Happy Healthy and Fit

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Secrets to True Happiness: Lose. Laugh. Learn. Live. Love.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
~Mahatma Gandhi

As 2010 quickly rolls to an end, it is a great time to reflect on the experiences and gauge the results. The last day of the year is always special for me. It is my birthday. Life is about giving and receiving. Today, I am so happy and grateful for the gift of life and feel blessed to share some secrets to making everyday Amazing. Take what you like and leave the rest. There is always more and there is always less.

Accept Loss
Loss is a part of life. Embrace every opportunity to experience loss. Each time a dish breaks or a shirt gets ruined, take a moment to notice your feelings. Each one of these events is an opportunity to recognize impermanence and prepare for true and greater loss. In 2010, I lost my favorite Christmas ornament when it shattered while I putting it away in January. In March, I lost my business when I decided to not to renew my lease and dissolve my business partnership. In April, I lost my mother-in-law. Somewhere along the way I lost my favorite yoga top. More importantly, as the year comes to an end, I have lost my fear, lost my ego, lost my self-doubt, anger, insecurity and judgement. Accept Loss. Love Loss.

Laugh Often
Laughter is the most effective way to warm your heart. Laugh often. Laugh at yourself. Laugh out loud. Learn to kickstart your laugh until it takes on a life of its own. Laugh until your cry. Tell the truth and you will always be the funniest person in the room. Love to Laugh and Laugh Often.

Learn Everyday
Every experience, situation, person and emotion that we encounter is an opportunity to observe ourselves. Notice your reactive nature. Notice what makes your blood boil, or turns your stomach with contemplation, tightens your heart, makes you fearful. Notice what triggers anxiety. Also, notice when you are inspired and unstoppable. You are your greatest teacher. The greatest lessons are learned when we turn inside. Notice what your body is telling you and then take the time to problem solve. Work backwards until you can recognize and undo the triggers that block happiness. Love to Learn Everyday.

Live Free
Live Free or Die is what the license plates say where I grew up. New Hampshire's motto: Live Free or die. The prison you are living in is the one you created. Remove the illusionary bars and step foot into Paradise. Paradise is not a place it's a state: state of mind. Freedom is Free Will. Choices. Choose the Highest and Best path for your soul. What is the constitution of your prison? Guilt? Shame? Fear? Let them go. Let your heart spread its wing. Live Free! Love Freedom.

Love Unconditionally
Love with conditions is not love. Love does not hurt. Love does not have expectations. Love is Boundless. It has no walls. Love is the most powerful vibration in the universe. Love generously. Do not save your love for those who "deserve" it. Love the whole world. Love and appreciate every plant, flower, rock, animal, person and light particle. Love is unstoppable. Loves thaws frozen tundras. Love softens. Love connects. Love unites. Learn to love yourself wholly and completely first and then others without any judgement, until there is no "them" only "us." Be Love.

As 2010 comes to a close, go ahead and send it off with a bow. Know that you gave it all you had to give. Embrace a new year. Embrace a new you. Embrace the opportunity to be the very best You. Make 2011 the Year of the Love and Light Warrior. Accept Loss, Laugh Often, Learn Everyday, Live Free. Love and Express Love Unconditionally.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Acquire Appreciation Forget Forgiveness Find FREEDOM!

Imagine if you never had to forgive another person, thing or life situation again? Wouldn't that be tremendously liberating?

It is common to carry grudges and resentment around in our hearts through our daily lives. Sometimes it is conscious and sometimes it is unconscious. Making excuses and blaming others for perceived injustice or slights or seemingly intentional hurt that results in pain and suffering.

Each of these incidences is truly a seed that holds the potential for infinite love or endless hate. With love and Appreciation this seed will blossom and spread into wildflowers of empathy. Hate and anger will fester into fiery embers of a destructive wildfire with the potential to destroy everything in the path, primarily meaningful relationships.

Theories are great to read in books, but until we put them into practice, we will remain on the outside of enlightenment looking in. Since we know growth is painful, know that is where the decisions are made that is where we choose wildflowers or wildfires.

Yesterday, I appreciate that I got to truly experience this exercise. When I learned that a dear friend and confidant completely sold me out, I was initially shocked, hurt and disappointed. For 24 hours I did nothing other than reflect on the situation and attempt to find forgiveness, although I had the knowledge that forgiveness means a "lack of appreciation." Today, the day before Christmas, my heart is filled with Appreciation and there is no room for forgiveness.

Today, I am FREE. Secrets are seeds. Keep them festering and they are embers for destruction. Set them free and a garden will grow. Find appreciation today for your selfish step-mother, abusive father, best friend that slept with your partner, your parents that did the best they knew how, your neighbor who never returned what was borrowed, the person that scratched your car, the one who put their yoga mat in front of yours and essentially anyone else that you feel has mistreated you. Each one of these people is a great teacher. Truly, they have given you an amazing lesson.

Appreciate the lessons. Find empathy and spread it like wildflowers. Make the world more beautiful, unified and connected. Forget forgiveness. You don't even need it. Each time you feel resentment, remember that you are destroying your wildflowers with wildfire. Consider your potential to create or destroy. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit means tapping into your incredible powers to expand. Be mindful of your thoughts. Acquire Appreciation. Forget Forgiveness. Find FREEDOM!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lose Fear: Find Freedom

Just barely a year older than I am, my brother used to love to point out my weaknesses. He had a way of turning compliments into insults like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat. One in particular was when we were sitting in the backseat of the car and he spit out, "Randi, you think you are so smart because you can name all the presidents and any else from a textbook, but good luck if you ever got lost in the city. You have NO street smarts."

At the time, I think he was justifying his report card, as mediocrity was ok for his grades and I had to have straight As. Sadly, 25 years later, I realized that my brother was right. Only, it wasn't in the city, where I got lost. In the city, I could have certainly smiled at someone and asked for help and directions.

Today, I will share a story of humility and a reminder to exercise street smarts. On November 20, I embarked on a Mt. Kilimanjaro training hike with my team. We went to Payson to hike the Barnhardt Trail. A little research in the internet taught me that this remote trail may attract 15-20 visitors a weekend. We comprised four of them.

As we exited the freeway and began 5 miles down a dirt road, I couldn't help but notice the two gentlemen parked off the road with their shotguns in hand. Startled and perplexed, I inquired as to what exactly that was. My team leader mentioned that she forgot to mention that there are black bears in the area. Hmmmmmm, forgot to mention black bears.

Perhaps that was the beginning of not feeling completely empowered. As we buzzed along, the excitement of Mt. Kilimanjaro quickly approaching dimmed any worry of black bears. We were winding up along the mountain and at 4.6 miles turned left. What appeared to be the trail, was actually a wash. My partner and I were the fast hikers so we figured we would get to the top and wait for the others. After plugging along another half a mile or so we decided that this was way too challenging and the others would never make it. The 'trail' had become fallen trees and giant boulders. I even joked that we could now officially say that we had been rock climbing. We decided to turn around.

It felt like we had been going down much longer than we went up. This didn't make any sense since it is easier to come down. Then the sinking feeling. We looked around and the canyon was gone. Every direction looked the same. The butterflies of anxiety started to flutter and then took off full force. Panic was setting in. It was cold. My phone didn't work. I didn't tell anyone where I was going. The possibility of other hikers was slim to none. The closest comparison I could make was when they say scuba divers get disoriented and it is so dark every direction looks the same. They do not know if they are moving closer to the surface or deeper into the depths of the ocean.

The fear was winning. It was actually taking over. We were truly lost in the woods with black bears. I was not prepared to die. Eventually I managed to calm the fear and listen to my heart. It was guiding me in the right direction. Closer to the trail, I felt energized, moving away from it felt heavy. This week I learned that a man known as GPS Joe, a Mesa resident, set out to climb a mountain in that range and left the trail. He is presumed dead. He left on November 8 and never returned. His vehicle has been found.

Upon being reunited with the other two women, who managed to stay on the trail, summit and were making their way down, we saw a tarantula. What may have been terrifying the day before was now fascinating. The traumatic experience of being lost in rugged terrain minimizes most other things.

I reflected upon a time recently, when I had shared with a friend that I thought I had overcome all of my fears. "Oh yeah?" he said. "We'll see about that after you spend a night alone in the woods."

It only took me a couple of hours to see fear in the daylight in the woods. However, the learning was tremendous. My brother was right. A text book is no substitute for experience. Each time we discover fear and overcome it, it can no longer hold us captive. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit requires us to Lose fear and Find Freedom.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Victory is Closer than you Think

When good is good enough, you will always be good and that is good enough for most. The downside is that you will never be great. Excuses will keep you resting at Good. Desire is the variable that separates the Great.

When I built my home several years ago, I had the luxury of picking a lot with eastern exposure. I never wanted to have to wait to see the sunrise. As the sun comes up over the mountains every morning I feel a tremendous sense of hope and potential for an amazing day. For 10 years, I have shared space with a range of mountains that has brought me tremendous joy, only recently.

I can look out my bedroom window and see perched on the top of the mountains, a radio tower. It was just last year that I ventured into this reserve to explore the desert and ended up excavating my spirit. Gateway Park has truly been a gateway passage. Last year, I wandered aimlessly for 30 minutes and found that miraculously, with each step, my tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. I renamed the McDowell Mountains: the Magic Mountains.

Any time, I am feeling defeated, I get to the mountains as fast as I can. A few brisk steps is all I need to know I am back on my way to Victory. As part of the training for Mount Kilimanjaro, our team hiked Thompson Peak Mountain. Within 3 hours and 7 miles, I was sitting at the base of the radio towers looking down on my home. For 10 years, I had been sitting at my table looking up at the radio towers. They were seemingly out of reach.

Eliminate your excuses. Increase your desire and you never have to feel like you are at the bottom of a mountain looking up. Be on top of the mountain with your hand up deciding what Victory means to you. Be unstoppable. Victory is Closer than you think!