A New Way to Partaaay!

Howdy yall! Today was a busy day.  Sundays are my Mondays, so to speak.  I have 3 classes all in the morning, one after the other.  Today was a little different.  I agreed to teach a charity ride at noon, directly after my last class.  One of my riders at FlyWheel SLU had an idea.  She wanted to have a birthday celebration at her new favorite place.

She recently decided to get her health back.  In the past she'd been fit and focused on taking care of herself.  Years later, with children and work taking the priority, she found herself in not such great shape.  Enter FlyWheel and my class.  We connected right away.  Her energy is strong and direct.  She is a powerful person and is (as a friend described) a change agent.  She brings people with her wherever she goes… part of her journey is to be a catalyst for others.  I love seeing the people she brings to class to share in the experience that, for her, has been life altering.  She let me know that my brainwashing, er, um, coaching is working.  She no longer hates it and knows that she is doing good for herself.

Instead of having a party where she gets gifts and people eat and drink, she decided to have a ride at FlyWheel.  All of the monies collected would go to two charities of her choice and her guests would get to SWEAT!  It was a complete success, a full class and a great party.  I love that she was determined to bring people together for fun and health as a way to celebrate.

Her charity birthday cycle class  got me thinking.  What if we celebrated events in our lives by living our lives in a healthier way?  What if we went to a fitness class, took a walk or hiked when something amazing was happening in our lives?  Instead of destroying brain cells why not detox a bit to show appreciation for yummy things in our life?  For most of my adult life I have celebrated my birthday by working out.  I enjoy seeing where I am on this new year.  How am I doing?  Where is my mind at.  Am I connected to myself?  It is a time for me to reflect and reconnect with me.  I also don't buy into the idea that getting old means deteriorating.  So far each year I have gotten better.

I challenge you to take your celebrations to another level.  Are you willing to celebrate by loving yourself instead of numbing, destroying, and harming yourself?



Creating Space

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.  When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need."  ~Tao Te Ching My birthday has come and gone and so has a bunch of stuff I have been holding onto.  I purged clothing, furniture, and electronics that I have been holding onto since the 90's.  Let me give you some background (cue the violins):

I grew up on welfare living in the projects until I was about 14.  We were financially poor but culturally, intellectually, and 'healthily' wealthy.  I remember my best friend asking me if I was rich because we (my sister and I) were so well spoken and so neatly dressed all of the time.  I remember being ashamed of being on food stamps, getting welfare cheese and living in the projects.  There was a time in my life where, after getting dropped off from the school bus, I would walk along the side of the street with houses until the bus was out of sight then cross over to the projects.  I remember being embarrassed when my mother would want us to buy $.05 gum with a dollar food stamp to get change in order to buy toilet paper or some other non-food item.  I remember being made fun of when we would be in line to get our share of food from Welfare (such as cheese).  I was lucky, very, very lucky.  I grew up with a genius mom who was also an amazing cook.  I never had McDonald's or any other fast food.  We ate what she made from scratch.  I honestly didn't know what packaged food tasted like until college.  Our neighbors would come over to eat grapes and other whole foods instead of the Twinkies that their parents had stocked in the pantry.  We were very lucky in many ways, however, the scars of feeling like there wasn't enough weighed on me and impacted my world to this day.  I have had a habit of keeping things "just in case."  Well, I am not in the mood to invite, "just in case" into my world anymore.  "Just in case" takes up a lot of space!

That brings me to yesterday.  My birthday.  Over the past few years I have been letting go of items that I'd kept due to sentimental value or because they were in perfectly good shape.  Waste not, want not!  For example, a few years ago I bought a VitaMix for my birthday and have been loving on it ever since.  Seriously, they are amazing machines.  However, I still had a KitchenAide Blender and never really thought to give it up.  I mean, it still works and you never know, I could need it!  Right???  C'mon!  Then there are the clothes that I have from my college days.  I have held onto them because once every other year I pull them out of whatever box they are in to look at them and say, "oh, I remember blah blah blah" and then become nostalgic, which leads me to putting them back in the box under the bed for the next viewing a year of so later.  It is a bit crazy.

So, I have been ridding myself of past "things" in waves.  Every time I take a carload of stuff to Goodwill I feel a bit lighter.  Each time I let go of something I felt was important something amazing enters my world.  So, for this birthday I decided to give myself the gift of a clean slate.  I still have more to let go of and am excited for it.  It is this groovy journey towards freedom.  The feeling is fantastic!  I am creating space; physical and energetic space.  The past clings to things.  Letting things go truly allows you to free yourself to be even more in the moment.

So, I am creating space in my world.  Space for my now, space for what is next and space to stretch out.  I invite you to do the same if you so desire.

If anyone needs a blender, let me know :)

"Stop trying to hold onto your past, you can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one."  ~Anonymous



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.



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.

Happy Birthday!

Helloooooo! I have a birthday coming up in less than a week and am very excited about it. I will be 38 and feel like I am only getting better in every way. It is pretty fantastic. So I am thinking about my special day and what I plan on doing. Not sure yet, but I will keep you posted. One thing is for sure, I won't do anything I don't really want to do. It is something that I learned from my dad. I have never seen him on his actual birthday. A week before and maybe a week after, but never on the actual day. He is almost always in the Caribbean somewhere. I don't know if I ever asked him about his birthday ritual or not but I got the picture. Celebrate yourself! It is your special day.

Now, so many people get freaked out at the thought of aging. Stressed that they aren't where they want to be or doing what the should be doing. Does a baby ever feel stressed that it isn't doing what it is supposed to be doing? Why do we grow up to decide where we should or shouldn't be instead of loving what is and being where we are? What happens that keeps us from being ok with the fact that years come and go, our age increases, and, at some point we will all kick the bucket. It is just the way it is. Now, the quality of all of the in-between is up to us. How we live our lives and how we take care of ourselves is our responsibility. But to worry about the number, well, I think taking your body's needs seriously will help the number be a blip on your radar. You don't have to buy into aging as pure deterioration. I can honestly say that I look and feel better now than I did 10 years ago and I plan on keeping up that trend for some time.

So now, here I am, turning 38, feeling great, wanting to celebrate (yes, I rhymed on purpose). I asked a group of my cyclists if they too celebrated themselves by taking a trip or a day off of work (or away from the kids) and all but one said NO! What the frak??? Look people, this is your holiday. Your special day. It was the day you came into the world. It was a celebrated day, a big friggin deal! How can we NOT celebrate the anniversary of our arrival? It is awesome, you are awesome!

Try it. Think of your birthday as a holiday. Take time to do whatever it is you want to do. Make it a day that you are celebrated by you (if by no one else). We celebrate children's birthdays all of the time. I think it is a lot harder to make it to 38 than to make it to 5. Seriously, no one is taking care of this lady here anymore… I am doing most of the work and I deserve a day to celebrate my hard work! So do you. So take it! Happy Birthday to you!

xoxox a