Yes…definitely me most mornings. I’ll get up, but sometimes my eyes are still shut, and I’m moving like my body and my brain are on two separate planets. It’s possible one of the two is on Dagobah. . .
I think a lot of people feel that they need someone to push them to work harder, but the reality is, they have so much strength inside already. I love the Elizabeth Gilbert quotation about the Universe burying strange jewels within us – in my own mind, it serves as a reminder that each of us harbors precious, priceless gifts deep inside. We are capable of anything put our minds to. We are incredible. . .and beautiful. . .and divine.
Some days we feel down, exhausted, like we aren’t doing enough…
Others, we guilt ourselves for taking a break, eating something less healthy when we are usually so good…
We give ourselves a hard time and allow a self-dialogue that’s negative, hurtful, unsupportive.
But if we take a moment to breathe…to step back and see the larger picture, we will find that we are really pretty remarkable.
We manage to work hard, stay dedicated to our families, keep moving even when we aren’t feeling our best. We find ways to be there for others when they need support or a helping hand. We balance exercise with deadlines and lovers and friends… We do quite a LOT, actually…and we often keep a smile on while doing it!
No human being is perfect, but that’s the beauty in it – we all have something special. We all harbor these multi-faceted, flowing jewels of grace and wisdom and goodness within us that sometimes gets buried in the dust of day to day drudgery and stress.
But those parts of us are ALWAYS there – like fractures of starlight all our own, to take with us through Life. They are infinite, and utterly extraordinary.
YOU are extraordinary…
I’m super thankful that I have been able not only to do five different Martial Arts thus far in Life – having, mind you, only started in my 30’s (I’m currently 38) – but also to have achieved some ranks in each one. Mastery in the Arts is a lifetime pursuit – belt color doesn’t mean much when you look at the larger picture! But taking tests – and passing – is a really awesome feeling. I always like to be as prepared as possible, and feel blessed to have the opportunities to demonstrate my knowledge every so often.
I’ve been doing Ninjutsu for just over 8 months – I set a lofty and ambitious goal (from the get go!) of making every single testing cycle no matter what. There are days where that’s not easy to do – I’m either physically not around to be IN class, or I’m flat-out exhausted. That said, I keep in mind – always – that I have these opportunities NOW. I may not always. I want to take advantage of the learning, and progression while I can.
I most recently took my 6th Kyu test, and with that came a second “initiation test.” The initiation essentially boiled down to one hour of my classmates testing my knowledge of all the techniques from the tests I have done up until this point, and doing it in a less structured, “real life” way – I have to say, it was maybe the most fun I’ve had in any Martial Arts test yet!
The honor of receiving my Genbukan patch – one aspect of passing my initiation before 6th Kyu – was a big one. I come from a background in Korean Arts, so re-learning, adapting, and working within an Ancient Japanese structure has been a challenge, to say the least (maybe not AS severe as my Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, but difficult all the same!)
While I have a LONG way to go – and yes, I have goals in place to pass my 5th and 4th Kyu by the end of the year! – I appreciate the steps along the way.
Earning ranks, and the responsibility that goes with them, is an honor in my book, and a blessing. I work hard for it, no question, but I also feel grateful because not everyone can. Some simply are physically unable. Others, less able to apply this level of discipline to an activity that’s “extracurricular” and supposed to be fun! For me, though, learning IS fun – I enjoy the challenge and putting myself in places where I am not at all comfortable. It’s in that zone where the good stuff happens. 🙂
More Martial Arts fun!
Every once in a while in Life I’ve seen a cartoon character to whom I can – perhaps alarmingly – relate. Yes, well…the other evening I went to Target to pick up some batteries and as I passed by the toy section I found myself audibly gasping out loud and saying “oh my god, its ME!”
There it was. . .a disgruntled, angry-looking bunny toy, ears slightly askew, who (despite his obvious displeasure) made me laugh. Seems unfair to associate with something that sounds incredibly negative-leaning, no? Nah. I’m one of the happiest people I know – I love to laugh, and prefer to see the good int he World. I’m aware of the not-so-stellar, but let’s say that I’d rather air on focusing on what’s right, lest I drive my Empathetic self into the doldrums! No rosy-colored glasses, just the deliberate aim to keep my spirits lifted. So why, then, Snowball? It isn’t just the wedding planning, rest assured. . .!
I look all sweet an innocent when I think I might be able to go train, or get in extra credits for Marital Arts. I make the same face when you say “I have steamed chicken and vegggiiiess…” “YOU DO!?” *wide eyes and lashes batting*
This is when you actually show me that you have protein. . .When you say we get to train weapons this week, OR I get to the gym and no one else is there. . . YOU know the feeling!
But when I do go to lift, or to the Dojo, and there are a shit-ton of people, then I get a little ugly and try to figure out how to clear them out.
By the time I get through most of my morning, I’m pretty ravenous. This really does sum it up. . .
After nine Martial Art Classes a week – Gracie Combatives Jiu-Jitsu, Reflex Development, and Ninjutsu, plus lifting and cardio? I’m BEAT!
PS…did I mention my mother calls me “Bunny”? Yes, probably for 37 of my 38 years. I guess you could say there’s a resemblance. 😉
So this isn’t really even funny… I mean, not for someone who thinks they’re generally in decent shape. It was kind of humiliating coming to the blanket realization, honestly!
When I started Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, I committed to three classes a week – Combatives, specifically. When I got my second stripe I was admitted into Reflex Development – just one more, one-hour class a week.
Well…after about two weeks of that schedule, I had to cut my cardio by about half (maybe more) AND tone down my lifting. I was, admittedly, in shock. I could run 8 HIIT miles on a treadmill before class, do the hour, then lift, and I’d be fine… I was tired, but I could do it. So what the hell happened?!
I got broadsided with a horrible bout of overtraining – nasty, frustrating, prolonged. I was doing way too much, and didn’t internalize just how much the extra rolling and working through techniques would add. It wasn’t SO much more, but enough to tip my scales. In a bad way!
There I thought I was in great shape – I can do intense cardio (much that I despise it), I can lift more than most my size, and I push myself like I’m on a mission. But shrimping across the room ONCE? I thought I needed a paramedic!
If you are new to Jiu-Jitsu. . .
- DON’T be surprised if you need to cut back on other activities.
- Also DON’T be surprised if you are going into it as a fit individual – it may show you up the first day!
- DO keep in mind that you are using muscles you may not have fired as much previously, and in a different way.
The idea is that you are smart with your movement and don’t pre-exhaust yourself unnecessarily. But in the beginning you might well do too much – it’s okay, and you will get there.
Definitely back off other physical endeavors if you are feeling poorly (mentally, physically, whatever!) It could be a sign of doing too much. Jiu-Jitsu is known for its ass-kicking… You are going to be tired, no doubt about it!
There really isn’t any let up on the “glow”-bestowing products of late, what with the surge of strobing, highlighting and contouring.
I’m not complaining, for sure – anything that boosts the “wakefulness” factor is a whole-heartedly embraced (rest assured!)
Maybe long work hours (or slow-poke coworkers!) are leaving your drained. Maybe it’s a heavy, physically demanding training load during the week that’s left you exhausted. Or perhaps it’s your newborn, or the obnoxiously loud neighbors next door… Whatever is robbing you of your precious shuteye might also be guilty of stealing the ever-coveted, fully-recharged radiance you get when you actually DO sleep…and stay stress-free.
Since the latter two conditions are sometimes tough to come by, the plethora of products out there that help us achieve a rested look are definitely appreciated.
The newest on the scene are The Body Shop’s Instaglow CC Creams (hit stores on May 17th overseas – not sure about USA as yet.)
Designed to even skin tone, temper shine, minimize pores, soothe (with Aloe Vera), moisturize (with Marula Oil, for a purported 24 hours) AND illuminate, these little guys pack quite a punch. They also happen to boast an SPF of 20PA+++ (future signs of aging can take a hike, thanks.)
The shades include:
- Bright Glow – Light skin, white pigment with purple pearl
- Peachy Glow – Light to medium skin (might be nice for circles?)
- Warm Glow – Dark skin, bronzed brown with golden pearl
ReallyRee did a great review and shared some nice swatches, so definitely check it out – what I like is that there doesn’t *seem* to be perceptible shimmer… Glow sans glitter is the way I like to go, personally!
These aren’t meant to be full coverage by any stretch…but alone, or paired with other color cosmetics, these definitely appear to give you a boost…and who doesn’t love THAT idea?! Not too many Body Shops near me but I will absolutely drop in and check them out when I come across one!
I’m not always up for doing my activities every day – I do seven Martial Arts classes a week, and go to the gym, and do cardio… So honestly, I’m downright exhausted sometimes!
But for me, the end result is the important thing – if I truly don’t feel up for training, I give myself a break… But generally, what I really need is to buck up and push through the sticky “ugh! Do I have to?!”s. Yep, just a swift kick in the ass, folks!
There IS something to be said for overtraining – having been in that zone far too many times, particularly when training for a competition or event, I know my body…AND when I need to stop. It is important to recognize that fine “overtraining” line, but ALSO to recognize when you are making excuses. Be HONEST with yourself – your goals are your own, so the only person you hold back is yourself.
People often ask what I do to get through the tougher days… My answer?
- I take BABY steps…
- I change my language…
- And I focus on the goal.
1. BABY STEPS
I tell myself I only have to start. I don’t think about the fact that I’d like to do eight HIIT sprints, incline walking, and jogs (which add up to about 40 to 50 minutes.) Instead, I tell myself that I just need to hop on, do one or two and see how I feel. It WORKS. I take the pressure off myself by not envisioning beyond the moment. Usually once I start, I feel up for more. And, once I’m done, I am thankful (and thrilled!) that I pushed through.
2. CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE
Instead of focusing on the tougher aspects of the activity…
- It’s exhausting
- I’m tired
- I don’t feel like it
- I’m already sore
I choose to focus on the positive. I change those “negative” comments, whether internally or outwardly verbalized, to the reverse…
- I’m going to feel great once I get this done
- I’m great at pushing through even when it feels tough
- I know I can do it
- This is a perfect opportunity to remind myself I can do anything I put my mind to
- I GOT this!
Positive language goes a very long way, and it acts as a bit of a hand-hold while you are struggling.
3. FOCUS ON THE GOALS
I regularly remind myself why I do my sports and activities…
- It’s my PASSION
- I love feeling fit and staying in shape
- I love feeling strong, particularly since “strong” includes not just the physical, but the strength of my will and spirit, as well as command of my mindset, and my attitude
- I love that I don’t get sick and, on the rare occasion that I do, I bounce back quickly
- I feel sexier in my skin
- I feel proud of what I can achieve, and love that sense of accomplishment
There are so many great reasons to take up activities, and taking a moment to appreciate why I do what I do…even when the going gets tough…helps me to stick to my plan.
So when you are having one of those tougher moments, and struggling to motivate yourself…try the steps above. They really DO help…I’m walking proof! You will amaze yourself with what you actually CAN do when you put your mind to it, and your feet where you mouth is. 😉
Excuses are like little devilish phrases that try to commandeer our attitude and mindset – don’t allow it! They only have power over you if you let them!