my own friend

my own friend

The majority of my life I wasn’t my own friend. 

Growing up I was always my own worst critic. I would find reasons to justify that I would never good enough.

I went through a period of my life where I was never going to be small enough. Going down in weight from 120, 110, 105, 100, 90, and then 80 lbs eating about 200 calories a day to become small enough realizing that going down this road was only going to kill me. Though I could control my weight that wasn’t the thing that would make me like myself. No matter what size I was, I still didn’t like myself or acknowledge who I was as a person. I still was not my own friend. 

I found a love for lifting weights. Though it was slightly less damaging physically, my mindset was still I am not good enough and never will be. After a few years I decided to go after a goal that had been stirring in my heart. I wanted to compete in bodybuilding. I created a plan, got some good people around me, and went after my goal. My first prep for a show was on the outside, a “success” whatever that means. I made it through. I hit my weight. But my mind was all messed up. I created an even more messed up relationship with food. Though on the outside I can make it look like I am more than fine, that I have everything under control when in reality, I hated myself and what I had become, where and who I was. What to do? Prepare for another bodybuilding show. 

Though my second show I started realizing that I needed to start journaling. I just started journaling my thoughts. The words that would come through my head. I started becoming more aware of my self talk because it was really bad, hurtful, and mean. I really wanted to stop binge eating especially as this habit had came through my first show and stayed with me after. I knew it was a mental thing. I was weak mentally. I started reading a lot more mental strengthening books. Finding out how other people handled binge eating, what they did, how they overcame it, what was it? 

I journaled my whole life on and off. It evolved over the years from a more prayer focused journaling to a more reflective self journaling. Becoming more aware of the inner chatter and then having the power and courage to stand up to the voices of criticism, guilt, and shame. I learned to give myself a lot of grace. When I would mess up with and overeat way too much, I would say out loud to myself, “it’s okay, Ashley, I forgive you” over and over again till I believed it and started crying. 

Competing in bodybuilding was a gift to me in that it gave me some awareness to work with. The physical part is simple. The mental part is what can either make you or break you. I became very obsessed with learning about the mind and the brain. I read a few books on neuroplasticity and the ability to change your life through your thoughts. That led me to some amazing people who have impacted my life greatly. Who shared parts of their lives with me and I’m very grateful I was open to learning about their habits. I grew up religious with a lot of rules. It was through re-gaining my curiosity and just allowing myself to ask questions that I learned about meditation and how big and great God, the universe, all of it really are. 

Through learning and experiencing meditation practices for myself, I’ve learned the great power of self love and self acceptance. I am still growing in love for myself as it’s a constant unraveling of habits where I can feel as if I’m not good enough, don’t know enough, etc. I am so thankful that through my curiosity I allowed myself the freedom to experience self love through meditation. Learning to become my friend when I need it, my cheerleader when I need it, my own mother when I need it, my support system when I need it. 

I am a better person when I practice self journaling and meditation. I feel myself growing and evolving. It’s not always an easy process of reprogramming your ways of being but that is when it’s crucial to be your own friend. To tell yourself, it’s ok to make mistakes while learning. To have a heart filled with grace and love is how we grow. That is something I want to share with the people I know and love.

Mental Reps

Mental Reps

Why? Why do I care? 

What does it matter if anyone ever feels connected to their bodies? 

Because I’ve experienced it. 

My connection to my body undoubtedly came from years of athletics. Yes, I spent my childhood climbing trees, doing somersaults, jumping puddles of water, but I never really felt those movements back then. You don’t really think about doing that stuff as a kid, you just do it. It began with a need to learn very technical movements, which helped to develop my sense of proprioception (where your body is in space). Building those motor connections, feeling where my body was in relation to my surroundings and itself, helped me to feel my body in a whole different way. I learned to pay attention.

My drive to achieve high level athletic performance then steered me to the health aspect of training. My body was a machine and it needed the right fuel to run as efficiently as possible. So, I started watching what I ate. I cut out pop, drank lots of water, limited junk food, made sleep a priority, and worked HARD. I began to notice how I felt after eating different foods. That certain foods upset my stomach, that I got headaches when I wasn’t hydrated, that my energy levels tanked when I ate junk food or didn’t eat enough calories. I started to build a relationship with my body. 

Yeah, I know that sounds weird but what is even crazier to me is that to some people, their bodies feel completely alien or like some kind of meat sack prison. Some people are so disconnected to their own fleshy housing that they don’t recognize that they are internalizing stress or have a food allergy, that they can’t perform simple movements like jumping or rolling comfortably. Seriously, ask an adult to do a somersault and see how well that goes. So much hesitation and discomfort, the movement feeling foreign and dangerous when it used to be fun and easy. Many wouldn’t even try it. Some even resent their bodies. 

So, anyway, I started taking notice and this relationship began to form. Then, I got sick. Really sick. 

My coach and I had high hopes for my senior year of college. I was going to break records, go to Nationals, set myself up for a post-collegiate career as a hammer thrower. But, for some reason, I had zero energy. I’m talking zero. Like would take one throw and then have to rest for 5-10 minutes just to recharge for another one. Just getting out of bed and walking to classes seemed like too much to ask. After suffering through the entire off-season training, I was diagnosed with mono

My coach was devasted. Mono is a career-ender for a lot of athletes. He was especially hopeless because it was my last year and we only had one semester left. Christmas Break and then the season started in January. There was no way I could make it back in time.

Screw that. 

The instant I got the diagnosis, I was consumed by one purpose: get better. Fast

Sports psychology was a big part of my studies and so I knew the value of visualization. Your brain can’t interpret the difference between what’s really happening and what’s imagined; the crazy part is that this allows you to build neural connections to your body without even moving! We were constantly supposed to do mental reps of throws and lifts in order to better our performance. So…I did a little experiment. 

By the time I went home for Christmas Break, I was so weak that I laid on my parents’ couch all day and night, only mustering up the strength to leave it when I had to pee. The trips to the bathroom, only about 20 feet away, killed me, by the way. I would make it back to the couch winded and exhausted, barely able to keep my eyes open afterward. I was so depleted I felt it in my bones. I was so tired it hurt. During those unending hours on the couch, I instructed my body to heal. I pictured my antibodies beating the shit out of that life-sucking virus. I pictured myself kicking ass during the season. I pictured myself strong, healthy, and better than I ever had been. I pictured it so clearly I felt it. 

Day 8, I made it upstairs and back down to my couch. I had to crawl for part of it and I was cashed out the rest of the day, but I made it. The stairs became a daily part of my training program. When, days later, I could make it up and down the stairs without feeling completely spent, I climbed them twice, then three times, and so on. 

I remember the day, two or three weeks after getting home, I was able to go for a walk outside. It was about a two-mile loop that had me gassed by the end, but I’d made it! 

January 6, 2012, I showed up to practice back at school fifteen pounds below my training weight and weak as a bunny. My spandex workout gear hung off my atrophied muscles and my practices had to be severely adapted to my strength levels, but I continued to picture myself getting stronger and healthier every minute of every day. 

Two months after getting back to training, I had regained the 15lbs and was almost back to my previous numbers in the weight room.

That year was my best ever. I had never performed so consistently well. I broke two university records, went to Nationals, and held my own against the best in the country when I had been bedridden just months before.

Your body is incredibly adaptable. Your mind is inexplicably powerful. Put those two together and watch the fireworks. 

That’s why.


Want to see more of Lindsey?

Lindsey is presenting at the Well-BEing Workshop on January 12, 2020. Follow the link for more information on the workshop and more about Lindsey!

Well-Being Workshop Instructors

Well-Being Workshop Instructors

Lindsey Spencer

Lindsey’s movement journey began as a child, climbing trees and wrestling with her brothers. She began playing sports at a young age and continued on to become a Track and Field athlete at Utah State University. Since graduating with a Master’s Degree in Sport and Physical Education, she has competed in powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, and MMA. Stepping away from the competitive arena, she is moving back toward the idea of free and natural movement and learning about its physical, mental and emotional benefits. Currently, she is a massage therapist and personal trainer who focuses on returning clients to full function so they can live their lives how they want to.

Follow Lindsey here!

Ashley Fawks

Ashley is a wife, mom or two plus one on the way. She has been a personal trainer and coach for the past 5+ years and over the past 2 has shifted more into the mindfulness space. Not only does she help her clients achieve their body composition and fitness goals she also uses her passion for meditation and journaling to help clients transform their way of being. She helps people shed false stories and create practices for real results. 

Follow Ashley Here!

Emily Collingwood

Emily is a practicing nutritional therapist. She assists people in discovering what improvements or changes one can make to their diet to improve their overall health and well being. Every client she works with is a bio-individual, meaning each person is unique with highly individualized nutritional requirements. She customizes plans for people who are trying to navigate a diagnosis or just wanting to be healthier overall. Her passion for her work comes from her love of witnessing positive changes in her client’s lives!

Follow Emily here!

Slater Murphy

Soon to be Dr. Slater Murphy is a Chiropractor, Author, Spiritualist, and Bodybuilder. He is driven by the passion to upgrade and energize lives through spines.The entirety of his purpose is designed around narrowing the gap between The Present and The Potential. His passion for humans living at their optimal is expressed in healing methodologies, movement, nutrition, supplementation, & mindset practices.

Follow Slater here!

Raschel Biagioli

Raschel’s journey is a lifetime of creativity, exploration and organization. She took her first organizational job at the age of 7 and it has spiraled into a creation of its own. She creates systems that are sustainable in people’s lives so they can live more of their dreams. Organization comes in many different context, basements/closets, boundaries in relationships, meal prep, calendar organization, etc. Since graduating with a degree in Kinesiology she has explored fitness, nutrition, meditation, leadership, business, mindfulness, art, and adventure. This renaissance woman is here to host a day of inspiration and allow you to begin the journey of unexpected results with the accountability you’ve been looking for.

Follow Raschel here!

Soul with a body

Soul with a body

You are not Karen; Karen is the name that was given to you.

You are not a mother, brother, sister; those are roles you have assumed in this life.

You are not male or female; those are apart of the body and vessel you arrived here in.

You are a soul. You are a soul that has a body.

Your body does not define you. Your body is a vessel that was given to you. You were given one vessel in this lifetime and it is your choice to decide how you will treat it. Your body is an external reflection of what is going on with your internal state.

If you are ridden with guilt, anxiety, chaos and this will be how you experience your body and the rest of your life. This same chaos will threaten the other areas of your life. You are unable to compartmentalize yourself in how you show up.

The mind of chaos, the mind of peace, the mind of love, the mind of gratitude, the mind of anger, all of these are states that will create in your physical form. Have you ever noticed that when you’re mindset is in a state of disease you experience tension, and even injury?

If you are unable to see that the vessel is showing you a clue of what you have going on with your mindset you will push it out farther and begin to create this same sensation in your life. This will show up as broken down cars, angry relationships, slow Wi-Fi and spilled coffee. The life you are living is a reflection of your internal state.

You take yourself everwhere.

What if the slow or crashing Wi-Fi is look at as a signal vs. a nuisance? The universe is sending your soul and your body a signal. Slow down. Hear the internal screams for silence, peace and needing a break.

Treat your body with kindness. You, the soul, are creating the perfect signals to guide you. It is up to you to look at them as directions instead of life sentences. Listen to all of the chatter that you allow yourself to believe. Would you say the things you say to yourself to your best friend or your mother?

The current injury, size and weight does not define who you are. These are just the current state of your experience.

You are not the body, the vessel is where you live.

And so it is.

Shit Not Going My Way

Shit Not Going My Way

Today’s message is all about how much time we spend in the turmoil of frustration.

Context: a part of my Organizational Consulting business is when I am organizing, clients will have me sell some of their items. then I take a portion of the commission.

A couple of weeks ago I had scheduled an entire day to drive over an hour and sell a bunch of items. And then… I had a couple of buyers not show up.

I sat in my car and just was beyond myself in anger and frustration. I was so annoyed with how few people are their word and disrespect others. I couldn’t get the feeling to pass and I still had more to do that day.

I told myself that I needed to drop the feeling and even though I said this to myself. I didn’t actually drop it. I was still harboring my annoyance. I had to pick up one more item and was meeting another buyer in a city closer to my/their home.

I get to the meeting location. I confirm with this individual no less than 6 times that they understand and know where the meeting spot is. They let me know they were running late from work and would arrive 20 mins after our agreed upon time.

I figure no big deal I am parked outside of the 2 stores I needed to go into after the meet up and now I could use this downtime to complete those two tasks.

I come out of errands and now it is 25-30 minutes later and they are no where to be found.

I message and they said they were looking for the location.

I sent them the address.

Another 10 minutes pass. I now have been waiting for them for 40 minutes.

At this point I did something I have never done before.

I yelled. I yelled at another human. I yelled at this human to insert the damn address into their GPS instead of just driving around looking for the location they picked out. There were a lot of other choice words.

I didn’t just want to drive away because then I would have been stuck with this object in my car or apartment for an extended amount of time.

Finally after an hour and 5 minutes they show.

They gave me an additional 15% because of my hassle and I was FUMING at this point.

I decide to go do some retail therapy. I had a gift card for REI. This way I could still comply with my No Clothes Shopping 1 Year and possibly pick out something nice.

I drove over to REI happily and walked around. I found the below sweater on the sale rounder. Perfect wool sweater for cold weather and specifically snowboarding.

I delightfully walked to the desk and handed them my gift card. The woman kind of stared at me and let me know that they had switched to a new computer system that morning and all gift cards no longer worked. She assured me she would be able to get the money off and onto the new cards but she would need to call the headquarters. This entire process would be 20-25 minutes to complete.

I kind of just closed my eyes and sighed and knew it was the epic ended to my day.

I complied and asked if there was anything I could do to make the process go faster. I asked if I could continue to browse while she worked through her process. I stayed calm and knew I just needed to surrender to my day and whatever the universe had planned for me. I had been fighting time and people and systems for 9+ hours.

I delightfully wandered REI.

My patience and being in a place of peace paid off. When I was called back to the front, the manager was so thankful for my patience and even temper they awarded me an additional 20% off of the sweater.

I had not cleared the frustration out of my space. Once I actually surrendered to just standing in the situation of where I was at, the universe said “Yes.” Frustration is an internal feeling and even when shit is not going your way the frustration is not felt by anyone else besides you. At this point, I could have done anything else besides be annoyed.

It is all choice. How many days are you spending like this?

Frustration or peace, it’s all your choice of how you’re willing to spend your time.

Karma

Karma

Karma is the manifestation in your external world of who you are internally. Karma and integrity are closely related. Karma is defined as the sum of a person’s actions in all forms of existence deciding their fate in future existences. *

Your mind creates the cause and the reality we live out is the effect.

Have you ever notice how happy people are happy no matter what the circumstances are? They are choosing to be happy, they are choosing to notice the light and positivity in the situation. They are wearing a cute outfit, they land the big business deal and someone surprises them with a free coffee. The sum of this person’s actions and thought are on the rise. Their future existence is on the upward trends.

You may have also noticed the opposite. When you wake up and it is raining, you trip on dog and bruise your hand on the door frame, you hit every red light and every co-worker is in a bad mood. You are becoming increasingly aware of the negatives available and the sum grows.

You manifest more of your internal state until you are willing to see/identify and really spend time with that state. You can literally “shake it off” and choose something different. Jump around, go on a walk, take a shower, do what you need to do to change your state and you physical being so your internal state can resonate and be in a different space to create positivity.

Integrity is the agreement to live exactly what you say you are. A bank robber has not moral problems with being a bank robber because they are in integrity with the lifestyle the have chosen. They live by the laws they have agreed to. They go into this lifestyle understanding the potential outcomes but live in agreement with their own internal Karma

Where resistance or breakdowns shows up is when you not living in integrity. There is a misalignment with what you say you want and who you are being.

There is no beginning or end to how the universe works but the more you put out there the more it is going to come back. Your experience of the world and the things that happen to you are the external results of what is happening on the inside. How you speak to yourself, the stories you live and the habits you are letting control your life.

Karma is neither good or bad, it is the sum of your experience to create the future experiences.

Choose wisely.

Shake it off.

Believe in what you want so much that there is not option to not live in alignment with that dream.

It just is.

*https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/karma

Why a gratitude list

Why a gratitude list

Everyday I get out my journal. Sometimes I know what I’m going to write. Sometimes I have no idea.

Something I have been challenged to continue to implement is the practice of gratitude in the form of a list.

We all have things that make us frustrated and mad. Annoyed or upset. Taking the time to sit and really find the things to be grateful can be hard at times. But with practice, you will be able to find those things much quicker, much faster.

You attract who you are. Do you want to attract people who are angry, sad, upset, self-centered? Or you can begin you be proactive and choose your thoughts. Choose what you are grateful for. Bring more of that into existence by being that.

I invite you to start your day with one thing you can focus on and be grateful for. Where do you feel that gratitude? Where can you focus that gratitude? The more you focus on gratitude and being thankful, the more things will show up to be grateful and thankful for.

They also don’t have to be huge things to be grateful for. It can be finding gratitude in the small things. Like this beautiful dirty chai that I’m incredibly grateful for as I write this blog post.

Try it out.

What is anxiety?

What is anxiety?

IMG_0198For years of my life I have struggled with anxiety and I didn’t even know that it was. I knew I had a streak of stubborness but I had no idea it was just anxiety. I would freak out if things didn’t go as planned. I litterly built my life around planning. I was a wedding planner, a strategic planner and buisness executive. I have a keen mind where I have that uncanny ability to see all the things that can ponetially go wrong before it ever happens. This is a beautiful insight as an operations executive but this also left me with frustration, wonder and worry.

If things didn’t go as planned or if someone wasn’t fitting inside of the box as I thought they should, my eye would twitch. Specifically, my left eye. This would happen when I was annoyed or when things weren’t going my way. This is not the most flattering literal twitch to have when you are leading a team of a couple hundred people people. There were many meetings where I would lean into my left hand just so that people couldn’t see my left eye twitching.

Then I learned present vs. future and where I am actually living.

When I feel myself getting into a state of just frustration because things are NOT going my way is when my stomach turns in knots and my left eye might twitch. The situation has not even happened yet and yet my body is experiencing the future as if it is happening now. The feelings my body is expereicing are the fear of what MIGHT happen.

Anxiety is worry and worry is the thought of something in the future.
It is NOT happening right now.

My eye would twitch because I was trying to controls something in the future that had not even happened yet. Once I was able to separate the difference between my feelings and myself i was able to get into action and impact what actually happened in the future.

Now when I start to feel flutters, twitches, heat, sweating about a situation i am I’m able to put my feet on the ground. I am able to become aware that whatever I am thinking about has not happened yet.

The circumstances that made you flutter, heat up or twitch are simply the reality of what is currently happening. Allowing these feelings to continue only distracts your mind from taking action. You have the choice to reframe your view of the situation. Instead of spending time and physical energy on the “shoulds/coulds” you can just get into action.

You have teh choice to stop putting your body in the future and allowing your anxieties or your frustrations to rule how you are experience your life, RIGHT NOW. The body can expereince feelings. You are not your feelings. You have a body. The feelings and sessations of the body do not define your personality or who you are.

Stop living in the future. Set yourself free, define the feeling and get into action.

Fear and Love

Fear and Love

“Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached loves perfection.”
1 John 4:18

What is it you’re afraid of? What has you awoken at night or stressed during the day? What brings your soul anxiety?

Fear and love cannot be mixed together. They are like oil and water. They don’t mix. Could it be, that the fear you feel is just a place where love is not?

What if instead of fear, stress, anxiety, you delve into the realm of complete love knowing that you are in fact, a beautiful soul who is worthy of such love? knowing that, before you ever do anything good or right, you are loved? Knowing that you do not have to do anything, or be anything, that just as you are, right in this very moment, you are loved. You are perfect. There is no ifs, ands, or buts. There is no maybe later I can be deserving of love. there is no, if I get it right next time I will be deserving of love. These are all expectations we place upon ourselves to create the illusion that we can control who and what will love us when… When we are ready to love ourselves. Fully.

What if we took the areas in our life that are incomplete and we engulfed those areas in love? What would happen? Even the areas of our life we don’t like. Our procrastination, our doubt, our sickness, our hurt we wish would go away … Could we choose to own it. Own our doubt. Own our procrastination. Own our sickness and choose it. Not allowing ourselves to be victim of our circumstances but instead, taking ownership for the reality we see.

And still loving ourselves through that.

Could we possibly become fearless when we consume our hearts and lives in all the utterly gross places of ourselves that no one else knows, could we then choose love?

In choosing love, fear has no place.

Complete. Beautiful. Ownership. Fearless. Love.