Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I've always wanted to be a Surfer Girl

I've always wanted to be a surfer girl.

It was the Summer of 6th grade. The family was packing up and moving to California. Just before leaving, I laid my first kiss on Bobby at the park. It was dreamy!  I figured what the hell...I'm not ever going to see him ever again anyway. So why not? 

Three months later we moved back. 

California was wonderful! Palm trees and festivals and roads paved of brick. I loved it...perhaps even more than Bobby. It was perfect. 

It wasn't long before I found the surfer boys. Bobby was a drip compared to these guys. One day, some how, I would be a surfer girl. 

That did not happen. 

Many years later I had my son, Derek. I dreamed of moving to California and raising him as a surfer boy. It was going to be perfect. 

Alas, I have a huge family that read me the riot act over the idea of relocation. 

So I stayed. 

Over the years I have admired various water sports and considered them. Thing is, I'm not a fan of the cold, and water sports in Chicago left much to be desired. 

Then I met Jon. 

We fell in love and got married. With the 5 kids between us, it did not look promising to land my Cali Zip Code. 

And then it happened! 

We were vacationing in Siesta Key, FL and I stumbled into a surf board shop. I was delighted to find skate boards! These were not your average, run in the mill skate boards...these were art on wheels, and I wanted one!  

Small snag. As a forty year old woman, I was cautioned by my loved ones that I would surely fall and die while skateboarding. At the very least look like an ass experiencing a midlife crisis. The latter was of no concern to me. 

As we were driving back to Sarasota, I saw my first SUPer (Stand up paddle boarder.) I'll do that!  

Sort of like surfing...right?

Time passed and I forgot about it. One day I was at Lifetime Fitness and low and behold there was a life sized ad for....you guessed it...SUP!!! A childlike excitement arose. 

I started seeing pictures on Facebook of the SUPers. To be honest, I quickly grew apprehensive. That looked hard! Not to mention my fellow Yogis doing head stands on them! Hmmmm

Finally, last month, we went on a cruise and I got to try my hand at SUP in Cozumel. I was hooked! I decided right then I was going to be a SUPer!

I own a small yoga studio with a handful of instructors. I love them. Come to find out...one of them is a SUPer! I invited her for tea. "Let's do a yoga retreat and offer SUP lessons" I cooed. The idea was met with enthusiasm!  Come next month, I'll be on a board near Starved Rock!

Remember those SUP lessons at the gym? I signed up for them today. And I am more elated than when I laid that kiss on Bobby in the 6th grade!

I'm going to be a Sur-Ph-Ur girl...after all :) 

Monday, June 22, 2015


I was broken. My life coach said she doesn't normally allow people to describe themselves as "Broken" but she agreed it was fitting in my case. I told her I felt like a Barbie doll with a missing leg that nobody would want to play with. 

So about a decade ago I was rockin life. I mean full on, kickin some ass - rockin life.   Everything was wonderful. And then...

I fell. 

Yep, I fell at work. For those of you who don't know about worker's comp - I recommend never falling at work. Especially if your company has more resources than you do. So while I was desperately trying to heal up from a whammy of an injury, the lawyers kept on coming. And the court dates dragged on and on...It consumed me. 

Cut to a few years later. 

I lost everything. My house, my car, all my fine treasures - sold off one by one. Waiting for my day in court. 

It never came. I'd like to tell you that I got this huge payout that left me set for life...but that wasn't how this story went down. 

Alas! There was a twist! 

I began to see what was really important in life. What really mattered. I started paying far more time to my relationships. I could see how 'money wasn't real' - an old saying that I had never really understood. But now the colors of the world started to change their hues. Or the way I saw them, at least. 

So after all the doctors and medications and endless rounds of physical therapy...I stumbled into a yoga class.  I hoped that I could take off the forty something pounds I had managed to gain in the process. 

But it was so much more!

I started to accept the present as it was. To accept myself as I was. The endless fighting of my reality was just exhausting. All I wanted was peace. I was so angry.  Angry at my work. Angry at my health. Angry at my back. My house. My car. My life. All of it. I was pissed off. 

The surgeon had told me that I needed to rehab if I wanted to walk again. Pilates he said. Pilates? Are you fuckin kidding me? I could barely get to the bathroom without a walker and you want Jane Fonda from me? Whack job!

He was right. 

I decided to split the difference and go to a yogilates class at Lifetime Fitness. You know, Pilates meets Yoga fusion class. 

I'd be a liar if I said I liked it right away. It was aweful! The whole process was so painful. But I kept on. I was determine to once again be the strong, independent woman I had always been. And I was willing to do any amount of work necessary to get there. 

It took me 18 months. 

Eighteen sweat, blood, and tears agonizing months. I'd hobble into the hot tub after every class. 

But it worked. 

I became strong. Not only of body, but of body and mind!  I had always been involved in fitness...but never like this. 

Each day I began to wake up with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. The most simple tasks became a cause for celebration. I could walk, drive, skip and jump. And all I wanted to do was cartwheels in the grass, as I had done as a fearless kid. 

Then one day, my yogilates instructor Cindy said to me "you should consider becoming an instructor."  Instantly I knew that was what I was meant to do. 

I began my training in August 2008. Today, I own my own yoga and Pilates studio. I am a teacher trainer for people -who I hope can benefit the way I did. 

So in the end, my story is a fairytale. My dreams did come true. And I'm not angry, bitter, or scared anymore. I own my life and my future and sometimes I'm so damned happy I cry. 

And it is good. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Taming the Monkeys of the Mind

The question begs...how to tame the monkeys of the mind?  We often hear this phrase in yoga. What does it mean? Simply put...how to silence your thoughts. Or rather, the flow of unwelcome thoughts while you are dutifully trying to meditate. Next thing you know, your to do list starts scrolling through your mind. Grocery lists, appointments, and other claimants of our attention. 

Take a moment to acknowledge these thoughts. Like it or not, they are there. Then send them on their way and return to your state of mediational bliss. 

I like to turn my attention to my senses to bring the focus inward. Essential oils encourage the focus toward the sense of smell. Try swaddling the forehead and eyes with a soft fluffy baby blanket. Listen to white noise such as waterfalls or ocean sounds. Give your mind something pleasant to do. In time, with a dash of patience and a pinch of practice, you'll be meditating in silence. Bliss!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rose Colored Glasses

Spent the day footing around the city. How lucky are we to live in such a beautiful place? Enjoyed lunch with my lover. Admired some art. Went to the park. Had playful conversations. Got my passport. 

Yep, you heard it right...I had some fun getting my passport renewed. The people here are so unbelievably pleasant. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed going to a government agency, but hats off the passport crew in Chicago! Thanks for making it pleasant. Who doesn't love a smiling face?  

I'm beginning to really like how I'm starting to see the world. Put your rose covered glasses on and enjoy your day!