Tag Archives: exercise

Just Do You

Many of us have experienced the feeling of hope curdling into disappointment.  How about when you show up to a job with the eagerness of a kid in a candy store, bring your qualifications and experience and suddenly this awesome opportunity turns sour because your boss or coworker begins belittling, disrespecting and generally humiliating you? 

To say the least, you’re torn in two.  One part of you wants to say F-off!  Another part is still trying to figure out how to hang on despite the turn of events because you want / need to do the job so badly.  So what can you do?

Let me give you an example of something that I recently experienced and share what I decided to do.

While I was excited about the opportunity to work with a trainer who had a lot of experience in the business, after a couple of meetings, that excitement turned into a mixture of anxiety and disgust.

I watched him interact with other clients during a group class and I was disappointed by the disrespectful tone in which I heard him address people.  Picture this, there I am cycling away like a little gerbil while watching him bully his “target” until they would give in and stop protesting.  Needless to say my motivation dropped significantly after this.  I started to question what this guy’s training philosophy was.

After the class, I asked him if he could give me an idea of what the plan was for working together as I understood he would provide the clients, take a cut and I’d train them. When I asked him during the first meeting I couldn’t really get a straight answer, so I tried again. 

ImageThis is when he decided to trash my credentials, belittle my training experience, and tell me that nobody trains his clients until they’ve learned “his” way.  As if this weren’t enough he went on to say that I need to think about whether I want to work with him since I seem like I think I know it all and want to start my own business. 

I called him on his claims and he had nothing to back it up.  I also reminded him that he already knew I had my own clients, so why is it a problem now when it wasn’t 2 days ago?  Again, nothing.

We were supposed to meet in a few days after I checked out another gym where I’d be training some clients.  As time went on, I couldn’t shake this sick feeling building up inside of me.  I tried everything I could think of to make it ok somehow, but I couldn’t work it out in my head. 

Basically, it came down to a few of decision making questions:

1.  Q.  Even if he were respectful on the next meeting, would I be ok working with him on a        
           continuous basis?
     A.  No. Because if a person can switch that much in personality from one meeting to the next,
          it’s a set up for a world of hurt.

 2.  Q.  Are our training philosophies compatible?
      A.  No. I believe in training people utilitizing positive reinforcement and encouragement.  I’m
          tough but in a
way that I show you that you can do more than you think.  He on the other  
          hand thinks that “breaking 
someone down” to get them to submit to his every whim is the
          way to get results.

3.  Q.  Is this the only opportunity I will have to work with a well experienced trainer in my career?
     A.  Not if I don’t want it to be. 

I think that number 3 is what trips a lot of people up.  This was actually my hardest one.  It is this feeling of foreboding that if you don’t make this work, then there will be no other chance.  It’s fatalistic thinking.  As if you should take the abuse and somehow you’ll be better off in the end if you just “hang in there”. 

This is about the time, you have to reach deep down and dig up your last shred of self-respect and walk the hell away ASAP.

It took me three days of contemplating, before I let him know, that this is not going to be a good fit and I need to cancel our next appointment. 

Am I disappointed? Yes.
Do I feel better having held on to my values?  No doubt. 
Do I know what’s next? Absolutely not! 

I want to be the best trainer I can be, but I am not willing to compromise my integrity or values because then I’m really not my best after all.

I believe that when you draw a line in the sand and stand up for who you are, eventually, you are surrounded mostly by like minded people who help you get where you want to go and feel good along the way.

What’s your take?

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Exercise is NOT Optional

Yesterday, I had a very low day.  Nothing seemed to be ok in my life.  I couldn’t find my gratitude, my progress or even a tiny ray of sunshine.  Today I realized what may have happened.  I cannot miss a day of exercise.  It’s not optional for me.  It’s a necessity for my mental well-being.

I think without really naming it, I’ve struggled with depression for a long time.  I’ve had a hard time throughout my whole life maintaining a consistent baseline with my mood.  I’m already an emotional person who’s equally analytical. So, in a nutshell, I feel deeply and I analyze it ’till no stone is left unturned.  Adding depression to this just ups the ante and puts a pretty negative light on the picture.

Coming home and feeling amazing after exercising today, I started to take serious notice of this phenomenon.  Yesterday, I didn’t exercise and felt really depressed.  Today, I exercise and feel great???  This relationship between whether I exercise and my mental state has WAY too much of a correlation to be a coincidence.

Exercise is Good for Your BrainSo, my analytical side kicked in and did some research.  Turns out, there are a number of studies that show this correlation between exercise as a treatment for mild to moderate depression.

recent research shows that exercise may be one of the best treatments for mild to moderate depression.  “Every day, there is more and more evidence,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD, the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. ” – By WebMD Feature”  Read full article…

Huh..well you don’t have to convince me!  I’m living proof of it.

If it can do this much for someone with depression, imagine how it could change the life of someone without it.  How could your life change by giving yourself the gift of just 30 min. of vigorous exercise a day? Image

I’m under no illusion that exercise alone is going to make my life all better.  I realize that I’ve got a number of things to figure out before I feel like my life is on track.

But you know what?

I think that the odds are in my favor that it’s gonna be a whole lot easier to come up with solutions when I don’t have to simultaneously try to lift up a heavy black cloud from my head in order to think clearly.

And I’ll take those odds any day.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Breaking Free of Your Image

Today I began fulfilling the promise I made to myself when I quit my second job.  

Focus on you and what you love to do.

I have read just about every self-help there is out there and while I’ve learned something from each one, somehow I can’t seem to sustain it.  I guess that’s why I’ve read so many 😉  

On and off throughout my life I’d heard or read about the power of meditation to transform your life.  I always liked the part where your life could change, but I couldn’t imagine how breathing could lead you to a better life.  I’d been breathing my whole life and still ended up unhappy.  Not to mention – it sounded pretty boring to just sit there and breathe.  I’m an active person, do, do, do!!  Try, try try!! Those were my life mottoes.  Total overachiever. Type A.  5 year-planner.  You know the type, right? 

ImageExcept the doing and the trying weren’t working anymore.  Soon, I stopped understanding what I was trying to do all the time.  Little by little, the person I once knew crumbled in front of my very eyes over the past 3 years.  All the while, I desperately tried to hang on to the image I had of myself.  

The stronger the grip, the more quickly another part of the picture faded.

We start out our lives with a set of traits and capacities that uniquely define us as an individual.  A sort of “personality imprint.” Then, we are socialized into the world of guilt and shame.  We are taught to be this, do that, to not be this way or not to act that way.  

What we so often become couldn’t be further from who we really are.  We then go about our lives creating a nice little package of the “socially accepted traits” we are sure we possess.  We want to be accepted.  We want to be picked for the team; at work, at home, among friends and acquaintances.  We discard the parts of us that would be less desirable.  We ignore the longings of our soul.  Above all we spend most of our lives trying to convince ourselves that THIS IS ALL OK.  Our image is complete.

My image was shattered.Image  

It hurts a lot when this happens.  

It feels like someone smashed a mirror with your reflection over the top of your head and dragged it slowly down the length of your body.  When it finally reaches the floor, you are left trying to decide whether to pick up the pieces on the floor or out of your skin first. You’re sure this was a mistake and you begin to scramble to put the broken shards back into place just the way you remember it. With every effort to do so, you are getting hurt even more.  But you are fighting for your life, right?  You can’t just walk away, can you?  This is WHO you are!!

Except it isn’t.  If it were the REAL you, you wouldn’t need a mirror to recognize it.

Today I loosened my grip on that image a bit and took my first step towards exploring a land that you won’t find in any guidebook. I left my mirror at home on the ground.  I stepped out of the frame instead of scavenging for pieces.  I sat at the edge of my bed this morning for 10 minutes and began listening to my breathing.

I had just woken up and already, I found it difficult to just breathe deeply.  This should be considered one of the most relaxed states of the day and here I was having trouble BREATHING!  Wow!  I thought, maybe I do need this.  That’s about all I got out of those 10 minutes, but I figured you have to start somewhere.

I went about my day, feeling pretty miserable at work as usual.  I started dreaming of 3:00 when I would would be free to jump into my car and head to the gym for my workout.  

Finally, 3:00 came and I was headed for the endorphin enhancing part of my day.  I ran on the treadmill, I lifted weights, headed back to the arc trainer for a leg workout and ended with a 5 min massage in the shiatsu chair.  It felt good to use my body that way.  I feel strong and powerful when I work my muscles like that and I like the way it clears my head.

It was 4:30 and I was headed home.  The whole way I realized that I was looking forward to my evening meditation that I would begin right after finishing the little chores around the house.  I had hoped it would be better than this morning.

I put the cats outside and turned out the lights so I wouldn’t be disturbed.  This time I set up a guided meditation for 20 min.  I asked myself, in the silence of my mind, what I needed to know.  

I soon saw myself sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of a large pond filled with lily pads .  Hmmm….ok…interesting…just breathe and go with it….inhale…exhale….  Image

After a while, a figure of a man appeared out of the mist.  He glided towards me, sat down in front of me, gently rested his hands on my knees and said squarely into my eyes,

You are not alone.  Even when you are surrounded by a room of people who have counted you out, turned their backs to you and discarded you.  You are not alone. You are surrounded by a universe that supports you.  You are safe.  I am beside you, within you, all around you.  Wherever there is a need in you, I can be found filling it.  You are never alone.”  

I felt myself sigh deeply and tears rolled down my cheeks.  I felt really safe at that moment, so I asked if the figure would hold me in his arms for the rest of the meditation.  And he did.  He was there.  Maybe, I was not alone after all. 

I asked, “What else do I need to know?”  The figure said, “For right now I just need you to really know in your heart and soul, that you are not alone.  That is all.”

Well, that went a lot better!  I felt so at peace at the end of that 20 min. meditation, that I have remained in silence since then, finding no real good reason to speak.  That’s saying something for me!

I began cooking dinner in the kitchen and in walk the cats meowing and meowing their heads off.  This has always driven me crazy and right now it was disturbing my zen moment. Each and every time, I TELL them to STOP!  I yell at them to go away and stop begging.  

This time though, I don’t know why exactly, but did something different.  I looked at them and didn’t say a word.  I picked them up and put them into the adjacent dining room.  I SHOWED them what I wanted.

Each time they re-entered, I walked them out in silence.  A funny thing happened after a short-while.  For the first time, I was cooking in silence without cats meowing in the kitchen or for that matter anywhere at all.  They just looked in at me from the dining room while I cooked.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were just shocked.

Image

But this taught me something.  Show. Don’t tell.  Your words are less important than your actions.  I yell, they meow louder.  I am a silent guide, they quietly listen and follow.

Be More

Say Less

I’ve decided to keep firing up my endorphins after work at the gym and listening to my breathing twice a day after all.  It looks like I’m headed down the right path to free myself from the mirror.  Maybe one day I’ll feel like having it smashed over my head was one of the greatest gifts I’ve received.  For now though, I’m going to take it one breath at a time.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉