Day 12 – The Big Picture Week, Day 2 – Happiness

As most of you know, I have teenage children, before I know it, my son will cross over into that twenty-something, but for now I get to keep him as a teen. During the last few years my kids and I have had powerful conversations about how “depressed” so many young people are. I noticed this when I was a junior high language arts teacher, many young people took anti-depressants and complained about how sad life was. Staggering numbers compared to when I was growing up. I think back to my high school days and while we would talk about a situation which upset us, we did not really discuss being depressed or have a lengthy conversation about which antidepressant we were taking. I do remember when I got to college, there was more exposure to such discussions. In recent years, I hear it everywhere – it is not age specific, class specific, gender, race, locale, etc… It seems to be a “disease” with no boundaries.

It saddens me, especially with the young people, for they are just embarking on their life journey. They get to inherit all that we are leaving in our wake – I believe they need all the “good mood” they can muster to deal with the baggage that awaits them. So what is it? Why are people so unhappy? Why do I hear young people say they don’t really want to grow up? The zest and excitement for what the future holds seems to be lost, gone, a thing of the past.  I couldn’t wait to grow up, to spread my wings into the world and be my own person. My peers and I used to fantasize about our future, wondering where we all would be years down the road. To me the world was this grand place open for exploration, full of limitless adventure, and opportunities.

ivan-torres-379714
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama

I most certainly have my times of feeling lonely, lost, confused, uncertain, and questioning what the heck is life really all about…! Those moments are an opportunity to notice, learn, grow and choose. I welcome their truth as I do happiness, for they allow me to enjoy the spectrum of my emotions. They do not last long, for I quickly realize that I am looking outside of myself to find happiness, peace, fulfillment, and contentment. I know that none of that is “out there” it is “inside me”. It exists within me ALL the time, no matter what the circumstances of my life are, it is there, waiting and ready for me to feel and be. 

I observe people who seek happiness outside themselves in many different ways. There are the shopaholics who get a high when they purchase something new, I observe that “the purchase high” lasts for a little while and then it is time for the next fix. Then there is the search for “someone” outside of ourselves to make us happy, to complete our life. Whew.., what intense pressure to put on a relationship or friendship – yikes!! What about the social addiction, the stay busy, then I won’t notice, or a few drinks or smokes to ease the discontent, you get the picture and actually I am sure you already know. It’s almost as though we run from happiness, peace, and love. While we are running at it, we create more distance from its presence. Think about the people you experience as genuinely happy. What do you notice? How do they live their lives? When I think about this, I see people from all walks of life who are happy, so it is obviously not exclusive.

jake-thacker-113197
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley

This epidemic of unhappiness and discontent is not disappearing. Just take a peek at some of the suicide statistics – https://afsp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2016-National-Facts-Figures.pdf. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, that is sobering. Personally I continue to believe and experience that happiness is not something cured by people or things outside ourselves. It is an internal way of being. Like the muscles we build up gradually over time, it may take focused work to first find that happiness source within your heart/soul, its there, you were born a happy content child – then what happened??? Watch a young child, they do not stay unhappy for long, they do not harbor vendettas, they fall down, get their feelings hurt, and bounce back, making the best of what is. So, do we learn unhappiness? Is it something taught, role modeled, encouraged? It is a money making industry, pharmaceuticals, counseling, buying frenzies, alcohol, etc… Why do we not have classes in our junior high and high schools that discuss life at this depth? Isn’t happiness more important than remembering the exact dates of the Revolution? I don’t know, maybe it is just me – but it sure concerns me that so many young people feel hopeless and unhappy. It saddens me to hear all the discontent and complaining that surrounds me when I go out into the busy world. It reminds me of that old song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAyDmJvjxbg), I believe we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places – we never lost it, we just forgot how to embrace and nurture it.

caroline-hernandez-178758
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot conclude without honoring that there are sincere cases of depression. The true chemical imbalance that is a disease requiring attention and treatment. In these situations it is a true battle, one that deserves respect, help, understanding and support. We all love those movies where someone rises out of a very challenging situation, do the circumstances change first? Or does the person change inside first? Is happiness “out there”? Or is it in our heart, soul and mind? It goes with yesterday’s blog, what would happen to your happiness barometer if you woke everyday focusing on your gratitudes? Just curious…

Advertisements

Day 11 – Big Picture Week – Day 1, My “WHY!!”

The alarm has gone off, you wake to start a brand new day! What are your first waking thoughts? Do you go to your “to do” list? Do you think begrudgingly about work? Are you excited to jump out of bed and greet this brand new day? Is your mind still replaying a “poor me”, life is so hard song? Did you hit snooze more than once? Is today an opportunity or do you see it as a curse? Do you wake and breathe deeply into the gratitudes of your life? How do you start your day in that fragile waking moment? This is when you set the tone for what unfolds in the next twenty-four hours, it’s literally your choice, will you begin in joyful gratitude or whining disappointment?

Over the recent months, especially the last couple I have been starting my day with deep breathing gratitude. Joyfully exploring all the amazing people, things, and experiences that bless my life. Wow…, I roll out of bed so humbled and in awe of the life I am blessed to live. Then I allow my mind to wander into the dreams and goals I am working on, filling pages of my journal with creative thoughts and how I plan to get there. My day bursts into life embracing my “WHY”! Now, I do not want you to think it is sunshine all the time, I fall down, I have disappointments, I experience moments of fear – however shifting my mind to see these as opportunities truly does change how I embody the experience and move forward.

annie-spratt-253799
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” ~Dalai Lama

This week I shall start the first of my two new classes. They will bless my life for the next four months. Twice a month each class will grace me with the opportunity to celebrate the women who are stepping up to say yes to their amazing heart and soul. Giving themselves the gift of quality time to explore the deeper aspects of their inner self’s, noticing what bubbles up from within, which begs to be expressed and shared with the world. This dance with incredible women in these classes literally fuels my heart and soul. They remind me of my WHY! The “why”, that spurred me to step off the cliff to go for it! “Why” I wake up every morning!  The “why” which drives me to keep taking action towards my dreams! WHY I am here!!

What is my why? My why, is the passionate dream to bring all who seek home to their true inner magnificence, to remind them how glorious they are, to help them go from WALKING THEIR TRUTH, to DANCING THEIR TRUTH with joy, love, passion, peace, and absolute freedom. This is a dream I have had my whole life. Unlike Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite authors and speakers, I did not have the guts as a little girl, teenager, or young woman to throw my voice out into the arena for all to hear. Sometimes I wish I had, for my life would be very different now. However, I would have missed so much along the way, thus all is perfectly timed and as it is meant to be.

luis-alfonso-orellana-246919
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill

I have continually served my WHY along the way, each day holding the “safe space” for those who seek a place to be heard and held without judgment. In fifth grade it was the girl in class that everyone made fun of, calling her names, and being mean. I would share my food with her at times, compliment her, smile and be kind.

At sixteen I dated my second boyfriend, I only got to share a little over a month with him, for I was soon to leave for Australia as an exchange student. He lived in the neighboring town, so we had to plan ahead for our dates and time. A year older than I, he was a senior in high school, coming quickly to the end of this time in his life. I often asked him, “What do you want to do? What’s your dream?” I would follow my inquiry with, “You can do anything. Anything is possible.” Fast forward three years and you find me in my dorm room at Michigan State University, the phone rings (yes, good old land line phone), I answer to hear a man introducing himself as the once upon a time boyfriend from my junior year of high school. I am shocked, for how did he find me, why is he calling me??? He goes on to explain that he got my dad’s number, gutsy, who gave him my number. Before I can say anything, he says, “Fawn, I am calling to thank you, for if you had not entered my life, I would not be where I am today. You told me I could do and be anything. You encouraged me to dream and go for it. I am graduating soon from Dentistry school and am engaged to be married. I would have never gone for this dream, or even thought to dream, if you had not planted the seeds that I could. Thank you.” I remember that phone call like it was yesterday, for time stood still as my heart swelled with joy and gratitude. Tears slid down my cheeks with complete happiness for this amazing man who had the courage to go for it. I was so excited for him and unbelievably touched that he would take the time to reach out. I feel today as I did then, this is WHY I am here, to help others dream, believe, dance, sing, and live life from their inner magnificence!!

There was the toothless, homeless man in Denver who came into the store I worked at to give me a Christmas present, wrapped in a torn, used, wrinkled, brown, paper bag. He stood before me looking up at me with tears in his in his eyes as he placed the gift in my hand saying, “You are the only person who has ever treated me like I am someone. Thank you for being kind to me. Merry Christmas.” This magnanimous man gave me the biggest gift ever, for he taught me the pure grace of humble love, of true giving, of pure connection, of the truth that connects us all. To this day I cannot remember what was wrapped in the paper. I just hold dearly the tears and hug we shared, hoping in my heart that he found a safe place to be, love from another, and that he continued to share his immense capacity to love and be brave.

brigitte-tohm-180659
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

My WHY shows up and exists wherever I go, for I love people. I truly celebrate the pure innocent joyful child that resides within every being. The child that loved freely, that danced exuberantly, that sang really loud, that ran free – the child that had not yet been “domesticated and tamed”. What is your WHY? What makes your heart sing, your soul dance? What makes you want to rise before the alarm? What brings a smile to your face from the very core of your being? What makes you literally wiggle in your seat with uncontrollable joy and anticipation? We all have a special WHY, or as some call it, purpose. Our unique and very precious gift to share with the world. I know I live and breathe for my WHY, it fuels my veins, pumps my heart, and expands my soul every day. It makes life a dance of miracles and grace.

Day 10 – Lessons from the gym, day 5 – “Trusting Surrendered Patience”

This lesson may be one of the hardest to walk and live, at least for me. From early on in life we are taught to “go after life”, “we have control”, “set goals”, “do this, and this, and this, at certain points in our life to succeed.” Trusting with surrendered patience does not come easy, and for most it feels very uncomfortable. The misconception that we have control is a fascinating one to watch in others and experience in my own life. You will be booking along, looking to the future with your plan in hand, then poof! Life sends you a little message reminding you that it can do a 180, throwing you into a tailspin or opening up an opportunity you did not expect.

jian-xhin-281513
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~Leo Tolstoy

How does this come into play at the gym, you may be asking? Well, I always found the increase in gym memberships right after the New Year fascinating. The big New Years resolutions to lose weight, take better care of the body and get in shape. By the end of January almost a third of those people would stop coming. February brought more departures, by March, only a few stayed to stick with it. The instant gratification mind set completely sabotaging what could have become with trusting surrendered patience. I have of course also witnessed the lack of patience with how long it will take for weight to “fall off”, for the muscles to appear and the challenge of going to the gym to ease. The lack of self – trust sprouting up all over the place, listening to the inner mind criticizing and demoralizing the efforts to create change. We are not encouraged to be patient, to trust, to surrender. I hear patience and trust espoused all over the place, yet I do not experience or witness it truly being applied at the gym or anywhere else with sincerity. Why? Why do we want to rush life, push the tide, or force the happenings in our lives? I ponder, what gets missed by living with such fast paced intensity?

I have often heard the wise statement “it is not the destination, but the journey you will remember”. If I look back on my life, I can see how there is truth in this. As I glance at my present path, I can view how the challenge of rising up to meet my dreams will be what I remember. While the outcome will be wonderful, it will be all the experiences along the way which will create the treasured memories. I can look at the piece of paper which represents my bachelors degree, the paper itself means nothing, its the adventure of four universities, the six different majors explored, the people I met, the perseverance it took and the memory of my children standing with me at the finish line. The same is true of the first business I created, it was never the finished real estate publication that filled me up, it was the strength it took to go to thirty-two real estate offices in one day to “sell” ads, it was the relationships built, it was the incredible lessons learned, the exhaustion of working two part-time jobs in addition to the business – all of this built my character. As a teacher the journey was wide and deep. Full of daily nuggets that touched my heart, soul and mind.

tom-barrett-318952
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” ~Julia Cameron

When I remember to embrace trust with patience and surrender, time seems to warp and unfold in a colorful extravaganza. Gracing me with unexpected lessons, new connections, ah-ha moments, and often impacting  what happens next. What if, you took a deep breath, surrendered (that means let go) with trust and allowed patience its miracle making potential? I wonder what might unfold? What opportunities might you notice just by slowing down (patience)? What would it feel like to trust that all is as it is meant to be? How might your heart and soul open and expand in the grace of falling back into the arms of sweet surrender? Just some thoughts to ponder over the weekend :-)!

I thank you all for journeying with me for the second full week on this blog. I can’t wait for next week, I have no doubts that miracles will burst forth. Until we meet again, A.C.T. (always choose truth) as you step, for it will undoubtedly create and offer more in your life. In joyful gratitude….

patrick-hendry-45138
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman

Day 9 – Lessons from the gym, day 4 – “Don’t Give Up”

I anticipate that everyone who reads this has had that experience where you just want to give up!! You are so tired of trying that you turn away in complete frustration and say “Forget it, I’m done!! I give up!!” As young children learning to walk, it is a good thing we had not yet learned how to “give up” for the world would look pretty silly with all of us crawling around. I think back on all my time around babies and children, I was the eldest of four, worked at a daycare my second year of college and then had my own children. I love the tenacity and determination of a child. When they want something they don’t give up, they just keep going for it. It doesn’t matter how often they fall down, they are going to walk, climb the hill, get up on the chair, get to the top shelf in the fridge, if you have been around children, you know what I am talking about. As we grow up and learn to “give up”, especially if we think we look silly trying, there are many things that get missed out on and some things we never attempt. How sad is that?

The gym is definitely one of those places where “giving up” is witnessed over and over again. Years ago I used to teach weight training to women at the YMCA in Michigan. I loved teaching this class, for it was powerful to watch the transformation of those who did not give up. I was even more of a gym junkie back then, two hours a day, five to six days of the week. It does get addictive when you have watched your own body transform, I had lost forty five pounds, was at 12% body fat, lean, mean and muscular. I did not give up! I felt silly when I started out with my little two pound weights. I kept with it, documenting all I ate, what I did everyday for exercise and kept a journal about how I was feeling. It became a part of my life, a lifestyle.

derek-owens-356756
“Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill

Life is full of challenges. It throws us unexpected experiences that can bring us to our knees. The road is not always smooth, a pothole inevitably appears without notice. It’s what we do in those moments and times that impacts who we become. Do we see those times as we have failed, we did something wrong, the world is against us, or can we view them as opportunities to rise and become even more?

I look in my rearview mirror and wonder, when did I learn that “giving up” was even an option? Granted there are times where another course of action, may be the wise decision. Is that giving up, or assessing to make a better choice? When I was learning to cross country ski at nine, I remember anxiously taking my skis outside to this tiny hill on the trail, I fell down over and over and over again. It was so funny. I was determined to learn, to get it, to ski the trails with grace and ease. At fifteen in a local race I came in third out of all the women that day and won gold for my class – I didn’t give up. In my twenties learning to downhill ski, I know I took more snow off the mountain that first day, than I left. I looked like the abominable snowwoman!! In sports and activities like this we know it takes practice, that giving up will get us no where. The same kind of determination, commitment, patience, and perseverance is required to be a great artist, a phenomenal actor, a successful singer, an amazing mom or dad, etc… it does not happen over night. The biggest gifts often come from the journey, not the end result.

juan-jose-311765
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

So the big question I have today is why do so many people give up on their dreams? Why do we give up on relationships? Why do we tend to give up, if the going gets tough? I am guilty of this in many aspects of my life. I start to write the book and then let self judgment enter the space and give up. I walk away from the relationship because it is just not going the way I want it to, or we can’t seem to get along. It took me twenty eight years to get my bachelors degree, finally at forty-six I graduated with over two hundred credits on my transcript, for I kept going back. Of course there are times in life where it is wise to assess, is this path or behavior serving me, do I need to change my plan, adjust my goal? Is this giving up or re-evaluating as we learn and grow. There are relationships that serve for a time and then they leave our life’s, gifts along the path. There are stepping stone jobs that get us to the next place in our life. I believe we all know the feeling inside when we choose to “give up” versus make a change in plans. In my personal experience, the things I give up on that I know I want to achieve, create, and or experience, come back around with a vengeance, to knock on my door. They quietly whisper in my ear, “Hey you, remember me, I’m still waiting to be manifested.”

eugenio-mazzone-190204
“Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.” ~Simon Sinek

Patience, persistence, perseverance, faith and grace can become powerful ways of being when we are pursuing a dream; the vision for what we want in life. It’s not always easy, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Lincoln, Edison, Amelia Earhart, etc…, they role modeled the power of don’t “give up”!! I take this spark of wisdom with me today as I trek off to the gym, work on my workshops, book and website. For me personally, I look to my favorite authors, workshop facilitators and speakers, what do I need to do, learn, practice, and make happen to succeed? They are my inspiration, proof that it is possible.

Who can you look to for your inspiration to not give up? Don’t get down the road to look in your rearview mirror and wonder, hmmm… why did I stop trying. Each day is a new opportunity to get up and choose. May you A.C.T. (always choose truth) towards your dreams, desires and passions today!

dev-dodia-327647
“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Day 8 – Lessons from the gym – Day 3 “Focus”

The fall days are ticking by quickly, I can’t believe that next week we embark on November and soon it will be 2018, how did that happen?! Next week I get to start my first of two new classes that will go through February. I am so excited about these classes/workshops!! It truly fills my heart and soul to journey with incredible women through limiting beliefs, patterns, and sabotage behaviors, to come home to a more loving way of being. In addition to these upcoming workshops, I continue to coach, work on my book, blog, etc… Thus, I must remind myself to prioritize, which leads me to today’s gym lesson – Focus!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4ed
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ~ Steve Jobs

As one who has oodles and oodles of ideas floating around and coming forth throughout the day, I must constantly remind myself of the powerful lesson I learned intensely as a junior high teacher, “Keep It Sweetly Simple (K.I.S.S.)!! Stay focused with intention and a clear vision for the outcome.

The gym is a place that constantly reminds me of this important lesson. That may be why I love weight lifting, for you select your muscle group(s) of focus for the day and that is the target, all energy goes to pushing that part of the body to a new level of strength. Today it is legs – my least favorite and yet these two limbs graciously carry me around everywhere. I am so blessed to have strong legs, no pain, no issues, they continue to take good care of me, the least I can do is return the favor. If I do not stay focused at the gym, I can set myself up for injury. Squatting, bench pressing, lat pulldowns, bicep curls, etc.., all can serve the body in amazing ways or if done incorrectly create great harm. Staying focused and present is imperative to proper handling of the weights, if my mind wanders I set myself up for mistakes.

scott-webb-22697
“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.” ~ Jack Canfield

I look back on my life and the times I have truly achieved above and beyond are when I focused with passionate intensity on my target/goal. In high school one of those powerful times was to be an exchange student. I didn’t care how many friends and family told me it wasn’t possible, I was going to do it. I poured all of my being into making it happen. My outcome was a incredible year in Australia that truly changed my life. As I graduated from high school, I was determined to go to this private girls college in Virginia, again I focused with pure intention and passion. I can reflect back and see the times in my life when I truly focused and stayed true, healthy pregnancies with beautiful at home births, finishing my long over due bachelors degree in my forties, buying my home, my first car, etc… These are all wonderful and important things and experiences that weave in the tapestry of my life, however, focus has an even more glorious way of serving.

My constant focus every day, day in and day out is to serve. To be loving, kind, compassionate, and present with all who cross my path. Choosing in all my moments to be truthful, sincere, and as humble as possible. Of course I am human on the path, so these focuses are constantly being improved and expanded. Humility and vulnerability being the ones that get the most focused work, for they are not encouraged or even recommended in our world, yet when encased in love they are without a doubt the most powerful ways of being, that empower all. When I focus on serving, being that difference, it is amazing how the world lines up with you to manifest wonders and miracles.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fa
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

Focus is a layered experience for me. The undercurrent focus, that cradles all, is to be of service in humble, vulnerable, love. This focused way of being supports and drives the functional aspects of life, the “do” pieces that dance in the concrete world – creating workshops, coaching clients, writing blogs/books, presenting/speaking and taking honorable care of my personal mind, body and spirit. Focus graces me with the gift to check in, to see if I am aligned. Is what I am doing serving the core focuses of who I am? Or am I distracted and off course? Focus is an important barometer to living a life of passionate purpose.

During my life journey, I have found that the hardest times to focus are when life throws you curve balls. The unexpected moments when things crumble and you find yourself lost and unsteady. I have been blessed with many such graces – losing jobs, my home, my car, bankruptcy, relationship loss, etc… It is in these darkest hours that our focus is truly challenged. Are we going to choose a path of blame, victimhood, denial and avoidance. Or do we pick ourselves up off the floor and look inside to find the gifts, the lessons, the hidden opportunities? We all love that feel good movie, right? Why? Because the main character rose above the circumstances. We feel inspired and hopeful. Focus, is truly a powerful practice.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4f5
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~ Aristotle

Where do you focus? What fuels your focus? Is your focus in line with your dreams?

May today unfold with focused grace for you. The opportunity to A.C.T. (always choose truth) will put you in tune with your true inner focus.

Day 7 – Lessons from the gym day two – “Upper Limits”

This summer it was brought to my attention that I did not “dance with exuberant joy” , did not unabashedly celebrate, or express with delighted elation. Ironically, about that time I got a newsletter from Katie and Gay Hendricks (http://www.heartsintrueharmony.com/) a couple I follow who’s speciality has been working with couples for over thirty years. In their newsletter they briefly chatted about “upper limits”, how everyone has been taught along the way to subdue their reactions, hold back, keep joy and love in check. I purchased their audio book, “Hearts in Harmony” and listened with eager openness. When they discussed the “upper limits” phenomena, I was shocked to realize that’s me!! I stopped being joyful and outwardly expressive like a kid when I was young – why? I stopped going for it with complete unbridled passion early in life, why? It was funny to realize that all these years I had thought I was actually really good at being expressive and passionate, for relative to most people I knew, I was, and yet.., watch a child, one that has not been told, “don’t get too excited, don’t sing too loud, don’t be so rambunctious….” We put a lid on our expression of joy, love, happiness, passion, zest, sadness, pain – capping off our sincere truth in life’s precious moments. Do not cry in public, do not express anything to extremely, is the message we get.

nadim-merrikh-307897
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” ~Mark Twain

Now, how does this connect to the gym? Well, I began to notice that I was often choosing to do the same old thing, didn’t want to look silly trying something new, didn’’t want to push myself to hard or need to ask for a spotter to move to the next level. I had upper limits I set for myself even at the gym. I even caught myself giving excuses to my psyche as to why it was okay to not go to the next level, or do more reps, or stop early on a cardio machine. Seriously!! I was choosing mediocrity and limiting behavior even in the gym – why? We certainly can be creatures of habit, of staying within a comfort zone that does not push us out of the box and into new territory. Don’t draw attention to yourself, don’t embarrass yourself, just fit in.

Why do we smile when we watch children play? When we listen to them sing at the top of their little lungs, or dance with wild abandon? Be honest here, don’t you find yourself wishing you could join them? That you could be that free, that expressive, that in the moment??? I know I do! At times I do allow myself this joyful expansion, to embrace the moment for all it is. When I do, I can feel how perfectly in line I am with doing and being my WHOLE self with TRUTH. The picture below (for the video, you will have to go to https://www.facebook.com/Walkingnkdtruth/) is one of those moments, I did not know these two little girls, I just watched them wanting to dance as they watched the band. I made the comment to my boyfriend at the time, who said, “why don’t you?”, so I did. What delighted fun I got to share!!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4fc
“The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.” ~ James Brown

I know that I am drawn to and admire people who go for it!! People who are not afraid to live large and “out there” with their passions, joys, sorrows – true realness.  As I look with truth at the “upper limits” I have set in many arenas of my life, I make the choice with conviction to push up against them. To stretch my bounds and move out of the comfort zone. Why not? I already know what it is like to live in the zone of limitation. How exciting and exhilarating will it be to push joyfully against the “fear of being seen” to embrace the moments with open vulnerable expression.

I invite you to join me. Come dance and sing, cry, love, go for it with all that you are! What are you afraid of? Someone might think you’re crazy, might judge you, might not like you?? Don’t they do that anyway? Hmmm…, what if the opposite happened and they were totally inspired by your willingness to be real and truthfully expressive? Well, off to the gym I go to see what limits I can push up against. Today I wonder how many people I can smile at to break the bubble of isolation?

farsai-c-232290
“As children, our imaginations are vibrant, and our hearts are open. We believe that the bad guy always loses and that the tooth fairy sneaks into our rooms at night to put money under our pillow. Everything amazes us, and we think anything is possible. We continuously experience life with a sense of newness and unbridled curiosity.” ~ Yehuda Berg

Afterward note – I got to make eye contact and smile at quite a few people at the gym, it was beautiful to feel the energy shift as human connection was made. I pushed my upper limits in smiling at others, doing reps until the muscle hurt versus stopping at a certain count. Have fun today exploring your upper limits – if you A.C.T. (always choose truth) it can be simply fun!!

Day Six… Day 1- Lessons from the Gym..!

Happy Monday everyone!! I have to laugh for I wrote two blog entries this morning before going to the gym, neither of them shall I post today, for I decided this week will be lessons from the gym. Every day life is amazing at bestowing upon us profound metaphors and opportunities to really see ourselves in the mirror. Today I decided to ante up, sharing raw “Walking Naked Truth” on the page. A chance to “walk my talk”, be vulnerable, real, and open.

I got up to the 3:00am alarm, wrote in the journal and put my blog to page for editing when I returned from the gym. I headed to the bathroom, splash the face, put in the contacts, don the gym clothes, brush the teeth, fill the water bottle, keys in hand, off we go!! I took a risk today, this is where it gets really personal…, I decided I would be brave and wear a small pad, for many of us women that have had children, we know that incontinence can be a real issue. This issue drives me absolutely crazy!! I hate it!! I am determined to change it, for I do not believe it has to be this way. Men do not stop reading, it is just a truth, I promise nothing more “embarrassing and awkward” will be shared. I do have to admit, I have days where I wish there was true equality in the sexes with regard to this “fun” experience. We all have those things we quietly keep to ourselves, this is one of those for me, however I know sharing truth can help others to feel less alone. I know I sure value hearing and reading other people’s journeys, challenges, etc…

meiying-ng-71590
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.” ~ Brene Brown

Anyway, back to the gym. I climb on the treadmill to do my fifteen minute warm up before the weight room. I started out at my normal 6.0 running clip, preparing to play my interval game of two minutes at 6.0, then one minute at 8.0, repeat. All is good until I can feel that my light pad is not going to be enough – sh**!! Okay, what now? I can quit, I can go home and come back, I can slow down to a walk and stay at it. I select the latter. I choose to change my expectation, to be open to doing something different. I slow it down to a 4.5 fast walk and decide to play with the incline. Today will be all about fast walking and hill climbing. I am grateful to be facing a window, for I know no one can see if I “wet my pants” or not. Sweating and breathing at a good clip, I complete my fifteen minutes. Now the moment of truth – bathroom mirror.

Today was going to be biceps and triceps with the usual abdominals, an everyday do, for they are a stubborn muscle group. Upon viewing myself in the mirror, I knew the weight room was not in the cards. At first I was mad, angry at my body for failing me. Looking in the mirror at the wet mark that was visible, I felt the embarrassment flush through me. As I viewed myself, I heard in my head the determined voice saying, “you can’t give up, you just have to be willing to adjust and change up the plan.” I smiled as I heard in my head many of the mentors I have been studying recently, “if something is not working, then you have to be willing to change your strategy, a good entrepreneur is willing to always review what is working and not working, then adjust accordingly. We don’t fail, we learn lessons about ways that it does not work.”

chad-madden-265851
“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, ‘This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.” ~ Ashton Kutcher

What could I do today that would make me feel good? What would push me? How could I stay at the gym, not be “seen” and still get a great workout? The elliptical!! That’s it!! If there is going to be no weights I have to challenge myself. What does that look like? I had only used this new machine once, I loved the experience, for it got my heart up and brought about a good sweat. Okay, this is it Fawn, forty-five minutes on the elliptical, going up to a resistance of sixteen, at least. That would give me a solid hour of cardio for the day. I felt good about my plan! I had not let the situation beat me. I had not chosen to give up or become the victim. I had found a way to succeed in taking care of my body, mind, and spirit.

I did miss the weight lifting, for I do love that challenge. However, I am proud that I did not run and hide, that I did not let my embarrassment or shame rule the morning. My gym lesson today was “I am at choice”, I can choose to quit, give up, be angry and disappointed OR I can choose to persevere, be willing to adapt, and make the best out of the situation. Today’s gym lesson is one I have been digging into with my business, for I want to see my blind spots, do what works, be willing to learn, change, adapt, and grow.

scott-webb-22537
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” ~Pele

I’m amazed at how often we give up! How we let our expectations sabotage the opportunity for something different. Why do we let it ruin our day? Why are we unwilling to shift the perspective to a win? Is there a compromise, a change that can shift it all? We are at choice over and over and over and over…. 

Day Five… The Miracles that lift us up!!

Good Friday Morning my dear readers. I sit here listening to the rain pelt against the house, the wind swirling the fallen leaves across the outside deck. None of it is visible, for it is still black outside, the day is yet to fully wake up. Yesterday I opened all the windows to the amazing sunny seventy degree plus fall day, today I shall carry an umbrella as I embark on my conference adventure. Like the weather, life twists and turns in marvelous diverse ways.

Today I attend the Women Ignite annual conference. I am excited to meet other women who are going for it, stepping forward in their passions to serve as they are called. I get to step out of my comfort zone, to meet and get to know other entrepreneurs, a chance to learn, a chance to share. I am nervous and excited!!

mantas-hesthaven-135478 (1)
“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.” ~ Pope John Paul II

This morning as I come to the page, I find myself thinking about what is my truth, in this glorious moment, what am I feeling, thinking, breathing in and out. I am a compilation of emotions. Sad for the recent loss of love in a dynamic powerful relationship with an amazing man. Excited about stepping with great passion and determination into my life calling and purpose. Humbled to my knees as I bring to mind all of the people along my life path who have helped me to soar, who have given without expectation, sacrificing money, time, opening their homes, giving in a myriad of ways to lift my kids and I up – WOW!!

There are so many stories of miraculous grace along my path. I sit here completely in awe as I review my life and sit in the present moment. Presently I sit in the most amazing home, a piece of paradise in the middle of the city. This home has cradled the kids and I for over two years, held us during all our ups and downs. It has been a gift beyond words, for we house sit, blessed to take care of it, while in truth it cares for us. This is one example of the unbelievable blessings in our lives. I think about the day I watched our white Honda CRV get pulled away, repossessed by the bank in the early fall of 2009. I had left the towing man a little note on the seat, thanking him for the kind way he handled such a “yucky” situation, for it cannot be easy to be the one who pulls away people’s means of transportation. I sat there listening to it load, tears sliding down my cheeks, recalling all the memories shared with my children and others thanks to that little vehicle. I sunk into the feeling of failure, shame enveloping my core. How many people were watching? What do I tell people? The vulnerable truth stared at me with no apology. Quietly I thought about all that had happened since I lost my job March 1st 2007, the domino effect of “losing everything”, my house, my car, forced to move to town…, oh it had been a journey, one you never plan on.

volkan-olmez-523
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” ~Saint Augustine

Today, I look at that time and all the years since, marveling at the miracles and the unparalleled graciousness of people who carried us through, loving us, helping us, supporting us, cheering us on. I truly sit here and have no words for the gratitude that bubbles up. As our car was pulled away, I was given a bike that would carry me over miles for the next year and half. I did not have money for a bike for myself and my two children, a gracious friend bestowed me with a bike that still makes me smile today. My car license plate hangs off the crate at the back where I carried many groceries, books as I went back to college full time, and helped the kids to and from various life adventures.

My list of miracles is long, and it just continues to expand daily. I could sit here typing all day and still I would be putting word to page into the night and tomorrow. The keys I touch with my fingers now is a gift, this MacBook Pro a gift of faith given to me in love to share my passion for the written word. I truly marvel at all the people who have touched our lives, literally picking us up off the ground, to dust us off and lovingly hold us with compassionate caring grace. Today I humbly bow, as I do everyday, praying that I may be the difference for those who need and seek as I have and do. May I continue to be the ripple effect of love which connects us all in a glorious tapestry of life. To all those out there who have been the wind beneath our wings, I bow my soul in gratitude. I look forward to the day that I get to fully give and share back, for what is given with such love comes back around with divine grace. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

erlend-ekseth-33567
“Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning, that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” ~ Michael Morpurgo

I apologize that today I did not do well in keeping it short. I come to the end of my first week of blogging every morning, it has been such a joy to come here, to be my truth, and to vulnerably step. I thank you for taking the time to journey with me/us. May today and the weekend be full of love, joy, and grace. A.C.T. (always choose truth) with love and courage. See you Monday…

Day four… No Regrets… What If???

Yesterday was a day full of amazing connections, opening doors, and pure raw potential. Planting more seeds along the path of serving my purpose. Gratitude gushed from within, bubbling over with awe and wonderment. The sensation of gratitude is truly one that warms the body, mind, and spirit, it seems to open the portal for all kinds of experiences to flow in and out. There are two quotes from Tony Robbins that come to mind, the first being that when one is in the energy of gratitude, fear cannot live – I find this to be delightfully true. The loving sensation of gratitude washes away all fears and expands out into the infinite ethers. The other quote is closely connected, if ones chooses to focus on appreciation for all that is, the dissatisfaction with attachments and expectations shifts. Try them both, close your eyes and start feeling gratitude about something in your life, experience the expansion, allow it to take over your whole being. Isn’t it grand? Then try appreciating what is, appreciate that you have a home, that your kids are doing their best, that we live in a safe place, etc… The energy of appreciation and gratitude literally clear out the discontent of expectation and attachment. The “feeling” becomes quite addictive!

shutterstock_1968731
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~ William Arthur Ward

What will today bring? I am curious, and look to it with wonder and openness. They say that “what you focus on becomes more”, so I shall focus upon the abundance of students coming forth for my classes, clients stepping forward to embrace a healthier way of living, and opportunities to speak and write flowing in. When or how these come to be, well that I get to surrender to with trusting faith.

I find myself being driven by two underlying thoughts the last couple of days, “what if” and “regret”. Life is finite, we truly do not know how long we shall live, so the BIG question is “how are we living all our precious moments?” Let’s look closer at “regret”, the picture that got painted for me by one of the speeches I was listening to stated, “you’re on your death bed, gazing up at people who represent all of the dreams you did not go for. You were the only person who could bring these dreams into fruition, they were dreams unique to you. The dreams look down at you asking “why”, why did you not manifest us? Why did you not go for it? Now they have no choice but to die with you, never to be brought into reality, lost forever. Think about this, “what if” your favorite singer/band had given up on their dream? “What if” Thomas Edison had given up, letting his failures shut him down? “What if” the Wright brothers had stopped trying? “What if” your favorite actor or athlete had never persisted? “What if” the farmer gave up on his crops because it was just too hard? I think you get the idea. What are the “what ifs” that you are not going for? How many dreams will stand beside your death bed wishing you had been brave enough to go for it? What will you be remembered for? These are the thoughts that propel me. I don’t want to look back and wonder “what if” I had tried to do that! I don’t want to regret that I let life pass me by and now it is too late. I want to be remembered as the one who danced, not the one who sat on the sidelines watching. I am fueled by my son’s celebratory high five as I sign up a couple more students and my daughters gracious acceptance to work around crazy weekend schedules. My friends and family cheering me on with their love and faith, inspire me to keep reaching for the stars. Make no mistake, how we live our lives is being watched and observed, not just by the people we know, but by all who are exposed to our presence.

matthew-henry-27633
“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Well, in trying to stay true to short entries and the reality that my workout clothes await me, I close this writing for today. I take the time for one more deep quiet breath of gratitude, to say a HUGE thank you to YOU, for YOU are why I am here in the quiet hours of the early morning. I bid you farewell until tomorrow, hoping you leave no “what if” unexplored today. A.C.T. (always choose truth) as you step forth into the grace of this day.

Day Three…Pondering the silence…

It is still around me this morning, more quiet than usual, the layers of silence encircle me as I put word to page. This time of day seems to hold its breath, waiting and anticipating the waking of man and beast. Inside I feel the same today, there is a calm silence, is it an acceptance, a surrender, a peace within the unknown? I cannot truly identify it, or explain it. It feels like I walked to the edge of the cliff, stepped trustingly off and now I float through the space, completely suspended by the air around me. I am not afraid, for I do not see the ground rushing up at me, nor do I feel as though I will be carried anywhere I should not go. At the same time I am curious, what will unfold today, what will become, what connections, what lessons, what gifts, etc… I have my “to do” list prepared, the intentions for the day, the necessary action steps to move forward towards my vision/dream.

IMG_3827
“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” ~Confucius

Yesterday as I drove to and from the gym, to the class I taught and home, during all moments when I was not madly working on some aspect of the business, I was listening to motivational Youtube recordings. Lots of John Maxwell yesterday, he definitely made me think and ponder. I listened twice to his talk on, “The Rule of 5 for Lifting Your Lid.” The first rule of that five is, “you must first lead yourself”, stating that if you would not follow yourself, why should anyone else. I loved this statement, for it has intrinsically been a part of my philosophy and way of being. As a teacher I did not ask my students to do something I myself would not do, as a facilitator I did not ask my participants to do something I had not already forged through, as a health coach it is imperative that I “walk my talk”, reflecting good health and fitness, as a manager I never asked of my employees that which I was not willing to do…. I reflected upon past bosses, teachers, speakers, colleagues, influential people from along the way, it became clear why certain situations “fell apart” and I had to move on. I continue to dig deep into this teaching, searching and exploring how I can apply it even more strongly in my life.

The other four rules are just as powerful as the first. They are as follows –

2. Add value to someone’s life.

3. Study Leadership.

4. Practice Leading.

5. Intentionally grow.

These fives rules are to be practiced everyday!! Yes, everyday, not just every now and then! I get this especially with regard to health, fitness, spiritual growth, and self care – for I have daily practices that I have done for years and years and years. It is true, it works, the “lid” does lift and become more when we are consistent, especially with the little things we think do not matter. An example of this from my life is that at fifty-two I finally went to the doctor this year for the first time in twenty-five years (had both children naturally at home with a midwife), I got the whole kit and caboodle done – the results – this girl is still very healthy with her blood work showing similar numbers to twenty-five years ago! Whoo Hoo.., this gift was a by-product of consistently taking care of my body, mind and spirit. I look to this experience as a patient reminder that building a business takes time, just as building up my muscles took consistent training. Writing a book takes patience and determination day in and day out. The wonderful magic of it all, is that every day I wake up driven by a purpose. I’m excited to see how I may serve someone, who might contact me, what might grow from the seeds I’ve been planting. Each day is its own little miracle.

IMG_3819
“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” ~Jon Bon Jovi

I chose to do this blog in “naked truth”, authentically coming to the page, day in and day out, hoping that my words help someone out there to not feel alone on the journey to manifesting their dreams. I also committed to the blank canvas everyday to push myself as a writer. To step into my discomfort zone of expressing not just sweet stuff, but the gritty and not so nice stuff too. Today is one of those days where I sit before the screen uncertain what to share, for I find myself processing and digesting the swirling realities of my life. I cling tenaciously to my dream with tired, bloodied fingers. Something I keep hearing day in and day out about the climb to “success” is that if it were easy, then everyone would do it – this is true. The people I admire and look to for inspiration fell down lots of times, they got back up, they kept stepping, they never gave up… They faced judgment, ridicule, adversity, and some were completely ostracized, yet they continued forth. I draw great comfort today from those that forge the path before me, they are my inspiration, the leaders I look to for guidance and the sensation that I am not alone. I take a deep breath of surrendered gratitude. Today I shall do my best, today I shall continue to step with conviction, today I shall strive to be the change I wish to see in the world. I will show up in humble willingness to serve others along the way, for today is another opportunity to do and be more.

May today shine upon you with grace, serendipity and synchronicity. Until tomorrow A.C.T. (always choose truth) through your actions, words, and internal thoughts.

austin-mabe-209276
“A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown.” ~Tom Hanks