Santosha

I started this title a year ago February because I thought I found Santosha. But I sat with a blank page for over a year. The word still comes up though and brings new and amazing meaning every time. In fact, when I was in Bali this past December I almost got the word or the Sanskrit symbol for Santosha tattooed on my body. Why? Because I realized I finally understood why this word keeps placing a presence in my life. (And I like tattoos that mean something)

The Sanskrit word santosha is divided into two parts: sam, meaning completely or entirely, and tosha, meaning acceptance, satisfaction, and contentment. Together they create a word that means complete acceptance or contentment.

The reason I kept having a blank page is because every time I sat down with it I realized I was far from content. But what I’m realizing is Santosha for me doesn’t mean being content with where I’m at, but content with where I’m going. I have accepted who I am. Humans spend so much time trying to be someone else that they downgrade who they are. We are all individually awesome in our own right and we all need to learn to own it a bit more. Now it doesn’t mean getting overly confident and arrogant by any means, but it does mean you should be proud of your story.

I spent this past weekend in Florida where I heard some incredible speakers. They all sparked a little fire beneath me. Dan Thurmon said, “Limiting yourself to what’s comfortable is denying yourself to what’s possible.” Go back, re-read that. If it sparks something inside of you, do something with it. I’ve stayed comfortable, I’m sure you have too. But is staying comfortable, or content where you want to stay?

I come across a lot of people who are naturally negative. Their contentment is within a realm of constant discontent. Their story is, life is unfair, bad things happen to me, this is hard. What if that all could change with accepting your story, and making your story into the story you want. Where will you find your Santosha?

I always go back to the words of Will Smith, “Practice is controlled failure. You have to fail and breakdown in order to become stronger; to succeed.” Write down your failures (accept that they are what is making you stronger), write down your dreams (give them light and make them happen). Write it down and see how your story can change. I’m doing this everyday. I don’t want my story to be what it used to be, but I want to grow and be better and more content because of my story. Only you can change your life.

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Dave.

I don’t talk about him much. But when you lose a life too soon, well you start you evaluate your own life and why life’s tend to go too soon.

Dave was an amazing human that I got to know too late in his life. Too late in his life because he was taken too soon.

Its been 5 years and since then I’ve grown a lot. I’ve grown and I’ve spread happiness because that is what he did. I replay our moments together over and over and it’s not something anyone else could understand, because only a few knew “us”. I know he was in my life for a purpose and for that I am grateful. Cheers to Dave, because I know these tears I cry today aren’t sad, but they are tears of happiness because I was lucky enough to know you.

mindset.

It’s all perception and how you choose to take on the world. I don’t have everything, yet my life is full, and I’m in a happy place in life. But life isn’t perfect.

I walked into Church today after much debate of why I should crawl out of bed. I can’t tell you the last time I slept in and last night I found myself awake until 2am – extra sleep was tempting. February has felt like a marathon, it’s been non-stop, but it’s kept my heart in such a full and happy place, so I pulled myself out of bed because I knew I needed to hear the message today to keep me here.

If heaven came to earth….

The message itself was great, whether you believe in God or not. “Love each other as you love yourself” (just like you expect in heaven). I go through many of my days full of love and I try my best to treat others exactly how I like to be treated, even though some days it’s very hard. What I often remind myself is everyone is fighting some sort of battle, everyone has their own stuff going on which means we all need to have a little bit more compassion and change our mindset’s to not be rude, or not only focus on ourselves. Build people up, rather then push them down.

This week, change your mindset, change your life, change someone else’s life. What do you have to lose?

 

this life.

You know when you log on to Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people’s lives and their amazing adventures, their families, their successes, their heartbreaks, their rants and of course their opinions? Does it ever make you wonder, what is this life?

Bali has made me dive deep into my own life and look into what I share and what I represent myself to be on social media. People constantly tell me they live vicariously through me, which yea, it’s flattering but it stirred up a lot of questions. Am I representing myself the way I want to be seen? Or am I hiding behind something?

In Bali I re-discovered a lot about myself. I went there to dive deeper within, and I did.

My self study on the trip stirred up a lot of deep and dark emotions of my past that I was sure were healed and far behind me. I dug into current wounds that feel like they are ripped open daily. I have struggled with family relationships for a long time and I have tried to stay above and apart from what tries to tear me down constantly – but the best way to heal is to tear off the band-aid, no matter how much it hurts – so I did it and I’m healing.

Everyday I choose to seek refuge from what I can’t control within these relationships by living a positive and uplifting life and I surround myself by choice with people that help me grow and push me in the directions of my dreams. Do you ever look at who you surround yourself with and realize there are a lot of people that tear you down more than they build you up?

I have let relationships like this and the wounds of my divorce and the struggles that followed that time in my life hold me back from truly pursuing my dreams. I have let fear of failure and fear of being successful and proving them wrong hold me back. I have been taken advantage of most of my life and I have let people allow me to fill myself with self doubt because of how they treated me or how they talked to me. For a long time I have not believed in myself.

Years ago after I got out of a relationship I was told I should try dating myself for a while. It was the best advice I have ever been given. In my relationship with myself I have been discovering my worth, I am believing in who I am – and my trip to Bali helped me to discover even more in this sacred relationship. I am believing I am someone that is worth being successful, I am someone that is worth pursuing my dreams and I am someone that is meant to cheer on others and let them see we are all in this life together.

I believe God has big plans for me and I’m realizing that the path I am on has gone exactly the way he has planned it – I wasn’t supposed to marry who I married and I wasn’t supposed to have a family then – I was supposed to discover, experience and live this life of building up others and motivating people to be their best selves first.

Yesterday I went to church and I connected so much with the message because it hit all the area’s of my life I have recently been questioning now that I know myself more, I know who I am. The biggest takeaway from the message was, “Why settle? Would you choose a hot dog over a filet mignon? Don’t marry a wiener.” Jason Strand (watch the message here)- Yea, that was said in church, but really – why would I settle when it isn’t right. God hasn’t been ready for me to settle. So here I am, surrendering, digesting and taking in this life. Living it day my day exactly the way He is showing me I should live it.

This life.

My life.

“While you dream your dreams, He’s busy building your destiny. And there is as much beauty in your destiny as there was in your dream. Let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful.” –Carry on, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton

 

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breathe.

Driving into Ubud yesterday I found I often had to remind myself to breathe. The driving is something I’ve never experienced. Scooters flying around on both sides. Constant games of chicken with oncoming traffic, luckily it ends safely (at least it has so far). Everyone seems at ease. There doesn’t seem to be road rage here, or at least I haven’t experienced it. It’s just an understanding, I’m faster than you so I’m gonna go around you and when I flash my lights or put on my blinker or calmly honk my horn I’m just preparing you for my move.

It’s almost like a dance. The cars and scooters are just gliding down the highway, weaving in and out, speeding up, slowing down, taking a moment to breathe rather than moving forward with rage, they are grateful they are moving. It took us just under 2 hours to arrive in Ubud and I found as we got closer I had started to breathe again, I was at ease, taking it all in. Breathing in a new culture, a new perspective.

It’s amazing how different their highways, markets and housing is from the United States. I had a similar eye opening experience 3 years ago when I spent a month in South Africa and Malawi. One thing I noticed that aligns both places is people are happy, people are content and people here are breathing. They are soaking in every experience, every interaction and they want to make sure your time here is memorable. Every single person working at this resort knows my name. Not only mine, but every single person I am here learning with. Incredible.

What has made me sad though is the volcano activity has driven much of the tourism out of Bali. A lot of people that live here and that work at this resort have been evacuated from their homes and they are living with other family. They don’t complain about it, they don’t want your sympathy, they are just grateful that they are safe. We are the only people (minus one other couple) at this resort due to the warnings, warnings that aren’t even affecting our area, but warnings that are affecting the wealth of this resort, the wealth of this island. They could be angry, they could be rude to us, but every single person I’ve encountered shows pure gratitude. It has me thinking about the interactions in America, how could we be more like the Balinese, how could we be more grateful?

Breathe it all in and think of what you can be more grateful for, even if it’s just for that moment that you stop and just breathe.

observations.

There is a beautiful connection between movement and breath. Inner thoughts occur. Worry. Faith. Doubt. Belief. Strength. Weakness. Fear. Fearlessness.

Day seven has arrived in what has already felt like a month of time here, yet has only felt like one day has gone by. There are so many vibrations going through my mind. The fear of being authentically myself on arrival and being accepted. We got delayed on our journey so we arrived a day late. Our first day started off with 4 hours of silence. First off if you know me personally you are probably thinking how on earth did you stay quiet that one. It was tough. I met 15 new people via silence. We connected just by a simple smile and movement. There was a lot of curiosity on both ends, who are these people? Will they like me? We meditated in each other’s presence, we flowed in a two hour vinyasa class and then the silence was broke and we met. I immediately felt a connection with many of these people if not all of them. That is just the beginning. 

We are all here on a different journey. We are here with a different story. We are here to find our own path. Yet we are all connected as one and we are all facing different fears. What I truly love about the practice of yoga is that it comes in all forms. It doesn’t matter the success or the struggle that you bring to the mat. What matters is that you show up and you grow from the experience. A lot of people fear yoga. I think it’s because you know you’ll have to stop and listen to yourself, you’ll have to feel movement in your body and you’ll have to listen to your mind and the chatter that exists within. I relate it to how I feel about writing. This scares the crap out of me. I was told once I need to blog because I have good stuff to say. But I constantly doubt my abilities to do it. I was also told to never go back and read it, cause I’ll over analyze, correct and not actually say what I mean. They were right…about that last part anyway.

I am finding this experience is a lot like the volcano that erupted just a short seventeen miles away from us. We expect by nature of a volcano at some point it will erupt. I came in full of expectations of what an advanced teacher training could hold, yet I was ready to dive into the unknown. The people that had to evacuate didn’t know what to expect. They knew that the eruption could be life changing, but how life changing was unknown. This training is opening several doors of thought and life changing experiences. In just seven days my mind has been filled with so many new ideas, dreams, goals and it has also allowed me to let go of a a few things that I have been hanging on to.  I have noticed things that I need to change and it feels good to acknowledge. Twenty five days left and I’m sure we’ve barely scratched the surface.

Pause in the moments of unknown. And breathe. Don’t think of what’s next. Think of what is now. – Cailee

surrender and be fearless

The last two days have been a test. I have broke down and cried several times. Over fear, over generosity, over worry, over gratefulness. Back and forth I have felt sad tears and happy tears and all of it is because I am fifteen days away from the journey of a lifetime. I need to surrender and be fearless, God has great plans for me on the road ahead.

A few months ago I toyed with the idea of going somewhere for my 500 hour training for yoga and just two weeks from now I will find myself in a quiet seaside town in east Bali. Who would have thought?

I have often looked at life as an adventure, and I have been fortunate to take many trips through out the US and I’ve visited countries that most can only dream of. I went to South Africa and Malawi in 2014. It was my first time leaving the country. I got to meet people who live a completely different life than me. It was humbling, and the first time I realized that I have a bigger purpose in life than working 9-5 at a desk.

Shortly after, in 2015 I went to Mexico. Also eye opening – but I got to live in the luxurious tourist part, but man it was different than home, and it’s so close to home. I have been back to Mexico a couple times since and each time I have been able to experience culture at a deeper level.

2016 was Germany where I got to explore European life, sports and travel by train and bus where I visited Prague, Czech Republic and Salzburg, Austria. I explored castles where I wondered how it felt to be a princess, drank beer just like the Germans (it was Oktoberfest in Munich so I had to play the part) and tasted what makes European cities so amazing.

Here we are wrapping up 2017 and I am lucky enough to continue the adventure in Bali. I know that what I am about to learn will be life changing. Something their website said that made me believe this was the right training for me, “When it’s done you’ll be a different person…not a person who’s changed, but rather a person who has a clearer, truer understanding of who they really are…a person who sees the beauty and grace inside of themselves, and know what it’s like to feel a connection with others that’s so strong it can never be broken.”

I can’t wait to bring this feeling back to my students – I am ready to keep changing lives and I’m excited to better understand myself so I can make a bigger impact in this world. It’s tough what we face everyday in this world – in the news, in our jobs, in our communities. We can make a choice how we feel in our lives, even when bad things happen around us. We can surrender, we can be fearless and we can make a choice to be our best selves.

I am going to do my best to blog at least once a week while I’m gone – maybe even twice. But for the most part I’m staying technology free which is scary and exciting all at the same time. Be sure to follow here for updates 🙂

For more information on where I’m headed and what I’m doing Click Here
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Oh hey, that’s me.

I walked into Lululemon on Grand Ave today with a hat on because I heard my pictures were up and as loud as I am and as well as I function in front of a crowd it was really weird seeing myself up on a wall of my favorite store where people I know and people I don’t know shop everyday – so I tried to be disguised. 


The awesome crew over there of course knows me and all complimented the pictures that were up. Truly the placement and the pictures chosen couldn’t be any more perfect.  It’s all so surreal. 

6 months ago I leaped to pursue my passion of helping people be their strongest and happiest selves through fitness, but also through social media. I post the things I do to show people this world isn’t all crappy, we just have to change our perception.  We can be the change, even if it’s a small part.

In 20 days I will be flying off to work on myself more through a 300 hour teacher training.  My life has had its shares of ups and downs. I’ve had heart break early, I’ve lost people close to me, and I’ve had to make big decisions on who is important to have in my life. I’ve had successes and I’ve had failures. 2017 has thrown its fair share of curve balls but as I’m reflecting and doing a lot of goal planning lately I’m realizing 2017 has been kick ass. 

What I realized today when I looked at those pictures is that my decision to make change has given me a pretty awesome platform to be my authentic self. I get to change peoples lives every single day. And this is only the beginning! 

Thank you to the crew at Lululemon Grand Ave and the kick ass people in my life that have supported me through all this change. Great things are coming and I’m excited to pursue some awesome opportunities in front of me! 

Transformation

Today kicks off the 6 week weight loss challenge at Orange Theory Fitness Woodbury! I am stoked to be the captain of Team White! I have some amazing people on my team looking to make their life even better. But not only that, there are over 200 people total between the three teams that are looking to change their lives over 6 weeks and I am super excited to keep them motivated to do that.

Since starting to coach at OTF I have made a lot of lifestyle changes. I workout more, I eat better, I sleep more and I find I am happier than I have been in a long time. I made a big leap when I came to Orange Theory, I left the corporate desk life that I spent 14 years in. I was often unhappy in my own physical body which ultimately affected my mind and how I felt about myself. I was constantly motivating people to be in shape and to eat healthier, yet I didn’t feel I was in the body to preach that.

I am now walking the walk, not just talking.

Since this time last year I am down 20 lbs! I’d be curious what my body fat to muscle comparison was a year ago because I’m sure it would have been an interesting change. The number on the scale is cool, but really when it comes down to weight loss for me it’s about how I feel when I put on my clothes. A few weeks ago I decided to try on all my jeans and found most of them fall off of me (these are jeans I still have from high school/college by the way). Most of my yoga pants are too big too (is that even possible, why yes it is). I have been working on myself everyday and I have noticed little changes, but lately the results are really showing. It has taken time and I have been putting in a TON of work, but every time I look in the mirror, every time I get dressed, every time I work out I feel that much better than I have (probably since I was 14). It has been completely worth sacrificing the junk I used to eat and not skipping my workouts. It’s a lifestyle change really and I am feeling 100 percent better because of it.

I want nothing more than to help people push through the same things I have pushed through and see the results I’ve been able to see. You can do it and once you get there it is much easier than saying tomorrow i’ll do it. Do something today, You got this!

Also, I am participating in the weight loss challenge. My goal is accountability of getting my workouts in and finally losing those stubborn areas my body holds on to 🙂

Day one….I’ll keep you updated on my progress 🙂

 

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Left: One year ago (fall 2016), Right: Last weekend (fall 2017)

 

Mirror, mirror

A few days ago I got into a bit of a heated conversation with a person I have known for years. I kept myself pretty poised through it but I’m not gonna lie it stung a bit. Not because I cared about the words he said, but because it made me realize there are a ton of people in this world that are so insecure with their own issues they choose to belittle others. 

2 months ago I quit my full time, stable, 40+ hour a week job that I was pretty good at to pursue my passion of helping people get out of their own way and find the inner spark within to be better, stronger and more confident. I myself have struggled for years with loving the body I’m in. I found most of my struggles started when I went through a marriage and divorce at 21. I was constantly putting myself down and blaming myself for things I couldn’t control. At 26 I opened my eyes and came out of that dark place. My friend got my into running and then yoga. Little did I know it was that moment that changed everything. 

I am now full time teaching people how to be free of those feelings of not being good enough and feeling confident about their bodies through fitness. So back to why I’m writing this. The “friend” I mentioned earlier asked about the new business me and my friends have started and during the conversation he mentioned that he would never go to me for fitness advice because he would only talk to people that are in shape. You can imagine how my jaw dropped. I know I am not fitness model material (at this moment 😀), but I am on an incredible journey finding my perfect body. Let me tell you, I have never felt more confident about my body than I do now. 

Why I am writing this….if you are like me and you are trying to reach certain fitness goals, do not let people knock you down! Anyone who ever tries to hate on you is just merely showing you how they see themselves in the mirror. 

My hope for him is he wakes up and realizes everyone has their battles and more importantly everyone has their successes. Shine through your success and your battles will lessen. Be you and be confident with your self. For every hater there will be hundreds that believe in you.

“Be you. Set your fear on fire.”

If you want to learn more about the business I mentioned earlier check is out on the web: http://www.grit2gold.com or Instagram: grit2gold