ALL THAT GLITTERS

“Oooooh. Shiny. Prettttttttty. I like it. I think I might want to have it”

Who: me

What: An opportunity, a big, rather unexpected one that’s kind of right up my alley, so to speak.

More specifically, the chance to bring many things back into my life that I left behind a year ago- stability, consistency, a regular paycheck, a “normal” schedule, health benefits. . .

Oh, so yeah, it’s a job.

But I’m saying “no.” Tempting, quite. But “no, thank you.”  I’m staying true to the path and journey I set out on last June.

My name is Michelle, and I’m an entrepreneur.

When my daughter was younger I used to joke about about her ridiculously short attention span. Seriously, I was competing for attention with that girl with things like rocks, nail polish particles and chunks of hardened playdough. Try as I might to vary the prosody with which I delivered riveting statements such as “put on your shirt,” “hang your towel up,” and “it’s time to go,” I lost, every time, to shiny objects. Every. Time.

Well, joke’s on me, apparently. Funny as that was, I uh, kind of sort of maybe know where she got it from. . .   Turns out, I get distracted by shiny objects too. They just look a little different.

I have about 999,999 things I would like to go/see/do/be in this lifetime, and while I proceed at warp speed to accomplish them all, I also work really hard to keep my feet on the ground, headed in the same direction at the same time, for the the big puzzle pieces. The corner pieces, the keystones, those things that make the other 999,900 items possible, those demand a level of dedication different than those suggested by spontaneous acts of life.

So, when out of the blue the potential to work in the fitness industry, with standard hours, a consistent paycheck and healthcare that costs neither one arm nor one leg, arose, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was tempted to drop everything I’ve spent the last year working for and jump right back into the rat race. Like a lot. Like a lot lot. I even went to the interview earlier this week.

Gulp.

And then I remembered my intention. Then I recalled my purpose. Then I remembered why I started this journey and while this last year has birthed some of the biggest changes in my lifetime, it has been the best one yet.

Hands down. No contest.

I recalled some recent advice I read- “no emotional voting on things that have been decided.” Meaning, to me, not allowing fear and discomfort to affect the intentional decision I made last June (while completely rational and operating from a grounded and centered place) to do the work I do and lead the lifestyle I lead (and LOVE).

I am not giving up on my purpose. Hell no.

In making this decision, I considered the following:

1. Is it the forest or the trees?

Essentially, is it going to meet a short or long term (or both) goal? What are the immediate and future benefits and effects?

2. Who cares?

For whom does it create a direct and indirect effect? How will their, and my, life change as a result?

3.   Service please

Will it serve me? Will it assist me in being the best version of me possible? Is it really who I am?

4. Does it measure up?

Is it aligned with my core values and beliefs? Does it match my life’s purpose?

5. Am I bunting?

Is it an easy out? Am I engaging in emotional voting? Am I operating from a scarcity, or abundance, mentality? Am I listening to my gut?

6. Is there a statute of limitations?

Is this going to be available later or is it it really a “once in a lifetime opportunity?

7. Does it fit in a box?

How might it limit my life? What’s the impact on my lifestyle- my free time, my interests, my other work pursuits, my social time, my health and fitness?

8. Say Yes to the Dress.

What will it look like if I say “yes?” Today, tomorrow, next week, next month, a year from now. What will my life’s puzzle resemble then?

9. Strike three.

What happens if I want out? How simple or complicated will it be to walk away from, again?

10. Am I keeping my word?

Is it amazing? Really? Is it? Amazing is a powerful word. It is not the same as good, cool, great, or fabulous. Is it AMAZING?

 

I asked myself these questions, and not surprisingly, the answer was right there, right in front of me, just beyond the shiny object that lay in my path. I am gently, thoughtfully and with great respect, stepping over it and moving along, eyes focused clearly on my next two steps.

 

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A GREAT BIG WORLD

“Mountains and forests and squirrels oh my!”

I just returned from a four day “yogation” in Yosemite National Forest with a group of ladies who, upon our early morning departure Thursday, other than one yoga pal I met in March were people upon who I had never before laid eyes, but by Sunday evening were friends.

Yes. I went into the forest, (like deep, deep, deeeeeeeep) into the forest, with a group of people I pretty much didn’t know. Oh, and no cell service either, eek.

Meh.

No risk, no gain.

What can I say? I love people. I love adventure. I always say “yes” to new friends and fun; that’s just how I roll. And you know what? It always ends well. One way or another, I leave with a full heart, a bucket of lessons, and a joy that extends beyond me, through me, and out into the world. In the words of a friend of mine (yes, a new one. . . obviously) “people are awesome.”

He’s so right. People are awesome.

I had an amazing time. Uh-maze-ing. Not only were we in one of THE most beautiful places I have ever seen (seriously, if you have never been to Yosemite, get your ass there, stat. Un-fucking-believeable beauty), I was with people who shared so very much of their authentic (and fabulous) selves with me. It was unforgettably fantastic.

From the minute we struck out on the road we were in vacation mode. No itinerary. No agenda. No responsibilities. Just fun; matching sparkle swag hats included.

Like most experiences, the more flexible, relaxed, and open to change (#squirrel!!!!) we each were, the better the experience got.

Closed minds, rigid plans and selfish behavior limit growth. Fortunately, none of that baggage made it into our suitcases.  PHEW.

We laughed. We cried a little. We fell down, a lot (turns out there area few things that don’t mix well, like say, flip flops and wet granite, or rotting tree trunks, inner tubes and a cocktail in your water bottle. . .small details like that. . .).  We used the first aid kit, like, um, several times a day. But onward we went.

We practiced yoga in the forest on pine needles. We practiced yoga on a rock on top of the mountain. We did handstands in pajamas on top of the world as the sun set, and headstands in Yosemite Valley with Half Dome in the background.  We scaled hillsides and dipped under waterfalls. We never.stopped.moving. Hell, we even stopped on the way home to do a quick WOD on the side of the mountain, the turquoise blue waters of Bass Lake winking at us in the background.

It was lovely; just lovely.

I can’t wait for my next adventure. To meet the great people who find pace with me. To see the next grand sights. To receive what the universe throws my way. To climb the next mountain. To traverse the next landscape. To fall down laughing (or crying), again, and again, and yet again.

I can’t wait to say “HELL YES” to the next opportunity.

There’s a whole great big world waiting for you out there my friends; go get it.

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MAN IN THE MIRROR

MAN IN THE MIRROR

Today I am:

Fatigued. Consumed. Enervated. Spent. Exhausted. Consumed. Weary. Humbled. Expended. Naked. Raw.

But, I am also:

Open. Available. Cognizant. Aware. Conscious. Observant. Grounded. Alive. Awake. Receptive. Willing.

So yes, I’ve been doing some yoga. A bit. Tad. Small amount.

Small as about… sixty hours of practice between last Wednesday and today. Ow. I mean, gulp. Okay, let’s be real, I mean ow.

I just spent the last five days deep in self reflection and practice during the first round of yoga teacher training with some downright amazing human beings. Our experience was incredible, and unlike anything I’ve done to date. Words cannot adequately express how very much I learned, felt, and processed during that time (although that fact certainly won’t stop me from trying to articulate it anyway. . .).

Although there is much I could share, there is one particular part of the experience that is genuinely worth offering- creating a declaration of surrender.

During our practice, we spent some time considering and identifying that which was holding us back. Of sorting out what is preventing us from growing, and of what we are willing to let go. Once examined and clarified, we considered the potential that lay ahead, the power just on the other side of discomfort. As such, we each then made a commitment to ourselves, to our futures, to our growth, and shared them with each other.

So, as a part of my commitment, to hold myself accountable, and in an effort to share that which my teachers taught me, I am presenting my list. Listen up, Universe, shit just got real. It’s go time. Game on. Let’s do this.

I am letting go of correction. Now it is possible for me to teach with connection.

I am letting go of that which I have lost. Now it is possible for me to gain.

I am letting go of permanence. Now it is possible for me grow.

I am letting go of quantity. Now it is possible for me to have quality.

I am letting go of those who and that which drains me. Now it is possible for me to be full.

I am letting go of that which doesn’t serve me. Now it is possible for me to be in balance.

I am letting go of expectations. Now it is possible for me to be at peace.

I am letting go of perfection. Now it is possible for me to be and have enough.

I am letting go old habits and patterns that stand in the way of change. Now it is possible for me to progress.

I am letting go of guilt, regret and doubt. Now it is possible for me to appreciate my present.

There it is,  is my baggage, in print.  May my load be forever lightened.

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HEY SWOLE SISTA

So, as part of this journey I’m on, I reconsidering a lot of things. A lot of career related things, as it turns out. One of them, in particular, is how I might start making more of my life include making some actual monetary gain from my love of fitness, rather than the contiued emptying of my wallet.

Know what I mean, jelly bean?

Think you might be ready too? Check this out:

TEN INDICATORS IT’S TIME TO CONSIDER A CAREER IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY

1. You talk about fitness. All the time. To everyone. Even to small children. And you speak at least one of the following “box talk, zen, runner, barbell, or mat.”

2. Everywhere you go, even on the rare and random occasion you’re not in workout clothes, people ask you “do you workout?” Wiser people ask the better question “WHERE do you workout?”

3. You plan your worklife around workouts rather than the other way around.

4. You watch YouTube videos on technique, for fun.

5. You recruit, heavily, everywhere, for new victims willing members of your fitness community.

6. 50% (or more) of your friends are from the gym, box, studio, or trail.

7. You have been hit up by a MLM sales rep at least three times becuase you are a “go-getter,” “so passionate,” and have “great people skills.” Also because you regretablly gave accurate contact information on that damn order form but that’s a different story.

8. You are fairly certain the cure for any ailment lies in exericse, water, nutritional rehab, and supplements, and will spend more than that a month than on rent, almost.

9. You demonstrate lifts, poses, stretches or techniques to random strangers, regardless of location (or your attire).

10. The “celebrities” in your life make very little money and provide amazing inspiration.

Ring a bell? Spark a fire? Give you some goosebumps or at least one guilty face emoticon moment? Well, maybe it’s a sign it’s time to do something different. It’s on you to decide what that something is, but you know, you know when you know. Be willing to discover.

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BEST DAY OF MY LIFE

Today I begin a new journey. Today is training day. Today, the road I’ve been on for the last eighteen months or so picks up some serious speed. To where it will lead- I’m not sure yet. The meandering path is straightening out a bit, temporarily, and I still can’t see past the next five steps or so, but I know for sure, without a doubt, it’s my path.

Today, I become a yoga teacher-in-training.

Ommmmmmmmmm. Namaste.

Seriously. Nam-uh-STAY Universe! I am so grateful for this opportunity. So incredibly humbled to share this experience with my peers, others in my yoga community who have found a home here.

How remarkable is it that I found my way to this place. Me- a born-and-raised country girl who spent the better part of her first three decades playing house, is in fact, actually an urban yogi at heart. Turns out you can’t hide from your truth, especially once you open your eyes.

Thank you to those that encouraged me to find it. Those that led me to get out of my comfort zone, and those who embraced me when I got here. Because of you, I’m ready to start paying it forward.

In this journey of self-actualization, growth, and learning to let go, yoga has been the one thing that ties all the lessons together. It’s where I find center in myself, both on and off the mat. The place where I learned that “if you bring your shit to yoga, your yoga practice is shit.” Translation- magnify your woes and they consume your life. Unload them, release them, replace them with light, and the light becomes your life.

Today, I get to learn how to share that practice with others. I get to do the one “job” I love the most- empower others to be the best version of themselves. I get to live my sentence. I get to be my word. How… amazing.

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ALL THESE SMALL THINGS

You know what hurts more than stepping barefoot on a lego? Stepping barefoot on TWO legos. No- it’s barbie shoes- evil plastic particles that they are. Wait, nope, actually, I think it might possibly be barefoot on metal toy airplanes. Yes, That. They draw blood even so for sure that wins.

Guess what sucks more than a rainbow loom bracelet in the washing machine? A rainbow loom bracelet in bathtub drain (yeah. Just try to snake that mass out. Good luck.).

Know what’s better than playing the “matching game” with lids, markers,  and crayon halves? Markers that work. Crayons still intact in their original (singular, and wrapped) state.  Oh, and a pad of paper that DOESN’T have exactly one line drawn, dead center, on every page.

Consider also the fact that I am 99.99% sure that the following things all move faster than my son when asked to return his toys to their designated homes, put away his laundry or, gasp, get dressed:

  1. molasses in january
  2. turtles walking backwards
  3. runoff from the polar ice caps

Ya’ feeling me?

I am so.over.this.bullshit.

ENOUGH WITH THE STUFF!

My children, God bless them, have: a) more toys than they have space to contain b) a total lack of understanding of the direct correlation between the care and status of their belongings, and, unfortunately (for them), c) a mother who believes in the general approach of  “a place for everything and everything in its place.

This trifecta of facts creates quite the catalyst for contentious debate in this household. A real surprise, I realize. #spoileralert.

Beyond my giant dislike for clutter, my kinda sorta love affair with baskets and labels, major obsession with affinity for creating and maintaining creative, beautiful and useful spaces, I have been slowly working on shifting our life from one filled with “stuff” to one filled with experiences.

This means that in addition to offloading material possessions, one small kitchen appliance/pair of $200 jeans/leather club chair at time, I have also been busy building a different repository.

We have been working on developing an attitude of gratitude since December (see here); as well as living every day, to the best of our abilities, to the maximum level of awesome.

Seriously. We are rarely home (yet- yes, they still manage to tornado their bedroom in the the small amount of time we are there. Sigh. More on this later) because we are busy making memories, being silly or exercising together, spending time with our friends and family far and wide and exploring the beautiful world around us.

My kids are learning great new habits, seeing new perspectives and developing a more healthy understanding of the value (or lack thereof) of material stuff.

It’s not perfect. We’re not “minimalists” by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re creating a healthy balance with small steps. Our paradigm is slowly shifting.

We are learning that less is more. Truly

We downsized our home even, three times, from 3000 sq ft, to 1800, to… 800. Why? Because we don’t need a bunch of empty unused space. Is it ideal? No. There are days I miss having a dining room, or a kids play area, or a big kitchen, but lucky for me, I have friends that do. Great friends. Friends I would travel to the ends of the earth and back for in a heartbeat. And those friendships are something worth keeping. That, is a collection of value.

As much as I love, love, love my suede turquoise heels, those beauties are not gonna ride with me when my soul leaves this earth. Bad news for Cole Haan, good news for me.

At the end of our lives, we will remember our experiences, the people who shared them with us, and the way we felt. Let us devote our our time, energy, and well, money, to building things that are sustainable, lasting and genuniely valuable. Costco might miss you, but your friends won’t.

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