Power of Positivity

If I ever become a super hero, I want my super power to be positivity! 🙂

I have been working on changing my mindset lately to focus on what is happy, upbeat, and awesome. It’s not my default, by any means. In fact, negativity has been my theme song for many years. I had the non-talent for being in a beautiful situation with amazing people–and I could still find something about which to complain.

WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!

I have asked myself that question for many years…but without much resolve to change it.

Well, I have a new theme song–and it goes more like this:

Here are a few practices that have helped me lately that I would love to share with you:

1. Exercise. Daily. Seriously. Exercise boosts endorphins (happy chemicals). Even a twenty-minute walk has shown to increase brain activity, too…and nothing beats the uplifting feeling of accomplishment that follows a good work-out (and a delicious protein shake). 🙂

2. Smile. It relaxes facial muscles (that I wrinkle when I worry or am negative). It also boosts endorphins. 🙂 And, smiling people look better, nicer, and more approachable!

3. Check in with happy thoughts on an app called “happier.” IT. IS. A. SERIOUSLY. HAPPY. PLACE. 🙂 I have loved reading about the happy moments of others–and reading positive messages helps me reset my brain from a negative station to a positive one. I also feel happier and encouraged when I post my own happy moments!

4. Balance/stimulate chakras. Chakras are energy centers in the body according to ancient traditions. I have been using yoga to work on mine, and I have felt happier and more positive. 🙂

Well, that’s all I have for now, other than to let you know that I have been blogging less now because I have been writing more. My characters on my latest novel are taking shape–and I couldn’t be happier.

See? I am becoming more positive!

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Strength Training

The new yoga pants fit well. After struggling most of my life to find pants that would more than kiss my ankles on my seventy-two inch, thin frame without swallowing my waistline, the sigh of relief is more than audible. I slide on a shirt over a muted pink sports bra and tackle the stairs.

After a stretch and warm-up, several deep breaths, and some cardio, I punch several buttons, meandering apps and menus on the tablet at my feet. It rests carefully against the downstairs couch, almost silent except for the Spotify playlist pumping some techno-sounding beats from Zedd. I remember when techno was new.

Still, I persist until I find the right button–and some fitness diva starts excitedly voicing words like “plyo.”

I enter an alternate sphere of focus and energy, of strength and life. I jump, I squat, I curl, I lunge. I plank longer than I’ve ever planked before today. I am gaining strength.

I’ve been working more consistently for about two months now, and my body is responding. My yoga pants fit better, and my heart is happy.

My arms…well, they still need some work. But my core and legs are getting stronger.

How do I know? Well, while doing the “Cha-Cha Slide” recently, Mr. C asked me how low I could go…& I could go all the way to the floor.

And this girl knew her strength training was actually working! 🙂

Running Initiation

Well, “it” finally happened. To me. Last week. And I have the bruise to prove it.

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I knew the weather was going to be “a good day for outdoor fitness” according to my phone’s weather app, so I got kiddos and husband out the door, laced up shoes, found a playlist, and inserted my fun earpods (gotta love Apple). I headed out, mapping my run via app & GPS, & was pretty happy with my results–especially since I haven’t been running too often lately.

The ground was a little slick, and I fought to maintain composure (and an overall upright stance) more than once. Still, all was going well as I concluded my run.

Then, as I began walking to cool down, I noticed something to my right. I lost focus on my steps…& then lost my footing…& balance…& scraped my hands against the pavement less than a second before my nose dove toward the grass.

Ack.

My knee was bruised, my palm sore, and my breathing was a bit labored. I “sat” in that position for a few moments, stunned, and wondering what to do.

Then, I did something miraculous.

I got up from my place, retrieved a load of intention from someplace deep inside myself, and kept going.

My knee hurt, my palm stung, and the euphoria from the run had been shaken a bit from the fall.

Still, I felt this new completeness–this wholeness. I felt initiated.

Though I have completed a handful of 5Ks and a half-marathon, I felt more like a runner that day last week when I almost ate pavement.

Am I crazy? Maybe. 🙂

But I also felt amazing for facing the fear of falling and shoving it in my back pocket for a while.

I can do this became my mantra…& I’ve been saying it ever since. The principle is spilling over into all areas of my life. (I even scrubbed my kitchen yesterday…I know, crazy, right?) And I’m feeling pretty darn blessed in the process.

🙂

Exercise, Anyone?

Here are some exercise videos to lighten your quest for fitness:

P90X – Studio C

Don’t Be That Awkward Runner – Don’t be that guy

Worst Trainer Ever – Studio C

Now you can go and get your work out on–just not like these people!!!! 🙂

Happy Anniversary!…& a few random thoughts

So, I’ve been working on this blog for a year. This weekend, WordPress sent me a cute little Happy Anniversary notification (which I loved…it’s the little things, right?)

My mind has been scattered all over the place since my little walk/run early this morning. The air was cool, so I pulled a stocking cap down over my ears to discourage the frosty air from creeping into my personal space. I tucked my ear buds into their accustomed spaces–L and R, stretched, kissed goodbye, and was on my way. I found a new compilation album on my iPod that I purchased on a sale from iTunes several weeks ago, picked a familiar song, and lengthened my stride along the sidewalk stripe en route to a familiar walking path.

As I hummed along to the tune, echoing intimately in my tender ear drums, keeping breath and step in line with the beat of the music, I began to mourn over the content of the lyrics. The singer, certainly popular in our society, and young, and whose voice I have heard over and over through my children’s Spotify playlists, iPod favorites, and even on exercise/dance video games, sang a tune of so-called empowerment, while speaking words that rang falsely to my heart.

I puzzled through the remaining steps, up a hill, and leveled out as the song changed…and my app announced my time and distance stats over another familiar voice. This song, too, disturbed my soul. On and on, around the path, listening and skipping songs, I was somewhat upset by what I heard. I wondered–exhaustedly–if I could find something to uplift and inspire as I continued to walk through this experience. I got to another song, one with a catchy beat, and began to run, and run, and run.

Then I stopped.

The song couldn’t be talking about what I thought it was talking about (oral sex), could it?

I think maybe it was. And I was even more disturbed that children–even my own–had listened to it and invariably sang along with it from time to time.

Pressing the skip button once again, I found myself in the throws of another relationship break-up song (I had already heard at least two in my twenty-minute walk), where the singer said that he couldn’t control himself around his lover…that he was a victim of sorts…and that he didn’t have the strength or resolve to get himself out of a (potentially dangerous or self-deprecating) situation.

I finally skipped that one, too.

As I continued to skip more songs as I walked and ran, I decided with a renewed determination not to let the words slip by me again. These messages that I sing along with and share with my children can be destructive to their tender hearts.  I want them to be empowered through kindness, love, and socially responsible and upright behavior.

In closing, I am posting a link to this article, which cites some of the dangers of exposing our younger generations to porn. Though I have yet to finish reading it, the pages I have read thus far were enlightening as well as disturbing. What prompted this article was work on a documentary, part of the UK’s “Campaign for Real Sex” (part of which appears to be a call for better sex ed in the UK along with exposing the dangers of pornography). Here is the trailer for the documentary.

I post them as a voice of warning (and a conversation starter) if you find yourself in the company of children, teens, or even young adults.  I encourage you to talk to another generation about the dangers of porn and the power of music/lyrics.  If someone doesn’t talk to them, the loud voice of popular media–or even the detached version of communication found in social media–will teach them…and I’m not certain parents, societies, or future generations be happy with what they are taught.

I learned that difficult lesson on a short walk this morning.

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A Gift of Light

The feeling of overwhelm hit the same time I slid a tired finger across the snooze button of my alarm. The project my middle-schooler didn’t finish last night (because a. he waited till the last minute; & b. the batteries died on the camera he was using to video) needed to be not only filmed again but also downloaded and transferred onto a thumb drive…all within the next few minutes…along with breakfast, scriptures, prayer, and dressing all my little people to get out the door around the same time.

With the mission accomplished, I opened the door again to a quiet house and attempted to attack the sink filled with breakfast bowls and spoons (that hasn’t stayed consistently empty for at least the past week) when a feeling came over me to go for a run. I dismissed it as I shoveled silverware from one side of the sink to the other, rinsing the Rubbermaid container that held who knows what, and the feeling came again.

Go for a run now.

(I’ve learned not to discount feelings like that.)

I dropped the half-rinsed silverware into the sink and headed to my room to change into clothing appropriate for exercise. I prepped my iPod and ear buds, stretched, and I was on my way.

(Now, I haven’t been running regularly for quite a while. That’s probably an understated understatement….)

I warmed up walking, greeting a neighbor with her beautiful Golden Retriever, and headed to the path around the lake. I set my phone to track my distance and pace, and turned to the left (to avoid getting wet by the morning sprinklers). I rounded several corners as I made my way around the path that followed the not-so-oval-shaped lake. I felt all the feelings of relief, of time to think, of jamming to music that I haven’t heard in several weeks, and, seemingly suddenly, the path took me around to face east.

Guess what I saw?

One of the most beautiful sun-rising moments of my life. The sun was about half-way up its eastern path through the sky, and just a few clouds danced around the glowing sphere–enough to filter through multiple rays streaming down and kissing the surface of the lake.

(I didn’t take a picture, but this photo might give you a little bit of an idea of what I saw.)

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It looked like a piece of heaven.

I felt like I was in heaven, in that moment.

And, I knew that I wouldn’t have seen that exact scene in the sky if I had waited to load the dishes, if I had let my own agenda take over my life, if I had been to busy or too discouraged to look up toward the light.

But I did go run.

And I did look up, and I was given a gift.

A gift of light.

On the Road Again…

I used to run regularly–like to the point of training and “running” a half-marathon with my husband and a dear friend about two years ago.  I ran/walked pretty consistently until sometime last year.  Though I could never really say that I loved running, I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment that I could go the distance, the wind rushing through my hair, and the nice lines of muscle forming on my legs.

The other day, I hit the pavement again for the first time in quite a long time.


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I was thinking as I ran that running is really so much like life.  Here are a few insights:

  • you just have to keep going
  • slowing down to catch your breath sometimes is okay
  • other times you just need to push through the rough spots
  • after the uphill, a downhill is coming
  • it’s all good
  • you really CAN do it
  • sometimes the air is thin and you think you don’t have anything left…but YOU DO!!!!!!
  • people/music/self-talk that is positive and upbeat make all the difference
  • we need oxygen to function
  • keep your shoulders back and stand a little taller
  • BREATHE!!!!!

What are some lessons you have learned through running or exercising?  Do you find life lessons in all you do?

Hugs till next time! 🙂