Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Living in the present

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

-  Corrie Ten Boom

When you are trying to complete a task are you totally focused in that task or are you thinking about the next task you will have to complete after this one is done?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and realized you didn't actually hear anything they said?

Have you ever gone for a drive and not remembered how you got to your destination?
The truth is things are moving faster and faster. Life is getting busier and busier. If we don't slow ourselves down life will pass before we even knew what happened.

I am sure everybody has heard of meditation and probably just thinks of it as some silly thing people do sitting up straight with their legs crossed. The truth is meditation is so much more then that. Something we all could use to find peace in a life that probably seems pretty chaotic most of the time.

Meditation is really about being present. It is about seeing all the little things around us that most of us miss on a daily basis. It is about focusing on your task at hand. It is about living without judgement and negativity.

There are so many different ways to meditate. If you just stop for a second during your busy day and focus on your breath for even just a minute. Feeling the air move in through your nose and into your chest. Feeling your chest or belly rise and fall with each breath. Really feeling how that breath affects your whole body. When you take a deep breath this activates the parasympathetic nervous system which gives you a relaxation response. Which I know almost all of us could use more of. Being stressed all the time causes disease, decreases your quality of life and happiness.

Kids actually meditate all the times but aren't really trying to and nobody thinks of it like that. Have you ever noticed for the most part how much happier a child is then an adult. They haven't developed judgements and negativity yet. When a child falls down they don't think of themselves as clumsy or compare themselves to the kid across the street saying I bet they don't do that. When they are exploring a new object, scent, or hearing something new they are not thinking about what they will be doing after that. They are totally in tune with what they are experiencing at the present moment. As an adult just imagine if you close your eyes and pick up a leaf but when you pick it up you didn't know what it was right away. As soon as we recognize the object we say oh yeah that is a leaf and we are done with it. Imagine if you didn't let yourself realize what it was you were touching and just let yourself be totally focused on how it felt without judgement. Every leaf feels different and if you just recognized it was a leaf and set it down you would miss the whole experience. This type of focusing is actually considered meditation. Focusing on the present task at the present time. Washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or taking a walk. Anything can be used as a meditation. And when you learn how to focus on the task at hand you will increase the quality of everything you try to do.

When you walk out to your car in the morning do you hear the birds chirping or are you in such a hurry that you miss it?

When someone cuts you off on the street do you make up a story about that person and why they are such a jerk? Truth is we have no idea why they cut us off. Maybe they are late for work or maybe they are on their way to the hospital for an emergency. For whatever the reason we will probably never know so when we get ourselves all upset and call them nasty names we are really only hurting and upsetting ourselves. This won't affect them at all. It will just bring negativity to our life. What if they cut you off and you just responded by saying gosh I hope everything is ok with them and their day gets better. Would that change things for you?

These are just a few things to think about to help bring greater awareness and happiness to your life. Try focusing on your breathing and seeing how it makes you feel. If your mind is cluttered with thoughts don't get angry that they won't go away just let them pass by. Just be like it is not time for you right now I am being with my breath. Another thing you can try is repeat this mantra to yourself and see how it makes you feel.

"May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I be safe and free. May I care for myself with ease and joy."

Now I know you may feel like this is a bit cheesy but remember you are doing this without judgement. You are your own best friend or your own worst enemy you make the choice. Be kind to yourself. And if life isn't going the way you want it to what can it hurt to try something new. Find what works for you whatever it is and make that part of your life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


 "In all activities of life, the secret of efficiency
lies in an ability to combine two seemingly incompatible states: 
a state of maximum activity and a state of maximum relaxation."
~  Aldous Huxley

So this week has truly been an amazing week for me. I have discovered a whole new world that I have always had access to but never really tapped into. Most people would say this mind stuff is cheesy. Well that is only said by people who haven't experienced it. We all have so much much more potential inside of us then we ever realize. You don't need a magic pill. You have the power to control your own mind and body. It is not about striving for perfection it is about accepting your imperfections. It is about letting things go. Knowing when to worry about something and when that worry is doing you no good at all.

I have attended two days of my intro to meditation class. I have also been attending a relax and restore class at source yoga. It is basically an hour an a half of stretching and meditation. What I have noticed over the past couple weeks is at the beginning of the week my mind is running all day long without me being able to find the off button. When that happens my body is tense, overloaded, stressed and not in control of myself. At the end of the week after attending my yoga courses my mind is calm and I am relieved. My body is relaxed and I feel like I have let everything go and gained control again.

I realized over the weekend the challenge of working in a fast paced environment such as the hospital. Having to deal with emergencies and stressful and depressing situations. Then I thought to myself how do you remain calm inside but still move fast on the outside. Very challenging for sure. What I have learned in all my reading and education is you have to learn how to be in control when you are not under fire and then when the time comes you will be able to gain control under any situation. On Monday I decided I was going to take a couple minutes in the morning to practice my breathing before work. I don't know if that is what made the rest of my day amazing but something happened. My mind remained calm and I remained in control. I was able to focus on what I needed to be focusing on at that moment and let the rest be gone until it was time to think about those things again. My performance at work has improved as well as my performance in the gym. Yesterday at the gym I was able to power snatch 125lbs twice which is a 15lb increase from what I have ever done. I have been struggling with that for a while then all of a sudden it seems I figured something out. I attempted to clean 200lbs but just wasn't quite there. The great part is is that it doesn't even upset me. Sure I wanted it. I wanted it bad. But I will get it. It is just another obstacle but not one that will stop me. I will break though and that is the only attitude to have. If you don't believe you will do it you won't.

Think about this statement from the book body mind mastery by Dan Millman...

"To illustrate the effect of trying too hard, imagine walking across a four-inch-wide plank of wood suspended a few inches off the ground. No problem, right? Now raise the plank ten feet over a pond filled with alligators. Suddenly you begin trying harder. You feel tense. You have the same plank but a different mental state."

Interesting how our own mind prevents us from doing what we can do isn't it?

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Team ZICO Application

My Mantra:
I have a calm mind and a strong body. 
I am a champion and greatness lies within me.

So I just finalized my application this morning to be sponsored by ZICO coconut water. What I have realized through my experience is that things never really get easy. When I was in the process of losing weight it was very hard. Now that I have been experiencing keeping it off for a few years now it is not any easier just a different kind of hard. I have to get creative to keep myself on track. I would call myself a little bit of a coconut water addict. When it comes to finding things to drink that are healthy, all natural, and low in sugar there are not very many options. Coconut water gives me a way to drink something I like without affecting my health in a negative way. So my choices of drinks on a daily basis are water (which I have to get creative with and add some cucumbers, mint leaves or fruit to), herbal tea, and coconut water multiple times throughout the day since I need a lot to keep me hydrated. Caffeine dehydrates you and for me I don't need anything helping me increase my stress so I try to keep it to a minimum. Coconut water also has a great source of electrolytes which keeps me well balanced throughout my day. Whether I get accepted to be sponsored or not this will be my routine and my life forever. Healthy is the only way. Finding sponsors is just one more way I can get out there and reach others and show them they are no different then me. Anybody can do what I am doing if they are willing to put in the work. If they pick a goal and set their mind to accomplishing it. The feeling of accomplishment keeps you wanting more. Keeps you striving to be the best in your life. Since this is the only life we have why not make it great. Don't just let it pass by you. Experience it. Live it. Enjoy it.

Here are my videos I made with my husbands help for my application. Not as perfect as I wanted to life isn't perfect. Turned out pretty good though.

Life change ZICO video

ZICO action video

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding value in your life

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

~  Khalil Gibran

So I know I don't write much in my blog. I come up with things I want to write about all the time but when I sit down to lay it all out my mind is usually not clear enough to make that happen or my perfectionist qualities come into play and I don't like anything I have written so I scrap the whole thing. Definitely not the appropriate way to go about things considering my blog is for me most importantly and it is to help others that relate to me and learn from my life experiences. Which is kind of what this blog post is about. Have you ever sat back and realized that other people see more value in your life then you? Or that other people believe in you more then you do yourself?

It can be a struggle to live life to the fullest. If you want life to be easy it can be but you won't really go anywhere or see anything. To dream dreams is the easiest thing but to live dreams can be one of the hardest things you may ever do. When something bad happens in your life you can make it worse by thinking the worst. When someone dies do you dwell over their death or celebrate their life and memories? Our bodies are controlled by our minds. The 3 lbs or so of tissue in your head controls everything. Whether you live or die.....whether your happy or sad. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Happiness is definitely a choice. If you make a mistake or something is not going your way sometimes you just have to let it go. Let it be ok. Don't try to run from your imperfection but try to learn from them. If your ok with the possibility of failure it decreases the chances of it actually happening. 

We exercise our mind and body but how often do we let our mind relax. Are you one of those people who live on the edge all the time. I learned in a class I took recently about zebra's reactions. They will be just standing around chilling and then they get chased by a lion. Just say even one of the zebra's die. After the lion is gone they slow down and say that was close and go right back to what they were doing. They don't stand around and dwell on what just happened. It is over. It turns out we need to be more like zebra's in our life. Most of the time we react to things like it is a life or death situation but in the whole scheme of things it doesn't really matter and our life is not at risk. We spend a lot of time worrying about things that we can't even do anything about which when you think of it kind of makes it pointless. Unnecessary worry. When you get stressed and anxious you are making your nervous system go out of control. We have what they call the fight or flight system which is why when our life is at risk we are able to react to it immediately without even thinking about it. But when our bodies are in fight or flight response things shut down so it can use that energy to deal with the life or death situation. So when you live life stressed and anxious all the time your body is not functioning very well because you are making your bodies nervous system react unnecessarily. This is why living with anxiety, depression, fear will cause the body to break down and not function properly. 

So then what happens when we realize we are slowly killing our self and not really living. Not enjoying a great quality of life like we could be. Well we take the necessary steps to change things. Basically one step at a time will get us there. The first step may be the hardest but after that you just keep climbing with an occasional trip but if you just get back up and start climbing again you will make it to the top. There are many different ways people gain strength and mindfulness. Some people pray, some meditate. Now what do I do. I continue to learn and seek new ways to help because yes I have one of those anxious minds. I fight negative thoughts and my mind seems to be continuously running. I have gained much better control over it and I have even experienced mindlessness. A silent mind. It is really one of the most peaceful things. I have experienced the zone in sport and am still amazed at what I can do when I am not even trying to do it. In order to keep the body and mind in balance, I get regular massages, acupuncture, and see a chiropractor. I read books and take classes. I take yoga classes and drink herbal tea. I exercise and watch my diet. All these things help to keep my body and mind in line. 

Are you in control of yourself or is yourself controlling you?

Remember positive thoughts equals positive results. There is good to be found in all life's circumstances.