Self-actualization

Self-actualization

Noun

the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.

At Afterburn class tonight, I was the only person who showed up. I was ready to work but didn’t expect to talk about where I have been or where I see myself going.

While warming up, my teacher asked me about how I spend my days. I told her about my day job and my writing and upcoming teaching. And then she asked a question I knew I would be writing about this evening:

“Do you feel self-actualized?”

I told her I feel it more now than ever before but I think it’s a journey. With the addition of these strength training and weekly yoga classes, there is a distinct difference for me. I had to change the fitness story I’ve been telling myself forever. It used to go like this:

I like to walk and jog, preferably outside. I love to dance and water aerobics but that’s really it. I don’t like weightlifting. It’s boring and it’s just not for me. I have never been an athlete.

In just a few short weeks, I am ready to alter some of those details:

I love weightlifting, especially one on one or in a small group. I love to dance, go to water aerobics classes, walking and jogging outside everyday and challenge the flexibility and strength of my body in yoga. I am an athlete, training to compete in a Strongman and my first Spartan race in a few months time. I love the powerful woman I am becoming.

There is no destination for me. I believe I am constantly unfolding and breaking old molds. I am in a state of perpetual vulnerability which can be equal parts exhausting and exhilarating.

And completely worthwhile.

 

Week 1

Week 1

I am on Day 9 of the 75hard challenge. After just over a week, I was already presented with my first obstacle. On my outdoor walk on Friday, I started experiencing pain in my left ankle and that continued to annoy me into the weekend but I persevered. I chose to wear an ankle brace and did indoor weight training for 45 minutes for my second workout the last couple of days.

Before starting the challenge, I intentionally stayed away from the scale. I chose to get on last Monday morning to have another way to measure progress. This Monday showed a 4.6 lb weight loss. I am proud of it but what really made me happy was having more room in my jeans and being able to go bowling comfortably. I was also happy to see I was able to accomplish this even as my cycle started on Sunday morning.

I also love knowing I have a friend who is keeping me accountable. Just seeing a text message with a progress picture or a workout update drives me to keep up and be a source of support to her, too. Hubby also continues to fill up my gallon water each day, too. I also developed a new habit. I am using the Lose It app to track my food. I have tracked calories in the past but I never liked it before. I used to resent it. I think it’s because I had a trainer checking it and now I am completely responsible, the only judge of what I choose to put in my body.

I noticed it’s starting to bleed into other areas. I am finally turning “What I Love About You: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Proposal and Vows” into a paper version which will be ready by next week. I am ready to approach wedding vendors in person and online. I was tired of talking about it and this challenge is showing me how much action truly matters.

It’s the only thing that matters.

Words are nice but sometimes that’s all they are.

Words.

And I am truly tired of my words meaning something else: Broken promises to myself.

But enough words.

I have a second workout to complete, pages to read, water to drink and my day 9 picture to take.

Rediscovering the Old and Enjoying the New

Rediscovering the Old and Enjoying the New

Thursday wellness update time! This past week I lost 1.2lbs which felt amazing to me. I worked hard even when I slipped up and ate too much on some days. There were many reasons why this week felt amazing to me. For one, I rediscovered some belly dance videos on YouTube I used to do several years ago featuring the Bellydance Twins Veena and Neena. I spent many hours doing their workouts and learning routines which led to classes I eventually took years later. I had a ball doing their intense Arms & Abs video. It reminded me how much is available for me to do even when we don’t make it to the gym.

Veena and Neena

Another reason is that I just attended a networking event for women at an awesome juice bar this evening. I spent the evening learning about how to brand yourself led by a photographer and business coach. Their presentation was dynamic and interactive. We even got a chance to learn about the origin story of Ginger Juice, the venue where the event was held. It was incredibly encouraging to listen to this woman recount how she left the corporate world to take the risk to found a business where she is contributing to the health of her community and spending more time with her children.

I am grateful for rediscovering old joys and having the chance to surround myself with new, enterprising women.

Your turn:

Have you revisited anything you used to love doing lately? Or had any new experiences lately? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

That Good Sweat

That Good Sweat

Since I wrote about it and I promised I would do it and I talked about it out loud where other people outside of myself could hear it, I went. I don’t mean to sound reluctant. It was just fear..fear of not being in good enough shape, not catching on fast enough, not being able to keep up.

So like I said, I went. I attended my first Afro-Caribbean dance class just as I declared I would in my last post. And it was exhilarating! I probably looked like a scared toddler creeping up to the door but there was no reason to fear. The instructor was kind, immediately asked if it was my first time and welcomed me with open arms.

For an hour, we danced and I felt that good sweat! If you have ever been so engaged in an activity, you don’t even realize you are drenched until it’s time to take a break, then you know of what I speak. I missed letting my body speak the words that have been muted for so long. I loved seeing my joyful, vibrant, moving reflection in the studio mirrors.  I didn’t even think about my psoriasis scars on my arms, not even once.

There was comfort being in a group of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, ages and skill level smiling and popping their bodies and bare feet to the beat. We danced in lines, mimicking our instructor’s movements and enjoyed the eclectic variety of music played. I was on a high doing African-inspired movements to the classic “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J.

I guess there is no need to ask if I am coming back.

There will be no languishing in the dark, underneath the covers this Saturday.

Just dancing in the light.

 

Kindness

Kindness

I still feel like I am coming down from an amazing and busy weekend. I had the pleasure of watching my sister and her pole sisters perform in their student showcase. Those women put on a spectacular show and I shed more than a couple of tears watching my sister confidently execute the routine she choreographed along with two other group performances. I had many videos of my sister in varying stages of preparation for her solo over the months so seeing it come together before my eyes was a thing of beauty. As we watched playback of the video I shot, both of us laughed because we could hear my running verbal reaction with every move she made. It was pride spilling from my lips.

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Me and my sister before her mind-blowing performance

The next day while she was with her personal trainer, I made good use of her visitor’s pass at her gym. It had been a couple of months since I had been on a machine so my body and my mind had to warm up to the idea of doing the repetitive motions again but I found I loved the groove that settled in after a few minutes of pushing the incline up on the treadmill. I am not sure why there is such discomfort for me around going back to the gym regularly but I do know I have to get over it. These goals can be met without it but that’s not what I want. I want to make use of all of the tools I have available to me whether I have deemed them as one of my “favorites” or not.

The next day, my mother, sister, adorable niece and I went on a little shopping trip to add a couple of pieces to my wardrobe. I had been meaning to update this site with new pictures so I thought it would be a good time to take them. Here are a couple and my About, Work with Me and Home pages have been updated with all new pictures:

After these were done, hubby and I were off back to Richmond when we had a small accident trying to avoid a much bigger one. It meant one more night at my sister’s until we could go to the garage the next morning but I was so happy to be able to spend more time with my family. While I was there, I managed to finish the essay I was working on last week and selected a couple of sites to submit new work to by Thursday.

When I got to work today, I got the sweetest note (with a green pen!)from a co-worker:

20171003_153133-1-1 It was in my mailbox and I pulled it out at the exact moment when I needed it. I was all smiles when I opened this blessing and I am not ashamed to admit I teared up driving home from work this afternoon thinking about my new treasure.

As we all know, the last few weeks in this country and all over the Caribbean have been harrowing to say the least.

It is the kindness that will remain. It is the kindness that will restore.

Have you been inspired lately? I would love to read your thoughts!

 

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge Day 2

All I can say is that I am glad that I am writing about this challenge or I would have stayed snuggled up under the covers this morning. Not a single drop of sunshine would have seen these cheeks before I had to go to work if it were not for that.

But I am doing this challenge and committing to writing about it so I threw those covers back and got going. I thought I would be sore but maybe my will to “feel the pain and do it anyway” masked whatever would have sidelined me. I am so glad I got out there. It comes as no surprise that there were no regrets about not just exercising but keeping my word to myself.

It was a little bit of bliss. My energy was elevated. I love when my mind shuts down and I allow whatever I am listening to wash over me. I also find that’s when realizations come to me. Yesterday, while I was working out to Afrifitness the words “Water-Workout-Write” came to mind. I knew I was going to be doing this challenge and out of nowhere W’s started appearing while I was dancing.

Today, it was Les Brown’s words floating in my ears that brought forth words I had started to let slip from an unfinished post a few weeks back. I was writing about roads not taken. He was speaking about how inaction in and of itself was a choice made.  Roads not taken in my life are not full of regret but I would be a liar if I claimed I never wondered how different my life would have looked if I had not moved to Tidewater post-undergrad or chose not to buy a home and travel more instead.

But I don’t dwell in what ifs because so many blessings came through those choices.

Doing this challenge means wonder will not occupy space in me. No inaction.

Just motion.

Watch out for my Day 3 post tomorrow!