Monday, January 25, 2016

My Lifesaver...

I met Karen over 10 years ago, when she came walking into the gym carrying her 9 month old son in a carrier in one arm, and a large diaper bag in the other.  As she put them both down she sighed, looked at me with those tired new mother eyes, and asked me to help her.  She was exhausted...had a toddler at home and 9 month old Jack. She had a spirit that was buried inside, probably trying to get some sleep...I could see that.  I liked her instantly.

It wasn't long before our relationship was no longer just trainer and trainee, it was blossoming into a wonderful friendship.  The hour long sessions would pass by quickly(at least for me) as we shared stories about our lives. We began taking shopping trips together, sharing cups of coffee or glasses of wine, and enjoyed outings with our kids.  It was within this time that my life slowly began to unravel.  Karen was my lifesaver, she threw me a rope of hope to cling to as I began to fall deeper and deeper into a hole.

She was there anytime and every time I needed anything...She would give the shirt off her back in a snowstorm if I or anyone else she cared about needed it. Her heart was and IS bigger than anyone I have ever known.

As I think about this particular friend, my heart breaks open in gratitude.  She was always there for me when I was unavailable for myself..  As I fell deeper and deeper into that hole, she was there to hang out with me, listen, support and eventually throw me a rope to help me climb back up out of the hole back into my life.

Karen, I finally get the opportunity to say thank you for always being there for me.  For never pushing me, for never judging me, never questioning me or my actions.  You have seen me at my worst and still loved me, continued to listened, cared, offered advice and helped in ways that I never would have thought possible.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the hole I was in, for your unconditional love and friendship. I am eternally grateful you needed a trainer all those years ago and I was the one who happened to be in the office.

I look forward to seeing our friendship move forward as our families continue to grow older (since we are both stuck in the 80's somewhere) and life takes us wherever it takes us, please know I have a very big bucket that is full of love, care and support for you...and thank you for throwing me a rope...


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Embracing You!

I am truly honored and grateful to be a small part of this woman's journey.  We never really know where our paths will lead us, yet Cyndi's path, even though it has been filled with many twists and turns,  has led her directly to her purpose.    Throughout her journey there has been enlightenment, there has been discovery, and then there was acceptance...of which she held tightly to, Cyndi was able to find a way to appreciate herself, her body and her right to be happy...NO EASY TASK.

This could be the end of this story...Cyndi could have moved on with her new found confidence within her own world, yet she did not.  She decided to share her journey of discovery and growth. 

Because of her willingness to share, she is now helping others realize that they are not alone.... And that there is a way out of the pain and suffering.  As the founder of the Love Your Body Project, she is living out her mission.  Sharing that you (we) do not have to continue to beat ourselves up because we are not a size 2, we don't have to starve ourselves, we don't have to punish ourselves with exercises we hate.  We are worthy and enough just the way we are. 

Cyndi is an inspirational leader and educator, a compassionate and supportive friend.

My dear friend, I love and admire your willingness to open your heart to others, to hold their hands when things get tough.  You are on the right path...taking the journey you were destined to take.  We are all grateful for your strength and your  courage...  The wind is behind you, moving you forward...we all will follow you...thank you for who you are, and what you do.  

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Super Bon Bon

I was taking a walk this morning, Day 9 of my "What's in a Walk" 90 day introspective.  My mind drifted back to Tuesday mornings walk with my friend Bonnie.  It was 2 degrees out, so we decided on the indoor track. 

I remember first seeing her at the fitness center riding the stationary bike or rowing on the rower in the back of the gym.  She was always smiling, sharing stories and laughing with those around her.  She lit up the dark corner of the room, like rays of sunshine as they pierce through the clouds.  

A few years ago, she asked me if I would train her.  "Absolutely!" I said, with a smile, "I would love to".  I couldn't wait to find out more about her, find out where those rays of sunshine were coming from, find out more about that inner joy that she seemed to have...that positive energy and vibration that followed her around like an adorable puppy.

Bonnie is an extrovert, kind to everyone, tells hilarious stories, gets herself caught up in crazy predicaments, and ALWAYS pops out the other side with a smile on her face.  She once told me a co-worker called her Super Bon Bon.  I have been calling her that ever since.  It is the most appropriate nick name.

It doesn't seem to matter what hard things that might be going on behind the scenes (no pun intended...since she is quite the actress) with her life or with her body...of which has not cooperated very well over the past couple of years...You would never know anything was wrong.  She can make you feel good just by standing in her presence.

She works hard at keeping her body fit and working for her.  You know when she is concentrating and pushing hard because her tongue will stick out a bit. I love her determination not to let any physical injuries or limitations get her down.  She just deals with it, and moves on.

Our friendship has blossomed over the training time we have spent together.  We contemplate life, friends, work, family, kids...we share advice, we celebrate successes and sweep our failures up under the rug...

We have not spent much time together lately, our lives moving in different directions(the way lives do) so Tuesday was the first time we were together for a while.  The time flew by, the conversation flowed easily.  It is nice just to "BE" with someone...with no expectation...

Bonnie, I am so grateful you crossed my path, and decided to walk along with me for a while.  Your joy, energy, strength, kindness and love of life has rubbed off on me. Thank you for that...

Rock on Super Bon Bon...cant wait to see what life has for you next...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wanted: Aerobics Instructor

A few years back...(a few too many to say) Group Exercise Instructors of today were called Aerobics Instructors.  The days of Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons.  Yes, I am that old...

"What type of classes can you teach?" I ask
"I can teach anything" she says...
"Oh...OK, here is the stereo..."

She came in to demo for an aerobics instructor position at the gym I was working at as the "Aerobics Director".  Little did I know, this day would have a tremendous impact on me...

Full of confidence,  a sense of street smarts, and a powerful presence, Michelle walked in.  I was instantly struck by her positive sense of self.  It vibrated off of her.

Up until that day, I had never met anyone who was so sure of herself.  I was a bit taken back...apprehensive...nervous...unsure  

Even with my apprehension, there was no denying that her "Demo" (interview) for the position was great.  I hired her on the spot, knowing that she would be a great addition to our team and excited that she would add more strength to our schedule. She was passionate, dedicated and driven.  All qualities I respected and admired.

Michelle taught me over the years that we worked together about tact, about being Ok with standing up for yourself, being OK to admit when your wrong, and being OK to stick by a decision you believe to be right.  To realize that 2 people can think differently and both be "right" and on the same page.

We grew to have mutual respect and genuine like and friendship for each other. I love the way our relationship evolved...like no other I have had...

I am thankful that Michelle came into the gym that day...having moved into NH from MA..(thank you Massachusetts!) Thankful for the lessons and wisdom...

I now watch the amazing paths her boys have taken following their own passions...just like mom...with 100% of her support.

I send YOU MICHELLE, lots of love, admiration and respect.  Thank you for being you and coming into my life.  Because of you, I am stronger...

Its 11:22!!! Cheryl are you there?

Have you ever met someone, and instantly said to yourself, "I want to hang around them, and be their friend"

My long time friend Cheryl tops this list.  We met early on in College.  She was a Basketball Player (#22)  I was a Soccer Player (#11).  The early 80's culture screamed that we should not be friends...All the more reason we should be.  One of the most magnetic traits of Cheryl is her "This is me, You get what you get, like it or leave it" attitude ...It was like a magnet for me.

Her number 22, mine 11...Every time either one of us sees the time 11:22, we think of each other.  A mini blessing...

We became fast friends...she tried to teach me basketball.  Oh well...I was better with my feet...Instead, I decided to become the basketball manager/timekeeper giving me the ability to hang around.  I enjoyed the players, admired their skill and dedication.  It mirrored my own with soccer.  I eventually got promoted to their  "aerobic instructor" a role I was destined to play for a long time....

I just wanted to be surrounded by Cheryl's  "aura".  Have you ever known anyone like that?

We have many memories, as roommates in College Housing with 2 others.

A little over a year ago, she phoned me with bad news.  One of our roommates was not doing well, and was in Hospice.  Sue, was Cheryl's best friend. They were like "2 peas in a pod"  Their kids grew up together. They shared many memories and time together well into adulthood.

When she passed, the loss was huge for Cheryl...All I could do was pray, hug, and be present... It never seems enough...As you read this Cheryl, know how much I care for you...How much I wish I could have done something...How much you mean to me.

Because of this experience, Cheryl has made a consistent effort to connect.  She is a constant in my world...a Facebook hello, a short text, glance at the clock at 11:22.

Our friendship will always be there... and Sue, Cheryl, Lesa and I will all be together again...laughing, making funny faces, trying to dance, acting silly, eating rice cakes and peanut butter...some day.  In the mean time, Cheryl and I stay connected in our hearts, and twice a day at 11:22...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Friend LA :)

The perfect way to start my "Happy" blogs is with a close buddy from my college days...the friend who gave a speech at my wedding in 2013.  The words that pop into my head when I think of Laura...intuitive, wise, strong, resilient, truthful...

She tells it like it is, like it or not.  I admire that quality.  She see's more than what is visual to the eye...much more, that is why both Tim and I have hired her to work with us, coach us, help direct us...

The memories we share include swimming off the dock, eating burgers cooked by the big guy and speedboating on lake Winnepesakki....sleepovers, running stairs in Smith hall, all night study sessions, exercise phys class with Dr. B., RA madness, VISION BOARDS, your Fenway run, finding me in the rain in Providence, and sharing late night stories, laughing....and crying.  

Always there with an understanding ear...a smile, a hug....

I am so blessed to have this incredibly smart, sensitive, intuitive and supportive woman in my life.

I am the proud twirling, galloping, goofy fitness professional whose mission is to express childlike joy...because of your belief in me. Xoxx

Many hugs to you my friend...

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Lucky One

I am the lucky one.  Blessed with 2 distinctly different daughters.  They are unique in their talents...they are smart, funny, sensitive and caring. 

I am not sure what I was thinking when I said I wanted to write about them.  I could use this blog to brag on them, embarrass them, reminisce and get all wishy washy, but I won't...

They are now 20 and 22.  I am not sure how...feels like just yesterday they were heading off to kindergarten.  Funny, our parents said the same thing to us when we FINALLY were old enough to head off on our own...

I loved being pregnant, I loved rocking them as babies and getting up in the middle of the night to sooth a bad dream.  When they turned 3 and 4, I was running ragged...tired with a never ending list of "to do's"  I thought these were some of the toughest years.  UNTIL, one had her heart broken.  That brought about a whole new level of hard.  

Interesting the level of pain you can feel in the presence of the pain of another.  The love of a child is like no other.  It feels like it morphs, flows and changes...but I am not so sure. 

I want to say thank you to my girls for not giving up on me and loving me despite my mistakes.  Looking back I would have done some things differently.  Yet, I know that I did the best that I could with what I knew.  I continue to learn and grow as a parent and I continue to do the best that I can...

I want them to know how much I love them, how proud I am of them both.  That I will be there for them when they need me, will love them unconditionally, will cheer loud for them, and cry hard with them...as many times as they need.

And...Yes Ashley and Alyssa, I now would have let you play in the "clean garbage cans" out front...

I am the lucky one...blessed to be a mom...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You had me at Push-Ups

I got married, for the second time on October 11, 2013.  I married my best friend.  The wedding was something from a fairy tale book.  A room filled with love, support and family.  The love was almost palatable.  It was a perfect start for Tim and I.

We had know each other in College, 30 years ago...had some classes together, and even danced at the "HUB" at Plymouth State.

Our reconnection came in 2011, when I saw he was running a Push-Up for Charity event at his performance site to benefit the Wounded Warriors.  "I like push-ups"  I said to myself, and contacted him to be part of the event.  We decided on a NH vs ME "Push-Up Off"  so that we could try to raise more money.  We met to go over details...he says he knew that day, he was going to marry me.  I, on the other hand was coming off a long marriage and just knew this was a good man.

It didn't take long to find out what an amazing, brilliant, sensitive, caring, dedicated, passionate and hardworking man this was, I was smitten...If you want to read a little more about the moment I knew I was in love with him you can go back in my blog to February 1, 2015 and read "Love on the Rocks".

We continue to learn and grow with each other, he has taught me how to communicate better and listen more.   I have learned that he will love me unconditionally...even when I get mad at him, cry for no reason, break another glass, make a "not so good" decision, turn into my alter-ego psycho woman, or want to watch Holiday Hallmark movies every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas....

We have recently begun to work together in our fitness company ATP Fitness, this brings being partners in life to a whole new meaning.  We are learning to delegate responsibilities to each other, compromise, and work together on finances (something I try to run from!)  It can be challenging at times for both of us, but as long as we remember our goal is to be of service to others, things fall into place

I am looking forward to continue to learn, laugh, and love with this man as we grow older.  I am thankful to God and Push-Ups for bringing us together.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The NEW normal

I overheard a woman at the gym the other day(an attractive and fit woman in my eyes) say that on January 1st, she was going to "Reclaim her Fit Body".

It got me thinking...what does that mean?  What defines a "Fit Body"?  I used to measure my own fitness with thinness, low body fat levels and perfect symmetry.  The lower the body fat, the more fit I was...

I look at myself now and I know I have an average amount of body fat, not too low, not too high. Not that long ago I would have been describing myself as "Out of Shape" and "Fat" because I am not as "thin" as I have been in the past.  I now know that is not true.  My body can do almost anything I ask of it...from carrying heavy boxes and picking up children, to running up and down stairs or down the street.

How do you define being fit?  Is it the amount of weight you can lift?  How many pushup or squats you can do?  How many miles you can run?  How many days you can cleanse or eat "Clean"?

I have struggled my whole life with accepting the body I was blessed with. I have tried many methods to either CHANGE IT or HIDE IT. (and still try to hide it on occasion).

The Acceptance of What Is...This is a hard concept for many.  I am learning to accept what is....still knowing I can change, learn and grow within certain areas if I so choose AND/or I can accept what is.

For Example...

I can accept my body as it is or I can try to lose weight and try to lower my body fat level, by going on a "diet".   This would make me "fitter" right?   

This is what I know from experience...after experience ...after experience...

It would make me:

  1. Feel Deprived
  2. Feel Punished-Like I am not good enough
  3. Feel Weak, Tired, Lethargic
  4. Be Emotional 
  5. Be Short Tempered
  6. Feel Depressed
  7. Look critically at myself more in the mirror (increased body checking)
  8. Be obsessive about my exercise and calorie intake
  9. Withdraw from hanging out, talking or just being with friends
  10. Stress out over being with family and withdraw
After a while of this "Diet"  I would begin to hear compliments...things like "Wow, you look great, have you lost weight? How did you do it?"

These feel good right?  Until they make you think and overanalyze them and say to yourself: "Wow, I must have gotten really fat" (THIS IS NOT QUITE THE FEELING I WAS LOOKING FOR!)

If I decide to accept my body and Reclaim MYSELF:
 

It would make me:

  1. Feel Empowered
  2. Allow me to move and exercise how and when I want
  3. Have all the energy I need to do whatever I want to do 
  4. Enjoy all foods with friends, family or alone
  5. Not expect compliments from others (I used to thrive on this, it gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride and filled my EGO)
  6. Understand and Empathize with the struggles of others
  7. Feel Free from expectation
  8. Be free from mirrors, scales, calories
  9. Feel free to BE ME
I am 53 years old.  I have worked with clients from 18-94.  Some of them enjoy Christmas cookies and look forward to dinners out with friends, while others worry about fitting into their clothes of 30+ years ago and how many calories are "In that dessert"...

I want to grow older enjoying walks, drumming, dancing, twirling and moving my body with a childlike joy...
 
I want to enjoy a glass of wine, an ice cream cone, nachos, french fries and chocolate chip cookies.

I want to feel empowered and strong following my own rules, my own standards and be OK with it.

I need NOT "Reclaim my Fit Body" of yester-year...

My body IS STRONG, my mind IS FUELED, and I am now going to have leftover Chinese food for Breakfast...