Thursday, January 1, 2015

14 for 14

Last year I did a recap of the year by sifting through my pictures and choosing 13 pictures of places and people in 2013.  Since 2013 was a relatively lame year on the blog, I thought I would start the year up right.  Today I will post 14 of 14 and revisit the bucket list of 2012 - editing, crossing off and reminiscing. Enjoy. Be inspired.

1. Monterrey, Mexico
Ironman 70.3
Ricky and I met while racing and we will continue to swim, bike and run until we are doing so with walkers and water wings.  This race was a 1/2 Ironman course (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run) in Monterrey Mexico.  Ricky P. took off 5 minutes before me, so catching him on the bike was great.  Too bad I lost him on the second lap of the run.  This guy has several wins on me, most under 3 minutes.  In this race he took me by 16 seconds.

2.  Anna Maria Island, Florida
Body Bliss Retreats
Take nine girls, put them in a house with an amazing chef and mix up the week with some yoga, core training, beach walks and an amazing race and you get one thing.           L.O.V.E.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Confucius

3.  Tepoztlan, Mexico
This picture is a fav.  We have a few boys and eager beavers across the river, the girls who did the money shot jump in the water, and Kate who is afraid she's going to miss out.  Another great retreat, mainly because we have a truly bad-ass community here in Mexico.  

4.  Nice, France
Ironman Nice, June 29, 2014
The day before the race you drop off your transition bags.  In one bag you have everything you need from the swim to the bike, and in the other, the bike to the run.  Brasil was playing in the World Cup this day and tied Chile 1-1.  Ricky and I dropped our bags off, had a beer, a baguette and some cheese before heading to our apartment for a good night's sleep.  Hardest IM to date.  

5.  Amalfi Coast, Italy
We're Getting Hitched!!
We had just eaten dinner and made our way for the best pistacio ice cream in the history of the world.  Ricardo took me to the court yard of this little church and we sat on a bench watching some boys pay soccer.  I said to him, "when I have your baby, baby ... " when he spun on one knee and asked me to marry him.  What a surprise it was.  This was the night I said yes - for a lifetime of this guy.  I love him. 

6.  Rome, Italy
History 101
We took a tour bus around the city and I was so enchanted with the city scapes.  The ancient buildings, the colloseum, and of course your average Joe dressed up in Roman garb made me smile throughout.  We made our way to Vatican city after this where I was made to cover up my shoulders for a tour of the Sistine chapel.  I may have gotten a shot of Michaelangelo's "The creation of Adam." 

7.  Stockholm, Sweden
Ricky P. and Nicoline
This picture shows Ricky P. and his daughter Nicoline.  After France and Italy, we headed to Sweden to visit.  Nicoline is a spirited little girl with a big heart. 
8.  Peterborough, Canada
Danny and Matt Tie the Knot
A quick jaunt home for Danny Ray's wedding celebration had Kirsten, Imily (Liza, Marlene, Alex, my sister Sharon) and I meeting up in Peterborough. Here we have 6mo. preggers Kirsten (6 days preggers Di) and Imily jumping into the Trent Severn waterway.  After this we would take it to the train bridge.  I love my girlfriends. 

 9.  199 Amsterdam, Mexico City
The Announcement
When I was at home (pic above) I had no idea I was preggers.  It wasn't until I got back and "tried out" one of the 15 pregnancy tests I bought in Canada that I knew.  It was positive.  Waiting 12 weeks to share the news was HARD.  That's why a whole bunch of people already knew.  I had this idea of announcing right when I found out ... it's fruition, was priceless.  Smiling now.

10.  Chapultapec Park, Mexico City
Aero and her BFF Nelly
There are few things in this world that give a mama more joy than watching her firstborn play with her BFF.  This day was one of those days.  These two are a pure joy to take to the park and get along like two peas in a pod - in this case, two slobbery tongues in a tupperware.

11. Acapulco, Mexico
Telcel Triathlon
Since I have BB G in my belly, I have taken side-line on the race circuit.  In this race I got to cheer on several friends racing in Acapulco.  Some racing their firsts, others, racing their heart's out.  I loved capturing the sweat, sun and smiles this race gave up this day.

12.  199 Amsterdam, Mexico City
How Camila Got her Name
Camila wasn't always Camila.  She was Laine before we knew she was a girl.  Ricardo liked the name Camila, and I liked the name Laine - so  negotiation was had.  In exchange for the name Camila (which I do like very much) Ricardo agreed to take our family on a trip to Africa in 2016.  There was a contract (thanks Les) signed and notorized (in beer).  And so, she is Camila.  We're going to Africa!!

13.  Mexico City, Mexico
Camila's December ultrasound
She's 24 weeks old in this picture and we can see her arms, legs and her head.  She's moving around a lot, likes to rest with her hands behind her head and I have a feeling she likes chocolate.  No, I don't have any cravings. 

14.  Owen Sound, Canada
I love this shot.  My whole family is here minus my neice, Sara, her husband, and her two kids, my nephew Josh, his wife and his son.  We decided this year to meet up on boxing day and take a sleigh ride throught he forest. It wasn't much of a problem that all of the snow melted.  Our horses pulled us in wagons as we rode through the forest. Any time we can get a family photo our true colors come out. 

This is life folks.  Surprises around each corner.  As you head into 2015, do so with LOVE and win-win in mind.  I promise you a fruitful year.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Your Greatest Thief

Before I give report cards to my kids, I give them the schpeel.  (Insert teacher voice) “Avoid sharing and comparing your grades.  Some of you are fast runners, some of you are fast at math facts.  If we were all the same it would be … ?”  And they yell, “Boring.”

Yet it’s so damn hard. As we grow up, we are taught to measure just about everything. And as we enter adulthood, we are told that our goal setting should be measured (I have never met a SMART goal in my life). We measure this and we measure that and soon we are measuring how many Facebook friends we have compared to someone else (or am I the only person who has done this?) We stop looking in the mirror the same way. We stop seeing the person we are.  Instead we see the person we’re not. I am speaking of comparison, folks.  

When we use other people as benchmarks as to where we should (I hate that word) be, we lose. Period.  There is no winner. (Check out Sam in the pic above - rockstar)

I have been doing a lot of this recently. I see young 20-something women starting new businesses, becoming greatly successful, and I still have debt. I see fitness models with 6-packs and I can’t seem to plank for one minute a day. I see people writing, and writing, and writing, and every time I start to do the same, I think, f*%k it, no one wants to read that. I am in the comparison vortex. And it sucks.

When I look back on my life – even in the past year, I am really proud of the things I have accomplished.  And the year ahead is promising too. So why this struggle?  It’s what I am doing with my present (the majority of it) that is sucking me farther in. I am logged into the edited social media world – and I believe it to be real.  It’s not. Or at least it’s not the full monty. It’s all edited.  I am even backspacing and editing right now so that this sounds right – for you.  

So, getting back to what’s real.  Be curious about that.

I challenge you (and myself)  – just for this moment, right now – to drop comparison.  You can do that by telling yourself three things you love about yourself.  If you feel so inclined, share these in the comments.

I am grateful for inspiration (mine, yours, ours), for my body that has carried me this far, and for my ability to paint a bike, a Buddha and a zebra. (Coming soon)

Comparison stinks. So stop doing it.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Great Doesn't Trump Great

I cried for hours on Friday night. Straight, relentless, tears.  They rendered me speechless, unable to form sounds other the choking breaths between syllables.  I haven’t had tears like that in a very long time.  Years in fact. 

I was mad.  I was angry. I pointed fingers.  I justified my position. I buried my head in a pillow.  I cried. 

For a year I have sat patiently on a fundraising dream.  Believing that my school, The American School here in Mexico was the “perfect place” for Africa Yoga Project to thrive, and vice versa. A “perfect project” for the school. 

My perfect wasn't perfect after all.  It was not picked up by the school and I felt winded.  This little dream of fundraising with the kids – over before it ever began.

So. I. Have. Taken. Some. Of. My. Own. Advice.

(and much advice of others, thank you Sam, Amy and Ricardo who caught me at my worst).

Time to get my own voice back.  This is the advice I would give to others … and now I am letting it boomerang right back.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to spring forward

Oh that closed door. That’s all it is, a closed door.  No slap in the face. No people plotting against you. No injustice.  Just a closed door.

Bad days.  If this is your greatest struggle in life, you are very lucky.

This is creativity knocking.  Open the door, get out the paint brush. Make shit, and make shit happen. 

You lost to goodness. One great thing doesn’t trump another.

Cry. Then get up and lift your chin up.  Literally, lift your damn chin, UP.

So. Here I am again.  Onward and upward.  Bringing Africa Yoga Project with me. Everywhere I go.

Cause, it’s in my heart. Not in a school, not in a box, not on a website.  

It's in my heart. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Race Becomes My Practice

This post was originally featured on the Baron Baptiste website

My quads were still in recovery from a trail race, and so the story began. I don’t know if I can even compete. I can’t believe I did that trail race. Why didn’t I opt out at the half-way point. Ego. I raced against my own ego! When Ego fires up, I am reminded to take my seat and listen up. Among the many take aways from my Baptiste training, one that comes up on a regular basis, is to pause pause the story in my head so that real life has a chance to land.
I recently competed in a ½ Ironman: a (1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run in Monterrey Mexico. I signed up back in October and as most goals go, the real pursuit happened along the way. But with close to one hundred races under my belt, I still learn something new at every single event. Before Baptiste training, the race used to be a competition, an exertion for bragging rights; an obstacle to be overcome. But now it’s much more. The attitude and approach that I was left with after Level One and Level Two Trainings have allowed me to embrace the race as much more than mindless motion against time.  Instead now, it’s a platform to grow, to share, to lift and to learn.  Here’s how I’ve taken my training “off the mat” and “into the world” of a ½ Ironman:

1. Fear is a choice. When I toe the water’s edge during a race, I can either feel the swells in my chest, or simply turn down the fear-o-meter. I turn up my breath and open my eyes and ears to the sights and sounds around me. This is one of the most profound moments where my yoga off the mat comes into play. I am full; equal parts excitement and anticipation – normally dwelling in the future until I make the choice to get real and get present. When I’m present, I’m able to smile and enjoy that precious one-minute of race energy before the horn blows.

2. Fighting and Keeping Score Doesn’t Work . The wind is still going to blow no matter how far I lean in. The bike section was gusty. Wind from the side and wind from the front but never wind at our back.  Three hours of biking against the wind can either make or break me. All the while, my Ego has me hunting, and keeping track of points as I pass. When I approach the bike (or life) keeping score, it’s a setup where someone must be cast as the ‘loser.’ And that is a scenario where we all lose.

3. Even though the stone in your shoe was once part of something much bigger, it’s not anymore. Little things are little things. Period. I did have a stone in my shoe on the run and it gnawed away at my big toe until I decided to stop and take a look. I removed the “rock’ (Law number 8: 40 Days to Personal Revolution) and I continued. I dedicated my race to a dear friend who is competing in a greater race. She has just started chemotherapy for an aggressive form of breast cancer. There are so many trivial aspects of life that can be so easily be used to self-sabotage. Sometimes it’s just time, to take your shoe off, and remove that little stone so that you can get to what’s really important in life.

4. Competition is costly. Dollars and cents aside, a mind of competitiveness and comparison can suck away the  happiness and enjoyment. In the race, it’s getting passed or never catching my competition. I race  with my boyfriend.  We are as close as competition can get and last weekend, that meant that I lost by 18 seconds. The best version of me is proud of our accomplishments, and my ego replays the entire race finding pockets of 18 seconds everywhere (the rock-in-shoe-phenomenon).  It is up to me to choose the path of character or ego.

During Baptiste Level Two Teacher Training in Tulum, Mexico, I found myself perplexed with the idea of “giving something up.” I thought that I would be a fraud if that “something” crept its way back in my life. Every so often, the lesson seeps in . Letting go is process. Letting go of fear, letting go of the fight, letting go of the little things and letting go of competition. Experience has taught me that letting go isn’t linear. It is indeed circular; to be practiced, not perfected.