Northern Summer


I think sometimes we all need a vacation.  From the hustle and bustle of our lives, from our own over-analyzing minds – an escapism where we are sometimes only able to find solace in the familiar – our childhood home.

Lately I’ve had some time to reflect on my life, what I do, who I am, and numerous other soul-searching endeavors that could easily leave ones head spinning.  Something that we should all undoubtedly do at certain points to evaluate our lives.

I remember a friend telling me once that once you hit your thirties, you will stop reading books like the Alchemist and just face reality that life isn’t all inspiration and aspiration.  I hope that I never stop dreaming, and envisioning bigger and better goals for myself and those that I choose to surround myself with. Thirty or not, I refuse to believe this.

I think that facing yourself, what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at (let’s call these the ‘works in progress’) are some of the hardest things that you can do.  It’s easy to sit there and say I’m really good at ‘x’ and ignore that perhaps you have done things to yourself and other people that are the result of those things that you’re not so good at.  Perhaps insecurity is at the forefront of some of these things, like it is with me.  Heck, I didn’t even really want to start this blog for years because I didn’t want to look silly, or have people thinking ‘what gives her the right to write about these things? What does she know?”

I struggle with the idea that ‘it doesn’t really matter what other people think’, because in some ways it does.  There are people out there who read and see what you do, they judge your work, your credentials based on a small amount of interaction and evaluate who you are, what you have to offer, whether you have influence or ‘klout’.

The key is to have enough confidence to know who you are, the values that you represent, the person that you are and the work that you do. (A friend’s father told him that recently and he was kind enough to share this wisdom with me.)  Keep your head held high, and believe in you.

Summer9

The people who matter the most will know you, stick around even when you’re a bit of a sh*t-head, hug you when you’re down, and become the biggest cheerleaders that you didn’t even realize or appreciate that you had.  They’ll encourage you to blog more, talk to people more, and shine that light that is you regardless of how dim you may feel it is at the moment.

Part of it is just recharging – hanging out with people who make you laugh, who sign you up for dragon boat races when you don’t even know how, those who remind you that writing is for the soul and is one of the hardest things we do sometimes – “it is ultimately spilling your guts out in text form.”

-Bexx

The sharpest pencil in the box….

pencil

I think I’ve learned a lot in my short 30 years.  Part of me always wishes I could go back with the knowledge that I have now (like in 13 going on 30) and tell my teenaged self that everything will be just fine and not to worry so much – chill out, enjoy things and most importantly learn all that you can.  I still tell myself these days to chill out and to stop worrying so much about life, and just take it all in.  I’ve taken up yoga and meditation.  I try to slow myself down and appreciate what is around me.  I forget all this and resort back to my old thoughts sometimes.  I’m far from perfect.  Life is a learning process after all!

I did my first podcast the other day (Bexx plug here)  and even though I did it over the phone I was more nervous than I’ve been in a long time, and was super glad that the podcast was not in person. (I probably would have sweat all over the equipment and short-circuited everything, thereby sabotaging my very first podcast of history heh) I’m not sure why I was so nervous – I can’t really explain it, but I was. I never really pictured or thought that I would ever be featured on a podcast or have a blog that anyone read (besides my family and closest friends.) For me most of the things that are happening lately are a bit surreal and makes me feel kind of funny.

In the midst of all these recent happenings in my life – whether it be work, volunteering or just overall every day life events, have made me realize that we all have dr seusssomething special to offer. I think it’s good to accept what you are good at and realize that you have something to offer the world, that other people don’t.  No one is exactly like you, no one thinks exactly the way you do, or does things the way that you would.  Based on all your previous life experiences, you walk through the world sometimes giving yourself less credit than you deserve.  Maybe you think no one would listen or read if you wrote a blog, or maybe you’re afraid that people will judge you or already know the things you do.  They don’t always.  Sometimes people can share in what you write and connect with it through their experiences, but yours are still unique.

Use what you’re good at.  Don’t be afraid to tell your stories and share your thoughts.  I have always worried so much about what people think, and hesitated in a lot of ways in my life.  Say what you want to say. You’re important.

Play on playas,

-Bexx

Tree Pose Focused

hot yogaI think some things and people come in to your life for a reason.

Recently I started going to Tula West at Ossington and Bloor, and I’d have to say it has been quite the game changer.  I’ve done yoga before.  I actually used to go to Bikram yoga a couple of years ago, but it didn’t last.  I liked the heat aspect, but didn’t really connect with the poses and type of yoga that it was.  I thought at the time that my little flirt with yoga was pretty much over forever.

This new year, marked a time in my life when I really wanted to do something different, put the past year behind me, reflect, learn and make myself better.  (Pretty much everyone starts the year off this way, no?! hah)

I decided that I wanted to do yoga on a Saturday morning and asked my friend Jill to join me.  I’m glad that we did this – not only do we have Saturday morning brunch dates afterwards or before, but I’ve also had someone with me on this spiritual journey.  I had never done hot hatha before, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this class, and how much I pushed myself during.  After the class, I felt like a million bucks and was in a head space that I hadn’t been in a long time.  I was that grinning idiot on the subway 😉

I must admit that I was rather skeptical about all this “zen” stuff, and didn’t really think that this would change my life or really make me a better person.   I thought I’d end the class twisted up like a sweaty pretzel, sad about the poses that my little stumpy legs couldn’t/wouldn’t ever do, but  SURPRISE! – that was the furthest thing from what actually happened.

I’m not going to tell you that I am a super flexible yogi with it all figured out, because I am not that either.  What I am though, is someone who is open to this new experience; willing to concentrate and push myself further than the week before, and someone who is truly feeling that yoga should have a bigger place and role in my life.

The instructor last week during tree pose, scared the heck out of everyone when she was talking calmly one minute and then started clapping and yelling in the next minute.  “This is your life.  There are always twenty things coming at you at once trying to distract you from the goals that you are focused on.  Keep focused in your tree pose.  Take the lessons you learn here and apply them to your outside life.  Don’t let anything distract you from the things you zenwant and deserve.”

After a long week in the hustle and bustle of the city, with what seems like a million work projects on the go, and the normal stress of every day life that sometimes overwhelms you – there is something about putting down your yoga mat, placing your towel on top, laying down, inhaling deeply and letting everything sigh right out.  Gone are the stresses of the week, your shoulders loosen, your head clears and you are focused on then and now.

The Bexx Project

The Rosie ProjectI have finished reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and it’s definitely a page turner.  It is quite an interesting story.  The thing that really resonated with me the most was that fact that the main character is so different – this sets him apart from everyone else, but also helps him realize that he doesn’t need to change this to love and be loved.

I read a quote the other day that I really love:  “Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend.”  This is one of the most truthful things I have ever heard.  Ultimately, this statement prevents us from saying things like “I look fat in this,” “I’m not good enough,” “I suck at this,” “I could never do that” etc.  I absolutely love it.  Let’s stop being so darn hard on ourselves and start talking to ourselves the way that a friend would!

Reading this book and then hearing this quote made me want to apply these learnings to my life.  I have decided to hone in on some of this “Project” type action and have decided to start The Bexx Project.  Now I need to put some thinking into this to really make sure that I’m on the right track with my aims and goals, but I think I have already started some of the principles that I’m willing to put into this project.  I don’t want to treat it like a 1 month challenge or anything crazy like that.  I want to change it into a project that will ensure that I’m focused on the right things in my life longterm.  (If any of this even makes sense out loud.)

The Bexx Project will consist of a) healthy eating b) strict fitness regime c) reduced drinking d) surround myself with positive friendships and relationships e) meditation and reflection and f) pushing past fear and physical limits that are set by fear/mental blocks.

I think those are some solid things to start on.

A couple of weeks ago I started on the healthy eating aspect, and I will continue to do that, coupled with the other things listed above.  I think sometimes we all need to write down a list to make sure our focus is in the right place.  I will report back on my progress in a couple of weeks.

Let The Bexx Project commence- you only live once!

-Bexx

Running like a NorON

runningleaves
Source: http://www.runningwithcake.com

Whenever I have the chance to come home in the Fall, I try to take it.  There is just something about the Fall that really makes me smile.  I love the temperature, crunch and smell of the leaves under my feet while breathing in the cool air.

I haven’t been running as much as I’d like due to this pesky Achilles, but being away from my normal gym routine, and gym buddy, with limited gym access here up in Northern Ontario, I decided to hit the pavement and do one of my favourite runs.  It’s actually one of my favourite runs to do in the winter, so I figured that Fall would also do 😉

I always get nervous being in a small town running because people slow down to see if they know who you are, and I always feel like I should run faster, to make sure that they know that I am in fact an athlete. (I don’t know why?! Maybe because I’m slightly cray ahah)

NorON
Source: my camera

I did in fact run faster than my regular speed and I felt the fresh Fall air rushing through my lungs, and I could hear my footsteps echoing through the street.  (I was also a little out of breath, and could also hear that echoing through the streets too, but let’s downplay that part for the sake of the story haha)

I got to the centre of my little town of Cobalt (“if you don’t live there it’s your fault…” There is a song about the town that has that line in it in case you were wondering) and decided to run the stairs that are there.  I tried to take two at a time, and figured Rocky would have been proud. (Not so proud that I wasn’t wearing a hoodie… fail on my part.  Maybe next time.) When I got to the top, I must admit I was a little winded, but continued on my merry little way.

When I got to my street I ran by the houses and up the little incline toward home, and ended my run in front of my driveway, like I have done for more than 15 years now.  It always makes me smile, no matter how hard the run was/is.  It’s that familiar feeling, where times fades away and you are taken back to the very first time when you felt that feeling and sense of accomplishment.  This feeling never changes, no matter how many times you come running in.

I’m proud of being from Northern Ontario, and I miss it quite a bit.  In University I met a guy named Matty D (you may know him) from Canada Sudbury.  When he found out where I was from he said “Oh, wow a fellow NorON.”  I thought he called me a moron to be honest and was kind of taken aback.  So, as I do ever so politely, I responded with “Like, WHAT?!?” He said “NorON you know.. like a Northern Ontarionian without it being weird.” (He may not have said it exactly like that, but again for the sake of the story, work with me here.)  The term stuck with me, and for some reason still makes me smile.

I enjoyed my run tonight.  Every single moment about it.  And so I will continue this week to go on my runs here in Cobalt – running in a way that only a NorON would know…

-Bexx

 

5 Ways to Stay Inspired This Spring

As the lovely Spring weather arrives, I want to make sure that you all stay inspired.  I sometimes use these to help myself stay inspired, because inevitably we all need it at times 🙂

fitness

A few of the things I think that you can do to feel your best while embracing this wonderful new season:

1-       Always make sure that you’re challenging yourself and not letting yourself plateau- you won’t stay inspired, if you aren’t changing it up.  Needless to say, this doesn’t mean ditch your favourite spin class altogether.  It means change things up and add new things into your routine.  Try a new barre class, join a social media #plankaday type challenge and you’ll be really surprised how much this inspires you to improve and do better. The encouragement from those around you will help especially when it comes to social media. 🙂

2-      Keep a positive attitude- You will do more, achieve more and celebrate more success if you have a positive attitude about fitness and health.  It has happened to all of us- bit by the ‘bittter bug’ – we have a negative attitudes sometimes.  It’s not always going to be sunny out, but the sun is still there somewhere behind the cloud.  It’s up to you to find it, harness it, and get that inspiration back!  You own this… do it up!

3-      Write down your goals and check them off when you complete them- I’m a big fan of lists and setting goals. I get extreme satisfaction from checking things off of my list and writing the date that I completed them beside it.  (See my Life KPI List)  There is a lot to be said about the positive reinforcement that is found through keeping a running tally of your accomplishments.  It’s all to easy to focus on the negative, but the positives will continue to take you to that new level.

4-      Look for others who are on similar journeys to your own- power in numbers! When you feel like giving up find a group of similar people who are on the same path that you are when it comes to fitness.  Maybe it’s joining a class to really keep you inspired, and rev up, or maybe it’s calling up some of your girl friends and going on a hike.  Either way surrounding yourself with like-minded people helps you maintain your path, but also reinforces the healthy choices that you’ve been making on your own.

5-      Inspire others- sometimes when you inspire someone else, the positive energy comes right back to you.  It arrives in the form of that ‘feel good’, I’ve helped someone else’ type feeling and it reminds us of our own accomplishments, how far we’ve come and where we’d like to see ourselves as well.  I’m not saying do things solely to inspire others, your heart also needs to be in it for you.  At the end of the day if you set a great example for those around you,  they will not be able to resist being inspired by you too 🙂

Happy  ‘Spring’ training,

-Bexx