On being real

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(Cross-posted from MindHeartSwole.com blog)

I think we can all save ourselves a little bit of time, frustration, and future regrets by first admitting that we all are, at least a little bit, full of shit sometimes.

It isn’t until we’ve transformed into something truly beautiful that we really can appreciate how things are, instead of how they should be.

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This quote was gifted to me by a friend who is an astounding woman, truly beautiful in every sense from the inside out. She’s a warrior, a survivor, a kind-hearted soul who heals people’s bodies and she’s an amazing listener. I personally had never read this quote before and when I did, it brought me to tears. It’s now something that I read daily and take it to heart.

There’s another amazing soul that I know who has this incredibly beautiful scar on her arm, and though I’ve never asked what exactly it is, I’m thinking it’s a skin graft. I know bits and pieces of her story, and admire her beautiful stories every time she speaks. Sometimes I feel like she’s speaking to call me out on my shit, and that’s very likely just me projecting my insecurities, catching myself when I need to check up.

Today is day 65 in my sobriety; technically day 66 now that it’s past 9:00PM EST.

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Many times I feel like rock star sober girl, like I’ve got this shit down pat and there ain’t ever turning back. There is zero desire in my waking life to use, despite what’s happening in my dreams. The thought of drinking again makes my stomach turn, and I can’t even imagine using drugs again. The very thought makes me want to jump out of my skin and run like hell. I want to keep living clean and sober, I want this to be a lifelong commitment, and just for today, I’m taking it one day at a time, as it should be.

However…there are challenges every moment. Every fucking moment. I don’t drink, I don’t use drugs, I’m practicing abstinence, I work out every day and do restorative yoga on my rest days…and yet I still have my vices. I still obsess.

I still eat crap food sometimes. I still eat too much sometimes. I still take things personally. I still struggle with self-acceptance.

After I finished writing 100 Reasons To Lose 100 Pounds, I expected this big cloud to move over and then ta-da! Back to where I was…and that’s just not the case.

When I hit my goal, I let go for a while and then grew, and when I was at my goal, I felt maybe a bit too thin for my shape and for my personal liking. I then got to a place that I felt more comfortable, and then when I saw the videos from my goal size, I went back to wishing I was that small again.

Today I was feeling lonely. I had made plans with a friend to hang out yesterday and we never connected. I texted my sponsor and didn’t hear back. I went to a meeting at 10AM and didn’t get to share, and when I went to a noon meeting, I cried my eyes out and felt terrible. When I came home, I didn’t want to do shit but sulk and eat, but instead I geared up and got 6 miles in on my skates. The whole time I was obsessing about Doritos. I finally got the damn Doritos, ate half the bag (it was a serving size of 3 and I threw the second half away), and then went into the backyard to cut the rest of the firewood and get the log pile cleaned up.

Today was a hard day to trust and surrender, and I know I *should* do it, but the punk bitch-ass fucker wanted to be a goddamn punk. There were many moments that I stayed on the right track, but my mind just wasn’t in a good place. I didn’t want to talk to my sponsor (we texted each other a few times, it was good hearing back from her but like my prayers and conversations with God, I was withdrawn). I went to another meeting at 5 and shared again, and afterward I was given this advice:

“If you want to know who your true friends are, see who sticks around after you’ve 1) Declared bankruptcy, 2) Come out and 3) Come out about being HIV positive.”

Miracles happen, and just as this man waited for me to come out of the clubhouse to give me this advice, I think God’s waiting on me to just shut my mind off of what I think should happen and how He’s planning it to happen. He’s saved me WAY too many times to give up on me now. It’s up to me to believe in myself. As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the Master will appear. My Master is always ready;  I have to do the listening.

I’m impatient. I’m afraid. I’m dealing with ignorance.

Being real means allowing all of these things, to be perfectly imperfect, with no comparison or judgment, and just be completely authentically me.

A friend of mine keeps recommending that I listen to Grant Cardone‘s podcasts, and while I like his ethic and how hard he works, he’s aggressively arrogant. Like so many “rich” white guys who are VERY well off, he puts others down, calls people “pussies” and claims how he wants to punch certain politicians in the face.

I want to do better than that.

YES, there IS a way to be a bad ass success story without being a thundercock.

And dammit, I’m going to show people how it’s done.

As I said in the meeting, I think God’s preparing me now, in this time of uncertainty, to keep my shit together so when I get everything that I want – a clean slate, a fresh start, the car I want, property, a farm, fospice care and an animal sanctuary, facilities where I can host retreats for special-abled people, trauma victims, re-entering citizens post-incarceration, recovering addicts, burn victors, abuse victors, yogis and high-risk youth and the means to run these programs successfully – I can find peace when things are going extraordinarily well.

For those of us who have never been wealthy, the idea seems appealing, and for a while, it surely is a dream come true. However, there’s a reason why most lottery winners end up as broke as they were before they won the jackpot – piss-poor habits. A bank account says nothing about a person’s habits; our actions, our lifestyles reveal everything.

When I was making a great living as a 20-something year old airline manager, I pissed it away. Well, drank and ate a lot of it, so pissed and shat it away. I was working 100+ hour weeks and didn’t have the appreciation for my salary. Then, I moved back to Florida and got a great job that paid much less, and still it covered my expenses. It was a good career and it ran its course, and now I’m ready for work that is my purpose, to make what I’m really worth, and on my own terms.

My dream is to have trustworthy, dependable, reliable staff, to treat them well and pay them fairly, and to do something great and fill a MUCH-needed void in the community.

I thought health management, weight loss, and nutritional education was the ticket, and that’s still a pressing need.

The bigger picture is addiction.

I’m still rather new at this, and I have every intention and the burning desire to stay clean and sober, no matter what. When I set my mind to do something, I do it. Especially if the odds are looking unfavorably.

Those are MY kinds of odds.

I am an outlier.

I am an unlikely success story.

I am Smash, and it is my purpose to rise, to stand tall, to encourage, inspire, and to move people to right action. It is my job to blow sunshine up people’s asses, to wake people up, to shake them out of destructive thinking, to get them to reach their highest potentials.

It’s what I do; it’s my story. I’ve had a lot of help along the way, but ultimately, I’ve always been on my own. This is how it is for now.

I do want to share my love and my life with a special woman and make her my wife, and though that is part of my future, right now I’ve got to become the woman that *I* want to spend the rest of my life with. She’ll find me. The best things always do.

Right now, I’ve got work to do.

Beautiful Flaws

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Imma show you today’s produce haul and then we’re gonna talk about something special.  We’re gonna talk about Us.

But first,  food porn 🙂

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I got a great haul of ripe bananas, Florida-grown asparagus, tomatoes, peaches, pears, variety of zucchini, watermelon, corn, basil, some local raw honey, and beautifully handcrafted blue cheese. Everything except for the blue cheese and honey came from the discount section of the produce market.

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Aside from saving money on buying the discounted produce, I’m actually getting the best deal in the store! The bananas at this stage are actually at their peak 🙂 The spots indicate that they are full of antioxidants, and at this stage of ripeness, they are immensely sweet. Perfect for peeling, cutting, and putting in the freezer to make my protein shakes even extra delicious! I also love putting chopped frozen bananas in hot oatmeal so that I can take it from the stove top right into a bowl (sometimes it doesn’t even make it  out of the pan) and eat it pretty quickly. I’m one to get some kind of breakfast in there within 20 minutes of waking up 🙂

My blood is in farming, & I have not only a love but a penchant for beautiful, fresh produce. I come from generations of people who have worked the earth and gathered in order to stay fed and provide for family. It’s in my blood to appreciate beautiful produce! Even more, it is an inherent part of me to appreciate the beauty in things that are perceivably flawed. I’m not only doing the store a favor by taking some of the stuff off their hands for discounted price, but they’re doing me a favor by giving me some beautiful produce at a good price that actually benefits me in a huge way.

At a professional conference I heard a speaker ask the group who had a garden. A bunch of us raised our hands. He then asked if there was something that we picked from the garden that had a physical flaw on it, would we discard it, or would be cut around the flaw and still enjoy the rest of that plant’s goodness. All of the gardeners unanimously agreed that we would cut around the flaw and enjoy the rest. I consider that same approach when I’m buying produce from somebody else’s garden. The food is beautiful as it is, flaws and all. To me, physical flaws tell a story about what caused that “imperfection.”

Find beauty in flaws.

Eventually, by appreciating the flaws and the things around us, we come to not only accept, but to appreciate the beautiful flaws within us. And when we can appreciate our own flaws, the flaws of others don’t matter so much 😉

I pride myself on being the dark horse with the bright light…what the eff does that mean?

I am a fitness instructor and AASDN Nutrition Specialist who has scars and marks telling a bit of my history from a lifetime of obesity. Though I am fit, I am still the SAME PERSON.

In the fitness and nutrition business, there is this perception of perfection. Quite often, the professionals in this business are the very quintessence of perfect health. They look good, they are fit, and we don’t see any physical flaws.  We certainly don’t see any character flaws. These people do an amazing job of showing up big, and in being efficient leaders. And that works well for them, and I imagine for their clients as well.

And then, there’s the rest of Us.

The Us, who go about our daily lives, working our jobs, looking forward to whatever reprieve we can find, whatever escapes serve us, and whatever means to keep our sanity intact and our stress levels manageable.

Let’s work on bridging the gap between managing our lives on a day to day basis, and finding that place where fitness, health, and nutrition can be an integral part of our daily lives.

I have a proposal.

How about we focus on health instead of looks? How about we focus on accepting ourselves, and deciding to love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves, instead of compete with ourselves for a certain look, unrealistic expectations, and the constant fixation on an end result without enjoying the steps in the process?

Can we love ourselves enough in the present to appreciate the after when we’re done?

This isn’t a trick question, my friends. There’s only one answer, and it is yes! So now that you know the answer, are you ready to ask that question of yourself? Are you ready to appreciate and love yourself as you are, without feeling the need to change anything? Do you accept and understand that accepting yourself as you are right now will help you appreciate what you’ve achieved when you’ve reached your goal?

With the answer of yes, we might actually be able to work together 🙂

With love, always.

Your Dark Horse with a Bright Light  ❤

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Cup don’t fit,  don’t give a shit 🙂

Making a deposit in the bank where I store great stuff

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I said this to a friend when I saw her a couple weeks ago, right after I jumped out of a plane and REALLY understood some pretty huge concepts on the ride back to the ground.

“You’re not only capable of doing this. You deserve it. You know that, yeah? Cuz you do.”

So guys, please do yourselves a favor and quit the shit with what you did wrong, why you shouldn’t have great things, and fucking cockblocking the best things that are falling RIGHT into your lives and presenting themselves as opportunities.

If the thought, motivation, and DESIRE to do or have something is persistently on your mind, then you need to just fucking do it.

There is no “right time.” There are only so many goddamn Mondays that you can start over.

If you are tired of staring over, then STOP GIVING UP.

This is your wake -up call from your no-frills, bullshit-free, in-your-face leader.

This is a volunteer army, and led by an iron – willed, dogmatic, never-going-back witness to what PERSONAL POWER can bring when we ALLOW it.

Stop getting fucked, and let life make love to you.

The very best to you all, now and always,

– SMASH

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Now here or nowhere

healing, health, life, life coaching, mindfulness, nutrition, peace, therapy, weight loss, yoga

A friend of mine reminded me this week that there is a reason why the windshield is so big and the rear view mirror is so small. That being said, especially with the driving metaphor, I would have never believe this when it initially happened, but in all truth this accident has been a huge blessing for me. I’ve needed to slow down. Things have been sickeningly stressful in my life, to the point where it was manifesting in my body as illness. This was really pissing me off because I had made such progress with my health with my healthy lifestyle transition. Getting sick from stress, and then an accident on top of it, was a nice little way of learning to adjust.

More and more opportunities have just been flowing into my life. I am still going through the motions of making these things part of my regular, habitual way of thinking. To stay in the present, to be here and now. As Baron Baptiste says, now here or nowhere.

As my body adjusts to my renewed strength, I have also been increasing my endurance activity. After the accident, my physical routine was solely comprised of yoga. Now that I’m feeling better, my spirits are lifted, which motivates me to get out there and move more. Even better,  the additional physical activity motivates me to stay consistent with my nutrition. I’m already seeing the benefits of this. It makes me so happy to see familiar definition in my arms 🙂 In yoga, we learn about impermanence and non-attachment, but I do really want to take a moment to just give myself credit for the hard work I’ve done to rehabilitate and rebuild my body multiple times.

That’s what I do. That has been my arc. Go down, and rise higher, reborn, and stronger than ever.

I took a spin class yesterday, and those classes are always a mentally challenging workout. The benefits are fantastic., and the euphoria after is amazing. However, during the actual work out, it is frigging grueling. In yesterday’s spin class, I actually found my level 10. I misheard instruction and cranked up 4 gears at once, and when the instructor told us to raise the gears three more times, I did. There was audible resistance from the front wheel! I kept pushing, because my body was capable of it. I was at the very tip of my edge. When I’ve met similar situations like this in BodyPump, spin class, and especially yoga, bad feelings arise. Commonly, anger. However, yesterday that was not the case.  Yesterday, as I pushed through that entire class, I knew it was hard but I realized it was a choice and at any time I could back off. I may actually have backed down a bit on some of my gears, or that may have just been the way that I was perceiving things. It wasn’t that the workout was less challenging, it’s how I was managing my reaction to the challenge.

This is a superfluous way of saying that I’m keeping my shit together when stressed out.

Coming into yoga teacher training, my intention was to learn how to calm the demon. At first, that intention was for myself. To make a conscious decision to just be myself, and not listen to bullshit stories. To be my true self; authentic, and shining brightly. Today I learned the importance of keeping it together so that people that are following my instructions will have a successful yoga practice and get what they came for. 

The yoga practices that I lead are good, but I know they can be a lot better. I still have a ways to go, as a yogi and as an instructor, and it’s by trying things that I either learn what I’m good at, or make mistakes and try again.

Things that are easy typically are not very interesting. Incredibly interesting experiences are also incredibly hard ones. I can totally understand why it is a 200 hour requirement for certification. There’s so much to learn and go through, not only in the actual practice of yoga and all of the theory, alignment, and anatomy, but also some very, very deep stuff. Deep things about yoga, and deep things about ourselves.

It’s no coincidence that we are delving into our deep personal stuff, and I am also doing shadow work with my life coach. Both of these processes extract our deepest fears, so that we may face them and work through them.

Today I had some very difficult moments in my practices that were brought on by physical and mental exhaustion. However, my reactions have changed. Though some familiar feelings rose up and I started to react to them emotionally, I focused back on my breath and came back each time. I see the emotions, I know where there come from and why I’m feeling them, and I just focus on my breath, and get back into the posture.

One of many great things about yoga is that we are placed in positions of discomfort, and we ourselves are given the opportunity to make a choice. Fight, flight, or stay and breathe. So, learning from these incredibly challenging experiences on the mat, I am keeping my cool as I progress through the challenges of my life.

Taking these habits from the mat and into the world 🙂

When does the posture begin?

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One of life’s remarkable lessons that I’m learning is how to take my intensity down and still be passionate, yet refined. I gotta learn how to slow down and still be my awesome self. 

Balance. I’m such a Libra. Life’s always been about finding balance.

Jodi, one of the owners and bad ass instructors at Kula Yoga says, “when does the posture begin? When we want to come out.”

Growth happens when we go just past discomfort. Athletes know this all too well. We work past our mental blocks and just let our bodies DO things.  Our muscles are remarkable, regrowing and strengthening from struggle.

Life itself is fucking uncomfortable. We do things we don’t need to.  Our attachments make things so complicated. There’s so much fear.

Yoga has been an amazing way to learn to deal with being uncomfortable.  Every yogi has that one posture that creates bad feelings. Dude…my hips have been feeling it since Friday. I’ve had to deal with a LOT of feelings with them sore hips! So much stuff in there!

Sunday I got in a great slow flow class, and Thursday night’s Yin felt completely natural. There’s been a trend lately where I notice myself saying, “that was my best game!” or, “that was my best practice!” or, “that was my best (whatever)”.

I feel more in tune and resisting less. The less I resist, the more naturally things come to me.

Embrace it all as good. ALL of it. It doesn’t matter what happens, it’s how it’s handled. There is opportunity on all things. Everything is a lesson.

Rehabilitating from an injury while practicing yoga got me to learn to take it easy on myself. So what if I had to modify my side plank, or drop to my knees for low plank? Why did I even give a shit about it in the first place?

Those things we do on the mat carry into our lives. What do I do when I’m in a room full of people and I’m about to fall out of Dancer’s Pose (MY NEMESIS)?  Run out because it’s hard and I’m scared of balances?

No. No, today, I got my foot OVER MY HEAD. To hell with that pose,  I’m just going to DO it. And if I fall out? So what?! Pfft. Shit happens! I just bring my hands to heart-center, breathe, and try again. 

I got to practice with two favorites today, and tomorrow night is Buti 🙂 The class is incredibly fun, and Christy always shares precisely what we need to hear.  The words really sink in because for an hour before the words, she kicks our asses!

Isn’t that how it works? The best art is forged from struggle.  Our hearts speak the loudest when broken. Warriors are created in battle.

Train hard, easy fight.

Several years ago when I was just about ready to embark on my wellness journey, I said that I was tired of being the fighter, and I just wanted to be an artist. It doesn’t work that way,  at least not for me. There will always be struggle, and I’m strong because of it.

However, I can do it gracefully and with class 🙂

Don’t judge me for being thick, judge me because I’m an asshole!

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Today as I set up to teach my 6:00 a.m. yoga class, a few fit ladies came into the yoga room, looked at me, giggled among themselves, walked into an office, and laughed some more. I fully and gladly understand that whatever they were talking about has nothing to do with me, and even if it is about me, I know it’s not personal. I know not to take it personally. What disappoints me is a trend I am seeing in my experience in the fitness industry so far. It baffles me that we go into this business for the sake of helping people, and yet that pettiness, that judgment, and the very antithesis of helping people exists.

I’m experiencing this now. I am half my former body size, and yet this judgment still exists. The first time I lost a hundred pounds, I went to a seminar and a sales representative for a weight loss product approach me. This was *after* I lost a hundred pounds.

No matter what, people always judge us. And that’s their prerogative. It is exactly that, their prerogative. It is none of our business what other people think of us, say about us, or tell us how they feel about us.

The health and fitness industry, like many industries, has its virtues and its flaws. I know I’m going to be immensely successful in this business because I can be real with people, & I am glad to be the black sheep. There is a norm, and have rarely been one to conform to a norm.

I am going to be a becon of light for people who have been subjected to this childish bullshit themselves.  To help people, we need to speak their language.

This experience gives me a lot to be grateful for, and only affirms my faith. Actually got a really brilliant idea for my business spawned from today’s experience, so I am immensely grateful for everything that I learned today!

Clean slate

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I am completely fatigued, so a brief summary:

*Hired a life coach to help me get my shit together!

*Had my home professionally cleaned and got a clean slate ❤

*Learning so much about self-love and compassion. I had to learn to slow down and practice more gratitude.

*Submitted about a dozen challenges and the sunrise yoga class request to RollerCon!

*Finished the week-long clean eating challenge today, had a great week 🙂

There's been this recurring theme especially lately that if I practice patience with myself and this process,  things happen more naturally.

Yoga is going amazingly.

I'm seriously about to knacker out and my brain is mush, but great stuff keeps happening and I am so, so thankful ❤