My recent article from Breaking Muscle. Enjoy!
you can also read a more personal view on it from my blog post kettle bell box squat.
My recent article from Breaking Muscle. Enjoy!
you can also read a more personal view on it from my blog post kettle bell box squat.
the V word: VULNERABILITY.
“we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.” -Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
i have been learning a lot about vulnerability over the past few weeks. i am currently reading the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. many of you might know her from the ted talk she gave a couple years ago called, “The Power of Vulnerability”. this is where i first learned about her and am now in the process of reading her books. Daring Greatly is her most recent book and it is about how the courage to be vulnerable can transform the way we live, love parent and lead.
each morning, along with a fresh-pressed cup of coffee, i have been reading this book. while i understood the correlation between shame and vulnerability, i found myself thinking that while i am vulnerable a lot in my life, i don’t really feel shame within myself. i could not have been more wrong! within the same day of having that thought, i later was caught up in the middle of feeling shame, fear, grief and “never enough” for a past relationship in my life. once again, i was in awe of the powers that we have within us to allow ourselves to have these feelings. then, to accept them, love them and release them. the moment i let go and let myself feel these intense thoughts, i immediately felt a tremendous weight leaving me. i had transformed those feelings of shame and worthlessness into love, compassion and kindness towards myself. these are the three feelings that i have been holding as my intention for this year.
i have always felt pride for myself in the light that i am vulnerable. but, we can always go further and push more through the vulnerability stream. although, there is a fine line of being vulnerable and sharing too much, too soon with another person. (this is discussed in-depth in the book.) i have been in both places. of letting it all out too soon and also not opening enough because of the fear and shame that i held inside. but, in the end, i always believe in LOVE. and, in my opinion, loving is by far the most vulnerable act that humans can express.
i came up with a list of how my life has transformed because i had the courage to be vulnerable:
* i always wore boys tennis shoes when i was a kid even though i got picked on for it.
* i was the only female percussionist in grade school.
* i became a vegetarian at age 13 while growing up in a small town in Ohio.
* i was one of the biggest Spice Girls fans. ever. and told everyone how much i loved them.
* i came out to my parents and everyone i knew, when i was 21.
* i tell people “i love you” even if i know they are not ready to say it in return.
* i lived alone for a year.
* i moved from ohio to san francisco without a plan or idea as to what i would do with my life.
* i have dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings.
* i’ve been fired from 3 jobs and have learned a lot from those experiences.
* i moved to a small town, not knowing anyone but had to follow my heart.
* i started doing crossfit before anyone knew what it was and would cry during workouts because it brought up so much emotions for me.
* i gave my heart to lovers. received loved and have felt the heartbreak that comes with the joy.
* i traveled through Ecuador for two weeks on a solo trip.
* i started to meditate.
* i read self help books.
* i started this blog.
* i went back to school.
* i ask friends and family for help when i am in need.
* i let more people into my life even if that means i may loose them later.
* i am creating my own health coaching practice.
* i let myself cry. when i am alone or around loved ones.
* i let myself be me.
i have developed more love, compassion and kindness to myself over the years because of these moments of vulnerability. i challenge you to do this exercise as well. think back through your life at moments you displayed vulnerability. write them down in a journal and maybe share them with your partner, best friend or pet. this is a powerful exercise and will fill you with even more courage to continue on your journey in life. we all have a story to tell and we all have a unique purpose to share who we are with others. keep the connection flowing and the love alive!
i am now in the fourth week of posting my “thoughts of gratitude and abundance” quotes. over the last six months, i have been studying and practicing Buddhism, mainly through the teachings of Pema Chodron. i just finished her book, “Start Where You Are” and took the follow quote from my reading:
the more you’re willing to open your heart, the more challenges come along that make you want to shut it. -Pema Chodron
well, isn’t that the truth! i found myself struggling with having an open-heart this past week. i can not pin point a particular situation that happened except i just found than that the little voice in my head would say one thing and my heart-gut would refute it immediately! this led me to finally sitting with my thoughts and allowing my breath to bring me back to the heart-center.
our mind is an amazing tool and i am learning through research and my own observations that out heart-center (and not just our physical heart but, as i like to say, heart-gut) is what has the ability to choose. we have the opportunity to choose in every moment: we can either walk around with a closed-heart in the face of fear or we can choose to remain open no matter what the world throws our way. i understand that this is tricky and i battle with it on a daily basis. but, at the end of the day, i know that by being open and loving and offering kindness to each other, that is what will truly help us heal one another. i challenge you to go fourth today with a completely open-heart and you will see the kindness reflected back to you!
we are now in the flow of change, new beginnings, relationships, experiences and transformations after passing through winter solstice 2012. i had a beautiful celebration that day that i will share later. for now, i am holding myself accountable in the second week of posting a quote that continues to inspire me. i posted this quote on my facebook page this past summer and was blow away by the attention it received! i am honored to pass on the teachings of Debbie Ford and know that i am a ripple in the positive effect that is occurring with us all. whether we acknowledge it or not, change is upon us and we are now stepping towards a more Goddess-oriented world. i intuitively feel that this is the beginning of women stepping up and become an even stronger presence in their community, family, work place and world. one intention i am holding space for in 2013, is to tap into my warrior-goddess-self and to step into the role that i am here to fulfill: being a leader!! she has been knocking at my door the past year and now i am ready to open!
i am also excited about the unexpected Very Inspiring Blogger Award nomination i received from Naiad and the moon of!!! (i will respond to it after vacation.) over the past month, i have been getting to know other inspiring bloggers who are writing to spread positive energy and good news!! we are all the ripple in the sea and together we can do so much!
Books written by Inspiring Women:
Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self-Confidence. -Debbie Ford
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. -Brene Brown
The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles. -Marianne Williamson
The Green Intention: Living in Sustainable Joy. -Sandy Moore
The Soul of Money. -Lynne Twist
try to learn to stay. learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. and work with it instead of against it. -Pema Chodron
i have been intently studying the Buddhist teachings of Pema Chodron over the last six months. coming from a Christian background of being told what is “right” and what is “wrong”, Buddhism offers an approach that is filled with unconditional love, compassion and acceptance for all sentient beings. diving into the works of Pema Chodron has opened my heart and mind to cultivating love and kindness to myself and the experiences i face each day.
the quote i chose for this week was one that i meditate on frequently. simply learning to stay in your body. stay with your thoughts. stay with your joys and your fears. stay in the present moment. i challenge you to give it a try this week. you have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain from within. namaste.
books i have read and re-read many times (and recommend) by Pema Chodron:
Taking the Leap
Start Where You Are
Comfortable with Uncertainty
i have a confession to make. i have not been completely honest with you, my readers. and i want to change that. one of my best friend’s called me out on this the other day. she told me that she loves to read my blog posts and enjoys that i channel my experiences into a positive outcome but, that i am not being completely honest. because, what she loves about my self-expression, is that i am not afraid to show my pain, my sadness and my frustrations through my writing. and i have not really been doing that. the past six months have been complete chaos transformed into the deepest-darkest holes and caverns. to the point where i did not want to exist. and that is my truth.
‘altered groundlessness’ is the best way i can describe my current life situation.
five months ago, i thought that having my girlfriend breakup with me on my 29th birthday was about the lowest life could take me but the universe decided to throw even more complications into the mix a few months later. all of my expectations of 2012 have completely gone out the window and i’m not even close to where i had started.
i realized i had finally hit rock bottom.
When the sweet ache of being alive, lodged between who you are and who you will be, is awakened, befriend this moment. It will guide you. Its sweetness is what holds you. Its ache is what moves you on. -Mark Nepo
basically, after getting my heart broken, i made the choice to move on and everything was going great! i was doing awesome at my job, (despite the daily hysterical breakdowns in my car), my home situation was amazing and i fell in love with all my roommates, i was gaining strength and speed in the gym and i had a new appreciation for life and the challenges it gives us! but, a black cloud was quietly hanging over me. i didn’t see it coming because i was choosing to ignore it. i was having so much fun with life that i didn’t want to acknowledge that i was sick and depressed and that there was something deeper going on.
then, i realized that the icing on the cake of my life was black mold.
two months ago, it was confirmed that Stachybotrys, otherwise know as black mold, was in my home. let me tell you, this stuff is serious and it can do major damage to a person’s immune system and mental health. all of which i was experiencing first hand. after two months of being sick, i intuitively knew something else had to be going on with my body. i was experiencing many of the major toxic mold symptoms such as: fatigue, unable to concentrate, night sweats, hives, hormonal imbalance, loss of appetite, persistent cough, join pain and mental instability. it is crazy that something so small can attack your body and drain your immune system to the very core! i knew it was time to get out of that house for good. i reached out to my crossfit community and they provided a place for me to stay until i found something more permanent. i was being taken care of in terms of shelter and support but the next step was taking care of myself and healing my body, mind and heart.
consequently, over the past two months, the “altered groudlessness” of my life has been teaching me a lot. like. a LOT. to help me cope with the uncertainty of life, i decided to follow along with a 21 day meditation challenge through the Deepak Chopra Center. this challenge focused on abundance and gratefulness on one’s life. i certainly had a lot to be grateful for and these daily intentions helped to bring that to awareness and become alive in my heart! i then went one step further and created a physical place of grounding in my temporary room with an alter.
“As I let go of the need to arrange my life, the universe brings abundant good to me.”
i share my experiences not to receive pity, but in hopes that whoever is reading them will feel inspired by my rawness and expression of the challenges in my life. the level of grief that i have experienced over the past few months has been deep. dark. and intense. but, it has also been filled with a level of growth i did not expect! i have been provided for and supported and loved in so many ways that my heart overflows with the feelings of gratefulness. but, what i have learned the most is that it takes work. you have to work through the pain and heartache. and you will have set backs. and you will have gains. and just when you think you are riding smoothly, the biggest wave will crush you and send you to the bottom. this is the real test. then, when you can stand up and climb out of that pit, this is when you know that the work you have been doing internally has paid off. you truly do have the strength to live on.
you have to honor yourself. love yourself. respect yourself and be at peace with who you are and where you are in life. i know that i will feel different levels of pain and grief throughout my lifetime but with each experience, i am empowered by the challenge to work through it and love myself through it all. namaste.
the loudest cheers came from the sidelines this year and i was a part of it for the first time. i never realized how much the spectators at the annual TJs Games put into their efforts to cheer on their fellow teammates until i was on the other side. it was an equally amazing experience just as participating in the games always is for me.
but, to be honest, i was absolutely devastated when i realized that i would have to drop out of the games this year. it’s not like i was out to win a prize full of gold or a year supply of protein powder but, i still wanted the thrill and excitement that comes along with that day. i had been waiting for months to spend all day with my “crossfit family”.
with my friends and community.
to push through those crazy WODs and to go to the places that scare you the most and come out a winner in the end.
but. it was not my story to tell this year.
two weeks leading up to the games, the nerves in my neck started to lock up again. i keep thinking that if i rested a week before the competition, i would be ok. then, a few days before game time, i had a visit with my doctor, “the thumb”, and he basically said to not lift anything heavy over my head. my heart sunk deep down in my gut and i began to battle with the forces of my ego and she was coming on strong!
i went back and fourth with the pros and cons of competing. i sought advice from two good friends (Sunya & Jamie) and i looked back on my past experience of pushing through an injury, and decided it was best to drop out of the competition two days before game time. instead, i stood on the sidelines and cheered for my amazing teammates of TJs Gym!! i am so honored to know all of those women and men who competed and gave it their all with grace, dignity and excitement!
i also want to give a special shout out to my girl Tia who originally signed up because i talked her into it (so she says although i feel it was more of a nudge.) Tia has really taught me a lot over the past couple months and i am so proud she put it all out there and the glow on her face when the competition was over was worth everything!!
i admit that it was hard to watch but after awhile i felt a deep appreciation for the lesson that i am getting out of this event. on top of my physical pain that stems from my right-side neck down the right-side of my back, i have been dealing with intense illness and a major hormonal imbalance in my body. it’s not exactly the wake-up call i wanted but it is what i am getting. so, i know that i have to make serious changes and to find new ways of healing my body outside of physical activity. anyone who knows me, will understand how difficult this is for me to do! and, while i get frustrated with myself at least ten times a day, i know that it will not be like this forever and it is simply a small chapter in the book of my life. i am taking on the changes beginning today and plan to keep track of them all and share what i come up with so that others will find their healing process easier and comforting to know they are not alone.
to everyone that is feeling something. anything. physical pain. emotional pain. spiritual pain. or a combination of them all. i want you to know that on my in breath, i take in your pain, and on my out breath, i blow healing love, compassion and kindness into your heart. (this is called the practice of Tonglen in the teachings of Buddhism.) stay strong and learn from your discomforts and keep breathing into them!
i like to write. and i also write poems. i gather inspiration and courage from my favorite authors, musicians, writers and artists for baring their soul and crossing the lines of transparency and feelings. they show true vulnerability. and without vulnerability, how else will we evolve with one another? so. i am sharing some more of my vulnerable side and encourage you to take a leap today and shed your armor and express your true light.
wait for the tides to unbind
my subconscious is haunted by your Presence.
through the door, each night.
you push Me away.
by the thread of lasting emotion,
flowing each day to the sea.
I awake, and your Spirit still whispers.
and you push Me away.
I wait for the tides to unbind
and set Me free from your spell.
the unraveling of the giving heart.
crushed by Love.
transformed to Pain.
in sleep, I push you away to leave My Soul.
we all experience heartbreak at some point in our lives.
that moment in time when we feel like we are the ONLY person in the entire universe that is going through the pain of separation, heartache, abandonment, disconnect and sadness. it can be from many different forms of a relationship. from losing a loved one or cherished pet; a friendship that dissolves or the loss of an intimate partner relationship. these experiences all hurt in different ways and bring a new level of challenges to overcome and get through.
i am currently in the process of healing a broken heart for the loss of my lover and best friend. while i experience days when i feel like i will never get past these feelings, i remind myself that there is a chance in every moment to shift your perspective and remind yourself of your own power and love. so, i made a list for myself on how to heal a broken heart. perhaps one of these ideas will help you through a rough spot and to see the light that shines within you!
1. raw cacao. allow yourself to eat as much raw chocolate as you desire. any time. any where. and enjoy every bite of it!
2. dance in your bedroom. alone. dance to the Spice Girls or any nostalgic childhood music that brings you happiness and joy! jump up and down, sing, stretch and have fun with the beat of the songs. Zigazig ah!
3. create. i started to paint and draw with oil pastels again. (picture above) to release my feelings that i was unable to find words for. this has been very therapeutic and enjoyable.
4. explore. spending time in nature can be extremely healing. step outside, breath, and take it all in. i am grateful to watch the fawn and young bucks play in the hills across my house; picking fresh blackberries and figs on my daily walks and sitting in our garden!
5. take yourself on a date! each week i pick an activity to treat myself to, from a movie, concert, a talk or special dinner. it gives me a chance to appreciate myself and that i deserve the very best!
6. cheesy love songs. you know all those annoying love songs you hear on the radio? well, next time, sing them to YOURSELF! after doing this for a while, you will begin to smile and laugh and remember that you are your number one lover in life!
7. socialization of creation. join a group or activity that involves something completely new for you! i recently started to learn tracking skills! i am part of the Catscapes series in Marin that tracks pumas and bob cats and will also take a course on tracking other wild animals in the area this fall!
8. lift heavy things! or just move around and be active. i have continued with my strength training and crossfit and know that it helps in the healing process as well plus i am surrounded by an amazing community that supports me outside the box.
9. read. travel away and get lost in a book! it is a great way to relax and take your mind off of your current situation or feelings for a while. stimulates your brain and creative process as well!
10. mediate. most importantly, sit with your thoughts and feelings. even if it is for only five minutes. our busy life can push what we are really feeling or transfer it through stress, bad diet, anger, frustration and numbness. and it is ok to feel these things but from the teachings of Pema Chodron, learn to be in it and to feel it all. the only way to get through hard times is to lean into them. be with them in each moment.
to any of you who are reading, for whatever broken heart you may be suffering from, remember that it will get better. take each day at a time. reach out to family and friends for support. stay busy with healthy activities and always find quiet time to be with your feelings and thoughts. i look back at my first remembrance of a broke heart and thought i would never move on, but here i am. again. and i know that life has crazy twists and turns for a reason. there is something more amazing out there just waiting to be discovered, if you continue to stay open and just take a leap…!