Meditations With Morgan

Special Projects

A couple years ago I was getting coffee with a friend and he asked me what projects I was working on. Outside of work, what was I doing with my time? At the time I didn’t have a good answer and it got me thinking: from now on I will always have a project. It didn’t always need to be something huge, maybe it was starting (and finishing) a new book or trying a new recipe (that’s a big one considering I cook a “real” meal maybe 4 times a year.) What I didn’t realize at the time was that by not having a project, it meant I didn’t have a vision. I didn’t have an idea or clear picture what I wanted to do with my energy, and that’s not acceptable. Having a vision is important because it gives your existence a purpose. We are only on this planet for such a short time, we should use it wisely.

So consider this, what is your project? What is your vision? Make it BIG. Make it HUGE. The bigger the better. It’s supposed to be so big that it’s almost unbelievable. And what will it take for you to get there right now? In the beginning when you’re setting out on a new journey towards a new, amazing goal, it’s easy to get frustrated with the preliminary steps. You’re so excited and eager and anxious to reach the end point, the brilliant dream that inspired you, that the preliminary steps just seem like they’re taking up too much time. This is natural. If the dream wasn’t so stunning, it wouldn’t be worth dreaming.

So what’s my vision right now? Oh my gosh I have so many. I’ll keep it yoga-pose related. I am working on Adho Mukha Vrksasana, aka Handstand. I have been working on it for over a year now and while some days it doesn’t feel like I am making any progress, I know I am. I practice my handstand every single day for at least 10 minutes, and even if I don’t hold it for very long that day, or some days I don’t even get legs in the air at all, I know that I am at least stronger now than I was before I tried.

As you keep grinding along on your project, know the “small victories” that that are the baby steps of accomplishing your goal (practicing kicking up, reading a few pages of your book, running a mile, etc.)  are actually huge victories in the overall big picture (handstand, finishing that book you’ve been putting off forever, running a 5k or marathon, etc.). For every mortal step you take here, a huge leap, cartwheel, dance party has taken place in time and space, advancing you forward more than you’ll ever know. And the best way to finish this project? Get started on it. No more procrastinating, no more excuses or if/thens (if Sarah calls me to go to kickboxing with her, then I’ll go), that’s lame. Get up, get out, and just START DOING IT. Wherever you are, any progress is good. You’ll finish your project, achieve your goal, just in time to start your next one

Keep Bending,

Morgan

@keep_bending

Another Internet Blog About Goals

There are a million blogs and articles out there about goals. About why you should set them. And how you can keep them. And what to do if you do if you set so many goals that you forget what they are. Well this is another blog post about just that, but my take on it.

The past 4 months I have been studying to earn my personal trainers certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The content is intense, they recommend studying 10-15 hours a week and I definitely do that if not more. There is an outlined syllabus with 18 sections and each section is broken down even further to one or more lessons. Each lesson has chapters you have to read, videos to watch, and quizzes to take. Oh and flashcards. Don’t forget the flashcards! I complete all that, review as much as necessary, then schedule to take the certification course. They recommend taking the test 4 months from when you start the program so the information stays fresh. I am on track to finish studying the material this week (!), I’ll spend all of February reviewing and take the test early March before we go to Mexico. Like I said, this material is super intense. There is more to personal training than just counting out reps and getting paid to wear yoga pants to work. For example, the chapters I read earlier were Exercise Physiology, Fundamentals of Applied Kinesiology, Physiology of Training, etc. As someone who majored in marketing in college because it seemed like “the easiest” major, learning about biology like this does not come naturally. But it’s fascinating! The human body is so amazing and mysterious and strong that I just can’t take it in fast enough. The chapter on nutrition was over 50 pages (front and back mind you) and I read it in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down. I had food strewn out all over our kitchen counters comparing the labels to what I was learning. I already know my next non-yoga certification is going to be in nutrition of some sort. Oh! To further deepen my studying, I try to incorporate saying 3 new muscles and bones a week into my yoga classes so I have a better understanding of what the body is doing. But I digress. This program is intended for the super committed, motivated, self-starter and even though I don’t have a biology background, being intrinsically motivated is in my DNA.

Recently I started teaching yoga at a brand new recovery gym, Fizio, that just opened up across the street. (Funny story how that happened, I had been watching construction happening on the building all summer but didn’t know what it was going to be. One day a sign went up saying that it was going to be a gym. Me, being the inquisitive (ok let’s be real. Nosy. I was being nosy.)  person that I am, started rattling on the doors and peering in the windows, trying to find a way to get in so I could talk to someone. A man quickly came around the corner, like anyone would who sees someone trying to break into his building. Long story short, he and his wife were the owners and after a few weeks of getting to know each other they invited me to their staff to teach yoga. They also asked me if I had ever considered getting my personal training certification because they would love to bring me on in that capacity down the road soon too. They suggested to go through ACE and “the rest is history”. That was back in September 2016.

Up until this point I knew I wanted to do something with fitness/yoga/wellness/life coaching/etc. but wasn’t sure what. I had kind of been wandering aimlessly. I knew I wanted to teach yoga full time, but that by itself isn’t super realistic yet. Now, thanks to this amazing couple who saw something in me and recognized I had the qualities of someone who would make a successful personal trainer, I finally had a clear goal and idea what I wanted to do with my life professionally. They have inspired me and encouraged me to build myself up and increase my value as a human. I have a clear goal and vision, one that is defined and realistic. Short term- in March 2017 I am going to pass my certification to become a Certified Personal Trainer. Long term- by December 2017 I will be doing yoga/fitness/wellness/health/nutrition/life-coaching full time. And in the meantime, I am going to start getting certifications in as many of those other categories as possible.

#BuildAnEdge

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We had our first staff meeting at Fizio the other night where the owners shared their vision statement with us and brought us all up to speed on the ‘why’ behind the Fizio brand. The photo is a bit blurry, but the message is clear. Set a goal, Build an Edge.

I feel so fortunate to teach at a gym that sets, encourages, and embraces our aspirations and ambitions. The owners, staff, and coaches at Fizio all live with the mindset to continually build themselves up and keep working towards the greatest version of themselves. The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. We become like our friends and they help us to become the best versions of ourselves. These are just those kinds of people and I know 100% they will continue to support me on my professional fitness journey.

I had a fun thought the other day. In the beginning when you’re setting out on a new journey towards a new, amazing goal, it’s easy to get frustrated with the preliminary steps. You’re so excited and eager and anxious to reach the end point, the brilliant dream that inspired you, that the preliminary steps just seem like they’re taking up too much time. This is natural. If the dream wasn’t so stunning, it wouldn’t be worth dreaming. Know that the “small victories” that that are the baby steps of accomplishing your goal, are actually huge victories in the overall big picture. For every step you take on Earth, a huge leap, cartwheel, dance party has taken place in time and space, advancing you forward more than you’ll ever know.

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation so that you can make the very most out of your life. Goal setting is the first step in successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It’s when you switch from a passive state to being actively involved in your life. Because this life is so, so good.

Happy People Feel Stress Too

I consider myself a positive person. I was born blessed with a sunny disposition and a cheery outlook on life. I also consider myself a realist, but you can count on me to find the silver lining, see the glass half full, and put a positive spin on any situation. However, these last couple weeks had been very trying for me and the reserves I’ve had of ‘saving happy for a rainy day’, were starting to run low.

Along with being a naturally optimistic person, I am also (like most people) a person of habit. I’m highly functioning and having my routine makes me feel comforted and in control. By no means am I saying I’m a rigid, OCD, control freak. I’m just saying I like having a plan and crossing things off lists. Having a loose schedule helps me feel grounded.

Over the Christmas holiday my sweetie and I decided to get off the grid and take a road trip. We turned our phones on airplane mode and vowed to stay present and in the moment. We had a general idea of a direction to go (south) but for the most part we drove until we found something cool, slept when we were tired, and ate when we were hungry. It was a great way to experience letting go of “the plan” and enjoying life on life terms. It was so refreshing to not have to worry about answering to anyone or returning phone calls. We left the dogs at home, so it was even nice no having to worry about making sure they got walked. We were adventurers to the fullest extent.

Living free spirited like this lasted for 3 beautiful days. A few years ago a good friend taught me her camping practice- on these getaways, turn off your phone, but turn it on for 10 minutes every day just to see if there is something super pressing that needs to be taken care of and cannot wait until you get back. I’m glad I took that advice. On the fourth day, December 26, we were driving through Death Valley and pulled over to enjoy the scenery at the Furnace Creek Inn. I finally had Wi-Fi so I turned on my phone. I had a barrage of voicemails, texts, instant messages all with the same message, my dad had unexpectedly passed away and the funeral was in 3 days. The road trip that we had been looking forward to and planning for months was now cut short so that I could get back to Reno and back to Illinois. It was a hard lesson in giving up control and accepting situations as they come, but I was disappointed. I now had to go back a “reality” of checking my phone on time so I get a good section on the plane and getting to the airport with enough time to get through security.

Funerals are weird. You see tons of friends and family that you maybe haven’t seen in years and you want to catch up with them, but at the same time you are there because you’re mourning the same loved one and it seems unsympathetic to talk about anything other than the deceased. Funerals are exhausting too. I show emotion, but I’m much more comfortable and used to showing “happy” emotion and I felt me judging myself from time to time on if I was grieving enough or the right way. I felt like I had to be strong for those around me and honestly I felt a little bitter about my dad’s death. I stayed in Illinois for 5 days to hang out with my mom and sister and came back to Reno feeling drained. It was hard holding space for others without having anyone to hold space for me. I had been telling the Universe that I wanted to get out of Reno a little bit, get a change of scenery, but this hadn’t been exactly what I had in mind. I had accepted that my Christmas break hadn’t gone exactly how I expected and needless to say, so I was ready to get back to my normal schedule and my little routine.

The Universe wasn’t done yet though. In the 2 weeks coming back to work I think we had 5 snow days and 3 delayed starts. Some of those were even delayed starts that turned into snow days! I absolutely loved them because I was able to catch up on my own projects, like studying for my personal trainer exam, creating a vision board, journal, make some new yoga classes, etc. I had a lot of fun things to keep me busy and it should have been super enjoyable, except for the little voice in the back of my head that kept annoyingly nagging at me saying, ‘you’re not supposed to be at home right now. Christmas break is done, you’re supposed to be at work. This wasn’t the plan.’ Leave it to me to find a way to stress myself out about schedules on a surprise vacation. I think it was the uncertainty of not knowing what the next day was going to be was stressing me out. Funny how on a road trip, not knowing what the next day holds is exciting, but back in reality, not knowing if I’ll be working the next day gave me was stressful. And I had nothing to be stressed out about at all! These were paid snow days anyways! I am seriously a freak.

My life was feeling inconsistent and my inner peace was really starting to crumble. It was getting hard to find the balance in my life. During this time it was even proving difficult to get up and be motivated to teach yoga. I felt like I was keeping my head above water and on the surface I looked fine, maybe a little tired. But underneath the water my legs were flailing and I was struggling to stay afloat.

During this time my best pals came to visit. These three ladies are the loves of my life. I’ve been friends with Goose since 1st grade, Uni since 5th grade, and Lulu since 6th. Cumulatively that is 60 years of friendship. These frands and I know a thing or two about each other. These last time we were all together was almost 3 years ago and a lot had changed since then. Goose graduated Pharmacy school and is engaged to be married this fall,  Uni graduated Nursing school and went through a huge break up, and Lulu is a boss climbing the corporate ladder in her advertising agency and her man just moved in with her. Me on the other hand, I’d gotten sober, moved to Nevada, started teaching yoga, and am also engaged to be married this fall. The 4 of us have a group text message that we write in almost daily, but nothing compares to quality time with your best friends. They visited for 5 days and we did enough talking, laughing, crying, and being silly to get us through to this fall when we see each other at the weddings.

And just like that, in a trail of glitter, Bobbi pins, and perfume, they were gone and I was left to figure out my emotional state of balance again. Thankfully it didn’t take long. The Wednesday after they left I woke energized and excited. I popped out of bed at 5am and immediately knew I was back to “normal”. (Side note, I HATE that word. I don’t even know why I used it. I am one of the weirdest people I know. A new coworker at a job I had last year once told me, “You are probably the nicest person here and also the weirdest.” That was the nicest compliment Id received in a long time.) I was eager to start my day and looking forward to what awesome surprises it held. This is how I typically feel 99.9% of my mornings and I hadn’t felt this way consistently since before we left for our road trip. It was good to be back.

The moral of this story is it’s OK to feel sad, stressed, out-of-sorts or whatever. Sometimes you can pinpoint why you feel this way and other times you can’t. The goal is not to be 100% happy and excited and having what I call “your dial turned up to 20” all the time. That is not realistic or expected and anyone who is excited and bouncing off the walls all the time, is either on drugs or needs to be. The goal is to be self-aware enough that you recognize these deviations from your normal thought processes and behavior patterns. Once you are aware of these changes in your energy and acknowledge them, it’s up to you how you want to handle them. And always acknowledge the feeling because it’s happening. It’s real and covering it up and hiding it just because the feeling is uncomfortable or not fun isn’t going to make it go away. For example, you wake up one day and feel sad. Nothing has happened but you simply feel down and you don’t know why because that’s not how you typically feel when you wake up in the morning. First, you acknowledge the feeling and bring awareness to your state of mind. You might think to yourself, ‘I realize I feel sad right now’. You don’t need to change anything just yet, just be there, noticing what you notice. Like a headache, you notice there is something different about you. From there you either choose to actively try and move past being sad, or you choose to be sad for a little bit. And that’s ok! Sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to stay in PJs and watch Netflix and eat a family bag of pretzel MNMs to yourself because. Just don’t let that little bit turn into a big bit. Either way, the mind is going to do its own thing, there is no need to attach to the feeling. And when you’re ready to move on, you come out on the other side of being sad. Except this time you and energized and full again, with a renewed appreciation for life and positivity and optimism.

Being positive doesn’t mean you live in a candy land. Positive people feel sad and melancholy. They also get angry and challenge people and stick up for what they believe in. being positive is not about being oblivious and hiding from reality behind a unicorn. Positivity is about being strong, self-aware, and accountable for your state of mind.

 

*Snuggs*

Morgan

New Year Resolutions Are Bullshit

New Year, new you! I don’t like that at all. While I’m sure that phrase was invented with the best intentions, it’s now overused and cliché. I love self-improvement just as much as the next girl. I know there are areas of my life that could use some work and I am happier when I’m actively trying to be a more productive and efficient human. However you don’t need January 1, or tomorrow, or next Monday, to start something new. You’ve already identified a habit that no longer serves you, or you’ve recognized something about yourself that you want to modify, so make the change right now. Maybe you want to read more books, go to bed earlier, or let go of grudges quicker. Whatever it is, take the opportunity to reinvent yourself right then. Because, why wait?

You know how it works, it’s so easy to delay your tasks, delay your changes. Thinking that by putting them off they will somehow resolve themselves. The reality is, you have to look at the clock through a different perspective. Growth and self-awareness isn’t dependent on time (in a half hour, Monday, January 1, etc.) but on your actions and choices. Now matters. We are in the age of instant gratification and the sooner you start your “self-improvement project”, the better you’ll feel. The biggest reason people fail is because they are blind to the importance of “being here now”. You must create the urgency to act in the present.

When you truly are living in the moment and not lamenting over the past or setting expectations for the future, then you can truly be your best and most authentic self. Enjoy life fully as immediately is, take advantage of what you have right NOW and learn to appreciate it all and make the best of it. If there is something you want to do, don’t put it off. That will only delay your momentum and you’ll be less likely to even begin in the first place. This moment is all we truly have and when you become one with it, you can reach your greatest potential yet.

This year, today, right now, I encourage you to live a life that you’re proud of. Have the courage to live fully with focus and purpose. Have the confidence to to cope with challenges in the present moment. There is a lot of good life left in you, go on and live it!

Keep Bending,

Morgan