South Dakota Day 2

Today we took a walk and checked out the little town of Hurley. The main street has a bar, a bank, a post office and the library. The park has a really cool memorial that has been there since 1908. Looking at the homes we found several abandoned homes that you could tell were beautiful when they were lived in and loved. We looked in the windows and talked about how we would restore them. Looking out at all the open space and out at the corn fields I was struck by how peaceful and quiet it was. Walking back to my mothers in laws house I noticed how many homes had an American Flag proudly displayed. We then sat on the deck, Bbq’d dinner and I enjoyed a glass of Rose wine and watched the fireflies. It was a beautiful peaceful day and I am glad I left my phone behind to really enjoy the moments and connect with my husband. Excited for day 3, we head off to Mount Rushmore.

Healing Affirmations

I am loving these daily Affirmations by Deepak Chopra. Each one starts with a different letter. I have been listening to them in the morning as I get ready for my day. Having a word, thought, affirmation to focus on during the day really provides a postive way to start the day plus a way to redirect when negativity does come into your day. What podcasts, affirmations or playlist bring positivity into your life?

Kindness Challenge and What I learned

Our 7 Day Kindness Challenge has come to an end. The last few days were a challenge. I have been home in bed with the worst stomach flu since I don’t know when. Not quite the way I planned on losing those 5 pounds for, Bikini/whatever bathing suit covers my stretch marks/Season, but here I am. When I first started this challenge, I really thought I would be out and about doing great deeds. Some days were like that. I got to do some volunteer work, ship some boxes to deployed Military, accept donations for future projects, had cash on me when I saw a homeless person in need. Other days I had to look closer to home and my circle of friends I interact with almost everyday. Instead of rolling my eyes or being annoyed at things I needed to around the house, I took it as my kindness act for the person that appreciate or benefit from it. I looked for ways to be a supportive friend or give a compliment. Then once I was stuck at home, I reached out to friends and family I have not talked to in awhile. Started a scrapbooking project for my kids that I have been putting off. Then I gave myself permission to be kind to myself for taking the needed time to get better without guilt of missed classes or letting others down. I binge watched TV shows (even though I had to hit pause every 10 min.) I didn’t shower for a couple days and just stayed in my pajamas and rested. I did fold some laundry and do a few dishes, I mean, it is me we are talking about. But, I let myself just be (the horrible stomach cramps made it hard to do much else, haha) I started to this challenge to be more mindful of ways I can make a difference in the world around me but it also made me more aware of the small opprotunties in front of me everyday. In my home, at work, and even as close as the mirror.

What did you learn in this 7 day challenge? I would live to hear from you.

With Kindness Always

Kindness Challenge

Last week the town I live in was officially named Kindness USA for one week. I saw so many heart warming stories of people doing nice things for one another, that it inspired me to keep it going. Here is a 7 day Kindness Challenge! For 7 days, lets do random kind things for others. You can post here, on the FB page or on Instagram. Can’t wait to read all the amazing kind acts you all do.

Find Your Mantra

As we roll into the Holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of the season. Worrying about how Insta worthy our holiday pics are. Letting judgements of our relatives get the better of us. Allowing stress take our joy. Behaving in immature ways we don’t do any other time of year. We let food and drink be our crutch to “survive the holidays” and derail goals we have worked on all year.

Most of us have Mantras we rely on daily or some we pull out just when we need that extra push or moment of patience. This morning I took an online quiz to see what mine was and it was correct, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I live by this most days but it got me thinking, what if I broke it down further. What if I was the change I wanted in my loved ones lives. That I showed more compassion, more understanding and stepped back before I took a comment personal. That I embraced all the things I wish for my family and friends everyday. Show my daughter that connecting with your family is the most important thing and not getting a perfect picture and missing the moment in the process.

Now this Thanksgiving I do have an advantage. I am traveling to spend time with my daughter her first year as a mother. We are staying with her and her in-laws and space will be limited. I also am unable to prepare the meal I usually would because it won’t make the 7 hour drive. So we have planned a scaled down, simplier meal to prepare. There will be favorites my kids have requested but let’s just say that I am going to accept the shortcuts this year as needed and if something is not from scratch, its okay. I am even going to do paper plates. This is the 1st year my daughter will look at this holiday through the eyes of being a mother. She will be looking to me as the example of how she now brings holidays to life for her family. Instead of nagging her to stay off her phone or question why she is not helping in the kitchen, be the example and set my phone aside. Let her enjoy a little peace as a new mom, let her relax and take notes on recipes she may want to pass down. Soon enough it will be her turn. My being calm, keeping it simple, putting the focus on spending time with each other will help her create peaceful, meaningful holidays for her and my grandbaby. When I was a new mom I stressed about everything being perfect, but as I know now, the holidays with the best memories and stories are not the perfect ones. I have had those Holidays where everything finished at the same time and looked beautiful, but more often, nope not even close. There has been family drama and broken reindeers. Even a fried turkey that never made it into the house and was eaten in the garage. Fortunately, I had a back-up turkey in the oven. Then the holidays we didn’t even get out of our jammies and watched movies and ate all day.

When things start to derail, we need to pull out that favorite mantra and remember why what we are doing is important to us. We need to focus on what we will gain. Anytime in life we focus on all that can go wrong, we miss the moment right in front of us. Sometimes a simple “thank you” repeated over and over is enough to remind us. Maybe with certain family members “I am enough” is the mantra you will need. My other favorite “You can do anything for 10 seconds” might be enough time to stop an eye roll or sarcastic comment.  Some of you shared your favorites with me as I posted this was today’s topic. “Do your best with what you have at each moment.” “Own who you are.” “Unapologetically me.” What mantra will you choose?

Shine When It’s Your Time

Sun and moon

As a fitness instructor, I put myself out there to encourage others to enjoy their workouts, have fun, and help them reach fitness or health goals. When someone shares a story of how their workouts have helped them not just physically but mentally overcome depression, loss, stress, loneliness, the magnitude of how blessed I am to be able to connect with people and be part of their story, is truly humbling. As we all know, anytime you open yourself to the world, there will be people ready to knock you down.

I see it in the gym when friends who started working out together, stop being supporting of one another when their goals or their progress shifts away from each other. The looks of judgement when someone is new and trying to find their footing starting their fitness journey. When cliques develop over certain workouts or classes, not recognizing one shoe does not fit all.

I would like to say as instructors we set a better example, but sadly I know this is not true. We judge each other on class numbers, social media following, if our format is better, how expensive our shoes and workout clothes are. We question if our body is in good enough shape to even be in front of a class, if we are talking enough or too much,  if  the critics are right.

Standing in front of groups of people, several times a day, eventually criticism will come. On the days it is constructive, I am grateful. I embrace the opportunity to grow as an instructor, to provide better classes and better experiences for my participants. At times, it is not, and I challenge myself to remember the way my light shines is not for everyone. I might be the sun and they need the moon. When I encounter another instructor not creating the kind of positive, supporting, uplifting class I think is important, I remind myself to stay in my lane. If I stay true to me, I will get to my destination and I will have a tribe with me that is excited about sharing the road together and letting each other shine. Each person deserves to find their lane, their light, without our judgment or harsh comments.

When we are on the end of criticism, we have an opportunity to grow, to let our heart become kinder for when we feel we need to offer guidance, to become stronger by standing up for ourselves when needed. The moon can shine in the dark and so can we.