Live

Live

Last week, I completed my second week of #75hard challenge created by Andy Frisella.  As I was in the throes of a cycle all week and took it easy on a couple of my evening workouts to heal my ankle, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a slight gain. I actually stayed the same and felt like I had more energy. I even realized I wanted to push myself a bit harder on my workouts. During my second walk this evening, I cut it short, marched in the house and threw on one of my favorite Caribbean dance workouts for the remainder of my time.

As I mentioned last week, I am starting to see my mindset shift in other ways, too. I promised myself I would get my E-book professionally printed and guess what….

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I did it! I also now have a couple of leads on print on demand distributors and even though it will be an investment, what’s wrong with betting on myself?

Absolutely nothing.

I spent so much time afraid of risk even when I didn’t admit it to myself. This challenge is forcing me to confront my excuses. It is teaching me I am more resourceful and hard-working than I gave myself credit for.

This past Saturday, I went to work, did both workouts, drank my gallon of water and then some, read and enjoyed a comedy show. I know, without a doubt I would have made every excuse not to experience everything the day had to offer just a month ago. I was always too tired.

Too tired for what?

Too tired to live?

75Hard

75Hard

This past weekend, I went to Vegfest with hubby. It was a cornucopia of vegan soul food, burgers, sweets, Thai and Caribbean food. A friend of mine performed with her belly dancing group. It was a lot of fun and our burgers with slaw and vegan Mac lived up to its delicious promise.

However, I knew this weekend was going to be a last hurrah of sorts. A good friend of mine and I decided to start the #75 hard challenge created by Andy Frisella.

Here are the basic rules:

1. 2 45-minute workouts: at least one of them has to be outdoors.

2. Stick to whatever diet you’ve chosen: no junk food, no alcohol and no cheating!

3. Drink a gallon of water a day.

4. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction/personal development book each day.

5. Take a progress picture everyday.

And if you mess up on even one, you have to start again at Day 1! Intense!

Our lunch was on Friday and we vowed to begin on Monday. So with that in mind, I blew it out this past weekend. But there was one thing I watched that reminded me how important it was to keep this upcoming commitment: Brittany Runs a Marathon.

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I may not drink or pop pills but the cholesterol is a bit high and I am not trying to add anything else to the list. I  felt convicted to change after my last doctor visit. I am motivated more than ever to complete this and get a clean bill of health at my next appointment in February. By the time the movie was over, I was in tears. I knew I didn’t want to let it be a fleeting moment of inspiration. I wanted the results and the mental toughness cultivated to get there.

So here I am on Day 2. Tired but ready to tackle my second workout of the day. Tired but ready to guzzle the last of this gallon and read those 10 pages.

Wish me luck on the next 73!

Your turn:

When was the last time you set a challenge and saw it all the way through?

Engaged

Engaged

Last week Hubby and I went to Charleston, SC for vacation. We walked around the French Quarter including the City Market and talked to vendors. We lounged lazily in our beach chairs and splashed in the warm waves at Isle of Palms beach, visited a delightful farmer’s market in Mt. Pleasant and ate at a couple of delicious plant-based restaurants.

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When we came back to our room in the evenings, we made no apologies for simply wanting to power all the way down, connect with each other and fall asleep guessing who won Chopped. We slept late, let our skin drink in the sun and didn’t think of work.

On the way back, I knew I was going to miss being away on vacation but there was something else I was going to miss: how engaged I felt. 

While I was walking along the beach, I listened to nothing but the water, the conversation and laughter of passerbys. At one point, Hubby and I were standing in the ocean and it started to thunder. I waded out as far and as fast as I could to have one last moment before having to leave. That moment almost seems nondescript but there was a desperate quality to my run. Even as I sit here now, I can feel the weight of the water on my legs.

We talked and sang (badly) the entire way home. As much as I enjoyed Charleston, it was clear to me it could have been almost anywhere because I allowed myself to get lost in my time there. I allowed myself not to seek constant distraction.

I now know that anything less is cheating myself.

I won’t be doing that again.

Cleansing

Cleansing

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been daydreaming about waterfalls. Standing under one. Standing by one and staring, completely transfixed. I was watching a show about a painter who was on a retreat. She took a long bike ride, hitch hiked and eventually ended up at Menemsha Beach on Martha’s Vineyard admiring the beauty of the sunset, the tangerine and coral swallowed by the blanket of night. I almost cried as the scene faded.

I shared my waterfall fantasies with a co-worker today. Yes, I am aware that summer is upon us and that’s probably why the urge is as strong as it is now. But she suggested something I hadn’t thought of before.

Maybe I am craving a cleansing.

I know how it sounds but when she said it, something connected. The last year has been full of ups and downs and a health mystery not quite solved. Our last piece of news was as good as it could get. I know as soon as I get the chance, take the chance to genuinely breathe, hopefully underneath a life giving force such as water, there will be a cleansing.

Maybe I am elevating a vacation, some fun in the sun, splashes in the water to mythic proportions but it’s fine by me.

I am willing to believe in the story.

I am willing to believe in a cleansing.

Priority

Priority

It’s our third day in Carlsbad, CA. A part of me would rather just sun myself at the pool or the beach but another part of me is glad to be sitting here writing. I know it’s because I am proving that no matter where I am, I am making posting here a priority. When you are on vacation, staring lazily at water and palm trees, the last thing you may feel like doing is whipping out a computer. But I know how committed I am to this process. I want to write through anything anywhere. I want to live up to my own expectations.

I am not sure if there is any other time in my life that I would have been able to truthfully write this but the time is now. Maybe this is what it is like to fall in love with what you’re pursuing. In my marriage, we would do anything to keep growing together. That’s part of the allure of travel. There’s a shared experience, a treasure of memory that no one can take from us.

With writing, there is a similarity. I am invested in my growth. I want to keep my schedule. Keep my word. I look forward to witnessing the fruits of my labor. There is a willingness to keep trying new things like adding Meatless Mondays or taking classes.

I don’t want to get out. I want to work through it all. Fail forward. Leave excuses behind.

So no matter how gracefully the fronds of the tree sway or the heat threatens to wilt my will to keep my commitment going this week. I won’t give in.

It is my priority.

Execution

Execution

I knocked one goal out since last week. I submitted a piece to another publication this past week! I haven’t worked out consistently, hit my water goal or completed two essays. I definitely need to find the balance of working, going to thrilling events like the dance production “Claves Unidos” I attended on Sunday, visiting family and keeping up with my exercise and writing goals.

I wrote half of one essay that I actually really loved starting to write. All I can say right now is that while I wrote it, a lot of specific memories came up that shocked me. My goal is to finish it tomorrow. I can’t wait to publish it as part of my book.

In addition to all of these goals which I did not quite hit this past week, I realized during my See Jane Write Collective virtual coaching meeting this evening that I was not doing everything I can (or anything) to promote how much I love helping people write vows and speeches. Why bother hiding all that I love to do? I answered a message from somebody recently telling them how much I love writing words that were meant to be spoken whether it is a speech, vows, creative non-fiction pieces or poetry.

Even though I did not hit all of my goals, it is already a new week. I can work out for the rest of this week, drink my water, finish my essay, write a new one and publish a new post on Thursday. These are all clearly outlined actionable goals.

It’s just up to me to execute.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

For the past couple of days, I have definitely been fighting this feeling. After my Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge, I felt like I was the person that could accomplish all of my goals but not writing about it every day took me away from my accountability tool. I haven’t reached my water intake goal in days! I am going to set an alarm every couple of hours to remind me starting tomorrow and report back how that works out for me. I have been very physical at my job yesterday and today and I am feeling sore. My body is tired but I will take on a real workout tomorrow.

Going back to the imposter syndrome, I sent in an application online to be in a group of local creatives. I had reservations around doing it because I assumed everyone in the group was already more established and making a financially healthy living with their craft. Because I am not able to say that yet, I felt doubt and fear creep up. I actually used Mel Robbins’ 5-Second Rule…5,4,3,2,1…GO! I quickly filled out the application and pressed SEND. If it doesn’t work out, what have I actually lost?

Then I asked myself why was I allowing myself to feel any negativity? My guest post with foreverbemoved.com was published on Tuesday. I am so proud that I shared my story about being resilient in the face of health challenges. Here is the link if you’d like to read it: http://www.foreverbemoved.com/skin-deep-resilience-face-health-challenges/

Today, I bookmarked sites to submit to by Sunday. I have set a goal to start writing my essays tomorrow afternoon and finish them by Sunday as well. I can’t lie. I do want it all and I am going to use every tool I can to make sure I follow through with all of these goals so I may be counting down a lot over the next few days.

My Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge may be over.

But I am not.

Reflections on SOG 2017

Reflections on SOG 2017

It’s been one week since I completed the Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge. I made new commitments, too: working out 5 days a week, drinking 100 oz. of water each day, writing two essays and sending one pitch to a publication weekly and blogging two days a week. For now, I picked Tuesdays and Thursdays. My intention was to start on Monday. I knew I would be back from attending The Summit of Greatness in Columbus, Ohio and well-rested. I did workout yesterday but my old habit of not drinking enough water reared its ugly head. I am back on it today and will most likely finish my intake in a couple of hours. I may work out later but if I don’t, I will complete my other four Wednesday-Saturday.

Today was unexpected. My brother called and asked me to lunch before he headed back out of town. Seeing as I didn’t know he arrived yesterday, it was a pleasant surprise. And not the first. I was so happy to see him. Not just because he’s my brother but because he is a friend and a good sounding board. After last week at Summit, there was much to reflect on and discuss.

One of which was the decision to go this year. I went last year and the experience was life-changing. There were hundreds of us, cheerleading each other, not knowing what was to come and having these instantaneous deep conversations with people who just happened to be standing next to you in line. The connections forged made me want to come back. I was excited but there were goals I knew I had set for myself that I did not reach, like finishing the book I was working on at the time. But of course, that is no reason not to recognize the strides I did make like taking Life in 10 Minutes with Valley Haggard, Pens Up Fears Down with Sadeqa Johnson, pitching my book at the James River Writer’s Conference, applying for my first fellowship, starting this site, expanding my social media presence, gaining a wonderful group of friends who also write (my tribe!) and finally getting around to printing up my business cards.

 

So, there was no real reason not to go. And I am so grateful that I did. This time my husband came with me. And that was one of the best gifts. Getting to see it through his eyes. Even though the magic of experiencing it for the first time was no longer there for me, watching him crane his neck around at the Southern Theater and hesitantly open up to a fellow attendee about his business goals made me realize how much time away from your “everyday” is needed. The Summit of Greatness is a jolt to the system, a soul-stirring reminder of what we could be if we are only willing to let go of what we thought we are or supposed to be.

We started off by registering last Wednesday the 13th and then attending a dinner which was mostly a casual reunion of last year’s attendees and enjoying the treat of meeting some new faces. And that is when I knew we were off to a good start. My heart was so warm and full at the sight of these people who I hadn’t even seen in nearly a year, except for online of course. It’s weird seeing people leap off of a screen and into your arms for a big old bear hug but it’s a good weird!

The next day was official Day 1. A highlight for me was poet Najwa Zebian and her loving embrace of her sensitivity and vulnerability. She exuded a quiet power. Tears were rolling down my cheeks during the Q&A portion of her time. Esther Perel was whip smart and funny! Her observations of the evolution of relationships like how we are looking to one person to fulfill all our needs compared to the past when it was a whole village was a major Aha moment for me.

Chris Lee’s emphasis on the power of giving moved me. When you’re depressed, give! When you’re happy, give! When you are lonely, give! His visualization exercise asking us what and where we want to be in 10 years was particularly memorable for me because he asked us to start it by saying that age out loud which was jarring for me. Then the tears came again.

Day 2 was quite a finale. My parents also came to Summit and the four of us sat on the first floor as compared to the balcony on Day 1 and the impact was powerful. The close proximity of the thumping drums and the cries of excitement made me want to jump to my feet immediately. As for speakers, Chris Guillebeau made another case about the power of the introvert. His energy was quieter but not boring in any way. He was promoting his new book “Side Hustle” and showed tangible evidence of people who started a side hustle, not a part-time job and grew it into a real business. He was practical and his approach made me want to listen deeply. I cannot wait to read his book! Mel Robbins came and brought the house down with her quick wit and insights and presented her 5-Second Rule. She delved into the science behind counting down…5, 4, 3, 2, 1..Go! When you wait too long to take action, we tend to stay still. She showed us how 5 seconds can change everything. Another read on my mile-high list from this weekend.

Tim Storey simply took us to church. There was a lot of call and response which made him entertaining but there was a message in his rhyme and swagger. He spoke about impartation, incubation and maturation phases in your life and shared about his work with people in addiction recovery. Brendon Burchard, the number one online marketer, was the closing keynote speaker. His emphasis was on the habits of high performers. I loved how he talked about bringing the joy every day. He took a moment to ask us all to think of three words that exemplify who we want to be, set and name an alarm with those three words for 10:00 am. We even had a dance break moment and I found myself admiring the interactive nature of his speech.

To cap off the conference, there was a dance party at Express Live with DJ Irie. The crowd was live and the music had us dancing for hours on end. Lewis, his Mom, Tim Storey, and even DJ Irie himself crowd surfed. The dancers that were teaching as a part of morning workouts last year came back and danced their collective faces off on stage.

As if this hasn’t been long enough, there is so much I am missing including the performers that danced and sang so beautifully for us, Lewis giving away his book as a surprise, Nick Onken’s art piece connecting all of us from all over this country and 20 others and hugs at every turn.

I am thankful. I am grateful.

Day 20

Day 20

Almost there!

It included a lot of walking, work and trying to stave off coughing fits. I even went shopping, trying on a few things that made me feel pretty. I am not one for shopping. Any one of my friends, family or husband can attest to that. I like fashion but I just like to buy what I need and hightail it out of there. It is completely different shopping for books. I enjoy settling in and burying my face in several books before deciding which ones get to take the trip home with me.

This evening it’s just been cooking. I am trying something new, a quinoa and sweet potato chili from Whole Foods along with vegan mac and cheese and green beans. Later, I am going to outline post-challenge goals. My birthday is November 16th and I return from the Summit of Greatness on September 16th. I am thinking my writing and wellness goals will have something to do with those 60 days. Off to eat dinner but excited to share more of my takeaways and the next leg of my journey tomorrow.

Stay tuned for Day 21!!!

Day 13

Day 13

Labor Day was a good one for rest. I spent my time relaxing with my hubby, reading and gleaning wisdom from The Hollywood Commandments by DeVon Franklin, catching up on email and applying for a writer’s group that may take me in the direction that I need. I have been feeling this self-imposed pressure to narrow my focus and become more goal-oriented to grow my career. This is the kind of pressure that I welcome. Earlier this week, I sent a pitch email with some ideas for a guest blog and today, I got a positive response for one of my ideas. I will definitely share more about that in time.

As I was completing the application for the writing group, I became emotional. I do not like to dwell on the past but it occurred to me how stuck I used to be and how willing I was to step in and stay in my own way. I will be eternally grateful for the decision I made to take action over the last year and for leaving the stressful job I was in 4 years ago. I would have never had the mental space to even try to write. As I was walking with a friend at the park today, it occurred to me that although neither of our lives our perfect, our conversation was mostly centered on doing something about the situations we are in. Not just complaining and venting (though we all have our moments). This is the spirit of the Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge. The spirit of Doing. Moving. Trying.

I am behind on my water intake but the night isn’t over and I will continue to sip and chug if I have to. And if I have to grab my 5lb weights again to do some semblance of a second workout, I will do that, too. I just won’t talk or write about it. I will do it.

Stay tuned for Day 14 tomorrow!