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Posts Tagged ‘happiness

So, I went away for a while. Weeks became months. And I was ashamed to write this post….. because it had been so long.

But I chose to face my shame and show up here again. In the past three months, I have been in a major car accident (luckily I was driving a safe car and made it out only with whiplash) and in the hospital only to have major surgery to correct a problem that had been building up more than I knew. Suffice it to say…… I am much, much healthier now. It’s a change I should have made a long time ago.

But having dodged two major medical bullets during the month of March (the hospitalization and the car crash were within 9 days of each other), my life’s purpose is starting to become more clear. There’s still quite a bit of fog, but a few things are obvious:

  • The little annoyances? They’re just little. Driving through traffic… things like that? In the big picture, who cares. Running out of walnuts for a recipe? Eh, use pecans. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Good friends are priceless. See them as often as you can. You don’t know where you will be tomorrow.
  • Life is too short to waste time. I’ve been selling things I don’t care about and clearing my life of clutter, and I make a living teaching private sessions at a Pilates studio. Very gratifying. Once upon a time, I wasted my life in Corporate America…..
  • There is a bigger purpose for me out there. No, I’m not getting all woo-woo New-Agey or religious on you, but I have some big projects in mind. On a smaller scale, I help with organization of my community band and have coordinated a few social events–creating a sense of community (sorely lacking these days). I also have a few larger-scale ideas…
  • And much, much more! (said in best infomercial voice)

Aside from deep thoughts and finding gratifying work…

kale!


I made a veggie salad composed of sushi ingredients!


And we painted part of our kitchen purple!

I’ve been trying a lot of interesting healthy recipes. Some hits, some misses… but that’s the point of trying, right? I’ll let you know of some of the good ones!

‘Til then, folks… stay healthy!

Hi, everybody!

The month is slowly coming to a close… just a few more days! And I’m 7 miles from my running goal this month: slowly, steadily, I’ve been getting there! (Despite our terrible weather–last week’s snow and ice storm–I’ve managed to nearly make it there… and there’s still time! So, I will get there!)

How are y’all doing with your goals? I’m happy to be your cheering section! Aim high! You can do it!

So, no recipes today, but I found a bunch of funny stuff to hopefully put a smile on your face. Even if you’re not having the best day, maybe looking at these sites (and clicking through ’em a bit more, if you so desire) will get your spirits up… and in the mood for a workout that you hadn’t planned on! Or something like that.

1. A shirt only a chemist could love

2. I don’t know what this says about me… but this is something I don’t get. I have a chapstick on my shelf that I got in Switzerland several years ago that I’m still going through (it has French and German on the side, so I know which one it is)… maybe I don’t lose them because I don’t carry a purse? I dunno. I just tend not to lose things… No comprendo.

3. The expressiveness of old cars can be amazing!

4. Maybe this is merely anatomy teacher humor (something I’ve previously done)… but it has me rolling. Hopefully you get a chuckle, too!

5. OK… this one’s just a lame pun. But I like lame puns! And hopefully you do, too.

Laughing yet? I hope so! That was my goal today. I read something about laughing burning 40 calories in 15 minutes… eh, who laughs for 15 minutes straight, anyway? We could always try…

Keep on smiling! And, if you haven’t yet, pick a small goal to get you through to the end of the month! 🙂

So… I’m not one for resolutions, for the same reasons as everyone else… (you go all-out for a few weeks, and then what? Strong and steady in the long run is what’s gonna win, right?)

I’m also not much of one for this “new year” business. It’s just a day on a calendar. (It’s a great excuse for a celebration, but aside from that… why save all of your do-gooding until the beginning of the year? I got back in town on December 27th at 12:30 am… and recommitted to my fitness plan on December 27th. That was my “new year”.) Every day, you wake up with a new opportunity to do something healthy for yourself!

That said, I’m taking a cue from Chris Brogan, an online business guru, and I’ve come up with my word to set the tone for the year. What’s one word (or, a few, if you can’t come up with just one) that you want to focus your life on this year?

My word, this year, is comeback. It didn’t hit me until this morning how dedicated I’ve been in my return to my former self, as though the past year and a half have been a mere bump in the road. (In the past 20 months, I’ve been through two major hip surgeries–the second to fix the first–and then got seriously ill last summer, and needed months of recovery and rehab to get through the effects of that.) Now, I’ve returned to teaching several group fitness classes per week, and I’m starting half marathon training again… in other words, I’m well on the road to the former me.

Along the way, I’m taking a lot of time to think about whether or not I want to continue along this same journey, or if I’ll modify it slightly–but the key focus is getting my body back in line again. And it’s doing fine, so far! (with a fair amount of effort! This doesn’t come for free!)

I really believe that having a long-term focus–even on the scale of a month, or several months–helps us plan what we’re going to do on a daily basis. And that helps us live healthier, happier lives! All good, eh?

So, what is your word for the year? How will you set your tone for the next several months?

OK. You caught me.

I was a bit absent last week. Mea culpa! But I orchestrated a big event, for me: I rented a neighbors’ cabin out at a lake, invited 6 friends (one of them being a yoga instructor), and we held our very own yoga and hiking retreat. I planned and cooked all of the food. I’d say it was a success–and everyone else has been saying the same! I was thoroughly swamped last week, and I’m still catching up, but I can cross the “host a yoga retreat” goal off of my “40 things before 40” list.

Or… maybe now, I could try to create retreats for strangers… hmmm… ???

Anyway, I’m back! I was inspired by a recent post at Carrots and Cake to start listing, in each of my posts, a few things that just make me feel happy. (The idea being… that you, as readers, do the same thing–whether it’s on paper or in your head!) So, here are a few things that make me happy today:

  • My dwarf Japanese maple just starting to change color–he is gorgeous!
  • Satsuma lotion from the Body Shop (it smells like summer)
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice after a run

Think about the little things that make you happy… I’d love to hear about ’em!

And now, for a few more things to make you happy…

1. Cute teapot.

2. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin recipes! But what do you do if you’re left with only a tiny bit in the can? Ideas for that last bit of leftover pumpkin.

3. The artist’s/creative’s credo…

4. You are what you eat…

5. One last Halloween food idea to decorate your cheeseburgers (or garden burgers, or whatever burger you choose…)

Have a great rest of the week, and remember to think about the the little things that make you happy! Report back here! 🙂

Hey, gang!

Hope everything’s well! My theme of the day (week?) is gratefulness. My body has been through so much the past 18 months or so… including two major hip surgeries (the first one didn’t go so well). No one really knew how I was going to recover, but I was given the green light to do anything, as long as it didn’t hurt beyond the usual residual soreness.

Guess what–this former marathoner has been RUNNING for the past two weeks!

(OK, so right now, my definition of “run” is “walk 3 minutes, run 2 minutes, repeat to total 30 minutes”–and it’s really hard for me–but after so much time away from running, this is my way to build back up.)

I am so GRATEFUL that my body is able to do this! I had no idea if running was ever going to be an option again. I’m taking it slowly and not jumping ahead toward marathons yet–thinking of 5K’s in my future, in case my body isn’t up for distance–but I’m just happy to be moving the pavement under my feet.

Here are some interesting tidbits for this week!

1. Ah, how stalking has changed.

2. Oh boy. What our pets do while we’re away.

3. Fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon chips–great healthy recipe for a party (or…. to mosh the whole thing by yourself)! I’d love to try this with regular salty chips, too, since I love sweet/savory combos.

4. It’s getting to be that time of year–how about some homemade pumpkin butter?

5. Have you tried oven-roasted chickpeas? If not… you’re missing out. Cheap, easy, healthy snack! Here’s a recipe for an Indian-spiced variety of chickpeas.

Have a great rest of the week! I’d love to hear what all of you are grateful for! It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our day-to-day lives–let’s think of things to be thankful of in the grand scheme of things!

The only guaranteed moment we have in life is this one, right now. Cherish it, make the most of it.

Ten years ago today, ordinary people like you and me got on planes and went into the office, thinking it was just another day. Maybe they didn’t get a chance to hug their child that morning. Maybe they were too rushed to see the sunrise.

I encourage you to treat each day as a special opportunity. Dance in the rain. Sing in the sunshine. Savor each strawberry. Hold your friends and family close.

Each and every day. Make each moment we have count.

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As practitioners and teachers of bodywork (Pilates, yoga, massage—it doesn’t matter which modality) we frequently remind our clients to enjoy the present moment, to let go of the stresses of the day (can’t change the past) and not to worry about what lies ahead. Though I often speak of this, do I really walk the walk?

Just a few hours ago, I realized how much tension I was holding about the supposed future, about data I don’t yet have. My mind was spinning stories. I was doing everything I tell my clients not to do.

If you just joined in: in the beginning of July, after a bad bout with flu and sinus infection, I completely lost my voice, which has still not improved. In theory, it’s a temporary (on the order of months to maybe a year) nerve injury. My otolaryngologist has sent me for several tests to rule out other problems before pursuing a potential temporary semi-fix. (Yes, lots of qualifiers there. I’m staying hopeful.)

Yet, yesterday, rather than simply scheduling the consult appointment for the procedure to fix me (in theory), which was the original plan, the new plan is apparently to send me for more consultations with another ENT, a neurologist, perhaps someone who specializes in larynx problems……

It suddenly hit me: why the change in plans? Is there something the first round of tests found that I wasn’t told about? Should I be worried? I know the body all too well, and started going through the mental checklist of deadly diseases…..

And then I reminded myself of what I tell my clients: live in the present moment. Right now is the only guaranteed time we have.

The tendrils of worry started to release their grasp from around my brain. If there is a serious problem, I’ll find out in my appointment next week with the doctor. Until then, I’m not going to let the unknown ruin my precious days.

Hi!

It RAINED here yesterday. What, do I live in Seattle? (ahem. OK, so I do.) Lots of rain.

But you know what? It had actually been sunny for a few weeks. (Alert the media! The Great Wet Northwest was sunny! Wait, it had been alerted. It was in the news.) And to me, the few days’ break in the sun is nice.

In life, we learn to find the joy in the sunny days as well as in the rainy days.

This past weekend, I attended Pilates On Tour, a continuing education conference for Pilates instructors (and practitioners) put on by Balanced Body Pilates. This was my first time at this type of event, and I was impressed! If you’re as much of a geek as I am about kinesiology, movement, and Pilates, you can get a small taste of what it was like to take courses from the gurus by watching podcasts at the Balanced Body website. I’m looking forward to the next Pilates On Tour!

And now, a few interesting and informative links for your entertainment (while I still have a network connection):

1. These chocolate bowls look easy to make, and would be great filled with ice cream (sinful) or sliced fresh fruit (better)!

2. Periodic table of heavy metal artists.

3. Fantastic idea: spiff up your ordinary cork board/message center with some vintage frames.

4. Here’s something I could definitely use: a vegetable cooking cheat sheet. Tells you how long to boil, steam, or saute a variety of different vegetables!

5. Have I mentioned Katie’s Snickerdoodle Pancakes before? If I haven’t, they’re amazing. Make them NOW. I’m going to try them in my mini Belgian waffler next. So tasty, you don’t need butter or syrup.

And with that… we’re having utility work done in our neighborhood in a matter of minutes, so I’m signing off while I still have a network connection! See you soon…

Hi, Friends.

I’m typically not much of a Wednesday poster, but inspiration struck (duck and cover!) and I totally felt the need to get this out to you.

While driving yesterday, I realized how much time I’d lost this past week wallowing over this freak vocal cord nerve injury. And before that, I’d probably done the same over the hip surgery that didn’t go well (in 2010) and had to be redone, plus some.

But why waste time crying over things out of our control? None of us are getting any younger.

It’s fine to feel sorry for ourselves, true. And I’ve found that sometimes, the current path just seems so unbearable that I just can’t find focus and have to chill out. But either to ourselves or others, it just becomes the broken record after a while. And just like a broken record, it continues on the same useless pathway. At some point, we have to pack up and move on as best we can.

Which is what I have done and have continued to do. And you know what? This approach has shown me opportunities I never would’ve imagined, if I’d been left to continue along my same road.

OK, so the Leprechaun of Ideas doesn’t jump onto your shoulder at 2pm every afternoon. (I wish! But then, we’d all be rich.) This takes some brainpower. But think of it this way: you’re developing awesome critical thinking skills!

Case In Point 1: prior to my first hip surgery (April 2010), I was running a fitness business with two corporate clients and a few private clients as well as teaching fitness classes for 4-5 gyms. I wanted to expand my business, but I didn’t have time to think about how to do that, or to do it at all… despite being married to an MBA in marketing. Surgery #1 led to complications and Surgery #2. After the requisite feeling sorry for myself, I got going and put my brain to work. I talked to other instructors. I did some marketing (and learned what does and doesn’t work in this area and field). I hired more contractors. I expanded my business to include other types of classes. I even tried a second business (which… didn’t work, but it was a great learning experience!). I now proudly call myself a small business owner!

When I was getting ready to teach again (that is, working for others), I almost didn’t want to let previous employers know I was available. I preferred having the time to strategize for myself! (Though, gotta say that I do like the steady income stream that I get from bigger companies.)

Case In Point 2: My current struggle. Just when I literally got my feet under me to teach again (and also got a college class to teach in the fall), I have a timeline of potentially three months until I can talk again. This hit me from out of nowhere–I didn’t anticipate this sort of limitation when I was dreaming up projects to take me into the end of the year and going forward.

But life has a way of throwing us curveballs, doesn’t it? And again… we can’t stand still while it blows past us. To me, that just isn’t living!

So, during the next few (loooonnngggg) months, other than non-work-related stuff such as improving my piano playing and cleaning up the jungle that is my backyard, I’ve come up with four work-related projects that don’t require speaking:

1. Getting my body back to the strength that it was before Hip Surgery #1 (which was the best shape of my life other than torn hip cartilage)

2. Make a new trifold brochure for my business, now that I offer Zumba classes, which may get me more corporate business (and plan a guerrilla marketing attack for the beginning of the year!!!)

3. Keep going on the….. (book) that I write in spurts. Since I’m oh-so-experienced in rehab (plus 500-hour Pilates certified), I’ve been working on a… document, in laymans’ terms, to help people recover from injury using Pilates-based exercise. I need to redouble efforts.

4. Lower priority, but script videos. I intend to create a YouTube channel of short videos that, once again, use Pilates-based exercise to help people reduce pain in various parts of their body. Big goal of mine in life is to help the world feel better without pharmaceuticals! (Ironic, given my masters’ degree in pharmaceutical chemistry…)

See? It takes a little bit of the gerbil running in that mental wheel, but you can come up with some fruitful projects that will get you toward your life/career goals, despite current limitations. (Try to make your projects meaningful, rather than, say, learning Swahili. Unless you are absolutely taken by the Swahili language, and by all means, go for it!)

Maybe by the end of allllll of this… I won’t need or want to go back to working for the man at all. Now, wouldn’t that be a hoot? Having had illnesses and injuries that supposedly take me out of work for a combined few years, but during that time, I end up generating a successful income stream. That would be amazing, and it’s my goal.

I encourage all of you to share this with anyone who’s going through a rough time in life! Any rough patch can be turned around… and can lead you into more exciting territory!!

I posted this about a year ago. But with college and school graduations going on, vacations aren’t far behind! It’s high time we revisit these ideas.

So, you’ve been sticking to your plan—eating well, exercising regularly. Great! But along comes the vacation you’ve been looking forward to for months. What do you do?

Don’t lose hope! Do not abandon ship!

Rather than giving up on your fitness agenda while you’re away, keep your eye on the long-term prize! Here are a few ideas that will keep you going, whether it’s for fun or for work.

1. Take a stroll to see the local sights. When you whiz through the neighborhood in a car, you barely get to see what’s around you. Instead, if you go for a walk or run, you have more leisure time to take in your surroundings. Walking the ‘hood around my hotel is one of my favorite activities when I’m staying somewhere new. And it gets the heart pumping faster, it gets you out in the sun, and it makes you feel more refreshed and alive! (Makes you feel less guilty about that extra ice cream, too.)

2. Do try the local cuisine! But remember that it doesn’t have to be the sauce-laden specialty. Many of us vacation along the coast in the summer, and coastal regions are known for grilled fish. I’m just pointing out that some of the tasty local foods are actually healthy and potentially lower in calories than what you’d have at home. However, please don’t sacrifice trying something local and yummy if you think it will “wreck the diet”. You only live once, and if you’re good most of the time, it’s OK!

3. Please enjoy yourself on the vacation, and don’t stress out about losing weight! That is to say, this might be a better time to focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing. As I said earlier, this may be your only time visiting this part of the world, so live it up! On the other hand, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… right. 😉

When you get back from vacation, your same healthy habits will be there, waiting for you! (They might be jealous that they didn’t go on the vacation.)

How do you all stay on track when you’re on vacation?


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