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As I sat on my $98/night bed in Kamloops, half working on a course, half tuning in to the Lance Armstrong interview on Oprah TV, Oprah grabbed my attention with the question “Did you feel in any way that you were cheating”.  “Did I or do I?” Lance answered…. Interesting clarification….  “Did you?”.  Lance’s answer first surprised me, then upset me, and finally, forced me to consider my own point of view.

“I went and looked up the definition of cheat,” he added a moment later. “And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”

So, is it cheating if we all do it?  And what are we really upset about?  The cheating or that he lied to us?

At the end of the day, many people are equally offended if somebody cheats or lies, but what is it about Lance in particular that has unnerved us?  Is it that we trusted him for some reason, or is it that we truly feel that doping is wrong?  In my opinion, the public’s reaction has far surpassed the disappointment of a cheat, but has morphed into something more personal, something that for some reason requires Armstrong to deliver an apology that we believe, in a way that we individually think is right, with proof that he has, somehow, changed, and a punishment that will last long into his life.  For some reason, we require more than is required in most families, workplaces, and churches.  So how did it get to a point that he has hurt us this way? And what can we do about it?

I started to think about times in my life where I had been caught in a lie, or maybe didn’t play as fair as I could.  I know the magnitude is much lower, but maybe some of the conditions were the same – why did I do it?  I knew it was wrong, it didn’t really feel good, but I found a way to justify it in the moment.  I think that the common element was that I felt I had to do it to survive the moment.  Right or wrong, something was at stake… Now I can’t speak for Armstrong, but I can tell you that the world of sport can sometimes feel like everything is at stake. In fact, this is the intention of the organizations that run sport – they need it to feel this important to make money and build the brand.  I remember moments where I felt like I would do anything it took to win, to be successful.  It was the only way I would be able to pay rent, or buy food.  I was lucky in that my world did not include things like EPO, doping, millions of dollars and a reputation that was on the line.  My world was relatively small, and relatively protected.  But what if it wasn’t?  What if I had been approached by somebody that I trusted, and what if it was as common in my world as taking a vitamin C?

I’m in no way saying that I would have taken this path – on the contrary, I grew up in a household that vehemently defended clean sport, and a mother that won a medal clean in an environment that provided that opportunity for her if she was interested… but I can see the conditions that may have led Armstrong (and most others in his sport) to win at all costs, including his own health and potential public fallout.

So in an effort not to defend Lance, but to perhaps understand him, I again ask, why is it so personal?  Do we recognize the dark side of ourselves in him?  Does it scare us that even a hero like Armstrong could fall to temptations and greed – because where does that leave us?

I’m in no way saying that the penalties and fallout are not appropriate – in life there is cause and effect.  Instead I’m hoping that we, as a society, can use this as an opportunity to learn about ourselves and what we do to win, our view of sport and excellence, and how we react and respond when somebody fails – do we turn our backs or do we help them to rebuild?  Because this will be our legacy.

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Well here we are – it’s 2013 and I although I haven’t written on my blog in over a year, it seems that somehow the amazing world wide web has continued to bring people to my site.  As I received my blog stats via email, I started to reflect on the past – when I started this blog, why I started it, and why I stopped writing.

I think it was a mix of things… I got busy (coaching)… I got very busy (moved, got engaged)… and then I got even more busy (work, travel, wedding planning).  In fact, being busy is the exact reason I have for stopping most things in my life that I probably should keep doing.  I’m not saying that writing a blog should continue forever,  but there was something very important and perhaps cathartic in expressing my thoughts, feelings and ideas.  Maybe it was simply creating something that I could reread, or getting thoughts out that I had pushed away in the process of being productive.  but I think that more likely, it was taking a moment for myself- to leave the outside world for just a moment, and create a little world by myself in a small cafe.

I’ve tried to fill the gap with things like yoga, running and lazy days watching Madmen, but in some ways these relaxing endeavors have taken a life of their own and have become sweat sessions at Bikrams Yoga, half marathon training, and a little too much online shopping to find outfits like Betty and Joan.  It’s funny how “productive” these little moments for myself have become!

So here find myself in another cafe being “unproductive”… and it feels awesome!  As I sip on my americano, and watch the misty rain drizzle on the window, I can’t help but reflect on this past year of successes, and announcements, triumphs and tears.  One thing is very clear- it was an awesome year!  It wasn’t perfect, but I grew and I changed.  And to be honest, it’s taken me till Jan.1, 2013 to really appreciate and think about that.

My resolution next year is to take all of my goals and ambitions and plans and relationships, and find ways to create moments to reflect on and appreciate what is happening with them right then.  I’m not sure exactly how this will change any of the outcomes, and maybe it won’t… but I do think that in the moments of craziness and busyness, if I deliberately take time to reflect, I will be reminded to stop, breathe, and notice that there is goodness and beauty in all of it.  The wins and the losses.  Because at the end of the day, it’s all about learning and growing.

 

I’ll leave you with an amazing little 5 step program! A daily resolution of sorts 🙂

 

The Five Reiki Principles

BY DR.MIKAO USUI

 

I – Just for today, I will not be angry.

Anger at others or oneself or at the whole world, creates serious blockages in one’s energy. It is the most complex inner enemy.

Letting go of anger, brings Peace into the Mind.

 

II – Just for today, I will not worry.

 

While anger deals with past and present events, worry deals with future ones. Although worry is not always a negative phenomena, endless worries may fill one’s head, and each one bores a small hole in one’s body and soul.

Letting go of worry, brings healing into the Body.

 

III – Just for today, I will be grateful.

Be grateful from your hart inward. Inner intention is the important element in this principle. Simple things as thanks, forgiveness, smile, good words, gratitude can improve others life and make them happy.

Being thankful brings Joy into the Spirit.

 

IV – Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Support yourself and your family respectably, without harming others. Earn a respectable living, live a life of honor.

Working Honestly brings Abundance into the Soul.

 

V- Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

Honor your parents, honor your teachers, honor your elders.

Being Kind brings Love into the Will.

 

Happy New Years and all the best in 2013 – something tells me that this year is going to be a special one…Unknown-1

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As I slowly opened my eyes, feet dangling beside the fireplace and spooned up next to my cat I looked out the window in a dazed confusion.  It’s sort of light outside… is it morning, evening, raining?  Why do I feel so tired? Am I really napping?!

I could blame it on Vegas, and most people would understand that – or on how I just recently wrapped my 8 month season of coaching.  Maybe it is the high of winning and the inevitable release that follows.  Or it could be the training… yep I’ve been doing more than usual…

But I know the truth.  I could notice how my circumstances might affect me, but I don’t believe that energy is a limited resource.  Like the sleeplessness and lack of hunger that new love joyfully creates, energy comes from a fire within – a purpose.  And while I have achieved many goals this year, I feel like I’ve been evading making some decisions with intention.

The thing is that my life is amazing.  Truly it is.  Every single day this year I loved waking up, going to work and I loved being in the gym.  I couldn’t ask for a better roommate and my family is one in a million.  My relationship has changed and grown, giving me a chance to discover pieces of who I am and what I am made of.

And the thing that I’ve been struggling with, that I feel has sapped my energy, can be slotted into one simple question “What do you want to do”?

And I guess I am stumped by this question most because I feel like I have figured out a lot of important stuff this year –

I know who I want to be

  • somebody who is my word
  • who believes that anything is possible for anybody
  • wildly creative
  • committed to the health and wellbeing of myself and everyone around me
  • somebody who inspires others to live their dream

I also know what I want to create in my future:

  • A healthy body and mind
  • Success in beach volleyball
  • A job that I love and that allows me to use all of my talents
  • An amazing relationship that is exciting, challenging, unique and creative
  • A beautiful and blissfully happy family that contributes to making the world better

What I am missing is the details of this.  How do I do this? How much money do I want?  Where do I want to live?  Who do I want to live with? How will I be spending my days?

My friend just started writing a blog, and he truly inspired me to consider declaring what I want and letting the universe take it’s course.  The thing is that I’m not exactly sure how to figure out how to get to what I want.  I seem to get many amazing and unexpected opportunities, and it feels so easy that I wonder if I am letting life happen to me or if I am the driver. I know my starting point, I know my ending point, but it’s the stuff in between that I get confused about.  Do I look 10 years down the road and choose a job that gives me that future, or do I do what I love right now, and trust that will take me exactly where I need to go?  This isn’t a hypothetical question, by the way… I’m looking for insights and ideas, so please share!!

At the end of the day, the more I think about this stuff, the more I know in my gut that there is nothing to figure out.  Trying to figure life out is causing me to feel like a different person than I am.  I feel like this process has taken the spark out of me and I’ve been dragging my feet, rather than reacting to life’s unexpected gifts and ideas.  So in knowing this, and also having to make some decisions – what is the balance?  How do I decide what is right, and an even bigger question would be… is there such a thing as right?

And maybe, just maybe this has nothing to do with making a decision or figuring out some far out purpose.  Perhaps my life will just keep giving me what I need to learn something about myself that I haven’t discovered. And right now it feels like an enigma but as soon as I learn, it will all make sense.  What I have noticed, above all, is that whatever decision I have made in the past few years has always ended up being about self discovery.  And maybe that’s the whole point… more to come as I figure this one out 😉

I read a few quotes about decision that resonated with me and I’m going to post them- feel free to add any comments or email me about your thoughts!

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.  ~William James

A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.  ~Rita Mae Brown

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.  ~Roy Disney

You’ve got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.  ~Steven D. Woodhull

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I remember being 8 years old, sitting in front of the tv completely fixated on and enamoured with She-Ra: Princess of Power.  I’m not sure if it was her beauty, her strength, or the idea that she could totally take care of herself, but she was special… my superhero.

For those that don’t remember, She-Ra is the alter ego of Princess Adora and the twin sister of He-Man. She was abducted as a baby and grew up as Adora… a seemingly normal girl (not unlike myself of course…!).  When she discovers her power and transforms into She-Ra her destiny is uncovered and this normal girl becomes “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe”.

But She-Ra was more than just a warrior.  She was nurturing in nature (as opposed to her brother’s more aggressively-based powers), was empathic,  understanding and was able to communication with animals.

Not a bad role model to have, right?

I don’t think that I’ve thought about She-Ra since I was 12 or so.  Today I walked by a Lululemon bag that said “Unwrap your Super Powers” and of course she came to mind.  Which led me to the question: what happened when I started growing up that I forgot that I once had this character that I dreamt about being and perhaps even truly believed in at some level?  Did I replace it with something else or did I just stop imagining?

I’m not sure what the answer is, but something tells me that it’s a combination of both.  I have a feeling we are encouraged to get “realistic”.   Do we stop believing in the magic of transformation and do we cease to see our own unlimited possibilities? Maybe we start to succumb to the societal assumption that we can only hope for that which our parents had, only experience 50% of our marriages being successful and grind our way through our 30’s,40’s and 50’s in hope of security only to realize that we forgot to truly live life along the way.

And while I had a relatively awesome childhood I still struggle to see past some of my own limiting beliefs about myself. I notice that I sometimes buckle to my own insecurities and the more I do it, the more normal it becomes.  Many of the people around me do the same thing and  it becomes so engrained in who I become that I stop seeing that it is not true, it’s just the reality that I’ve surrounded myself with.

See, the thing about She-Ra was that I let her into a place in my imagination that defied my own reality.  And I think I knew deep down that I didn’t have the magic that would transform Spirit into Swift Wind (a talking winged unicorn), but it opened up a part of my mind to start believing in things outside of my own experience, circumstances and existence.

One of the most unusual and creative sport psych tools I have ever heard about was with the sliding team prior to the 2010 Olympics.  They individually met with a Shaman who helped them connect with their own spirit animals.  John Montgomery, skeleton Gold Medallist had a turtle.  With the symbol placed on his helmet, he visualized the turtle sliding with him down the track- smoothly, effortlessly and quickly…

I think there is something about stepping outside of what we consider our own limits, our own bodies and our own minds.  In times where our inner excellence is tested, a fear is being realized or a limit is being set on us, what if we connect to our own inner superhero?  Whether it is one that already exists that possesses all of the qualities that we yearn to have, or perhaps one that we create on our own, why not step into their world, even just for a moment, and see if solutions appear and goals are met.  AND at the same time creatively play in this world!

So in my life, She-Ra has been rediscovered.  I see her differently now than I used to.  Where I used to take her battles at face value, I now see how similar they are to my own.  I see how she never uses her magic sword on the offensive, but only to defend herself if need be.  She never hurts human beings, and she always finds time to connect with family and animals.  Sure, she is beautiful, but it’s no longer about her long blonde hair- her beauty is more about how she finally knows who she is.  And lastly, where I used to notice what she was doing, I now notice how she was doing it.  There is an art to the way she moves and the way she handles a challenge.

So what is my Super Power?  Today it is unleashed imagination!  I’m not sure that Swift Wind will show up on my doorstep, but the fact that I don’t know what will show up means I’m on the right path…

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As I sit here at Oz Coffee (my current favorite coffee house) sipping on a long americano, listening to the soft hum of the music in the background, I realize how long it’s been.  How long it’s been since I’ve set aside some time to reflect, to relax, and to write.  The truth is, things have been awesome.  I’d say I’ve spend the past few months living life rather than dissecting it, but with all things, balance is key and so here I am again at my keyboard.

As New Years Eve looms, I realize how perfect my timing is.  It’s the time of reflection, the time of creation, the time of….. resolutions?

I’m on the fence about resolutions.  Most people feel really strongly YES or NO about resolutions.  I’m not sure why it elicits such a strong response but something tells me it’s about people’s experience with keeping their resolutions.  I mean, not many people are actually against goalsetting but maybe in putting it out there and not following up with it, things become a little more personal.

I do a lot of goalsetting with teams and the golden rule is that accountability needs to be in place to consistently accomplish a goal.  Why is that?  Well, for one, I think we forget what our goal was.  It’s usually not already a part of our life, and studies have shown it takes 40 days for something to become habitual so a friendly reminder from another person, or even on your bedside table makes all the difference in keeping the goal (resolution) current.

Secondly, I think that we tend to keep more promises to others than we do to ourselves.  For some reason, we are willing to do things like cancel our workouts and fill our “me” time with work, breaking our promise to ourselves.  This is why the buddy system works so well when working out.  Not because it’s more fun (which it is) or they push us more (which they do).  It’s because we are more likely to show up for them than we would on our own.  We show up so that we don’t let them down.  It’s a beautiful thing, really…. but maybe something to consider that we function like that.  Why don’t we show up so that we don’t let ourselves down? As if breaking our word to ourself doesn’t have consequences in how we view ourselves and our confidence…  I mean, imagine how many promises we break to ourselves on a daily basis- if we did this to a friend would the friendship continue?  Would they trust us?  Would there be a lot of love in the relationship?  And yet we do this over and over to ourselves and we think we are fine.  And we wonder why we date people who treat us poorly, why we sabotage our own goals, or work in a company that makes us miserable.  We search our past, get angry at ourselves, are unforgiving with ourselves, and keep doing it over and over. And we’ve missed the whole point.  We need to be own very own best friend.

For me this past year, goalsetting has become a random, everchanging system where I really couldn’t assess whether or not I accomplished my goals.  There was no list I can go back to of things I wanted to achieve, no milestones to assess whether or not my path was taking me to the goal, and no criteria that I met that I could actually say, “YES, I did it!”  Did I accomplish goals last year?  Yes.  For sure I did.  But how cool would it be for me to be able to say I want______, I did ______, and I got ________.  Not just to pat myself on the back, but when things aren’t going well, it is really really good to know and to have practiced what works to get what I want.

So when it comes to resolutions, this year I’m a YES.  But not some blue-sky one-off mention of something I want.  A plan, a project if you will, so that I can actually actively pursue a path, rather than just seeing what I get.  I’ll treat my life like a business – not as in being super serious about it, but to be deliberate and have intention within it.  And then see what happens and what I get!  And if what I want changes, I will change my plan, but at least I’ve got one.

For people that know me, it won’t shock you that I’ve created this massive goalsetting spreadsheet.  I’m a nerd that way and my boyfriend will attest to how I will probably analyze and graph my results at the end of the year 😉  And I’d be happy to pass it along to you if you want a template…. BUT, for those of you that want something simpler, I’m below is a little goalsetting process that you could do in 5 mins.  I mean, why not?   Just see if writing it down helps you to create it in your life, because there is nothing worse than sitting down a year from now with the same resolution.  Maybe it’s time to keep a promise to ourselves simply because we matter…

GOAL:  make your goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely- S.M.A.R.T)

Goal 1: ______________________________________________________

MILESTONES: Make them time specific if possible… Basically, what is the path to your goal?  how will you know you are on target.

Milestone 1:

Milestone 2:

Milestone 3:

REFLECTION AND ASSESSMENT: This is the date where you either cross off the goal if you have accomplished it, recommit yourself to it, or change your goal if it no longer serves you.

Reflection Date: _______________________

 

Example:

Goal 1:  Lose 10 lbs by May 1, 2011 (notice it is a S.M.A.R.T goal)

Milestones 1:  Jan.1 – Buy a gym membership, and begin tracking workouts

Milestone 2: Feb 1- Complete 15 workouts

Milestone 3:  March 1- Weigh 195 lbs (-5lbs)

Reflection Date:  March 1, 2011

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Okay, so I was hanging out with a few friends this past weekend in Whistler, and I realized something….we all know “The Best” ________________ (fill in the blank).

So, rather than going out trying out a million different products, hair stylists, waxers, dating sites, hole in the wall mexican restaurants and makeup, I was thinking we would all give our list of “Best Of’s”! So, feel free to copy and paste my categories, OR, if you have a category of your own, please share share share (this is only as good as YOUR advice!) and make a difference for everyone who reads this – let’s spread all the BESTS in our lives 🙂

Here is mine:

Best Makeup trick: Mistura.com. For some reason, this makeup takes away the residuals of a hard night out, and makes you glow without sparkle or shine. Truly one of the greatest makeup tricks I’ve seen and worth every penny

Best Hair Product: I’ve tried it all but Moroccan Oil wins. Smooths hair without weighing it down or making it greasy.

Best Hair Trick: I’m a fan of anything brazilian…  But the brazilian blowout is a miracle. Check it out and if you have any inkling to try it, go for it! Kind of pricey, but for me well worth the hours I save doing my hair

Best Wax: Get your wax at Sugarbox – Might be that they make it feel totally cool to be in pain for 20 mins!

Best way to burn 500 calories: Ummm… other than the obvious 😉 Okay, crossfit. Hands-down greatest workout ever and never lasts more than an hour.  Do it at a crossfit gym or they post free workouts online at http://www.crossfit.com or http://www.crossfit.ca

Best Place to Grab Some Grub: I love The Eatery Sushi Bar.  Cool vibe, great people and an owner that makes you feel like you are hanging out at a wicked dinner party at his place.

Best TV show no-one else seems to watch: For sure this MTV show called “If you really knew me”.  Makes me cry everytime – just so cool how looking at life with a different perspective can change the world… check it out!

Best Nutritional Tip: Coconut oil. Miracle food!  Google it and you’ll find out why 🙂

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http://www.vancouversun.com/videos/index.html?id=GdoX7JdY0W0XyA8Fsg_I0xTTIH5yvlRx

Okay, so I’m officially declaring that this was a workout… I swear!

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