Where will the wind take you?

Two years ago my dear friend told me “You’re like the seed of a dandelion, stuck to the flower because it’s all you know. Let go and see where the wind takes you.”

So I did. I let go. I let go of relationships, I let go of dating. I decided to date myself and I decided to take leaps in life that were very scary and very unknown. But here I am reflecting and realizing she was more than right. Her words have changed my entire life.

I did all the things I was supposed to do growing up, high school sweetheart, college, work. Went the way of the corporate world. Sat at a desk for way too long and finally because of several friends, a lot of journaling and praying I found a place to go and to be me.  A place I could be weird  yet focused and driven. A place where I could help people see the magic inside them. There is really no secret to the success I’ve been seeing both in my work and in my personal life other than that I am focused on what I do best and what I am meant to do.
One thing I’ve learned is we all have a purpose in life. I’ve let go of the things I am bad at and I admit when something isn’t my strength. I say I don’t know when I don’t know and I stick to my words when I truly believe in something. I’ve become vulnerable, open and more confident in everyday life.

My point is, if you are NOT happy, DO SOMETHING to change that. People talk a lot of negative talk and say a lot they are going to do. But things don’t ever change until you decide to actually make the change. Today, grab a notebook, grab a pen and start writing down the things you want in your life. Start writing, start believing and let the wind take you.

 

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

 

IMG_0717

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
img_0795

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 🙂

 

IMG_0462

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

 

War Stories

I spent most of my day yesterday in the hospital with my Grandpa. I received a call in the morning from my Dad who I don’t often talk to. I knew his phone call at 10am on a Tuesday wasn’t going to bring good news. About a year ago I was visiting my Grandma in the hospital and although she pulled through it, I continue to be nervous everyday that I will have to say good bye, and these phone calls always make me nervous.   My dad lives just over 2 hours away from the cities and he was on his way down as my Grandma told him Grandpa has been acting strange, he had been very quiet the last few weeks and was acting very confused about most things. When she brought him to the doctor on Monday they did a CT scan and found that there may be tumors in his brain. They sent him home for the night but had him come back in on Tuesday to be admitted to the hospital and for more testing to be done. I sit here currently not knowing the results, but I do know there is a likely chance it isn’t good.  My Grandpa has survived WWII as well as many different types of cancer. The fact that he has spots in his brain that could be tumors, just isn’t promising that it will result in anything other than being cancerous. (this is my own non medical terms of what is going on)

I am so thankful that my dad called me yesterday. I am more thankful that I made the choice to drop everything from my day and take time to go be with my Grandpa and Grandma, my Dad and my cousin Brenda.  I don’t have the best relationship with my dad unfortunately. We do not have a bad relationship by any means, we just are not close. We’ve had a few bumps in life that have left us pretty distant. Spending time with him yesterday allowed me to catch up, I felt no need to have anger towards him for not being a bigger part of my life, I have no regret of how life has been. It was  nice to share with him the things I am doing. I am passionate about what I am doing in life right now and I love everyone and everything that surrounds me.

We all live such busy lives in today’s world, we often need that reminder to slow down. Yesterday was my reminder. I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents when I was growing up. I have not made as much time as an adult to be with them.   Years ago I lost my Grandpa and Grandma Stangl, my mom’s parents. My Grandpa Stangl died suddenly so I didn’t get a chance to sit with him and say goodbye. My Grandma however slowly began to fade towards joining my Grandpa so I was able to sit with her and say goodbye. Last year when Grandma Foster was in the hospital I went to be with her, you never know what could have happened. Luckily she pulled through and is still quite the whippersnapper at 89.  Even yesterday at the hospital I could see that about her. Such a strong woman. It was hard to watch her get the news and have reality set in that my Grandpas prognosis wasn’t very good. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Grandma cry. I don’t think I’ve every seen my dad cry either. I spoke with my dad this morning and realized he has never really lost anyone close to him. My dad is 61. I can’t imagine. I lost my uncle when I was 11. My uncle was one of my closest family members. From there I have lost way too many friends, my mom’s parents, and someone who I was on a beginning of a possible relationship with. I have had to deal with death far too many times in my short time here on earth. Each death has brought pain, tears, questions, but also an appreciation. An appreciation that I have had them in my life. They have taught me something that I will always cherish.

Whatever I find out in the coming days with my Grandpa, I know I will be strong for him, for my Grandma and for my Dad. That’s who I am. I am a supporter, a backbone for people. I will cry with them, but I will also smile and laugh at stories and memories of an amazing life that has been lived through my amazing grandparents. I will take these days, whether they are just that, days, or if they extend in to months and years (praying they do) and cherish every moment. Be there more. Take the time for them. They ultimately gave me life on this earth. I am starting to realize where I get all these quirks from (thanks Grandpa).  I will always cherish that time I spent yesterday, holding my Grandpas hand and looking into his eyes. I will never know all that those eyes have experienced or seen in this world. 94 years of experience thus far. He gave me his story of war a few years back. It is pages and pages of his experience in his own words. I can’t wait to finish reading it.  I can only hope that I can continue to learn from him and my Grandma. They have both experienced so much life. I hope to do the same and I hope to one day be where they are, still in love after 68 years. Still holding on together with hope, love and God by their side.

Addiction

ad·dic·tion

 

: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)

: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something

 

We all have one. Whether we can admit it or not. I have many. Fortunately for me they don’t involve drugs of any sort. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t bad addictions. I have for a long time struggled with a spending addiction. I like to shop, and my closet and dresser proves it. This is an addiction that got worse through heartbreak. I did not turn to drugs or alcohol (in a sense that I could control whether I drank or not), but I did turn to malls. New clothes made me feel better about myself. (Can you relate?)  Over time I did develop other addictions too. Social media has been a huge addiction for me. Facebook for some reason can keep me so captivated to the point I lose interest in other things. Sometimes I find I can’t even concentrate on a TV show or movie because I might miss a status or update. Too many conversations include “oh yea, I saw that on facebook”. We as a society are starting to lose personal connection with our friends and family over this. How often do you call an old friend to see what is new in their life or how they are doing, you see it on facebook so you already know right?  Wrong!

I always laugh when people comment how great my life is, and how well I look like I am doing. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a great life and I love what I am creating, and I love who surrounds me. But on the other end, I do get sad, I do feel like I’ve failed and I do feel lonely, I just don’t share it on facebook. I hate putting forth negativity, so I just don’t. Truth be told I have deleted a few friends because of their continuous negative updates.

So yes, I know, I post a ton. I post pictures everyday. I love to speak through picture. We only have one life so we might as well capture it and remember it. But I have decided to keep this a little more private, or should I say a little less on facebook. I have decided that facebook has become my latest addiction and I just want to cut it, cold turkey. I cut it for a while weekend once, and it was easier than I thought so now I am challenging myself to give it up for a longer period of time. Starting today, October 1st, I am going to focus on more important things in my life and less on social media. I have decided I will stay active on my twitter and instagram account and I would like to focus on my blog much more, but I am cutting facebook. This will be a tough challenge for me. I can’t tell you how many times I pick up my phone and go through my facebook newsfeed. Such a time waster.

My decision couldn’t come at a better time. I am starting hot yoga teacher training soon which means my mind is going to be filling with so much new information that I am ecstatic to learn about, so I want my attention to be 100% focused on training. I also want to take my time away from facebook to continue to focus on who I am, who I want to be and I want to get back to my real relationships with my friends. Actual voice time, actual face time. I want to take the “I saw that on facebook” out of my sentences. (I might need to cut pinterest cold turkey too)

I am looking to gain a positive experience from this. I am looking to cut the addiction. Facebook rehab I’ll call it. So please continue to check out my blog and if you are on twitter or Instagram I always love new followers 🙂  twitter – @iamcailee  or Instagram – caileelee.

 

 

 

 

 

When life gives you a {__________}, how will you use it?

11 years ago I was given a yoga mat. It came from my mother. I decided to take one of her yoga classes she taught. Yoga was just starting to become a fitness go to, and I was a mere 17 years old, just trying something my mom was doing.  My mom has been in the fitness world for over 30 years, so as much as she thinks I don’t, I look at her for guidance with health and nutrition.  I remember my first class, I remember my first downward dog, I remember feeling so weak. My mind raced, it was not still, it was not calm. It had plans, events, thoughts, worries, pain, happiness, all rolling through at once. I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t breathing, I was judging. How was that lady next to me (twice my age) holding this dang downward dog. I wanted to collapse, I wanted to run out. I didn’t like yoga.

But, I kept going. It got better. I could hold longer. I realized I wasn’t breathing. I noticed I was holding on too much in my upper body. I wasn’t using my bodies strength equally. I wasn’t using my core. I remember the first time I had a quiet mind in yoga. It was the first time I really felt the benefit of the practice, it was the first time I let go of the judgement that surrounded me.

I took a long break from yoga once I went to college. My mom continued to teach. I would make it to classes every so often, but it wasn’t part of my routine. I was too busy and didn’t think it was important enough to keep in my life. I kept lifting, playing hockey and I added running to my workout routine.  Running started to become a bigger part of my routine. It started with friend asking me to do a 5k, then a 10k, before I knew it I was running several half marathons and 10 miles races. My body was starting to feel it, and it needed something more, something different from all the running. My friend suggested yoga, so I decided to join her. This was just over two years ago, and I sit here today with just under a year of teaching experience. Walking into the yoga studio 2 years ago, once again grabbing my mat has made a world of a difference in my life. I have transformed personally in so many ways. I have grown into my own skin. I have decided to use my mat as my “getaway” and also as a tool to evolve into a teacher of the practice.

Life hands us many things. We all use what we are given differently. I chose to take my practice deeper and it has given me a new perspective in life. I have spoken with many people that want to try yoga, but there is a tiny bit of fear keeping them from the studio. I encourage you to eliminate that fear, step into a studio, challenge your fear. Maybe it’s not yoga for you. Maybe it is school or a new job, or maybe just a life goal you have set. When life hands you {_______},  how you will use it?

 

Content through Him

For years I have been in the search to become whole. I will admit that I look strong on the outside, I may even come off strong when you speak with me about my past, but when it comes down to it I am still in pain with things of the past. I have always been in search of finding the pieces to fill the voids I feel, but always come up feeling empty. I have been afraid to admit it and quite frankly I have been afraid to give in to God as so many have suggested.

Finally a little less than a year ago, I gave in. It has been hard to fully allow God into my life, as a matter of fact I can say He still isn’t fully a part of me. But what is important is that I am letting him become the number one in my life. For years I have been afraid to go to church. I feared people would judge or criticize, and ya know some have. When it comes down to it I have had to do what is best for me. My approach on things has changed because I think of God first, plus I look to him for answers to decisions I can’t quite make on my own.  He is starting to fill the void in my life and I am ever so gracious for it.

The hardest part for me has been walking into Church alone. It’s kind of like going to a movie alone, I feel like people will look at me funny. But actually it has made me feel like a stronger person. I made the leap this year to live on my own, completely, no roommates. I am finding such an immense amount of independence from it as well as a feeling of being content with myself, a feeling I have never fully felt before.  I thought I would feel alone, but really the alone time has been so good for me. I am embracing every moment and finding joy in my quiet time. I even find that I try to spend some of this time with God. I read about him, and how he works in my life. I found taking time to read no matter what it is that I am reading has been much more fulfilling to me than the time in the past I spent watching TV. I am on my my way to feeling less empty. I still find times that I hurt inside from my past, but I am using God’s power and my own yoga practice as a way to steer quickly away from those feelings. Each day is a continued blessing, I am happy I am on this journey. I’m living in the present time, embracing every moment and taking life one step at a time.