Friday, January 30, 2015

Powerless

His body was heavy on top of mine.  Wasn't this what I wanted?  He was popular, athletic, tall and handsome.   I was telling myself to just RELAX already!  My body was tense, my heart was racing. NO! I was shouting on the inside.

I pushed on his chest, nothing, I pushed again, he resisted.  He was strong...for the first time in my life I felt powerless.  My heart in my throat.  I don't know if I am strong enough to budge him...SHIT...this can't be happening...I won't let it.  Breathe...just breathe, use your VOICE...use your STRENGTH!

"I can't! " I say...nothing...."I CAN'T" I yell again, using all my strength to push him.   He leans back for a moment and looks at me as if for the first time...."what?" he says.

That moment was my chance, I used my legs my arms, and body to push him off.  " I can't, I'm sorry" I cry.  Bolting from the room, down the stairs and out the door.    A cold shot of fall air hits my face.  My heart still racing I run..as fast as I can, tears streaming down my face, down the main street of Plymouth.  Up the long hill, across campus, until I can't run anymore.  Shaking,  breathless, scared.

I stop.  How could I have been so stupid.  How could I have been so naive, so trusting, so ignorant...I should have known, I should have known...I should have...

I look up to the night sky, and thank god for giving me the strength to hear my own words.  To understand the voice inside me that told me what I wanted, or in this case what I didn't want.

Our experiences teach us lessons.  Sometimes we need them taught to us more than just once.  Other times, once does the trick...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From Hello to Goodbye

The add in the magazine continued to draw my attention, month after month.  Each month I would dismiss it...until I couldn't anymore.  I acted...pages and pages of paperwork...appointments and tests followed.

It was a fall afternoon as I was walking across campus, just before my 44th birthday.  The wind was blowing, and the colors were popping, oranges, yellows and reds.

"Your pregnant! " she squealed!.  "I wish I was there to hug you and kiss you and squeeze you right now!". The excitement in her voice was contagious..  My heart jumped...I was thrilled....we actually did it, I am pregnant.

The ultrasound tech announced," there are two embryos!"...Twins...wow...

9 months, growing belly, swollen feet, saltines, breathlessness.  The gift of life to a couple who could not do it on thier own.

People would ask  "Isn't it going to be hard to give them up?"

I would say. "Of course not, they are not mine.  I am just the oven doing the baking...a temporary apartment"

Empty space inside, broken heart, crying spells...the sadness hung on my heart, like a lonely and empty swing that was waiting patiently for a child.

I couldn't get it.  How could my birth mother have done it? Given me away like that...or is that just it? Was I given life, so thar I could give life in return?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Storm Clouds

The breeze hits my face as I glide through the air on the swing....back and forth, back and forth.  It is soothing, mesmerizing, relaxing.  I then open my eyes to find myself back on my couch.    It was just a few weeks ago in the back yard, I was outside swinging.  I wonder why I hadn't come out to do this earlier.  It definitely needs to be put on my agenda more often.

I've learned over the past year,  since teaching Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, that anytime I am feeling anxious, nervous, worried or troubled, I can just close my eyes and take myself to a happy place.  It only takes a few minutes and I am breathing easier and more relaxed.  Mostly I go to the beach at sunrise to see the brilliant colors in the sky and the soothing sounds of ocean waves,  the overflowing feeling of peace and calm that washes over my whole being.  The swing set now helps me feel the same way.

When you think back on your childhood, what types of activities did you lose yourself in?  For me it was swinging, climbing trees, catching polliwogs and hopping on a pogo stick. 

Try it...close your eyes, take some slow, deep breaths and picture yourself doing something you enjoy.  Do you find yourself smiling? Feel the air, what do you see? What do you hear?

With this easy skill, I know that if I get anxious, nervous, scared, angry, if i can just remember I can take 2-3 minutes and completely change my state of mind.

What other things can change your state from sad to happy, angry to energized, anxious to grounded...music, dancing, walking, reading?

I know how hard it can be when you are in a place that is uncomfortable and dark...
I have had many moments in my life where I have felt trapped under a dark storm cloud, where sadness and depression have overcome me.  When that storm cloud comes overhead I know it is best for me to feel whatever is going on inside...not push it down or ignore it, for now I know it won't be there for long.

Storm clouds will come and go like the tides of the ocean.  May your days be filled with more sunshine, blue skies and white puffy clouds rather than dark stormy ones.  Yet know that with each storm there is growth and understanding happening deep inside  that is making us stronger.  


Pete Rose

out about Pete R
I was born in 1963,  and adopted in 1964... I had jet black hair, lots of energy, a little clumsy and built sturdy; "stocky" they called me.

I flunked kindergarten art and finger painting....I was too messy and didn't stay in the lines.  My mom was mad at the teacher for squelching my creativity.

My brother, 2 years older,  adopted as well, had strawberry blond hair, freckles, was tall and skinny- my exact opposite.  He could draw, he could write, he was artistic and creative.  I was like a bull in a china shop.

As we grew I wanted to be his friend.  I wanted to be just like him.   I tried to play ball in the backyard with him and his friends, but always ended up getting hurt.

At 8 years old I started recreational softball, with my dad as the coach.  I was a hard worker...I could throw and run like a boy.  That made me feel special.  I could play any position.  I was strong, tough and fearless, and still had short black hair.

One day my dad and I were watching the Red Sox, and Pete Rose* took an amazing head first slide into home plate.  He was strong, sturdy, fearless and had short black hair.  I said to my dad with my 8 year old innocent  grin " I wonder if Pete Rose is my natural father?".

He smiled broadly  and nicely said "well, you certainly slide like him!".  To this day, it is one of my dads favorite stories.

* Just to be clear,  this was long before the gambling scandal that broke about Pete Rose!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Take a moment

I am grateful today to see the sun, notice my breath and feel my body.  I find myself realizing how I take for granted my health.  I have been blessed to live a very healthy life.

It has been a little over a week since my surgery, and my body is slowly discovering its new normal for now.  I know it will be back doing the things I love...drumming, spinning, dancing and taking walks on the beach when it tells me it is ready.

Yesterday I was thrown for a loop.  Nausea, dizziness, headache and vomiting.  I could not do anything...even lifting my head hurt.  How do people with chronic pain do it?  Unable to function the way you know your body once did.

So, today I ask that you take a moment and give thanks for your health, to your body and breath.  Listen to your bodies signals when it asks you to slow down, take a break, eat a cookie, take a walk...not because you have to or been told to, but because it is what you want and need.

We have been told our whole life to go, to achieve, to be better, to learn more, to do.   I AM TIRED.
I want to follow what lights me up, makes me laugh and smile, makes me feel alive.  Take breaks, enjoy family and friends, do work that makes a difference.

I am grateful today to see the sun, notice my breath, and feel my body.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Releasing Regrets

Knee replacement was Monday.  As I sit here with my leg in a movement machine designed to help increase my range of motion, I start to regret my decision to start running...then my brain goes into hyperdrive and I begin to regret other decisions I have made in my life.   STOP

Regret is not helpful for me...or any of us.

It keeps us trapped in the past, keeps us thinking about how things could be different "IF ONLY"

I challenge myself, and you as well to embrace our IF ONLY'S.... Our regrets are an important part of us.  Our lessons learned, knowledge gained, and experiences had , and even treasured.

Let's take a look inside my brain...PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

What if I hadn't started running? I actually always hated running, I only did it cause I had to for sports. Yet in late 2009 with my marriage on the rocks, I started to head out for runs to clear my head.  I knew it was not good for my knee, I could feel every step, yet that was secondary compared to the release and relief it gave the rest of me...mind, body, spirit and soul.  For maybe the first time, I was actually enjoying spending time with myself.

I was a "closet runner" for about a year...no one knew I ran, I was out the door at 4 am most days of the week.

I "came out" as a runner after I entered my first race, a half marathon (not a5 or 10K like most people would start with!). I got in touch with an old friend and co-worker who was a distance runner to ask for advice...and to see if she would want to pace me.  It would be a great opportunity to catch up.  Cyndi agreed with enthusiasm.  The race was more enjoyable than I could have imagined...the energy, adrenaline,excitement and the friendship.

After that race, and over the next year and a half, I have made some of the best friends of my life. I have heard engaging stories, learned, listened and laughed.  It is amazing where conversations can go during a 16 mile run.

As I look at the long painful road of recovery ahead of me, I am willing to release any regrets I have for what I have done in my life, because it is through the tough and trying times that we become the people we were born to be.

If you find yourself in a place of regret...an "If only" moment.  STOP! take a look from at it from a different angle and see what you gained, the learned experiences, from that regret and release it, knowing that you are stronger  and better because of it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let's celebrate...and be OK with it!

How easy is it to step back into old habits...less than 24 hours ago, I posted a blog about accepting who I am.  Not just my physical body, but my mind, my thoughts, my talents...successes, and failures as well...all of me, I stand up and judge myself as not worthy...

Not worthy of praise or of accepting compliments...shrugging it off as if I don't deserve it, like I don't hear it  (there is an invisible shield around me, where compliments bounce off and away).  Or could it be that oddly enough I don't want the compliment?

Is it that we are afraid to be ourselves? What is going to happen if we speak up, or don't agree with someone else's opinion?  Are the OPINION POLICE going to come and arrest us?

I attended a workshop last July around money.  There was a "celebration" exercise we did that made an impression on me. Music is blaring...and energy is high...6 people, who don't know each other, huddle together like the Patriots do before a big play.

One person at a time blurts out one of thier successes...

-I graduated from college!
- I was born!
- I formed a company when I was 21!

It did not matter what anyone said....as soon as it was spoken the 6 of us celebrated as if we just won the lottery...or the Super Bowl...or got the lead in a movie co-starring Mathew McConaughey or maybe Morgan Freeman!

JUMPING UP AND DOWN, CLAPPING, YELLING, DANCING IN A CIRCLE...
WHOOO HOOO, WAY TO GO....YOU ROCK!

We don't ever take time to celebrate our victories...no matter how small...things like:

I helped make her smile today,  I moved my body today, I finished that book, cleaned that drawer...

I challenge you to celebrate today. ANYTHING! There are no rights or wrongs.   Jump up and down, dance, celebrate yourself.

This is not being conceited, self-centered or arrogant like our brains are programmed to tell us.

This is living the way we were born to live...in JOY, CELEBRATION AND HAPPINESS!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Comparison Conflict

Why do we compare ourselves to others?  Do we truly want to be someone else?  Live in someone elses' body?  Have someone elses' thoughts? Someone elses' family?  Someone elses' problems or successes?

Families are not perfect, if we put everyones' problems on a table, we would probably take our own back...even successes come with consequences and compromises....

I used to compare myself with everyone.  I wanted those thighs, to be as strong as her, as fast as that one over there...Yup, spending 30-40 hours a week, for over 30 years in gyms and fitness centers  comparing myself to others.  Feeling like I could not measure up, feeling not good enough, not strong enough, not thin enough.  Treating my body poorly and talking negatively to myself numerous times a day, over and over again.

I DECLARE A TRUCE- peace in my heart, peace in my thighs.  This is the body I was given.  Thank you god, for giving me this strong, healthy body.

Society bombards us with perfect images...sexy, fit, airbrushed bodies in magazines...on billboards, on TV and in the movies.  You cannot escape it.  The exposure is daily, and endless...Barbie anyone?

It is time to accept the wonder and truth of our own bodies, our own thoughts, our own success and failures.  To love our thighs and our bellies.  To understand and accept that we are not supposed to be perfect-we are only supposed to be our best selves...give our best efforts.

NO ONE has my unique gene pool, no one has my experiences.  I am the only one who can play the lead in the story of me, just as you are the only one who can play the lead in the story of you.

Step into yourself, play hard as you.  Don't compare your hair with the woman standing in front of you at the supermarket, the butt of the woman on the treadmill next to you,  the number of push-ups the woman next to you is doing at boot-camp.  Be proud of what is yours, take ownership of it.

I am done comparing myself to others, done with the conflict that it stirs inside of me, the judgement of myself...the hatred.

Look at yourself in the mirror tonight, and list at least 10 things you love about yourself!

Here is my list: my smile, my laugh, my back, my strength, my dedication, I care about others, I am a good listener, my stamina, I like to give, I like to share...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

3 Strikes

It was the ultimatum..."If you want to try out for the soccer team, you must hold at 110 pounds...end of story!" was what my dad had instructed.

That was what finally did it.  Somehow, with lots of adolescent growth, I finally found my place on the soccer field.  Playing through high school and most of college.

It was my junior year at Plymouth State. Our record was good, Big game day at Boston College, on the astro-turf.  I didn't have any turf shoes, so I decided on sneakers, they seemed to give me more traction than my cleats.  I played sweeper, the last line of defense. 

It was a close game, we were up 1-0, with about 20 minutes to go.  BC had a breakaway down the left sideline.  I was angeling back at full speed to support the Right Back....YES!  Our back beat her to the ball, and passed it quickly up field.  I stopped short, cut and turned up field.

POP, CRACK....THUD...down I went in a heap, pain shooting through my left leg.  Apparently every part of my body turned accept my left foot...stuck in place facing the wrong way on the turf.

Little did I know that would be the last competitive soccer game I would ever play.

April 1984, ACL Replacement Surgery.  My rehab took place in a Gym, right next door to the aerobic studio (think Jane Fonda era) in Danvers, Mass.  My future awaited me.

I stood on the side line my senior year and co-captained the team to an ECAC championship, unable to play.  Yet by winter I was able to start taking aerobics classes at the old gym at Plymouth.  I fell in love with the movement, music and sweat.  This was where I belonged.  I have been teaching aerobics ever since.  30 years now.  No wonder that left knee has had it.

I am scheduled for Knee Replacement Surgery on Monday, January 12.

It has been a struggle the last few years.  I continued to ignore the pain, until my right knee and hip began to object very loudly, because they were doing all the work.

A little over a year ago, I went for a second opinion...the first one was unacceptable to me.  "You can swim, and do the elliptical, you dont have to teach classes".  Ya...Right, maybe for you...not me.

The new doc gave me 4 options...
Heel wedge- Strike one; Orthovisc Shots- Strike two; High Tibialostomy- Strike three. Joint Replacement? You are UP!

I am happy and excited to get my new knee.  I am ready to respect my body and its limits, willing to make adjustments... I am not ready to give up the love I have for teaching group exercise classes.  Not for a long time yet.

There have been many years of my life that I have depended on exercise to get me through.  It has shut out pain, medicated my emotions, fueled my soul.  I am grateful for how it has helped me. 

Here is to my next chapter: Exercise for increased Joy, Health, and Growing Relationships...

Watch for upcoming posts...

-Conflict Comparison

-Divorce RX: Running to or away

-Exercise Friendships: the ones that really workout

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Let's dance

Dark hair, rugged build...cute, very cute. I have seen him in the halls.  He is a football player, a good one.  I think he plays baseball too...nice.  He smiles at me, I smile back and send him my athletic vibes.  Will he ask me to dance?

"Shhhh, he is coming! Don't look!" I say to my friends as we dance to the music.  He comes up behind me and asks me to dance.

Beatles....Love Me Do...we hold hands, twist and move to the rhythm.  My body feels the immediate energy travel from my fingertips to my toes.  "Is this what love feels like?" I wonder to myself.  We dance and dance and dance. The night is magical, unfortunately i remember that school let's out for Christmas vacation tomorrow. Ahhhggg! Please god, don't let him forget about tonight...

There it is again, a tap on my shoulder.

"Hi, remember me? Can I buy you a soda?" he askes.

A warm smile crosses my face, my body feels warm and tingly, my stomach does a somersault.  All that comes squeaking out of me is a meek "Sure".

One night, that is all it took.  Passion, desire, hunger.   Amazing, wonderful, terrifying....WOW

It is September, I am supposed to be back at school...
Now I sit in my room, alone.  The radio blares out:
Love, love me do, you know I love you...I'll always be true....so pleeeease, love me...

I close my eyes and place my hands on my stomach.  Pregnant, outcast, isolated.  I look down at my growing belly and speak slowly..".this song will always remind me of you..."

"You will grow up loved and do amazing things....I just know it.  You can be whatever you want..."

My hands still on my stomach, I feel my baby kick, I smile, hmmm, maybe a soccer player?

October 1963, I am born in Boston and named Donna.  Placed in foster care.  JFK is  assassinated in November.  By late January 1964, I am on my way to Kentucky to join my new family.

They have named me Anne.

This is my own fictional story of how I came into this world...through love.  That is what I choose to believe.

It is 2015... What are you going to believe in this year? I am going to live in the moment, and move forward and write.

Happy New Year".