It’s so tempting at times to think that we are starting over. When in reality we are never starting over.
Starting implies going back to the beginning from the place before we experienced what it is that we feel as if we are starting again. Before we learned what it is that we learned during that time. What it is we gained as much as lost.
Starting over usually is held by a sense of lack. Something lost that we must find again.
But remember all the good. Remember all the wisdom. Remember all the you that was found.
You are not starting from the same place. This is not a place of lack. This is now your place of abundance.
You know now what you did not know then. More importantly, you know you more now than you did then. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that the gold, the win?
So, you’re not starting over. You’re moving on. You’re launching. You’re lifting your head and walking on. It’s that simple.
Unload your shoulders the burden of starting over and walk lightly forward, for that’s all we’ve ever been doing anyway.
For the past year Rob and I have been working on going more plant-based. I'm not certain we'll ever be 100% plant-based but I cannot deny that more veggies has been good for my helping my body to heal.
This Plant-Based (Vegan) Fire Roasted Tex Mex Soup is one of the recipes from my upcoming program and one that will stay in rotation for my family. I thought I'd give you a sneak peak.
BONUS: This one makes enough for leftovers...or what I like to consider it: meal prep.
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the veggies start to become aromatic.
Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the spinach and avocado. Stir to combine well.
Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce heat to low to simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add more broth or water as needed. Stir in spinach, and taste for seasoning.
Top with avocado slides right before serving. Enjoy!
This soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It also freezes well – just be sure it’s fully cooled before putting in the freezer, with as little air as possible in the airtight container.
If you give this one a try let me know what you think!
Before I even left they were asking me what would be next. At that time I too thought, just give me a couple months to gather myself, get the family moved, and I’ll have my hands in something in no time.
But it wasn’t long before I was face to face with an unsettling Truth; loss, grief, recovery, rehabbing, and resurfacing take the time they take. Try as you may to surface earlier, the tide that rises and falls with a force beyond your understanding will pull you back off the shore if you’re not ready to walk on dry land just yet. It pulled me back several times this past year when I thought I was ready.
It’s been a year. Actually, a year and 4 days. 369 days since I walked away from the business that had consumed my everything for 8 years.
I’m stepping on the shore and this time finally feels like I’m emerging.
What’s next? Who knows? But I do know this is where I begin. Writing. It’s always been my landing place.
The beautiful thing about time is that it has this magical way of turning loss into meaning. The beautiful thing about writing is that it has a magical way of revealing that meaning.
Here is what I know for now...
I know I was meant to do what I was doing, just not in the way I was doing it. In fact, before I owned my business I had been doing it already for years in many different ways. There is a thread that can only be found in the years. That thread will continue. The thread is what makes me ME, not the job or the current form of that thread.
I know I have, and have always had, an engrained desire/compulsion/passion to turn around wherever I am and reach a hand back to the women right around me. I can’t explain it. As much as I try to think that maybe I’ll just get a job where I can clock in and clock out and go on about my life...I just can’t. It’s part of my thread.
I know I have to honor what I have learned about myself over these 50 years and move forward in alignment and ease. Burnout is real, it’s debilitating, and it can be dangerous. Exhaustion can split you from yourself and make you think and do things that the healthy you would never even consider. I’ve been on the edge, I have respect for the edge, and I will protect myself from the edge at all cost. I have made promises to myself. Next time, I will abandon the thing before I abandon my SELF.
I know that there are a million different things I’ve learned along the way, from my own struggles and from years of working with other women. I’m going to start sharing those things here because I think they are helpful. Maybe you'll find them helpful too.
It feels like time to move forward. Slowly. Like long, gentle, deep breaths.
We’ll see where this goes.
I am posting this video for one reason and one reason only. Because I think we are all feeling a whole lot of two things:
NEITHER ARE TRUE.
This is me working it out....literally. This is what talking yourself from crazy to sane may look like.
When I started this all I wanted to do was cry, or eat, or drink wine at 2:00.
Today, I did what I knew I needed not what I wanted. I do not always have the strength to do that but I have learned that when I removed a lot of my own self-imposed rules it made it easier. (That's a post all of its own right there.)
A few takeaways from this one (these are my own takeaways from watching this video of me - also crazy - probably):
That is all.
I am struggling.
Is it ok to say that?
I feel like I may not be allowed to admit that this is hard. I am always on the side of motivator, mover, positive vibes, and getting everyone else going that way with me. That’s one of my gifts.
But this so much harder than I thought it would be on March 18th, the day we had to close due to COVID.
Now we’re at August 31st and there is still no end in sight. No normal in sight, let me say that.
In fact, in many ways the fallout is just beginning to start to ripple closer to home.
I have tried.
I’ve tried to remain positive, and hopeful, and strong. But I’m tired. So tired.
My body is feeling the effects. My mind is so absent I ran a red light today. My will is faltering. My hope is fading.
Is it okay to admit that? I think so. Maybe.
I have always heard it said in business that hope is not a strategy and that is correct, in normal times hope is not a strategy. Strategy is a strategy. But now, in the aftermath of this virus, hope is not only strategy, it’s survival.
It hurts to go into other businesses and see them at “half capacity.”
Any business owner knows that half capacity is not viable for very long. Any person, business owner or not, should know that, but from many of the comments I’ve overheard, I can tell you, they do not.
I’m watching businesses close daily. Even today as I drove home, I passed a sign in front of another local business that read, “YOGA STUDIO FOR SALE.” 💔
Then there is another side of me that is not struggling. I’m not struggling. I’m okay.
My life feels torn into two compartments. The outer world and its crap-storm of circumstances, and my inner world that is riding it out because I am working on peace every day.
Yes, peace requires work. Odd.
I seem to me like two vastly different individuals living within this one body.
One “Me” is jacked-up on anxiety and terrified that I am watching my business die because of a virus. Every now and then I still believe I can change the situation, so I try, and struggle, and work hard. That is all this part of me knows – HUSTLE. This “me” has been shaped by success quotes and grind mentality. “Action alleviates anxiety"...This is her mantra. This me is moving against the current, living in a world of fight and friction.
The other “Me” is going with the flow and sitting with open hands for what is to come knowing that I am not in control. This me is living in the space between. Between where I have been and where I am going - and trying my damnedest to stay in today. This me knows this year has been trying but she also knows it’s a year she will never get back. If this was, God forbid, her last year she wants it to be more than just waiting on things to get better. She gets up every day and reads to fill her cup. Lately, she is taken with the words of mystics, contemplatives, and stoics. She is not reading to get better at anything, she reads to feel connected to the undercurrent of life that makes all of this worth something. She is practicing meditation, journaling, and walking for the fun of it, not to get anywhere or lose anything. She is saving us.
A few days ago, a member walked in the gym and looked at me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I looked back at her and responded, “I’m not sure it’s going to be okay, but I am going to be ok.” It just came out. And I have clung to that truth.
It never ceases to amaze me how my inner work seems to leap at me at the most unexpected times. I often get upset with myself because it seems as if I work, and dig, and journal, and on and on and I never feel like I’m getting any better. And then this happens. All the work puts itself in a tiny box, wraps a bow on top and presents itself to me like a gift. A beautiful gift when it’s most needed. Me telling me that it may not be all okay, but to rest assured that I, or we, are going to be okay.
My job in this moment is to manage the balance between these two internal persons that reside inside this one body; Don't let the hustler freak out too much and don't allow the hermit to just sit back and let it all ride right off the cliff while she meditates.
Both need to show up every day. Both need to have time at the wheel.
Both are me.
Both are okay.
And that is all I wanted to say.
It’s okay to feel torn.
Here's a little throwback that I wrote over a decade ago. If you love someone with ADD/ADHD then maybe this will help you understand a bit. If you are someone with an overactive brain then maybe this will help you know that you're not alone. 💕
What’s wrong with me, why can’t I be
this girl that they all tell me they see.
I look at the pages trying so hard to focus,
the words move around. Did someone say hocus pocus?
My mind just won’t rest and I so need a break,
these lists in my head, don’t know how much I can take?
Frustration beyond words and suddenly the anger.
What’s wrong with this girl? Cant anyone tame her?
So anxious that I’ve bit all my nails to the quick.
You’d think with enough willpower, I could just quit.
But I can’t, I’ve tried every known remedy.
Every day I look down and think, "What’s wrong with me?"
I’ve written five books, but don’t ask me the reason
each one’s a chapter short of completion.
I swear I heard every word you just said,
but while you were talking ten things ran through my head.
So, I beat myself up and wonder why
I cant seem to move forward no matter how hard I try.
Am I just a quitter, underachiver, a slack?
How do I get this monkey off my back?
Now they tell me this enemy is living in me.
It’s not too uncommon and called ADD.
No excuse for my actions, I’m not looking for sympathy.
But maybe, just maybe, I am actually this smart girl that they see!
Now there are some good aspects of my personality glitch.
I can do ten things at once, easy as flipping a switch.
Find me a project that really sparks my interest
and I can move mountains in no more than an instant.
I’m creative, thoughtful, and I love to write.
Most of my words I compose in the middle of the night,
when darkness turns the volume of the world down to low
and my mind is given a moment to slow.
So I wont complain or make an excuse
because most of this "disorder" I've put to good use.
It's not all been bad, this thing ADD.
In fact I'm sure it's what most made me, Me!
Jennifer B Mulford 10/27/07
Who says silence must have no sound?
Who says silence must have no voice?
Who says silence sings no music?
For most often I find silence in the midst of chaos.
I find silence in the sounds of another gently guiding me in prayer.
I find silence in the rhythm of a song nearing my soul toward it's home, toward my God.
Who says silence must have no sound?
For is it not in the silence where we seek most to hear?
Over the last 18 years I figured I've spent around 3000 hours poolside.
Seriously, I did the math. My little swimmer started swim team at four years old and went year-round until she was seventeen years old. I tried to be really conservative when coming up with my figure so I didn’t even factor in swim meets, just practice.
I also didn’t add the hours spent on the soccer field sidelines with Brady, the year I suffered through cub scouts, and the two years I was a pee-wee cheer coach.
And I want to be very clear this is not a whiny post about wanting that time back for myself. No, I loved it and would do it all again…well, except that year of cub scouts. Eagle Scout moms are saints in my book. 😇
This is a post about practice.
Why is it that we believe our children need practice (soooo much practice), but we don’t allow ourselves to practice when we start new things?
I often have conversations with clients and have to remind them that starting a new routine, a new lifestyle, or a new class all takes practice. I try to have them lean into the flexibility of learning and not get ridged about rules and “doing it right,” but to allow themselves grace and time to learn and live into a new being. They nod politely and agree on the outside, but I feel the resistance. I sense them fighting what they want to be true and what they know to be true. They want to have it all mastered today. They know it will take time.
We don’t like practice.
I don’t care for practice either, if I’m being honest with you.
But here’s the “ah-ha!” moment I had recently that I hope helps you.
We practice all the time, every day.
The problem is we are practicing old habits, old thinking, old emotional loops from our past experiences.
Think about it! What do you think about most? Most of us spend literally HOURS a day replaying, reciting, and “practicing” past habits, identities, or even conversations. Maybe it was a conversation with a person that didn’t go well. Maybe that conversation was yesterday, and we’re still swirling, maybe that conversation was years ago.
I know for years I practiced telling myself I wasn’t smart. And guess what? I went around looking for proof. Not consciously, but every time I would do something “wrong” my mind was looking for that proof and would use that "proof" to solidify my belief that I was not smart. After practicing that for years I found proof every day. You always find what you're looking for.
What changed, or is changing? I realized that it was nothing more than practice in a wrong direction.
When you know you’re going a wrong direction it’s up to you, in this case meaning me, to change that direction. New destinations need new maps, new roads, new practices.
I’m spending time each day cultivating the feeling of being smart. I’m getting quiet and feeling what it feels like to be smart. I’m spending time thinking back on the markers in my life that prove to me that I can and have made smart decisions. And guess what? I’m noticing them more often. It’s also building my confidence. You make better decisions when you feel you can depend on yourself to make smart decisions.
What’s happening? My practice is making progress. It’s not making perfect and it never will - that's just a saying. I’m ok with that. I am not perfect. But I am capable of limitless progress! Oh!!!! Just made that up….love that. This is why writing is so therapeutic to me.
Let me say that again…for both of us. We are not capable of perfection. Not in a sense of perfection being something we achieve. I DO, however, believe that we are perfection…we just don’t know it or believe it, most of us.
But in the sense of achievement – I am not capable of perfection, but I am capable of LIMITLESS PROGRESS!
But guess what you've got to do to progress? You got it. You’ve got to PRACTICE! I’ve got to practice. And just like all of those hours Chloe spent pushing against the water to condition her muscles to be a great swimmer, I have to condition my mind to be a great practitioner of progress. We practice, and practice, and practice, and nothing. Then we practice, and practice, and practice, and then breakthrough. And that cycle repeats itself.
We have to begin to believe that practice always leads to better. We would tell our kids that if they had a bad practice. If your child got in the car after practice upset about their performance that day, what would we say? We’d tell them they will do better next time and assure them that they CAN do better. We would tell them that’s why it’s called practice.
So here is what I want you to do – join me in practicing. Some days practice will rock. Some days practice will suck. Both of those days practice will do the work of progress as long as you don’t stop.
What do you need to practice? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and tell me.
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I had a conversation with one of my trainers yesterday that led us to a discussion about our language. Here are two language swaps you could use to help you re-frame and gain power over your health journey.
Comment below and let me know if this helps and/or if you have a word you know you need to swap. What is that word?
Yesterday I told you that I had a post for you today that changed my life. I want you to know that I'm not just saying that. If you hang on and keep reading I'm hopeful that it will change the way you're thinking about your second half too.
I need to qualify by saying, I'm not your typical fitness business owner. I like being fit, I like being and eating healthy (most of the time), but I am not obsessed with it. I no longer wish to look a certain way. I wish to FEEL a certain way. I wish to spend as little time in the doctors office as I go through life as possible but I no longer wish to spend hours a day training to impress the world or myself. That took a long time to come around to and even longer to say out loud. Because if I'm being honest I do feel judged. I know that I reflect my business. Well, fine. If you want to live a sane and healthy life I'm your girl. If you want a rock-solid bod and a desire to compete or to push your body past healthy then I'm not. Looking "healthy" and being healthy do not always come together.
I want to share with you something that rocked my world one morning and pushed me off the fence. Like, in a single moment I told myself - I will no longer spend my days having this unhealthy relationship with my body; a body that is healthy, it's capable, and it's alive.
One morning I was sitting at my desk and cleaning up my desktop. I have a photo of my family on there but you'd never have known it from the hundreds of files I needed to sort into folders. Not knowing what some of the files were I had to open them up and look at each one.
If you send me an email that hits me in some way let me warn you, I may screen-shot that thing and keep it. I usually keep things that I want to use later as a testimonial but I guess for some reason this email had hit me when it was sent and I saved it. I don't even remember saving it.
The email was sent to me over a year previous to when I opened the file to see what it was:
"I had bread this weekend 😔 and sweet tea 😔 and a coke 😔 and dessert 😳😬. I just had to admit it. I felt guilty not letting you know. I am reset and man your hubby kicked my butt this morning. It's like he knew and wanted me to pay. 😳☺️. I do really well through the week and seem to take a mini vacation on the weekends. My problem is not preplanning and packing a cooler before we leave.
It's hard to admit this setback. I realize my discipline with food is severely lacking."
I opened the file and started reading without looking to see who had sent it. My heart ached as I read this email.
I hate (and I use that word sparingly) when we do this to ourselves; guilt, shame, feeling we "lack." My heart hurts because she was feeling powerless. My heart hurt because she viewed the the workout after like a punishment. My heart hurts because we think the thing we lack is discipline when I'm telling you DISCIPLINE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM. Then I read who had sent this email to me and my heart hurt most of all because between this beautiful woman (in her early 40's I believe) sending me this email and me now reading it cancer had taken her life.
And I promise you this is NOT a post about coke and cancer or anything like that...this is not about the mechanics of nutrition.
This is about me asking US - "If we have a limited amount of time left - AND WE DO - is this sort of battle with our body the way we want to spend it? Isn't this relationship with food and our body one worth working on, worth getting over, and moving on so we can LIVE LIFE while we can? Isn't leaning into our Imperfections worth embracing?
We are entering a new decade. What is it that we could leave in this decade and not allow to move forward with us? How can we celebrate this beautiful life in our beautiful bodies and embrace their differences?
I don't know about you but spending hours a day, week, month, lifetime in battle with my body is not how I want to spend my life. I do NOT want to look back and think how I spent so much time, and mental struggle, trying to perfect my imperfections and never really lived. And don't our imperfections make us US? Don't they make us human? Dosen't having imperfections just mean we are still alive and get a chance that not everyone gets?
So on this topic of our "second halves," What needs to change for you live this portion of life in a healthy relationship with your body? What if you were to say, "I am no longer going to do anything for my body because I feel I HAVE to, I'll do it out of love because I GET to?" What would that look like to you? What is it that we could leave in this decade and not allow to move forward with us? Comment below!
If you really do struggle with this I know that my Gifts of Imperfection Study Group that starts on Monday (and is totally FREE) will help you to begin this journey. Please join us. Sign up on the welcome page of my website.