The “You” Factor

I’m at the start of week four in Body Project’s six week transformation and I can’t believe how quickly time flies.  To begin, the adage “man plans and God laughs” couldn’t be truer.  I envisioned a delightfully calm six-week transformation. Specifically, I planned grading, writing projects, personal obligations, etc. around workouts, meals, and so on. In short, everything went awry. I had to adjust my expectations of a clear calendar and embrace the chaos. In the end I think it’s better this way. I’m learning to live a healthy and balanced life amongst the backdrop of challenges and the “unexpected.” If anything, this is “real life.”

Last week I attended a seminar focused on adrenal fatigue and nutrition. In the past I’ve looked to experts for suggested meal plans and nutritional balance without success. I’ve explored various routes and diets only to find frustration at the outcome of each experience. In attending this workshop I walked away with much more than a meal plan. I absorbed the health coach’s lecture, but I also acknowledged the common factor in each participants equation:  the “you” factor. I’ve heard the word “you” a lot throughout this transformation, but I wasn’t listening to its intention.

What works for some may not work for all. It’s about you and your body. It’s an endeavor as opposed to an ending. There’s no quick fix, miracle food, life-saving vitamin, or perfect prescription.

I know the above sounds cliché but often the most poignant and sage advice is simple to say and difficult to decipher. I heard my fellow BP sisters ask how to prep appropriately, inquire what to eat, what to drink (please don’t take away our coffee), when to seek medical assistance, etc. Each of us is desperate to find our solution, but sometimes we’re unaware of the exact problem. I left knowing we are similar in our struggle, but our specific journey can’t be measured or compared. This is where the “you” factor is essential. I constantly compare myself to others. To deny this fact would be an outright lie. When I’m at the mall I compare myself to the mannequin, whereas when I’m amongst friends I might compare myself to the group. Comparing ourselves to someone or something is a natural circumstance in our culture. However, we lose control in comparisons because we surrender focus and faith in ourselves. I’m selfless in many areas of life, but I firmly reserve my right to be selfish in my health and happiness. Life presents changes and challenges and so will my body. What’s working now might need re-visitation in the future. This is about me.  We preach patience to others but fail to preserve it for ourselves. The “you” factor won’t materialize overnight. It’s best to prepare for and accept change based upon the constant search and sustainment of the “you” factor.

This isn’t a quick fix scenario. I need to build a foundation in order to house healthy choices. My commitment to health and happiness isn’t temporary, so my attitude and actions must reflect this ideology as well. I need to look and listen for my “you” factor more carefully. In essence, celebrate the passionate pursuit of what works for “you.”

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I left my heart in San Francisco

To begin, hello! Whenever I blog I imagine the reaction of readership. I envision someone taking the time out of their day to read my thoughts and share in my experiences. With this said, I’m sending you peace and love on this fabulous Friday.

This was my first full week back to work since vacation.

We started our trip in heavenly Healdsburg, California, which was oozing charm and character at every corner. We savored the best of Sonoma’s wine and drank in the majestic mountains that surrounded us. We also ventured to Napa, which was equally serene and sensational. Ultimately, it was the perfect place for us. We tasted wine, walked, biked, explored, shopped, etc.  Our only agenda was to enjoy ourselves, and we excelled at relaxation. Our final leg of the trip was a stop in San Francisco.

Tony Bennett sang it best as I certainly left my heart in San Francisco. I had never visited northern California so I came to San Fran with no expectations or pre-conceived notions. Each hill, neighborhood, or attraction made me more excited for the next, and this northeastern gal envisioned herself as a Californian. From the landscape to the culture, I was fascinated with the pace and presence of San Francisco. Our final day was my favorite as we walked to Coit Tower, which provided a breathtaking view of the city, its neighborhoods, and the coast. I stood atop the hill feeling wonderful, blessed, and at peace. The latter was comforting as the pace of life often makes peace difficult to establish, retain, and relish.  This vacation provided me with countless memories and experiences that I’ll forever cherish.

Now it’s time for reality, which is okay by me. I have new places to recall, experiences to reflect upon, and dreams to delve into.

Focused for Forty

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. During Lent, we’re called upon to sacrifice as penance and remembrance. As a child, I’d give up pop a.k.a. soda, french fries, candy, etc. At the time, it seemed like a deep sacrifice, but throughout the years I’ve come to understand the seriousness of the season, so I aim to select something more challenging and colorful.

This Lenten season I’ve surrendered my right to complain. In truth, I do not complain as much as whine, but rooted in the simplest complaint is the dark and dangerous symptom of selfishness. Sometimes when I complain about my life, and its demands, I fail to understand and appreciate the needs of others.

Below is my complaint corner.

I don’t like when I complain about being busy. There are a lot of people in this world who yearn for an active and adventurous life. I’m blessed to be busy.

I don’t like when I complain about family. So many members of my big and beautiful family are scattered throughout the country. In the past, I’ve been frustrated over familial obligations that occupy weekends or demand complex coordination of the calendar. Ultimately, someone in this world is praying for companionship and love, so I’m determined to exert more effort and appreciation in honor of the family.

I don’t like when I complain about household chores. This is my greatest offense, but I’m passionately optimistic about eliminating it. I no longer want to complain about cleaning, laundry, or dishes. When I look at my home I think of the hard work it took to earn it, the promise it holds, and the love that sustains it. I don’t want to complain about duties. Instead, I want to celebrate and cherish my home, especially since many people struggle to find shelter and warmth for much of their lives.

For the next forty days, I’m focused on this Lenten commitment, which if executed appropriately, will change burdens into blessings, complaints into praise, and selfishness into selfless and soulful love.