Wow! So much activity on the blogs! I've got a lot of catching up to do...
8/8 on the workouts. Diet locked in for the coming week. Ready to catch up on my teammates.
Quick story. I made a fantastic chard and shitake mushroom omelette for breakfast yesterday. So yummy going down. A few minutes after eating it, I started to get this tingling sensation in my mouth and a bit of swelling. "Oh, no," I groaned to myself...this is not a good sign. I hoped it would pass quickly, but 2 hours later after intense nausea and the development of the itchiest hives on every inch of my body, I decided it was time for the emergency room. I drove myself there, got two injections, nearly passed out (I think I was just hungry but maybe part of the allergic reaction) and finally drove home with a bag of KFC. I figured some fast food is okay after a visit to the emergency room. Let's hope that doesn't happen again on this training cycle. I'll update this post with a picture from my phone of my scary-looking legs. Sooooo...lesson learned, shitakes are out!
In thinking of yesterday's question, I think the best advice anyone has ever given me is to just be quiet. Not too lie but not to give out so much information. To observe and think before letting the words cross my lips...I almost never take this advice. After I've suffered the consequences of my rash words, I always take a minute to reflect on this advice and wonder why it is so hard for me to follow. But, I get better and better everyday. I've found that honesty is the best policy but not everything needs to be said....
That said, let's dive into the new week! I'm on the lookout this week for some new cross-training options. I know there are classes around here that I can take...I need to just find them! Week 1 picture about to be posted...quick shout-out and thank you to Brett and Jessica for sending me Kenzai gear! I received it during home leave. Sorry for the belated thank you...doesn't mean I wasn't super excited to open the package. :D!!!
Yesterday, my daughter started school...baby/toddler school. The school is a small Montessori school. I dropped her off, and they sent me home with a care package of tea for relaxation, a fairy napkin to wipe the tears from my eyes and a cotton ball to remind me of the gentle spirit of my child. Haha! As soon as I got to work, I pulled out the newsletter and read all about the first few weeks of school. One of my favorite parts of the newsletter was the part about sending HEALTHY snacks. No chips, french fries, cookies, cakes. Nope, not allowed. The list of acceptable snacks was fruit, bread, yogurt, vegetables...you know, real food. Kenzai food! I feel good knowing that my daughter is in the hands of people with similar life philosophies.
What a great workout today! I love the mix of full body exercises and the speed rope. Keeps me pumped and my body guessing...what a great way to ease into what I believe is going to be a kick ass training cycle. Diet is good. I'm trying to be mindful of portion control and healthy snacks in preparation for the full-on diet next week. My scale is ready for delivering me with the proper grammage, and my body is hungry for clean eating. I am especially excited to meet my team and promise to be fully engaged in supporting you all.
Let's bust a move! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy4FXhkm6Nw
KB3 is just around the corner, and I am a little scared but also properly excited.
After Christmas, my family and I moved to Malawi. Considering the international crowd that is Kenzai, many of you probably know what it is like to move a family across international borders. Basically, it sucks. The no man's land between two borders, especially developing country borders, is a special kind of hell. Still, despite the immigration and customs challenges, we made it to Blantyre. My house is unpacked. I've started my new job. My little girl is getting more comfortable everyday. Next week, she will start pre-nursery school, and my husband will be traveling back to Zambia where he will start a 4-year course in business management. Lots of changes!
Unfortunately, all of this instability made it difficult to commit fully to a proper ramp-up before KB3. Even now that I'm settled into a new home, I've found fitting in a workout challenging as my daughter seems to know when I leave the bed. She wakes up screaming and can be comforted by no one except for me. All of the change in scenery over the past few months seems to have shaken her up a bit and left her feeling insecure. This is life. I will find a way to make it work.
I know the upcoming training group is going to be fun one, so no matter what challenges lie ahead, I am soooo looking forward to the camaraderie of a some super awesome peeps.
*Illustration by Crimson Ape (blog.crimsonape.com)
Back in Zambia and back in action. I've decided to do a personal Reboot/12 Days of Kenzai hybrid. I'm doing the Reboot program and adding on the extra Christmas offering posted daily by Patrick. A fun way to ease back into daily strength training. The US offered a proper indulgence (pizza, ice cream, cheeseburgers, sushi, bacon, sausage, etc). I ate all the good stuff I miss out on here. I mean, indulgences just taste better in America. Not sure how many pounds I put on...but I definitely put on some weight. All my workmates are commenting on it. In Zambia, gaining a bit of weight is a good thing so you know, they are complimenting me. More importantly, I signed up for a New Year KB3 immediately following the end of Reach. So, the Reboot is to help me start the process of shedding some of that home leave excess and get me prepared to handle what seems to be a whopper of a program in KB3.
Also, I'm super excited about membership. What a great idea! I'm so happy to be a part of this community and can't wait to see what adventures 2017 brings with it.
Reach Graduation - Pictures speak for themselves GRADUATION POST
I think these pictures are amazing. My backbend is the most improved. When I started I could only manage a backbend with my big toe 34 cm from the wall. Today, it was 80 cm from the wall. My cobbler went from 15 cm from groin to heel to 5.5 cm. And, I have no limit on the broomstick rotation. My husband was like, no lift the broomstick back up. And, I was like, but I don't have a limit, it just rotates all the way around and ends at my butt!
I don't have time to write a deep post. My home leave is winding down, and I am focused on packing and seeing the last few folks. But, I do want to say that Reach delivers. I did not devote the time and attention to this program that it deserved, and I still got amazing results. Imagine if I had been able to give it 100%, or even 90%. Thanks as always Kenzai crew for a great program. I do plan on addressing some of those deeper questions over the next few months. The self-reflection that this program allows is important, and I want to go back and answer some of those questions that were difficult for me to find an answer for right away. Also, I'm grateful to have made connections with a few more Kenzai folks, namely my teammates! Great to meet and know new people.
As a bonus, I've attached a selfie of my husband. He made me do the backbend a second time because he was busy taking this picture instead of being serious. My back survived...barely. :)
Blog police got me! I wanted to drop one in since I'll be offline for the next couple of days. Graduation post will come when I return from deep Kentucky.
All is well. Reach is going great! I actually was able to complete the entire workout 7 days in a row. The last couple of days were dicey because of late nights. The PNF exercises are interesting, but I'm a little unsure if I'm doing the world pincer correct. I can almost do a full split...so, it isn't my flexibility that gets me here. I don't have the strength to hold myself up when I get down that low. I've been leaning over and supporting myself with my arms since I can't hold myself up with my feet. A video might be helpful on this one.
Also, I'm pleased with my results. Even though I wasn't able to put in 100%, the progress in my week 7 picture is clear. Imagine what a 100% or even 90% might do! I'll give some more thought into this for my graduation post.
Finally, as of last week, I am a Kenzai member! Great idea team! When I read the announcement, I was immediately on board. No need to wonder how I am going to afford all the programs I want to do next year. One price, all the programs. I'm excited to start the New Year with KB3 and lose a bit of the home leave fat I have accumulated over the last few weeks. Learning some new skills will be pretty cool, too!
Enjoy the last Reach workout team!!
I am so thankful for the Kenzai community. I had a fantastic lunch with Watson yesterday. I am appreciative that Watson reached out to me. Happy Thanksgiving! Good luck keeping the indulgences to a minimum.
Maybe insights is a little misleading...cause these are not deep insights. I picked a bad time to be on program. I've learned a big lesson. I knew my diet would be off, but I really thought I could stick to the exercises. I'm hanging on by my fingernails. Traveling, visiting, shopping, doctor's appointments, etc. really get in the way of trying to keep a routine. Without a daily routine, I find it almost impossible to be consistent with exercises and check in regularly with my teammates (so sorry!). That said, I like this program and now that I am back in Georgia and in one place for a few weeks, I am recommitting to finishing strong...at least on the exercises. I'd like to hit them all up to the end. I will do my best. I can't guarantee any good deep thought blogs, but I am saving all those fantastic questions and will be happy to address them over the coming months even while on Life. Never a bad time to reflect on life.
On an awesome note, I'm planning to meet up with Kenzai teammate extraordinaire tomorrow for lunch! Cool!!!
For the first time since being on home leave, I was able to hit the I Did It button! Weeee! I thought that being on home leave would make it easy to fit in evening stretches. Seems to be totally opposite. I'm so distracted by hanging out with people that I just kinda let them slide. Everyday. This is not like me. I like the I Did It button, and I want to hit it. So, today, I did them while everyone else in the condo is napping. We are in Tampa in a condo right on the beach this week. Waking up and doing my morning stretches and yoga poses is great...with the deck door open and the rolling waves of the ocean singing in my ears. Theoretically, the evening stretches should be the same but changing habit is difficult.
Still mulling over that twist question......but wanted to let everyone know I'm still here!
In answer to Kim, I am here in Georgia. I voted. I've been running around to dentist appointments, ob-gyn appointments, shopping, etc. I am still on program, but I admit, the program is suffering. My diet is haywire...international travel will do that to one. But, I only get to the US once a year or less even. So, I am all about eating the food that I can't get while I'm in Zambia. So many restaurants, so many choices! Wow! And, don't get me started on the grocery store. Anyone who has lived in a developing country knows what I feel when I walk into an American grocery store. All I can do is make sure to get the portions in but I'm not going to deny myself the flavors that I've been missing. I'll do my best.
On the exercise front, I've been doing okay. The evening stretches are still the bane of my existence. I have such a hard time getting my brain to remember to do them. The morning stretches I've done everyday. I've skipped a couple skillful movement days due to travel, but I did them this morning. I really do love them. I feel so centered and ready for the day after them. They may need to become a part of a regular morning routine.
Anyway, that is the quick update! I'm sorry I don't have time for more but home leave is for visiting the people at home. They will get the majority of my time. I will try to post some pictures with the next update...either from Washington state or Florida.
I am on the road visiting my new home city of Blantyre, Malawi. I checked out houses yesterday. Found one! I've attached a picture of my new cardio option coming New Year 2017. Sweet! I love the prospect of a morning swim to get the blood pumping and my brain firing fast. Right now, the overall trend in my life is change...and as I settle down next year into a new job and a new daily routine, I suspect my trend will be growth. I won't go into details today. I'm not really feeling so chatty, but I am thinking about this topic as I try to understand how to cultivate more compassionate honesty in my life, with myself and the people around me. What trends do I want to manifest in my life?
In Kenzai news, I am doing just okay with the diet. Thanks to an amazing breakfast bar with salad fixings and sauteed mixed veggies, my breakfasts are compliant. I also sneak some fruit and a boiled egg for snacks. Lunch and dinner are dicier, but I am making an effort to keep the proportions balanced. I am still fitting in some strength work followed by the yoga postures. I am really loving sun salutations as I feel that I've finally, after many years, started to flow well with the breath through the postures. I love the morning stretches and hate the evening stretches. As Yvonne said, it really does feel like an imposition after being so committed to getting my workout done in the morning. Really, it's just a mind shift...evenings are always for relaxing my mind but those evening stretches are work. A few of them, I can relax into but then some others feel like torture.
I am getting more flexible. I'm sorry that I haven't posted a new picture this week. Forgive me. I will get one up this weekend....so you can see my progress, which is pretty substantial, I think. The picture will reveal!
I think this is day 18, right? The days are blurring by in haze of routine and work responsibilities. Vacation is only 10 days away....
All is well on the Kenzai front. Diet is so so...doing a fairly decent job of sticking to grams. Exercise good. Only one night of evening stretches missed so far. I decided to add daily strength work in as my body just misses it. I'm doing the complementary Kenzai Body day exercises - so today, I'll do day 18 KB. I find it's nice to work the muscles and flow directly into the yoga poses.
In terms of openness and strong emotions, I feel like the last few months have been nothing less than an explosion of opening up and releasing pent up emotions. I haven't actually experienced any while on program. I spent a lot of that pre-program. Now, 6 months ago may have been a different story altogether.
However, I can relay a quick story on opening up more possibility on the financial side of life. I've struggled for about 10 years with some pretty heavy debt - student and credit card. The student debt I am working through and not accumulating anymore, but the credit cards are like heavy shackles keeping me deep in debtor's prison. After reading one of Patrick's big ideas some months back, I joined YNAB (You Need a Budget), created a budget and started tracking my spending. This helped but not completely...I still make rather expensive impulse buys. It's like one step forward, two steps back.
One month ago, I started working with a non-profit debt management company, InCharge, to help me wipe the slate clean. I joined a debt management plan in which I pay them one monthly payment and they distribute it amongst my creditors. Their team negotiates with the creditors to agree on lower interest rates and a set monthly payment. You agree not to accumulate anymore debt while on the plan, and basically, after 3-5 years depending on your level of debt, you are free! Right now, I am 2% debt free after one month on the plan.
I've found that my bank account seems bigger and more expansive. Suddenly, it seems like I have more money! I don't have more money, though. What I have is a plan and a set amount that I know will go towards debt every month. I know exactly when I will be out of credit card debt, and I am free to do whatever I choose with the rest of the money that comes my way. My budget is still tight right now due to various circumstances, but I feel like I will be able to meet my obligations without using a credit card to do it or borrowing money from family members. What a great place to be!
I find fitting in the evening stretches quite difficult. My routine involves morning workouts because I can focus during that time. My morning routine requires early mornings, which in turn require early bedtimes.
To be more specific, I like the evening stretches, but my 1-year old makes it difficult to do them for any lengthy period of time. Most evenings, I am alone with my daughter. When I try to stretch, one of two things happens. Either my daughter wants to be a part of the stretch and tries to jump on my back or relocate other parts of my body (week 1 picture features Ari mounting a sneak attack on Mommy's back). Or, she wanders around without guidance and unintentionally tries to kill herself in various ways. None of these two things makes it easy to focus and relax into a long, deep stretch.
Okay, you say, do it after she goes to sleep. Here's the thing. In order to get enough sleep, my habit is to go to bed with my daughter. We cuddle up. She nurses. We fall asleep together. Last night, I had every intention of getting back up to do the stretches...but sleep came and I didn't wake again until 1 AM. I was definitely not about to do any stretching at that ungodly hour.
I was able to fit in the stretches the night before by putting her in a bath. She is mostly safe in baths, and they keep her busy for at least 10-15 minutes without needing me. For the next couple of weeks, I think this will be my strategy....my only challenge will be on nights when our routine is interrupted by social events. After these two weeks, I'll be traveling and will have help with Ari.
One of the questions Thomas asked us as we did our usual program introductions was, "What keeps you coming back to Kenzai?" I answered community and variety, but my answer is deeper than that really, and I didn't realize it until after I read today's lesson. I keep coming back because I sense a group of kindred spirits. Fellow searchers trying to ground themselves in a life philosophy that enriches, energizes and nourishes their souls. I keep coming back because I am connected to these people in this virtual place by more than fitness and nutrition.
Today, Kenzai Reach asks us to reflect on this question, "What beliefs and philosophies do you base your life choices on?" Gee, Kenzai, funny you should ask as I've spent the last 2 years flailing around to find an answer to this question. Mostly unknowingly but recently purposefully.
A year and a half ago my mother passed away. Two weeks later my daughter was born. Two significant and interrelated rites of passage. In some ways, I lost myself for at least a year after these twin events. I think of them as two sides of the same coin, yin/yang, light/dark. During that time, I felt a deep connection to the mystery. I explored many texts about dying and being with death trying to understand what happened to my mom. I read tons of parenting books to help me get a grip on how to care for a new life. I spent very little time on me. What little time I didn't devote to my daughter went to my husband. I never properly mourned the passing of my mother...there just wasn't time or enough mental energy to do it, and I still don't feel quite ready. The time will come.
A few months ago some events happened that sent my life into a tailspin. I won't go into details as the wounds are still too raw and ragged to share publicly. One day, many years from now after all of the fall out has settled and the path is clear, I may write about it. For now, it is only appropriate to share my reaction to the events and the process that they have put in motion. Finally, I realized it is time for me to stop giving of myself so freely, stop listening to all the advice and to start nourishing my beliefs and letting my deep, heart values guide my life choices. All of the things that happened in the last two and a half years took me away from who I am in my soul. Marriage, the death of my mother, the birth of my daughter. Now, it is time, for my sake and to provide my daughter with a proper example, for me to decide on my core beliefs and philosophies and to start living them daily.
I am reading a book right now, "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser, that refers to times like these as Phoenix Processes. I am indeed at a crossroad where I can either burn to ashes in the flames or arise reborn as a phoenix. In my reflections these last few months, I decided that my core values are simple, quite simple, actually. I aim to live my life as authentically and honestly as possible...to use my inner compass as a guide and let the noise from all the people around me fall aside. I want to close my eyes and feel the path that will lead me to my best self. Six years ago when I started the Peak Condition Project I was in a similar space, though there was less at stake. Life is cycles. I've cycled back into chaos and am rebuilding yet again. Bigger and better!
In the last few weeks, I've been meditating on my root chakra...finding ways to ground myself so that I can move forward from a place of stability. This weeks focus on grounding came at an apt time. The poses complement my own attempt to get back to my roots and heal that place that's been neglected over the last few years. As such, I made the decision to apply to a new job, which as you've seen from a previous post I got and accepted. I know it is the right time and the right place to go. My whole being resonates with the correctness of the choice. My first step towards authentic living with many more steps to go and many more decisions to make.
I posted the image of this fairy years ago to complement another blog post. The image still resonates with me and represents in a visual sense how I want to live my life with passion, with fire, with love.