Monday, March 25, 2013

Adventures in PMS

I went to sleep last night delighted at being able to set my alarm for 5:00am instead of the usual 3:30am. It was snowing, and I'd already asked my boss if I could come in a few hours later, once the sun came up and started de-slushing everything.

3:30am - wake up, hear the stupid chit-chat-chit-chat of the over-the-door towel rack bumping lightly against the bathroom door. Get out of bed, move towel between rack and door, return to bed.

5:00am - alarm goes off. Jeff mumbles, "I love you baby," through the drool on his pillow and I mumble back, "I'm not fucking getting up!" I lie there for approximately seventeen more seconds while my brain argues with no one about why I should get up and do my workout. Get out of bed and put on workout clothes.

5:40am - finish workout. Rejoice! Bask in good feelings and sweaty yoga stretches!

5:50am - shower

6:15am - see Jeff's delicious sandwich he's made for his lunch. Ask if he made my sandwich too, since he already had all the sandwich materials out. Stomp off and cry in the bathroom when he tells me guiltily, "No," because apparently if your husband doesn't make you a sandwich, you are worthless.

6:20am - bitch at Jeff for not making me a sandwich, and also for pulling his khakis out of the dryer to avoid wrinkling but leaving all other clothes inside the dryer for future dealing with.

6:25am - cry more in the bathroom because Jeff is dealing with a really stressful work situation this week, and here I am bitching about some fucking wrinkly jeans. When I happen to have a FANTASTIC iron that I love to use, anyways. Feel guilty, put on extra makeup because my bitch voice is pointing out my elevated-hormone zits in the mirror.

7:00am - hug Jeff and tell him how proud I am of all he's accomplishing at work. Yay, good wife! Thank him for adding some music to my ipod that I'd been wanting.

7:20am - get in car, plug in ipod, listen to Trisha Yearwood's Greatest Hits. (We've been watching her cooking show lately.)

7:21am - CRY HYSTERICALLY BECAUSE YEAH, SHE'S IN LOVE WITH THE BOY! And Walkaway Joe. And The Song Remembers When.

7:39am - seemingly returned to neutral mood. Get cut off by a dickface in a black Nissan. Invent three new curse words, make my car scared of me.

7:52am - still in car. Think about a pun that someone said over the weekend. Laugh and shriek crazily for four minutes, feel giddy.

7:56am - Think about the fact that some of my friends will someday die. Scrunch face up and cry unattractively for ten minutes.

8:15ish - Arrive at work. Put on customer service smile and congratulate myself on meeting all those moments without fighting them. So what if I might be acting like someone who needs to be institutionalized? I feel beautiful when I act genuinely.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Group Fitness Certification - Who Knows?

The week has been pretty fantastic! I've got a lot of energy and excitement right now, as I've just ordered my study guides to take the ACE Group Exercise Instructor Certification. I plan to test by the end of June this year. I don't know where it will take me. I don't see myself becoming a full-time exercise instructor. But something within me is shifting, finally accommodating the last few years' changes and motion. I love the people I work with in my full-time job. But I need something more. I'd love to become certified and start teaching one or two evening classes through the YMCA. The Upper Peninsula branches have very few classes, and two branch directors have been encouraging about the possibility of me bringing some Turbo Kick or other high-energy classes to their areas.

Who knows?

I don't. Not in this moment.

That had me halted at the stop sign. So often I'll have an idea, and start speeding down the highway of imagination and possibilities, until that one big worry catches in my mind and STOP! I obey that voice and freeze right there. What if I spend all this money on the study materials and test, and then it never leads to anything? What if I can't find any classes to teach in such a rural area? What if no one will hire me because I don't look like most fitness instructors? What if I put in all this hard work only to find life staring blankly back at me, silently saying, "Did you really think you could do this? Fitness isn't yours. You're just leasing this hobby."

Who cares?

I don't. Not in this moment.

But I do know that I'll gain some knowledge. I'll get more time to immerse myself in something I've been building a great passion towards. I'll learn about anatomy and the different ways that our amazing bodies help us move and live. My home practice will thrive as I learn more about how each movement works large and small parts of my muscles, how to protect my bones and prevent injury, and I'll get some great education on leadership and motivation.

Maybe more will come of it.

For now, I'm going to enjoy the excitement in this moment. I'm going to keep learning to move when it's time to move, and rest in stillness when it's time to rest. This way, I'll be better prepared to meet all those other terrifying moments as they arise.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Page views!

I got some page views! That's because I'm a member of a pretty awesome community. Video Fitness Forum is a great place to visit if you're into exercise and fitness DVDs, online workouts, or general fitness. I use it to check out reviews for any exercise videos I'm thinking of buying, though I have to admit that visiting the site sends my WANTWANTWANT into overdrive, and I'm kind of trying to avoid that lately. But I check in daily on a neat thread that lets you set a long list of the month's dates, then edit it to fill in each date with the workout you did that day.

I really like the visual effect of seeing my workouts stack up. I'm slacking on my ChaLean Extreme rotation, taking a little longer to get through all the workouts. This can lead to a completely irrational nagging within, that little voice inside that is constantly NOT ENOUGH. She takes over really easily on days that I skip a morning workout. It's hard for me to maintain true perspective when my NOT ENOUGH voice has the mic. But - even with a few days rest, seeing the workouts listed as the month progresses helps me realize that I am doing enough. I'm doing more than enough to meet my intentions.

I've got some updates on our home's 36 in 365 list - for those who don't know, 36 in 365 is an alternative to writing a list of New Year's Resolutions. It focuses more on positive experiences by listing 36 things that you want to do in the next year. We keep ours light, trying to include "bucket list" items that we've always wanted to try. Jeff and I came up with 24 things we want to do together, and each of us wrote six personal goals.

Our first check mark was made when we purchased our new mattress. We love our spines now.

I made a check mark this weekend by sewing my first skirt! I used a simple tutorial but can't figure out where I originally found it. I was browsing on the smartphone a while back and downloaded a pdf. I probably wouldn't link to the tutorial anyways though, because bitch did not take into account that women have curves. Or else it was a pattern tutorial for kids' clothes. Whatevs, the tutorial instructed me to measure around my waist (plus an inch for seam allowance) and that would be the length of my rectangular pattern. Measure length from waist, add two inches, and that would be the width of my rectangular pattern. I totally tried this, cut the fabric out, and realized there was no way the skirt would come up over my hips once sewn. Duh!

Take two: I only had half my yard of fabric left, and while it was a perfect length to wrap around my hips and booty, I was afraid I wouldn't have enough length to cover the goods. I tried anyways, and it worked out perfectly! I did well with the seam (I wear it at the back), stitched a casing for the elastic, threaded 1/2" elastic through the waist and joined it together with a zig zag stitch. The top gathers up a bit and fits really comfortably. It's super short, but I like that every once in a while, and it'll be great to wear with a bathing suit. I wore it over some black leggings with a black turtleneck sweater on Saturday and got some great compliments on it! I have always wanted to receive a compliment on an article of clothing I'd made for myself. So proud of myself! Here's a blurry picture that I took to send my aunt and prove that it was beneficial to give me her old sewing machine:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dedicating My Fitness Efforts

One of my random trips through the world of blogs yesterday led me to a fantastically worded article called Exercise Is Meaningless, in which mindfulness-based personal trainer Gentoku McCree describes how he began to use an exercise dedication. He's spent time living in a Zen monastery and noted that the attendees would recite a dedication before each activity. When he left the monastery, he found that his actions lacked depth that he'd experienced with these dedications.

Sometimes I don't even know if I'm honest with myself about why I exercise. Yes, I have always wanted to appear thin and slim, and wear the tightest, sexiest clothes without worrying about what someone might say or think about my appearance. I've done a lot of work to identify the reasons behind this desire, dig into underlying fears, recognize the irrationalities behind these fears, and admit that the desire is causing more harm than benefit. I lost fifty pounds - a quarter of my body weight - and kept it off. But the desire to look thinner has caused much more harm than the health benefits that arise from dropping those extra pounds. There was little difference in how I felt about myself before and after losing such a significant amount of weight. I was still completely unhappy with my body and appearance, even fifty pounds lighter, even with countless friends and family expressing pride and amazement as I met each goal.

I have spent the past couple of years trying to focus more on mindfulness, both to observe where my thoughts try to take me (and where I usually follow) and to open myself more to moments of light, love, and beauty. This means opening myself up to the less-than-comfy moments too, of self-hatred, anger, and fear. Extending this practice to my fitness routine enables me to be a better listener to my body, which makes room for better listening to my mind. It helps take my Self out of the practice and remember that every small act creates a ripple through this entire Universe, and that every moment influences future moments.

Gentoku's article suggests that we come up with our own exercise dedication. He outlines several questions that assist with discovering the true meaning behind what we do and how we do it. I'd like to share my exercise dedication, and wish love and light to all beings.

My body has been beautiful in all its forms and sizes. 
Physical exercise helps my body and mind meet life’s moments as they arise. 
Practicing with my physical body will allow me to make more room to practice compassion in daily life. 
I exercise for every wild being who has ever felt the pull to move, especially for those who are afraid to follow that pull. 
I will embody a graceful dancer, a fierce hunter, and a loving matriarch.