Welcome to the August 2014 edition of my newsletter! I am humbled by those of you who have subscribed and take this time to express my sincere thanks :) If you have already been thanked earlier, know that appreciation can never be expressed enough!
I hope that when you read my newsletter, it will reinforce to you that self expression is not only a good thing, but it's also freeing. I love to write and also listen to others' thoughts and ideas - oh what we can learn from each other! I am an open book. I love to exchange ideas and thrive off of what we can teach each other.
My husband has said many times, that I am honest to a fault. Please know that when I speak to you here in this newsletter and in person, I speak in truth and love. I would never under value or say negative things to take a step up and over someone. It is not in my make up. I have personally experienced this in my own life, and would never put anyone else through what I see as nothing more than a cruel insecure projection.
Remember to reach out to all sorts of people too, not just those who are familiar. Even those who appear on the outside as insecure or angry as often times these are people whom no one has ever listened to; perhaps they're lonely. Don't let anyone steal your thunder though or divert you from your own journey. Remain true to yourself and find someone or better yet a group of people to mutually celebrate the goals and milestones you've reached. Allow the common thread that secures you to become even stronger. Celebrate theirs too!
I am privileged to have some trusted and unique people in my own life and always have room for more - I love creative, thoughtful and kind people! I hope you have found a few gems in your life too! Never let them go as they will be your pillars when others try to diminish you or take your foundation away. If you have not yet discovered anyone who reflects your beauty back to you, have faith, they will arrive if you are open to receive them.
It's important to know too that if any people in your life do not celebrate you for your own unique self (as I'm sure you do theirs) just move on with love in your heart - don't let their angry words or actions infect you personally. We all deserve to be valued so surround yourself with good people. Vent to a trusted friend; don't spread gossip. Be there for each other and rise above if people try and pigeon hole you for someone you are not. Embrace yourself, you are your own best friend!
The aim in writing my newsletter is to be open to you to allow you to reflect on your own lives and to encourage you to always resolve issues rather than perpetuate them. Life is too short. Even if it means walking away on friendly terms, do what is best for you, no judgment.
It is my intent that the things that I share, like what I just shared above, are said to inspire you to take steps somewhere new in your own life - maybe even revisit a place you thought was no longer needed. Of course, you're free to sit back and just watch me - no judgment - but if you want do more: join me, risk it, have courage and start on a path of imperfection of your own. We can imperfectly delve into uncharted territory together! So please keep on reading!
If you are new to my website and newsletters, greetings! I'm honored that you take the time to read what I write. Check out my previous monthly newsletters on my website too!
POEM OF THE MONTH
I will always find
My way back to
No matter if others
Try to take me from
With words of conflict and lies
Or if I appear to stray
You need never worry
Know I am here
Always in the back of my mind
Will be the goal
To find my way back to
As is mine for
Forever I am tied to you
I will look for
And I will find
Wherever you are
Your belief in me
Words of wisdom
Who has never tried to make believe
A world that does not exist for me
I adore you
And for this
I am thankful
Are a gift I will not let go of
Will forever humble me
I will always fight for
As I know you will always fight for me
For no matter
Tries to take
In physical or emotional form
Will be there
Will be there for
“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Summer is in full swing and as I've watched the green grass turn brown, I can't help but reflect on the personal growth in my own life. I feel this year that a part of my spirit has shed. I think now about that which has come to pass and that which will find its way into my being in the next little while. I can't help to ask what it that I want now, what is it that I need and who is this person that now defines me; am I even happy?
I think it's important for each of us to pause in our own lives now and then to allow ourselves time to assess if we are headed in a direction that fulfills us. These pauses challenge us to sometimes move off of paths that we are comfortable on, but that no longer nourish our souls in the ways they once used to. It may feel at times a bit scary, but doing so will allow us to continue to grow and not become stagnant. Let yourself become that person you should be, that who you have strived to be - the authentic you.
So, I challenge anyone reading this to take the time to assess where they are at in their own lives. Being the open book I am, I don’t mind sharing, I'll answer my questions here on the written page, without fear:
Now what is it that I want? Well what I both need to give and receive is love. I think that at the end of our lives, we all look inside ourselves before we take that last breath and will have no thoughts of if the house is clean, the taxes are filed, the bills are paid or if you remembered to run a marathon. I think we will; however, think about how well we did when we gave and received love. I believe that we all want love and we all yearn to give love. I myself am in love with love but and this is a big BUT only if it's given to me unconditionally as I do my best to do, without unwritten contracts attached. Don't ever allow love in your life if someone has conditions attached to it. It is not true love if it is love given with consequences that leave you in a constant state of pain.
Secondly, I struggle to maintain the me in me because I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am open for other's projections of how they feel about themselves. This is a work in progress and I'm happy to report that I'm getting stronger because I've learned that I've become much better equipped to deflect. It helps having a supportive family and friends to reach out to that steady me when I wobble.
Rather than absorb others feelings of their own inadequacies, I recently learned a "dodge ball technique - thanks mystery person, the words "dodge ball" should ring a bell for you as to who you are! Simplified this means you either catch an imaginary dodge ball (another person's problem) throw it back to them (sending their problems back to them - their circus, their monkeys) or you simply step to the side and let the ball (filled with their troubles) blow on by. I prefer the latter and practice it whenever I recognize that someone is trying to get me to own something that is their stuff to work through.
Finally, what I am working on is no longer accepting the lie that people have tried to throw at me in anger that I expect too much. Like I said above, all I wish for from anyone I meet is to have a relationship sprinkled with love and truth, no drama. This is not asking too much, this is asking to share a positive and healthy relationship with another. Do I screw up, say the wrong thing, absolutely, I am human. But when it happens to me I forgive. I know I am low maintenance as I am an introvert when it comes to thinking. I am truthful and honest and that's what gets me into trouble. The defense mechanism people use to divert my honesty that they don't want to hear is to convince themselves that I'm high maintenance rather than see that I'm just a person looking for honesty that is reflected both ways. I am working to find a network of people in my life who embrace me and my authentic self. As I said we are all beautiful so let your beauty shine! Express yourselves and communicate so that you don't end up being a mere messenger of words that others twist so they can test the waters. Trust me, a true friend will ask you your opinion. A true friend validates your words and listens. My goal this year is to cultivate more of these wonderful people into my own life. I have the room and the love to give. Think about doing that in your own life too! It's so inspiring! You can count me as a friend of your authentic self too!
This summer has been a hot one and working out in the sunshine has been tough, but exhilarating at the same time. It's great to be alive! It's like my winter outdoor work outs, cold but remind me that every cell of my body is there with me!
I celebrated one year on July 15th of joining the fitness group I have been working out with, Wholly Fit, and wow time has flown by!
Just recently a group of us from Wholly Fit participated in the Mud Mulisha at Shawnigan Lake and I had a blast! There's something about tom boy activities that as I'm sure you know I find exhilarating and empowering! Perhaps it has something to do with my brothers chucking my dolls in the air when I was five years old, saying they were just pieces of plastic and having me build go-carts, run through the bushes, build forts, climb trees and be at the beach to swing for hours on a rope swing with them instead ;)
What was even more incredible about Mud Mulisha was that my son and some of the other kids of the Wholly Fitters competed in the Mud Mulisha's kids event. It was so endearing to watch these little people run around, using teamwork to achieve their goals. Like, Jenn, the owner/trainer, of Wholly Fit recently said:
"Introducing kids to the outdoors, sports, athletics, fun runs, etc is such an amazing gift. The love of being active can be a lifelong family venture."
My son flourishes in events that he and his momma can do together. During his event at Mud Mulisha, I saw him checking to see if his teammates would look back for him, which of course they did. I could see he purposely slowed himself. Kids are great examples for parents. They're simple, yet truthful and carefree. To watch his teammates pulling him out of the water and across the finish line warmed my heart! I celebrated that he was amongst people who cared for him.
This year I've worked hard to incorporate fitness into my life. I've set up some simple goals and some more difficult ones. The one that I'm excited to take part in and holds precedence is this year's Tough Mudder. I'm up to the challenge and fired up to become a part of an elite group of people who aspire to be something more for themselves - to push themselves beyond their limits. I have signed up, I'm training and I've even taken on a new person too to help me over the hump of my halving the dosage of medication I have been on in the past 2 or 3 years for nerve damage done as a result of my brain surgeries after my stroke. I'm so proud of myself that this last year I reached a point of being able to do this. Admittedly, it's been hard and strenuous not only me, but also on my poor husband and son. I'm so thankful they have stuck beside me and held me on this ride.
The process has been that my brain has had to rewire around nerve pain. Some side effects have been short lived: upset stomach, bone pain, mental anguish, the chills and sweating profusely - Sarah at Wholly Fit is familiar with this ;) The long term side effects that last a few months have been way worse though and, in fact, had me facing the loss of my place in my fitness group. Although I have been private about my side effects, it was relayed to my trainer that I was acting differently and that I was unhappy with her and the group as a whole. This is and was never true. Side effects have included boredom, insomnia, self-doubt, restless legs, mood swings, depression and more. So, you can understand how I may have seemed off. Also, when I go to bootcamp this is the time of day when my withdrawal symptoms are at their peak as I have taken out this latter day pill. I am hopeful that these long term side effects will end soon for me as it's been difficult the last while. I wasn't aware it was that apparent to anyone other than to my husband actually! My second stage of withdrawal has taken longer because my effective neurotransmitter levels and nerve conduction parameters are trying to return to normal, pre-medication levels. As my body was used to a certain level of medication, the reduction has reeked a bit of havoc. The last two weeks have been real hard with me having trouble sleeping. I am trying to think positive though and that I must be getting close to resuming my normal self. Besides, I kind'a like my sleep ;)
I am thankful that I am not an addict to my medication for nerve damage where I crave to return to using it at its previous higher level. My heartfelt empathy goes to anyone who battles with true drug addiction. I don't ever want to be at the level of medication I was on again! I just want to get through this phase of discord! Commitment to fitness has made my reduction possible. I am lucky to have found Jenn when I did! Our meeting with our boys in kindergarten class together was fate.
So, what is the message here, having faced death's door twice, nothing impales my spirit. I will rise above, I will work harder to overcome nerve pain and make every effort to be a person who succeeds. I will conquer obstacles just like I did on June 9, 2003, when someone decided it might be lights out for me . . . wrong . . . ;) I so hope you can gain confidence from me, if you need it. We all can rise above, it's mind over our bodies. Let your mind be in control and let it decide to show the world the best possible you! Don't let insecurities or others stand in your way or bring you down.
Remember that no matter your age, always focus on success. Turn off the inner, don't listen to the naysayers, and ignore the looks of the younger people who give you the look in their eyes as though to say, "Why the heck is you going to a fitness class, you're too old!" And just do it! You will succeed, your measure of success will never reach anyone else goals or dreams. It is unique to you.
For my next goal of conquering Tough Mudder, I'm admittedly a bit worried as I know it will be a hard task to pull off, but I'm inspired and will dedicate my race to all stroke survivors. I am no longer defined by my stroke. I left that on the mountain for my fitness challenge :0) I wrote in depth and at length throughout my challenge for people who suffer in silence and are scared to show who they are inside. I'm not. I love myself :) I am proud of my accomplishment and from where I come from. I hope to inspire! As far as me and stroke, I will put a small plug in for signs of stroke here - remember the three simple questions if you suspect someone is having a stroke:
Can they raise your arms and keep them up?
Can they smile?
Can they repeat a simple sentence?
If no, call 9-1-1 immediately!
Above all remember the most important thing for comeback after a stroke or any serious illness you survive is fitness. I am living proof that we can overcome.
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon sliced red onion, cut lengthwise
4 cups cubed watermelon
3/4 cup and 2 teaspoons cubed English cucumber
1/4 (8 ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
cracked black pepper
In a small bowl, pour lime juice over red onions. Allow to marinate while assembling the salad.
Gently combine the watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese, and cilantro in a large bowl. Season with black pepper. Toss watermelon salad with marinated onions and season with sea salt just before serving.
Are you looking for a boot camp to "be the best version of yourself" and live in Victoria, BC? If so, check out Wholly Fit's website at http://whollyfitvictoria.com/ and sign up.
Next month is September! Wow where did the summer go! Yes, I still have some things to do but I know some of you are still with me, waiting for me to release my stroke eBook and me so appreciate it. Let the last moments of summer embrace you, like a good old worn ball glove. Let it smells mingle amongst the new growth in your own life and take a moment to pause and celebrate. This summer has been a learning experience for me. I go out to the future months not 100% sure the exact direction I am headed. I'm used to this in my life. It promises growth and I will definitely be learning something. Sometimes in life, we walk a little less partied. But if you hold fast to everyone who loves you for who you, and hold tight to each of your dreams, you will get there one step at a time, I promise! Feel free to follow along on my journey or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!