Where are you going… Where have you been?

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 We are not our past. Our past reflects varied experiences good and bad that give us wisdom, abilities and feelings. While those experiences shaped our journey and some could be hurtful, they do not define who we are, what we can be or limit where we can go in the future. When we release the hold of the past over us, we free ourselves to embrace the wonder of all we can be and do.                                ~Life is a fork in the road.

Recently I read  this post from Life is a Fork in the road  and I felt like I was just given permission to move forward and not stay in the swirling waters I knew so well. I seem to be constantly in a place of seeking ‘The Answer”… to many things.  One of my constants that I could always go to and dial in a little “me time” was a CrossFit WOD. Four weeks ago I decided to make a huge change in my constant. Now THAT will almost certainly rock your boat when you change courses and you didn’t even know which way you were going in the first place.  The book I’m currently reading is The Noticer by Andy Andrews.  It is about having perspective and realizing that the small stuff actually does matter.  Hard to go into too much since I’m not finished with it, but it’s already setting my new course. 

Moving into week four of the CrossFit Games Open Sectional  it’s been hard for me to be off course.  I am not a full time CrossFitter (and that is REALLY ok) but I expect more from myself at the same time.  Then I look into what all is going on… get a little perspective. Full time nurse, Full time Mommy to a beautiful 4yr old and advanced “treading water” participant in life. Would I change that just so I could have a higher ranking on the leaderboard? NOPE! The days when Mekenzie wants to play a little longer on the living room floor or wants to bake cupcakes, SHE wins and so do I!  I know I should go to the box and work on skills or get another WOD in, but then I look at why I actually do crossfit.  One reason yes is because it makes me feel healthy, strong and well who doesn’t want that.  The biggest reason is that at 35 yrs old, I can run around as long as MK wants to and not get tired.  I was given what I took as a compliment the other day at the box by another member who I had just met.  We finished the wod, all gasping for air and she walked over saying “How old are you? How long have you been doing this?” Kinda off guard for a minute, I answered “35, and since December of 2008”. She replied, “I hope I can do it like you when I’m 35 and a Mom” What she didn’t know was, I was not happy with my own performance…. PERSPECTIVE…. ding ding ding LISTEN SHANNON… It didn’t really sink in until I got home and started putting MK to bed.  WOW, I actually am doing what I set out to do. Be a good example for my daughter in a way of healthy and fit living.  I will keep doing CF so that I can run longer and faster as MK gets older and faster. And if I can help another woman see that we can ALL do it, then bonus!   When Mekenzie showed me how her Barbies were doing handstand pushups for time I knew that I was doing something right.  Yes, she is still a Diva and loves to be pretty, but she also knows that exercise and moving is part of your everyday.  Makes a Momma happy!

CrossFit is not the only course I fumble thru.  Think about this. How many times do you stub your toe on a piece of furniture before you actually move it? How many times do you drop something before you realize your hands are too full and you need to set something down? I seem to stub my toe over, and over, and over again and think that I will get wise and remember to walk around the furniture next time. Then…. BAM… I hit it harder than ever before and instead of getting upset at myself for knowing better from past stumbles, I take it out on the furniture.  Does this look a lot like the definition of insanity? Repeating the same behavior with the expectation of a different result. A good dear friend shared this

We don’t always know that our streets will have potholes. New and old alike all have small chips that when not tended to grow beneath the surface. You just have to keep your eyes open. Gain perspective and mind the small stuff in order to see the big picture.  Open your mind, Open your heart and love BIG!  Where you have been doesn’t mean that is where you are going!

 

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Lessons for my daughter

I continue to grow from my journey and hope to pass on lessons of life to my precious daughter.  May she find happiness in all her days and continued to be surprised in so many wonderful ways!

 Open your heart and LOVE BIG!!

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. 

– Ann Landers

HOMEWORK… it never goes away!

Homework has a “four letter word” feeling to it most of the time.  It’s always been there and it seems to never go away and sometimes I just wish I could get a free pass on turning in my homework.  I have been thinking lately about how life is full of homework assignments, and we tend to choose which ones we want an “A” in.  In school we usually didn’t have to do homework in the subjects we are good at, things just went smooth and we finished before it added up to have to take home.  Then we all had those subjects that we just could not figure out in the alloted time we had at school under maximum instruction and guidance.  Graduation of any kind sure doesn’t mean the end of the work. 

As I separate parts of my life into which assignments I have left in my bag to the “I’ll get back to it” pile and the ones I make sure are taken care of right away, I have found that there is not one most important one.  Letting any assignment get ignored will lead you to some kind of detention.  In my role as Mother, if I even ignore one simple assignment in parenting my daughter, not only am I affecting her outcomes, but I make the work harder on myself for the next test.  Parenting is a constant challenge and luckily we do start to get better at some of the subjects that are included in the job.  I am in this class for the rest of my life and it’s my favorite one by far!

I am a list maker, this doesn’t mean that I get all the things on the list checked off in a timely manner.  Maybe it’s a comfort thing, if I make a list it means I’m aware I need to do it.  Well, list get lost and stuck in the same “do it later” pile.  Having a constant awareness is exhausting but necessary!  Ensuring that all areas in my life are equally visited in my daily homework session has become more difficult that any class I have taken.  It’s easy to want to bail and go do the fun stuff, then you realize that even that has it’s work. I could run off to get a Crossfit WOD in any day and it would satisfy my “want to” but then after you get through the workout you realize…. sheees I haven’t been doing my homework.  If you think that you can PR on a lift or snag the fastest time without putting in the time to dial in your technique and skill, you are going to do poorly on any of those test.  Not saying that we need to ACE every test, but it sure feels nice every once in a while.  So back to class on areas to improve my Olympic lifting, making myself do my daily Mobility WOD and preparing my body for the test I expect it to pass.  

Identifying the necessary task to obtain a feeling of balance and forward stride means digging your heels in and doing the work.  There are many times we think we are preparing ourselves for the next test in the ideal way and it’s  a sure thing that it will go well.  Then when the time comes to put pen to paper and show what you got…. you realized you were reading the text book from last year when you failed the course.  When we realize that we didn’t take the ideal steps to prepare a reevaluation time is necessary.  I have had to restart many of my paths lately due to realizing what I was doing was indeed not preparing me for where I needed to go.  It was time to realize that just because it went bad before, didn’t mean it had to be that way this time.  I am in an entirely different classroom this time with entirely different people.  When you have people around you with the same goals, it’s easier to do the work. 

One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the last year has been to slow down.  It’s funny how I can teach new nurses the need to slow down so they don’t make mistakes or to allow them to see the big picture, but I have a very hard time making myself do this.  I have seen how it can make things brighter and much more manageable when you accept the tortoise  approach.  When you do the work, you learn a lot about yourself.  You can see the areas that you let go and allow to be pushed aside and the areas that took over when they should have been equally weighed. 

I wish I could finish with the note  HOMEWORK IS DONE, but I don’t think I want to ever think that it is DONE.  If I do that then that means I am not willing to do the necessary, difficult work to make my life the best it can be.  I also know that I can’t figure this assignment out on my own.  If I had all the answers then I’d make the test.  I still seek others to help me learn and grow. I count  on them.  We count on teachers, professors, coaches, mentors, family, partners and friends to help us learn what makes each life lesson what it is for our lives.  Even though we might have to retake the same life lesson test, we don’t always get the same grade.

May your dreams be BIG and your worries be small

My Angel

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As a parent I find that I am in the constant search of how to protect my daughter,  how to teach her every little thing she needs so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes I did.  It is the best “job” I could ever have.  I love the challenges that come with having a 3-year-old little girl who questions things that most adults don’t spend the time to see.  She makes me slow down and think.  Sometimes that is scary, but I have grown and learned so much from my little girl… if she only knew.

Friday I was able to mark another wonderful day with my doodlebug with photographer Lisa Pittman.  Lisa has taken Mekenzie’s pictures since she was just a few weeks old and has been there each year to help frame the milestones.  I am just overwhelmed when I see how fast she has grown up.  All I could think about is what I wanted for her, what I wished for her over the years.  I indulge and share the pictures Lisa took that day along with some from over the last 3 years. 

Mekenzie Paige I am blessed to be your Mommy.

A little bit of this… A little bit of that

 

  Weekend Games Training, Paleo recipe swaps, supplement training, speciality Olympic lifting sessions, getting the WOD in no matter – it is what made up much of my time …  well outside being Mommy of course! Since before the New Year I was in “gettin’ ready” mode and had specific timed goals and had to show up and make it work.  The competitive CrossFit session was in full swing, CF Texas represented well at Sectionals and went right back into training for Regionals in May.  

My last two post tell the story of an awesome weekend experiencing the cumulation of all my training.  I was able to stand proud of the work I had done and knew I had left it all on the playing field.  I also walked away with weaknesses …. opportunities to improve! We often are shown weaknesses in ourselves in our daily life, but when do we get excited about training specifically to overcome them? This is one of the many things in the CrossFit world that translates straight into the life OUTSIDE the CROSSFIT BOX! 

So what to do now…..  The weekend after Regionals I had the chance to attend a CrossFit Movement and Mobility Specialty Certification. with Kelly Starrett.  It was a day filled with PAIN and a lacrosse ball… haha. Well, a day of how to prepare your body for the work you demand of it.  I have seen great changes in friends and clients using some of the techniques we learned.  Improving your range of motion will only do great things for you in your WODs and also in the daily grind.  It’s amazing how we beat our bodies up just by going to work everyday.  Preventative maintenance is  the best medicine!  

CF Texas Coach Mary, Kelly Starrett, and Coach Shannon

June 4th was another little milestone for me.  I turned 35! What a great place to be! Thank goodness I’m not 20 something anymore, I didn’t know half of the mistakes I would make and had no clue what blessing were coming my way!  Everywhere I THOUGHT I would be I’m not… and that is OK!  There are moments in your life that are  meant to make you a stronger, smarter, more passionate, more loving and happier person.  I’ll be the first to admit that those moments aren’t always fun, but doing a Tabata anything isn’t “fun”, but it makes you stronger and faster.  So, hard work to handle each of these moments life or a WOD throws at us is what we have to do if you don’t want to get beat.  

My summer has been filled with a new light on life, literally.  I have been an ICU nurse for 8 years and have worked the 7pm-7am shift the entire time.  Working nights will put a toll on you and you end up living opposite of the rest of society.  Just prior to Regionals I switched to day shift……………. WHOA — what are all these people doing up and about during the day???  I was determined to make my daughter’s life as normal as possible.  No more sleeping over at family’s houses while Mommy worked.  Now we get every night together.  What more could I ask for.  I miss being in the box as much as I was before, and it was challenging  trying to find time to train before Regionals on this new schedule.  

In July I attended my very first AdvoCare Success School.  It was awesome seeing so many people’s life changing stories being told in front of me.  The community that is seeking to help others just continues to unfold in front of me.  I realized that it’s time to start dreaming again! I had forgotten that it was important to have those dreams…  not just goals but TRUE DREAMS! I have an amazing support team that is right there with me for the ride! 

THE NEXT STEP 

A little break away from the Crossfit hustle and bustle gave me some time to reevaluate my goals.  I had been training for performance and had a specific goal.  I decided to make a change in my routine.  I struggled with not really having one.  Then life took over and has recently reminded me what is important. FAMILY.  Mekenzie and I were blessed to take a quick vacation to the coast with my Dad and Step Mother.  Nothing is more fun for a kiddo than digging in the sand and splashing in the waves for a few days.  Mekenzie was able to visit my Mamaw (her Great Grandmother) and the two of them had some special memory making moments.  I just sat back and watched the joy in each of their eyes as the two of them read a book, played ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ on the organ, and sat in a calm peace.  My life is pretty darn great! I am working every day to share the joy my daughter brings me back with her, show my family how important they are and most importantly I’m learning how to forgive. I look forward to the rest of the summer and many more days with those I care about most.  

Temporary SANITY when you step out of the box!

Sitting on the edge.  To some it’s all nerves, to others it is a place of comfort. I take a deep breath as I look at this picture and realize I am comfortable looking over the edge at the new things that I am blessed with in my life.  Maybe because I have more balance or maybe because I have a better scale. 

I was blessed to go on vacation to beautiful Mexico recently and experience some temporary sanity.  I think my jaw is still on the floor of the patio outside our room from the amazing views and accommodations.  It’s always hard to leave my baby girl at home when I go away, even if for a short while.  But this time it was all about BALANCE and just taking a breather. 

As I remember sitting on the edge of the pool looking out over the ocean and hearing the waves crash beneath me, I was quiet.  I checked in with myself… Mekenzie is safe at home with family, my heart is calm in knowing that.  I am right where I want to be.  It’s easy to say it’s perfect balance when you are looking over the ocean and the sun is shining all day.  I’m not saying I don’t need to keep working and tackle many more obstacles, but I am happy. And happy hasn’t been in my life outside of being a Mommy in a long time. 

I can sit and list the things that throw me off my rocker and get me whipping like a kite tail out of control until the wind finally dies and I come crashing down.  That is the easy part.  What I needed to do was make that same list of what keeps me at an even glide. I was thinking about all the times I hear people say ” UH…. I need a vacation!”.  What is it that we need to get away from? Work, daily household chores, the unforgiving work schedules, bickering kiddos???   Do we ever really get away from it? I know I walked back  into my house with a load of laundry that didn’t care if I was sunning myself for a few days. We I guess just stepping away from the vice of the moment is what really helps. 

I use that more than I realize. If I’m working in the ICU, I often need to step back and look at the big picture, it allows me to see what would ultimately help my patient the most. When I’m Coaching CrossFit, I find myself on the perimeter of the class scanning for technique issues, fatigue setting in or those athletes that just want to finish the WOD. Looking from afar and dialing into what motivates each athlete to push a little harder, tweek their form or boost their confidence .  As a Mom, I have to step back more than I would like.  I sometimes have to let lessons be learned the hard way, but I also get to watch amazing changes happen before my eyes!

 So stepping away is GOOD! We all learn the hard way on a daily basis, how about stepping back and telling yourself it is ok to WATCH!  You will grow and you will take more away from that experience of quiet and calm than you could during any chaotic moment of the day.

Learning to SLOW DOWN, now there’s a concept.  Fortunately, I have found a wonderful teacher for this life lesson, and I have realized levels of self confidence that I didn’t think exsisted!  Hard-headed is probably an understatement for a description of me, and in this case it took me a few times to realize that it really is in my best interest to let go.  I think once I have done it 20 or so times I will be proficient and not feel like I have to be running around like a rabbit.  It truly is revealing when you step out of the box, step out of your comfort zone.  Do you even know what that feels like? Why would you? Leaving anything we “know” is uncomfortable….so you would think.  When we were babies we didn’t know how to walk, but are you still crawling? Nope, we seek out things that bring us a bigger reward and sometimes we get a little bruised along the way.  As adults we get stuck in that comfort zone with the fear of those bruises.  One can make a conscious decision to change and step out of their personal box.  Others are forced out due to lack of the ability to control all of our surroundings, events and people in our box. The best is when we are taken by the hand and gently encouraged to test other options. 

I have been through all three of those over the last 2 years.  I learned that I can not control other people, events, or my surroundings no matter how hard I try.  You can control YOU and how you react to those elements.  I also have made a conscious decision to make changes in my life that ultimately bring happiness “my reward” for my daughter and I.  Finally, being gently lead and encouraged.  Who doesn’t like encouragement?  What I found was that by stepping out of my comfort zone and changing myself rather than trying to change the system….. the system ultimately shifts back to making it all work.  Life will surprise you if you let it.  Surprises usually mean the unknown and that is a scary place.  Seek out some Temporary Sanity…. SLOW DOWN….. STEP BACK….. TAKE A VACATION!

*would you like Spinach or Bacon with that?

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For all you CrossFitters out there, here is a little note from Andy Petranek that will get ya’ moving! I know it will be easy to take with you into your next WOD, but I encourage you to take this “GO FOR IT” attitude and step out of your comfort zone.  It might mean literally in a WOD, or finding something in your everyday that you struggle with and put the same 100% into it.  The results can only be amazing!

Going For It
by Andy Petranek on Facebook
What would it look like if you were 100% committed to your health and fitness? Would it look different than your commitment does currently? 100% commitment would mean showing up, without excuses. 100% commitment would mean eating right, sleeping right, and drinking enough water EVERY day. 100% commitment would mean going all out in the workouts, stopping to listen to the coaching, not cutting corners, and not losing count. What if you aimed for 100% every day?