I don’t want to hit these girls, I want to protect them

accident, choices, fat loss, fitness, healing, health, healthy lifestyle, inspiration, inspire, life, life coaching, motivation, nutrition, peace, recovery, roller derby, roller skating, RollerCon, skating, sports, strength, weight loss, wellness, yoga

Lots to share, and first, let’s start with the 30 Days of Skating challenge:

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I did a little skating in the house today, and since there were three yoga practices in my day, I opted to skip an endurance skate and go to Sintral’s practice tonight.

This came out at practice and I need to not only say it, but actually write it out to make it real.

I won’t be playing derby anymore.

There’s so much good coming from this, though.  First, it’s a huge relief that I don’t have to fret my body becoming damaged any further. 

Truly, I couldn’t ask for a better experience as a skater. In my first and only full season as a skater, I played for and subbed for four teams and got to be a member of two leagues before I became an independent skater. EVERY weekend, there was a derby event. I was *always* skating. Four teams rostered me for bouts. Four MVP awards – two jammer, two blockers – in eleven months of bouting. 

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100 pounds lost in the journey.

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As an official, trainer and advisor, I can do WAY more than coach. I can TRAIN these athletes. I specialize in fitness, nutrition, and motivation. It is the perfect fit for me.

Plus, I LOVE watching derby and learning about and observing the strategy. Being a ref gives me the opportunity to skate in and watch EVERY jam.

Derby was the seductive beauty that lured me in, and was a pretense and catalyst for my transition into a healthy lifestyle.  I used derby as an excuse to meet new people, become an athlete, get fit, build my body strong, find an outlet, and help me heal from a broken heart.

I am still very much in the derby community, and I’ve also branched out to meet all kinds of skaters. In all candor,  I really skate more on trails and streets than I do any derby practices. I do more training off skates, & a focus so much on my fitness and nutrition for reasons way beyond roller derby.

I’m so thankful that I’ve had the sport to get me in the type of physical shape that I am in, and especially grateful for the ability to see beyond just this one sport. To see beyond just athletes. To see beyond elements and components, and see a huge picture coming together. Just like in derby, I can see where my strongest assets can be utilized to help people, to grow, and to do some really amazing things.

I had the opportunity to referee on Saturday for a bout, and afterwards, I told a few people that I actually prefer officiating over playing derby. I get to skate in every jam, get a ton of endurance as an OPR (outside pack ref), I get to watch amazing things happen, and I get to call people out on their shit.

As with playing, there is also a bit of a code regarding appropriate force in officiating. What I primarily look for is safety, and cleanliness of play. Level of play also determines strictness.

Some things are a bit subjective, but the things that are highly egregious must be addressed. I aspire to put the same energy and work into being a good official as I did to become a good skater. This was not the direction that I had planned for myself; it’s just another way of life reminding me that life happens when you’re making other plans. There is truly a bigger picture here. I feel relieved and excited about the vast road ahead πŸ™‚

There’s still plenty that I can do with my body, & I choose to do healthy things with it, and listen to my heart instead of my ego.

There’s so much love in my heart for the sport, and the amazing people that are in this community. We are an immensely interesting assemblage of geeks, nerds, outcasts, beautiful people, tall, thin, short, full-framed, strong, fit, young, and life experienced. We come from a variety of professions, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, levels of skating experience, & a multitude of other things.

I love these people, and I want to keep them safe.

I want to train them.

I want to learn from the best.

I want to build this sport up to the level it’s capable of, and I can do that and SO much more now without the obsessive focus on being an exceptional skater. I can be an exceptional member of the community.

By opening my mind, eyes and heart, I allow myself to be guided by intuition, instead of by desire and ego. I can just flow along to where I’m being led to go without so much resistance.

So be it a new chapter, book, whatever metaphor, this is a huge step forward in my life. I’m seeing myself becoming less bound by specific definition of what it is exactly that I am. Why would I want to marginalize all that I am? I do a LOT.

I am even more excited about RollerCon now ❀ Now, I can just go and officiate as much as my heart desires, go to as many clinics as I want to, and just watch a lot of derby and be around thousands of skaters from around the world.

Okay!

In the morning, I teach again at 6am and have a full day until I teach again at 5pm, and then I take Christy's class at 630. BUTI BUTI BUTI!

OH. And I am teaching a 26 postures class. Adventure! Newness!

How else would we grow if not encountered with challenging situations?

This is what I do πŸ˜€

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The gift of choice, and the power of will

accident, fitness, healing, health, healthy lifestyle, inspiration, inspire, life, mindfulness, motivation, peace, recovery, roller skating, RollerCon, skating, strength, therapy, wellness, yoga

It’s already day 14 of the 30 Days of Skating challenge! The month is flying by, and RollerCon is nearing!!!

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These skaters ❀

It's a big deal for me to be a part of this,  not only to be strong and lead 1200+ people through an international challenge, but to be human, vulnerable, and authentic about my journey.

This morning, I had a setback. I woke up in massive pain, the worst since the accident. By the grace of God, I haven't taken any pain pills or muscle relaxers (though they were prescribed, I chose not to fill them), but today I thought about it.

However,  yesterday we had a foam roller workshop, which was aptly timed! I rolled out some of the junk in my back and had a bit of relief before our last training day of the weekend.

When Kim told us that injuries are our best teachers, she wasn't playing around.  This has humbled me, and even bigger, has taught me to accept things as they are. Even deeper…

…accepting myself as I am.

I am.

There is so much power in that.

“I am” is the shortest and most powerful sentence; it is complete by itself, and though simple, it is incredibly profound. 

Just like the sentence “I am” is complete, so am I.

I was told I said something deep and fitting at the end of class during savasana, and though I have no clue what words I used, I spoke about the power of I Am, and the gift of choice. That is our greatest power. 

Free will.

No one “makes” us do anything.  Sure, people can inspire us, but we are masters of our actions, owners of the thoughts that create our reality.

So, today I chose to fully accept myself, as I am. There may be things I want to change, but it ain’t gonna stick if I don’t accept and appreciate life NOW.

The present is all there is.  We only get moments.

So let’s make each and every single one count  ❀

Clever titles go here when my brain works :-P

accident, balance, fat loss, fitness, healing, health, healthy lifestyle, inspiration, inspire, life, life coaching, mindfulness, motivation, peace, recovery, reflection, roller skating, skating, sports, strength, therapy, weight loss, wellness, yoga

Such an amazing day, and worth the tired, stinky, hungry, sweaty puddle I turned into πŸ˜›

Let’s start with the challenge!  Today is day 13 of 30!

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Gahhhh!!! ❀ Epic wins today! Skaters from the challenge meeting one another (how ominous is that?!), and celebrations galore, with a school graduation and Fresh Meat grads! These skaters are remarkable  ❀

Today I started the day with love, joy and excitement in my heart, because I knew I'd be coming back to practice at Kula today! Last night Kim invited us to her class at Kula and I knew I had to go πŸ™‚  Got to Kula super early so I could get in skate time in the parking lot (which I've been wanting to do for over a year!) and get my mat down early because I knew Kim's class would be full. Had a gorgeous skate and felt SUPER stoked for class! I hadn't been to Kula since January!

Kula is my very first yoga love. All my loves stay with me in my heart, but that first always holds a very, very special place ❀ It felt so wonderful to see so many folks I've missed. And it's their first day of teacher training! Great energy there today ❀ So much love πŸ™‚

I also noticed something particularly interesting. Though I know I've made progress in the physical aspect of my yoga practice, it's truly what has happened to me on the inside that is the most significant. I've pretty much come to accept that whatever happens happens as far as progress, & I don't really put too many expectation on myself. What I discovered this morning is how I feel in difficult moments in my practice. In the past, when I would get very frustrated, I would certainly express it. I'd react with an exasperated sigh, a shake of the head, sobbing, or several times I would get angry and curse out loud. There have also been panic attacks.

I still get wrapped up in my head, but the reactions are vastly different now. There are smiles, hell I even laugh about it sometimes! And every now and then, I'l cry, or start to feel panicky. But thank God, it subsides.

There have been moments of…peace.

Contentment. Acceptance. Self-love. Self-compassion.

The kind of stuff I hear about, read about, see in the practices of the students I teach.

It’s happening to me as well.

When I started teacher training, my objective was to learn to calm the demon. And though that demon still rides with me (and that's okay), it doesn't get to drive anymore.

It's been an emotionally and physically exhausting weekend, but just like with all training,  it is SO worth it.

Great things are happening, and I am allowing them to. I'm physically back to where I was before the accident, hell perhaps even more fit. I am shredding fat and gaining strength and muscle again. I feel firmer and leaner, and folks tell me they see it.

My body is shifting. My LIFE is shifting.

Brenda, my life coach, says we contract as we expand. 

I sure have not been on a linear path, so my healing echos that. Ups and downs. 

The great story, after all, is in the journey πŸ™‚

Gainz and painz

accident, fat loss, gaining weight, healing, health, mindfulness, nutrition, peace, therapy, weight loss

No one tells you when you’re gaining fat, not even your closest friends (at least in my experience). This can be seen as a blessing, and also an opportunity to realize the importance of self-accountability.

I stepped on the scale again for the first time in months the day that I had started the nationwide 24 day challenge. When I saw the number, I was initially dismayed, and then felt hopeful and enthusiastic about the results I was going to have at the end of the 24 days. Clearly at the time I started the challenge, I did not expect the accident and all the stress that would come with. Though I am one tough, persistent, idealistic fighter, the injury really got inside of my head and has affected my behavior, and I have fallen into some habits of old. What is very interesting is that I still do not partake in highly processed, sugary foods. However, bad habits are still bad habits, and excess calories are still excess calories, and at the end of the day, any time we consume too much of anything, there will be fat gain.

I absolutely abhor trying on clothes, especially when I know for a fact that I have been gaining fat. It is one of the most harrowing and depressing ordeals I feel a woman can put herself through…or maybe that’s just me. Even when I’ve lost weight, I’ve needed help trying clothes on because I still have an internal perception of myself as obese.

I needed a suit and was thrilled that I found one in my size that fit…kinda. It’s tight. Perhaps too tight. Cognitive dissonance at play here.

The place that I am at right now with my fitness, nutrition, and mentality is the place where I typically find people when they are looking for and asking for my help. Many of these people are in the beginning of their own journey. Though far from the very beginning of my journey, when going through an experience of bad habit issues, one must realize that we have to start somewhere. We don’t immediately pick up where we left off. So, with that, I will remember to be very compassionate with myself, and take good care and realize that this is where I am right now. This is what I have to work with right now. And it is okay to still experience negative feelings associated with my situation. However, just like we learn in yoga and meditation, it is good and well to have these thoughts, as long as we don’t create attachment to them.

This week in addition to work,  I still have doctor visits to continue with my therapy, keeping up with my yoga practice, a follow-up meeting with a nutritionist, and a consultation with a life coach at the end of the week.

We learn a lot in meditation about finding the calm in the storm, and until our external circumstances change, we must master our internal reactions. I fully admit that this is something that I still struggle with, and I am still having challenges maintaining my inner calm, especially at work. This is the phase I’m at right now. I learned over the last several years to feed my body the right things. Now, I am focusing once again on my habits, and listening to both my body and my internal compass to gauge what my body needs nutritionally. I also understand that a good deal of that is mental.

This is really a pain in the ass to talk about, and especially to be publicly open and blog about it.  However, I have always put my heart out there with very little restraint. I realize that if I really want to genuinely help people, then I have to be genuine about my personal journey. This is very real, very raw, and just like me, it’s pretty much unfiltered. That’s just my approach. I don’t have the attention span for anything else.

So, though it is very hard, I am just going to suck it up and do it the right way. Sure, it certainly feels like I have taken steps back. We won’t even get into how horrible I felt when the pants in the next size up were snug. However, I have a track record for success, and I definitely specialize in finding the light in the darkness. This is just yet another one of those times. And since I am on the brink of something really special, it makes total sense that I am facing a huge challenge at the precipice.

Moving forward for me at this point means confronting what has been holding me back, and just letting it go. I am grateful for the lessons that I have been taught, and so ready to let go of anything detrimental. I am ready for the best possible things to come into my life, as they should.

A friend said I’m about to sabotage myself. I’ve done it so many times. Just as I am about to reach my goals, I fuck up.

Not this time.

I can have slip-ups, but there is no turning back.

…and even if there is, I’m sure there’s a lesson and opportunity in that as well.

Reading this is a challenge, because I KNOW what I need to do. Just like when giving advice to a friend, it’s much easier to tell someone what to do, and much harder to do it. So, though I have my work cut out for me, I’m willing to put in the work today.

All I can control is today, now, this moment. Today, I want to honor myself by continuing to make good decisions, and take good care of myself.

ALL of me. Mind, heart, and soul.

Excessively wheysted

accident, fat loss, healing, health, nutrition, sports, weight loss

It took me over two years to lose one hundred pounds of excess fat and to really let healthy habits stick. From the time I started – and I actually even mention it in the second video in my YouTube video series 100 Reasons to Lose 100 Pounds – I knew I wanted to focus on whole foods and lose the weight by eating right and working out.

In that time, I tried a lot of things. A LOT. Like so many people working on a healthy lifestyle transition, I dabbled in various diets, fasts, detoxes and such. For a while I was also supplementing, and some things stuck around, and others would come and go.

I wanted to have a good deal of experience before even touching on the subject of supplementation, and I want to be wholly forthright that as of this posting, I am speaking from personal insight only. I am working on obtaining more education and earning credentials to speak with knowledge as well as insight, but again for now, this is strictly from personal experience.

Quite often when strength training, many of us supplement our protein with a protein powder, and after trying several products and types of powders, I fell into a rhythm of regularly using whey protein. I missed using it whenever I’d do the Whole 30 challenges, but of the various “diets” I tried, I liked the Whole 30 the most. I still utilize some great practices from that nutrition plan, and mix in other healthy things that I enjoy.

Wow I’m doing a pretty good job continually focusing on positive and not going on a rant about diets!

WHEW!

Okay back on point…

In my experience as a woman who has lost one hundred pounds twice now, and has struggled with healthy habits for my entire life, when someone comes along with help and solutions, it’s very, very seductive. When the goal is met…y’all the seduction continues. As I progressed in my fitness journey, I was approached by FIVE supplement companies. FIVE. It got to the point where with an initial message or text, I KNEW what was about to go down.

I would hear how inspiring I was and how I would be GREAT leading a team, and to support and encourage them to reach their goals! YES! That’s what I wanted!

BUT!

Products.

I resisted for a bit, though admittedly, I was still using my own combination of products (whey protein and creatine pretty much daily, and I started trying out branched chain amino acids (BCAA) pre-workout and often before bedtime). Finally, I was a bit more open-minded to products distributed through independent distributors (knowing that it was very likely a multi-level marketing approach). Still, I wanted to remain receptive, especially if it meant trying products I was familiar with and could possibly lead toward me helping people by my experiences.

What I’m coming to realize is, like caffeine and more indulgent snacks, perhaps I can incorporate these things into my life every now and then, but currently I want to take a month-long holiday from product usage and let my body reset. I mean, from the very start, I didn’t need anything but food and water (well, and a whole lotta motivation), and until I started using products, I didn’t miss them. We can’t miss what we never had, so I’ll work on weening myself off and then start my cleanse.

I participated in a nation-wide 24 day challenge, and half way through, the accident happened. I was at my athletic pinnacle; I worked out for 5 hours two days prior, did my hardest yoga class before playing my ass off and earning MVP jammer the night before, and then that Monday morning things changed BIG time for me.

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Strong Saturday! Super Sunday! MOPEY MONDAY.

Well, after the wreck, I wanted to let my body recover and though I ate healthy, I ate bunches. Whenever I get hurt, I need a few days to mope and eat too many carrots and natural peanut butter. I’ll nosh on like 6 bananas a day. They help, but dude 6 bananas is an excess 500-600 calories, yo.

I got a bit “fluffy” on the challenge. My two-a-day workouts got diminished to stretching, meditation, prayer, yoga, Epsom salt baths, physical therapy, doctor visits and a lot of calming the demon. I was also drinking 2-4 post workout recovery shakes (110-220 calories a pop) a day after the accident.

Needless to say, the challenge didn’t yield the results that I had planned, and surely not what the challenge hosts had planned. It kinda pretty much backfired.

But maybe it needed to.

I can gladly talk to people about health, food, my personal journey, happiness, finding the Light in the darkness, encouraging stuff, things that I have credible life experience and insight on. Shit, I’m no expert. But I’m well educated from the school of hard knocks!

When I went on the challenge, people asked me about it and I said wait until I’m through before I give my insight. Well, I’m through it, and through I don’t regret the experience, it doesn’t trump my experience with whole, clean nutrition.

Supplements to me are yet another thing that I’ve tried out, and I could go either way on them personally. I really prefer to stick to what’s natural. If it’s not readily accessible to me through nature or a grocery store, then maybe it’s not what my body naturally needs. However, I won’t judge people for using safe products. I can speak about my experiences and share what I learned.

However, it’s odd to me that so much stuff is added to supplement nutrients. What else are we putting into our bodies in order to get this nourishment?

I realized yesterday that an energy supplement I was taking is catabolic. CATABOLIC! I had no idea that I reduced my tea intake to put THREE TIMES as much caffeine in my body with the supplement! So now I have to ween myself down off the supplement to become less caffeine dependent, and I want to do it soon because if I can’t lift right now (not for a few weeks), then HELL NO to putting something catabolic in my body!

So, I’m breaking down what I supplement, and why I do it. Then, I’m coming up with a list of things I will use in place of the supplements. Also, I’ll create a plan to ensure that I’m well-prepared!

Taking: Energy drink supplement

Holiday: Black tea, green tea, B-vitamins, almonds, fruits

Taking: Electrolyte replacement drink
Holiday: cucumber-infused water/cucumber and coconut water, my cocktail of coconut water/diluted coconut milk with salt and agave, cocktail #2 of water, salt, lemon and agave, more electrolyte-rich foods post-workout (celery, strawberries, cantaloupe)

Taking: post-workout recovery

Holiday: post-workout snacks with 3:1 carb:protein. Examples:yogurt with fruit/granola, bananas and nuts/peanut butter, turkey and apples, soy nuts and fruit…so many options.

Taking: whey protein powder

Holiday: Preparing in advance, more egg whites, lean proteins, tofu/soy. I use the whey mainly in my morning oats or in a protein shake, so I’ll get more creative with breakfast!

Taking: Amino Acids (BCAA, Argenine)
Holday: This is a big one. I may be getting in TOO much protein, so who knows if I even need aminos? I didn’t need them before I started taking them, and straight up, I was more ripped before!

I gave up creatine when I started the challenge and especially when I started supplementing aminos. Thought I liked it and did experience benefits in strength, muscle mass and recovery, I also know damn well over time that’s not the best product for my kidneys.

So, while I remain non-judgmental on safe and reliable product consumption, it’s something that I’m going to take a break from. When I did the 24-day challenge, I knew I wanted to do a 24-day challenge without product usage. The timing just fell into place and I’m excited to get back to basics.

Things are falling into place marvelously. I finally found the balls to reach out to a life coach and get in on an advising session with her. FINALLY. I had a great consultation with another friend and mentor and discussed my eating habits, and got great insight from her, as well as updated body measurements including BMI. I needed that. I was relying on weight for too long, this will help me with my next goals. She also gave me great direction in prioritizing, and how to further the credentials I’m looking for as a part of this health and fitness community.

Kimbo saw me for her yoga class that night and mentioned how much better I looked. I felt so relieved, like I was finally going in the direction I intended to, felt more focused, and felt closer to myself again. I had a wonderful yoga practice. My balances were so strong, strongest they’ve been in a good while, and my Crow was on point!

You know, I said my life was about to change drastically. I had no idea it would happen this way; shit the major life stuff never happens like we planned it to. However, this is yet another example of what happens when we put an intention out there. It just manifests.

Every step I feel closer to my goals. I have a list of three major ones, and they’re coming together. The last is the cherry on top…we won’t go there just yet.

…but when we do, it’s going to be magical. Like, fairy tale shit.

Oi life, you hit like a bitch

accident, healing, health, meditation, mindfulness, peace, therapy, yoga

This week had its share of highs and lows, and it’s really a matter of choosing the right mindset and perspective to figure out how to move forward.

Once again, I’m reminded that it’s good and well to envision a particular outcome, but the best results come from being open and receptive to what comes my way.

“I don’t mind what happens.” – Krishnamurti

My homegirl Buxom Basher treated me to lunch, and to be forthright, I was anticipating bad news (it’s just the mindset I was in). I saw her a few days after I got my MRI results from my doctor, and though I am staying positive and focusing on good things, every now and then I am reminded of attachments I still have. For instance, Bux is a friend from roller derby, and as I go through the motions of living with this injury, I face some hard decisions ahead. Do I want to risk my body playing a sport I love? Will I overcome yet another injury and play again?

Bux reminded me that she’s been playing a hell of a lot longer than I have, and I was given perspective, a whole lotta derby stickers to make up for the ones I lost in the accident, and hope. Later, I saw Kim again, and she reminded me that miracles happen ALL the time. We can heal ourselves.

I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again.

PLUS my new physical therapist is a redhead, and damn I started feeling better already πŸ™‚

Wednesday was a fucking nightmare. Like…a veritable roller coaster of emotions that just went from one extreme to the next. I went from high stress, to having a car (FINALLY), to getting my MRI results. Right after I left the doctor’s, I ugly girl-cried my way out the door, into the car, home, from the house to a yoga class, and fell apart when I got there. My friend was teaching the class and it was just her and I, and for two hours we meditated.

Everything happened.

I felt everything, saw everything, was part of everything, and faded away into being and existing without the aid of anything but mental and spiritual exhaustion. I let it all go. Roles, ego, the need to be whatever I told myself I’d needed to be, and just faded away and accepted that I can be “normal.” I don’t have to power lift, I don’t have to be Smash, I don’t have to BE ANYTHING aside from me.

I needed that experience, and to find that peace. It comes and goes, and the bad feelings find their way to me again, but I do yoga, listen to music, talk to someone, or just cry it out if needed. Just keep getting up.

Accepting that it is what it is. “Being weakened doesn’t make you weak.” – Bux. She knows her shit! Nine seasons of derby, she’s got insight!

For the first time, I actually let the Publix folks help me to my car after I got groceries. Fuck it, ya know? TRY new things.

I’ve also been taking classes with as many different instructors that I can, and trying new classes. Life keeps showing me to release attachment, to drop my walls, and to stop telling myself the stories that hold me back. Just let go. Just be. Flow.

If I said it was easy, straight up I’d be full of shit. It’s a struggle. The struggle is what strengthens us, and now is the time for me to step up big time. Time to wear the big girl shoes. I already am all that I want to be, and I’m allowed to have all that I want.

I deserve it.

So, whatever may come, comes. What’s next in my journey? I don’t know, I’m thinking maybe dancing? I’ve taken a BUTI Yoga class and I’m hooked, and Zumba has helped, so maybe I need to keep working on relinquishing any thoughts of caring and just do stuff that helps free my soul.

Taking a class like that and just not caring at all helps shed the dark stuff.

So, who knows. Who knows what will happen. Certainly not I. I’ve got intentions, goals, and a knowledge that it WILL happen, it’s just a matter of WHEN. The how doesn’t even matter. It’ll all come together.

I get everything I want. I work my ass off for it.

So, on mindset, there’s also this video I did recently:

A friend said when life knocks us down, we tell life that it hits like a bitch and we get right back up.

Damn right.

This is just the beginning.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

accident, healing, health, meditation, mindfulness, peace, therapy, yoga

My work husband and I had a good conversation, though I made him cry for the first time. I love my John. He’s a good man, a great prayer partner, and his actual wife is a total sweetheart. Today is his birthday, and I’m so happy to have such a good, positive, energetic, loyal and supportive friend.

I shared with him some things I’m dealing with, and how I’m approaching things with a positive perspective. After all, things are really a matter of choice.

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I’ll laugh more. I’ll smile more.

Right now, just focusing on breathing, gratitude, and keeping it together. Music and great friends help, and I know now more than ever the importance of good nutrition.

Hindsight kicks in after the dust settles, and like a phoenix, I always rise.

Rise above. Rise again.

Another reminder of roots and wings. Stay grounded and keep flapping those wings, they will grow strong again, once more.

Scars have great stories, and I’m a master storyteller.

This too shall pass, and I’ll be all the stronger, wiser, and more compassionate because of it.

John 1:5: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

“I didn’t just arrive, as a master yoga teacher, happy and serene, walking my authentic path. Like so many other people, I had to go through the dark to get to the light.” – Baron Baptiste, Journey Into Power

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In the end, we are as strong and capable as we believe we are. I know what I’ve done, and I believe I am capable of anything I set my mind to.

I’m gonna let this Light shine, baby πŸ™‚