When The Day Is Done, Let It Go. . .And Let Magic Do Its Thing

This is so…SO…much easier said than done.  But it is – no exaggeration – a key to healthy living.

Me? I’m still working on this nearly 40 years in!

The “could”s and “should”s we impose on ourselves are incredibly damaging, and often the source of a great deal of stress. The other day someone said to me “if only…” and recited a beautiful and perfect scenario (pitted, by the way, against a reality that didn’t turn out exactly that way.)

But my response wasn’t to agree – instead I said, I believe I am where I am meant to be and that things have happened in this way, with this timing, for a very specific reason. Often in the moment I wonder only to find out down the road that everything fell perfectly into place at the ‘right’ time. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

I guess that means I’m leaning on a whole lot of faith, the belief that magic and miracles exist, and that the Universe does deliver. Now that may feel a lot more “unrealistic” to the naysayer, and definitely to those who land themselves with the “realists.”

No problem! You’re entitled to that view but I – having seen the supernal realm divine a few spells that altered the course of my own life (in very happy ways) – am going to keep airing on the positive side. I also ascribe to the idea that I will attract what I put out – as the kind of person I am, I need to watch this on a regular basis, and shield myself as much as I can from the negative “stuff” floating in the ether. 

My skating coach gave me a card when I was just a teenager and it had a picture of someone watching puzzle pieces float down from the sky. . . When he stepped back, he realized he was standing on a vast puzzle beneath him, and everything was fitting perfectly. The card read, “sooner or later, everything falls into place,” and I never forgot it. 

I trust in the timing of the Universe because is hope is always an option. The sun rises without fail, whether we see it or we don’t. I therefore believe even in what I cannot see. . .and when you get down to it, that’s where the magic begins. . . 

Eating vs. Training

I frequently get questions about which exercises to use to “spot reduce” certain areas, and the answer is always the same – it’s more about the food we eat than the exercises.  

Spot reducing does not work, It can’t hurt to focus on an area, but without a comprehensive approach, efforts are often in vain, leaving disappointment in the wake of (some) concerted efforts.

Clean eating has a bad rap, though, among the masses – it isn’t about depriving at all which, in my mind, is 100% doomed to fail. It’s about the overall consistency (treats are allowed here and there!) and choosing healthier, whole foods as the primary sources of nutrition. When we are *generally* fueling our bodies with healthier options, having a goodie once is a while is NOT a big deal.

I don’t know this Instagram page – @vshred4women – but this image cropped up this week in one of the App’s ads (hence my post.) Much that sponsored material makes me crazy, I did agree with what was being presented. I always say that our nutrition accounts for 80 to 90% of the results we see and feel.

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This particular image shows meal prepping at it’s finest.  Not everyone feels like they have time to do this, and that’s okay – you don’t necessarily need to.  I tend to cook several pounds of chicken at once myself because I find that’s easiest for me.  If I’m also making veggies, or I think in a day or two I’ll be preparing a different meal, I may chop up those extra veggies ahead of time since I’m already at it!  Do what works best for you because that’s what will keep you on track.

Getting back to eating clean though…it’s all about setting yourself up for success.  I shared a few of my personal tips in this post – 10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!) – a few weeks ago, and they really can help.  

Not buying foods I know will derail me is one of my key tactics, and filling up on foods that will keep me feeling full longer is another…but again, it’s about works best for you.

I think the misconception about healthy nutrition is that one mistake is the end of the world – many times people will eat poorly for a day or two, even a week (vacation, anyone?!) and then go into “weeeell, I’m failing as it is, may as well give up!” and they continue with poor choices. It is NEVER, EVER too late to have a fresh start, so toss that negative notion to the waist side. PLEASE!

Each day is a new opportunity to try again. If there is a strategy that you know works / has worked for you, re-employ it! If there isn’t, take baby steps and make a point to notice your progress – a tiny step forward is still in the right direction!

It’s also important to remember that little changes can make a huge difference.  Some examples:

  • Switching from cream to milk in coffee
  • Switching from whole milk to 2% or skim if you are a milk drinker
  • Having a whole fresh fruit versus putting a few fruits into a blender 
  • Using lettuce wraps instead of bread, or making an open-face with just one slice
  • Adding veggies to the base of your meal, or doubling the portion you already have
  • Switching to healthy fats like avocados, portioned nuts, fatty fish, or egg yolks instead of the kind you get in sweets
  • Having slow-cooking oatmeal instead of sugary cereals
  • Swapping your regular yogurt for Greek
  • Putting dressing on the side and just using what you need, vs creating a salad dressing swimming pool for your greens
  • If you must have a soda, try a zero calorie version. . .

There are so many possibilities, you just have to look! 

Fueling our bodies with the right foods also aids our training efforts, and the results of all that hard work. Without the proper combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat, we won’t function optimally, and we may not see the results we would otherwise if we did nutritionally support the exercise we are doing (for example, lifting weights and skimping on protein means you aren’t going to see the muscle mass you would if you had the appropriate protein intake.)

That ridiculous saying that abs are made in the kitchen? It is more true than it isn’t. Our culture is a food-centric one, so saying “clean eating” is sometimes meant with scoffs and dismissal, if not considered a bad word / phrase. But it isn’t some horrible, unachievable state of being that should scare or intimidate anyone. Unless you are working on preparing for the Olympia competition, there’s probably room to tweak (and even then!) 

Healthy changes…

Don’t have to be monumental…

You don’t have to go cold turkey (unless you know that is an ideal method for you)…

You don’t have to follow some stringent fad diet!

And you don’t have to say goodbye to all the things you enjoy.

Recognizing that you can see the results you want with some adjustments to your nutritional intake is actually very freeing – it’s something you have total control over, and can customize as it works for you. The key? Being honest and realistic with yourself – YOU are who matters the most, and there is no reason you can’t enjoy life, enjoy delicious food, and also have the results you are looking for.

 

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Leave A Trail Of Smiles

It’s easy to judge and to be harsh – I catch myself all the time.  Without snap judgements, we argue, the species might not be where it is today. Right…?

The deeper reality is that Life is hard.  The more positive we can be, and the more we can bring light into our own lives, and to those around us, the better the ride for us all. There are so many wounded souls, evil in their actions, to whom I wished I could have stressed this point (maybe with a fist!) over my lifetime. . . But along the way I realized it takes oneself to learn, to know the difference, and to make the change – wishing does nothing.  

To, however, act in such a way ourselves is to lead by example.  Any day could be the one that our upstanding or positive attitude alters the destiny of another.

A single word or gesture is capable of changing a Life – we never know the wars raging around us, nor do others know the ones we face ourselves daily. To inspire a smile can create shifts so great that – without even realizing – you shed light on a once darkened path for a once hopeless soul.  Life-giving indeed. . .

Shine you light, for you have much to give, and in so doing brighten the world.

 

Commit Your Mind

Until a person invests themselves fully – with a commitment not only in heart and spirit, but also in the mind – his goal will remain just beyond reach. If the mindset isn’t on board, it will be a long, and generally endless road. One cannot expect change when the mind is in opposition.

Along those lines, understand that no one ELSE is going to change unless they want it for themselves.  

That’s the secret.  That‘s the magic. When the mind believes and is committed, the change will occur. . .but never before that. The Universe knows when you are half-assing your beliefs and / or effort. 

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The great news?  If you DO want it…whatever it is…you can have it.  You can create and choose how your story will end. 

Keeping Up

I’m a little bit ambitious with my goals – but it’s always been that way.  Career, education, sports…if I don’t get more responsibility, harder work, or opportunities to grow, I go bananas!

Fun for me is learning, growing, and ultimately achieving – when asked why I don’t dance “for fun,” for example, I’ll say “the fun for me is in training, competing, and reaching new levels.”  I want a challenge, and I want to progress – plateaus don’t work for me.

As soon as I moved to a new state some months ago, I knew I had to find a place to train – not just lift and workout, but to TRAIN.  My Grandmaster in Teakwondo is the real deal, and I feel a bit reluctant to go to another Dojang right now.  But I NEED activities – I did my due diligence and found a Ninjutsu school, as well as  Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, as well as a place to do Aerial Yoga.  

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At first, I had thought about just doing one sport – one is often enough, and really who has the time!  But like I said…I’m ambitious, and usually have a goal in sight with anything I do.  I have wanted to trade the spin bike for something more fun, in part – I get bored very quickly and I need change.  I also wanted to fill in what I perceive as gaps in the training I have had thus far.  So…I took on two new Martial Arts (one of which exposes me to a third, traditional Japanese JuJutsu), as well as the Aerial Yoga (which I do once a week.)

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It’s a lot, there’s no question…  It is a lot to keep up with, and it requires as much discipline to train as it does to take days OFF (I’m MUCH better about that now!)  But as exhausted as I get, I feel like keeping involved also fuels the fire – I love acquiring and honing skills, and I can’t do that from the sidelines.  So no matter how whooped I feel at the end of the week, I am elated to get back to it.

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Some people think I am overly ambitious…but I don’t feel like I’m chasing after anything.  More so, it is aiming to keep up with my passions… Easy?  Not all the time.  Worth it?  1,000%!  

The fire is already coursing through my veins and I know if I didn’t get it all in, I’d not only get ancy, but I’d feel downright glum!  Keeping up means staying in the game – not only is my body happy, but so are my mind and spirit – and I need ALL cannons firing! 😉

 

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

I recently moved to a new City – one I know nothing about.  Having lived in the same “home town” for three and a half decades, it definitely takes adjusting.  

Sometimes you say “I’m moving” and people assume it’s a piece of cake, it’s just around the corner, or that it only involves your “stuff.”  (Did you ever see the George Carlin bit about “stuff?” It will have you in stitches whether you’re moving or staying put – fair forewarning, he doesn’t censor particularly!)

But no, it isn’t just about the physical aspects – a new location, a new living space, or new furnishings – which would be far less daunting.  In most cases, moving involves fully uprooting all your reference checkpoints.

One of those reference points for me has been my Martial Arts – I have studied Taekwondo for some years now, along with Hapkido and Kumdo as adjunct disciplines (I’d love to have delved more deeply into those as well, Hapkido in particular, but as an adult, time is a huge factor.  Our resources are also more limited!)  I had the blessing to be taken under my Grand Master’s wing, on a regular schedule, and what he wanted to focus on, we focused on!    

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Despite two devastating injuries – both to my knees – I have continued with my study…not surprisingly, to the chagrin of my loved ones.  In any sport (at least in my own mind) injuries are par for the course – I aim to be as safe as possible, but I have absolutely, out of necessity, toned it down.  To give it up completely, however, was simply not an option – I devoted myself to regular classes, and stretching and practice on my own time irregardless.

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I am still preparing for my next promotion, sometime in the next few weeks in my original home town.   I no longer have my class, my Grand Master, my peers, nor my familiar surroundings with which to continue on this path, but I HAVE to practice, lest I lose my form, memory, flexibility, or skill – these are, without question, a use-it-or-lose-it deal.

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I am eager to reach this benchmark as it has been a long-standing goal.  My move, however, came at a time of great transition for me…far too great to enumerate without launching into a novella!  It’s been a whirlwind of “wonderful”…but even wonderful can be overwhelming.

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Had I not been prepared to participate in the coming promotion, the next step would have been to find a new Art in which to achieve.  One could continue with Taekwondo, reaching far beyond 2nd Degree (my Grand Master is a 9th), but there is an overwhelming feeling of “change” to 2015.  The year has already blessed me with many changes, all of which have been positive. ❤  

Martial Arts is known for its roots in, and focus on, discipline. In my view, discipline is the backbone of the Arts, tempering the sometimes volatile and emotional nature of human beings, and grounding us solidly in what truly matters.  

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Given my circumstance, this means holding off on moving forward until my goal is reached.  Some people might jump into a new Art during the grace period, particularly having moved to a new City without a school branch, or familiar Dojang – new start, after all.  For me personally, though, rushing into a new Art feels foolish – I prefer to focus, stay loyal, and do the best I can, new training circumstances notwithstanding.

I found a room today at my new gym with a ton of heavy bags…and I lit up.  Flexibility is one of the first things to go, so stretching and maintaining my kicks is incredibly important.  I am not in the Arts to “fight,” I should interject.  As I have mentioned in other posts, Martial Arts is so much more for me – it is a dance, albeit a deadly one.

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We still don’t have a set date (which would possibly unnerve any of the students – and it is!), but I am doing my best to review what I know on my own.  My Grand Master always made a point to say it takes “character” to practice solo, and the sentiment extends to many aspects of our person – our morals, our discipline, our determination, our passion…  We need to stay hungry, especially when we are faced with change.

When everything around you turns upside-down, there is a way to stay centered.  It doesn’t mean you won’t be frazzled in the process, but it gives you something familiar to embrace mentally, spiritually, physically.

It is that “something” you can take with you no matter where you go…in Life, or in the World.  

Your spirit is ever-present, and stronger and more equipped than you may imagine.  Trust your memory, work hard, stay hungry…stay grounded.  In many ways, in a century of massive change, that really is all we CAN do.

I’m okay with that.  I’ll be in the back room going through my forms. 

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#NOMERCY, Nitromethane Drag Race shirt – says it all!