Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Anybody that knows me well knows that I have always been a huge believer that we create our lives exactly as they are right now.  And I don’t mean we voodoo control life… just that life presents itself the way we we intend it to or expect it to- it’s why people that believe everybody is out to get them tend to keep finding themselves in situations where they must defend and protect themselves, and where I can walk around downtown Guadalajara, MX at night completely unscathed. And trust me, I have no idea why or how it works this way!

But as a believer in this philosophy, what happens when things work out differently than I want or expect?  What happens when something comes up that I feel I didn’t intend and maybe don’t even want?  This is where I get stuck because if I was completely in control, then it wouldn’t be this way, right?

Or maybe sometimes shit just happens.

I came across a quote from one of my favorite writers and philosophers, Kahlil Gibran:

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

The thing is that sometimes things just feel scary, or difficult or upsetting.  My instinct is that it’s not okay to feel these things and it means something is wrong.  I usually just push those feelings down as far as I can muster, and try to “get over it”.  Smile and keep moving forward. But does this actually allow me to explore myself and my world to it’s full capacity or do I cut off some self expression when I do that?  A year ago I would have read the quote above and thought…”k, i’m doing it all right, just smile and pretend all is okay until it feels okay”.  And now, for some reason that doesn’t seem sufficient to authentic happiness and growth.

I do think it’s important to see ourselves, others, and the world in a positive, powerful light and there is always the opportunity to do that in any situation.  That is the TRUTH in life, and this is who I know myself to be deep down at my core. But there is something about the full experience of being human which includes the spectrum of emotion- joy, sorrow, love, patience, anger, fear.  And it’s good – ALL of it is good!  But it’s the thought and action after that determine who we are in this world.  After our full experience of being human, do we stand for who we truly know ourselves to be regardless of the situation we are in or our feelings we have?  For me, I’m starting to think that really is what creating my life means….

Something tells me that the awesome kid in the video below truly LOVES her life!  And her life probably includes a few tears 🙂



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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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The thing about love is that we use one word to describe a million different feelings, a gamut of experiences, a choice, a goal, and a way of being.  We love ourselves, we love our friends, we love a joke, we are in love with our partner, and we love our hair…  It’s an action and a verb.  It’s permanent and it’s passing. It means a lot and it can mean a little.

And we wonder why we are confused about love.  Why when one person says that they love you, it means something different than when you do…

I’m one of those people that “love” love.  I feel like it’s the answer to the age-old question “what are we here for?”  I think that people find purpose in caring deeply about our planet, and there’s something about feeling so strongly for another human being that we risk being heartbroken.

And as I’m sitting here days before Valentines Day, where love is certainly in the air, I wonder what love truly means to me and how my perception of love has changed and developed through the years.  I mean, it has changed, hasn’t it?

I remember the first time I fell in love.  I was 19, and it was my first boyfriend in university.  I remember this sort of passionate, impatience to how I felt- we literally spent hours, days, and then weeks solid together.  I experienced my first fight, first makeup, first intimate moment, first “I love you”, first betrayal and first heartbreak.  I got it all in that relationship.  And I quickly after met the guy that would be my longest-term relationship so far.  4 years that finally ended in a bittersweet realization that we had outgrown each other.  Tears flowed on and off for months and I literally felt like I might not make it.  I felt physical pain, I questioned my decision, regretted it, then accepted it.  And he soon found somebody new, and 6 months later when he told me he was getting married, I relived it all once more.

I remember thinking “I will never feel like this again”, and meaning it.  I remember the moment- crystal clear, that I decided to never get hurt like that again and I haven’t.  I’ve played my game defensively since then.  Always careless at first in my excitement, “forgetting” the lesson I learned, and then when I noticed what was happening, I would  pull back just as fiercely.  The guys I have stayed with are the ones that were willing to deal with the dichotomy, and that would endlessly forgive my ambivalence.  Those guys, though unbelievable people, I’ve realized aren’t actually the right ones for me.

So now with that awareness has to come change.  If there isn’t change then it means I am operating with the same mindframe as a hurt 23 year old…

The coach I work with uses a quote “what’s in the way is the way” and I think it applies here.  The way to truly be in love is to put ourselves in a position to truly be hurt. For people that have had similar situations to me – every instinct will have us do what we’ve always done, and so it’s important to notice our instincts and feelings, but honour our commitment to changing.

So upon reflection about what love means to me and to answer my initial question – yes, it has changed.  For me, love used to be a feeling that I had.  I needed some way to describe the warmth, connection, and vulnerability that I felt.  Now, it’s changed a little.  It still describes that feeling but unlike a passing emotion, love for me is a choice to keep doing actions that cause me to feel love.  It means choosing to treat my partner with respect even when I’m frustrated, it means making sure people are taken care of and it means deciding not to pull back when I start to feel like I may get hurt.  And it’s the only way, in my opinion, for love to last a lifetime.  I let anger pass, sadness floats away, but love is what I’m committed to keeping.

So this Valentine’s Day I am going to remember how far I’ve come from the 23 year old who decided to be tough.  And maybe after the cinnamon hearts and chocolate truffles and sappy love songs, we can all take a moment to reflect about what love actually means to us and what we want our experience of it to be.  And then do it – put in into action… because at the end of the day, doesn’t Valentine’s Day always end with a little action anyways?  😉

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I’ve been so lucky this past 2 months.  I get to walk into a gym everyday with the 2009 CIS Volleyball coach of the year, and  a group of girls that range from academic all canadians,volleyball all-stars, and team captains who have just won three national championships in a row.  And I get to be a part of creating a team with these unbelievably talented, unique human beings.

And you’d think it was easy, right?  Like, take 18 of the best, smartest volleyball players in the country, a coach with 26 years of experience, trainers who are innovators in their field, assistant coaches who are well practiced in the art of teaching and inspiring, all of whom exemplify excellence and want to win volleyball games and it all works out…. right?

Well, I don’t think that’s all there is to it. And maybe for the seasoned coaches that may be reading this, that is an obvious statement.  That the best teams were not your championship teams necessarily, that there was something beyond the obvious that makes a championship team.  In fact, it seems to me that the higher the caliber of the people on the team, the more complex and detailed the creation of that team needs to be.  There are no “yes-men” on the team… because you can’t be that way to get to the top. There is nobody that doesn’t know how to win. There is nobody who is not self-aware.  There is nobody that hasn’t been a leader on a team… and you put it all together and it doesn’t just exponentially increase the leadership, awareness, and success of the players and team.

What it does is exponentially increase the POTENTIAL of the team.

And what is potential?  It’s not real (yet), and it’s not the goal.  I actually used to love when somebody said that I had potential and as the years passed I started to hear something very different as the words came out of their mouths.  I wondered why I still had potential.  I realized that the key is in accessing this potential – finding ways to get it out and to express this possibility on and off the court.

A great coached shared a quote with me that I want to share with you:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”.

So, a team isn’t all of their potential – their potential is just how high the ceiling is on their capabilities.  What a team is, is commitment to a common purpose.  It’s not just the sum of 18 players and 4 coaches.  It’s the brand new created vision of what they want to do together.  And it often means putting aside some personal goals and visions for the greater vision of the team.  OR, for the seasoned athlete and coach, to reframe some of the personal goals to fit into the common vision, because there isn’t anything that will destroy a team faster than a player that does what they need to do outside of the vision and goals of the team.

Take one situation:  Player X wants to be a starter (obviously!).  And they aren’t because the coach believes the team will be more successful starting Player Y and using player X as a substitute.

Many athletes have been in this situation and here’s where I think a champion is created… in how they use this situation, which is obviously contrary to their personal goals.  They have two choices.  Either A.  Continue to contribute to the team, use each opportunity to learn and perform and be creative to find ways to stay on the court, including learning how to be the best sub ever (and considering that it’s not who starts the game that’s important, it’s who ends it)… or B. Get frustrated because you want it to be different, you want the coach to see your perspective and you don’t think it’s fair.  Performance and connection to the team suffer and you just solidify your position off the court.

I’ve been in both situations, and it’s awfully hard to swallow personal goals in the pursuit of a team goal, but it’s the only way a team will reach their potential.  So in becoming a part of the team, the commitment is made to the common vision.  No matter what feelings or thoughts come up.

It’s not much different in a relationship, is it?  I mean, I’m sitting here writing about coaching and playing and really getting how this truly applies to everyone.  A relationship is a team.  I mean, it has to be in order to exponentially increase potential.  Common goals and visions have to be created together (and I stress TOGETHER as there is no power in each person individually doing this.  It’s why teams vote for captains and do goalsetting sessions together – you can’t tell people what their goal is or they are not invested in it or accountable to it).  And after, each partner needs to do what they need to to to manifest that vision so that it doesn’t stay as potential.

And I think that the stronger the love, the stronger the two people and the larger the vision, the more complex this becomes because of the raised roof on what is possible.  Because it’s not 1+1=2, or at least, it doesn’t have to be.  And it may become 1-1= 0 if we kill off the other persons part of the vision. Or it could be 1+1= 2 (to the power of x), which really has no limit  (I can’t do complex math symbols on here- sorry math people!!)  And if we can’t get past everything we think we need or perceive, no matter how much it makes sense to US individually, then we may as well be a part of an individual sport because putting the team ahead of the individual means that we may be on the bench for a game every once in awhile and just trust that the process will make us stronger.

One thing that I say to the teams I work with is that if each person takes care of each other and doesn’t worry about themselves, then the payback is massive.  It’s perhaps even 17-1. You’ve got 17 people who’ve have your back, rather than just 1.  But in order to do that you truly have to give up taking care of yourself because you now have 17 people to contribute to.  And it’s the same with relationships.  Is it possible to truly stop worrying about ourselves in order to become the best teammate possible?  And know that we will be taken care of, and maybe in a different and more powerful way than we ever thought possible? I’m not sure if that is realistic but I have a hunch that’s what it’s all about.  That’s the next level of love, of commitment, and of excellence. And I think it would be really cool to see what that’s all about.

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I’ve been writing this blog for about ten months now, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone through it.  For some reason, after I write I never want to re-read it for fear that I will wish I had written it differently or perhaps not at all!

And I was right.

Well, partially right.  It’s funny – as I sifted through my many thoughts and expressions I could see so clearly where I was and how far I have come.  I could see what my focus was, where my energy lay, and to be honest, I could see where I wrote from my heart and where I wrote from my head.

I started this blog in order to explore being fully self expressed and to find an outlet for what I felt in my heart.  I had played every sport under the sun, and there was this creative piece of me that I felt was hibernating.  And I wasn’t sure how to get it out, so I just went for it, and this is the product.  About 150 people a day read about my decisions, opinions and advice -sought out or not – and as tonight I breezed through 20 or so of my blogs, I just realized for me what the impact of that is.

I have a belief… maybe even call it a stand, that people are amazing.  I think that human beings can be and achieve things that are so extraordinary that we haven’t even touched the possibilities that lie within us.  And this is where I am not aligned with some of my writing – I look back on some of the things I wrote and I don’t see that belief  entwined in the words.  I see limits and rules and small perspectives that I have based some of my writing on and truth be told, I think that it came from a place of confusion on my end.  This year has been filled with so much self discovery, change, and growth and with this my integrity at times was shaken and I want to restore that in all of my future writings.

I am committed to the beauty and strength that everyone has (even the “bad” dates I used to mention!) and I am really excited for this to be a place for transformative  conversations… still wrapped in humour and fun!

Thanks for reading and I am going to leave all of my posts up – even the ones I am so-so about, because the journey really is the destination and regardless of who I am now, the pathway was perfect.

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So I was hanging out with my friend Jill, and her boyfriend Ronny.  Basically 3rd wheel all day long, and while I’m not sure how they felt about it, I’m getting rather comfortable and content in my role as the tag along friend.  I mean, they plan the greatest dates together – sightseeing, hiking, great dinners out, and even a little home improvement shopping (which I always seem to be too “busy” for), and I really just get to reap the benefits of two people trying to woo each other… without any of the emotional involvement or worries about where things are going 😉   Similar to my friend’s new company, The Social Order (thesocialorder.ca), they have kind of become a social event planning service for me!

But yesterday I literally spent the day with them from 10am-2pm and as we made our way around the seawall, made dinner and sat around talking about all of life’s little mysteries, one very important topic came up, which neither of them had ever talked to each other about….

What is your number?

Inappropriate, maybe in retrospect!  But at 1am it seemed like the natural progression for our cute little date… and while I’m not going to share those numbers or stories here, another more interesting question came up…

How many people have you kissed?

And, if Jill is right that this number doesn’t matter, is a kiss really just a kiss?

Okay, I for one am going to admit something.  I find out everything I need to know about a guy when we kiss- is there chemistry, are we compatible, is there a connection, and does he keep his eyes opened or closed (my great-grandmother once warned me that if he keeps his eyes open, he can’t be trusted.  For some reason this stuck…!).  So, in my 15 years of kissing, here are a few observations I’ve made:

  • I know that if he immediately sticks his tongue in my mouth, he’s pushy and never dated a woman that spoke up….
  • If he kisses you for the first time and at the same time tries to feel you up, he doesn’t have relationship potential for you!
  • If he never uses his tongue, I think he’s afraid of intimacy. I mean, come on – how can you ever get totally lost in another person which your mouth closed?
  • If he gets all soft and passive, he thinks the work is up to you… AND this will come back to haunt you!
  • If he asks you if he can kiss you, you are probably out of his league
  • If he gazes at you before/after the kiss, he is hooked.  You never know how a person feels about you during the kiss -it’s what they do right before or after that gives you the cue about where they stand

So while Jill’s point of view is that a kiss is just a kiss, my point of view is that a kiss is never just a kiss.

The reason I love kissing is because it’s really intimate but PG.  It’s the carefree and fun way to connect with someone and experience them in a totally new way.  To me, there is nothing hotter than kissing in the rain, there is nothing more comforting than the first time he kisses you when you are sick in bed, looking like death.  And there is nothing more sexy than that moment, right before your first kiss when time stops, and you can literally hear the beat of your heart and feel the heat of his breath.

AND, there’s nothing worse than a bad kiss, especially if it happens with a guy you think is great.  Because if that compatibility isn’t there, the chemistry will likely die.  So, the question of the importance of a kiss becomes really obvious to me – it can make you or break you.  And, it is a totally learned skill, so you can get better and better at it.  Which is why practicing is really important – ha!  Okay, but seriously… what makes a good kiss?  Is there a kissing standard or template to ensure success?  For me and from my experience, the answer is YES and so here it is – the long awaited and much anticipated (or not 😉 )….

LA’s First Kiss Manifesto

  1. All kisses must start with a moment – a slight hesitation… just enough that you notice you’ve held your breath just a little
  2. Once you decide to do it, go for it.  No asking, no half ass hesitated kiss.
  3. touch them in some way- Hands by your side is slightly awkward.. BUT (please see 3 b)
  4. (3.b)  This does not mean you try to feel them up or put your hands all over them.  Keep it G rated or you lose all the impact!  And yes, Mae, I know you are going to TOTALLY disagree with this one!
  5. Let it end.  I know it’s awesome but don’t linger too long.  Just leave it at one kiss, because then you have something to look forward to – the first makeout.  And this has totally different rules 🙂

Anyways, maybe I’m old school, maybe I am one of the rare people that likes the idea of courting… but the power of the kiss seems to be lost and replaced with facebook flirting, suggestive texting,  plenty of fish, and the 3 date rule.  And it’s an art that is becoming obsolete – there is something to a build-up and the process that makes it magical and euphoric, and maybe we really understood that more when we were 14 and finally got kissed by that guy… and the kiss was the final goal rather than a step to something else….

And as I look outside right now, I think I may have to take advantage of this rain 🙂

Miranda Cosgrove- Kissing You

Sparks Fly, It’s like Electricity
I might Die

When I forget how to breathe

You get closer and there’s nowhere in this world I’d rather be

Time stops

Like everything around me

Is frozen

And nothing matters but these

Few moments when you open my mind to things I’ve never seen

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So about 10 years ago I sat in my seat, a stranger to almost every guest at the wedding, perm and bangs in tow watching the carwreck of a performance that the bride put on for the groom.  She was set to perform Christina Aguilara’s “I turn to you” – a romantic yet slightly cheesy ballad (perfect for a wedding) but after some technical difficulties decided to go with option #2- “Genie in a Bottle”.  As she winded her way down to the floor and implored him “you better rub me the right way”, I now have a permanent mental image and it haunts me!  Now, I’m not going to say that I would recommend this as a wedding day song today, but I actually think she was onto something with the Genie thing.  I mean, what if life was as easy as crossing your arms, twitching your nose and nodding?

I think that we all have things in our life that we literally believe and know can happen at any moment that we will it.  For some people, the second they want a boyfriend, they get one.  One of my best friends, May, literally decides that she wants a man, and he shows up – sometimes that very night walking down Granville street ;).  My mom always knows she’ll have a job – and as soon as one ends, she has another opportunity.  Another friend, Rachelle, can lose weight in a week.  She believes that if she stops eating one sweet a day, she will drop ten pounds in a week. And she does, and there’s no scientific explanation for this cause and effect in such a short amount of time!  For me, I always believe that things will work out.  And they do for me, and they don’t for other people that don’t believe that.  Which is what this blog is actually about.

Today I had 3 hours to get the following things done – wash and vacuum my car, go to my dr’s appointment (which took 1 ½ hours last time), exchange a gift, buy a gift, buy shoes, send 3 emails, do a load of laundry, pack, drive to the airport.  I spent about an hour last night figuring out how I was going to do it.  I looked at when stores opened, fastest routes etc and it literally was impossible. So Jill gave me some advice that seemed totally ridiculous.  She crossed her arms, twitched her nose, nodded her head and said “Genie It!”.


No.  Seriously Jill.

“Just say it will happen.  Don’t figure out how beforehand, just say it will happen and then do it”.

But how can I do it if I’ve just proven, with mapquest and timetables, and routes and schedules that I can’t- it is actually impossible?

“Just try it” she implored me.

So I did.  I actually just went to bed and “Genied it” because I knew and had proven on my little scrap of paper that my way wasn’t going to work.

I woke up today and went and did it all.  And I mean all of it.  With some time to spare for facebook and cleaning my whole room!  It all just worked out and I could go into detail about how time seemed to stop and everything worked out so differently and perfectly than I expected, but it doesn’t really matter. In fact, it didn’t matter what I thought was possible or how I thought I was going to do it- it just got done 🙂  See, great minds have been saying this all along and we actually have so much trouble conceptualizing it that we do and try and work instead of just declaring what we want and GOING.  Less talk more action right?

Like winning a  medal.  I have no idea how to do it.  Why?  Because I have never done it before!  I can ask people that have and experts in sport, but my situation, talents and experiences are unique and are never the same as someone else’s or anything in the past.  So, same as everybody else in this world, I am treading new territory. I can set goals and objectives, but can’t get attached to one way or how things “should be” or what I have decided is possible or impossible because I might miss the unexpected things that the universe will bring me to help accomplish my goal.

And I think we all have those things in our life that we decide are hard or impossible and that is the exact place that we need to Genie It!  And if you are resisting this idea right now and want to tell me how wrong I am, consider that you may want to start with “Genie-ing” that this theory will work for you!  Cause this theory isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s about finding an access point to “a whole new world”…. which I think is the theme song to a whole other genie movie, right?

Some of the great minds (and their wisdom)- enjoy!

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”

– Matthew 7:7

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science”

– Albert Einstein

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