Very often, I think of how things have come into my life and trace them back to moments that I cannot believe I was apart of. Seek to Serve is a prayer that I sing almost daily. It grounds me and reminds me how simple life should be. The song came into my life at a priest ordination Mass in my early 20's. Why was there? My friend Alan was a part of a choir from Los Angeles that sang for Catholic Masses and concerts. They sang for Pope John Paul II when he visited World Youth Day in Colorado. Alan invited me to an open try out. Alan and I took a voice class at East L.A. college together and went to crazy auditions that were way above our abilities. Even so, Alan and I just did things like that. Why not? So, I auditioned and probably because their director was on sabbatical and the fill in was very kind, I got in. I only participated for a season and was never a soloist or anything like that so don't get any ideas like I have these amazing pipes. I just love to sing. My kids love to sing. (They actually have beautiful voices and one of them has an amazing ear.) When I think of how I had the courage to audition for this choir, I have to smile and shake my head. I have done some kooky things. I do things because they feel right even if I'm afraid. If I over think things, I chicken out. I convince myself why I shouldn't. Of course, as a teen and young adult, I had to learn many things the hard way and start listening to my spidey sense when I should not just do something for the hell of it. I took any job for the experience. I've answered phones at KISS FM and I've worked as an Athletic Director. I will learn anything and everything. They are all experiences. When I fail, I learn the most. It usually wasn't a fail, just that I needed more experience. So, I get out of my comfort zone, not really because I am courageous, but because I know afterwards, I will have grown tremendously. So I am going to share with you me singing Seek to Serve. I recorded it this morning, just before dropping off my son, Lucas to school. Of course, I can tear it apart and go on and on about my voice placement being all over the place etc. I decided not to rerecord it. It is how I sing. It is how God hears me sing. It is my prayer. If is what makes me feel right. You can hear Lucas call me at the end. How perfect. How can I record over that! I am sharing this even though I should be embarrassed, but I'm not. I don't mind the judgement. We are all being judged, all the time. But our worst critic, is ourselves. Get out of your comfort zone. Be Alive! Vigilio!
May I live in the world
As one who always seeks to serve
May I live, as one who knows the love of God.
Lord, teach me how to live, and how to serve.
With my ears may I hear, with my eyes may I see,
With my lips may I speak, may your word be heard through me.
Thus, as I live each day, may love sustain the will to SERVE.
A long time friend of mine is about to train for a 5k starting Thursday. She just admitted to me that she is a bit discouraged by the fact that she is getting back to it after a 3 year hiatus. She just had a baby a few months ago and has just gone back to work. Not easy to juggle. I know what she is feeling. The fact is, starting over is discouraging. You feel all that work is gone. Here's what I have recently come to grips with. When I was convincing myself that I didn't have enough time to work out or was too stressed to take time and decide what I was going to eat, I would remember how it only took me a few months to get back into shape in the past so I can wait until the timing in better. Seriously, I would convince myself it wasn't a good time to take care of myself. I would never treat those I love that way, but I was willing to treat myself as not good enough to care for. It's easy to say, I'm being a good Mom or spouse or daughter and life is getting in the way. Excuses and feeling sorry for myself was really what was going on. It starts with a decision and then every decision for the rest of your life. That's what life is. Turn left or right. Stay on this path or change the scenery. As a hairdresser I learned quite a bit about jumping in and being challenged. You see, when you first start working, you see that beautiful work that seasoned, skilled hairdressers do and know that after about a year and a half of working on family and a doll head in school should be enough to reproduce what that older stylist is doing. I mean, they make it look so easy. Fortunately, I learned very young to surround myself with those that are successful to learn from their mistakes. I listened to cds by great artists. Listening to those cds, he shared that as a hairdresser, you have to sell yourself first in the consultation. If there is no trust and you have not listened to what the guest is really wanting you are setting yourself up for failure. You see, when a guest wants her hair cut but keep the length, showing you ten different pictures of various length and textured hair, you have to interpret that. You need to listen, find out what it is she likes about those pictures and be honest. You need to use your expertise to ask enough questions and come to a mutual understanding before even touching her hair. Another great hairdresser I learned from was, taught us young interns that she did not get to where she is today without making mistakes and messing up people's hair. So, watching these seasoned professionals make it look easy, because they are so skilled and no not to make the same mistakes as before. They still make mistakes of course, but it is so slight like a weight line was a little too heavy. What I realized is, when you first build your clientele, you are not working on your regular clients, adding a new dimension to their highlight or trimming their bangs, these new clients were usually walk in or referrals who are trying the salon for the first time. They usually have had a bad experience somewhere else, possibly a wreck on their hair, and you have to perform nothing short of a miracle, with little to no experience! Getting started is hard. But surrounding yourself with those that have and are still doing it is invaluable. That support system is there, even if you are working on this client by yourself, you have everyone there to help you through. They too are working on their client, with new challenges. Those regulars, don't want to have just a trim or a touch up. They want to feel fresh and complemented when they leave. Their expectations are the same as day one. You need to step up your game even more. Fortunately, you now have more skill and confidence. So that's what I have as I started my fitness journey again. I realized, I am not starting over, I'm continuing. The week I had to stop working out because my knees where killing me, didn't discourage me from pressing pause and wait for a better time to start again. I allowed my body to rest, focused on what I ate and still lost weight. The best part is when I pressed play again, I listened to my body and it responded well. I eased back into it. It's a long process but everyday I am better at it. I am glad I was so heavy when I started again. You know what it gave me? Strength. Today, my lungs were giving out before my muscles were. Good thing my body is made up of more than just my mind. I was huffing and puffing through the last 10 minutes but loved it. If I wasn't 211 pounds when I started again, I wouldn't have all that resistance to give me the strength I have now. I'm smarter about my nutrition and workouts because I have all these experiences. So friends, we're not starting over, we're getting back at it. You're smarter now.
Sunday morning TV as a kid was the best. Everything from Davey and Golliath at 5:30am (because if it isn't a school day it was never too early to wake up) then a few hours of Popeye the Sailor Man and the amazing sketches out of squiggles by Tom Hatten to wrapping it up with The Munsters on the Family Film Festival. I used to ponder on what exactly did Popeye mean when he said "I am what I am"? Was he okay with being the average joe eating his spinach to get him through a pickle with Brutus or was he really on to something more.
I am what I am.
About two years after my second daughter was born in 2001, I put on a lot of weight.
I got focused. I remembered the feeling during school volleyball practice, after a hard warm up, feeling like I was toast, that after some water and catching my breath, I was able to go on for another 2 hour practice. So once again, I worked out really hard, recorded everything I ate and drank (accountability is key) and was in the best shape of my life. Hubby and I played sports together in adult leagues, ran family 5k's and I even did a marathon and a triathlon.
What I realized when working my ass off (literally) was that there would be weeks without the scale moving, or sometimes I would gain weight. My energy was up, my clothes fit better and I was able to do more in my workouts. If I lost faith and my focus on my goals, I would have thrown in the towel. But like my boy Shaun T says, when you feel like throwing in the towel, use it to wipe off your sweat. Push harder! I would see my body change sometimes over night. It was like the fat melted off in one area, then another. It still amazes me how our body is such and efficient machine (when we stop sabotaging it). I stopped looking at the scale because that didn't give me any real indication of what was happening behind the scenes. What I did find was, I had to be comfortable with my own body. When the fat melted and the muscles toned, I looked just like I did when I was overweight, just a smaller, toner version. I still have broad shoulders, my calves are slim and I a have a round belly. This is what I looked like as a kid and this is what I naturally look like. I had to get comfortable with me. I AM WHAT I AM. If I looked at a fitness models body who was 5'4'' with short limbs and had ripped physique, I would never look like that. I'm 5'9'' and have longer limbs that have longer more toned looking muscles. I can build on that but what I'm saying is you have to be comfortable with the body you have. Build on that. If you don't like your big legs, fall in love with strong muscular legs and work for that.
Today, as I am getting negativity and stress out of my head and heart (still working on the bills and still have the same family but I don't take other peoples life decisions personally) I don't kill myself with a strict eating regimen. I love to eat. I love food. Food is fuel and I push hard! I just know that my body deserves the best I can give it. Water is an absolute must. I strive for one gallon a day. I am flushing out all the toxins and replenishing my cells so I can recover faster and keep going. I'm not rushing the process. It took years of abuse to get to the place I am in now. I feel really tired when I go on a strict of a meal regimen anyway. Listen to your body, it will take care of you if you love it. Remember that the tortoise not only won the race, he got to enjoy the view. YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE. Be AMAZING!