Tuesday, December 28

2011...Adventure Uncommon!

I stole the title of today's post from a website I happened upon called http://www.epicquest.com/. I was looking for photos for this blog, and found this site. Amazing photos and inspiration. I love this site, because it's all about the big picture stuff. It's all about the spirit of adventure.

Even though I'm not in a position to do any of this stuff, as I think I've it left it a little too late on alot of this adventure stuff, I think it's something I would have loved to have done when I was younger. Sometimes we discover a little too late what amazing things there are to do in this world.

I do have a friend, or probably moreso an acquaintence who is related to a good friend of mine. He happens to do alot of this sort of stuff, and is in Europe as we speak, hiking through mountains and snow. He has an amazing life, and he's engineered it that way. His forte is mountain biking.

To be honest, after three days of total debauchery of the food and exercise kind, I was feeling rather sluggish and slovenly.

Until this morning....

Then BAMMO! The adrenaline kicked in, and it was hallo motivation!

You see, I did a GoCycle class this morning at the gym. It was just the very kick in the butt I needed, and it was AWESOME! The instructor was pumped and he kicked butt...my butt actually.

Now you may or may not know that I'm not really a big fan of the 'cycle/RPM' class. But I have to tell you, after this morning's class, the feeling of pushing myself to the limit was kind of addictive. So I'm heading back tomorrow morning for a repeat dose of adrenaline. Even though I love training by myself and don't usually require the external motivation, it's times like these that group fitness classes come in handy, and it was the type of thing I needed to get me going.

Of course, it's not the same type of adrenaline rush you'd get jumping out of a plane; cycling through the Pyranees doing the Tour De France; or doing the Hawaiin Ironman Triathlon.

But you know, there's always going to be someone doing it better and bigger no matter who you are. It's important I think, that we can draw inspiration from different sources and realise that our own aspirations, regardless of how they compare to others, inherently are of no lesser value than another person's aspirations. As long as we're giving it our very best and enjoying the process, we shouldn't doubt our own abilities.

Sometimes we box ourselves in when in comes to the genre of sport or exercise that we do, and we fail to see what else is out there. We can become a little stale and wonder why we do what we do, and what the point of it all really is. Yes, we know it's to keep us fit and healthy, but that's not always going to keep us going day-in, day-out. We need to draw on other things to help us fuel our own motivation. Sometimes I think we need to step outside of our own little world and experience or even catch a glimpse of what adventure really is, and to see what people are doing and the things they're willing to do to push themselves to their own limits. It can help us view our lives with a fresh perspective.

And this morning I think I caught just a glimpse of something...adventure uncommon. Inside those four walls, for just a short time, it was me looking over those handle bars, traversing those spectacular mountains and valleys in Europe!

So drawing from what Hannah has posted about recently, today's post is more about stoking the inspirational fires coming into 2011. As we come nearer to the close of 2010, as everyone else is doing, I'll talk more about my goals for next year and reflecting upon the goals I set the year just gone. It's good to set new goals, but I think it's equally important to reflect upon the previous years' goals, look at what we achieved and didn't achieve, and what lessons we can learn.

See you on the other side!

Thursday, December 23

My Cup Runneth Over...

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

- Psalm 23

It's that time of the year when the majority of us will reflect upon the year that has just passed, and also beyond that. It's an opportunity to learn from what's eventuated, and if it was a good year, we hope it will continue next year. If it was a year of struggle, then we look back and try to work out why, and what we can do to change whatever it was, or is, so that we don't have a repeat of that.

For some, the struggle is still there and if you are one of those people, then I hope that you can work out the 'why' sooner, rather than later. And when you do, I hope that you have enough clarity and courage to then capitalise on your learnings and run with it.

I've been reflecting on this year for awhile now. I wasn't in a place even six weeks ago to take any decisive action. You can't hurry these things. It's important to work out the why, before you know the what, and then you can put in the how to. But I'm glad I finally did take that action, because without any action, life just remains in limbo. Sometimes we don't have all the answers, but we still need to take some type of action, until we can figure it out. And then, sometimes that's not even possible. As long as we keep moving and it's generallly in a forward direction. Hopefully, the answer will appear.

All that clearing of my so-called 'closets' and jetisoning of the superfluous has been beneficial. I haven't quite tied up all the loose ends, but I'm on the home strait. I now have clarity about what not only that I want to do, but more importantly what I need to do.

What I do know is that I am truly blessed.

My little girl asked us (AW & I) a strange question for a 4yr old. She asked us..."When was the best time in your life?" To which AW replied.."When I was 18yrs old". My reply was..."Now! Now is the best time of my life and I don't wish to be 18 again."

I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, that I have everything that I want and need right now...right here, at the age of 41. I am happy and content. I have a truly wonderful husband and daughter, and loving, peaceful family. We don't have marriage problems (though we have our fair share of disagreements). We don't have family disputes. I don't have a feral child (though she can be challenging at times). We have a beautiful home. It's not my dream home, but I'm happy here. I mean, my life isn't perfect, though I'd have to say it feels pretty close. I've had my fair share of challenges, but I think I've gone through the biggest ones. Yet, who is to say that something truly gut-wrenching isn't about to happen. But I'm not going to live a life of forboding.

And best of all, I have plans and goals and hopes for the future. My life is full of wonder and excitement at what lies ahead.

I know it makes some people ill, just reading my words. But know that my life hasn't always been like this...this good. And I make no apologies for being so upbeat most of the time. Because I've been working at this for awhile. I'm here where I am because I finally made some right decisions and I was prepared to do the work to arrive where I am...right here... right now.

My cup runneth over, and I wish you all as much joy as I am feeling at this moment. Merry Christmas and I hope all your dreams and wishes come to fruition in 2011! XOX

Saturday, December 18

A Frankie Original...

60.78kgs today!

Since 28th November I've shed 4.52kgs, which is about 1.5kgs per week! Tomorrow is weigh-in day, but I exceeded this week's goal of being in the 61kgs. I'm hoping to get under 60kgs by Christmas Day.

Am I stoked? Hell yeah! 2011 is looking like it's going to get off to the start I want.

Wore my LJ tights this week for the first time to Zumba. Not feeling so horrible and self-conscious anymore. Feeling more like myself. Another 3.78kgs and I'm back to lean and feeling on fire!

Though I have to admit that Thursday I really struggled mentally, as I'd had a big training week. But I pushed through, because as we all know we get moments like these and I say, 'this too shall pass'.

So today's post is brought to you courtesy of Liz, who has written my new rehab, nutrition and exercise program for me, and is a big reason why I'm feeling so great and getting some amazing results. And the delectable Frankie who I could not replicate such a 'Fuck I'm Good!' pic. Thanks Frankie. :) I think the crystal ball says it all!

Monday, December 13

At Last...Breathing Space!

"Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself."

- Jessye Norman

Today is the first day for some time where I feel relaxed and relieved. It's the first time in a long time where I feel that finally the shackles are starting to come away, and I can spend more time doing simple things with my family, and also indulging in my own needs and wants a little more.

I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks, and I reallly cherish the luxury of being able to wrap presents at my own time and leisure, enjoying the feeling of joy at Christmas time. No rush...no sense of urgency...pure bliss. It's important for me to feel peaceful at this time of the year. It's my favourite time because while everyone else stresses and rushes around, I glide. It's such a contented feeling. We have our own little family rituals built around Christmas, and I love that Philomena will grow up and experience what it truly means to be Christmas. These rituals built with family as the main focus, I believe are so important to a growing family. If you can, I encourage you to create your own little family rituals, because it's something your children will keep coming back for year in, year out, even when they're grown up.

I've been working diligently at tying up loose ends and jetisoning roles and responsibilities that I feel are beginning to weigh me down. They're not negatively impacting upon me, but they're just taking up space in my life, that I could otherwise be using for things that some would consider more selfish.

So when 2011 begins, I will be starting the year, knowing that 2010 is well and truly behind me, and that there won't be anything left undone to impede my progress.

Since I flicked the switch, I've lost 3.2kgs. Mind you, the majority happened in the first week. But that's not surprising. I'm still moving along, and I need to remember that this process can take up to 2-3 months to really see some serious change.

But you know, I feel so much better already. My clothes are starting to feel a little loose again, and I'm starting to regain my confidence. I'm aiming to reach the 60kg's mark by the end of December. As of yesterday (my official weigh-in day) I sat at 62.14kgs, and I'm hoping to break into the 61kg's by the end of the week. It's going to be a bigger training workload this week, but I think that's what's needed to get my metabolism kicking again and working at it's optimum. Nutrition is on target and I'm experiencing a great mindset.

Yesterday I stopped and said to AW, that at the moment I wasn't experiencing any pain, tension, injury or discomfort and that I was feeling strong again. I needed to do that - to stop and appreciate how far I'm come, because it's important to remember that pain you felt at it's worst, so that you continue to do what's necessary to keep your body pain-free, and enjoying life to the maximum.

So today, I can breathe...ahhhhhh!

I nearly have 2010 sown up. And I'll be ready to tackle 2011! BRING IT ON! :P

***EDIT*** As of today (14 Dec) I am officially in the 61kgs! Woohoo!

Tuesday, December 7

Primal Instinct

"We are so clothed in rationalization and dissemblance
that we can recognize but dimly
the deep primal impulses that motivate us.”

- James Ramsay Ullman

Let me introduce you to Tony Jaa (above). He's my latest and greatest inspiration and he's a martial artist of a very extraordinary nature.

Now, before you turn off, for those of you who aren't martial artists and aren't particularly interested, this post isn't necessarily about martial arts.

You see...I was farewelling a friend yesterday who dropped around to pick up some CD's, and when he left we were talking about what music we liked, and he mentioned he wasn't particularly into rap music and/or what I would call 'doof-doof' music. I admitted that I actually loved this music and I listened to it continually, especially to get me pumped up before and during my workouts.

He then said something that just struck me and it resonated deeply within me. He said something along these lines, "it must be because it brings forth that primal feeling". Well...der...yeah! Why hadn't I thought of describing it that way? What a great description!

My friend articulated in one word, what it is that I feel when I train, and I train hard...Primal.

And when I pondered more on this, I realised that it wasn't just when I trained at the gym, it was whenever I trained in martial arts too, or any other physical pursuit, and I pushed myself to the limit.

Tony Jaa

The only way I can describe this feeling, is one of being stripped bare of everything there is around you - physically, emotionally, spiritually. It's just you and the universe. It's an impulse, an instinct, an urge that lies deep within you and it's aggressive in nature. It's a feeling that you need to expulge and the way you bring that feeling forward and the method of expulsion is one purely of individual preference.

It's a feeling which is connected with that innate sense of your very being, and it's all-encompassing. And mostly, what is most profound, is how powerful you feel. It's an experience of such an exquisite and tantalising nature.

I believe we have this feeling within all of us, except, being the individuals that we are, we express it and channel this feeling or energy differently. We can either choose to channel it in a positive way, or in a destructive way. But how we choose to do so, depends on whether we recognise this primal feeling and whether we are connected enough to choose the right way for us.

Scenes (above & below) from 'Apocalypto', another one of my favourite primal movies

Sometimes I wonder if I was a warrior in my past life (if you believe in reincarnation). And I wonder, if there are some things left over from that past, that I feel such a deep primal urge to expulge that energy in the way that I do.

My ancestry is still a mystery, and I keep searching for the answers of who I am. All I know is that my biological mother is from the highlands of New Guinea, and I think her tribe were very warlike in nature.

And I wonder if maybe that primal instinct which would have been prevalent in my ancestry is playing itself out through my physical pursuits.

Anyway...it's all very interesting and I'll continue to ponder upon this. Meanwhile, I will continue to utilise that very feeling, because it's what drives and motivates me to become better.

Like I said earlier, I think we all have this feeling deep within us, and I find it curious as to how people choose to express it, and if they recognise it for what it is.

Friday, December 3

Flicking the Switch

"Faith is the bird
that feels the light
when the dawn is still dark."

- Rabindranath Tagore

Wow! Three posts in one week. I must be on a roll. Actually, I think something significant has taken place in my head recently. I've flicked the switch (again).

I remember this happening back in 2008. I'd started and stopped trying to lose weight so many times. I'd talked about doing stuff, but nothing would eventuate. Even my husband doubted whether I would do anything I said I would. I doubted myself. I wondered whether I would be my old self again and find that steely determination I once knew and that feeling of self discipline and control.

And then it happened...I flicked the switch. I don't know to this day why or why then. I don't know the moment it happened. It was obviously a culmination of things and events, mainly low points in my recent life of then, that led me to that point. But I don't know at what exact moment it happened.

This year I once again experienced going through that rollercoaster of promises made to self. 'Yes...my mojo is back...WAIT! Oh...sorry...false alarm. Yep...I've got that burn again. SHIT!..sorry...wishful thinking. Argggghhhh (beating myself up)...why can't I JUST DO IT!'

I don't know why now exactly, but I've flicked the switch! Maybe I just want it bad enough again.

Wednesday, December 1

Exercise Endorphins - That's All You Need!

"Purpose, vision and courage -- combined
with effort -- turn dreams into realities."
- Tana Sherwood

I was on the cross trainer this morning at the gym, and on the wall ahead of me were the words...'Believe in Your Dreams'.

Now when I first read this upon joining up at Go Health Clubs, and other motivational quotes plastered all around the gym, I wanted to throw up my protein shake. But now that I've been going there a little while now, I've become use to all the polish and glamour and I've only started to utilise them (reading the quotes).

I don't know what it is about commercial gyms, but they get my back up. I'm not the glamorous type - I'm the sweaty, daggy, grungy type of gal, and well...I just don't really fit into the whole 'persona' which are gyms and health clubs these days. I think that's why I loved Crossfit so much - if you finished absolutely drenched, and about to puke or had in fact puked, then you knew you'd had a good day. The prize is to finish a CF session, and callouses and chalk dust on your hands, and scrape marks on your shins were testament to the fact you were willing to give it your all.

My whole take on them (commercial gyms) is that the people who go to them just like to show they have the latest and trendiest Lorna Jane gear (not knocking LJ, because I actually do wear LJ and love her stuff, but somehow I don't look like those models in the brochures or on the website), but aren't really prepared to dirty them by 'sweating' in them - OMG what a travesty!

But you know, it's not all like that. Yes, there are those types of people who frequent the gym (Barbie Dolls), but there are also a lot of people just like me who are daggy and like to sweat and grunt alot when they workout, and are genuinely giving of themselves 100% to their workouts.

Though, I've worked out that sometimes my perceptions say more about where I'm at (headspace), than they do about what is the reality.

Now...how did I just get off-track? Oh...yeah...where is this leading?

Well, anyway...back to the cross-trainer. I was working up quite a lather and feeling great and I looked up at those words....Believe in Your Dreams, and I realised that there was no other place that I'd rather be. Which was a complete turnaround from how I felt before I hoofed it to the gym.

You see, I worked last night, so didn't get to bed until midnight. My neck was out, and I'd had a headache all night. I hopped on to the computer and waiting for me in my inbox was my new training program. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling very enthused, because I took one look at what was in store for me early the next morning and thought...'Aw F*#K! How the hell am I going to get through that?' Now when I woke up I was feeling slightly better, but still very tired, and was dragging my tired ass around thinking that I was not going to enjoy this mornings' session (because I'm unfit at the moment).

But drawing from previous experience, I knew that once I got inside those walls, those feelings would take a back seat and once those endorphins kicked in, I would be on fire!

And I was right! Sweating and grunting on that cross-trainer; tuned into my Ipod and getting pumped - I was in the Zone! I was imagining how lean I'm going to be in a couple of months and back to my old self. And I just can't wait! Hell...I was going for gold and thinking of the prize - a lean me!

It's amazing what feelings you can bring forth when you want something badly enough. Going to the gym - pushing myself - those exercise endorphins are pumping through my body, and every time I go - every session becomes an opportunity to cement those feelings, to relive those highs. And I know that every session will bring me closer to my goals - closer to my prize!

Pffft...who needs drugs? Exercise Endorphins are all you need!

Oh yeah...and as Nicole said...I'M BRINGING SEXY BACK! ;)

Oh...and...2kgs loss on scales since Sunday! So watch this space...hmmm...now I don't want to get ahead of myself, but maybe, just maybe, the bitch is back (fingers crossed)! :P

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