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Archive for May, 2010

Someone said to me last week that pleasure is tension released.  Hmmm…. I know how this sounds… and yes, THAT is true  😉 BUT  we were talking about TV shows and her point was simply this – a writer creates the feeling of happiness by first creating conflict.    If the only outcome was for the hero to win we would experience, at best, contentment, but if there is a chance of failure or of losing, then when the hero perseveres we feel pleasure.  I mean, just imagine the boredom of watching an episode of “Survivor” where they do a challenge following a catered meal or “The Bachelorette” where all the guys are nice, rich, and actually single (yes Wes, I loved to hate you)!

A good example of pain creating pleasure is working out.  Today I had my toughest workout in six months.  I thought about it for a day beforehand, dreaded it throughout warmup, then almost puked and passed out during it.  And when I finished?  Well, it was the BEST feeling ever.  I’m not sure if it was the relief that it was over, or more likely the massive surge of endorphins (and it’s no coincident how our bodies do that!)  I felt unreal, and almost euphoric.

And extend those endorphin rushes to a bigger perspective of life.  There is truly nothing like overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream -Look at Joannie Rochette’s Olympic medal.  The death of her mother made her routine so powerful and as we all held our breath to see the final score, the floodgate of tears revealed that it meant more than all of the other bronze medals. It was not actually about the end result- there is something about what happens in the middle that makes it all more meaningful.

I think that we not only react to tension and conflict, but we actually create it in order to feel the emotions that follow. I know that it sounds masochistic but bear with me.. People love to fight in relationships.  There is something in us that feeds off of and creates drama.   I mean, to do this to ourselves means there must be something in it for us right?  I think that we sometimes just naturally create the tension we need to feel that spike in pleasure.  And I’m not advocating for this, just noticing that we have this in us.  Maybe when it gets boring, or easy, we shake it up so that we feel alive.   I mean, isn’t that what makeup sex is all about?  And isn’t it the best kind of sex?  Just saying…

My most interesting, fun, fulfilling times have definitely been the ones with a little drama, and my greatest accomplishments have been after my toughest times.  I always try to remember that without the dark, you can’t experience the light.  To have one, we need the other.  And in fact, maybe when the dark comes, when things get tough, and when tension rises, that’s our sign that something great is coming our way! I mean, a little tension might just be worth the price we have to pay for pleasure 🙂 Here’s to the masochist in all of us and in the words of the World’s Greatest:

There are no pleasures in a fight but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
Muhammad Ali

Yep.  I get it.

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you vs. me Tyra 😉

So I did a photo shoot the other day with Vivvos (www.facebook.com/vivvos) and it was a mix of things- nervewracking (seriously what qualifies me to be doing a photoshoot?), exciting (yay I get to do a photoshoot!), easy (just smile), difficult (look intense?), and fun (Tomasz you rocked! http://mananetwork.net).  Just standing there looking like myself brought all of these experiences to me and what seemed so simple… “look like you”, has much more complexity than I thought.

Looking back on my small obsession with America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), I had never really understood what made a good photo from an average one.  Tyra would say

“it’s not this -[insert dead eye, “pretty”pose here],  “it’s fierce like this- [insert new and improved  pose here], as she demonstrates the difference.

As much as her shameless self promotion annoyed me, she had a point.  It was all in the eyes.  It was about convincing people that you were fierce, in that moment.

I alike it to someone telling you about something in their life… maybe it’s about their job, or their plans, or their boyfriend or girlfriend and even though their words say one thing, you just absolutely know that they feel differently?  And it comes off as fake, as trying, and as inauthentic?  Maybe they are telling you about a new guy, trying to act like it’s no big deal and you just KNOW its more – and they don’t get why you keep grilling them!  It’s because their words are futile…. you can see the truth in their eyes.  And we all have this ability to be able to see the truth, even with strangers.

That’s what a bad picture is.  Trying to seem fun, or intense, or powerful.  It comes off simply as trying, and there’s a weirdness to that.  I got some amazing advice yesterday from a woman who is a networking whiz.  We were talking about a project of mine and her advice was simple – be yourself.  Find a way to make this project about the depths of who I am so that I never come off as selling, or convincing or trying.  That is the authenticity in it.  And what an amazing way to live, to work, to date.  Know who you are and just do things that you are about!

It all becomes easy at that point.  When I was on the beach, the real turn around happened when I started to actually have fun, to feel intense, to feel pretty.  When my dead eyes came alive with energy and passion… When my inner Tyra stepped in and rather than worrying about how it would turn out, I just made it about that moment.  And while I am clearly no catwalking diva, for a minute I was a model (damn, anything is possible!)

So as in most people’s life, as one project is done,  new projects will emerge, new games will be played and the goal is just this – keep creating depth about who we are.  Be it and be true to it and the rest falls into place.  In volleyball, I think it’s official that I am not this zen chilled out player.  And that’s okay as long as I don’t keep trying to be! Just like when I date a guy just because he is successful, or really cute and I just don’t have that feeling.  My doe-eyed ANTM look comes out and I coast through the conversation, uninspired and definitely not my best.  Because it doesn’t ring true to who I actually am.

So here’s to knowing who we are, digging deep and, of course, “working the camera”  [insert annoying shameless self promoting Tyra pose here]  😉

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So I was in Edmonton this past week and it was awesome.  It’s really true that home is where the heart is.  I mean, I love the ocean, the mountains, the city, the sand… Edmonton has none of this but for some reason it felt right.  Some of my best friends, my family, and good ol’ wholesome values live in Edmonton, and as I grow wiser (note that I didn’t say older 😉 ! ), I see how important these things are to me.

I spent some major time with a couple of my best friends, who are married with kids.  Their perspective is really unique to me because almost all of my friends in Vancouver and LA are single, and spending almost all of their time building their careers and lives and looking for someone who fits into the picture.  As we grow older, we have become fiercely independent, exceptionally choosy, and are constantly seeking “the best”.  And yet we are looking for romance, for the total connection with another person, for that butterfly feeling that lasts all the time and a relationship without compromise.  Because if it isn’t all perfect, it’s not “meant to be”.  So why am I talking about this?  Well, it became painfully clear to me that this is not the way a relationship works.  In fact, this isn’t the way life works!  And for some of you, me making that statement is super obvious and not that impactful.  You know this.  Maybe because you have seen it in your parents or perhaps because you are in or have been in a long term relationship that has worked, or maybe you apply this to your career already.

So my friends were really honest and real about what they think it takes.  Which challenged some of my beliefs, including that a relationship should be based upon a feeling.  Their side is that it should be based upon a choice.  I started to think about how this applies to the rest of my life.  In volleyball, I have a goal – to be a Gold medallist.  So from there, I go backwards, figuring out the steps that it will take to make this happen.  Train hard, train smart, eat well, get the best coach and partner etc. etc. etc.  When there are days (and there are many!) that I don’t want to get up and put my running shoes on, and where I want to stay out late and have drinks with friends, it’s my commitment to my goals, and not honouring how I feel in that moment, that keeps me on track.  Is it a sacrifice?  Maybe, in the moment it seems like it.  But long term it’s not a sacrifice at all because my goals and my plans are far more important to me than sleeping in or getting a little tipsy.  With experience I have figured this out and I think it’s the reason that I am truly happy right now – my life and choices are aligned with my goals and values and I am committed to them.

The truth is that commitment hasn’t ever been my strong suit.  Passion and purpose are, but without commitment I’ve noticed they are simply pipe dreams.  I had an amazing conversation with my mom and her one biggest piece of advice for me with volleyball was to choose a team, choose a plan and just go with it.  Win or lose, know that I did everything I felt I needed to do with the information that I had, rather than thinking that something better was around the corner, or that there was a “secret or advantage” that was out there somewhere.  Because it doesn’t work that way.  There are a lot of ways to accomplish this dream- not just an elusive “best” way, and the key is to focus on whichever one I choose and commit to it.

Which brings me back to relationships (ha, I’m sure you saw this metaphor coming!).  If I actually looked down the road at what I wanted and went back from there, rather than starting from a feeling, would my choices align and would this all seem simpler and more fulfilling?  So let’s say (and this is just an example for the record!) I want a husband, 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and a minivan in the suburbs.  If that is the vision, then who would I choose?  Probably someone on the same journey, with values and goals that align with this.  Because no matter how cute and funny and exciting a person is, that goes straight out the window if I have to spend my life convincing them to work harder to afford those things, or to move out of the city, or to commit to me.  If I looked at a person to see how they aligned with where I wanted to go, then looked to see if we had chemistry/attraction etc, then it would be clear if it was something worth investing in.  I certainly have had feelings about someone who is on the opposite path and the feelings got in the way of what I knew I wanted. These guys were my friday night beer or my saturday morning sleep in when I should have been training.  I wanted it, but did I really? To take this back to sport, I was sitting in front of the TV watching the 2012 Olympics and knowing I could have gone for it and didn’t, would I feel like staying home and resting  instead of going out with friends was a sacrifice or would I think that choosing not to train was the actual sacrifice?  It’s all a matter of perspective.

So my final answer is this.  Life is a game of choice.  Chocolate or Vanilla, choose.  There is no right choice, no wrong choice, no best and no worst… just choice. Fulfillment comes with aligning choices with your vision and goals.

So I choose the game of vanilla.  I commit to vanilla – even though chocolate will keep showing up, looking all creamy and exciting and different… As long as my vision is aligned with vanilla, I will keep choosing vanilla, honouring my commitment to vanilla, and keep finding ways to remember how much I love vanilla. And I mean, if you think about it, even if I started one day eating chocolate, wouldn’t vanilla start to seem creamy and exciting and different anyways?

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