Positive Is Perspective

I could say SO much about this amazing, wonderful, awesome quotation…but where to begin!?

This was, by the way, posted by someone I’ve met in my pursuit of my passion (to help individuals with disabilities maintain a joyful, active life.) This gentleman has Cerebral Palsy and is one of the most positive people I’ve met. ūüôā

We are all – as human beings – entitled to tough moments and emotions. If we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves, complain, worry, huff and puff…I’d argue that we weren’t human beings at all! Our limbic system is enough of a whirlwind on its own, but paired with the most advanced evolutionary neocortex on the planet, we are susceptible to torrents of push-and-pull internally…including the huff-and-puffery!

What matters at the end of the day, though, is our overall approach to life. That approach is founded in our attitude and behaviors – we can either do our best to focus on the positive and strive ahead as best as we are able with what we are given… OR, we can be miserable, blame the world, and do nothing to better a bad situation. (It’s like someone saying that a given circumstance is unfair when they have invested zero effort in trying to turn the tables.)

I have to say that the majority of individuals with disabilities whom I’ve had the honor to know are among the most enthusiastic, positive, and inspiring people I have met. To be fair, I’d say it is actually 100% of those I have encountered, and this includes friends I have lost to illness (such as ALS.) The overwhelmingly gracious attitude and perseverance in the face of adversity is enough to have altered my life forever – I simply am a changed person because I know these people. My DNA is fundamentally geared towards being empathetic, compassionate, and positive…but like everyone, I have my “ugly moments” too. That said, I’ve made it my business to count blessings every single day, and to see the light in all situations…even if it means I’m squinting with all my might.¬†While I was programmed to do so anyway, I have also made a commitment to live my life this way going forward.

This quotation hit home for me because I see so many people in the world who don’t value gratitude and appreciation…and yet they have so much to be thankful for. And then I see individuals for whom life would seem to be a dark and terrifying place…and they not only thrive, but live joyfully, and to the fullest that they are able.

It shouldn’t have to take a jarring image, nor the suffering of another individual for us to “get with it.” But when human beings are exposed to the courage of those who actually HAVE the right to complain, it tends to strike a chord – for that I am immensely grateful, because it is a reality check some people need.¬†

Gratitude, thankfulness, happiness, positivity…they are founded in one’s perspective. They aren’t handed to us. They aren’t up to anyone BUT us. As such, that also means they aren’t out of our control.

We have a choice in how we view the world and our lives. If we make a decision to shift our lenses in favor of gratitude, that “rose color” some people go on about? It may suddenly blossom into view. . .

 

We Don’t Meet People By Accident

I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. And I believe that – in time – it has always proven to be so…

Whether a stranger with whom you briefly converse, or a best friend of many years, there are always lessons, blessings, or both that we gain as a result. 

There is ever an underlying purpose in paths crossing. . .

Sometimes people bring a lesson we so desperately need in effort to grow in our strength and resolve.

Others teach us just by being who they are . . .

Perhaps they expose our rougher edges, much in need of love, repair, and polishing…

Perhaps they awaken the idea that what has worked for so long no longer truly serves us in a positive way.

And perhaps they bring out what is best in us – our ability to love, to cherish, to smile, to laugh…

One of the most valuable lessons we learn is that we are all different – sometimes drastically so!

We process differently…

We see the world through lenses colored by our own unique experiences which are, therefore, of a hue no other person will truly comprehend first-hand.

We learn that our ways of doing things may work best for us, but that they may not work for others…and that’s okay.

We develop an overarching understanding that expectations based on what we know / believe / feel may lead to disappointment (because we don’t all think alike). . .but also that we have a right to how we feel.

Being human means, ultimately, a very complex life! But we can find freedom in recognizing that we are different, and only in control of ourselves… In that way, we accept what is, we accept others as they are, and we do what we can about our contribution.

Some people will drift out of our lives as quickly as they came. . .and others will profess a love and commitment so deep that they will ever be by your side.

Both have given us gifts.

Either way…we are changed (and, in spite of human “baggage” that we all may carry, I’d argue for the better – Opened eyes don’t close as easily, and hearts that have weathered many storms are stronger in the end. . . )

 

Healthy Lifestyle – The Way To Achieve A Healthy Weight…Without The Failure Of “Diets”

I was listening to a show this week (Sirius XM) on which the doctors were discussing weight loss, weight loss surgeries, and a whole host of diets (for the latter part, they were largely fielding questions.) What I appreciated most was that they really focused on “healthy lifestyle choices” beyond and above anything else.

“Diet” is a four letter word. And a BAD one. Diets¬†don’t¬†work for the majority of people largely because they are composed of meals, or supplements, or restrictions that aren’t going to hold up long-term. So yes…people might lose weight in the shorter term…but then they become discouraged when they go off track and gain it all back. It¬†doesn’t have to be that way!¬†

Marketing sometimes has a way of presenting the false realities that such programs promise in¬†highly appealing, shiny packages…but the fact of the matter is that our overarching approach is what will make the difference. If we can’t stay consistent over the longer term, it isn’t the “right fit.”¬†

Before you lose hope…there IS a right fit for YOU…you just need to uncover it.

Also important to mention here is that not all of the “diets” or programs out there bad – if a specific plan works for YOU, there is nothing wrong with that! The point is that it just needs to be a routine you can manage consistently…whether you are on the plan, or you go off it.

Some of the better known out there – for example, Weight Watchers – are going above and beyond and teaching people HOW to eat.¬†Bravo! With Weight Watchers you learn portion control…how to do it, why it is important, and how to apply it even if you drop the guidelines of the program itself. It also teaches accountability. That stuff is really valuable, and it’s where a lot of folks go awry. How can you blame them? Seen portions in America lately? How about the marketing pushing more food for less money? It’s like, “why not, then?!,” right? ¬†BAD NEWS.

I really believe that staying at a healthy weight can be reduced to a few key principles. In my mind, these are as close to “magic bullets” as you can get – now, they do take a little work and dedication, but they also result in the kind of “magic” that people are hoping for…and they deliver positive results consistently, and across the board, beating out any pill we can take.

Magic Bullet 1 – BEING HONEST and ACCOUNTABLE

The first of these is being honest and accountable. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, we are fighting a losing battle. It’s okay to say “I’m not where I want to be.” We don’t need to beat ourselves up, or bring ourselves down. But we do have to step back and recognize that we need a change, that it’s OKAY to need a change, and that change¬†is achievable. It wouldn’t be on your mind if it didn’t matter to you, or you were feeling full of energy and the picture of health… The mirror is the hardest thing to face sometimes but when we do, we take full control of our life…meaning we can have what it is we are after.¬†

Staying accountable means that we not only recognize and admit to ourselves that we have room to do better, but that we really manage our choices. I think it’s fair to say many of us are our own worst critics and almost don’t want to admit what’s really going on. We need to remember that no one is going to punish us for being honest with ourselves, or for having the cookies we didn’t really need. But ignoring it isn’t going to get us on track either.

Magic Bullet 2 – LEARNING TO SAY NO

There’s a lot of pressure to love food in our society! Many cultures are food-centric – mealtimes are the perfect gathering place for friends and family, right?! Restaurants, bars, home kitchens, on holidays or for events…it’s were (and when) we tend to get together. But we don’t have to follow the masses when we order for ourselves…and we don’t have to go hungry either! If you are out with a group and they order tons of tempting appetizers, for example, you can always order something more healthy for yourself. While maybe not as tantalizing as the less-healthy options, you will have something to munch on that you’ll feel good about later. You don’t owe anyone any explanations or justifications.

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Along with this…when we are out and about on our own, we can also use “NO.” No, as they say, IS a complete sentence – and we need to stand our ground if we want change. It’s smart NOT to shop hungry, for one thing. It’s also important that we NOT buy thing things we know aren’t great for us – once they’re in our own kitchen, it’s easy to go downhill. When we don’t get it, we can’t be tempted by it. Period.

Magic Bullet #3 – IT ISN’T ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS…IT’S ABOUT FAT LOSS

The number on your scale isn’t always what you think it is… Because muscle and fat have different weight values, it’s possible to appear to be “overweight” on a scale and incredibly fit and healthy. Likewise, the number on the scale might read low, but the person (perhaps a slim frame) isn’t so healthy internally. When we think about Body Mass Index (BMI), however, we have a much clearer picture of where we need to be. These numbers, keep in mind, are guidelines…but they are more helpful as far as our overall health is concerned than the number on a scale (unless yours is fancy and calculates BMI!)¬†

A BMI that is too low will bring a host of issues with it, as will one that is too high. You can find a very basic calculator here, more about BMI and the mathematic formula hereand more information overall¬†here and¬†here. Or…you can head in for a check up and get a no-bullshit answer from your doctor.

This goes back to being honest with ourselves and really understanding the health concerns we might be unkindly imposing on ourselves. A lot of people called into the radio talk with questions about losing weight and the doctors we as much with me on this – it’s more about the fat loss, and getting to a healthy weight for our frame…which will then eliminate quite a few heath risks, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among many…many others.

Magic Bullet #4 – EXERCISE

There’s no pill that can give us the kind of benefits we get from exercise. There just ISN’T.¬†And, as the saying goes, there is no chance we can out exercise a bad diet. Tough reality check but…it doesn’t work that way, and it never will. ¬†

Exercise isn’t an easy one for everybody but… We were all children once upon a time and I’m willing to bet we all played lots of games and ran around. Best part? We probably LOVED it. ¬†

What changed!?

When did it become work??! 

It doesn’t HAVE to be work. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be exerting yourself – you need to push a little bit! – but you don’t have to be miserable. Treadmills, for example, are torture for me. Instead, I might jog outside…or go for a hike where I’m walking, but doing so on uneven (but beautiful!) terrain. Volunteer work is another way to keep moving without having to do something I can’t stand (like cardio! ūüėČ ) I get it in by default in that case – win-win!

Adding in music that you know will get you going is a great option, as is finding a friend to pair up with. Think about activities you DO like doing and be creative – if you want to start by hula-hooping, do it! Getting moving is sometimes the hardest part…but once we do, it doesn’t feel as terrible as we made it out to be!¬†

Nutrition is probably 80% of the overall picture…but exercise will keep our body healthy too, whether that’s keeping metabolism up, our muscles strong (and with it often our bones), as well as keep the heart and blood pumping the way they need to.¬†

Magic Bullet #5 – CONSISTENCY, MAINTENANCE…and NOT GETTING DERAILED

Consistency is absolutely vital to success (across the board, frankly.) Maintaining is WORLDS easier than having to play catch up, and it is a lot less stressful to boot. If we can make healthy choices for ourselves and stick to them most of the time, the few blips and foibles aren’t going to have much of an impact.¬†

Along those lines, we need to be sure that we don’t make a mountain out of the minimal impact a slip may have…because that’s a surefire way to derail. When we start to beat ourselves up for enjoying a special night out, or having a treat once in a while, we might go into “well, I’m not doing well, so to hell with this whole ‘healthier me’ thing…” Don’t fall victim to that downward-spiraling trap – it isn’t necessary. If you choose a less healthy option, just let it go. Enjoy that you could have it…and move on with your better decisions.

Wallowing in misery begets more of the same…and it’s going to be a lot harder later to get back on track. Hold yourself to sticking to the plan most of the time, and you will be okay. One or two bad meals aren’t going to add ten pounds. Keep doing it, though, and you’ll have a lot more work to do down the road to get your health back… The easier road is to stay consistent as much as you can.

Magic Bullet #6 – MAKING GOOD CHOICES

Society needs to get away from fad diets and stringent plans – if you have health issues and something of that nature is required, that’s okay. But for the average population, they’re not a great idea, and generally a recipe for failure…the last thing we want / need.

No one can say exactly what, when, or how cavemen ate their meals – we are speculating based on what science has discovered. ¬†Some cultures seem to have less illness than America does, so we might take cues from them…but there are many other factors at play including environmental and inherent…so even then there’s room for speculation. Then there are the “anecdotal”s where a method worked for a few, but we don’t know why or how, or whether the same positive results will apply to a broader population…

Instead of trying to be stringent or extreme, or abandon one thing for in total embrace of another…how about using common sense? What REALLY matters when it comes to foods…?

Processing vs. Natural – the less processed, the better. Processed often means a departure from natural states, such as we get with additives like dyes and chemicals, sugars, unhealthy fats. These human-derived products (meaning we weren’t designed to process them) are unhealthy for the body.

Sugars – a category in their own right – are a massive problem. Eliminating sugars, or the bulk of them (especially the processed kinds, vs. a whole, fresh fruit, for example) will lead to weight loss pretty quick, as well as a likely change in energy, mood, even sleep. The more we can stick with “whole,” non-sugary foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, eggs, nuts, lean meats, poultry and fish, the better our bodies will behave. Your car responds to the fuel you put into it, right?¬†

Balance –¬†we don’t have to eliminate certain categories completely when we eat a diet of “whole foods” unless we don’t respond well to it. For example, I don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates – my body has decided they no longer work well for it. When I do eat them, I have variety of symptoms that make me feel sick and uncomfortable…so I know they aren’t the right choice for me. It’s about learning what works for our own bodies (maybe some trial and error) and going from there…

Portions – This is a big one. I love big portions because I love eating food…but my body doesn’t really need as much per sitting as my eyes or stomach are suggesting! Sometimes it helps to have a lot of small means more frequently and to start the day with a good breakfast (if you can stomach it – depending on the time, I sometimes need food right away (if it’s between 3 and 6am!) or I need to wait (if it’s after 6am.) Everyone is different but starting the day with fuel is important so you aren’t ravenous and out of control later…¬†

Here’s a link to my own tips and tricks for staying full 10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!)¬†because not feeling hungry makes a difference!

. . .

When we abide by these common-sense principles, we will see changes in our health, our physique, very likely our moods, as well as our energy levels, and definitely our overall health and well-being – it’s impossible not to.

Getting to a healthy weight and maintaining it is more about a consistent and overall approach, using common sense about the foods our body really needs to function optimally.

We don’t have to miss out on the fun (or good food!) in life, we just have to remember that moderation (e.g.: smart portions) is key…and maintenance is a hell of a lot easier than restarting all the time.

You have what it takes!!!

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Committed

I have come a really long way, and I’m incredibly proud of that. ¬†But I also know I have much to learn. . .and that’s okay. The journey is a lifetime.

Each day is a new opportunity to be a better person – a better human being to myself, and those around me. We all deserve a happy and fulfilled life, but that very much begins with US.

My competition, much as they say, is myself yesterday. ¬†It isn’t a friend, neighbor or celebrity. It’s me, myself and I.

I am committed to choosing the high road.  To standing up for what I believe in, and loving life fiercely.  

I am committed to holding myself accountable, and to the standards to which I hold others…at a level just above that.

I am committed to being kinder to myself, because I’m a goddamn powerhouse with a heart the size of the globe.

I am committed to seeing the good and the beauty in all things,¬†and to always make “the best of it”¬†– worse isn’t a long shot for many, and I guarantee hundreds of thousands of people want what you have!¬†

I am committed to being a better and better version of myself, to bring hope and joy to those around me, to give back as much as I’m able, and beyond…but also without losing myself in the process.

I have a list of goals and dreams miles long…and I believe they are all achievable.

It starts TODAY. ¬†Ten minutes ago. ¬†Life beats to time, and time is a drum that doesn’t stop.

The only control we have rests with us РLEARN. Live. Be kind to others, especially those who are there along the journey with you.  

There’s room for all of us to succeed in our pursuits¬†–¬†Let’s be better together.

Clean Eating For The New Year

I’ve seen a ton of posts lately about clean eating shopping lists, so I’ll share a few sites also (below.) ¬†It’s a great tool to have on hand when at the grocery store (which is best to go to when you aren’t hungry – I make that mistake all the time!) so I love that so many people are sharing their own versions.

Clean eating seems a lot more daunting¬†than it is¬†– it has always been a top “new year’s resolution” for¬†people, but also one that seems to fizzle out. ¬†Healthy is a lifestyle so it takes commitment – but¬†it is more than achievable, and if you want it, you can have it! ¬†

One of the best parts¬†of seeing someone stick to their goals is¬†when they start to feel “GREAT” again. ¬†Not only do they have more energy, and feel physically better…the “looking better” (whatever that means in their terms – more muscle, maybe more toned, fitting into a smaller size etc) gives them worlds more confidence, and often a smile to go with it. ¬†It’s awesome to see people feeling great in their own skin – everyone deserves that. ‚̧

But it is tricky sometimes, especially when it isn’t habit yet. ¬†In that case, it helps to remember a few things (no one should ever have to feel discouraged!):

  • Little tweaks can make a BIG difference. ¬†You don’t have to overhaul everything!
  • One derailment won’t cost you everything. Really, it won’t.¬†
  • Not buying it / having it at home is one of THE best ways to stay clean!
  • Portion mindfulness, and allowing yourself to digest is huge (I focus on this a lot for myself)
  • Meal prep can be a lifesaver
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded folks is incredibly helpful
  • Be realistic. ¬†You don’t have to drop a crazy amount of weight quickly – slow and steady is healthier, and far more achievable
  • Day at a time. ¬†Works no matter¬†the problem!

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Nothing feels as wonderful as being healthy – the results of taking care of yourself truly manifest in every aspect of your life. You don’t have to climb Everest either – little steps can add up to a LOT of success.¬†

For a few helpful shopping lists:

Pop Sugar Week 1 Clean Eating Shopping List

Ambitious Kitchen Free (Printable) Clean Eating Grocery List

Clean Eating Grocery List For Beginners by The Gracious Pantry

Pinterest (there are a multitude here!)

Eat Clean Snacks!¬†(look it up for even more…)

To a happy, and healthy New Year!

Staying On Track When Away From Home

Actually…in this case, I was traveling BACK home…from my new home…for ten days to attend to wedding preparations¬†– I therefore knew about a gym location in advance BUT…had I not, I’d have scouted one out for sure.

Fitness isn’t a once in a while thing – it’s a lifestyle. ¬†Staying fit is a commitment to making good daily choices – keeping in mind, of course, that life is fast-paced, and sometimes unexpected. ¬†

But when we are traveling, or need to be out of our regular routine, there are ways to keep up with some activities.  Your body Рand mind! Рwill thank you for going the extra mile and making sure your hotel has a fitness facility, or that there is a gym, bike trail etc nearby.

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With all of the crazy things i had scheduled, fitting in my cardio and lifting wasn’t going to be easy – but I made¬†it work. ¬†I got up earlier than I might have otherwise, put on my spin shoes, and headed out the door. *Making the time* is a huge part of it – that’s where your commitment comes in. ¬†Your goals are achievable so long as you seize opportunity.

I made sure that I specifically put in the mornings that I wanted to go to the gym ON my schedule, in advance Рit mattered to me enough (knowing I would physically and mentally not feel myself if I skipped it!) to get there, and having it penciled in already meant there were no excuses.

Being away from home meant I was missing eight Martial Art classes a week, and regular other exercise – without making the time, I’d have fallen into a slump for well over a week, which – for me – equals a terrible mood, and a tired body. ¬†Don’t forget that exercise boosts your energy, and happy chemicals – endorphins to the rescue! Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean ¬†you can’t keep up with SOMEthing. ¬†It’s worth looking into your options ahead of time so you don’t fall into a cycle of doing zero.

 

Martial Arts – Beyond Than Being An Athlete

Being a Martial Artist isn’t completely akin to being just an athlete –¬†while both¬†designations require a high physical demand in combination with mental focus, there is – in my own mind – a level of spiritual attunement that takes Martial Arts a step further.

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I’ve been an athlete my whole life – for better or worse I have always identified myself with my athletic endeavors. ¬†Extracurricular activities were equally as committed to as my studies growing up – I didn’t train here or there, I was “on” five to seven days a week, multiple hours a day, interspersing my training with homework and school time. ¬†To many, I didn’t “have a life.” ¬†I still managed to get to sleepovers and do “kid” things, but I was up well before the group and off to the ice rink while they still caught their Zs. ¬†

I guess there were a few days I minded – in the dead of winter, 5 am looks a lot like midnight…and it feels that way too! ¬†But MOST of the time, I loved it. ¬†I had my own routine, and my own sense of uniqueness. ¬†I felt empowered, strong, and enjoyed having the physical outlet for my ridiculous¬†Geminian energy, and my sometimes awkward way with expression (that is to say, movement was as much a language to me as English! ¬†Ask a dancer, and he or she will understand what I mean.) ¬†Other kids maybe slept later, or hung out until the wee hours when I had to be back in bed…but at the end of the day, being an “athlete” meant more to me than being like everyone else. ¬†

My circle of friends was relatively small, no question – there were days when I wondered what it was like being the most popular kid in class but. . . It was short-lived. ¬†The prospect of worrying more about what I wore to school every day didn’t really have room on my list of things to do, nor did who asked who out – I simply wasn’t on that wavelength.¬†My best friends very much included my coach, a skating buddy or two, my parents, and a gymnast. Oh! ¬†And¬†I had a horse riding friend also.¬†¬†Shocking, I know – another athlete!¬† Life wasn’t exactly the same for us as it was our peers – the time commitment, for one,¬†was massive. ¬†The friends I had were those who suffered the same constraints I did so we had an understanding by default (no, I really DID have to miss that birthday party because of a competition!)

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Being an athlete also required an enormous physical demand Рmaintaining that level of training and impact at 38? Not going to happen.  Eight Marital Arts classes a week, two days of HIIT cardio, and three to five lifting is MORE than enough. It was something to behold, for sure, and I am extremely proud of my body for getting me through it.

Add to those two hefty components (the commitment of body and time) the ability to focus the mind – not only for competition, but for training in general. ¬†There were plenty of days of pushing through feeling under the weather, bleeding feet, strains, sprains…even a collapsed lung. ¬†It was absolutely vital that we spent time visualizing, and keeping our mind sharp – on ice in particular, being “out of it” could be incredibly dangerous.

There was something else, though… An entirely other layer that seduced me from the get go – one that I dare say was evident when I performed. ¬†When I watched top athletes I could always see the difference in “spiritual” commitment. ¬†ALWAYS. ¬†It wasn’t that the skater did, or didn’t, love the sport – most all of us were infected with¬†intense ardor¬†from an early age. ¬†It was more so that some were devoted on another level... ¬†Not just mind, not just body…but soul. ¬†It wasn’t “spiritual” in¬†an ecclesiastical way, but rather the presence of a transcendent passion.¬†They weren’t skating to music, they were the music. ¬†That, for me, was what made all the difference. ¬†I didn’t want to just hit my elements…I wanted to string together each movement into a story that¬†those with loss of their senses could still feel and understand. ¬†

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In Martial Arts, such a¬†level of dedication is – I’d argue – required. ¬†Being a Martial Artist isn’t just about attendance, accomplishing the moves, passing tests, or breaking boards. ¬†It isn’t just about being able to focus the mind on a task at hand, pushing through, and staying on point. ¬†And it isn’t about getting a rank and calling it quits.

You can DO Martial Arts, absolutely. ¬†To be a true “Martial Artist,” though, I (again, personally) feel as though the soul connection has to be there. ¬†So yes, in my mind, I am eliminating the guys who get in a ring a kick ass but don’t do it for any reason beyond beating someone else (at their game, or literally.) ¬†

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There are plenty of sports¬†where¬†you can sneak by without that soul connection – even in the most aesthetically-based,¬†such as dancing and figure skating. ¬†You can still complete the technical components, and maybe do okay with the artistic portion. ¬†The average spectator very likely won’t¬†notice the difference. ¬†I guess in Martial Arts that can happen too…but then it isn’t really Martial Arts, it’s strictly striking, grappling, whatever…

Being an athlete is something to be proud of – it takes WORK. ¬†It’s blood, sweat, and tears…peppered with (hopefully) some laughs. ¬†Depending on the level (and the nature of the specific Art), Martial Arts requires that practitioners are athletes – the conditioning dictates it by default. ¬†

But. . .to BE a Martial Artist really means devotion beyond the physical and mental – it’s a layer (or several) beyond just saying “this is my sport.”

Being a Martial Artist is something that will permeate your Life, and remain “true” for all your years – it is a lifestyle. ¬†It is¬†a way of being, thinking, acting, existing. ¬†The lessons we learn, and strive to perfect, belong to a pursuit that extends well beyond¬†our age and body – one of the reasons I say to people that Martial Arts is “timeless.” ¬†

My sports and activities – figure skating, dance,¬†weight lifting etc¬†– those things take a toll eventually. ¬†We get to a point where we can’t continue nearly at the same level. ¬†But in Martial Arts, we somehow get better with age, regardless of having to potentially tone it down – there are so many layers beyond the “seen” that movement, ability, learning, philosophy etc…continues undeterred. ¬†We become wiser and more balanced, not just stronger, more agile, more fluid with our movement. ¬†I feel like those who have become impossibly proficient are not just skilled, they are IN it – they are tied to the activity with heart and soul, not just the desire to get better. They become the Art.¬†

That undercurrent is very much the one that finally got me to start РI wanted to do Martial Arts forEVER but was so inundated with demands from extracurricular sports, school, and then work that it was put on the burner.  For a long time.

In my early 30’s I revisited the “if I get injured and can’t dance, what ‘sport’ will I be able to continue with..?” ¬†It was a very real issue when deciding between figure skating and college – I took the later path knowing that one derailment could cause a massive ripple effect later, leaving me in the dust of my peers. ¬†After sitting with the thought a while, I manned up and marched into a Dojang – a decision that changed my Life forever.

I incidentally did get injured Рthrough Martial Arts.  It incidentally DID take me out of ballroom competition for good.  But somehow I have been able to continue Рno matter the modifications, I am still growing, learning, AND contributing (the most amazing part.)  I will for as long as I take it and I hope Рthough the capacity might change Рthat I will forever. 

The injuries I sustained would have (very likely) completely ended my career in figure skating, possibly ballet…definitely ballroom (because it did!) ¬†But Martial Arts – with its countless facets – offers me the promise of maintaining my athleticism along with mental growth, emotional intelligence, and spiritual attainment. ¬†It takes being an athlete to a whole other level and I LOVE that. ¬†I know ¬†that even when I have to do a little bit less physically, I can still reap the rewards of the sport – as a sport – without having to throw in the towel before I am ready (which will be NEVER!) ūüôā¬†

My Martial Arts and Dance album…