Do what you love…and do it often

What do you love to do? How often do you do it? I believe that we have each been blessed with passions in our hearts – and that these passions have purpose. Are you passionate about your day-to-day life? Sure, some parts of life are less than enjoyable, but think big picture. What excites you? What gives you energy and focus? When you find what you love and pursue it, life no longer feels so much like work – or so it is said.

A life transition This is your life

If you can make your passion your career – you are in a wonderful position. I recently made the decision to step away from making a full-time career of my passion – temporarily. I love the change in pace. I love working with incredibly intelligent individuals. I love having ‘normal’ work hours.

Although I am still in the position to significantly impact and improve lives – the outcome is different. The reward is different. And my level of passion is not the same. While my current position is an important stepping stone towards my dream, I am keeping my eyes set on what I love – while adding valuable experience to me expertise and increasing my credentials.

How do you do what you love?

Quit your job

Been there and done that – maybe too many times during my short time as a working adult. Thankfully, in most instances I had better opportunities lined up. If you do not like your job – find another one. Yes, this is easier said than done, but I have done it and it is worth it. During my career in publishing, all of my coworkers talked about “selling their souls” to the company – I was not going to allow myself to get sucked into that mentality. They were all miserable and content, in a  high stress, deadline-driven environment. I had to get out – for my mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Overall, does your job improve your life?

Stop watching TV

Do not have time? I hate that excuse. I do not let clients use it – and I dislike when I catch myself using it. It is a limiting belief. It is a default answer, and not always a sincere one. I have always managed to find time for everything – at times working full-time, part-time, and a full-time graduate student. And now, working full-time, part-time (in three different capacities) and working on my business plan. For Lent, my roommate and I gave up watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Thank goodness!! This has given me the time to write blog posts (as I seem to have become insanely busy).

The average U.S. adult watches 5 hours of television every day. EVERY DAY! This is amazing. Not only is this primarily sedentary time, it is time that we could use to do the things that we say we do not have time to do. I am guilty of watching a few hours of television most nights – and I am most often multi-tasking and not truly watching the television.

Can you watch less television?

Life is simple

I hope that my posts can help others to understand how simple many aspects of life are – particularly health and wellness. It may not be easy, but it is simple. The health and weight loss industry wants us to believe that everything is complicated – that is how they make money! Do not fall for it. Similarly, do not fall for the ‘easy’ gimmick solutions that charge a ton of money.

With regards to weight loss, health improvements, and fitness improvements, it is not as simple as fewer calories in and more calories out. However, it is very simple. Think Positively. Eat Mindfully. Move Intentionally.

How can you perceive life more simply?

Share your passion

It should be pretty obvious that I share my passion through this blog – among other ways. With energy and vigor. Sometimes I become heated about topics. Other times I am calm, collected, and share the inner workings of my heart and mind. Regardless, it is my passion educate and inspire others to make healthy lifestyle choices that improve quality of life. Through this blog, I am able to continue to live my dream.

What can you share?

Go out and start creating

And creating I am! I am building a strong foundation from which to launch my personal and professional dream. It is in the works. I have a few creative minds on my team (you know who you are!!) and we are moving surely but surely ahead. I am creating my niche. And I am creating happy, healthy people.

What can you create?

The bottomline

Life may not be easy, but it is simple. I am learning this more and more each day. I am also learning the value of living your dream – as I take this temporary step aside on the route to my dream (but still aligned – fear not). And I am more driven that ever to live MY dream.

“Whether you believe you can, or can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford

Finding more on a weight loss journey

A dear friend shares her journey and her heart.

To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. 
If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. – Alan Cohen

Often times, when we discuss love, it is in relation to our connections with others.  We give love anthropomorphic tendencies, describing its ability to create harmony, whether through our own personal connections or a universal exchange (that links all persons in a global community).  Discussions regarding self-love are relegated to conversations relating its pertinence in the face of limited self-worth.  The implicit necessity of loving one’s self is paramount in establishing worthwhile connections with others. 

Since this blog is about health & fitness, I will tailor this entry, relating self-love to my weight loss journey.   

Last summer I began a journey towards health & fitness, though my immediate goal revolved around losing a tremendous amount of excess weight, my exigent goal was to learn to love myself.  My excess weight was a reflection of my inner turmoil, my struggle to find acceptance (a struggle I presumed to be externally founded…. thereby, extrinsically resolved).  I assumed that loving myself would be a natural effect of changing the way I looked physically.  By changing my appearance, I would become more acceptable to others, allowing me to become more acceptable to myself.  This change would provide an avenue for me to establish connections with others (at that point I was socially isolated, spending tremendous amounts of time alone with limited social interactions) and increase my self-efficacy (believing I could accomplish the many goals I had set for myself).  To a degree these presumptions were accurate.  I have changed the way I look, I am more appealing to others and have a greater sense of comfort in my physique, but that has not translated itself into increased self-worth. 

There is still a sense of lacking and deficiency.  As I strive towards attaining what I believe to be the “perfect body” (for myself), I constantly have to face the impact of my limited self-worth. I am faced with the unhealthy habits I’ve developed, as I strive to love myself . . .. having formerly “loved” myself with food.  I developed a reliance on food to cope.  In the absence of self-acceptance and social relationships, food became an ally.  In losing weight, the foods I formerly relied on for comfort have become an enemy.  They no longer provide me with the same semblance of peace or “happiness”.  I have come to realize that my perception of myself is highly correlated to all of my struggles, I have to resolve my intrinsic feelings of worth, so that I may find the acceptance I long for.  The lack of connectedness I feel with others is greatly attributed to the lack of connection I feel with myself.  Changing my physiognomy has not changed the pertinence of answering these issues. 

photo (15)

I have to learn to love myself, to be comfortable in my own skin, to appreciate who I am.  I have to become whole.  I have to learn to live, because I’m tired of feeling dead to myself . . .. not knowing or appreciating the characteristics that make me a worthwhile individual.  It’s exciting, this concept of self-discovery.  But this undertaking is by no means easy.  This process has been laden with valleys and peaks.  It requires changing my mind, literally.  Reframing thoughts, addressing hurts, and examining fears.  Exchanging unhealthy behaviors that were once associated with loving myself for behaviors that truly reflect love for myself.  In doing so, I am hoping to experience the tranquility that comes with loving one’s self.  Partaking in the ubiquity of love, as it connects me to those I care for. 

I am grateful for those who are willing to love me along the way, as I learn to love myself.

What has your journey shown you that you did not expect?

A story about hula hoops

I previously posted about the value we assign objects when I discussed what I packed into my car to move across the country. I found it interesting, noting the items that made it into my car – like my label maker – and the items that did not – such as my diplomas. When a friend recently shared this image with me on Facebook, it made me think further about the value we assign to objects. Why? Because I would definitely lock up my hula hoop. In fact, I in a sense have locked up my hula hoop – for my hula hoop is safely sitting in storage.


The story of my hula hoop

I do not remember when it first started, but for YEARS, I have driven with a hula hoop in my trunk. I would guess 7 years? Everywhere I go – the hula hoop goes as well. I enjoy impromptu hula hoop contests and I often ensure that I also have a small, ridiculous prize in my trunk for the winner of said contest. The contest focus = who can hula hoop the longest length of time. This became a big hit at cabin weekends and bonfires. (Not as pig of a hit at family holidays).

How and why did this begin? I have no idea! But I do know I had found my childhood hula hoop in my parent’s garage and I found it to be great fun.

Hula Hoop Queen – 2008

The value of my hula hoop

In June 2012 I had to pack up my car – driving from Wisconsin to New York with no idea when I would be back. Everything I owned was either being sold or donated, put into storage, or put into my car. In retrospect, I believe that the items that made it into my car had the most value, the items in storage second in value, and the items sold or donated least value.

Despite the years it spent in my trunk, the hula hoop did not make it into the most valuable. Why not? Honestly, I wanted it in my car but I could not find a way to effectively make it fit in the car with the rest of my life – the hula hoop is awkwardly shaped and difficult to pack around.

However, the hula hoop DID make it into storage, while items like bedding were donated and my television was sold. Everything that held the most monetary value was sold – furniture, television, stereo, a computer, etc. Items that would be expensive and therefore difficult to replace down the road were not kept. But my hula hoop – an item which may cost $5 to replace – sits safely in storage waiting for me.

Hula hoop for fitness?

There are hooping fitness classes, but I am not about to get into that fad. I simply love the fun that comes with the activity. Most recently, I have worked to master the art of running while hula hooping. I believe this to be a priceless skill. It is important to note, however, that hula hooping is a great abdominal exercise. As such, I am a much stronger hula hooper in one direction versus the other! I had better practice my weaker movement!

The bottomline

I am not going to overanalyze this. I am not going to try and figure out what that means – putting my hula hoop into storage while ridding of other items. It is, however, interesting.

As I give significant consideration to becoming a minimalist (living with fewer than 100 items), I am assigning value to the items that I own. What items do you value?

If you had to move and could only take with you what fit into your car, what would you bring?

Final thought: I miss my hula hoop! Maybe I will go get it out of storage soon (along with my bike lock).

How many lemons = 8 oz. lemonade?

We have all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” As an overanalyzer I ask, “How many lemons do I need to make 8 ounces of lemonade?” and “When do I have enough lemonade?” I’ve asked these questions of numerous individuals and they have all laughed. True, there is some humor behind the questions. But in all seriousness — do you have the answer?

So, as any resourceful and inquisitive individual would do, I Googled it. The first hit led to a Yahoo answer for, how many lemons does it take to make a gallon of lemonade if the recipe asks for 1 quart of lemon juice? The best answer:

A 4 oz lemon (average size) yields 1.65 fl oz of juice according to the Book of Yields. There are 32 fl oz in a quart and 32/1.65 is 19.4.

I have to admit, I did not anticipate finding such a precise answer so quickly. The Internet is an amazing thing, but is it accurate? I realize that I have to do a little more math to actually determine how many lemons go into 8 ounces of lemonade, but this is truly irrelevant to my point. My real question: how many trials, how much turmoil, how much pain, etc. must we endure to rejoice in good favor?

One of my issues with this saying is that I do not really care for lemonade. (Yes, I am a literal thinker.) First, I avoid drinking calories at all costs. EXCEPTION – I am a coffee addict, but at approximately 5 calories per cup I do not concern myself with it. Second, I do not like bitter/sour/tart flavors. I am a sweets girl – but seen as I dislike adding sugar to make something more palatable, this inhibits my liking of lemonade – as most recipes require sugar or sugar substitutes (a big no-no!).

So, if I were to take my lemons, and make them into lemonade, what would I do with said lemonade? I am taking something aversive, making it into something that I do not find pleasure with, and giving it away to others? Do I then give it to individuals whom I like or to individuals whom I dislike? Does it matter?

What a dilemma! 

I am thinking. Hard. What is something lemon-like that I find pleasure in? I do not like the scent, so I avoid Lysol or anything lemon scented. Do I purchase anything related to lemons? Hmmmm — I have one product. I’ve got it! I will take MY lemons and make them into Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream! 

But I have not really solved the problem! Because – how many lemons do I need to make a useful amount of cuticle cream and how much cuticle cream do I really need? I mean – how many trials, how much turmoil, how much pain, etc. – a.k.a. lemons – must we endure to then yield pleasure?

The bottomline…

We tend to get caught up in the details in life. Does is really matter whether I like lemonade? The moral of the saying is that what is truly important is how we react as a result of our circumstances – and to life in general. We all get lemons – and we each get to choose what we will do with them.

What do YOU do with YOUR lemons?

There’s hope for 2013! Letting life happen

I didn’t workout on January 1, 2013. I had high hopes of completing a baseline workout that I will repeat in 3 months, but it didn’t happen. And you know what? I’m OKAY with that. I’m not ecstatic, however. I’m not proud. BUT, I’m not disappointed. I will do it today. And not being disappointed in myself is a HUGE step forward for this girl. Those who know me know that I struggle with guilt, disappointment, and negative self-talk when it comes to missing workouts. Unreasonable? Yes…but I work every day to overcome this negative tendency.

This small step in my mental and emotional being gives me GREAT HOPE for 2013. I am finding peace within me. I am finding peace with God. I am finding peace in my surroundings. And all without looking or trying too hard. I am just letting life happen. I’m finding love. While I’m struggling with purpose and combating feelings of failure, I am growing in unimaginable ways. I am more aware of the thousands of ways I am blessed. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year!!!

I have spent the last month or so determining how I am going to make 2013 the year of me. I have a tendency to lose myself, giving myself to my employer, my clients, my friends…and then there is nothing left for me. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the year of self-absorbed me. I am going to do for myself as I would do for others – which has been ignored for years. And I am going to focus on love – more importantly the love I do have. I am going to focus less on things and what I maybe do not have. I am going to let life happen in 2013. I am going to embrace life this year…and trust all that it has to offer.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age – Titus 2:11

More often than not, life transitions suck

Life transitions are stressful. Moving and job changes rank in the realms of the loss of a loved one. With that in mind, I might be a stress (adrenaline?) junkie. As we near the end of 2012, I can say I have experienced a lot of change in the past two years:

  1. Began graduate school, initially part-time, while working a full-time plus and a part-time job.
  2. 4 months later – quit my stable and secure full-time job in favor of a more risky position that would provide me more flexibility for school and the ability to work from home.
  3. 1 month later – complete meltdown from at-home work. Quit full-time job, began full-time graduate school, picked up hours at part-time job (which quickly became full-time).
  4. 3 months later – left independent living to begin renting from an acquaintance – ROOMMATE!!!
  5. 1 year 7 months later – pack up everything for storage or my road trip to NY for a 3 month position. Live in a hotel…21-year-old roommate…
  6. 4 months later – drive to San Antonio, briefly live in a 2-bedroom apartment with 3 other people, work in a resort, and FAIL.

I can laugh about it now, because it is one of those laugh or cry type of situations. While I have a plethora of options, none are all that appealing. And as I look for work the biggest decision of all is what to do in the meantime. Stay in Texas..back to New York…home to Wisconsin…or none of the above. The positive is that I am the only one depending on me. But that sure is overwhelming. And stressful.

How do I cope? How do I find direction and clarity in a time of such uncertainty? I have the song lyrics in my head, should I stay or should I go now… because I just don’t know what to do. For most decisions in my life, I’ve made a list of pros and cons for the options. Any day could be the day that I move and have a place to go…until then, I am quite tempted to get a job at Starbucks…coffee makes me happy! But I am ready to settle. I am ready to have a place to call home and make mine. Because transitioning from one place to the other, living in other people’s homes, really sucks.