Goals and Play-Doh

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As a life coach I highly value the decisive act of goal setting. It not only draws an outline for your life but the act itself makes an individual look within and take stock. I do not mean the casual thought of this is where I want to go, but a play-by-play segmented plan.

Many people find goal setting daunting. The fear of failure peaking over one shoulder or the giant end game crushing the other. The key is to make soft and attainable goals to go along with the big ones, as well as medium steps that are malleable.

A wise woman once shared with me her approach of goal setting: One month, three months, one year, and five years. I personally would take that a few steps further, by first approaching this exercise with a sense of lightness and possibility. Not overthinking the initial process, but writing your dream goals from the heart not with your hard lined reason – that can come later.

For those in relationships, the second step I would offer would be to rewrite your goals if you were completely on your own. JUST YOU. Not with a family, children, parents, pets, friends or a partner. See what comes up, you might have a surprise waiting for you.

At a pivotal time in my own life, I sat down to think of my goals. I first wrote things with reason, with my husband, in our current life. I hacked through it and came up with a decent roadmap, yet when I decided to unleash my innermost goals of what I wanted for my future I realized I had been compromising the life I truly wanted to live. Not because I was forced to, but because I had been caught up in a community, a marriage and a lifestyle, without realizing my inner needs had changed and were slowly eating away at my current happiness.

This was an insanely life altering process. When I wrote what I would do if I was on my own, a bomb went off in my heart and mind. I had written a completely 180 turn, as well as how I would pull it off.

This process was a thunderous reminder to never let life get away on me, as many of us know, can easily happen. It was a reminder for my husband and I that we were in a marriage, a union that takes compromise. Yet underscored was the absolute necessity for communication with each other about changing needs, as well as the act of taking chances within ones life. To pursue dreams as not only a unit, but to keep the passion alive within the individual we each fell in love with.

That crossroad in our lives sent us on a crazy ride building the next dream. The other major nugget I was reminded of recently? The dream changes. Due to necessary adaptation when the curve balls come flying in, or because of time and it’s continuous and eroding march forward.

Attaining those big goals doesn’t happen overnight, and usually through the process of trying to get there, we are morphed in the fire of our own journey. Time passes, we hit potholes or canyons and need to constantly adapt to the fluctuating ground we are scrambling upon. Hence the need for goals that are not carved of stone to crumble when life’s inevitable quakes shake our world, but objectives we can remold time and time again. Sure sounds better than dangling in the air by our claws as another dream falls away.

What if we approached goals with a childlike sense of wonder, of possibility? What if we shaped them with Play-Doh and let our imagination run wild. Color them with crazy hues, stick pipe cleaners out of the top, or roll them in the dirt. Goals that are in a distinct shape yet pliable enough to add on, take away or just plain reform into our changing needs and desires.

My invitation for you is to carve out, schedule, or set aside an afternoon or day in the next week or two to dream up or remold the next shape of your life. Sit down with your heart and mind and get your hands dirty.

Rock your inner youth!

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I don’t know about you, but as a 41 year old woman, I seem to be in denial that I am actually getting older. Until I look in the mirror in the right light and exclaim “What the #$@!%!, where did all those wrinkles come from?” Incidentally my father in his seventies also has the same shocking moments of wondering who the old guy in the mirror is.

I am in a smaller class of women that chose not to have kids, my number one passion is still surfing, and I am occasionally still seen ripping turns around our mountain neighborhood on my electric Skateboard while listening to Eminem.

While talking today to a “sister of the cloth”, meaning a great friend who is as much of a punk as me, I exclaimed the frustration of societies expectations for people at a certain age. While yes my husband and I are incredibly successful in our own hand crafted world, we still seem to be swimming against the tide of others following the accepted norm.

As people in our forties and above, we seem to have to behave a certain way, reach the bar of an accepted level of success, or be at a certain phase for us to “fit in” to a mold. This expectation piles on the ever-building weight of being an “Adult.”

How can we retain our weightlessness of youth?

Stop caring about what other’s think of you for one. I am reminded of my most valuable lesson fitting this topic. Be all that you are and the other black sheep will find you, before you know it you have a tribe of like minded people, that celebrate you and all your quirks.

My invitation to you today, is to ask what are the small stories you can let go of in your life that trap you in your age?

Can you shift a mindset here and there, to one of a child and play? To create a lightness of joy and simplicity, even for an hour a day? Are there things you gave up over the years that brought you such joy in your earlier years, and would you want to add them back into your life? Think of the shift of mindset or step of action that would allow more freedom to explore happiness, connection, and possibility.

Crossroads of Possibility or Regret?

 

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Sometimes while listening to a great song that brings back memories of days gone by, I think about those blazing crossroads that could have taken me in a completely different direction in life.

I can pinpoint so clearly those choices I made that lead me to this exact moment. When you look over your shoulder to past decisions do you have thoughts of regret? Do they fill your heart with sadness, or like me an interested and pensive wonder?

My heart aches a little for all the possibilities within ones life. I like to picture the other road that could have spread out before me. To imagine how it would have played out. Would I have died young, or become something so different? Perhaps.

All of us if we live long enough have moments of decision that we live with forever. When I look back I am so thankful for so many roads I could have taken. I feel fortunate to be thankful for where I am.

I have always had the philosophy that there are no such thing as regrets just decisions that could have been different, and all the ones that may now feel wrong lead to our growth, learning, and our grand path.

Yeah I know I am forever the optimist, and yes you may think screw that, I regret what happened, the decision I made.

But did you learn?

Can you look back with new eyes and see how that shaped you, made you different? Will you forgive yourself  and  share that knowledge to make a difference on the planet for the better? Will you give back, or will you let those decisions define you and take you down the dark path that leads to self destruction?

If you are sitting in a place you do not want to be, remember you are at that fiery and momentous crossroad now. The one you will be looking back on, in the blink of an eye.

Make the choice for you, for where you want to be, for who you wish to become. Create a blazing trail behind you that you are proud of.

Stress, Gratitude and Perspective.

 

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I just read a beautiful blog post called “ Saved by the invisibles” by Jonathan Carroll, posted on the Kindness blog. This was a great reminder to stop and be mindful as well as thankful of the gifts presented each and every moment of your day; an important practice while navigating this day and age of technology and stress.

Many of us whom are over stimulated by smart phones, internet and fast pace living, tend to forget to pencil in time, or practice the simple act of enjoying the moments. Tasting, smelling, looking around and being thankful, all the while keeping the perspective of what is worth our worry and stress, and what is NOT.

Stress consumes us in the first world. Money, jobs, family, commitments, you name it. I see people having road rage, bitching to co-workers or peers, or losing their cool over the most insignificant things. I too am occasionally caught on the verge of a negative moment, but have created a well worn practice that get’s me though most days.

This practice manifested from the days when my husband was fighting Cancer. He was an incredibly positive and calm patient. I showed up the same but behind the scenes was on the brink of a melt down.

It was one of those max out moments when you are deep in the fight and no end or beginning in sight. I don’t actually remember what was going on at the time, but the last straw was the milk exploding out of the fridge, all over me and onto the floor. Sounds like nothing, but many of us know, as the last straw, things can get ugly.

I stood there, looking at myself as if out of my body and awaiting the furious reaction, when I began to cuss and laugh. I was reminded of a movie called “The Great White.”

It stars Robin Williams and Holly Hunter. She plays a wife with Tourette syndrome, and has these amazing scenes where she just strikes off into a string of hilarious curses.

They came to me as I was about to freak out, and it made me laugh. Hard. And then I felt better and moved on. This eventually morphed into the “string of curses” followed by the question, “Is it life, death or cancer?” If the answer is no, laugh that shit off and move on. It’s so not worth worrying about, and consuming your time and making yourself sick. While I am not suggesting for everyone to go  around cussing, I offer the gentle reminder instead to keep stress in perspective.

All of us, if we live long enough, are presented with much greater challenges than someone cutting in line, or saying the wrong thing. Perspective is key, gratitude and attitude, a must. Practicing savoring the beauty unveiling itself in the small things – we could all work on.

 

Of Friends and Time.

 

Friends of the world, you hold tatters of my heart.

Memories and love echo in my mind like laughter at sunset.

I share your journey near and far; feel my thoughts through the moon, my wonder in the stars and utter joy with each rising of the sun.

Feel my hand, my lips, whispering on the wind, across the water.

Cherished moments shared, rippling across time.

Until we gaze once more, shining eyes and brimming hearts.

– Vanessa Plimley

Health and the elusive Balance.

 

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Health. Some of us have it, and those of us that don’t, yearn for it, covet it, and prey for it to wrap its sunny arms around us.

Some people abuse themselves for life, and live to a hundred – insert here a photo of a craggy farmer smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky all his life. He lived outside, worked physically on the land and ate home cooked food with ingredients found close by. Got in fights, broke bones and ate dirt.

Some people are health nuts their entire lives: No drinking, no smoking, taking their vitamins, eating organic and religiously go to their Pilates class or the gym. They had a plan but were so stressed about keeping to it, they die of a disease or in a car wreck on their way to their next appointment. Sometimes it feels like there is no rhyme or reason.

As a personal trainer, people always are always asking me about the latest trends, or what they should and shouldn’t do in terms of exercise and diet. My response back is, in the gym and in normal life:

What are you willing to change?

What will you not give up?

How much do you want it?

And is your choice sustainable?

Often people do not want to really work that hard, and will find an endless well of excuses. Others make mind blowing gains due to some inner fire or driving need. Maybe its divorce, health, vanity, babies, growing older, whatever the reason, the results vary greatly.

And it’s confusing. When I am lying on the floor with a back flare up for the third month in a row, worrying about getting better, about my husband, if I will ever heal, am I putting on weight, and taking a ridiculous amount of medications to exist, is a cheeseburger and a beer healthy? Damn straight it is. If it brings even a fleeting feeling of normalcy, or a ray of sunshine through the clouds and ticks my stress meter down an inch, hell ya!

My husband and I snicker together at the definition of “Health food.” Sometimes it’s mental health food. As long as it’s not all the time, and oh that sneaky word of “Balance” pops up again to bite you in the ass.

More and more as I trainer I ended up listening, and cheerleading my clients through a breakdown instead of crushing out a workout. This eventually lead me to go back to school for personal coaching, in attempt to better support them through the mental aspect of their health. Something so overlooked in a lot of our health goals today. Our awareness is getting better but we have a long way to go in terms of application versus conversation.

In this day and age of technology, of electronic stimulus, fast lives and little time off, it seems hard to find the magic balance of what will keep us healthy.

We are all wired differently, with a myriad of needs and wants depending on culture, sex, country, and economic stature.

Yet one thing is undeniable. We have the choice to govern our lives. We can recreate ourselves each day, but have to take the time to inventory our life, ask what is missing, what makes us happy, and what the heck we really want. Make a plan, that is constantly reassessed, then have the courage and tenacity to take a perhaps staggering step towards the goal. If it’s forward, it’s still a step in the right direction.

The calling

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As Mother Nature paints the land a change of shade; swaths of color sweeping up the flanks of our mountainsides, my world becomes utterly surreal.

I wade among tall grasses turning cinnabar and amber, my open palms stroking tips along with the wind. Searing cobalt sky frames golden Aspen leaves; they dance with the same music as the surrounding land.

It calls to me.

Catching my attention and softening my gaze, my adventurous heart aches and my soul yearns.

I have always left in the fall; it was my pattern for years. Playing in nature, long days filled with sunlight. Yet as the land yawns, and prepares for winter, I can almost smell the sea 1000 miles away. I can hear palms rustling instead of pines creaking, and distant shores murmur just beyond the horizon.

Instead of cozying up with soup and a book, I long to shed all my belongings except my dog and a backpack filled with music.

To shoulder my fond memories, and wrap love around my heart, I will smile with the freedom of an open road.