The Week Flew By

Way behind on blogging. Time gets away from me.

Last weekend I had a great weekend attending Anne & Bill’s wedding and seeing old friends from college.

 

Wedding 05.31.13

On Sunday night I saw “Honest Monday” perform, they are always very good.  I enjoy the juxtaposition of the two younger, dreadlock-sporting band members with the hipster, older man.  They’re fun to watch and very “happy feet” inducing.  Later on a group of us went to a nearby friend’s house to hang out for a bit and ended up “playing dj” with Geeb’s record collection.  There’s nothing quite like authentic vinyl!

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(And yes, we are using a surfboard as a table…. And yes, people in Wisconsin DO surf on Lake Michigan).

I typically attend a Memorial Day parade in a very small town with my family, but I opted out this year to catch up on things.  I’m  a little sad I missed it, but the day turned out cold and rainy anyway.

Since I had Monday off of work for the holiday, I was confused the entire week as to what day of the week it was. I forgot about garbage day (it’s always Tuesday, but I thought Tuesday was Monday) and I was habitually keeping track of things a day behind the date all week. Oops.

I spent most of last weekend fooling around, so this weekend I tried to catch up on some things.  I finally did some major spring cleaning, which felt pretty good. I’ve been putting it off for a really long time.  It’s been nice to come  home to a more organized apartment. I feel a little lighter and more relaxed.

The Saga Continues

My digestive track has been out of wack for months.  I am still not feeling well and entering another cycle of random illness testing. At least this time I actually have a doctor.  It has been difficult/impossible for me to have an actual doctor given the difficulty of leaving work during business hours, and the added problem of my 45 minute commute, and the lack of confidentiality when you work in an open office where everyone knows the only reason you EVER would be allowed to leave early is for a doctor appointment. (I’m relatively convinced my female coworkers think I’m pregnant because of this… No, nope, I just gain weight around my uterus, thanks).

Anyway, I’ve just been doing the walk-in clinic, which clearly has gotten me nowhere.  I’m almost never sick and get by with avoiding doctors, but my current situation is clearly a situation requiring a single doctor to exhaust testing options on me and/or refer me to a gastro specialist.

Fun stuff.

I’m really frustrated and sick of being sick at this point. My doctor asked me what stresses me out and I just started spastically crying.  Which I’m sure she gets all the time. But that doesn’t make me feel any less foolish about it.  And I’m pretty sure I convinced her I’m probably more sick because of my own anxiety and stress.  Which could be the case.  But I definitely don’t want to be sick and would do anything to make it stop.

I get really frustrated thinking about how long its going to take to rule things out, how much testing, how invasive, et cetera. It’s draggin’ me down.  And there’s always the large chance that I’ve just been totally thrown off balance and there’s nothing they can really do about it or accurately diagnose. It’s entirely frustrating.  At this point I think it might be better to just wait it out and see if I get better on my own before going through any further testing.

Last week I was so consumed by tired. I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything for months.  I’ve been feeling a little off about a lot of things, but I think I just let myself become overwhelmed.  And I think this week will be better, and I do believe I will continue to move forward as long as I put effort forth.

My own Antithesis

I hadn’t been blogging last week, partially because I was super busy, but mainly because I felt like the exact antithesis of everything I want to promote in life.  I thought maybe sleeping instead of blogging at night would benefit my horrible mood (I’m not sure whether or not it did).

Here’s a brief synopsis of my mood:

Have I been irrationally emotional?

Yes.

Have I given the stink eye to people who didn’t deserve it?

Probably.

Have I had fits of crying in frustration?

Multiple Fits.

Have I sworn in rage?

On several occasions, usually directed at the air and not humans, so that’s at least good. (?)

Have I felt I should be granted relief from “rules” because I’m ill and self pitying?

Yes.

Have I chosen to rise above how crappy I feel and appreciated what I do have going my way? And the fact that I could be a lot worse?

Not really.

Have I let stress and anxiety completely overwhelm me?

Apparently I have.

 

I Only Breathe when I’m Running

I felt somewhat resolved after an hour long run in the rain Friday morning.  I really don’t mind running in the rain so much, but it has a few downfalls.

The first of which is, it is very difficult to see out of rain droplet smeared glases (nerd problems). Add to this the fact that its still dark out when I run and I’m pretty much just flying blind.  Which makes me feel like a nerdy badass.

The second is that I dislike dirtying my shoes in puddles, and worst of all, muddy puddles that splatter clumps of mud all over my beloved spandex running gear (kind of looked like I had poo’d my neon pink running tights when I got done).

The third hazard is that my iPod probably shouldn’t be exposed to the rain, but I’ve been drenching it all the time because all it ever does lately is rain.

Rain won’t scare me off a run, mother nature, no way no how.

The run is always worth facing the rain. The rain is actually kind of refreshing once you get past all of it’s inconveniences (flying blind, mud spatters, and soaked electronics).

I also find it imperative to mention that I made it about 20 yards away from my apt before some kind of large bug flew directly into my eyeball and stuck there. I couldn’t seem to blink it out and it stung so much I ran back to my apartment and swabbed it out with a Kleenex.  Fairly off-putting to find a whole bug stuck inside my lower eyelid. After I finished my run I’m pretty sure I found bug legs or something still in there (might’ve just been a string of mascara, might not have been).

In hindsight I was kind of a she-warrior of the morning’s run. Few things are more empowering than running the streets in adverse conditions. Take that, elements! Take! That! It’s like beating an imaginary opponent.  I know then that no one stops me except ME.

I am a Sponge

I am a sponge. I tend to absorb the emotions of the people around me, and their attitudes. I think this happens to everyone. But I try to be aware of the fact that it is my choice to be happy, and my choice not to dwell in the negative. Everyone has their bad days and their occasional foul moods, and everyone needs to vent from time to time, but positive people surround themselves with other positive people because it is all too easy to get weighed down.  This is not to say to trample the person down on his or her luck, but it is to mean, empathize with tough situations and then find a way beyond them. We all have obstacles, its what we make of the obstacles that counts.

I was not a shining example of overcoming obstacles last week. In fact, just the opposite. But now that I’ve had some time to reflect and calm down, I’m ready to move on.  I don’t want to feel as crappy as I felt last week. I know I need a new approach or I will make myself sick with anxiety.

So I’m off to begin a new week. I’m getting excited about a few things and starting to think about going some new directions.  I need a little momentum, a little change and a little novelty.  I’m going to rely on a steady faith in myself and in life.  It’s time to be happy (it’s always time to be happy).

Once I make it through the work week I’ve got a nice long weekend with Monday off.  I’m looking forward to it!

I’d like to spend some time trying to figure out what I want, but I think I wonder about what I want all the time, and I never really find the answers until those rare moments of clarity, or those big leaps of faith, when you just know something’s right, and you’re exactly where you’re meant to be, and everything is beautiful and perfect in this inherently not-so-perfect-at-all way.  It’s funny how moments like that can carry you through uncertainty.  Suddenly you just know what it’s all for.

But in my case, the confusion always returns.

Such is life =)

 

The Soul and The Ego, Fullfillment or Cattle Call

Ego and Soul 05.27.13

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what I really want out of life, as an individual, as a soul instead of a person tied to the materialness and the state of my current existence.  As someone with unlimited potential instead of someone who confines herself to certain personality traits or conditions.

There is a lot of noise in our daily lives.  It’s hard to tell what truly makes us happy and what is simply something we pursue because of where we are or what we think we should do, be, or have.

I found this article by Deepak Chopra really helpful in explaining how to begin listening to the soul instead of the ego.

I think it is probably one of the greatest struggles in life to overcome the ego.  It becomes the foundation of who we are.  We are driven by all these wants, but its hard to tell if these desires come from the heart of our being, or from the influence of our family, peers, media.  There’s so much out there that sways us, it’s difficult to hear the thrumming of our own souls.

What makes you happy? What fulfills you? What makes you, you?  Do we really have to be destined to lives of chasing status, networks, possessions,  appearance?  Is the greater achievement of unveiling one’s soul and living truthfully something that ultimately cannot be sustained as a way of life in modern society?  How do we nurture our souls in order to move through life with joy, direction, and truthfulness that can’t be snuffed by others’ success?

Circle 05.27.13

I believe that living in true awareness of  our souls encourages others to do the same. I believe that it empowers us as individuals and helps others to realize their own potential.  Being in tune to our souls makes us part of one great big connected humanity instead of one disbanded throng of individuals pushing down a street to arrive somewhere on time, alone and careless just to meet some deadline, just to finish some chore.  We are so much more than the petty things we do from day to day.  We are so much more than the roads we take to arrive where we think we ought to be.

Where is your heart?  What direction does it want to take you? And how do you make following your heart translate into the modern world?

How do we find joy in the things we have to do, but don’t always want to?  Where do we draw the line between worldly necessity and soul? Do we have to whole heartedly chase what our souls want in order to truly unveil our souls and our joy, or do we simply need to find some quiet to listen to our souls in order to accomplish the things we do from day to day with a  little more joy?

Should our whole lives revolve around the impulses of our souls?  Or should our souls simply center and ground the things we must do?

How tightly are we bound to our circumstance?

What’s holding you back?  If you think determinedly enough around the obstacles, you’ll often find the only thing truly holding you back is you.  That doesn’t make it any less difficult to break through.

How do we unite our soul with the roles we choose to play in life?  And are we denying our soul by choosing certain roles? Is this a necessity of society?  And if it is, how do we truly become happy and fulfilled in life?

I think the answers to these questions may be different for everyone. There are so many opportunities, choices, and internal and external influences in life that it’s difficult for anyone to know which influence to heed to.  The options are overwhelming.

But I feel if we learn to listen more to our souls instead of our egos, we could do so much more for ourselves and for others.  Life is all about finding a balance.  The balance between work and heart.  The balance between partners.  The balance between study and play, between laughter and grief, between understanding and the unknown, between safety and risk. Somewhere beneath it all is our one, feeling, unbreakable, unbogged soul.  Listen to it. Nurture it, feed it.  Grow it into something capable of sustaining you through  all of the joys and sorrows of life.  Without knowing our souls we are merely empty shells shuffling from place to place.

You are Building a Fire

“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” -Mia Hamm, professional soccer player

 

Everything you do is stoking the fire of your life. Each day we make the choice to move forward or to stay stagnant.

How are you doing today?

Are you eating healthy foods that give you fuel?

Are you thinking positive thoughts that propel you forward?

Do your actions make you feel good about who you are and what you do for others?

Do you tell yourself you are capable of great things?

Are you open to others?  Are you open to what the world has to offer you?

Do you seek inspiration in daily affairs?

Are you staying committed to your own truths and the essence of your being?

Have you looked for a creative solution to a problem before admitting defeat?

Have you viewed failure as an opportunity to learn?

Are you mindful in your choices?

Are you forward thinking?

Are you respectful of the earth, the people around you, and yourself?

Have you given to someone without expecting anything in return?  Have you paid a genuine compliment?  Have you brought someone else happiness?

Are you respectful of the past, living in present, and planning good things for the future?

Do you believe in yourself…. no matter what?

Did you take a risk today?

Are you willing to look your fears in the eyes in order to be happy?

Do you recognize opportunity?

Do you choose to ignite yourself at the right moments?

All of these things are required for progress and growth.  Success and happiness go hand in hand if the success you seek is based on the joy and the true motives in your heart.  You have to know your soul to ignite your own fire.  You have to work at it.  You have to fail constantly to learn how to move forward and to build the character of a warrior fighting for her own happiness in a world laden with distractions, obstacles, and hang ups.

Be true to you.  Believe in your own strength.

Today and everyday, make choices that fuel your fire, that ignite your soul, that thrill the very core of your being.

You hold the matches to spark your own soul.

Go forth and let that baby burn!

It’s all happening today.

Wake-Me-Up Circuit

Here’s a  quick circuit to get your blood circulating and help ward off that cardio boredom!  Run all the exercises through, hop on the treadmill, and jump right back into the exercises again! Repeat 3 times for a challenge.

If you don’t have access to a treadmill, try a quick spell of spastic dancing to your favorite song =) And if you really want to amp it up, increase 30 seconds to 1 minute or more.  Get ready, set, go!

Wake me Up Circuit -Hello Songbird 05.24.13

One more thought, if you find yourself getting antsy while relaxing in front of the television, try working your way through this (or any circuit) during commercial breaks.  You may look a little silly, but its a pretty fun and painless way to squeeze a little more physical activity into your day.

 

Almost There!

Hello friends!

We’re almost to Friday =)

Put your happy face on!

This weekend I’ll be attending the wedding of my friends, Bill & Anne!  I’m so happy for them and I can’t wait to celebrate their relationship and be reunited with our college group of friends.

College

Here’s us circa 2007! Crazy how the time passes.  Don’t we look like an odd, fun group?  I can’t wait to see how everyone’s changed, and likewise how much has stayed the same!

 

Amanda and Me 05.23.13

I’m especially excited to spend the weekend with my soul sister Amanda =) There are some people you just always seem to be on the same page with, and this girl’s one of ‘em for me.  Can’t wait to be reunited, there’s always a lot of laughs, a little soul searching, and some great girl talk!

Let’s do this Memorial Day weekend!

I’ve got antsies in my pantsies!

I Want that Jim and Pam Feeling…

Tonight I watched the season finale of the Office.  It was so good, and so heart warming.  But if I take one thing away, it’s the truest reflection of all,

“there’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”

It’s simple and its honest.  You never know what you’re going to find.  Sometimes you’re looking for it, and sometimes you aren’t, but beauty is everywhere.

 

Paper Heart 05.22.13

This Stupid, Amazing… Job

In Jim’s farewell interview he says,

“Everything I have I owe to this job… this stupid, wonderful, boring, amazing… job.”

I think this is a touchingly accurate portrayal of how people feel about what they do.  Work becomes a huge part of who you are.  You invest so much time and energy into your job that it becomes difficult to separate yourself from your work.  That’s why it seems imperative to find a job you love.

Think about how hard it is to leave an employer.  You create so many memories.  Even the most mundane things can represent a huge piece of yourself that has been invested over a span of time.  You remember the things you’ve learned.  You remember the little bursts of happiness in your day, like a co-worker surprising you with coffee, or sending a silly email, or even just exchanging knowing glances.  Whether you intend for it to happen or not, the people you work with often become a strange family.  You get through the ups and downs together.

Questions

Is your heart in your work even if you don’t love what you do?

Are we as individuals, defined by what we do?  In part or in entirety?

Do we allow ourselves to be defined by what we do?

Do you separate your personal life from your career?

Or is it human nature to embrace our careers and mold them into something that feels a little like home?

Reps ‘n Reps… Sweat Fest!

I was sweating like crazy during this mornings workout!

I combined  a 30 minute circuit with pb fingers 1000 reps workout. I love the 1000 rep workout because it mixes up the strategy I use to lift. Burning out my muscles on 50 rep sets feels amazing (and torture-some!).   There may’ve been a few naughty words involved but I gave it all I’ve got!  And it felt pretty darn good!

I made an egg white omelet this morning, however it turned out undercooked.  I also had some broccoli on the side… undercooked. I’ve become used to my own subpar cooking, good thing no one else relies on me for sustenance!  They would likely be miserable unless they opted to fend for themselves (does this explain why I’m single?).

Brocolli 05.22.13

(Clearly I did not cook this broccoli, thank you www.sxc.hu contributors for some beautiful images!)

The workout was awesome but as the day went on I started to feel run down.  I know I’m burning both ends of the candle and not getting enough sleep.  Its hard for me to give up any of the things I love in order to get more sleep.  It seems unnecessary.  If I can’t fit in time to write, time to workout, and time to connect with friends and family in a day, I feel like I’m cheating myself of the things that bring me joy.  It’s hard to know when I need to take a step back and rest. I feel defeated when there aren’t enough hours.  I’ve grown determined to manipulate my short bursts of free time into working with me, instead of against me.

I have one life, and it’s this present moment.  I’ll be damned if I can’t spend a little bit of each day doing what makes me happy.  But sometimes, a girl’s gotta rest and reset to come back stronger.

Reality and Fairydust

FairyDust Flower 05.21.13

I’m at this age where I’m torn between reality and fiction.  I don’t think I always know the difference; at times anything seems possible.  I’m boldly aware that I can do almost anything I want to if I’m determined and resourceful enough.

All of the directions I could go become so overwhelming that I don’t choose one. The time comes and goes, I’m increasingly aware of this. But as time passes, it builds me into someone stronger, wiser, more capable, and more aware.

I have begun to respect the time it takes to construct my life.  Each choice I make is the gradual invention of who I am. If I find I don’t like what I’m creating, I disassemble and try again.  I am always free to establish something new.  With each go-round, I learn from my mistakes and build from a sturdier foundation of knowledge.  I am my own architect.  No condition is permanent unless I make it that way.

I’ve seen enough oddness in the world to know strange things will always happen, good things, bad things, unbelievable things.  Life is beautiful and ironic.  I’m surprised more days than not.  I’m accepting that I can’t always be prepared for everything, but I know that how I react and what I make out of any situation is purely my own choice.

I am who I choose to be.

If I have all the power to make my own choices, there is no limit to what I can create.  I think of all the things I want to do, of all of the different lives I could lead.  I consider all of the obstacles.  I can’t do everything. There simply isn’t enough time, and there are obstacles we cannot overcome alone.  But I believe we are capable of achieving what we want if we are determined and decisive enough.  Choose a direction and throw every bit of yourself into achieving a goal and you will see results.  It takes honesty and a profound willingness to conquer fears.  But I think the hardest part is making a choice, and determining what you are willing to risk and sacrifice.

Your life can be defined but what you are willing to give, and what opportunities you choose to seize.

I am pretty content with my life right now.  Things are good.  But there is a restless stirring in me. I wonder what my calling is, where my heart lies.  It seems to me the people in this world who are fortunate enough, brave enough, and driven enough to do what they love for a living are few and far between. Many more of us find jobs we’re good at, or jobs we simply tolerate.  Days slip into months and years.

I am passionate about my work but I don’t feel completely fulfilled. There is a sense of something missing, there is the sense that I’m not putting enough good into the world, that I’m not free enough to invest myself fully in the things that I love.

Maybe that’s the nature of life.  I haven’t really figured it out.  But I’m young and unburdened, it seems now would be the time to pursue my dreams.  I’m just a little unclear as to what my dreams are, or whether or not I’ve had enough experience to figure it out yet.  Maybe we’re never really sure.

When it comes to dreams, where do I draw the line between reality and fiction?  Between a calling and a daydream?  And how much am I willing to risk?  Do the biggest moments in our lives really come down to grand leaps of faith?

It’s very easy to sit back, relax, and let things unfold.  But I’ve reached a point in my life where I appreciate and recognize my capacity to do and be more.

There is all this wondering…

Today’s Workout: Leap, Crunch, Run

Today’s personal accomplishment was figuring out how to format a table in In Design. For some reason this seemingly simple task has evaded me for days.  I’m essentially teaching myself how to layout a 250+ page product catalog in indesign with little to no experience in this kind  of design.  I’m not sure where I would be without internet tutorials.  Thank you, technology!

It’s amazing how most terms of employment involve faking it ‘til you make it.

Can I do that? Uhhmm, sure, yes I can. Absolutely.

And that’s how things get done! Sink or swim.

I am not without my moments of, dear Lord, what have gotten myself into?

The older I get the more I’m convinced we spend half of our lives trying to fool people into thinking we know what we’re doing when we really have no clue.

 Today’s Workout: Leap, Crunch, Run

I woke up to some excellent news and felt motivated to jump right into my workout! I started off with Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning.  Nothing makes use of my early morning enthusiasm better than Insanity!

 

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After that, I moved on to the quickie 10 minute selection on the “Basic Ab Workout for Dummies” DVD.   I’ve had this video for many years now (as you can probably tell by how worn the case is!).  I was turned off by the whole “dummies” thing, but I had read about this workout somewhere and it got great reviews. I was willing to give it a try.

The video is really well instructed and trains you to stay focused on keeping your core engaged.  It’s a pretty classic crunch-based ab workout that leaves me feeling like I accomplished some effective ab work in a short amount of time. The full length portion of the video is about 30 minutes long and I really like that too!

After my ab video I had a little extra time so I threw on some fluorescent pink running tights and launched onto the sidewalk for a quick 20 minute run. It was super humid!

A pretty decent workout for Tuesday!

Happy Allergy Season, Ya’ll!

will at 7.50.38 PM

Hello, Monday readers!

I’m having one of those days where I’m feeling bit foggy and distracted. There was too much to do this weekend and I didn’t get enough sleep, but I’m still feeling mentally refreshed.

The weather is supposed to get dreary for the rest of the week but we caught a few gorgeous days this weekend, making for some enjoyable runs. I even attended my first bonfire of the season, exciting!

When I came home from the gym this morning I noticed the trees were budding and smelled amazing.  There’s nothing quite like those couple of spring days when its’s not raining and chilly.  But it also means, allergy time!

Sneeze Log

I keep a sneeze log at work. What’s that? You don’t know what a sneeze log is?

Well, a sneeze log is a spreadsheet where you track how many times each day someone sneezes. I work in an open office with about a dozen people, and let me tell you, the sneezing is absolutely outrageous. I can’t adequately describe it, so I recommend this short video clip to help illustrate.

Sneezer at 7.51.34 PM

Yep, it’s pretty much exactly like that, except from every direction.

And let me tell ya, it’ll get your blood pumpin’ when someone suddenly screams in an office.  Many times there is no sneeze “wind-up” for warning.

Our “world record” for number of sneezes in a day is at 29. Split amongst twelve scream-sneezers, that’s a lot!  We’ve had some uncharacteristically low sneeze quantities lately, but I am anticipating some off the charts allergy season mark ups.

The Gym is a Place for Singing

I went for an hour long run in the evening on Sunday night and woke up feeling pretty exhausted from that.  I was going on only 5 hours of sleep this morning so I grabbed an apple before the gym for a pick me up, the healthy carbs and dose of caffeine seemed like a good idea.

I started out with a short ab video and decided to focus solely on upper body strength to give my running legs a rest from the weekend.  I spent about an hour weight training.

I was happy to find the gym deserted this morning.  It happens less often than you would think at 3am. An empty gym means I’m free to keep myself awake by singing to myself, and/or periodically dancing.  Anything to drown out the constant classic rock blasting on the radio (think AC/DC).

I’m fairly certain I sound like a combination of a six year old and obnoxious cat when I sing, so I try to avoid doing it around human ears.

Do you have any weird gym habits?  What gets you going when you’re working out?