Saturday, August 28

My Idyllic Location

The above home is for sale, and it's in my favourite place...Mount Tamborine. I want to live there, but AW is not keen. Mainly because of the travel. I've always wanted to live there, and I intend to one day. For now, I'd be happy with a small cottage.

Lately though, I've been thinking about living in my idyllic location and about the home I want. It doesn't look exactly like this home for sale, but everything else I want is right there. I'd love more of a classic country cottage style home with big verandah's all round. And it has to be white!

Now that I have a young child, I'm finding that it's something I yearn for. I'd love Philomena to have a more carefree childhood and be able to run around outside freely. To get involved with, appreciate and come to love nature. She loves helping me in the garden. I'd love to have chooks...I'd love for her to have animals and play, and to have a childhood which is more connected with nature and people, and to experience a kind of life not found in the suburbs. I'd love to have a big vegetable patch, and a bigger herb garden. To cook and make everything from scratch and share all of this with Philomena. I'd love her to experience more of that sense of community and family. She does have that now to a smaller extent, because of my involvement as chairperson of our body corporate, and the fact that our complex is very community minded. We do alot of visiting and Philomena is such a social little girl. We also have close ties to family and close friends and visit them regularly.

I bought a couple of books the other day. One is called 'What's Happening to Our Girls'...Too Much Too Soon...How our kids are overstimulated, oversold and oversexed', by Maggie Hamilton, and the other is 'Adproofing Your Kids'...Raising critical thinkers in a media-saturated world', by Tania Andrusiak and Daniel Donahoo. Both books are Australian publications. They are well worth the reading, if you are concerned about how your children are growing up in this world and want to know how to address these issues.

It's such a minefield out there. As parents, we are up against so much and kids these days are growing up in a world so different from when we were kids. Reading these types of books really opens your eyes to things that are brimming below the surface, and in our busy self-asbsorbed lives, it's so easy to miss what's really going on out there.

My own personal observation is that people are so busy trying to give their children everything in the material sense, that they fail to realise that in doing so, they compromise giving their children what they really need...time. Not only are parents themselves busy, but so are their children. Children are so stressed out because they are doing what their parents are doing...rushing around and filling their days with 'stuff', with barely any time to talk to each other and connect. Not only are parents and children struggling to connect with each other, but children are struggling to connect with their own feelings.

I've also been reading Country Style magazine. I love this publication! Not only are there beautiful photos of country homes and gardens, but they publish stories of real people and families and their individual stories about how they came to live where they live. People of differing backgrounds. The magazine is rich in content, not just photographics and makes for interesting reading.

Anyway...I've been very busy getting my home ship-shape and busy in the garden. It's an early spring clean. I love gardening and have immersed myself in it over the past week. It's been an escape for me and very therapeutic.

Life has come to a critical point, where everything has been thrown together. It's times like these when fighting it is futile. Routine goes out the window, and you're having to deal with things on a daily basis.

Our 25 year high school reunion is next week, and even though I'm looking forward to it, it's been a long 18 months of planning and preparing. And I'm ready for it to be over, so I can get on with some type of normality. Of course, this is just part of the mix. I leave for Bandiana in a couple of weeks for my employment training and I'm away for 2 weeks. So AW has been away quite a bit, before I go. Philomena has become quite rebellious in the last couple of weeks, and things had got to a (boiling) point where it was time for me to put aside my own goals and schedule, and concentrate on her as well as stem the flow of other urgent demands.

As I've eluded to in recent posts, my schedule is in bad need of reorganising and letting go of a few things. For me to give of myself more fully and with more focus, to not only my own pursuits, but to Philomena and AW, I need to create more space and time in my life, so there is time to consider what is most important. Children need time and patience. Life needs to be at a pace which allows time to observe and consider carefully, and be able to respond with more thought to the people around you.

There have been other things that have needed by urgent attention, but I won't go into those. They are just things that have added to the mix. This year seems to be one of those roller-coaster years, and when I look at it realistically, I think the remainder of the year is probably not going to change much. It's been a year of experimentation and adjustment.

I'm between a rock and a hard place, and it's been struggle street the entire year. But you know, life is like that. It's not a smooth ride. There's peaks and troughs, but there's also that place in-between. I'm there at this moment. I hit a peak. I'm not in a trough, but I'm in-between on my way back up to a peak. I just haven't redefined exactly the road to get me back there. And my intuition tells me that's it's going to take the remainder of the year to work out how to get back there exactly.

Part of my melancholy is the fact that I've worked extremely hard this year and I've been so tired. It's been a week where I've felt that some of my efforts have seemed futile, and it's got me down. It's because I've been fighting to keep myself afloat with the challenges I've faced. I There also hasn't been any consistency this year, and that can really wear you down emotionally.

Apart from that, life is still good and I'm glad to be me! There is so much to be thankful for...even the challenges.

Thursday, August 26

Wk 33...Melancholy

Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy...

Sorry I haven't been reading any blogs. Feeling a little melancholy and wanting to withdraw, seeking solace in my home and my garden. So for the time-being I'm in standby mode.

Thursday, August 19

Wk 32...I'm a Rock Star!

"You are the music while the music lasts."

- T. S. Eliot

The above quote really says it all.

The subject of motivation and inspiration comes up often, especially in the realm of weight loss, fat loss, and fitness circles. What motivates one person, may not necessarily motivate another. Yet what I've found to be intrinsic to just about everyone that I know (apart from maybe our parents or previous generations to that) is that music reaches us and speaks to us in a way that leaves an indelible print upon our lives...forever. Whatever genre of music that people enjoy...the deep, almost subliminal effect it has, is almost universal.

It touches our emotions and allows us the freedom to experience different realities, and it does it in much the same way as a photo album, but better! Have you ever had the experience of listening to a song, and being transported back in time? Like a time capsule, music captures the emotions you may have experienced at that time...the smells...the images...the sounds...all come together to tell a story. A story of everything about who you were in that moment in time.

I love just about all genre of music, and have a fairly varied collection...classical, pop, rock, blues, folk, grunge...and more. The only thing I don't really take to is Death Metal and alot of Heavy Metal. I admit, Metallica is about as heavy as I get. Though I do like The Prodigy (I don't think that would be classed as metal - more like alternative?). And you can't beat some metal as workout music. Oh...and I'm not really into extreme Country Music.

When I started my fat loss journey, two years ago, I decided to not only update my body image, but also my music. I went through a 'cleansing process'...out with the with the new. I've hardly listened to any 'daggy oldies' since then. Lately though, since I started to organise our 25yr high school reunion, I've been indulging in listening to 80's genre. It's been interesting being transported back to that time in my life.

At the moment, my favourite motivational piece, which I've discovered in the last couple of days is Rockstar 101 (above), by Rihanna ft.Slash. I'm usually doing something like working out or just whatever, and I'll hear something and it fires me up! I'll flog it to death until I hear something else new (or old) that I haven't heard before.

When I look back at all the music I've listened to in the last couple of years, I realise how much of Rihanna's music features. There's just something about her voice...something about her. And then there's her video clips...they just get better.

So when I hear this music, I'm transported to another place. Not back in time. It's the hear and now, and like the song says...I'm a Rock Star! It's in my head. I'm not Rihanna...I'm me, and I'm creating my own story and video clip, but with ATTITUDE and a lean, muscular bod to match!

I anyone out there a Rock Star...Movie Star...BB comp star...Action Hero? Take your pic! And what music do you listen to that takes you to a place that motivates and inspires you?

Saturday, August 14

Wk 31...Are You Running from Pain or Toward Pleasure?

You swear you recall nothing at all
That could make you come back down
You made up your mind to leave it all behind
Now you're forced to fight it out

You fall away from your past
But It's following you
You left something undone,
It's now your rerun

It's the one you can't erase
You should have made it right,
so you wouldn't have to fight
To put a smile back on your face

You fall away from your past
But it's following you
You fall away

Something I've done
that I can't outrun
Maybe you should wait
maybe you should run
But there's something you've
said that can't be undone

And you fall away from your past
But it's following you

You fall away
It's following you

- 'Fall Away', from the album 'How to Save A Life', by the Fray

I've been having some soul-searching discussions with The Journey Man. I love these opportunities to explore the human psyche...our own fears, failings, and insecurities, that never seem to be far away.

Some of us carry them like our favourite pair of know it's time to part with them and they are so comfortable, like an old friend and you can't bear to relinquish that friendship. Some of us could probably do with relinquishing some old friendships...those favourite pair of jeans.

I think that when we want something in our lives, and we want to initiate change, we are either the kind of person that tends to be running from pain or toward pleasure. Which one are you?

What changes would you like to make, or what changes are you currently making? Why do you want change? Is it because you just can't bear the pain any longer, and your future looks so bleak that it scares you? Or is it because you're in a phase of your life where it's predictable...comfortable....pleasurable, but it's time to move on to bigger or better things, or just a better quality of life?

Personally, I think it depends on which rung you're standing on, in the ladder of life.

Our discussion got me thinking about my fat loss journey, which started in July 2008. Yes...incredibly, it's been 2 years! I heard a song from the Fray's album yesterday, and the most vivid memories came flooding back to me. I'd forgotten how I felt at the beginning of that journey, but the songs reminded me of how I felt back then. That album was the very first album that I listened to over and over, and over again.

I admit that for me, I was running from the pain. Sometimes you get to a place where you abhorr your very existence and what you've become. You look back to who you were and what you had, and you wonder how you got here, and it pains you to be you.

'How to Save a Life' was my workout album. You'd probably think it strange. How could this album motivate me? That's just where I was at that point in time. There was enough pain in the words and melodies to help me remember why I was doing this, yet there was enough hope to push me through until I was ready to start running toward pleasure.

Of course now it's so different. I am no longer running from the pain. I am definitely running toward the pleasure of a future that holds so much more hope and vitality. It's a nice place to be.

So wherever you are in your life, if you want real change, please don't be afraid to say goodbye to those favourite pair of jeans and welcome in a brand-spanking new pair. They may be a little tight to start with but you'll wear them in again with a life full of possibilities and a future full of hope.

And whether you're running from your pain or towards pleasure - that's not important is it? The important thing is....just get running!

Sunday, August 8

Wk 30...The Journey Man

"You cannot transcend
what you do not know.
To go beyond yourself,
you must know yourself."
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

The Journey Man is a new blog written by a friend of mine, whom I've known for some time. It's his story of his personal journey and search for want of a better future. He remains anonymous to most and I congratulate him on taking the first step toward that future. It seems brighter already.

I've been thinking about the title of his blog - The Journey Man, and I find it very apt. I love the images that these words conjure up in my head. The picture above is how I choose to visually describe what comes to mind when I think of these words. In fact, I've just come across another word which I think speaks of something even more powerful...Odyssey!

Sometimes our lives can seem like an epic journey...and Odyssey of sorts, with many twists and turns. Odyssey speaks of a journey with many challenges, yet at the same time, overcoming. It's the challenges I believe that truly shape our character and make our lives richer in the process. Challenges are whereby we come to know that which is in us, coming face-to-face with who we truly are. It can be quite confronting.

Well this week, even though it's been a non-training week, it's been exceptionally productive in more ways than one. The break from training (I did manage one gym session on Friday), due to illness, has afforded me the time to organise otherwise neglected areas of my life...housework, finances, family, contemplation.

It wasn't anything serious, just annoying. A touch of slight vertigo and flu-like symptoms which have left me feeling tired at times and just plain horrible. I've tried to get as much rest as possible, while at the same time tackling those things which I've been putting off.I've also spent less time online, and I think that it's been conducive to a much more productive week.

One thing the break has done, is that it's given me more time to do things with more thought and focus. As I intimated in my previous post, I'm looking at dropping some things, so that I can focus on doing less, but with better and more satisfying results. I want the time to do things well.

One of those things that I've regained some focus on in the last week is my martial arts. With all my injuries and setbacks, it's taken the shine and focus off my martial arts training, and up until now I've been maintaining my skills. Well I've had enough of that. I'm able to do that because I've been doing it for a long time now, but I still haven't reached my ultimate goal in martial arts - to be the best practioner of martial arts, I can be, in one style, or system!

I've trained over the years in two main styles, Karate and Kung Fu (that's pretty ambiguous for those who are familiar with martial arts). I've been blessed by the fact that I've been taught by some of the best, and I have an uncanny ability to find exceptional teachers. And I can honestly say that I am a natural when it comes to martial arts. I don't mean in the sense of the Hollywood, all-fists-blazing kind of way. This is just showmanship. And I'm not a master or guru or expert, though I'm very good at teaching.

I'm attracted to the spirit of martial arts and all that it encompasses. For those of you who understand the difference between 'fighting arts' and 'martial arts', you will know what I mean. Martial arts is about the development of the person in all facets...physically, spiritually, emotionally. To grow in martial arts is to grow in character.

It's a shame that in the past, I also had the ability to find people who in the end, lacked integrity. It put to waste, all the time that I had trained and the skills that I had learned. At one stage, it tore me apart inside and I wandered aimlessly for a long time. I lost my way.

Well the time has arrived to finally begin toward my ultimate goal. It's taken me 20 years to get here, but without everything in-between, I would not have the appreciation for the opportunity I have right now to be the best I can be in one system. I have the experience of other styles. I'm flexible, I'm adaptable, I'm versatile. I have so much more to bring to the table. I've been wasting my time, my ability and wasting my god-given talents. I'm hungry again.

As the quote says at the start of this post...we cannot transcend what we do not know. What I know is that I know very little, and there is still so much more to learn, I cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of what there is for me to learn and to master. It's quite exciting to be standing at the precipice, looking beyond to the possibilities.

Sunday, August 1

Wk 29...Growing into My Own Skin

Well I just snuck in on Wk 29, which officially ends today. I've been extremely busy with our 25 year high school reunion, being the main organiser. It's been 18months in the making, and the big night arrives on 4th September. Without my two helpers, it would have been impossible to pull this off and have the numbers we expect on the night. With 235 students in our grade 12 year of 1985, it's been a mammoth task trying to find people. Even with the numbers we have, there have been so many we haven't been able to get in contact with.

There's alot of excitement in the air, and people are really looking forward to the night. I think after 25 years and reaching our 40's, there's a different feeling toward what a reunion means to people. Most have reached a stage where they're feeling comfortable with what they've done in their lives - good and not-so-good, and who they are. There's a certain level of maturity and confidence that comes with getting to this stage. And I think that's why we're more willing to share our lives now.

You reach an understanding that whoever you were 25 years ago, is most probably not going to be that person now, and that whatever happened back in high school was just a part our lives and people have moved on....people have changed. We are now more accepting of who we are at this point in time, and also more accepting of others, because we've all been on a journey.

Of course, there a still those who may have not moved on, or aren't inspired to 'reconnect', for want of a better word. And you know, that's okay. We all may be on a journey, but we're all at different stages. It's comforting to know that I feel okay with this...with wherever it is you are...they are...I am.

So my apologies if I haven't read your blog lately, but there are more pressing things happening at the moment. In fact, there are too many pressing things. So it's time to reassess my life and schedule. I intend to drop some things and open up more of my time to spend where it's more important to me. After the reunion is finished, it will probably be a great time for some renewal of soughts. I want to do less, but do better at doing less - if you know what I mean.

This year has been a totally different year to last year in more ways than one. As far as my fitness and fat loss, well it's not the entire focus of my life as it was last year. I've reached some goals and milestones as part of that focus, and I'm now living those goals and dreams that I worked so hard for.

I am now in the Army Reserves, and for the first time in 13 months, I am finally starting to relax, go with the flow and am beginning to enjoy it. Now I'm really starting to enjoy being a 'digger, and 'blowing shit up!'

I have kept off the weight and been able to maintain a satsifactory level of fitness, as well as my nutrition for the majority of the time. Still not as fit as I'd like, but given the circumstances, I'm happy with where I'm at. And I'm back in the (commercial) gym, although not as consistently or as much as last year. Best of all, I'm finally starting to make some real long-term progress with my muscular imbalances and hip/pelvis strength and stability. It's slow, but it will be better for me in the long term.

I'm a personal success mentor for Ideal Bodies Online, and I really enjoy it. It keeps me on track and reminds me of where I've been and come from.

I've started back at martial arts...albeit the fact my training is still a little sporadic. More on that later in this post.

I'm chairperson for our unit complex body corporate committee, as well as treasurer/secretary for another body corporate committee.

And of course, I'm doing the most important job in the world...being a mother and a wife! And without all my other roles and interests, I don't think I'd be the role model for my little girl that I would like. However...sometimes being something to everyone else is not always the most beneficial to all concerned, especially my daughter and husband, and of course me.So with all these changes, my gym training and nutrition hasn't been the sole focus of my life. I mean, really, it can't be if you want to enjoy longevity and balance in your life.

I'm quite comfortable now and growing into my own skin, more and more as I rediscover who I am in this life. That's what I love about reaching this age and stage of life. I haven't got everything down-pat 100% of the time, but I'm okay with that.

The key I think, is being contented without becoming complacent!

This year I've been down a couple of paths I thought I wanted to go down. But I discovered different. Sometimes what you think you want isn't always conducive to who you are. That's the discovery I made going down the Crossfit path. Yep...a big AHA period for me - Crossfit is not for me! I originally thought if I couldn't do Crossfit, it meant I had failed, because I knew inherently that to be the fittest I wanted to be, doing Crossfit was it. Of course, this is warped thinking, and I've been down this path before - thinking that one thing or one way was the 'only' way to be the best.


With my imbalances and injury (hip) I realised that I wasn't going to get any stronger doing Crossfit. I wasn't making any gains. In fact, I was sliding backwards. I needed the time and control to focus on using my muscles correctly, which Crossfit couldn't realisticly afford me. I was so exhausted, I couldn't function properly or at my best in other areas of my life, i.e. Army and Martial Arts.

The reality dawned on was Crossfit OR Army and Martial Arts. I couldn't do body couldn't do it all.

So now, I'll be focusing on my health and fitness goals which are conducive to 'doing me'. Martial arts still is my passion. But to do it well, you need to invest time into skill development. Also with the Army, it can be very physically demanding and requires strength and endurance. So weights/resistance training will always be part of my life. I just need to train smarter, by looking at my life and what I want to do, and devise a program and schedule which supports those things and supports me excelling in those areas. All the while, being aware that physio/rehabilitation is part of my training if I want to make real and lasting progress.

My weight last week came in at 61.4kg after an Army 'carbed-up' weekend, despite the fact it was a very physical weekend. I'm still aiming for the 57kg mark, but to get there by 4th September is not looking good.

I'm not panicking. I'm still looking fairly lean compared to the majority, though I'm thinking how soft and fat I'm looking. Of course, I'm always comparing myself to my photoshoot where I was a lean 54.75kg, which is not a realistic weight for me. So I'm still carrying around 4-5kg's of bodyfat, and it's all on my hips, stomach and thighs (mostly)...yada...yada...yada..

But I'm okay with that. 4th September is a good goal and I think I could easily drop those kilo's. I might even do a mini-depletion. Okay...haven't I just yacked on? Time to go...

Oh...found a dress for the reunion, but I'm not telling! All I'm going to say is that I love the back! ;)

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