Teaching

Success!

Aloha! The rain is coming down on Maui on my last night here.  It is appropriate since I will be heading into the rain of the Pacific North West.  The cruel truth is that rain here is warm and tropical, in Seattle it is cold and brutal.  My trip has been a fantastic journey, travel and food and working out and meeting awesome people.  However, I am very excited to come home.  I miss my bed, my things, a closet, a room without spiders and geckos.  Though the gecko is a spiritual creature according to Hawaiian lore, I am ok with not sharing space as much as I do right now.  Tonight, I picked up the sheets (to check for creatures) then lifted my pillow only to find a baby gecko that wasn't in a very safe place.  I put him outside only to see another baby on the other side of the room.  It is like they are gremlins; multiplying with water after midnight.

I also miss my work.  I was in college when I decided that I wanted to become a rowing coach.  It was my sophomore year and I was participating in National Team Testing.  I was new to sports and barely called myself an athlete, but I was good and I knew that much.  I was also good at describing the rowing stroke to my teammates and I loved helping.  I, after all, was a peer counselor in High School and an RA in college.  At the time I decided to become a coach I had a rather socially challenged Head Coach that needed a lot of assisting.  I filled the role of translator when I could.  It was then that I realized coaching was an option.  I thought the thought and then put it away.  I still had to finish school.  After graduating and picking up a coaching job almost immediately I was enthralled by the Olympics.  It was 1996 and cycling was being shown quite a bit.  I knew that I needed to find another sport to do alongside rowing and cycling seemed to fit.  It looked like it was mentally and physically grueling (a requirement for me) and I liked the way it shaped the body (another requirement).  I also sent into the universe ad dream of being able to work out for a living at the same time I was helping others.  I thought I would have to become an Olympic athlete (and I worked on that) or be a professional athlete in order to do so.  Turns out I was wrong with the means by which but dead on with bringing my dream to fruition.  Working out for a living is doable and exciting and literally a dream come true.

Because I love what I do it is hard to pull myself away from it.  So taking vacation becomes a challenge.  I do need space away from the daily grind in order to gain some perspective, stay fresh and study up.  However, it is a joy to come back to what I absolutely love to do day in and day out.  The music, the people, the love.  I am lucky because I worked my ass off for years.  When I began this journey I made $5300 annually for my first collegiate coaching gig.  I got a raise the next year to $5700.  Loving what you do and doing what you love means you may have to wait for the financial reward, but it is worth it.  No amount of money would stop me from teaching/coaching and training.  I always ask myself this question:  If I were to win the lotto would I stop working.  The answer has never been 'no' when it comes to my work with motivation and health & well-being.  When you would do what you do for free you know you have struck it rich!  That is what I would call success.

What are your passions?  Are you living them?  Are you going after your dreams???  Why or why not?

xo

a

Leave Them Alone

Howdy peeps!!! Do you ever feel like you need to fix someone?  Like you see someone and you know all the crap that they should do to feel better.  You know that they just need a, b and c.  Then they would be just fine!  You may have even let them know that you know what they need.  You know and if they listen they would know too.  Have you given that advice, told them what to do, only for them to ignore it?  Did you get pissed off?  Did you feel insulted?  Did you, at some point, judge them for not taking great advice and decide that they just wanted to be where they are.  Did you judge the fact that they stayed where they were as a problem or that they just wanted drama?

Maybe they did want the drama.  If the above relates to you then you too want drama.  Most of the time when you or anyone gives advice that isn't asked for then you are doing something without permission.  When was the last time someone did something for you/to you without your permission?  Did you like it?  Did it make you feel uncomfortable?  Depending on what it was you will have different answers.  Most folks aren't going to be upset if someone bought them a car, no strings attached, without permission.  Most of us aren't going to be upset if someone we knew and loved gives us flowers.  Most of us, however, have no desire to be told that we suck and that we wouldn't if we only did a, b, and c without first asking someone to help us or give us advice.  When you give advice without permission, when you tell someone what to do directly and then support it by judging their life, do you expect a showering of love?  Even if the advice is sound, well thought out and pertains to the person's life, they may not be ready for the change that you are pushing them towards.

Now, I always say you only get what you can handle and that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that when you get advice that is unsolicited there is a reason… maybe it is to hear it and then to ignore so that you sit in the place you are in longer to get out of it whatever it is trying to show you.  The bottom line is, we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing, even if family and friends want you to do it differently.  We can only go where we are ready to go.  Once we accept that we are the ones keeping ourselves where we are we will better be able to leave at will.  When you are done with a relationship there is nothing that can keep you in it.  When you are no longer receiving you cut off ties.  If you are holding onto a relationship/situation there is a reason.  Remember, it isn't for everyone else to know why, that is personal… and you may not even know why yet, you just know that you aren't ready to let go.

Often those who give unsolicited advice may need to look at themselves and their lives a bit harder.  There are things we are trying to avoid when we begin bossing others around and deciding that we know best for them.  When you feel the urge to get someone to change who hasn't initiated it themselves, you are projecting.  I am sure you can remember a time where you were in a situation/relationship that wasn't working for all intents and purposes but for some reason you chose to stay in it.  When you did decide to get out of it you were ready.  No one can decide when the right time to change your life is.  No one can make you see something that you aren't ready to see.  Just trust in the process of growth.  You cannot always see the plant growing, but it is steadily, persistently, continually growing… constantly changing.  What if we told the tree to hurry up?  Does that make sense?  Do we feel like we know how to tell a rose to bloom or when?

Leave us alone.  Leave them alone.  Go bother yourself :)

xo

a

P2P

Howdy!! I have been a coach for a long time.  During this time I have always benefitted from working near and with other coaches.  Once I left the collegiate coaching world I lost the coaching community that was built-in.  Since that time I have worked in clubs and on my own, but never with coaches that were about connecting, communicating and growing themselves and others, in the same way.  When you are able to work with other people who are doing what you do, sometimes better than you do, differently and in some ways the same, you are able to get what you give to your clients/students/athletes:  Coaching.

This holds true for any profession you are in.  If you are a yoga instructor it is important for you to be with other yoga instructors, be instructed and talk about yoga with people who know it.  If you are a photographer, writer, singer, dancer, designer, executive assistant, manager, or you are doing anything that is done by someone else… you would probably benefit from knowing others in your field.  We are so much stronger when we work as a team, when we share what we know.  There is something about hearing how someone else approaches a situation that you too will be, have been, or are presently faced with.  You learn that perspective is everything.  You learn that there are other ways to do what you do as well or better.  You learn about yourself.

In order to improve, in order to elevate yourself you need to be pushed forward, or pulled ahead as it sometimes turns out.  Being around others that are 'on your level' aid in this process.  You can always tell when you have met your equals because the feeling is mutual.  There is an openness that occurs without force.  You just know that you are peers.  It feels great, you relate, you share and, well, growth begins.

Get out there, get going, meet your people and start growing!!!

xo

a

Wind Beneath Our Wings

Greetings, I spend a lot of my time working to help others reach their goals.  I feel strongly about walking the walk and have never been one who has enjoyed when others only talk the talk.  I would never feel comfortable telling my clients to do something that I wouldn't do (unless it was due to a condition they had, or some other such concern).  I practice what I preach which allows me to trust in what I teach.  When I discuss teaching or coaching with anyone who is interested in doing the same I always ask if they have lived what they want to share.  Experience is the best teacher and certifications can be had by anyone.  When you are asking someone to sweat daily or asking someone to eat strictly you want to have done the same, in my opinion, so you know just what you are asking someone to do.  So you can support your clients on their journey to wellness.

Not everyone is going to become a Life Coach or a Personal Trainer.  Many people will be content to remain friends, family or partners of others.  Your role in supporting the one you love is just as important, if not more so.  You are the one that will hold your friend/partner/lover up when they are struggling with changes on their road to health.  Chances are you too could use some help around that very thing.  Bottom line:  without you they may not make it.  You are integral to their success on their journey to wellness.  Not moving your body or eating, in front of them, what they cannot (but would love to) eat is not only unsupportive, it is sabotage.

I have heard the argument, "Why should I have to change?  I am not the one on the diet!"  No, you aren't the 'one' changing his/her way of eating, but you are with the one who needs it.  If you don't have the forethought to be with someone who doesn't have to grow/change/develop in any way then you may have to deal with the dance you have had with this person changing.  You may have to change with it to keep the dance going.  Such is life.

Find ways to be supportive around the ones you love when they are learning to love who they are.  Find ways to get over the fact that everything changes including who you are with.  Know that your support of your friend/family/partner might be what catapults them to greatness.

xo

a

Keep Your Compassionate Projection To Yourself :)

"I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood.  Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other:  irrespective of whether another person is a close friend."  ~Dalai Lama Most of us believe that in order to be compassionate we have to know how the other person feels and relate to it.  In order to feel for someone we need to get into their space and feel what they feel.  Many times this leads us to forgetting that we aren't them and will never be…  Listening and asking questions is the best way to show compassion, as well as respecting that person's right to do what they decide.  Too often we have no idea that we aren't feeling for someone, we are merely projecting how we might feel in the same situation.  We believe we are 'helping' when we tell someone why something is or is not good for them.  We would do well to heed our own advice since we are actually giving it to ourselves, using the other as a screen to project what is happening for us.

"Projection: The unconscious transfer of one's own desires or emotions to another person: we protect the self by a number of defense mechanisms, including repression and projection."

Just recently a family member asked for positive support around a possible move for her and her immediate family.  What she received in return was a good number of supportive replies and a couple of comments that basically told her she was too old to change.  That change would be detrimental, not only to her, but to her family as well.  It is funny to me that even after asking directly for support she received comments that told her she was making a mistake.  What I learned about the person who replied with warnings was that they, themselves, felt they were too old, too saddled, and too stuck to do anything other that what they are doing at this moment.  The idea of change is scary for them and they would prefer it if others behaved with similar fears so as to not stir their own issues up.  It is always best to never take someone's judgement around how you live your life too seriously.  Listen to them, if you choose.  Understand that they are telling you about themselves and love them for sharing.

When someone is doing something that isn't what is expected, how do you feel?  Are you supportive or are you threatened?  Do you feel like they should be following the 'rules' or do you have a twinge of excitement and inspiration with them forging their own way, doing what dare not be done?

xo

a

Walk The Walk

As a life coach and as a fitness coach I spend a lot of time helping people own where they are in order to move beyond it, if they so choose.  I help people lose weight, gain muscle, let go or hold on, find their voice and own their choices.  I help people find and embody confidence.  I spend a lot of time helping others to change their lives.  It is an amazing 'job' I have and I appreciate it almost every moment. Because I spend a lot of time speaking to others about their ideal selves it only makes sense for me to do the same thing.  After all, how effective would I be if I wasn't living what I was giving?  If I wasn't walking the walk?  I feel that for anyone to be a truly effective leader they have to know how to follow.  I feel that for anyone to be an effective coach they must have been coached.  This brings me to my first cross fit experience, which was on Thursday.  I shouldn't say first… because it isn't.  It just has been a long time.  It was fantastic and I am excited to continue on the journey of being new to something and then mastering it.  It keeps me in the place of learning and growth and challenge.  As a coach, counselor and friend experiencing myself in various ways helps me connect to others where they are.  It is too easy for any one of us to find a niche and just do whatever that thing we do is.  It is unbelievably important to push our comfort zones regularly.  When we go to that place that scares us and come out of it we are better able to reach others that are in the same place.  Your work is you… through that work others will benefit greatly.

We are all teachers.  We are all students.  We are all learning and teaching one another.

What area of your life have you been ignoring that may need some attention?  Where do you find you may not be walking the walk?  Is there someone in your life that you "know" needs something but won't listen???  How do you see that trait in you with you?  Are you ignoring your own advice regularly?

Stay present.  Be love.  Shine Bright.

xo

a

What Goes Around

"Kindness is wisdom." ~Philip James Bailey I am constantly reminded that what you do comes back to you.  Call it karma, call it cause and effect, call it the way that it is.  I am told often that someone knows me or has known me through one of the ways I work with people, whether I met them directly or not.  I can say that I've never been told that someone had an absolutely awful experience with me in whatever capacity we'd met.  I take this to mean that my intention to share my respect and gratitude for others is felt more often than not.  For this I am grateful.

The importance of being kind, genuine, loving and open to people regardless of the situation or their status is priceless.  You simply never know how your treatment of them will return itself to you.  Moreover, you do know that you will impact them regardless.  What kind of impact would you like to have?  What kind of energy would you like returned to you?  I have seen so many people get annoyed with someone they work with and treat them poorly or flick someone off when driving.  I have seen coaches yell at their athletes and instructors behave like they are superior to all of human kind.  I have seen people disrespect one another and not realize that ultimately they are disrespecting themselves.

I remember when this was drilled home for me.  I was late getting to the boathouse for practice and someone cut me off.  I was pissed and probably made angry hand gestures (no flicking anyone off, but it was obvious that I was pissed).  Well, the guy was rushing to get to my class, which was just awesome for me.  I never let myself forget that.  I have also been interviewed by someone who I had, years previous, coached.  She told me, and the entire room full of interviewers, that I had been the coach that made her feel safe and competent.  She commented on another coach that had been "awful" to her and thanked me for being patient and loving.  I have been very lucky to be told, repeatedly, that I matter.  I matter in ways that I don't always comprehend.  Well, this is true for all of us.  Just today, I met with the owner of an organization I want to join.  The owner had already 'met' me before.  She had taken a class from me a few months ago and loved it.  :)

When I train instructors I remind them that someone important will be in class… someone who will impact their world.  I tell them to bring it every time; to inspire, encourage, and embody their ideal.  That person that is important is everyone in the room, including the instructor.  We all deserve to show up for ourselves and each other.

If you are being treated 'poorly' by someone try to remember that they are treating themselves even worse.  Maybe reminding yourself that you matter will change your response.  Maybe reminding yourself that you can change the movement of the world through kind and generous thought and action will change how quickly you take offense and react.

"The good deed you do today for a brother or sister in need will come back to you some day, for humanity's a circle in deed."  ~Robert Alan

"Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it's being done to him or by him."  ~Frank A. Clark

xo

a

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Wednesday! I am having a stellar day and it is still morning.  I woke at 5 this morning after having super active dreams, all good.  I had a 6am class at FlyWheel that I was looking forward to.  I wore lots of sequins :)  When I arrived, my bike was decorated with sparkly stars and lots of ribbon.  The mirror had a special message on it for me.  I felt loved.  Most of the staff woke up to take my class, which is amazing!  I feel love.  Two of my regulars showed up for the 6am after taking my class last night just to celebrate me.  I am love.

Before I left and after dancing around and feeling the excitement of being, I was asked some questions about age and what I have learned over my lifetime.  It was a gift to share it with Manny and Caroline and now I will share it with you.

I was light when I was young.  Shining bright, loving all that existed.  I remember the feeling of being absolutely happy all of the time.  I wanted to run, play, watch TV, read, talk, listen, dance, cook, jump, run, laugh, be passionately.  I did everything with joy.  I even pretended to be injured (to get out of cleaning up) with excitement.  I saw everyone as connected to me, as a part of me and I loved freely.  I was always a leader and enjoyed being a decision maker.  I have always known what I loved and was lucky enough to have a mother that told me that I had the right to have my own opinion and to question everything; to make up my own mind.  I was told everyday that I was the best, the most, the yummiest.  When parents worry about telling their children these truths I sometimes feel sad.  The world will work hard to trip you up, the least a mom and dad can do is build their children up to be strong enough to withstand the impact of life.  I should say that I was also told everything else as well.  I was given rules, I had responsibility and I was told about the world and the people in it with no sugar-coating.  Instead of being told what to do I was given examples and then allowed to make my own choices. I believe children are smarter than us and can handle honesty in a way that we feel isn't nice because we have learned to lie as we have grown up.  We have become very fragile and afraid emotionally… and that is learned.  So just as we learn how to be offended we can learn to be open and strong.  I know that being told that I was both of those things helped me be who I am.

I spent my teenage years struggling in many ways.  I lived in North Carolina for a few years and was bullied incessantly.  It was a devastating time.  I learned about depression and desperation during those years.  I stopped believing in people on one level.  The world wasn't as shiny and I wasn't as happy.  These are experiences that I am grateful for.

I went to college and lived a full and fantastic 4 years.  I worked 58 jobs (not quite, but you get the picture) and knew everyone.  I was experiencing myself in a way that I hadn't before.  I was able to grow into leadership immediately and athletics came into my world.  I was falling in love with all of me.  A courtship that continues to this day.

In my 20's I knew that it was more important for me to love what I was doing than to make money.  So I loved work and was horribly poor.  I still have debt from that time period and I don't regret a moment.  I coached rowing while some of my friends became doctors or lawyers.  I remember being asked what I "really" did for work, often.  I used to get offended until I was told to answer with the excitement of being able to do what I love for my career.  Afterwards, when I was posed that question I answered with excitement, "I get to coach for a LIVING!!, Isn't that fantastic?!"  In my 20's I learned that most people don't know what they want, who they are and that age was a joke.  I also learned that nothing was what it seemed.

In my 30's I felt a sense of liberation.  I wasn't' a child anymore (or so I thought) and I could start living the life I thought I was supposed to.  Ha!  After my nephew passed I grew up in a way.  Everything shifted into an understanding that life was and is a big surprise most of the time.  We aren't here to figure it out, we are here to figure ourselves out.  When I think about how many people I tried to change, relationships I didn't foster, and experiences I had to repeat because I didn't get it the first time, I want to laugh.  Instead of focusing on what I could change I focused on the external.  I don't make that choice anymore.  I love life.  I love my life.  I love my friends and family.  I love the people who annoy the shit out of me.  I love my work.  I love being.  I appreciate so much, so much more.  I say thank you more often, not because I feel it more but because I am no longer ashamed of needing help.  I remember being ashamed of needing. I am no longer afraid to be human.  I am no longer in the mood to push people away from seeing all of me.  I am happy and excited about where I have been and who I am at this very moment.  All I want to do is continue working on me and help, in any way I can, others to reach the place where who they are is absolutely perfect and exactly where they are supposed to be.

And so it continues.  I am 38 and I feel like I am just blossoming.  It is an amazing feeling and I am so excited to be able to share my journey.  Every step of the way.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sometimes I am brought to tears by the amount of love I have for each moment.

Thank you for being a part of my life.

Happy Birthday to us all.

xo

a

PS,  Here is a poem by my big brother Pharoah.  He is one of my favorite people.  I have adored him all of my life and still do.  If I had a choice everyone would know him.  A gift to the world he is.

By Choice

I have entered into this world by choice... With power in my voice...

to speak life into dreams... So excuse you, if I seem to be drifting on gold-plated streams... under purple skies showering sultry silver moon beams.

I can't help but live vicariously through me... See cause I'm just a young, old spirit... and if you listen to my heartbeat... You can hear it...that divine rhythm of life, Never ending, just bending time to redefine what time is.  And I live with an attitude of gratitude, thankful for this journey... One of many.  Cause I've been here before, and to other distant shores, in other galaxies... We are all connected, the Spirit has no boundaries.  The Divine Spirit is never bound... Spirit of limitlessness considers the universe its playground.  But in this realm, the Spirit knows itself as me... As we create songs together in our very own key.   So let us be... The Creator and me.   And the Creator and you... Can be, too.  Just know, like I, there is no limit.

Whatever I believe, is what I receive... So says the Divine Spirit.

Let It Go

Howdy!!! Picture this:  You are driving, someone cuts you off.  Now, think back to a time when you cut someone off.  Have you ever done that?  Did you mean it?  Do you spend much of your time plotting ways to get under people's skin?  Do you think other folks are running around trying to plot against you or upset you at the least?

When was the last time you got pissed off by the car in front of you?  At your partner?  Your friend?  A family member?  How many slights do you perceive in a day?  What would happen if you didn't take offense?

When was the last time someone took offense to something you did or said?  What if you responded with empathy and compassion?  It only takes one person to change a dance.  Taking into consideration that generally no offense is intended is a powerful tool as you evolve in this life of yours.  Taking into consideration that we only take offense because we had expectations to begin with, or because we have our own judgements around something, or because we are feeling insecure.

Whether we are the ones annoying or being annoyed we need to remember that most people aren't here, and don't want to, torture us, and, when given a chance, would be more loving than not.

So let it go.  Let being all worked up about what someone else is doing fade into the background.  Enjoy the fact that you can relate.  Enjoy being human. :)

xo

a

"To Teach is To Learn Twice Over" ~Joseph Joubert

"By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand."  ~Latin Proverb Happy Weekend!!!  It is Friday and I wanted to wish you well for the weekend.  I also wanted to tell you a brief story about someone I adore.  He is a man who I met at the YMCA over 2 years ago.  He was sitting on a bench outside of a group x room waiting for someone.  I sat down next to him and asked him how he was.  We struck up a conversation right away.  He told me how he spent the summers in Idaho studying Wolves.  I called him a renaissance man.  His wife was an instructor there and they would both soon become two of my dearest friends.

In the fall of 2011 he found out that he was going to be moving for grad school and then leaving the country for a few months to research Snow Leopards (there is a lot more to this story than I am giving you… I will save it for another time).  He decided that it was time to really get in shape and wanted to work with me.

I have been working people out, training their minds and bodies since 1996.  Some people are open to doing what I need them to in order to reach their goals and others, well, let's just say that I earn my living.  Now my friend was a completely different story.  He was ready to make some big changes.  He was open to digging into himself.  He was so articulate around his journey to fitness.  He communicated every nuance of his change to me during our stair workouts or HIIT sessions.  He did everything I asked without hesitation.  Watching his mind and body grow and change was like watching magic before my eyes.

I am blessed with doing what I love every single day and I never take it for granted.  I have been successful over the years and am steadily moving forward in my own personal growth and career.  Along the way I have had help with my forward progress.  Mr. WolfSnowLeopard propelled me forward in ways that I can barely express.  The teacher/student relationship is fluid, with each person playing both roles.  Through him being an amazingly open and ready pupil I became the best teacher that I believe I ever had up to that point.  I have always learned from those who have allowed me to teach but he was an exception; we were both ready to rise to another level of self understanding, dedication, growth and awesomeness.

So I want to thank Mr. WolfSnowLeopard for brightening my light.  I also want to thank all of my other students, clients, riders, and athletes for allowing me to be a part of their journey.  Let's keep shining!

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  ~Ben Sweetland

"The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds."  ~F.W. Robertson

(Good Luck Mr. WSLMan!  Rock on in Tajikistan!!!)

xo

a

Welcome to my new home!

"When the student is ready the teacher will come." Years ago my mother said this to me. I remember that I understood her on one level and was happy to hear this lovely comforting idea. It is an idea that supports patience and faith. You will be given all of the answers when you are ready to receive them. If you don't have the answers you aren't ready. Basically, be where you are and accept that it is where you are supposed to be… for now. I just finished a bunch of behind the scenes stuff for my website. It is a blog for now and will grow quickly, I am sure, into a fully awesome website that offers much more than my daily thoughts, musings and inspirations. But, for now, this is where it is, where I am and what I want to share with you.

I began my blog journey about 10 years ago (or more) and never stuck with it consistently. I had a personal training client who told me to write. She had just had her first book published and the rights bought up by Teri Hatcher. After receiving a nice fat paycheck she told me about her journey. I remember saying to her how I had always wanted to write. My father is a writer, my mother is a writer, my sister can do whatever she decides to, my brothers are writers, singers, poets, actors, etc. (I have a BIG family). I remember telling her that I wasn't as good of a writer as some of my family. My mother can describe a spoon over two pages. I simply don't have that kind of language for describing things in detail. She told me that I wasn't my mother (which I was relieved to hear (I LOVE YOU MOM)) and that I wrote differently, which was great.

Now, skip ahead to now. I have, for many years, known that I would write. I have so many plays either finished or barely started, screenplay ideas sketched out and journals upon journals. Finally, now, I am ready. You cannot fake being ready, you cannot skip ahead to the future. You have to be where you are right now. So if that now is ready to write, then I am now ready to write. My teacher happens to be anyone who reads my words and loves them, hates them, agrees with them, sees spelling or grammatical errors in them or is indifferent. You are all able to teach me because I am ready to learn.

So thank you! I hope you enjoy all, some or none of my posts! :) It is your choice always.

xox