5.31.2011

Accountability... Help me out!

Four and a half months: Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon
Five months: LA R&R 1/2 Marathon
Six months: Las Vegas R&R 1/2 Marathon (at night!)


Here is a picture of my training plan from now until the end of July.  It is hanging boldly in the center of my refrigerator as a solid reminder that I need to get off my tush every day and make forward progress to my goal of completing all three of these races... and not only completing them, but SHATTERING my old PR and bringing home a sub two-hour half marathon PR.

Solid diet + good sleep + CrossFit/CrossFit Endurance + a lot of encouragement... and I know I can do it.

3 - 2 - 1... GO!

Excuse me, but this security blanket is wrapped a little too tight!

I had another revelation this weekend.  I seem to be having quite a few of these lately... massage, acupuncture, and meditation are apparently as therapeutic as everyone claims them to be.  About five years ago, I was in the midst of my crazy wild young adult lifestyle in Los Angeles... little regard for the future, for the repercussions of my actions, merely enjoying the moment - from moment to moment.  It was fun.  It was incredible.  I don't regret any of it... because each experience made me who I am today.

What I am starting to realize is that I go through
this pendulum swing of life about every three years or so.  (What's worse is that I am old enough that I have enough 3 year segments to go back and identify a pattern... YIKES!)  My first three years after college graduation, I was finding my way.  Trying to be that career oriented engineer that wanted to make something of herself in this big world.  Work, work, work... I made some very close friends during this time and it wasn't until the very end of this segment in time that I started to venture out, spread my own wings, and grow up.  The pendulum had started its swing in the opposite direction.  After I moved to LA, it took some time to get comfortable... but there is something in this city for everyone.  And soon enough - I found my niche.  I worked my ass off.  There were days I swore I was quitting and moving home to Texas.  But after the day was over - I partied just as hard through the evenings and early mornings.  Work hard.  Shop hard.  Play hard.  Exercise hard.  I did everything with full intensity at full throttle.  It was all about me and learning my limits.  I pushed those limits to my own extreme and right when I was at the peak of "me" - the pinnacle of my own health and fitness, involvement with friends and the community, comfort level in the big city... I met a guy.  A guy that swept me off my feet and showed me what true love is... a guy that was established, owned a home, had a very stable job, and was pretty easy on the eyes to boot.  There was a wonderful sense of security when I was with him.  Every road trip out of LA and into Kern County brought a sense of relief.  I was escaping the craziness.  The fast pace.  The good things and the bad things that waited patiently for me to return back to the South Bay.  My pendulum had once again pegged at "On The Edge" and was making its way back once again.

The next three years, I threw everything I had into this "security blanket" of a life that I saw laid out before me...  I only know how push forward with 100%.  I'm an all or nothing gal.  I relocated.  I found a new job.  Not one that I particularly enjoyed or cared about, but it was something that could anchor me in my new life... at least for a little while.  I ignored the fact (off and on) that my old activities... the good ones were going away at a rapid pace.  The hobbies, the lifestyle, the friendships... everything that I enjoyed were becoming distant memories... much like their distant location to my new home.  But the payoff was stability.  Safety and security.  All things that I was never able to guarantee for myself in the years prior.  I got married.  I got out of debt.  I live in a home with a backyard and two incredible dogs.  They are my babies and I spoil them rotten because I hope to bring them as much joy as they bring to me.  I still struggle to find hobbies and friendships that give me a sense of purpose... but when I curl up on the couch in a heated (or air-conditioned) living room next to 160 pounds of fur and tails... and my husband... I let that frustration slide and push it aside for as long as I can.

My revelation this weekend is that I somehow managed to wrap my security blanket a little too tight.  I've started to strangle myself... stifle my own being in hiding behind everything that is safe and okay.  I'm caught up in my own fears of bringing about the challenges that I had years back... I am choking on my own constraints.  All the choices I made to protect myself, to enter into a comfortable, calm life are no longer feeling as great as they used to.  The pendulum has pegged once again.  Three years since the last time.

So here I sit... contemplating what are my next steps?  Where do I belong?  The greatest moments of my week are when I wake up at 3:30 in the morning to get ready for school and board the train to LA.  The adventure, the unknown... the "what next"... they bring about a feeling of finding my purpose once again.  I don't like being wrapped up too tight in my sheets... I'm a "no tuck" gal.  I like to swirl the sheets around.  School is amazing.  Slowly finding the things I enjoy once again has ignited something in my core.  My pendulum is on the downswing and life is shifting... to where and how?  I don't know yet, but I am excited to find out.  I have one arm broken free from my swaddling cloth and am slowly untucking my way out.  Don't get me wrong... I'm going to hang on to my security blanket for dear life.  I like knowing its there... but with one hand firmly gripping on, I am reaching out into life's abyss with the other hand... as far as I can possibly touch.

When I graduated college, my fifth grade math teacher gave me a Star of David pendant and a little note that said I would make a big mark in this world.  I've never forgotten that note.  And that burning desire to leave my mark is what drives me to find my way once again.  I certainly can't let Miss Timms down, now can I?  Failure is never an option.

And the journey continues...

5.27.2011

"Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this space"

I've been taking mental notes for about three weeks on what I want to communicate on here... this is definitely becoming a much deeper introspective journal than I had originally intended.  Good for me.  Juicy gossip and Dania drama for you.  With all the mental notes piling up, today's series of events led to the one mental note that toppled the stack and finally got me to sit down and piece out what's been going on in life.

I'm going to start by saying - I'm not an Oprah die-hard.  I'm cool with Oprah... I've watched her show from time to time through the years - but she wasn't a regular on my DVR and I've only recently subscribed to her magazine because I love her shopping recommendations.  And I got a Groupon - an entire year for $10.  Deal.  What has impacted me the most about Oprah is that in the few times that I have watched - the show is always timely with a message that I feel was directed right at me.  I know this is what Oprah does... she's one heck of a heartstring maestro for women all over the world.  For whatever reason, I watched the very final episode of her show yesterday.  Oprah was reviewing clips from her 25 years on air and the one that struck me, again and again was of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor explaining her experience in the hospital after having a stroke.  The one thing she was most receptive to was people's energy and she spoke of how critical it was that the doctors and people that came into her hospital room brought with them only a positive connecting energy.  She was so in tune with the energy people brought with them that it had a huge impact on how they personally would make her feel.

I feel like very few of us are ever lucky enough to be that in touch with that level of energy perception.  That in tune with WHY we feel the way we do around certain people... be it good, bad, frustrated... its not just our own energy - it is their energy as well.  Oprah showed a picture yesterday of the little sign that Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor sent... "Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this space."  Pluck.  Pluck.  That's Oprah striking my chord.

Click here for the Oprah Finale piece on Dr. Taylor.

What I have started to realize is that this journey... my personal journey... is actually taking place from the inside out.  There is a huge box of Dania pieces that were lost, broken, and set aside that I am slowly picking up and bandaging back together.  It is by reevaluating these partial and mended pieces that I am able to look at my actions, my words, and my energy through newly focused lenses.  I am able to clearly identify what is truly important, what is not so important, and what I need in this life to thrive and be the woman God created me to be.

Today was the first day that I took ownership of the energy that I brought with me everywhere I went.  Both awesome and atrocious.  The day started out very well... my husband gave up his entire day to spend a few hours with me in the morning and afternoon.  I made great effort to communicate with him how important that his presence was to me.  I continued to assure him that the gift of his time was very special.  Positive, flowing energy?  Check.

In class today, we spent the entire time going through Swedish massage drills.  A sequence of moves that will typically and easily take nearly two hours had to be crammed into a mere 50 minutes today.  Three people at a table - 1 proctor.  1 client.  1 therapist.  All started okay... I was in control of my own energy.  Comfortable with most of the sequences and a focus on strictly my client - all seemed to be moving well.  What happened next was the beginning of a terrible,  horrible, no good, very bad afternoon.  Our teacher continued to chime in our ear how much time we had left.  What?  I have to flip her over in five minutes?  But I've only finished one of her legs!  Calm productive energy quickly slipped into nervous uncontrolled energy.  I squished a foot.  Shook an arm too vigorously.  This clearly began to impact my client - who I am sure could feel me tense up.  Her energy shifted.  The proctor was ultimately zero help.  I fumbled through the parts of the sequence I didn't know... trying to get through a series of strokes that I had just learned two days ago.  I'm barely getting through the motions, without even being able to give any full effort to connecting with my client or the process... I quickly slip into hypercritical self-criticism and doubt, my client is trying to provide constructive feedback, my proctor is standing in her own space with all my notes, my teacher is behind me indicating we only have a few minutes left to finish and it became too much for me.  Too much mixed energy.  Too much tension.  It was a split second away from being explosive.  I had two options at that point... my first and most comfortable inclination was to tell everyone within arms reach to please shut the eff up (or in the proctor's case - SAY SOMETHING!  HELP ME!).  But since this is massage therapy and I would fast regret that choice... my second choice was to take a deep breath, excuse myself, and get outside into a neutral space where I could regroup, establish a new (albeit shallow) sense of calm and return to the room without the negativity that had been heaping up for the past 47 minutes.

Needless to say, by putting my efforts into the negativity after the afternoon events... I let that filter into my emotions and I turned to poo-poo food to make me feel better for the day.  Not feeling so much better now.  I accept responsibility for the decisions I made today.  Before I go to bed, I will ensure that I make an extremely conscious effort to only go through tomorrow with the type of energy that I would want to expose my friends and loved ones to... and pray in turn that like energies find their way to me.  When the inside is healthy and thriving, the outside will soon follow suit.

Tomorrow will be a good day.  A day of responsibility and owning up to what I carry with me into someone else's space.  I may not be able to control other people's actions... but I can control my reactions.  And that is all that matters.

I am focused on becoming a centered-self.  Because when I am centered, I am a much greater asset to the rest of the world... be it friends, family, or just people I happen to sit next to on the train. 

Woosah.

5.02.2011

E-hugs for our soldiers!

This is a post that is long overdue... one that has been lingering on my back burner for months.  Since I seem to have staked some claim on a tiny little corner of this giant interweb - I will use it not only to track my journey to better health and fabulous fitness, but to throw out a few personal sentiments about life and on-goings and other whatnots.  (ie: my earlier post from today)

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Terrorism and dissension in the Middle East are not.  A lot of us have friends, family, and some connection to the soldiers that are currently deployed and I want to take a moment to give these men and women a little e-love and lots of respect.  This includes a very special thanks to Adam and Jedd and Josh for doing what they do every day. 

Adam is a good friend of my husband... and through the transitive property, a good friend of mine.  He has a beautiful family.  For awhile he was kicking my rear at Bejeweled and I wouldn't go to sleep some nights until my score far exceeded his.  Seriously, Adam - don't you have a war to fight?  Matt and I both look forward to Adam's return home - because that means we get to go play bingo in Vegas and hang out in the OJ suite at Palace Station.  I hear there may even be a kayak trip on the agenda!

Jedd is a good friend from church.  Jedd, Heidi and their kids are a CrossFit family, which automatically makes them awesome.  Heidi is an inspiration... in the church, in the home, during CrossFit WODs.  Heidi and Jedd have a fabulous family and you are truly blessed to be able to spend time in their presence.  We all look forward to Jedd's safe return - because things around here just aren't complete without him.

I don't know Josh personally, but he is special to people that are special to me.  Josh is the brother of our pastor's wife and I know he is a big fan of Nerds candy.  We pray for Josh often and I know his sister and his family are eager for his safe homecoming as well.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to give these guys some love... some kudos... to say "THANK YOU FOR BEING AMAZING!" and ask that you take a few moments and say a prayer for each of them, for their families, and for their safe return home.

We love you, guys!

If I'm the average... then that makes me really happy.

I'm going to start off by saying that if you don't like other people's opinions, then stop reading right now.  In regards to the death of Osama Bin Laden - Facebook friends and acquaintances, the media, and fellow commuters have all erupted with their stories and personal diatribes about their feelings around the situation.  This post is my turn to speak about the situation... not so much my personal take on what happened, but more about how my friends reacted and my sentiments around that.

I won't lie.  When I first heard the news of Bin Laden's death, it was a huge sigh of relief.  I was also torn on what to feel.  To be excited?  To be happy?  To be afraid?  There were some jokes made - they were funny.  I laughed.  I have very witty friends.  But relief was the strongest, most overwhelming feeling.  It was as if there was a missing piece of a puzzle... gnawing at America... and that piece was finally found and put into place.  I changed my Facebook profile picture to an American flag last night.  For the first time in almost ten years, it seemed as though the nation was united all together in one common sentiment.  There was pride, encouragement, and support of what had happened.  There is something that just feels good about national pride and unity... even if for a short time.  Is it a form of gloating?  Yes. 

Closure certainly feels good, yet I am not comfortable with the thought of celebrating this event.  The feelings certainly crossed my mind.  There HAS been a welling hatred for this man.  Afterall, Janet Napolitano and the complete calamity that TSA has become is a direct result of this man's masterminded plans.

This morning I was made aware that sentiments around Bin Laden's death were widely different than I had originally considered.  What I noticed was that my friends, nationwide, all shared a similar outlook as me.  Confusion.  Uncertainty.  But there was something refreshing and completely different than many of the media outlets that I was listening to for the past twelve hours.  

I was once told that we are each the average of our five closest friends.  And to pick wisely.  Since Facebook affords me the opportunity to "be close to" 200+ friends (paltry to some of you, I know) - I have a much better chance of a good average.  But today - my average shot sky high.  I am going to share with you some of the quotes and posts that my friends posted today.  The comments were just as impacting, if not more.  I felt this forum would be easier than multiple reposts directly to Facebook. 

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."   -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There's a big difference between "justice" and "vengeance." Justice is about about making sure people get what they deserve, Vengeance is about delighting in the suffering of another person. I pray that we Americans can respond to the news about Bin Laden in a way that celebrates and honors justice, not just vengeance. "  -Mark Finney

"In front of the death of man, a Christian never rejoices but rather reflects on the grave responsibility of each one in front of God and men, and hopes and commits himself so that every moment not be an occasion for hatred to grow but for peace."  -The Vatican

The following are excellent articles and I encourage you to take the time to read them both...

This one is probably my favorite outlook on all of this.

I was listening to one radio host today and became more and more disgusted by his comments... his eagerness to see the actual photos, to play "Kill Bin Laden" with his son, the joking about what potentially transpired that night - including the speculation that one of the SEALs, possibly a brother to a NYC firemen that passed on 9/11, approached Osama Bin Laden and exclaimed "This is for my brother!" before pulling the trigger twice.  I couldn't have been more appalled by his conversation.  Shock value for entertainment?  Probably.  But its out there.  And its easily shaping the sentiments of those who can't necessarily think on their own.

I took salvation in the fact that my friends and acquaintances took a completely different stance.  And that makes me happy.  Happy to call them my friends.  Happy that I am the average of all those with whom I choose to surround myself.  Happy that my friends incite a deeper level of thought and analysis... around everything.

We're all entitled to our opinions, our reactions around this.  And if you took the time to read mine... Thanks.  I know, in God's eyes, I am no better than the folks that are out dancing in the streets, chanting, en masse, "USA USA" in front of national monuments.  But I sincerely believe that it helps to hear a variety of perspectives and to look at others' insights to help digest everything that is going on.  

I do want to add one more special request to each and every one of you that opt to subject yourselves to my ramblings (all three-ish of you)... but will put that in a different post.  Its too special to get lost in this.

If you're reading this and one of your posts is mentioned... I thank you, Friend, for your heart and your friendship.  For inspiring me to write this. 

"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice"  -Proverbs 24:17

Good words.  Admittedly, difficult to live by.