Happy Healthy and Fit

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take Off Your Toe Tag: Get Busy LIVING!

Life is our classroom. Experience is our teacher. The more we live, the more we learn.

To live does not mean to exist. It means to seek and seize every opportunity to be awake and alive, not just in body, but truly in spirit. Find things that make your heart sing. Remove "never" and "it's too late" from your vocabulary.

The more we experience life, the hungrier our hearts grow for more life. When I was actively teaching the martial arts, I used to love when people in their 60s had the courage to come and ask if it was too late for them to get started. Their eagerness and enthusiasm was contagious. They were so easy and grateful.

So often, people speak of being "stuck" in their life situation. They are ruled by demanding spouses, unruly children, bills in excess of income, controlling parents and unhealthy patterns. Sadly, this is really just an illusion, one of being a victim of your circumstances. You can react to your life situation or have the courage to change it. Simply, take a moment and visualize your ideal life. Create a picture and place it in your mind.

Take action. What have you always wanted to do and never done? It is closer than you think. in the past month, I have created the opportunity to have an astrological reading, visit with an intuitive healer, experiment with pastels, hike in the snow, take a cooking class and even an airplane flying lesson. Be open to all the possibilities of life. They are closer than you think.

If you feel yourself making excuses as to why you could never do all those things; You may be in a rut. A rut is a shallow grave. Make a decision. Take off your toe tag. Get Busy Living!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Proof the Fountain of Youth is Real and Within Reach

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age."

~ Sophia Loren

Recently, I have been accused of acting like a teenager. Admittedly, some of my lifestyle choices may be viewed as slightly unconventional and not living in "reality." Truth is, the teenage years are when we hold the keys to a whole world of possibilities. We have hope, belief and enthusiasm for life. We are resilient, daring and courageous!

As I count down the days to leave for Mt. Kilimanjaro into the single digits, I know that my blood has been laced with excitement. Coursing through every vein and artery is the power that anything is possible.

Last night, I went out for a drink with some people I work with. When I ordered a beer and got carded, I grinned from ear to ear. I share this not brag, but as evidence that you only look as old as you feel. There isn't enough make up on the planet to disguise fire in your soul.

Feel young and you will appear young. Tap back into that time when you were a teenager. Remember your shattered or forgotten dreams and turn them into your "Reality." If reality means being weighed down by guilt, fear, responsibility and other people's limited thinking, then I politely decline.

Want to climb mountains? Learn medicine? Take up yoga? Fly airplanes? Travel the world? Learn a new language? It is these passions that fuel the flame inside and activate the fountain of youth. Allow enthusiasm for life to gush through your veins. Create your own Reality.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

$1.18 Creates Clarity Amidst Chaos

If you have much, give your wealth; if you have little, give your heart.

Inside each one of us lies the power to change everything.

Yesterday I stopped a little satellite post office on my way to work. I sensed impending disaster as soon as I walked in. The women behind the counter looked frazzled, as if she had seen a ghost. Quickly, she told me they were out of books of stamps and she was in training.

Suddenly, I felt compassion for this poor woman. She was trying to mail an envelope to Australia for a young man. When it came out to $1.18, he handed her a $20 bill. She opened her till and realized that she didn't have any change to break his $20 and give him change back. Time stood still as she started to dig into her pockets and was at a complete loss. He stood there and said he didn't have a smaller bill.

In this moment, I reached into my wallet and handed over $1.00 and 2 dimes. "Please," I insisted, "let me be of service."

He stood there dumbfounded and she looked relieved and then dumbfounded. In that moment, I realized that opportunities to create miracles are all around us. I floated out of the post office, without any stamps, and a spring in my step into an amazing day of receiving many of my own blessings. That $1.18 paid off in endless pots of gold.

If we rewind the little skit and see how it could have played out differently, the woman in training could have stayed frustrated all day, thereby negatively influencing all the future customers, who would then go about their days irritated by the experience at the post office. Perhaps, even being short with others and causing traffic accidents, further damaging lives and stretching the ripple effect endlessly. Not to mention, customers would possibly decide never to go back to that location and ultimately putting it out of business, inconveniencing the neighborhood and taking food off the plates of the owner. Although, this may seem extreme, is it? Reread the paragraph and notice the depth of the effects of negativity.

On the bright side, one small split second decision to spend the same amount of money, I just threw in the trash when I purchased more celery than I ate this week, I believe I changed the world. Two more people know there is goodness and miracles are ours to create. Like Albert Einstein said, "There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peaceful Warrior: Transform Your Reactive Nature

Slow Down. Calm Down. Write Down.

By definition, a warrior is one who has mastered self. Peace is the absence of conflict and alignment of spirit. A peaceful warrior finds strength in harmony of head and heart.

I have yet to meet anyone who could not benefit from a bit more peace in his or her lives. The big question is how to capture this elusive feeling. The answer is simple, but not easy.

Only when we learn to overcome our reactive nature can we truly know peace. Our reactive nature is that fight or flight response that comes up when hit a bump in the road. Reactive nature is when we snap at our loved ones because they didn’t meet our expectations. Reactive nature is fighting fire with fire, engaging in psychological warfare, displacing frustrations.

Slow Down: Reactive nature results in not thinking before you speak. The problem is that the tongue is sharp and words are cutting. There is no way to tell the ripple effect of anger. Next time you want to snap at the customer service representative on the other end of the phone, remember that she is a human being too, trying to do her job to feed her family. There is no telling what her life situation really reflects. Have compassion and a peaceful nature. They always have more control to be helpful than they let on.

Calm Down: Replace your reactions with responses. The only difference is the breath you take in between the call to action and the action itself. Approach all challenges as if they are opportunities. Essentially, they are. Each time you can remain calm and centered through an obstacle, you will no longer know it to be an obstacle.

Write Down: Yelling has never produced the desired results. It has only created more bad feelings. Next time you want to pick up the phone and lash out, pick up a pen instead and write down your thoughts. Adding fire to fire will only create ashes.

Learn to slow down, calm down and write down until you can find gratitude. Regardless of how bad the situation may be, eventually you will see the opportunity. Perhaps you lost your job. Now you can explore your dream.

Transform your reactive nature to a responsive nature and you will know peace. Be patient and practice often. When your reactive nature comes up, just notice it.

Before you say something you know you will regret, learn to get it off your chest in a less destructive way. Slow Down. Calm Down. Write Down. Being Peaceful is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kick Your Bucket List: Get Busy LIVING!

A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
~Chinese Proverb

In the past couple of days, I have had some interesting run-ins with old friends, new friends and friends of friends. As I am counting down to crunch time before leaving to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, the subject easily surfaces in conversation. Surprisingly, I have heard several people tell me that Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is on their "bucket list."

The term bucket list became popular after the 2007 movie, by the same name, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The movie illustrates how two men, with terminal illness get a new lease on life to be able to do all the things they left undone. Sadly, most people wait until it is too late before they decide to live a meaningful life.

The meaning of life it to live it for the experience of the experience. It is easy to get mired down into the daily grind and repeat the patterns that are familiar. Most people spend their days going through the motions. They will never experience anything on their "Bucket List." It will always come after the belief that work, family and financial obligations must come first. The bucket list seems to get classified as 'selfish.'

It is an AND world, not an OR world. Change your beliefs and start believing that you can have it all. If you are not moving in the direction of your dreams, you are moving away from them. Life is short and unless you know when you are going to 'kick the bucket,' you may be missing out on experiencing your own life. Stop shortchanging your life. Start Kicking your Bucket List. Get busy living. Manifest your reality. Actualize your potential. Let the music in your heart out. Being Happy, Healthy and Fit means believing the impossible is possible. Would love to hear your success!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Amuse Bouche: Orgasm for the Soul

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge

When you find laughter you find gold. All the riches of the world are under your feet. Laughter truly is the shortest distance between two people.

I met Brita 14 years ago, when my brother sat next to her on an airplane. Due to circumstances, there was not a love interest, but he knew he could give me the greatest give in the world: a friend. Instantly, I felt like I had an older sister.

As life had it, we were never living in the same place at the same time. Sometimes we go years without connecting. Brita always pops up when I am in transition. As it goes, she was in town last night. Due to the late meeting time and the halfway point, we picked a place that appeared to be a new Sport's Bar, north on Scottsdale Road. Mostly, it was the only place still open. With beer signs in the windows, I thought for sure it would be perfect for us to catch up.

When we were seated in the dining room and the tables were fully set with white linen and complete dinner service, we looked at each other and sat down. In my yoga clothes and baseball hat, I felt amused. Soon the server came over and placed a small plate in front of each of us. It was certainly pretty and it is always fun to enjoy something from the Chef. It looked like caviar. We inquired. The young waiter was excited to share that it was Amuse Bouche, herb infused gelatin, molecular gastronomy, amusement for your mouth. He turned bright red, almost purple as he wanted to say, it is like an orgasm for your mouth.

Aside from the fact that we were totally underdressed, we now realized that we were 40 years younger than anyone else in the dining room. The whole scene became a comedy. As we started to eat the beet and basil infused gelatin balls, we began to laugh hysterically, like little kids. We laughed and laughed and laughed. I am not sure if it was inside us, outside of us or both. All I know is that Amuse Bouche was the catalyst for a total soul cleansing. We laughed until we cried.

I know that it could be years until I see my friend again, but that shared connection was and always will be magical. Laughter is like an orgasm for the soul. Laugh often. Laugh out loud. Laugh with others. And if you want to share this experience, go see Bobby Tiwald, the Executive Sous Chef at Truffles Restaurant on Scottsdale Road. It just opened.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Confession of a Selfish Light Warrior

A lifesaver is none other than a speckle of white light amongst a vast sea of darkness. In that one moment, it represents all the hope in the world: the difference between life and death.

Each day, I am convinced that we miss countless opportunities to be that speckle of light for others and instead choose our instinctive selfish nature. It goes like this:

At 7:28a this morning, I was so happy and excited to be folding my laundry and getting ready for 8a yoga. It has been weeks since I have been able to practice at this sacred hour. Less than one minute later, my cell phone was lighting up. At first, I had no idea who Andie was and wondered why I didn't save things better. In a flash, my heart sank. To answer or not to answer? It was the 8a yoga teacher. My brain started creating stories. I imagined that she couldn't get there and needed a last minute favor. I was not at all in the mood to teach. If I taught at 8a, my only other alternative was going to be to practice at 7p and I have a friend in from out of town. To answer would be to own and to own would mean to mess up my whole day. It is embarassing to say that I consciously watched my phone ring and didn't answer. Notice how all of my feverish thoughts were about "me" and "I."

Within a flash, I recognized, that I needed to return this call and reject my selfish nature. She was frantic and stuck in traffic. I was relieved. She only wanted to know if I could arrive a few minutes early to open up the door for others. Then I heard her say, "I'm sick." There it was again, a zillion thoughts when I just spit out, "Gosh, your sick, I feel like I should just offer to teach for you."

"No! I'm just sick because I am late and people will be standing outside," she explained.

I assured her that I would be on my way. At 7:44a, I walked into the studio and breathed a sigh of relief and gratitude. Any other day in the past month, I simply would not have had the opportunity to be helpful. Here it was, all she really needed was 5 minutes of my time for her own peace of mind. To think of all the stories that I created. How often in life do we imagine the worst case scenario and miss opportunities to make the life of someone else a little easier.

I share this story, because I believe it is a small snapshot of the conflict between being selfish and being selfless. Truly, the gift is in giving. When the studio owner's husband saw me and said, "Randi, you are a lifesaver," I realized that all I did was arrive 5 minutes early. If that's the case, saving lives is easy!

How often do you watch your phone ring and not answer it for fear of what the caller may ask? It is not always the Big things that we create. Remember a lifesaver is that tiny white light lost to all but the one who needs it most in a vast sea of darkness. Today, seek out opportunities to be a Light Warrior. You just might save someone's day. Start small. Smiles save lives. Be a Lifesaver.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Killing the Messenger won't Change the Message

This morning I experienced a great awakening. Perhaps a true understanding of what it means to not kill the messenger. It is our reactive nature in life that causes us to lash out uncontrollably and maim or perhaps even kill what we fear or do not understand. This reactive nature is very possibly the root cause of all the troubles in the world.

As I made my way downstairs extra early this morning, I noticed 3 little ants galavanting across my stove. In the past, I instinctively would have killed them. We are taught that ants are dirty and don't deserve to live. In an effort to live more mindfully, I attempted to gather them to place outside. In that moment, I realized they were messengers. The message is: It is time to restore Balance in my life.

With so much energy going out towards preparing for Mt. Kilimanjaro physically and procuring gear along with acquiring various new opportunities, I have neglected my nest. My home is the very place I come to recharge and reconnect. Instead of reaching for the bug spray this morning and spraying toxic chemicals into my kitchen, further destroying balance, I boiled a pot of water and mopped the floor, wiped down the cabinets and counters and contemplated why we always sees monks sweeping. They are maintaining a clean, balanced mind. We never have to kill anything once we understand it.

I also contemplated cause and effect. Changing only the effect will leave you in a perpetual state of killing messengers. If you want to change the effects or produce different results, go to the root, cause and source. Your health is a messenger. You can take another pill, remove an organ or simply change your lifestyle. You can kill political figures or you can be the change you wish to see. You can kill the ants in your kitchen or you can be grateful that they popped up to remind you to take the time to treat yourself with loving kindness and create balance inside your nest.

I didn't have to kill any ants. By the time I was done, they were on their way. Instead of 3 dead ants and a dirty kitchen, I have cleaned up my life this morning. Next time you want to lash out in anger, take a deep breath. You may think that your reactive nature is not actually killing anyone or thing, but think again. Reactive nature, yelling and unkind words kill spirit. The message will remain the same. Today, be grateful each time you receive a message, behind it lies an opportunity.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Certainty Leaves No Room for Doubt!

We tend to get what we expect.
~Norman Vincent Peale

As we set out on Saturday for one of our final Mt. Kilimanjaro training hikes, we had an idea of what was ahead. Mt. Ord in Payson is 7 miles to the top, in essence, a 14 mile day. The temperature was expected to be 15-20 degrees and possibly snow on the trail. We had done our due diligence.

What we did not anticipate was sharing this unpaved road with trucks. A few times we stepped aside so they could pass and made jokes about the exhaust. Once we made it about a mile with our heavy packs, we saw a group of men jumping around like hyenas in camouflage snowsuits. They were so excited to tell us that it would be 'impossible' to get to the top. One was grinning from ear to ear which revealed that he had only two teeth in his mouth. They were clearly out there to hunt dear and laughed about how trucks were turning around because they were sliding off the road even with chains on the tires.

We smiled and thanked them. Collectively, the six of us powered on. There was no doubt we would make it to the top. Our belief in each other and our mission far superseded the warning. I recall thinking how quick people are to unconsciously cast doubt upon other people and their dreams. I only mention the man missing most of his teeth, because to me he represents the opposite of Happy, Healthy and Fit. There is certainly enough information and tools out there to take care of your teeth. Yet, how often are we pulled away from our beliefs by someone we don't even know that is offering none more than an unsolicited opinion.

If we were not steadfast in our intention to make it to the top, we may have been dissuaded by the hunters. They were relying on their trucks. We were relying on our primary method of transportation, our selves. Within 3 hours, we were all at the top. Life is full of naysayers. Practice strengthening your own beliefs and then surrounding yourself by the most positive people that you know.

If you want to experience success where you go, make sure you can get your primary transportation system there. Commit 2011 to being Happy, Healthy and Fit.