I’m not even remotely athletic, and how good of shape I’m in is highly questionable (After a hike a couple of years ago, a friend who was with me commented, “I’ve heard about people like you – you’re one of those fat skinny people!!”).. I’ve been blessed with great genetics, and a career that keeps me on my feet and moving all day every day, but overall fitness = FAIL.
Then I hit my 30’s, and all the physical capabilities I’d taken for granted for three decades suddenly weren’t so readily available: My knees started hurting when I climbed stairs. Things I’d been carrying or moving at work for years were now a struggle. I’d become winded at the slightest exertion. I had to *gasp* start asking for help!
Having never exercised, I had no idea where to start. Someone gave me a free pass to a gym – which I actually went to, once, where I promptly acquired a case of severe anxiety, and never returned.
A friend suggested I join her in a yoga class. Being kind of a hippie yoga seemed right up my alley… But the hot studio was intimidating: I’m prone to dehydration, I don’t like getting sweaty, AND HOW WOULD I KNOW WHAT TO DO?? She somehow convinced me to go with her. And then go again.
I kind of thought that once I got past my excuses, yoga and I would fall madly in love. That’s not exactly what happened. For nearly two years yoga and I had an on-again off-again relationship, and even when I was practicing semi-regularly, I never looked forward to it. In fact, when yoga came up in conversation I often admitted to not liking it! “I have to do something,” was my response to the confused expressions on their faces.
However a shift was happening: I started going to yoga even when nobody could join me, I found myself maneuvering my schedule around my favourite classes, and lo and behold, I began to notice that the poses were easier some days, my limbs seemed to be getting stronger, everyday tasks that had become a struggle no longer phased me, and I could walk into a power class in a different city while on vacation without being the least bit intimidated.
Still, I wouldn’t have described yoga as being a big part of my life.
And then, about a month ago, I dislocated a rib. There’s not even a good story to go along with my injury, but it’s prevented me from doing many things I want to do – which is incredibly frustrating.
Suddenly, now that I can’t do yoga, it’s all I want to do. Turns out I DO actually like yoga, a lot. I miss it, fiercely. Funny how that works, isn’t it? That we don’t realize how much we love something until we can’t have it. (Humans are strange creatures…)
I’m attempting to be patient while my muscles and ligaments knit themselves back together (a challenge for me), and in the interim I’m dreaming about amazing yoga sequences I want to tackle one day. Turns out I have a passion, a goal, a desire, a burning for more! And I’m gonna do it!!!! Sure, I may be 36 and a little soft around the edges, but I see ABSOLUTELY NO REASON why I can’t do the splits, or master a handstand, or touch my toes to my head:
Check out these incredible videos for more mind-blowing inspiration:
(I’m ITCHING to do some acro yoga – anybody wanna partner up with me??)
And then this = HOLY CRAP PUNCHERSby McKinnley
Today is different. As much as January 1st is the same as any other day, there’s an inherent new-ness to it, as you can’t help but take at least a moment to reflect on the past 12 months, and ponder the months stretching out ahead.
This morning I ate my breakfast out of a bowl that has the words “If it’s not a ‘HELL YES’ then it’s a No” inscribed around the rim. To me feeling that Hell Yes means listening to my heart, and being both brave enough and honest enough to honour what my heart is telling me.
It’s not always easy. My life is not defined by black and white, everything is a shade of grey, where all answers are debateable, and all choices are valid. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It makes me open-minded, and a great learner, but it also means making decisions is extremely difficult. Plus, my head speaks just as loudly as my heart; logic and emotion are constantly battling it out inside this little 115 lb. frame. It’s complicated.
2014 was massively self-reflective for me. My biggest goals were to be more open to whatever Life decided to throw my way, and to become a better communicator. I learned a lot, I branched out, I spoke my truth, I did some absolutely rotten things (not generally intentional, but still…..), I took a few steps back, then tried to take even more steps forward down paths better suited to my journey. I cried absolutely heart-wrenching tears, and I reveled in the bliss of pure joy.
It was one of the most beautiful years of my life.
And so I step into 2015 with so much gratitude and love, for every experience I’ve fumbled my way through, and every gorgeous soul who’s been part of my journey. I have high expectations for the adventures to come!!by McKinnley
Somebody complained about me at work this week. I get it, they expected impeccable customer service, and they didn’t receive it, that sucks. Being in the customer service industry is tough though, particularly for someone like me, for who being a people person doesn’t come naturally. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE connecting with people, I just find it really difficult to do in a work situation.
Anyway, I got a complaint, it happens, but it’s been eating me up. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this, but I’m really really hard on myself. Is everyone? I’m not too sure. I’m pretty comfortable in my skin, and I’m pretty confident, particularly at work where I feel like I’ve hit the sweet spot of both really enjoying what I do, and being really good at it. So why is it so devastating to my self-esteem and my peace of mind when I make a mistake or something goes wrong? Sure, I’m great at my job, but that doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how we learn, it’s how we do better. I take it in stride when my staff make errors, I let them know that it’s ok and I still think they’re awesome, so how come I don’t give myself that same support and understanding?
I’ve been obsessing about what my upper management must think of me. I’ve been feeling absolutely wretched about not doing better, not BEING better. I’ve been replaying the situation over and over in my mind, which frankly hasn’t changed the outcome, or how lousy I feel. I accept responsibility for not acting in an appropriate manner, but I still have to deal with the consequences.
However those consequences don’t have to include me feeling stressed out, or like I’m not a valuable person or employee. It happened, I’ll try to respond better next time, and now I need to let it go. I already know where my weaknesses lie; I get defensive and aggressive when I feel like my back is up against a wall, when people are demanding things of me without discussion. I’m working at trying to ask questions, have a conversation that opens up both sides. In this most recent case, I should have asked them to explain what happened, and then to describe how they thought I could help, and why I should do so. Hindsight, right?
I’m smart, I’m capable, I’m dedicated and I’m a hard worker. I’m a valuable employee.
I have lots and lots of customers who enjoy me and the service I give (they just don’t send emails to my management about it..)
I’m human and make mistakes, but I’m taking those mistakes and growing past them.
I have no reason to feel stressed or depressed or anxious. Upwards and onwards!
I’m living and learning and loving the process. I rock!!!by McKinnley
My sister and I had a conversation a couple of days ago, it went a little bit like this:
“Sleeping in just isn’t what it used to be, I feel awful when I sleep too late. Actually, I feel better in general if I sleep just a little less than I think I want to – I may not like it when I wake up, but I’m more awake and energetic later on.”
“Totally! The same thing with food, right? I’m finally learning to eat less, stop eating before I’m full, put things in my mouth only if they really taste good… basically I’m actually figuring out how to have a modicum of self-control, and I feel so much better when I do!”
I’m pretty sure having this kind of enthusiasm about sleeping less, eating less and mastering self-control officially makes us old. I would really hope that with the age comes some wisdom….. But I have my doubts, based on the fact that I popped a rib out a couple of days ago. How on earth does that happen? I know, I know, I actually asked my chiropractor (through my tears) how this was an actual thing…. Ok so how did I injure myself? A combination of yoga, and pushing a table two inches. Yep, there you have it, I’m officially old.by McKinnley
A few weeks ago I was on a roll: I was going to yoga 3-4 times a week, studying Spanish, drawing, working on a creative project, reading E3, cooking, listening to Tim Ferriss interviews, and generally being hyper-productive. I felt great, and the more I did, the better I felt.
Fast forward to this week… I have NO IDEA what the hell happened, but suddenly you couldn’t drag me to yoga if your life (or mine) depended on it, I wasn’t reading, listening to or learning anything, and I had so many tasks to accomplish for work that I was completely overwhelmed and instead of tackling anything I simply did nothing.
Seriously. For an entire week I did only what I absolutely had to, and then proceeded to avoid anything else even remotely productive. I hate to admit it, but there was more than one night where I sat in my bed watching Gossip Girl on Netflix and consuming entire bags of chips. Not pretty, I know.
Why? You might be wondering, why the sudden – and somewhat dramatic – lifestyle shift? I have no frickin’ clue. Changing weather? Shifting hormones? Minor emotional ordeal thrown in my path? Or maybe my completely irritating subconscious was all, “Woah, what’s with all this ‘Full steam ahead’? Who knows what we’re going to accomplish if we keep this up?! I think it’s best if we just play it safe and tone things down a bit.” My subconscious is kind of an annoying pussy sometimes.
But I didn’t beat myself up this past week. I tried to coax myself into being a somewhat credible human being, and when that just wasn’t happening I gladly, and only slightly guiltily, shrugged it off and just enjoyed the indulgences. Oh yeah, there was also a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked in there somewhere…….
After 36 years of hanging out in this brain and body, I know myself pretty well, and I was fairly confident that the slump wouldn’t last long nor be overly detrimental. I was right, as per usual. Yesterday I took a minor detour from my errands to get my heart rate pumping, today I went for a massage, spent 5 hours tackling a work project that’s been looming over me, hit a great yoga class, and now I feel like a million bucks, totally refreshed, ready to rumble, and wondering what all the mental fuss was about.
Sometimes you really have to go with the flow, be gentle, be cool, and patiently chill out during the flats while you wait for the next set to roll in. Mmmmmm, surf.by McKinnley