This New Year has started out pretty exciting for me and my family. We had the opportunity to be featured in a new neighbourhood magazine. It’s come with excitement and it’s come with shyness as well.
People always say that the only way to grow as a person is to step outside our comfort zones. I have to agree as I have been doing this for years. Sometimes I don’t even know why I do, but something deep inside me drives me. It’s like I am being pulled to do things. I often take a leap of faith and think, well as long as I am being true to myself and authentic in every way, then why not!! That’s it, the why not philosophy or the “why wait” philosophy. Who said anything was impossible. Only we believe things are impossible in our lives.
I read stories all the time, people want something, they write it on a sticky note, they set an intention and boom it happens! So why can’t I do that? What holds me back? Usually it’s my own inner small voice that holds me back. What will people think? What if I fail? Yes, that’s the thought that shows up often.
But then those other voices, the true voices get louder and louder inside. They keep knocking at the door and showing up. I do now know for sure, that when those true loving voices keep coming up inside of me, I MUST listen and I MUST act. What if I succeed? Whoa..that would be amazing!
So the last few years I have really pursued my love of fitness and through that I have had to push through barriers in life. Those being food barriers and personal emotional and spiritual barriers. I know I cannot reach the goals that I have set out for myself unless I work hard each week. Those being improvement of my fitness level, increase muscle mass, reduced body fat, being more grounded, more at peace. These are my own personal goals. Ones I am not afraid to express anymore. We all have different goals, and yours might be different than mine. But I realize I can’t reach these without the right food choices, the right mindset, more self-love and connection to my spiritual self. I see too many women in their mid 40s giving up, finding the excuses why not to work out or eat well, talking about why it’s impossible at 40 to reduce belly fat. All because it’s too hard. Yes it’s hard…everything worth achieving is hard. But some of these changes will improve our health, keep inflammation down, allow more joy in life and keep illnesses and diseases away.
So I was determined a few years ago to prove to myself that in my mid 40s I can still make change to my body, by hard work and determination and working on personal growth each day. But I soon realized that to do this at my age with my lifestyle, with 3 kids and a dog, and a husband who commutes, I would need more support. And that support is my mental, emotional and spiritual side – and of course the right people.
Life has challenged me each and every step. As soon as I want to make change, I am good for the first couple days or weeks and then life shows up to challenge me. It could be something with the kids schedule or not enough healthy food in the fridge or too much coffee or missing workouts. Whatever it is, it shows up just at the right time. And I get it now, I truly get it. Life is here to test us, to check in with us if we truly want to make this change. Only we get to decide how important a change in lifestyle is to us. So digging deep sure has come into my daily practice. I have had to learn the HOW in terms of reaching within and really standing strong with my beliefs and my desires in life. Only then can I get over humps and bumps in the road. And this is the only way I can teach my clients. If I can’t accomplish similar goals that they are setting out for themselves, then who am I to teach. I must walk the talk and live the life in order to teach such a lifestyle. But reality is that setting a goal is not always so easy. But making change to help your health not only feels good on the inside it shows on the outside. You will have more energy and your skin will be more clear and you may even smile more!
If we don’t face the fact that we will fall off the wagon here and there, how will we get anywhere in life. If we never fall, then how do we know how to get up? That’s the truth. Many of us get down when we fall off a plan, a food and fitness plan, a new year resolution or any plan we set out for ourselves. But it’s SO important to realize that we must fall at times, as the more we fall the easier it is to pick up and move forward. Each fall is another learning opportunity, another test along the path of what we really want in life.
So back to the magazine! This follows the theme of knowing what we want in life, or thinking we know what we want. Many months ago I had a vision to be in a magazine. I have been toying with what to write on my sticky note on my vision board. Do I want to be in a fitness magazine, writing workouts, or do I want to just be in pictures about athletics like running and biking? I can’t always decide so I just wrote “Fitness photos in a magazine”.
Then one day a friend came to me and told me her friend was starting this neighbourhood magazine and she has suggested that my family be the feature family in their very first issue. WOW, I was floored. Truly humbled and amazed that anyone would even suggest me. I put myself out there in the public every day, teaching classes, talking food and fitness, sharing personal stories on Facebook, but I still feel surprised that this would happen. I often wonder who really cares about what I write…sure I know a few care, but when you put yourself out there in the world there are always those who don’t support you. But part of my journey is about knowing what I stand for and why I do things and knowing there will always be those people. And it’s okay. I still get to go after what I want in life.
When I was interviewed for the neighbourhood magazine, the first thing that I thought was about my sticky note….a magazine is a magazine! Maybe this is the stepping stone to the FITNESS magazine.
I had the honour of meeting some amazing women through this journey. The publisher of the magazine met me for coffee to hear my story. And then I was interviewed by the content coordinator. I could hear myself in these meetings, overwhelmed with excitement about helping people and my journey of starting a fitness business in my community was the start of it all. These two women showed such interest in my story I felt so warm inside. We had so much in common and we connected almost immediately. It was an honour to spend time with these women.
I recall telling them about how I starting off just wanting to keep myself busy after leaving my career to stay home with the kids. But the fitness classes grew and grew until I had women from all over the community and even some from across town. Wow…crazy how in a span of a few years I made so many new friends and contacts and inspired so many people to move their bodies and take time for themselves. My interviews were truly all about that, my passion to help others. I often ask myself WHY I do things…as I learned years ago to check in with myself, to be sure I was aligned with my values.
“If you let yourself shine brightly
you give others permission
to shine brightly as well.”
Yes that’s what I want. Why should I hold myself back because I am afraid of someone feeling bad or judging me. This whole magazine experience sure brought out lots of fears….but slowly I got through them and now I am ecstatic to share this part of my journey with everyone.
As soon as the first friend received their copy and I got that text, I may have covered my face with a pillow….in fear, maybe a bit embarrassed…but I would always catch myself and think…yeah it is pretty cool. I have worked hard these last few years, with starting a business; creating a program; bringing women together in a community; working on my relationships with my spouse and my kids; taking time for myself so I can give more to others; attempting to live life to the fullest whenever I can; making time for those who truly matter to me and so on. All this is hard work but so rewarding and fulfilling.
Then it hit me. This thought – “Oh my it’s out there, my story, my face, my families picture is out there”. Embrace it Binu…that’s what I told myself. Maybe I will inspire someone to get active, or to get a dog, or to think about their busy schedule and see if it’s all still aligned with their family values. I read my own story and think oh gosh, I have to pull back the kids activities. We talk about it as a family all the time and make changes as we see fit. If something isn’t working, we change it. But it starts with the awareness of it all and knowing we have created this life, for ourselves and for our kids.
But then I remember that day, the photo shoot day. It was so fun! It took a couple of days to find matching outfits and then many hours in between snow falls to get that outdoor shot. The photographer was so patient. We ran inside and out about 4 times, enduring the cold, laughing while shivering.
As the fear of “being out there” is lingering, I was sharing news about the magazine with some university friends over the weekend. I was telling them the hardest thing when I share my story is that I always want people to know that things are not always glorious. I get enough people commenting about my Facebook posts and even this story, that life seems so good, that how is truly possible or is it real. It’s been suggested that I should talk about the rough moments too. So on Facebook I do and have started sharing more of the challenging moments as I do believe it’s the balance and it’s how I grow personally and how we grow as a family. If there were no down moments, how would I learn and be a better person each day. I believe in a positive outlook for sure, and I don’t believe in talking in a negative way. Complaining and criticism gets me nowhere so that has left my life years ago. But I do know reality is that life is not always perfect, nor is it meant to be. My lovely friend gave me a fantastic response… he said “but most days are pretty damn good aren’t they?” I had to agree with him. Most days in my life are full of care and love. Sure we have our rushed moments, our high adrenaline, our raised voices, our messy rooms, our tears, our sadness. It’s there, it’s all there. But most of time life is pretty great!
I look forward to the next family featured in next months magazine. More people to meet and be inspired by, one month at a time.
What I have learned from this experience is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Yes there will be criticism and nay-sayers but there will also be those we get to inspire. I do believe that when I allow myself to shine bright, I am giving others permission to do the same.
So go ahead and shine bright today and pay this forward. You then will give others the permission to shine as well. Imagine a world of bright stars everywhere we go!
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