Don’t Quit

Quitting is actually one of the easier options…and there’s no question we’ve all been on the verge at times. Maybe it’s at school, maybe it’s in our sport, maybe it’s the work we do every day. . . The struggle is a real one, and it can consume every aspect of our being.

But if we push through – insurmountable that may seem at times – often we find a miracle at the end of the tunnel. . . Not only a light, but a full-on, now-I-know-why-I-had-to-experience-that miracle.

Magic is as much a part of life as breathing air is to all living things – it is within our grasp, and within our own power to manifest it.

Don’t lose hope, even on the darkest day, because…much as the sun rises each day…a miracle is ready to unfold. . .

John Greenleaf Whittier

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Aging Gracefully Looks Different For Everyone

I came across this image the other day and found it to be incredibly inspiring (I have head of these ladies before but I am always impressed.)

As we age, it takes longer to recover, and we may not be able to handle the intense training of our youth.  (I sure as shit can’t!!) Our bodies change beyond that too – we may not look the same as we did when we were younger. We may also not be as able to achieve those results without more work than it once took.

One of my biggest pet peeves, though, is when people say it’s impossible to stay fit, healthy and strong as we age – they dismiss it with an apathetic resignation that doesn’t resonate for some of us. . . Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we can’t stay active, continue to be an athlete, or stay in good shape.

I am a strong proponent of setting ourselves up for success, and believe that unreasonable goals are a fast track to disappointment. I also believe we can achieve anything we put our hearts to provided we are smart about it. If we want to achieve a healthy body, we CAN…and without having to work until we are horribly run down – that is a more than realistic scenario.

Staying fit isn’t about the OUTSIDE appearance – for many of us it is a lifestyle because it permeates every aspect of our lives…not just the exterior. It means having more energy, and feeling proud of little accomplishments along the way.  It means being able to participate in activities we enjoy without feeling horrendous doing them, as well as having a clearer mind, and more self confidence. It may also mean staving off some unnecessary (and unkind) illnesses as well.

We don’t have to force ourselves into the box of looking the way we did at 20 – we’d not only be disheartened, but it also isn’t going to happen (unless, of course, you find a genie in a bottle.) I struggle with this sometimes too – it’s hard to see those changes and know there isn’t a ton we can do about them.  I don’t think it’s necessary to beat ourselves up for feeling that way either, ps – it isn’t about vanity all the time.  For those of us who have been active our whole lives, and fueled our bodies with healthy foods, we might identify with certain conditions (internal as much as external.)

In this way, it might feel all the more overwhelming to lose the control we might have *thought* (wrongly!) we had.  In order to stay on a track to success we need only allow that “fit” may look a little different in our older age, and continue working towards incorporating healthy choices in our lives. That includes eating healthy, whole foods, staying hydrated, staying active, and at least *trying* to get a solid amount of sleep.

Remember that deviations once in a while are okay – living life behind bars isn’t exactly the point! It’s the overall attitude, approach, and consistency that will get you where you want to go…and keep you in that vicinity.

I was definitely more “fit” when I was younger – who wasn’t!?  I’ve backed off a lot of activities, as well as the duration an intensity of the ones I’m doing. I need more time to recover, and there are days when rest is more in line with keeping me healthy than going to lift or to class. I may also have days where I need to eat more…or less…depending on what my body is telling me. But the short of it is…I’m thankful beyond words to be healthy, to have the ability to be active, and to better recognize my body’s cues. There is such a thing as aging gracefully…and staying badass while you’re at it (however you choose to define it.) Never let anyone tell you what is…or isn’t…possible – that, my dear, is up to YOU.

 

 

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Afraid Of The Dark

There are times in Life when it seems all light extinguishes, leaving blackness, fear, and despair.  

And yet. . .

In the midst of it. . .if we look deep without our inner recesses, we will find the inextinguishable flame we’ve carried all along.

Remember what you have accomplished.  Remember the demons you’ve conquered, the tears and blood you’ve shed.  For you are a warrior, stronger than anyone else can ever know.  You are a survivor, you are beautiful, and you are a beacon of light in spite of all.

Breathe

You are so much stronger than you think. 

When you are in the throes of despair, frustration, anger. . .take a moment to b r e a t h e.  

Take a moment – at the hardest time at which TO a breath. Feel…allow…the in…and the out.

Remind yourself within that space that you have accomplished so much more than you are giving yourself credit for.  You have surmounted obstacles at one time that seemed impossible.  You are in charge.

Remember you are a survivor and a fighter and that you will get through it just like you have so many times before.

Courage

Courage isn’t always that stoic, fearless lion’s face people post all the time.  It isn’t necessarily stronger than the storm, like quotations always say…

Courage isn’t necessarily so earth-shattering that anyone else even sees it but you. . .

Often, it is that gentle whisper in your ear. . .that feeling within you that says, “I have tomorrow to try again.”  

Don’t give up, or allow discouragement to take hold – small steps are still progress. One day at a time is more that good enough.

Tell Me I Can’t

Dead on.  I’ve found others’ negativity and / or lack of confidence in me as fuel for my fire on more occasions than I can count. . .

Health, titles, belts…so many times I was discouraged, and I did it anyway.

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Let it go in one ear, and out the other.  Do it anyway.  Because you can.

Martial Arts Humor – Jiu-Jitsu Knee On Belly

SO true!  

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With someone who knows how to be heavy – as in, they’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu a while – knee on belly feels a lot the car rolling over this poor strong man…  

Be…

Wavering in truth not only gives reason for others to distrust you, but a shadow of doubt within your own mind – one falsehood is one too many.  Maintaining honesty in all your endeavors is to live with integrity.  

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Air on the side of kindness.  Because we cannot know another person’s battles – even when it feels hard to do – take a deep breath, and find some compassion.  Even a little will do.  If that is not available, let go completely – better to move on than to allow someone to bring you down.  Life is challenging enough than to allow a small thing to derail your happiness and peace of mind…for any amount of time.

Be courageous, because no-thing is impossible.  There will be whisperings of discouragement, but forge ahead, and follow your passion – for in so doing, you follow your truth.  You can achieve anything you set your mind to.  ANYthing.

Illamasqua – SOPHIE Anti-Bullying Campaign

If there is one thing I don’t like to do, it’s engage in political diatribe, or proselytize my own views.  While I’m not opposed to important discussions, I have found that one or the other can often turn out heatedly, but generally not with good resolve. I try to keep my opinions about such things to myself, and simply listen when others care to share (or ignore the vehement postings if I must.)

That said, I am really big on anti-bullying, and because I work with children in Marital Arts, I like to encourage education about what seems to be more and more prevalent these days. Having been the subject of several forms of abuse from partners in my past, I can safely say it is a topic that some have a hard time speaking up about, particularly as the victim.  Bullying in and of itself is a very primal act…and one you might expect humans would have the wherewithal to override.  While dominance is oft exerted in the animal kingdom, I feel that the deliberate taunting is something human beings have added to the mix. 

I like that Illamasqua – a brand that stands apart in a multitude of ways – is so outwardly supporting this cause.  I can’t say that I was outrageously divergent aesthetically, but I got to a point where I was enough so, that I got teased, talked about, harassed too… That wasn’t the “abuse” in my own life so much, but it was pretty terrible.  While I managed to sidestep most of it (mainly I was distracted by worse!) I understand what it’s like.

Illamasqua has been honoring the memory of Sophie, a young lady who was the horrifying subject of bullying gone to the extreme, since her passing in 2007.  Each November they run a campaign to spread the word, and to take proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause. 

I have no affiliation with this company in any way, and in fact learned about Sophie some years ago through them.  But again, I respectfully share because it’s important that no one is alone in their suffering.  

Humor – The Non-Girly Girl

When I saw this photo (the little girl below), I essentially went into hysterics (laughing, that is.)  I didn’t watch a ton of television as a child but you can be sure that when I did, the shows were of the ilk of:

  • Thundercats (cat-like aliens, because why would extraterrestrials want human reflexes?!)
  • He-Man (muscles and [magical!] swords?!  HELL YES!)
  • Voltron (your goddamn right I was jealous of their lion robots!)
  • Transformers (ginormous robots who can morph into an incredibly rad getaway vehicle? Anyone want to race?!) 
My favorite two colors AND animal? I was a happy little girl when this came on!)

My favorite two colors AND animal? I was a happy little girl when this came on!)

I couldn’t possibly be bothered with the likes of She-Ra.  Initially, I admit, I kind of liked her.  I liked that a woman was in the badass role, but that’s basically because I wanted to be her.  I kind of dug the nod to Ancient Rome / Greece with that ensemble too – how very Pagan of her!  Plus. . .sorceress, hello!?  My older brother was fonder of the guys so…whatever…I took one for the team and decided I could be Conan or some other ass-kicking character, nevermind they were male.  Goals.

I let the figure-skating-judge-boots and furry speedo slide - he had a magical sword and the man could lift. Aspirations!

I let the figure-skating-judge-boots and furry speedo slide – he had a magical sword and the man could lift. Aspirations!

My lean towards general badassery, gothiness, vampishness, and Martial Arts was there from brith – I wore colors, but that’s because I wasn’t old enough to know better…OR to purchase my own.  I went to girly birthday parties, but that’s because A.) it was important to socialize (I’d rather have been Wednesday Addams but the school moms didn’t seem to acquiesce) and B.) No one I knew was having a Halloween bash regardless of timing.  Sad, if you ask me.  

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My, what big teeth you have…

My inspiration came from the people / creatures / robots who could handle their own, even when the world was being besieged by evil, plotting mummies or mechanical demons from space – who cared that they were fictional, this once five-year old saw a fearlessly laying down of the law!  (Let’s not forget their were witches too – bestill my heart.) 

If I could have worn this suit to class, I’m sure I would have – Middle School rules be damned, I think an exception could have been made.  “Excuse me, Mr. Principle guy..??”

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I wonder if the suit comes with functional weapons…  Sparkles?  Yeah, absolutely.  But had I donned this hefty getup back in the day?  I’d have backed that glitz up!

For more of my shenanigans