brokenness.

Remember, everyone can break. It’s not a sign of weakness. One can break at 2 years old resulting in a tantrum. One can break in their teens when social struggles hit hard. One can break as an adult for many reasons and the elderly can even break. Caring for an aging family member takes a big toll on people but many don’t talk openly about it. Being broken offers an opportunity to realize change is needed.

I’m sure we all wish we could sprinkle pixie dust on our brokenness and it all just goes away.  In reality, it’s not that simple. It takes strength, wisdom, encouragement, time and perseverance to realign with what’s important and needed to move ahead when brokenness hits us.

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(photo by @ahborson)

One may find hope with Jesus and the church. Another may exit a bad relationship and find peace in forging ahead alone. Another may readjust financially to a setback with counseling or help from a friend. In each scenario options are visible. Taking a step may be hard but if a step is never taken one will never move forward and may be burdened with sadness and sorrow from the brokenness.

I describe brokenness to my kids as we all have an emptiness inside of us.  And some of that comes from the broken places that we all seem to collect throughout life…  Seeing that things aren’t perfect. Accidents happen with awful consequences.  Humans are messy and flawed. People let us down or fail us. We lose someone we care about, for whatever reason. Each of these leaves us cracked, spilling, a little emptier.

It’s up to each of us what we fill those broken spots with.  Will it be productive or destructive? Some will fill that emptiness with substances, addiction.  Some will fill it with meditation, yoga, religion. Some will fill it with giving.  Some with an empty kind of busy-ness. Some with hopelessness or detachment. Some may write their way through grief to a deeper understanding of themselves. Some will fill their lives with new or deeper relationships, reflection, and a true attempt to find joy in the brokenness.  We each choose how we fill those cracks, whether we choose carefully or consciously or now.  We choose how we mend ourselves and even others.

I read about the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It’s the centuries-old practice of repairing broken ceramic pieces with gold…in this tradition, the cracked and repaired spots are not blemishes, but make the piece more beautiful and unique.  It’s a powerful metaphor for our broken human life. Our cracks don’t mean we are useless. Instead, they are part of what make us precious and ultimately more valuable.

I am broken. I have repaired cracks in my life journey and I have many stage one cracks in my life now. I am content with my brokenness. Life is not perfect and neither am I. I grow through my life lessons. I wander. I encourage. I challenge. I test fate and when I do I risk it all. The risk could be emotional. The risk could be financial. The risk could be unknown.

If I lived in a bubble could I still break? Yes, of course. I can however control my attitude when I start each day. I can manage my emotions when times are tough and I can fuel my body with health and fitness regimens that help me stay the course. It’s all in the mindset.

It may be hard to share, but I find that when I am brave enough to share my broken, I often also get the chance to be closer to people.  So often, others are suffering in ways we don’t know or can’t see, even refuse to see.  If we take a risk, make ourselves vulnerable, show our tender spots to a trusted friend, we will often learn we are much less alone in our broken. Many are fighting battles we can’t imagine, and often they feel they are fighting them alone. The cracks are opportunities to shine a light on others and share a light in what can be a very dark time. Be the light and share your broken.  Be the gold that fills another and reflects their unique beauty.

Be the gold that fills the cracks. Your gold may melt different than mine but it doesn’t decline in value. Gold is precious just like you and me.

If you thought this post was meaningful, please share it. Share the words that speak to you. I know there are some keys phrases in this post that make me smile and work towards being a better person. I am always filling my cracks with gold and trying to help others find their gold to fill their cracks as well.

 

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(photo by @svklimkin)
hustle, perspective

The Chase Begins With You!

When you are an influencer who shares, you’ll always have people following you. Whether they say it out loud or not, they are watching. Some will imitate you, some will sit in judgment of what they know so little about. Some will want to be you or with you, in your circle. Some will admire, emulate, and learn. Some just won’t get it.

This happens daily to many but most won’t talk about it. Haters are always around. Kindness is also in front of you. Some choose by default. Others choose because they are uncertain about themselves. No matter where one fits on the spectrum, one just needs to focus on themselves. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Laugh. Smile. Be genuine when you can. Those who fake it normally show their ugliness in one way or another. Be proud of who you are and what you bring to this world. Just you.

When you engage with your audience, your circle, your friends, your network, your acquaintances, sometimes you’ll be teaching, explaining. Sometimes just laughing, engaging. But within all that noise and engagement, you also have to have someone to chase.

Find someone better than you, in whatever field you are striving in. Business, fitness, social media, even close relationships or friendships. Who do you admire? Who has better skills? Who can you strive to be like?

Don’t mistake a chase for a competition. It’s just the chase. Chase the better version of you not another. You can only compete with yourself in this scenario. In a 50-yard dash you can race to win, but in life you need to focus on developing you and the world only gets one you. It’s up to you to define what you look like today, tomorrow and the next day. The physical you is just one piece of the puzzle.

It could be lunges or toes-to-bar at the gym. It could be the way a person writes or talks to their clients. It could be how a person styles their outfit or cooks in the kitchen. Find that person and chase them. Let them urge you on to a better version of yourself.

You may not even have to tell them. In some cases, it may not even be someone you know that well. In great cases, they might serve as a partner or mentor for you. But, you could also watch from afar and learn and strive that way.

If you are a shining light, you impact others just by being you and pushing forward on your path. Look in the mirror and find your light. Share the light with the world and see what happens.

I dare you to be different. Stand out. You have just one life to live, make it one to remember.

#1095Days #choosedaily #2chx

awareness

The One about the Turtle Crossing the Road

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When she was little, my daughter Anne loved turtles.  She used “turtle girl” as her nickname online.  She had a turtle named Swimmy for a pet.  She loved reading about turtles.  When we went to the beach, I scheduled time for us to work with local turtle patrols, visit aquariums, or watch turtle hatchlings be released into the ocean.

Turtles were her thing.

She’e a teenager now and her interests have broadened, but deep down I think she still has a soft spot for turtles.

So it didn’t surprise me a couple of weeks ago when we were out and about, driving on a long rural road, and I dodged a turtle stopped right in the middle of our lane.

Just like I used to do when Anne was little, I screamed “turtle!” and, just like she did when she was little, she yelled “turn around!”

It was a long stretch of road with rolling hills…visibility was tricky…cars were flying by…no flat shoulder and few places to turn around.  When I finally turned to go back for the turtle, someone came up speeding behind me so I couldn’t pull over.  So, we found a place to turn around again, and tried again.

I had my hazard lights on so people knew I was up to something.  Pulled over on a soft grassy spot, then she gave a quick look and jumped out of the car.  She ran full force probably seventy-five yards back and got the little guy.  She picked him up gently and moved him across the road in the direction he was going, just like we learned about when she was little.  She placed him down right by a small pond near the side of the road.  And off he went. Safe for the moment.  And then off we went toward our destination, feeling like we helped the world in some small way.

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At least five cars passed over him while we were making that multi-step turn around.  Who knows how many more had flown past him, over him, as he slowly made his way across the lanes toward his goal.

All this made me wonder about how many people I know, who I see daily, who are trying to cross their own treacherous lanes in life.  How many people do I know who are moving toward goals but keep dodging obstacles, negativity, or just the rushing flow of the daily grind? How many are in periods where things in life are flying by, in different directions, leaving them pulled into their shells much of the time?

Do I even notice them?  Or am I just speeding by, consumed with my own tasks and concerns, not even seeing those who I could help along if I just slowed down and took time to pay attention?

And how can I lift them up, shoulder their burden, ease their journey somehow? How can I put my lights on so people know I am slowing down, wanting to help, up to something?

These are the questions that are on my mind this morning. It doesn’t take that much to help someone across a scary patch.  I just need to pay more attention, be willing to slow down. Be more open and attentive. Work to see the potholes and rough patches others might be crossing. Sharing my own bumps and tumbles so they feel safe sharing their own.

What good is it to make it to my destination more quickly, if I have passed over others I could have helped along the way?

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hustle

31 Days

31 days have come and gone in January 2019. I already feel like it was 365 days. Crazy I know.

January just seems like the longest month ever. Add the cold and that equates to another whole level of awful. Or maybe January just seems so long because I am always waiting for February to arrive. Once February comes and goes it’s time to think warm weather, sunshine and vacations on the horizon.

As a memory tracker I decided to write down 31 significant or interesting things that transpired in my life in January. Here is my 31-day reflection to start this month with a bang.

1. I survived a high speed car crash.
2. I completed my first weighted CrossFit workout.
3. I got a tattoo.
4. I drove 4 different rental cars within 5 days for stupid and annoying reasons.
5. I drove from Boston to Atlanta in under 19 hours as a solo driver.
6. I had a career change.
7. I gained weighed and lost weight.
8. I tracked my food journal every day.
9. I did manual labor work a few days.
10. I ate chowda while traveling.
11. I went ice skating.
12. I started a push-up challenge for 30 days.
13. I joined a coed spring softball team.
14. I signed up for the CrossFit open 2019.
15. I took an Olympic lifting class during the month.
16. I used “WTF” notes for various events in which WTF applied.
17. I shoveled snow.
18. I spent time with family and friends.
19. I flew on a plane.
20. I made new friends.
21. I tried new foods.
22. I cheered my daughter on during basketball games.
23. I ate out with all my boys this month despite everyone’s crazy schedules.
24. I dealt with drama full days.
25. I got a hair cut.
26. I got a massage.
27. I went to the doctor.
28. I didn’t have any alcohol.
29. I blogged.
30. I got some new shoes.
31. I completed tax checklist items.

As I look back on the month, I can safely say it was busy. In addition the time had many ups downs and everything in between.

Even when life tosses you to the wolves, we are still empowered to find our inner sunshine and really just seize the day, the week, the month.

Don’t ever let one negative take away all your positive mojo. We are each capable of defining our own path to success. We decide for ourselves. We put the work in to reap the benefits.

Keep on keeping on and take a moment to reflect on your January. Did you make the most of it? If you had a “do over” button, what would be different? If you had only one day left on earth what would you do with your day?

Spend some time thinking about what you can do or can’t do. Remember all can change in the blink of an eye so savor every moment and don’t wait for life to pass you by. No adventures happen while you are sitting still.

Happy February all. It’s my birth month and I accept gifts and celebrate all month long. Every day. All day. Happy b-day month to me!!!

I cant wait to see what my 47th birthday month has in store for me. Counting my blessings and anticipating life challenges along the way. No day is perfect but I’m going to tackle each day with enthusiasm.

fitness and nutrition

Strengthening My Patience Muscles

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I’ve had a setback.  An injury.  My lower back flared up on Sunday. I was just sitting in a chair and turned the wrong way, I suppose.

It is the same area where I’ve had pain before.  I dropped everything and laid down.  Heat, cold, Advil, rest, rest, repeat.

I know tons of people think CrossFit is dangerous.  But, in case you are tempted to comment with an “I told you so,” I’ll just point out that it is much more dangerous to be sedentary.  My form could always be better, no matter how hard my coaches work to improve me.  Perhaps I’ve gotten overconfident while trying to increase my weights.  I still stay away from barbells for the most part, but I have been pushing myself on dumbbells.  Who knows.  I am still learning.

If you speak to even the fittest people at my gym, many have injury stories.  That may be just athletes in general.  It’s part of the process.  Of having a body.

So, I’m back to basics.  Just walking.  Trying to move.  I made it to the gym once to get on the air runner (to walk) and rode some meters on the bike erg.  It was good to see people even though I couldn’t do the workout. But for the most part I am just walking at the park, solo. I have to say, it’s pretty boring and hard to find motivation to cover any serious distance.  I miss the box. Some of the joy is in the camaraderie. It’s hard to believe I used to do this kind of solo walk / running every day.  I can’t imagine that now, although a fair amount of solo exercise is in my near future.

It is very hard to be patient. My patience muscles are some of my weakest. It’s especially challenging to wait on an injury you can’t see. No timeline. No visible progress. Just waiting.

I’ll be core strengthening and stretching more, too.  Again, weak muscles. A different kind of discipline.

So, for now, I’m bundling up. Putting one foot in front of the other. Up a hill and down then up again.

anonymous letters, perspective

People Watching

I have always been a people watcher. People are fascinating to me in many ways.

How we communicate: body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and so much more. They all strike my fancy.

If I am on a stationary bike at the gym, I am silently observing, thinking: what does this person do for work? Do they have a family? How many days do they train to have abs of steel? The list goes on and on.

Now change the scenery to Walmart. There are not enough words to describe the diversity in Walmart. From the staff to the clientele. There is always such a broad range. Why would she wear that in public? Does anyone smell my gym sweat and wonder why I am out in public smelling so bad? My, how you see parents who get controlled or swindled by their kids in the toy department. Then there are the attention-seeking kids who frazzle their parents last nerve until they blow a gasket. It’s all entertainment if you soak it all up.

This week my adventures took me to the airport. This is another favorite people-watching palace. I get the business folks. They keep to themselves but it’s great to see their fashion and their multitasking with the cell phones and laptops in between flights. You have the vacationers: the young, the old, the groups, the families, and more. They all are recapping memories. Smiling for some, arguing for others. But the various interactions are stimulating for someone like me.

Move on to the plane. What a weird place. You sit on top of perfect strangers on most flights. The air is dry. The smell is varied. The germs are plentiful. On this recent flight I had what I would sum up as a lifetime smoker who picked up a bad cough on his trip sitting behind me. He coughed the whole flight. He had no limit of coughing into his sleeve, causing germs to go airborne, literally. Talk about the eww factor.

Ahh…then the transport to the rental car hub. Most are tired and cranky from travel and patience is limited. Enter long lines to get your car. Oh, how one person’s checkout is like a Jerry Springer episode. People should always treat others they way they want to be treated. Most angry customers forget the clerk at the counter is a low man on the totem pole just doing their job. We should all think about making that workers day not pissing in their Cheerios. Choose kind. You will inevitably get better service!

And I almost forgot the parking lot. The paid parking lot at the airport on a holiday weekend that said “spaces available.” Well, the dude on the bike with a flag checking availability must have been on break because there were no spots. Tick-tock, I am going to miss my flight and so are the other frantic drivers in the lot. A few near-accident misses from other cars darting for the one open space 10 other cars want.

It’s my lucky day! I found a lady going to her car. I stalked her. For real! She pulls out of the tiny spot. Am I going to fit? Uggh. Yes, but by a hair. My passenger must climb through my driver’s side. I take a step back and I have an extra large SUV on each side in what appears to be compact-sized spaces.

I leave a note for the person. Please don’t hit my car! I guess I will find out when I return. Did I mention my note was in the form of a sticky note I had in my car? Well, it wasn’t an ordinary sticky note. It said WTF on the top. The notepad was a gift from a friend a while back….bet they didn’t know how it would be used. The Mary Kay big-wig in her pinkish Escalade who receives the note is going be angry when she gets back to her car. I am hopeful my flight returns before hers.

These are just a glimpse of my recent people-watching adventures. I people watch each day. I learn. I observe. I grow. I meet new people along the way. I embrace other people and their quirkiness.

l love to hear from our readers near and far. Send me a note or comment below on some of your most memorable people watching episodes. I spared you the booger picking and camel toe stories in my past but I love a good story so send me yours.

perspective

Ch-Ch-Changes: Chick 2’s 2018 Recap Post

2018. A year of change.

Here’s a recap of Chick 2’s year…one with much more change than usual.

Since I mentioned working on my weight a while back, here’s the 2018 tally.

Started a challenge on January 15 at 243.2 pounds.

Final weigh in of the year: 193.6 pounds. Total loss for the year (minus the first couple of weeks, which I gorged myself knowing that diets were on the horizon): 49.6 pounds. I did a series of eating plans, including keto, modified paleo, and now I am working with Stronger U Nutrition. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but right now I am primarily learning to pay close attention to what I eat and portion sizes. All the changes have helped me grow (and shrink!)

Pics above are February to December. Do you see a difference?

My major life change was moving schools. I worked at my previous school for 5 years. It was a great situation with many beloved co-workers. No school is perfect (since there are humans involved and humans are notoriously messy), but I had a lot of freedom and trust.

Still, for several reasons, the time was right to switch. It would be a better opportunity for my daughter and bring on new challenges for me.  The jury is still out on this life change…it’s been a tougher adjustment for both of us than I had anticipated, but I am still hopeful that it will work out.  (And if it doesn’t, or even if it does, lessons!) Pic below is me getting ready to host the governor’s wife in my library this fall.

My older daughter left the nest to live on her own.  It has been a Proud Mom Moment to see her work hard, scrimp, and come to a new appreciation of life’s challenges and earnings.  She puts in a lot of effort to maintain her independence.  She embraces her strength, uses her smarts, and works at her health.

I’d be leaving out a big part of my life this year if I didn’t mention my fitness family.  I spent a lot of my time this year sweating out stress while smiling at CrossFit Pure.  It was time for a change late in the year, so I’m happy to now call CrossFit Faded Glory my gym home. You’ll definitely hear much more about this amazing place in future posts.

I have worked through some setbacks with injuries, but I still stay as consistent as I can.  I know that my diet is the major part of my weight change, but CrossFit has changed my body shape as well as my confidence level.  It’s a journey I hope to continue.  Deepest thanks to all of my coaches and “classmates” (co-sufferers / co-crazies) who keep me going (in mostly the right direction) each day!

Goal post coming soon.  Until then, thanks to 2018 for all the lessons.  Welcome 2019 and more changes for the better!