Shooting for some stars

What happens when you meet a goal you set? Last week I finally completed the first challenge I had set myself since starting this blog. To many this goal I set may seem ridiculous, silly or pointless. To me?…well, it meant so much. The intention behind what we set out to do, the energy we put into achieving something is ours alone. It’s powerful stuff.

I chose something in an area of my life which I enjoy. What I was attempting to do was to get back to a root essence of who I once was. Sport being such a huge part of my growing up. It’s where I had learned confidence, where I didn’t care what anyone thought, I had focus and drive to push myself. I wanted to get back to that quality and remember; YES I can do this! This is who I am. Dusting off that part of myself to try apply it to areas in my life I find hard to have focus, drive and confidence in.

How did it feel, to step up to the plate and achieve that challenge? I was floating, I tell you, I sailed out of that gym on cloud 9! Lifted a PB, repped a PB on my KB Snatch and matched my max pull ups. Was I nervous? HELL YES! I was full of nerves, but excited nerves. It’s funny, the focus kicked it straight away. Once I stepped up to each piece of the challenge my mind got in the zone it used to know so well. Head was clear, I trusted I knew what to do, I followed technique ques, but most of all, I believed in my ability to get the job done. Never once did I say to myself, this is too heavy, that’s too hard, or did I let a number freeze my belief, or allow doubt creep in. The feeling of reaching that goal, unlocked something. I felt lighter, it was an ‘oh shit!’ moment, like; right, this is how I am meant to feel and view myself. Right on!! Let’s be having more of this in my life! To be honest, ridiculous as it sounds, I’m still riding around in my chariot of dreams doing the queens wave a week on from it 😂🙈

I also know too well what it feels like to not complete something you set out to do. Four/Five years ago my buddy asked me to sign up to the marathon with her. I needed something to get me back training, it was the perfect opportunity, with a stellar training partner to boot.  I got injured 6 weeks out. Never got to run it. My confidence was knocked more than I acknowledged at the time. I didn’t make the challenge. What it did do, was made me fall back in love with being active and that side of myself. It helped me remember and start appreciating who I was again. I realized running a marathon wasn’t ever a goal of mine.

Choose your goals wisely, with intention, you don’t need to jump on a band wagon, you can choose your own chariot. If you don’t hit a challenge, have perspective, be honest with yourself, take the positives with you, turn your negatives into positives. Don’t let it hold you back, it might send you on a path to something even bigger and better. A renewal and discovery. Perceive yourself in a positive manner whatever the outcome may be. You are only gathering information and knowledge about what makes you tick, and how strong you really are. If you invest time, effort and consistency into any challenge, the odds of succeeding are very much stacked in your favour. It’s simple, yet sometimes hard to do, it takes patience, but when you get there it’s worth every minute of that hard work. Be curious about what you can achieve and enjoy the challenge.

This challenge was such a useful tool for me, an unveiling of truth, an opening of the curtains. What can you challenge yourself with? Pull up those blinds once again, shine your light on full power, get back, strengthen your will, confidence and self-love. Pick something you enjoy doing to start. It could be a creative project, something in sports, something academic, exploring a new land. Remember what you are capable of. Use it.

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Find your pace

Life is not a race. Social Media makes it all too easy to be caught up in what others are doing/have/life stage they are at, and we can end up getting busy rubber neckin’ it, miss-shoot our own paths, trip and fall.  Here we are disconnecting from ourselves to connect with others, being sucked down this worm hole in online portrayals of others people’s lives.  Our own inner voice can be drowned out by the noise of everyone else’s feet thundering past, or so we perceive them to be doing so.

One of the biggest things I personally have struggled with is; figuring out what it is I want in this life, finding a passion to pursue, knowing a direction to go in. It gets to be overwhelming, especially as the years go by and the people around me seem to move forward, while I perceive myself as floundering around. The social pressure these days to be doing your passion. While I yell back HOW THE HELL DO THEY KNOW??!!! I admire people who know, and drive forward, I am awestruck by their self-assurance of this. This year I am focusing more on listening and trusting my voice more.

This last month I have come to realise something about myself; I do not like to rush, or be rushed. I mean most people don’t!. I make time in the morning before I leave the house, so I do not have to rush. I can enjoy  the process of my morning rituals, my bike ride or walk to the office or the gym. I am usually last to finish my work out at the gym. I get flustered if I feel pressure to rush through a set, and it turn don’t enjoy the work out then.  In yoga, I feel tense when a flow is fast paced, crammed with movements and rushed. I used to think this was a flaw of mine, and that it was something I needed to ‘work on’, fix or change. In actual fact I have grown to love this quirk about myself. It brings me peace and calm in this busy world. It ties into how my life journey is moving to date, this is my pace

Can you identify a trait or pattern you thought to be a flaw, turn around and grow to love it, not comparing it to what someone else is doing?  Shine some love and positive energy onto it. I had a lovely conversation with a lady at my gym recently. She is a dance teacher, instructing young kids all the way up through to teenagers. One of the things she teaches them once the start with her is ‘ You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.’ She says it works in all aspects of life, and its true, it does.  This little mantra has been floating around my head ever since. Accept where you are, stop looking at what others have, don’t get upset, you can change direction/mindset, nothing is permanent in this ever changing life of ours.  Learn to love all the highs and lows.

Trusting and knowing that there is always a route, at path to where you want to go, sometimes its just not that direct. All the twists and turns on this long and winding road.  Finding courage to keep moving, and view these twist and turns as rich opportunities to discover more clues and treasures on this adventure called life. We don’t need to race, compare or compete, we find our own pace, as the road is long. Find joy and wonder in each step. Pack light, shrug off that excess baggage of the past.

What’s your mantra? I would love to hear some! They can be so powerful. We can use different ones at different stages/phases. Something so small can help get closer to truly loving and accepting yourself. So simple yet affective. Let others success lift you up and not bring you down by comparison and competition. Connect, communicate, listen, learn, lead, teach, follow your own path at your own pace.

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Back to Basics

It is not ‘what’ you do, it is ‘how’ you do it, that matters.  I am currently reading Eckhart Tolles ‘The Power of Now’. This is true for any challenge or task you approach.

The first challenge I set myself when I began this blog back in October; was a Tactical Strength Challenge (max deadlift, max pulls, max KB snatch @16kg over 5mins). I edge closer to this coming into fruition, April 14th to be Exact. Shit is starting to get real!! In February I have been trying to focus in on keeping my approach simple for both my yoga and strength practices, mentally and physically.

I have not ever competed alone at anything other than athletics, everything else has been team based. With running, I have competed from such a young age, that when I go to race now, although I am nervous, I have an ingrained positive mindset of my abilities. I understand what my body is capable of, am able to make adjustments when things get tough, I know where my strengths lie. I am very present when I race.

I started lifting 3-4 years ago, never with a specific goal in mind, and working with Kettlebells more closely only since October. My mindset is less sure of the process. I find it hard to be present, clear my mind of negative chatter and keep it simple. I flute about at the gym a good bit, it’s a bit of a running joke, mainly it boils down to my battle with mindset.  This new challenge is putting to test all the work I have been putting into my overall self-worth and view of myself, over these past few months.

Why challenge yourself?, you might ask. The thing about challenges are; it’s  not really about what challenge you choose, it’s  about what you learn about yourself along the way.  Discovering things you did not know you were capable of, and celebrating that. I put it akin to riding a bike with no hands; the sheer exhilaration of all the wobbles before that moment, when; YOU ARE DOING IT!, makes the doing it part feel all the more sweet. To not focus on the end destination, but to relish in the journey toward it. To be present in each and every step of the way. That is life.

It is so easy to slip into a mindset that has you defeated before you even step up to the plate. If you ever played sport you will know what I mean.  You’re playing well, then something goes wrong, you make a crappy tackle etc., everything starts going to shit. What’s happening there? Your mind starts replaying that one crappy move, holding you to a past moment and ultimately affecting you being present in the game.  I am working hard at being present in both my practices. Its starting to pay off. My basic movements feel stronger, I am beginning to believe in my strength. All of my main lifts have gone up beyond what I ever expected this month. I need that solid base to enable me to be stable with that 16kg bell overhead, especially as I sit at a runty stats of 53kg. Its showing me how important it is to build that base, make the foundation a good one both mentally and physically.

So how am I staying motivated and positive? Well! This month there are 3 ladies in the industry that have been inspiring me, and have helped me maintain momentum and belief in myself.

First up Shannon Pollock. One of the coaches at the gym I go to; Impact Strength & Performance. She is a power lifter. In December she was in a car crash and had to deal with trauma to her back, shoulder and chest. Two weeks ago she was competing to retain her spot on the international team. She went in with an incredible mindset, kept it simple and respected what her body was capable of at that moment. She placed and maintained her spot, taking away a positive stance on her situation, reassessing her training to focus on rebuilding a solid foundation that will allow her body to recover and rehab. She didn’t allow the ego to take over and possibly injure herself taking her out of the game completely. She was entirely present. This is what I need to learn to do more of.  Her approach to coaching and her own training is always unbreakably positive and realistic. She’s the real deal, go check her out.

Next up Annie Kirwan. Annie is one of the yoga instructors I go to at The Yoga Hub. She is this wonderful ball of sunny positive energy. Her classes always honor building up solid foundations with each movement, balanced with a challenging flow and the reward of a blissful rest at the end.  She has started up 40 days of splits in line with lent. I LOVE this! It is such a smart way of stripping it back to basics and building on it daily, making you enjoy the process, and be present every step of the way. It’s helped me view my training more in that light, helped me be more present. She is so genuinely positive  and passionate about what she does its hard not to be inspired. So go to one of her classes, she teaches pilates too, join her run club or just follow this lady on insta!

Then there is Brianna Battles. I don’t even know where to start! A leading advocate in coaching for pregnancy/postpartum  athletes. This lady is all about that base, bout that base. Her passion for proper training strategies, safe, smart systems to rebuild, accept and appreciate where a body is at any point in that journey, her unwillingness to accept crappy, vague advice for women who want to train, is awe-inspiring. She focuses on building strong foundations from the basics and getting people to understand how the whole system works, so they can move forward in their training with the view of longevity. If you are a coach who trains women, or an athlete pre/current/post pregnancy you need to follow her. Her strategies can be carried over to any women starting their fitness journey, we need more coaches out there like her. Her approach and mindset with her own training, how she manages that, keeping things simple and always being mindful of where she is at, has inspired me to try the same tact and not let any ego come into play.

Finally, I can’t  leave out my gym buddy Ailbhe. Her dedication to her training, her grit and filthy cackle inspire me daily to keep going and put the work in.  Her 1st power lifting competition is coming up in March and she is absolutely killing it so far, she is blazing the trail!

Who inspires you?? Surround yourself in a positive community, communicate, connect, it truly does lift you closer to any thing you want to achieve in life. Good energy breeds good energy.

Be present. Be consistent. Believe.

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Dangle Berry’s Long Finger

I want to talk about those long finger, dangle berry resolutions/goals/aspirations. Yes those ones that year in, year out, land once again on your things to do/achieve in the new year. Each year passes… they remain undone; like a nasty bin that needs changed, the stank of their incompletion wafts up to sting the nostrils. Taking up space in our heads burrowing in… making us feel, well, not good.

This year I start yet again!, on the well-worn, thread bear path of getting my driving license. Oh for shame 🙈 I always shake my fists at this goal! It is my ultimate nemesis. I decided to delve into why(oh why!) it is I just can’t seem to get it together on this particular thing. Ultimately it boils down to a fear of failing, and persevering through being a sucky driver for a while. It’s uncomfortable, I like feeling comfortable!

Another reason being the negative narrative I have attached to driving. Every year I add another layer to this shit sandwich. I tell myself the following; I don’t need it, I don’t like it, cars are expensive, lessons are expensive, the instructor was an asshole, people are pushing me to do this, I can’t afford it, I could spend my money on something more fun….sound familiar??? Yup you can pretty much apply those excuses to a large number of things. Year in, year out I gave into that narrative, and didn’t bother or gave up. Thing is, I do want to drive, I’ve just mind fucked myself into thinking I don’t. It wouldn’t be going on my list if I didn’t care.

This year I’m working on changing my narrative towards it, to a happy positive one. If you read my post ‘Festive Season’ I have one attached to Christmas, I want to try out this method on my driving. I went and wrote down all the good things that will add to my life by being able to drive, plus the opportunities that can/will arise from having this skill. Already I am feeling calmer and more equipped mentally to tackle this once and for all. I even started using visualization; me being happy in a car, smiling my chops off, singing my little lungs out! I’m starting to reframe this nemesis to my advantage, dropping that self sabotage. I’ve applied for my test and renewal of learner permit, STEP ONE TICK! I’m doing the do as it were.

Take a look, see if you have anything similar on your list, ask yourself do you really want this  thing for yourself? Then work on the reframe if you do, if you don’t? let it go. Once you decide to change a narrative it’s amazing how naturally it happens. Don’t let the negative take hold. Go ask questions about the task at hand, to people who you know have recently gone through, or are currently going through what you want to undertake. I love hearing other’s why’s, struggles and successes, it really inspires me to go on and take the leap too.  Forge the courage to take the first step, and keep moving one foot forward at a time.

I believe I can drive, think about it every night and day, spread my wings and hill start away 😂🎺

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Positive Negatives

One of the hardest things about making a change in your life can be coming up against negative remarks/opinions voiced by people close to you and/or your family. Occurring at the start or at any point along the path in your journey to change.  Learning how to deal with them is tricky, difficult and emotional to say the least! I have learned this month how to turn those negatives around into a strong positive, and I hope to take this new perspective and attitude with me across into all areas of my life.

Here’s the thing…. sometimes we are unable to ask ourselves the difficult questions, we get caught up in our routine of change, going at it hell for leather.  It’s hard to see what this looks like from the outside. We have our eyes on the prize, but we might be missing the point or lose sight of our ‘why’. By ‘why’, I mean our root reasons for making a change. These can get lost along the way, and I feel it’s one of the reasons we don’t/can’t follow through.

This month I received, what I perceived as negative feed back to a part of my life I love, invest time in, and get so much benefit from. My initial response being very defensive, upset and angry. Where was my fucking support?, ringing through my head. I began to shut down, questioning my why, being mad I had to justify myself to them. Then I stopped. It’s so tiring being in that state. Instead I slowed it down, and had a frank honest conversation. I communicated rather than snap react/shut down.

What came from that conversation was endlessly positive. People often attack what they don’t understand, they don’t have the true full story. Three things happened from that conversation;

1. For the first time in a long time I heard my ‘why’ out loud, never really being a solid thing in my head. To be honest some of my why had changed and switched up, what came up and out of my mouth only bolstered and affirmed the changes I have been making are good, and that my feet are on the right track. I was actually shocked, surprised and delighted all in one breath.

2. I examined my reactions to this persons life, in areas I didn’t understand. I decided to listen more, investigate and be curious about their why. A feeling of great support and understanding arose between the two of us. With family especially it can be so hard not to jump to a conclusion, hold onto a negative feeling and turn that into a story in our heads. We can forget how our reaction/response can affect others along with ourselves. All this brought on an openness, willingness to listen more, be kinder and more respectful each others journeys.

3. There was some truth to the observation, and I have taken that on board. I am moving forward with an adjusted attitude and better strategy for myself. It was something I probably would have swept under the carpet, for as long as I could, until it blew up in my face. For that I was grateful.

There you have it, I managed to turn what I could have held onto as a negative, wallowing about in a story of non support, into this sparkly awesome positive, which has helped me get closer to my vision of changes.

Next time you come up against something  similar in your life,  try taking a step back from the emotion and flip it into a super charged positive! Always remember we are capable of changing our initial reactions/responses. If you don’t understand something, go connect, interact and have a conversation; you never know what magic might come from it! Here’s to discovering new ways, learning skills and building up our positive view on who we are and where we want to go and be right now.

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On your marks …

2017, See Ya!!! 👋🌪 What a year it’s been… for everyone…sheesh! I bid farewell to my year with one of my main resolutions/goals I had set for myself. TRAVEL! It was the perfect note to end my pitchy year out on.

What made it all the more special, was the fact I got to do that with 4 super ladies.  All excited for the opportunities of 2018 laying ahead of us. We reminised on the year gone by, and as we listened to each other hatch plans, ideas, goals and dreams for the year ahead, this energy we collectively had for each other’s and our own future was truly  uplifting. I was soaring off out of this 2017! When you lift each other up like that, we reach further, dream bigger, and realise anything is possible. It’s all in our hands. It made me think of a song lyric by Lady Gaga ‘Hey girl, Hey girl. We can make it easy if we lift each other.’

This year I have some similar resolutions and goals, I have added in some practical ones also.  Resolutions can be daunting, your laying it on the line, and in kicks those overwhelming feels! How to start, how can I achieve this, can I follow through???? Eeeeeekkk! This shit is scary! I learned a good trick a couple of years back. It’s to break the goal down into smaller pieces so you don’t freak out and quit, before even giving it and yourself a proper chance.

Break it down to monthly goals, review at the end of each month. Decide if your actions are working, are they helping you get closer to your goal? What can you lose, keep, add, adjust? A goal can always be adjusted. You can break things down even further to daily and weekly goals. For example; one of my daily goals/targets is to drink 2/2.5 litres of water and to complete my duo lingo. A weekly goal for me is; get my training days in, at least one outdoor activity and practice yoga at home on the weekend. My Jan monthly goal, yes that’s right, the predictable… giving up booze for the month, also included is budgeting. All of these little things plug into my bigger picture goals, and will aid me in getting closer to where I want to be. Sometimes I’ll miss a day here an there, but that’s ok,  I know I’m making positive moves in the right direction.

Last week one of my favourite Yogi Instructors returned to the studio I practice at.  It’s so wonderful seeing how an instructors practice has grown, her yoga flows are always so natural. This lady was off studying Feng Shui.  We had a brief chat about what she was up to, and isn’t it funny how conversations and ideas stay with you, to pop up later in your week? On the back of it, I did a major clear out of my wardrobe and toiletries. I opened the windows aired out my space and lit some Palo Santo. I felt my space was calm and relaxed, my head was ready to tackle some changes for the new year.

Give the monthly/ weekly/ daily thing a go, keep it simple. Don’t be afraid to change as you go either. This is your journey afterall, be kind to yourself, be the artist to your masterpiece. Here’s to another fresh start and continuing the good we have already done for ourselves.

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Festive Season

As we hurtle towards the end of the year, when all our bodies and minds want to do is slow down, it’s one of the busiest times of the year, and unfortunately it’s very difficult to slow down and unwind.  It’s exhausting, I’m exhausted, I figure its my body clock screaming at me to slow down. It’s hard to listen though, with all the fever and cheer to be had. This year I am doing my best, to take some time and listen, especially if I am pushing too hard, and not beat myself up for that.  To actually listen to my body when its telling me to rest.

I know Christmas is not everyone’s cup of tea. For me though, I have always loved this time of year. I have held onto my childhood spirit. There is one or two memories that just stayed with me, and they make me feel all cozy and frivolously festive. I love the cooking and baking smells in the kitchen, I delight in recreating them year after year, decorating the Christmas tree, finding a perfect gift, the lights, cooler brisk weather, the anticipation of whether it will snow. Perhaps there is something I have wired in my brain to tap back into that feeling and it just happens naturally for me.  

It’s also a difficult time of year for many, especially if we have lost someone dear to us around this time of year or be it any other time,loss is highlighted. As it’s the end of year we all naturally reflect on what has gone before. It’s a time of year of letting go, being with family and love, we think of the loved ones who have left this world. It’s a happy and sorrowful mash-up. No wonder emotions run high, exhaustion of the year gone by coupled with pressure for everyone to be jolly and happy, can bring on unwanted stress.

How can we try make our own Christmas’s a good one?Especially a time when people honour tradition. My family have had to change our traditions throughout the years, and this is healthy. When something isn’t working anymore or has grown tired, we shouldn’t be afraid to change it up and make new memories with new traditions. Our circumstances are always changing as we grow older, we can, with kindness move forward, make way for new ways to enjoy this time of year. Celebrate the new, say goodbye to the old, isn’t that what we are ultimately doing at this time of year in any-case?. One tradition we manage to hold onto in our house is our Christmas toast. ‘To absent friends and loved ones’ This came from my Mum’s side of the family. It’s so simple but has so much meaning for us, especially after recent losses, changes in circumstances and tradition, with my brother being unable to be with us the last 2 years. Good news is, we created a new tradition for when he comes home in January now.

Perhaps we can put things in place that will help you have a Merrier Christmas and take some pressure off. Setting a time frame of how much intense family interaction you are going to do, giving yourself some space throughout the day, a time out. Having a longer shower, listening to favourite music, going for a walk, getting outdoors…I don’t know what it might be, try tap into something that gives you a little joy and use it to help relax and enjoy the break and not hurtle through it at light speed without taking a breath.

Lets take a breath, slow down and enjoy a well needed break.

This is one of my favourite Christmas morning memories, we got plastic red noses in our stockings, I thought it was the funniest thing ever, I laughed so hard I cried 😂IMG_1076