52 Fridays…How Far You’ve Come

Friends, we did it…we made it to Friday! Some weeks are tougher than others. Some leave us with a sense of accomplishment, others pass with no noticeable progress.

This week seemed to slip through my fingers. Though I worked HARD on me…nutrition, workouts, headspace, I saw no evidence on the scale. I’ve learned that number rarely reflects my efforts. If I got hung up solely on that number (as I used to), I would have considered this week a failure. Once I get that stinking thinking going in my head, the old patterns of sabotage threaten to return.

So instead of looking back at my week as a total wash, I chose to take a quick peek much further back for perspective…

When I think back over six years ago, how broken and empty I was, then consider the kinds of things I did this week to enliven my soul…none of that would have been possible back then. This week’s weight training sessions, a 5k, two hikes, a bike ride, some Tai chi chih, multiple walks and an earth shattering vinyasa yoga class would have killed that girl!

I make a point to refrain from looking back too often in useless guilt or regret, but today’s recollection was solely motivational. Journaling some of these thoughts helped me keep this week in perfect perspective.

Wow, I sure made this one all about me, didn’t I? I guess I wanted to make this 52 Friday’s quote relavent and gave you a look inside my journaling journey. Friends, it’s your turn. Take some time to explore what looking back does for you. Does it leave you feeling stalled or does it inspire you to endeavor forward? Where were you then? Where are you now? Give it some thought, then write down what comes…

 

52 Fridays…Sacred Space

Happy Friday, Friends! I’m SOOOO on top of this week’s 52 Fridays thought! I’ve had my coffee and was already relaxed into my chair as I did a little end of week meditation…just part of my mindfulness practice. I couldn’t help but think how calm I’ve been this week and as I dug into the why, it kept coming back to something I don’t often talk about.

So, Friends, grab your journal, pen, soothing beverage and settle in for a few moments to adventure with me on this journaling journey of you!

What is sacred space? It’s a term that I have heard more and more, lately, as I’ve delved deeper into my spiritual awareness. As I searched the internet for a simple definition, I realized no two explanations are alike. Why? I feel like we have such varying interpretations because each of us experiences sacred space in our own unique and individual ways…so much so, I had great difficulty finding an all encompassing definition that applied to me, let alone everyone else.

I did find one vague enough that resonated for me on thefreedictionary.com…see what you think.

sacred space,

n space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual.
Give that some thought; feel free to jot down what comes forth. Do you take time within what you would consider your sacred space, whether it be in a physical or non-physical place. If so, what does this space look like for you? Is your space within or outside of you, indoors or out? How does it feel? Do you associate any smells or scents with that space? Any sounds? Is this a space you can go freely, at any time? Do you wish you could spend more time within that space? If so, what’s holding you back? Has your sacred space shifted throughout your life?
Is your space inside or outdoors…within or outside of you?

 

52 Fridays…What Do You Believe?

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends…means we’ve successfully made it through another week! I’ve got a pretty deep thought for you to examine this week, so grab that journal, pen, beverage and ease into that cozy place.

Some have known and trusted their whole lives; others have picked up and pieced together unmistakable clues along the way. Still others remain closed off to the notion, feeling solely responsible for their own destinies.

Where do you fit into the belief that your life is divinely guided? What evidence have you witnessed one way or the other? Have you noticed any shifts? Are you comfortable where you are? Happy?

Take some time to consider where you are in the big picture…

Take some deep breaths, let go and explore this on a soul level, Folks; you might be surprised to read what words and ideas land in your journal! No judgement here, Friends, just pure encouragement for you to better understand yourself. I invite you to feel deeply into this one, to discover for yourself what you believe and why. The journey inward can be quite enlightening!

Have an amazing weekend!

52 Fridays…Don’t Take it for Granted

Well, Friends…we did it; we made it to another weekend! I know Friday seemed to somehow slip past me yet again (as it often does), but I wanted to take the opportunity to share another thought provoking prompt with my die hard journalers.

Summer flew by again, and as I reflect on all the adventures, experiences and great moments of calm, I keep coming back to a simple thought. Each and every one of them have been such blessings. Even the struggles I encountered lately remind me just how good my life is when I consider this…

This week I invite you to take a look around. Think about where you are and what surrounds you. I encourage you to witness all of it through eyes of profound gratitude.

When I consider where I am in life, it would be easy to compare myself to others and feel a sense of lack. But as we well know, comparison is the thief of joy. So I choose to look back within my own past. I vividly remember a time not so long ago, I hoped and prayed for what I have now.

Gratitude.

If I shift back into comparison in a positive direction…perspective reminds me that the abundance of blessings in my life, even though they may not seem like much to some, are the answers to others’ prayers.

Friends, if you find yourself in comparison mode, place yourself into that positive perspective and you will be astounded at just how blessed you truly are. Take some time to sit within that beautiful notion. Jot down some thoughts on where you find yourself and know that you are exactly where others hope and pray to arrive.

Blogfest Adventure 2018

Friends, this summer is on fast forward…I swear! It’s been a month since I’ve posted, yet my family and adventures have kept my head spinning in the very best ways. It’s time we catch up a bit…I’ll do my best in the upcoming weeks to share with you things my mind is still attempting to put words to. For now, I’ll recall a surreal trip to San Diego I took a month ago that was meant to inspire my blogging, but did vastly more!

I admit, it was an unpack and repack whirlwind that took me from serene, family lake vacation in Minnesota to upbeat, fast-paced west coast adventure…one that has left an indelible impression in my heart. A late-night flight landed me in the Gaslamp Quarter with my soul sister I don’t see nearly often enough! We immediately crashed at our Airbnb and woke the next morning ready to conquer the world!

We carved out an entire week, with Blogfest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention as our main focus, but had so much more in our cache of plans. We hit the pavement running and made every inch our amazing playground!

We did our best to mentally prepare for the information overload and mass amounts of motivation we were about to ingest. There was really only one way to do that while in sunny SoCal IMHO…

 

The extraordinary organizers of Blogfest put us front and center with some amazing fitness and wellness professionals to ignite a blaze of inspiration within. Nadia and I simply fell in love with motivational guru, Petra Kolber. Her message continues to whisper sweet nothings in my soul.

Yeah, true confession…I openly admit to rubbing on her arm to absorb some of her exquisite vibe! And while that exchange still had me giddy, I was not prepared for what came next!

I’ve been captivated by Heidi and Chris Powell since the debut of Extreme Weight Loss on ABC. I savored each episode because I was in the midst of my own transformation and related to and hung on their every word. They won the Jack LaLanne award during IDEA WORLD’s opening ceremonies and gave a stupendous acceptance speech.

Shortly after they concluded and the keynote began, Nadia tipped me off to this cosmically destined moment…

Yeah, another true confession…I shamelessly helped myself to their radiant energy too. I’m still swooning from that one! We were additionally enthralled with Heidi’s keynote at Blogfest, where we all continued to bask in her glow.

Although these were merely a small fraction of our Blogfest/IDEA World events, I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground after that. It all seems a fantastic blur to me now!

We listened and learned from several other great speakers and were spoiled by a number of sponsoring companies like California Almonds, Frog Fitness, General Mills, TriggerPoint, and BeBetter to name a few.

And although the workouts and workshops were all so high energy, nothing could prepare me for the insane amount of energy packed into the expo!

It simply blows my mind, all the great connections made in one place! Shout-outs to my friends at OOFOS and D’moda Sportswear…their generosity astounds me!

 

Was SO happy to run into the fine folks at Great Lakes Gelatin to share with them my injury recovery success with their product!

My favorite new find at the expo had to be these big kid toys by Empower…you all know how much I love to play!

I’m tired just recalling Blogfest and IDEA, but maybe that’s because I jammed way more fun into my trip…like this sailing adventure chartered by some very special friends!

 

And this little pre-dawn hike up Cowles Mountain. Although the sunrise wasn’t spectacular, the climb, view, company and accomplishment were!

Yeah, we embraced every single solitary moment in that paradise!

What a blessing to experience the richness of this enchanting place in the presence of truly outstanding people!

The reconnection and recharge felt throughout this week will echo within forever!

Annual Vacation NOT the Same Old Same Old!

Friends, I just came off our annual family lake vacation more energized than ever before! We’ve been driving up to the Alexandria, MN area for 24 years, many of which exhausted me…I usually returned home feeling like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Does that make sense?

It used to be a crazy week for me when the kiddos were younger, making sure we packed everything, keeping them from drowning or hooking each other with their fishing rods, keeping up with their unlimited energy and filling each moment with unforgettable memories…kind of like being the activities director. I suffered burnout every year. And I’m just going to say that a week is a lot of together time for our tribe!

Luckily, seasons change, kids grow and I wised up.

This year it finally hit me…the only person’s activities I needed to direct were my own, so I aimed a very different direction that made all the difference!

A solo five mile walk around Lake Moses was refreshing. The birds serenaded and the breeze coaxed me forward while the water beckoned…ahhhhh.

A trip into town treated me to a relaxing energy work/intuitive reading/massage session. Another soulful way to spend some me time.

I stopped to enjoy coffee and conversation with someone I heard astounding things about…thanks, Fr. Darin!

I treated myself to a ridiculously expensive, playful dress for my son’s upcoming wedding…a dress that shouts FUN (kind of like me haha)!!!

I took time for the things that feed my soul…catching nearly every awe-inspiring sunrise.

And oh, those sunsets. And while my family continued to do all the things they do on vacation, I set out to try a few new things…like marking SUP yoga off my bucket list with the extraordinary instructor, Karen of Kosha Wellness at the Lake Carlos Marina.

 

That experience only lasted 90 minutes, but it will be etched on my heart forever! Namaste.

 

I’ve never taken time to explore my passions during this annual vacation quite like this year. Do you know what happens when I do? I find fascinating new FIT BFFs that feel like old friends…how amazing to be able to vibe on this tribe! Loved meeting you, Nikki, Siw and Karen; can’t wait to do it again!

Sure, I spent some time with the fam…

But I took things slower, calmer, quieter…

Watching my kids (and soon-to-be daughter-in-law) grow even more independent, yet enjoying the inner child within each of them.

I made the annual F Day dessert to honor the dads in the bunch, while still missing my own dad fiercely.

So much so, I decided to treat my wounded heart to a healing session with Debra at Soul Harvest & Healing.

My time spent with her was the best gift I could’ve given myself. I feel like crying all over again (in a good way) just thinking about what happened in that sacred space.

Before I knew it, the week was over…

It was time for one last paddle around Lake Aaron to bid my beloved playground a fond farewell… reminiscing over a beautiful, wonderful week of new beginnings.

I can’t wait until next year!

52 Fridays…It’s All in How You Look at It!

I’m running a bit behind this week, as I wrap up one week of travel and look toward the next. It’s Friday again, Friends! Another opportunity to settle in, get comfortable and breathe.

This week’s 52 Fridays takes a look at the idea that life is constantly changing, whether we like it or not. Within a lifetime, we go through countless beginnings and endings. Take some time to consider what’s going on in your life. Are you finding yourself at the end of a chapter or chapters? Does this feel good for you or does it fill you with trepidation? Are you prepared to move forward?

If you look deeper, does it appear to be not just an end, but a new beginning of sorts? If we take time to consider that endings are merely the start of something new or different, we can begin to feel excited about the upcoming chapters of our stories.

If we can learn to put a more positive spin on life’s surprises, those tricky transitions that once felt unsettling can begin to find you gliding over calm waters. It takes practice, but soon you’ll be turning those stormy seas into smoothe sailing.

Shifting perspective in such a way is one more great way to put our Best Foot Forward.

52 Fridays…Because You’re Worth It!

Yay for us, Friends, we made it to another 52 Fridays! Forget about what craziness might be going on around you. Take a moment to stop thinking about your to-do list…you deserve a little me time! So grab that beverage, journal, pen, cozy into that chair and let’s just breathe!

If you’ve been around here long, you know how I feel about the myriad of things that are vying for our time and attention. I’ve learned that I don’t need to say yes to every volunteer opportunity, I can let events and happeneings pass me by. Really, it’s okay! Because in doing so, I have more time to come back to me, to regain focus, clarity, balance.

Take some time to pinpoint and record the things you prioritize on a daily/weekly/monthly basis…are YOU included in that mix? If yes, good for you…keep it up! If not, what things on that list can you let go? What would you do for yourself if you had a bit more time to focus on you?

Friends, I PROMISE it’s not selfish to love and care for yourself, to prioritize your happiness…it’s a basic need! Once you accept that, look out…your life is about to change in ways that will astound you. Why? Because you are worthy!

52 Fridays…Expect the Wonderful

Are you like me? Did your week go by so fast you feel like your head is spinning? I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where it went! This is a crazy-busy, insanely-paced time of year for me, but I know it’s only for another week until school is done. I’m only thinking good thoughts as I attempt to keep up!

And that thought brings me to today’s episode of 52 Fridays! I’ve got my beverage, journal and pen readied, I’m cozied into my chair and ready to explore this week’s idea. Come along!

It fits right into this time of year for many. Back when I was living a much unhealthier lifestyle, weeks like these would tear me apart. Why? It was all in my way of thinking. I was always on guard…just waiting for and expecting the next bad thing to happen. And do you know what? That’s exactly what happened because that was what I had my brain trained to look for. How depressing is that?!?

Let’s examine your way of thinking. Do you worry? Are you just waiting for the next thing to break or to derail your day or life? If so, how does that feel? For me it was downright exhausting, until I made a mindful change. It took me some time to shift my thinking, but once I did, I was able to recognize that feeling, adjust my thoughts and let the negative go. I can tell you it has made a world of difference in my life. And I’m sure my drop to a normal blood pressure has much to do with this more positive way of thinking.

If you don’t already, could you shift your thinking to expecting the positive instead? What does that look like for you? Take a few moments to try it on for size, then notice how you feel? Jot down those thoughts and feelings. Want to make an even bigger impact? It will take some effort, but put it do daily practice! You will be surprised at what happens…I promise!

If you only expect the wonderful, look out…here it comes!

Growing Around the Grief

Growing up, my parents taught me a LOT about gardening. They grew an impressive vegetable garden each year and included me in every aspect of its growth. I’m grateful to have learned the process. So much so, that I’ve carried the practice into my adult life. I’d like to say I’m half the gardener they were, but maybe someday I’ll get there.

Our family’s time-honored tradition of planting occured every year between May 14th-21st for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. I wanted to follow this rule, but was incredibly busy all week in preparation of some pretty important events.

Our family is growing. Hitting me square in the feels, our oldest son Logan arrived smack-dab into adulthood Friday night, graduating from the Mayo Clinic’s Paramedic Medicine Program. That sweet little heart of a boy has grown so much and is ready to save the world one person at a time!

And the family is growing in other directions too…Saturday afternoon, my amazing mother-in-law did an exquisite job of helping me shower Logan’s fiance in a lovely manner. We will soon be adding this beautiful young woman, Anna, into our tribe. Again with the feels, Friends!

So yesterday I needed to decompress, to let it all sink in how quickly this precious life goes by. I found myself out in that garden…boy did that thing need attention to get it planted by my deadline.

See, we used the May 14th-21st span because the frost is generally done by then, an easy rule of thumb for us to remember because those dates are my brother and dad’s birthdays. My dad’s birthday was rolling around again, this the 7th year we’d celebrate without him. These special days so hard to get through, yet I’ve grown, Friends, and I had a plan to observe this year a bit differently.

I’m stronger these days, more grateful for EVERYTHING! I couldn’t help focusing on that gratitude yesterday as I rototilled with the tiller my dad gave me when he stopped gardening. Couldn’t help feeling him holding on because the thing is a BEAST! I planted all my seed vegetables yesterday but saved the seedlings for today.

I purchased my plants just as it began to rain. Drat! But do you know what? I was so determined to finish planting by the 21st that I did it in the rain. He’s probably the one up there who made it rain anyway…he was quite the jokester and why would now be any different. Instead of feeling the familiar heaviness in my heart, I smiled.

I wore one of his favorite shirt jackets, played a playlist of all the songs just like he used to play on the organ, and I got it done. On time! The birds we both love were out there singing too…it was as if he was right there with me, and we had a ball. I can’t wait to watch this garden grow and think he had something to do with it. This felt like the perfect way to spend his day.

Birthdays have always been very special in our family. I look back to one of the last we celebrated with him, and gratitude hits me square in the heart again…

I came upon a video on Facebook the other day that best illustrates how we grieve; it made HUGE sense to me. Check it out here.

I wanted to share it with any of you missing a loved one so much it hurts. As I think back to the pain of missing this guy these past seven birthdays, yet moving forward with an abundant, happy life, it makes perfect sense. I’m growing around the grief.

Happy 82nd Lotus Conrad, thanks for being there today!