Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Mantra: Losing/Finding

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: When we lose one thing, we find something else

Last week I lost a necklace, one I'd had since I was 16 and that's always hung from the rear view mirror of my car. It was a Lucky 7 necklace, with seven silver rings each representing something different: long life, good friends, health, love, wealth, peace, and happiness. The owner of a Lucky 7 necklace is supposed to turn each ring in one full circle every day to "activate" the luck, so to speak. While I never followed those rules, I did enjoy playing with it every once in a while. Turning the rings around and around, fiddling with it while I waited at a stop light. I'd had it so long that it seemed like an essential piece of my car. Like the steering wheel or the brakes. Like my car would be somehow wrong or broken without it.

I considered getting a new one, but the idea of that seemed silly to me. I started to wonder if maybe losing the necklace that I'd had more than half of my life meant I would soon find something new for the next half. I wondered if maybe change, like Fall, was in the air for me. Besides, how does one replace something with meaning? It's not a 1:1 equation. Life is not exact like that.

I began to consider all the things I've lost in life: people, objects, memories, youth. How losing things changes a person. How people still continue on, survive, and even thrive without them. How we find a way to replace, rearrange, re-do.

How we find.

This, I've decided, is essential. The finding.

This holds true, however, to the losing as well.

I look back on my twenties, a time now lost, and see all the paths I didn't take. How one might have been slightly easier. How another might have changed everything. It's easy because I was once there and now I'm not. This is something you earn by growing older. It is a game of losing and finding: losing time, but finding wisdom. Of course, there are things I wish I would never lose. People I love. Memories that make me, me. Life doesn't work that way, though.

Happiness does not come without sadness. Courage does not come without fear. New beginnings do not come without endings.

We may trick or scare ourselves into thinking things should always stay the same, however, what we should be doing is finding a better, more graceful way to let go. To lose. To accept defeat when it is handed to us and to rise with the knowledge that by looking and searching we will eventually find - people, hope, love. Maybe even new necklaces.

Many times in life we will lose, yes, but we will always find what is next meant for us.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: It's Never Too Late

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

It's Never Too Late

It’s never too late to make your own path,
To tread through the trees, through the tall blowing grass.
It’s never too late to forge your own way,
To brand a new iron to put on display.
It’s never too late to find your own words,
To write your own stories of how the world turns.
It’s never to late to try for your dreams,
For trying in itself is succeeding indeed.

It’s never too late to sweep up the dust,
To polish the things that have all turned to rust.
It’s never too late to realize your means,
For nothing is wasted in the great scheme of things.
It’s never too late to tell someone you care,
After moments of silence have settled in there.
It’s never to late to pave your own way,
To find a new path at the end of each day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In The World of Wellness: They See Me (Foam) Rollin', They Hatin'

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you. Being more informed = better decisions for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Foam rolling saves lives, basically.
04W Crossfit
Roughly six months ago I hurt my back. I thought I could tough it out and that I'd get better in no time at all, but I seriously underestimated how badly I had messed myself up. It wasn't until the pain started consuming me - reaching to my neck, then my knee, then my ankle - that I realized something serious was wrong. I eventually sought out physical therapy, which has changed my life in many magical ways. The most magical way - foam rolling.

Let's start at the beginning.

How did I hurt myself? From sitting. Stupid, ridiculous, sitting. I sit at a desk while I work, I sit at a desk while I go to school, I sit at a desk while I do homework for school, I sit at a desk while I type this. SO MUCH SITTING. It's frustrates the heck out of me, but until I figure out how to build myself a sit-stand desk (because those mo-fo's cost an arm and a leg for anything somewhat appealing to the eye) I have to sit. 

Not too long ago I had actually written about the side-effects of sitting and suggested some tools I use to help with it, so it's not like I didn't know it was a problem. I, naively, thought I was moving around enough during the day - getting up and stretching, walking around the house for a few minutes every hour, working out and walking the dogs every day - to counteract the sitting. I wasn't. 

Now, I get up every half hour, foam roll every single night, and flex my glutes as much as I possibly can while sitting (it sounds weird, but it's doctor recommended). I'm still working on getting back to normal, but things are tremendously better. Much of this is due to foam rolling.

Why foam roll? And what exactly is it?
The easiest way to explain it is this: Foam rolling is a form of massage that relieves tight spots in the body, thus releasing tension that builds up and ends up causing far more damage than we realize. It also helps increase circulation and - bonus! - reduce cellulite.

Do your ankles pop? You need to foam roll. Back pain? Better start foam rolling. Neck pain? Yep, you should probably foam roll. 

Every. Single. Day.

I know that sounds like a lot. I mean, you already have so many things to do, what with brushing your teeth and eating and working and life, but this is one of those habits that, once formed, will change you for the better. Dare I say, rock your world even!

One key thing to note: It's going to hurt. Probably a lot at first because your body will be far tighter than you ever imagined. You may even scream my name out followed by profanities for talking you into trying it at all. However, once you've been rollin' for a while, it gets better. Hurt so good kind of better.

Another important thing is the roller itself. Any foam roller will work, but the ones with more definition to them, with the rounded or square sections all over them, are WAY better.

There are a lot of different ways to foam roll, but thanks to my wonderful and hilarious physical therapy team, these are the one's I've learned that help with allllllllll the sitting. 

1. Glutes - so good for your bum! You might want to chant that to yourself while you roll.
Photo Credit: NASM

2. IT Band. Look how happy this lady is. She clearly hasn't actually rolled yet, she's just leaning on it. The smile is a lie, you guys. You smile after you're done, not during.
Photo Credit: Rumble Roller

3. Quads. These KILL me, but they also save me after I've done them. Any time my back hurts, I do this and, poof! Pain-be-gone. 
Photo Credit: Active 

I realize that I've made foam rolling sound wonderful, yet terrifying, so don't let that scare you. I'm keeping it real, homies and homettes. It does hurt. Eventually, it will get so much better, though. More importantly, the benefits are significant to your well being, to the health of your spine, to your overall aging process. The less tight and achy you are, the better everything will be in the long run.

Now, go find yourself an awesome foam roller and sing yourself some Chamillionaire. It helps, trust me. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Overcome

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


When the time is passing, passing,
And my courage lifting, lasting,
All my struggles are releasing,
Every doubt and worry leaving.

When I found my strength was reaching,
Searching for a deeper meaning,
All my dark thoughts broken, weakened-
I have overcome my demons.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It.

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It.

Calendars and planning meetings,
Fail to a verbal beating,
Numbers, papers, data sequence-
Everything’s about the distance.
About the goal, the destination,
Leaping without hesitation,
Mail, phone calls, conversations-
Deadlines coming, pulses racing.
Bosses, supervisors, chiefs
Telling you to take the leap-
Code of Ethics violations,
Shaky, phony explanations.
All the work and all the sweat-
Nothing real to show for it.
Early mornings, drawn out days,
Late nights when your eyes are glazed,
Last decisions, one last minute-
Always pushing to the limit.
Order supplies, clean the office,
Print reports on all the losses,
More to do and less to say,
I think I’ll call in sick today.