In which I shed tears during corpse pose…

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Last night, I did a Yoga session as part of my cross-training for the marathon in June. Before anyone asks, it’s not Grandma’s Marathon.:) And yes, it’s my first.
 
Anyway, I tried the 30 minute X3 Yoga session with Tony Horton, thinking: “I’ve done yoga before. It’s 30 minutes. No problem.”
 
It’s not called X3 Yoga for nothing. By the end of it, I was sweating and praying just to get through the last few minutes alive. Apparently, there is a WHOLE new level of yoga, I’ve never experienced…until just then.
 
So I’m in the last pose, which is definitely my favorite one now. It’s basically a resting pose and it felt AMAZING.
 
But as I lay there, breathing and feeling the sweat and stretch of muscle groups I THOUGHT I had been adequately working out, I started crying.
 
My mantra throughout the workout was Psalm 18. At least the part that says,
 
“The God who arms me with strength
And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

Usually my workouts don’t make me cry. I mean, I’ve shed tears of joy when I crossed the finish line after a half marathon, but no matter how painful or crazy hard they are, I don’t usually bawl like a baby. So I had to wonder why.

I’m lying on a yoga mat, trembling like a newborn baby, and crying.

It hit me then. Because that Yoga session reminded me once again of my WHY. My balance sucked, my joints protested every move like I was making them do something they had no desire to do, and my resting pose was the only “successful” pose I’d done the whole 30 minutes.

I hate the thought of aging. The first time I found a silver hair, I was in my early twenties and I cried, after plucking it out and throwing it away. I’ve never had the best balance, but in college, I could do sit ups, push-ups, and a 4 mile run with a 40 pound rucksack on my back, wearing BDUs and combat boots. I even managed 5 pull ups in a row a few times.

After having kids, my abs didn’t support me anymore and my posture suffered. My tendons and ligaments loosened, which is natural and part of motherhood, but I’ve had hip and knee problems ever since.

One of my greatest fears is ending up in a nursing home bed, fighting bed sores, obesity, and a degenerative brain disease. NOT the way I want to exit this world.

Stories of 90 year old men and women who cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, 50 year olds who can rock climb with only a rope and their two, muscled arms, 70 year olds who look like they’re 50 because they’ve eaten healthy and taken care of their bodies well. THOSE are the people I aspire to be as I age.

At one point, the fear paralyzed me into inaction. I figured it was inevitable, given my health history, genetics, and a host of other excuses I kept throwing up until I actually believed them to be true.

I may not EVER be able to hold a Tree Pose for longer than 30 seconds, but I for SURE won’t if I keep up that attitude.

Someone posted on my Facebook wall that they were so proud of me for sticking with my program and accomplishing my exercise goals. Then they ended it with a line that makes me sick to my stomach, no matter how many times I hear or see it:

I could NEVER do that.

That phrase makes me simultaneously want to strangle the person and vomit. Mostly because I’ve seen the results of those words on a person’s life and it’s ugly and heartbreaking and devastating.

We have ONE shot at this people. ONE shot to live a life that THRIVES and OVERCOMES and SUCCEEDS in whatever we do.

We don’t GET a second chance at life. We won’t all be Olympic Athletes or Marathon Runners or experts at Sayanasana.

Shyasana

Heck, as impressive as that pose is, I have NO desire to ever try it. I’ll leave it to Yoga enthusiasts with killer balance and a strong equilibrium. ♥

But I don’t ever want to say I could NEVER do it.

What a horrifying word.

NEVER.

I’ll NEVER be healthy. I’ll NEVER get that scholarship. I’ll NEVER cross that finish line. I could NEVER be a mother. I will NEVER be a coach.

How limiting. How devastating. How utterly untrue.

The only time I can make that true is if I say it over and over and over again until I believe it. Which I have done. A lot more than I want to admit.

In my brief sojourn on this earth, I have seen the absolute LIMITS of the human capability. I have also seen what happens when someone BLASTS through those limits as if they never existed in the first place. And those are the people I want to strive to emulate. Not the person who publicly declared for the world to see (or at least my corner of the world anyway) that they had no desire to strive for what they deemed impossible.

So as I cried like a baby on my yoga mat, I realized the tears were because I was once again telling myself NEVER, when I should be telling myself,

WHY NOT?

Our culture is a culture of CANNOT and NEVER. What that really means is we’ve lost our focus, our WHY, our purpose. So we choose instead to see our limitations and not our possibilities. Because what good are possibilities if we have no purpose, no focus, no WHY?

I beat my body into submission, NOT because I have a sadistic need to feel pain. I do it because I REFUSE to be that obese, disease-ridden, aged beyond her years person in a hospital bed when I’m 90 years old.

No one needs to tell me my limitations. I already know them. They were my best friends for many years.

What I am determined to discover is how fast I can leave those limitations in the dust as I focus on THRIVING and SUCCEEDING.

The only NEVER I want to hear from my mouth is, “I will NEVER let my limitations define and devastate my possibilities.”

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In which I minimize…to maximize…

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Four bookcases. And still my book collection doesn’t quite fit the sagging shelves. If they had a Book Addicts Anonymous, I would be the first one at the meeting, chugging copious amounts of my own personally brewed “snob” coffee, analyzing the incoming addicts for their particular tastes, and introducing myself with all the intelligence and enthusiasm of a well-rounded reader.

Hi, I’m Sarah. And I LOVE books. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 4 hours flat on my third wedding anniversary while  my long-suffering husband indulged my addiction and went to sleep. I have ten newly-started books sitting on my bedside table and I will probably have them all finished by Labor Day. My earliest bed time this week was 1:30am and that was only because I had to get up for a training run at 5.

No joke.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only collection I’ve accumulated since I left college far behind and joined the ranks of stay-at-home moms everywhere. Not that a stay-at-home mom is necessarily always a hoarder. I think it might actually be genetic for me.

On my dad’s side.

My collections are scattered all over my house and I still have yet to learn the art of “Space for everything and everything in its space.”

So to name a few:

  1. Clothes that I will NEVER fit into again, not because I will never get back to my pre-baby weight, but because my body has naturally formed new curves since I’ve had my littles. By default, I won’t even look sexy in the clothes even if I manage to squeeze myself into them long enough to cut off oxygen supply to vital body parts.
  2. Papers: Seriously, I have papers from every one of my kid’s art projects, even if it was just ONE tiny little barely there yellow scribble from the 2 year old in the upper corner of a crumpled, ripped piece of printer paper. I keep telling myself I’m going to take pictures and store the digital files, but well…the stack is kind of intimidating and I’m a little afraid it’s going to transform into an artistic monster ready to snap off my fingers if I get too near.
  3. Kid’s clothes that went out of style when I was a little baby. I kept them for sentimental purposes without really thinking about the fact that they would never see the light of day again. Anyone want to teach me how to make a quilt from all the scraps of material I could get out of my “nostalgic” collection?
  4. Bed sheets. Yep. We got a massive collection in our 10+moves, mostly from family members who were foisting them on us to clear out their own clutter. And hey, we have beds, so why not? Problem is, they’ve aged so badly, the rips and tears are not big enough for toes and fingers to get tangled and we could probably cut them into dusting cloths, but that would mean we’d actually have to get nice, new sheets for our guest beds. Oh no.
  5. Single socks. Sock puppets anyone? I keep meaning to throw them out, but my husband started downsizing by replacing holey socks with the ones in the scrap bin. So we save a little on socks each year and heck, I can’t fault him for being efficient. Why I keep the kid’s socks is beyond me, because theirs NEVER match after they’ve been washed and folded the first time.

All this to say that in the midst of our moving and projects and weekends away this year, I have had little time to clean up my collections or manage them well. I trip over pieces of my collections in every room of our house and part of it is because we’re moving, but part of it is that I’ve gotten overwhelmed by all of our STUFF and I just quit caring. In my defense, it’s been a rough few weeks (which is when most of the clutter has accumulated) with sick babies, a school shooting, and moving/project delays.

SO:

The moral of the story is that my life is cluttered beyond belief. And today, I just HAD it. I’ve now got 5 large garbage bags full of my collections and a couple boxes full in the back of my van, ready to cart off to the nearest goodwill or half-way home in my area. My couch is once again clear of laundry and a small bit of my burden is lifted as I can now see more of the floors in my house.

However, the book collection stays.

I told you I was an addict…

reading-addiction

 

In which I quit with the quitting…

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I have about 20 manuscripts of all shapes and sizes. Out of that 20, only three are considered completed first drafts.The rest of them are in various states of unfinished.

I have five cross stitch projects. Of the five, only one is complete, and it wasn’t even framed. It’s a tiny little beaded ornament on foam backing, with no frame. The rest are in various states of unfinished. The first one I started was before my youngest brother was born. He’s now fifteen.

I have a basket with some beautiful fabric, all cut out and ready to be sewn into a medieval style dress and over dress. It was for a project I was supposed to complete my junior year of high school. I had gotten a sewing machine and in a fit of inspiration, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to sew an entire costume to accompany my oral report.

The costume is a heap of fabric that’s beginning to fray on the edges. The oral report never got presented.

My history of starting a project and not finishing is legendary. My mom would tell you I have quitting mastered. And she would be correct.

I quit 3 different home businesses, 7 jobs (to be fair, some of them were because I was moving), and various friendships throughout my lifetime.

Looking back on this rather incomplete list, I shamefully wonder how on earth I’m still managing to keep a blog going after 4+ years. Although even that has been done sporadically and not with the determined dedication of a motivated blogger.

I could make excuses. My manuscripts are a work in progress, I didn’t know how to sew anyway, and at least one of my jobs was dangerous to my health, my license, and my patients. I’ve got enough excuses to write my own book on reasons for quitting.

It’s not a book I desire to write.

I’ve tried to analyze my penchant for quitting over the years and failed. I’ve blamed it on others, blamed it on circumstances, blamed it on a lack of passion.

The one place where the blame SHOULD rest is on me, but I find myself reluctant even now, to go there.

Sure, people in my life HAVE influenced my character development and therefore, I can legitimately claim their part in my failures. It makes me a coward and a jerk though. I’ve still seen and experienced people in my life who never give up and live by the motto, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So this excuse is cheap, unflattering, and too easy.

My circumstances HAVE contributed to my quitting. Some of my jobs really were dangerous enough that I refused to put myself and my patients at risk anymore and I walked. I couldn’t change the policies and procedures that led to this situation, so it’s a legitimate reason to quit. At least one of the companies I quit is now involved in lawsuits and I cannot really regret leaving when I did. It still doesn’t explain MOST of my quits. Again, weak and flawed. A coward’s way out.

I have jumped into something, thinking, “Oh, this is cool. I really want to do this. It’s fun, it’s an adventure, I can make some money on the side.” Hobbies are expensive and I cannot justify some of them as businesses when I choose not to put the time and effort into making money instead of losing it. Again, I could justify this excuse.

Then again, I really need to quit justifying my quits.

Because it’s not the quitting that bothers me the most. It’s the mentality that I’ve held for 30+ years. It’s the concept that when the going gets tough, this quitter quits. And that, quite frankly, scares me.

I’m not advocating for staying in a job you despise or going back and finishing a high school project you didn’t know how to finish anyway. I’m not advocating for restarting those failed businesses or NEVER giving up on something. Sometimes, giving up one thing allows you to experience something else far better.

What I AM saying, is that my quitters mentality is far more dangerous and insidious than just walking away from a really bad job or not finishing a manuscript. It’s my mindset that I need to change. I can be wise about WHAT I quit, but that means having a stronger reason than, “It’s just too hard, so I’m giving up.”

I need to change my way of thinking so that quitting is an exception to the rule and not the normal MO. For some things, I shouldn’t even offer myself an out. The cost of quitting has more to do with the damage I do to my thought process and the results that I live out for those who are watching me. I’m thinking of my children right now, but I also want to count my coaches and customers in that sphere of influence.

SO. List of things I haven’t quit and CHOOSE to stay the course:

  1. My marriage. Divorce is not an option. It’s not even in our vocabulary and I’m thankful to have a husband who chooses to fight FOR us, not against us, every day.
  2. My parenting. I get exhausted and my kids are all still young. One thing I CHOOSE to never do, is quit being a parent. Some days are easy. MOST days are NOT a walk in the park. If I want my kids to grow up principled, morally upright, valuable contributors to society, I can’t use my exhaustion as an excuse to stop parenting.
  3. My Beachbody coaching. I AM a coach. I have a long way to go to make this successful, thriving, and big enough to prove myself, but this last, lazy week has proven to me more than ever that I WANT this. I have a HUGE why and I’m not going to give up the opportunity to change lives, change families, and change the world. The cost of quitting is greater than the cost of continuing.
  4. My Writing. This blog and all my other works in progress. I’m not finished yet. I DO have something to say and I am a writer. It’s non-negotiable. I will continue writing.
  5. My faith. It’s last on the least, but that is NOT because it’s the least important. Technically, it should be at the beginning of this list, but I am not always writing chronologically. However, as the culture grows increasingly hostile toward Christ followers, I CHOOSE to walk the walk. No matter what. No apologies. No regrets. The cost of walking away is FAR too high for me to even contemplate.

It’s a mindset change. In keeping with my recent lifestyle changes, I’m finding the inspiration to press on, worth the cost.

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In which I find logic and reason to be beyond me…

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For a time at least.

I knew when I took on the task of home schooling my daughter, that I would be faced with both the pleasant memories and the demons of my past.

Okay, slightly melodramatic, but math IS the bane of my existence. I didn’t think I could hate it more until I got to statistics class in college. I knew I was doomed when the instructor calmly informed us that he, “Was not here to entertain us,” and he, “Didn’t care if we passed or failed.” I passed, but barely.

So first grade math SHOULD be a cinch for me, right?

Wrong.

Instead, I find myself staring stupidly at a problem, getting frustrated at my ineptness, and yelling at my daughter when she can’t figure it out either. Before anyone freaks out, yes. I apologized and asked for forgiveness. I also explained that mommy hates feeling inept and dumb (not in those words) and that math was NEVER my strong suit.

My daughter is brilliant at math. Part of the reason for my frustration. HOWEVER, she is also seven and learning these concepts for the first time. While she may pick up quickly on some of the strategies and problem solving, I forgot to give her grace and understanding.

Me, at 32 years of age. Still struggling with grace. I know. The logic is beyond me too.

I find myself getting frustrated easily these days. My temper’s short and my patience levels low.

But maybe it’s not everyone else I’m frustrated at. Which stinks because they are usually the first ones to feel it.

That math problem that I couldn’t figure out for the life of me and sent my daughter into tears?

I came back to it later in the day, mainly to justify my frustration and convince myself that I’m not inept.

Guess what?

I worked my way through the problem. Was it silly? Yes. Does it still feel like a pointless exercise? Definitely. There are at least TEN other ways the problem could be more easily solved. That’s not the point though.

The point is, I figured it out. AND I explained it to my daughter without either of us breaking down into tears.

I think that’s what grace is to me. It’s God getting frustrated by my continued ineptness and repeat mistakes, but putting the frustration away and realizing that I’m still a child learning these concepts for the first time. So unlike me, He doesn’t hit me over the head with my failures and bring me to tears.

Instead, He walks me through each step with patience and love until I figure it out. THEN He rejoices with me when I’ve gotten the concept.

Grace

In which I create my client persona…

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Oddly enough, my client looks a lot like me.:)

Sarah

I could add a whole lot more to that list, but I was trying to give a summary. And I’m not JUST looking for people exactly like me. But it’s a nice place to start. Especially given that I can relate with a person who has gone or is going through what I have and do go through on a daily basis.

I started Beachbody coaching in January and I am terrified every single day that I won’t make it as a coach. I see my successes as a lucky break and there are days when my fears keep me from inviting a single person to change their lives. NOT because I’m afraid of their response to my invitation. I’m afraid that I will fail THEM in the end.

I mean, let’s face it. I’m not a model coach on my BEST days. My follow up still needs a LOT of work and I still have stretches where I don’t work out every day like I am encouraging others to do. Sometimes, my invites sound like a sales pitch and I know I’ve lost before I even get started because I AM the product and I failed to prove that.

I do have an amazing story to tell and not everyone is going to catch fire like I did when I finally realized it. I’m okay with that. What I’m NOT okay with, is letting my own fears douse MY fire right out of the gate. And in the process lose my why and my ability to change lives. How can I change lives if my own passion has fizzled? What use am I if I can’t even motivate myself to work hard and not just wait for you to come to me?

This is a difficult business. It’s not a walk in the park, and my first few months prove that. I hit goals because me and my husband worked our tails off and proved the results to the people we helped. I can’t sit down on the job and expect to bring in a $1500/week paycheck. I’m blessed to be paying for my own Shakeology right now.

I want so badly to be a team leader and to raise up others who are just like me. So I have to constantly return to the bigger picture. A lot of hard work in the beginning is going to make waves the more lives I change every month. I WILL reap the rewards in the long run, and in some ways I am already seeing rewards in the lives I am already inspiring to change.

The first life I have to change, though, is me.

In which I begin Spring Break…

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It’s not actually a break, so I don’t know why they call it that. I mean, we get a week off of school, but who really gets a “break” when they have little children, are planning a move, building a business, and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle?

A break to me is just a different kind of school all together. We’re still learning and growing and moving forward, but we don’t have our heads in the textbook or our eyes glued to a history lesson on the computer screen.

The kids still make me five million art projects and leave the unused pieces all over the house. We still need to eat 3-5 square meals a day and I fully intend to insist upon physical education daily. Our house still needs to be cleaned, and our laundry done.

Break? Not so much. Besides, I don’t want a break from Spring. Bring on the warm, tee-shirt and shorts weather. Let the sun shine and the rain wash away the last of winter. Let me get a few good runs in for my marathon training. Let me take the kids to the park or have an impromptu picnic on the porch.

Let me FINALLY get a consistent Power Hour in for my business building every day.

I’ve decided I’m going to take this week as the gift it is. A chance to not focus on subjects like math and spelling and an opportunity to freely enjoy other areas of my life I’ve neglected while pursuing an education for my children.

Happy Spring…not-break. ♥

In which I compare and contrast…

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Why I chose Beachbody over a Gym Membership:

  1. I get to work out with my own personal hunk. Yummy!12814267_10100981407354325_9104245845472910326_n
  2. I don’t have to pay for a daycare and have my kids bringing home a million and one new germs for us to experience. funny-5-second-rule-germs-chip-crisp-ground-comic-pics
  3. MY equipment. MY rules. MY germs. ba609f62ee2809242613404935ff3961
  4. I don’t have to go out in the dead of winter to start my freezing cold car at 4:00 in the morning just to drive fifteen minutes to a gym where I workout for 30 minutes and drive home to shower. Notime
  5. Challenge Groups. #nuffsaid
  6. I get to be my OWN coach. Which basically means I get pleasure from inflicting pain on myself. On the plus side, I can call a mean cadence during #22MinuteHardCorps.
  7. I can CIZE it UP and no one will laugh at my dance moves. dance_moves_3_xalext.gif
  8. Personalized meal plans and Shakeology at my fingertips.
  9. It’s a #Family affair. IMG_4063
  10. I get paid to workout, inspire others, and BE the product.