This is a post that’s been brewing for a while. Last April, I went to California for a intensive weekend retreat to complete my Prenatal Kriya Yoga instructor certification. The retreat was held at an absolutely stunning hacienda-style home in the hills of San Jose, where we were treated with the stunning spring display of rose bushes in bloom all around us.
While the full, weighty blossoms were undeniable in their almost in-your-face beauty, I was struck by the perfection in the rosebuds. The colors were bold and striking. The form was compact but impressive. The petals perfectly cuddled each other as the sepals fell gracefully down and away. The little rosebud was just as beautiful as her big-blossomed cousins.
Maybe it’s the same with us. To be constantly thinking about (or, more accurately, worrying about) how we are going to look, feel, think, or act once we are in full bloom, we miss out on the peace of contentment in our current life. If we can learn to rejoice in the way we are now, celebrate what we can do, and feel grateful for our current capabilities, we can best embrace the power of our potential.
True growth happens when we can take a thorough stock of our strengths as well as our failures. By accounting for the positives we have right now, we can give ourselves an honest appraisal of what we need to do to reach our full potential. If we acknowledge the beauty in our various parts right now, we can use them to push ourselves even further. After all, if we believe that we are made of goodness, strength, beauty, and wisdom now, imagine how much more we have to offer as we continue to grow!
We have all of the potential within us to be the best, most impressive versions of ourselves. By recognizing the value in our life day-by-day, we set ourselves up for the exciting unfolding of our potential.
Good health and great happiness to you!
2010 was quite a year for my family.
My husband quit his job of 12.5 years with no further employment lined up. Instead, we took our kids on an eight-week trip. It was early in that adventure that we found out about our Stowaway baby…now just three weeks away from her due date. Instead of spending part of my summer vacation drawing up a new business plan to take advantage of the greater time I was planning on working once The Monkey goes to Kindergarten in August, I was thinking about how my business was going to adapt when I have a newborn again. In some ways, life is far more complex than it was 4.5 years ago when The Monkey was born and The Bear (nearly age 3) became a big brother. The boys now each have their own friends and activities, and my attention is needed for school projects and carpools. On the other hand, my boys can take themselves to the bathroom, get themselves dressed, and they can even pour their own cereal and make PB&J sandwiches. They also play together really well, which has been one of the most exciting developments of the past year.
This autumn, my husband created meaningful work for himself: he started a business and is working as a consultant, doing the types of IT work at which he excels. He has a flexible schedule and retains his work-from-home arrangement that is so important to our family. Sure, it’s risky and uncertain in this economy to strike out alone, but we’ve learned that seeking out opportunity and taking advantage of it– when it fits in with our family’s life– is what we really value.
So, as I sit here at the beginning of 2011 and think about what the year ahead is going to look like, I’m hoping to continue to embrace change as my family, my business, and I all enter a new phase.
Before you set about the ritualistic task of making resolutions for the new year, I encourage you to spend some time in self-reflection regarding your successes and challenges of 2010. By grounding yourself in reality, you are more likely to make resolutions that are both meaningful and achievable.
What three accomplishments are you most proud of?
Are these goals that you set and met? Perhaps one of these accomplishments was an unexpected opportunity you took advantage of. Do these accomplishments reflect your personal life, family life, business life, or some intersection thereof? Think about how they made you feel and if they changed the way you live and/or work.
What three items are still on your to-do list?
I like to start my year by sewing up all of the cut out or half-completed outfits I started during the year. Doing so gives me a feeling of accomplishment, but it also lets me start with a clean slate. Although my sewing projects are just a hobby, the same principle applies to bigger items that affect family and/or work life. If you can identify those tasks or projects that just never seem to get done, you can either do them (and feel the exhilarating thrill of FINALLY getting it behind you) or decide that they’re just not that important to you. Either way, move on freely.
What happened to you in the past year that you had no control over?
Have you or your family been affected by sudden job loss, a major health issue, an unexpected move, or the death of an influential person in your life? Almost everyone experiences something during the year that is beyond their control, and tuning in to how you react to these events can give you a good perspective about how you handle challenges and change. Use this insight to gain confidence about how you can tackle a big project in the year to come.
Describe your year in one sentence.
The exercise of summarizing major events (and your feelings about them), accomplishments, and shortcomings can help you understand what you value. This summary–and the priorities it represents– can be your springboard for thinking about how you want to approach resolutions for next year.
Good health and great happiness to you.
Here it is, the great day in September where our day and night are of equal length. It’s a day of reflection for me, as I like to use the equinox to reflect on how I use my time.
For someone task-oriented, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can be (or have been) most efficent. I need to make sure, though, that effeciency isn’t the main motivation for my actions. Am I staying true to who I am and what I want to achieve? Have my actions throughout the summer led me to expect a rich harvest this fall? Whether this question is answered in a weight-loss goal, 5K race time, number of nutritious meals eaten together as a family, or some other way is immaterial. It’s power is in the way the question and answer reflects conscious positive action.
In addition to thinking about what I have done, I also find value in thinking about all of those things I thought I was going to do but just haven’t gotten around to yet. Are there tasks or even goals that I just need to let go of? What is bogging me down? How have my priorities shifted this summer? (For me? Oh, yes!) What can I do to create new goals better in line with my new priorities?
The answers to all of these questions can be used to set goals and lay out a plan of action for the autumn. For those of you who live in Austin or another hot climate, embrace the cooler weather of autumn and think about all of the wonderful outdoor activities that can be sprinkled into the next few months.
I think it’s valid not only to consider how we use our waking time but also to evaluate the quality of our resting time. Am I getting enough sleep? Is it quality sleep? Is there such a thing as quality sleep once you have children?
In all seriousness, the quality of one’s sleep and its link to overall health and wellness has been well documented. Create a bedtime ritual for yourself– just like you ensure your children have– if you find it easier to stay up late and do just-one-more-thing that cheats you out of some much needed sleep. You’ll likely reap benefits such as a strong immune system, quicker recovery from tough workouts, and a more patient temperament.
Good health and great happiness to you this autumn!
I’ve been working consciously lately to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. I’ll be honest: as a natural-born cynic, this does not come easy for me. But after seeing how many people go through life either crabby or blowing sunshine, I’ve come to understand that being happy is a choice.
We live in a hyper-critical society. Being happy is not the norm. It’s no wonder so many people focus on their shortcomings rather than their successes. I am encouraging my clients to reframe the way they view their fitness progress by making positive statements. Rather than thinking “my stomach is still flabby even after six weeks of hard work”, it is much more rewarding to consider “I can do twice as many crunches in one minute as I could just six weeks ago!” Celebrating strengths rather than dwelling on weaknesses generates a spirit of positivism that affects not only the person with whom it originates but everyone with whom that person comes in contact. Powerful!
I am giving myself a real challenge and have decided that being grateful (happy’s older, more sophisticated and wise sister) is an important part of my overall wellness. Recognizing the sources of my happiness and acknowledging it/them for the goodness they bring to my life improves my overall wellness. With this attitude of gratitude, I feel unstoppable. And the more goodness I acknowledge, the more goodness I see. Again, powerful!
I challenge you to think–right now–about five people for whom you are grateful. Write down their names. And in the next 24 hours, call, email, text, or Facebook those people and let them know how important they are to you. In doing so you will not only make their day, but you’ll be cultivating a generous sense well-being for yourself. I dare you to tell me it does not lighten your heart and change your outlook on life.
Good health and great happiness to you.
Despite the huge-and-growing popularity of bootcamps as a group fitness option, I must admit that I hate that term. For me, the image of a bootcamp includes a sergeant who is a) shouting, b) in your face, and c) trying to make you hurt. I certainly understand why the military uses this form of communication, but what I don’t understand is why so many civilians find this style motivating.
Since I’m being honest here, I’ll say that the very last thing I want to do at 6am (or any other time) is yell. Maybe I’m lazy; maybe I’m the one who needs a kick in the pants. Or maybe I’m cut from a different mold. While some people may find it motivating to be hollered at, I find it demeaning. I believe that if you need to be yelled at to exercise, your issues are far greater than what I am capable of handling within the bounds of my profession.
So how can I be a results-driven trainer who expects her clients to put forth quality effort every class or session? Easy. I believe that people who get up in the wee hours of the morning to arrive at a 6am circuit training class (please, oh please do NOT call it a bootcamp!) are already motivated. All I have to do is encourage them– give positive cues, offer affirmations when appropriate, and comment on achievements– and my participants and clients motivate themselves. And isn’t that a better benchmark of wellness? When we don’t need someone in our face to bark commands because the desire to succeed comes from within?!
Many of my class participants have commented that it is because of my kinder, more positive approach that has contributed to their adherance to the class. They come back because of the variety of workouts (which are programmed in the same interval style as hard-core bootcamps), the comeraderie of the class community, and the fitness results that they continue to see month-after-month. I want my participants to feel valued. After all, helping people find ways to integrate exercise into their lives on a daily basis for their whole life is at the heart of why I am a personal trainer.
If you’ve been looking for a place where your fitness level will be honored and your achievements celebrated, please do join us. I promise a friendly face, a smile, and cheering using my inside voice.
Good health and great happiness to you.
Internationally-known career strategist and life-balance coach Renee Trudeau is giving away FREE downloads of her outstanding book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. The offer is good only May 8-10, so don’t miss this opportunity to treat your mother– or yourself– to some words of wellness wisdom.
To take advantage of this offer, just sign up here, and the link to download the book will be emailed to you. Then give yourself the gift of time to read and digest the ideas in the book. I’m sure you’ll find them resonant; for me, Renee’s chapter about “good enough is good enough” has changed the way I think about many aspects of parenting (and being a wife, sister, daughter, etc).
If you find the book compelling and want more strategies for living a life of intention, guided by your core values, take a look at ways you can Live Inside Out for an even greater sense of wellness.
Good health and great happiness to you.