Static

Static

The last few weeks I have been absent from my workouts. It started off because of intense pain in my ankles and I slowed down because I knew continuing to push would only make things worse down the road. I was limping around the house and that’s never good.

But I have been feeling better and there has been no visits to the gym, dance class, videos or walks outside.

I am not sure why after being active for so many months that it has come to a stop. I feel static. I can almost hear myself make an excuse as to why I won’t workout tomorrow.

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Tonight I was at writing group. We discussed if we fear what would happen if we make it in the literary world. I have to ask myself the same question in regards to my wellness journey.

Is there anything I fear about being on the other side of this struggle? Will writing about it now help me cross back over to where I was only 3 weeks ago?

I’m betting it will. If things are really going to be different this time, then I have to call myself out and pull myself out of the hole I sunk myself into that makes me feel stuck and scared.

I am hoping to look back on these past few weeks as a minor setback a year from now.

I can’t let it determine who I will be a year fron now.

New Eyes

New Eyes

Every week, I try new plant-based recipes and explore ways to move my lifestyle away from “if it’s vegan, I’ll eat it” to “whole foods plant-based.” I can’t say I am always successful but I see the difference. For example, I cooked without oil for several meals this week and after a rigorous workout, I chose to blend a Honeydew lime smoothie with watermelon on the side.  It helps to eat something light but filling and I can sit here and write afterwards without a problem. I even managed to release 3.8 lbs this week and I know it’s because of a concentrated effort to adjust my habits and a willingness to adjust my attitude. There were (and sometimes are) times where I wouldn’t consider the fruit smoothie and melon as a worthy snack after exercise. My greedy eyes would be searching for a “real meal.”

I know this mentality is something that is learned and ingrained after a period of time. I believe making wellness a priority will change my eyes with many things. I am looking forward to it, especially as I get more busy with my writing.

Your turn:

Have you made any changes lately that has impacted your wellness? If not, what do you plan to do?

Love Fest

Love Fest

This past Sunday I went to Love Fest in Hampton. It was a 4-hour festival of dance, specifically Mixxed Fit and Zumba. There were scores of teams performing and teaching routines from the stage and plenty of vendors. It was benefiting The Lupus Foundation and The Natasha House which I personally loved.  I had a wonderful time with my friends and danced so hard I was sore for a couple of days.

I have always loved dance and prefer it over many other types of exercise. When I go to the Afro-Caribbean dance class, I generally go alone (and enjoy it) but it was refreshing to go with a group of women and be among a crowd of people with such an electric energy.

It was an important reminder during this wellness journey to get out of my comfort zone and do more fitness activities that challenge me. I could have easily assumed the event was primarily for teachers and decided it wasn’t for me.

But how do I know if something is for me if I don’t bother to try.

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Smiling at Love Fest

I had an amazing time and will try another Zumba or Mixxed Fit class soon. When I weighed in today (I lost .8lbs), I actually thought about everything I did this week and was proud that part of this loss came from sweating at live dance fest in a city I do not call my home.

Joy

Joy

I just came back from writing class and I wrote and read a piece aloud that made me laugh aloud. I could barely get through it. Now that I am at home, it reminds me how much joy there can be in the writing process. I think it’s as easy to forget as it to remember the deadlines and the pressure that can also come with writing. I am not sure if it’s because the class fosters openness and inclusion but I felt as if I could have said anything, anything deep and true and anything ridiculous and flighty and all of it would have been received the way it was intended.

In addition to other things I am taking away from writing workshop tonight, I am taking the joy. I need to be able to feel that while I am plotting a story line, writing a blog post or scribbling a heartfelt piece in 10 minutes, I am in the midst of a joyful experience.

I am creating joy.

 

Embrace the Process

Embrace the Process

I went to dance class today. I did not want to go. My husband has been pretty sick these last couple of days and I have not been sleeping well. But because I was feeling a little under the weather last Saturday and missed class, I was determined not to miss two in a row.

While I was there, I felt out of step. It was evident that missing class last week put me behind in learning choreography for their upcoming performance.  Being worried about my husband drained me.  Not having control over when he is healed and having to cancel plans to celebrate my birthday this weekend threw me off kilter. But I wanted to be as present as I could be while I was there. I needed to move and sweat.

I am embracing the process. I literally wrote about this yesterday. When I imagine all of the intense workouts that are to come on this journey, I picture the endorphin release that generally comes and not still feeling sadness afterwards but this is what life is sometimes.

These are the moments when I want to crawl back under the covers and cry a little bit. But I choose not to right now. I am wrapping my whole arms, legs, torso around this moment.

It’s only the beginning.

 

 

 

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.

 

May I Have This Dance?

May I Have This Dance?

This weekend I will be trying my first dance class in years. It will be an Afro-Caribbean dance class. As a little girl, I took ballet and tap for a year. I loved to workout to dance videos and fell in love with Neena and Veena, the Bellydance twins’, work especially. A few years ago, I even took a bellydance class. For reasons I cannot remember now, I stopped. I still continued doing Zumba and going on walks now and again. But I haven’t committed to a class in years and I finally feel like I’m ready. Hesitant but ready. Doubtful but ready.

But as I have said before if I am claiming to be on this wellness journey, then I want to throw everything at my disposal at it. In a previous post, I talked about how my husband and I are leaving for California in mid-January. I want to see and feel a visible difference in myself by then. I want to take those runs, move every inch of this body with more ease and erase the doubts that have taken up residence within me.

What have you given up that you would like to try again?

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.