Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gratitude

          My house at this moment is quiet and I am suddenly struck by the realization that my soul is as well. Overcome with a sense of peace and gratitude. Sitting in my sunroom with the windows open, the cool morning summer air fills the room. The cicadas making their sweet sounds of summer, how I love that noise. My husband brings me coffee and puts on my favorite music and I relish in a lazy morning. It fills me up, at this moment I am very happy. As I slip into August, which is my favorite month of the year I am very aware that peace has fallen over me as this for many years has not been the case. August 1st is my birthday and for many years has been a very painful day for me however today without a doubt in my mind I know this to be true.....

          This year I had the birthday that I have worked for and knew I deserved for years, it was perfect. A new energy has taken hold of my life and I know that I am captain of this ship. No more expectations of waiting for others to make me happy, for life to unfold seamlessly with no bumps and for my voice to be heard when for years it was silent. I truly believe that once you make the commitment to live your best life, especially during those moments (and this for me took years) that are really hard and seemingly immune to change that shifts will happen. For years I placed my happiness on the wish that other people will show up for me, that they will create a special day for me. I am reminded that a year ago I started to write my story, I wrote about my birthday from the urging of my therapist....no one has seen this but my therapist and today in the honor of my voice I am sharing it here, I can see in just a year's time how the tone of my voice and writing has changed but I think it is important to always see your healing path and share it with those on similar paths, it is not always inspiring, neat or nice. From those bumps, places of anger (which I am realizing was even bigger for me last year than I had realized in the moment) comes a place of determination for healing and change. Last year my father sent me an email for my birthday at almost 11pm the night of my birthday and I was really torn up over it I tried to use my writing to express what I was feeling......

My Birthday
         My birthday means so many things to me, I will begin with the positives as I have worked hard to let positive replace negatives.  I like to make a really big deal about my birthday and by big deal I mean like every year is a big year, like fireworks, party and lots of people that love me surrounding me big deal.  My yoga teacher says why wouldn't you celebrate the day you chose to take birth and come into this life....listening to that little gem gave me the freedom to not feeling guilty or self-indulgent, selfish in celebrating me.  After all she is right if you cannot celebrate yourself in totality of who you truly are then how can you lead a fulfilling, happy and peaceful life?  So I choose on my birthday to make a big fuss over yours truly and all those that judge me or do not support me are very simply not invited to the party!  This celebration of myself has been a massive work in progress one that I still struggle with on other days of the year but for my birthday I have come to a point where I can for that day celebrate myself, be happy and be free, sort of.  
My birthday was a clear celebration of me from the time I was born until age 9, my Mom made my birthday a national holiday.  The best part is that I very clearly remember not even asking for a specific theme, party idea or gift she just knew me I think better than I knew myself and created perfection every August 1st.  I will admit that for years I did think I was fantasizing my childhood since I lost my mother to cancer at age 9 and to me my Mom was perfect.  I was unsure if my memories where reality as I was told frequently that my memories were false perceptions, a fierce tool my step-mother later used in my life to create the insecure, not worthy, shell of my true self that truly believed she as well as her birthday was not important or special.  Reflecting on my birthdays they were actually quite simple, my favorite breakfast made for me in the morning and then a party with friends and family in the afternoon usually in the backyard with sprinklers.  
         The best part in my younger years a cake my mother would make (she was very Martha Stewart) a Barbie, with a real doll, her dress made from cake and frosting oh how I loved those cakes, again so special so me and she knew it.  Later years my Mom would save the Barbie for my present as I got older because I loved to play with dolls well past 9 years old but was embarrassed in front of my friends to have a doll cake...instead she created a ice cream sundae dessert station with vanilla, banana and strawberry ice cream from our local ice cream parlor with loads of toppings and whipped cream with the one gleaming detail of no chocolate anything allowed because I to this day do not like chocolate!  I loved that detail, it is my party and it is a celebration of me so there is no compromise to others because of something I do not like, this would become another thing I struggle with later in my life.  Those warm summer days at home, with those that loved me, celebrated me with a few of my favorite things thrown in were days of pure bliss of feeling loved, supported and a encouragement of I was perfect exactly where I was.
From the age of 10 until about 30 my birthdays became a dreaded day of disappointment, cruelty and neglect.  My father was engaged to be married my 10th birthday, less than one year after my mother passed the woman whom would become my step-mom had already dug in and started the what I like to call the erasure of my previous life without her in it.  She made it very clear that herself and her son from a previous relationship was now the center of the universe in our house, myself and my 3 younger siblings were the orphan annie's that should be grateful someone was willing to take on my poor widowed father with 4 kids under the age of 9. 









There were definite angels along the way those years to give me glimpses of my old self which is what gnawed at me to work towards recapturing those wonderful birthdays, that wonderful sense of myself but it was a up Mount Everest battle, one that I refused to give up on.  I want to be specific and let you know that the feelings I describe came solely from my inability to see good and the gifts in front of me.  I take responsibility in letting others take my power, my light to stuff my soul into a closet and not let it even peek out.   With that said I know that the paths my life has taken has been for a reason, to learn the lessons this lifetime has to offer me.  I know now that those around me did what they were capable of in their lives, on their own paths and I thank them for creating the person I am today and I wish them love and freedom from their suffering.  

          The big gap in the writing is my ah ha moment in re-reading this piece today. It was the anger coming up, the feelings of guilt in dis-respecting my Father and Step-mother as well as the refusal to put blame on my Father, the wish that he really cared and it was really just my Step-mother's fault. It was the physical loss of my voice (I literally stopped writing and couldn't go further), the last paragraph shows my good girl coping mechanism coming out and my practice of taking accountability for my life. I wanted to forgive, I wanted to heal and not repeat family patterns with my kids but I was still holding others feelings at a higher priority than my own. I silenced my voice and held onto my pain, my old story. I remember last summer my yoga teacher saying that you have to say what you want out loud, the universe has to hear you. I related this to the idea of vision boards, of making a collage of pictures and words of exactly what you want to cultivate in your life from material to physical and mental well being. A holistic billboard of your dreams, the actual board has always been a bit daunting to me so instead I just started to write and say the things I wanted aloud. Top on my list is peace, health, happiness and freedom from suffering. Ok I will be honest things like being flash-mobbed, a beach house, meeting Michael Buble, publishing a book and financial freedom are on there as well (all very important things as well, life is a balance!) 

         In the last year I have spent more time out of my comfort zone, letting my voice out and be heard in groups of my peers. Checking in everyday to see if my daily actions are in-line with my mental vision board. If they were not I worked harder, especially when it was gut-wrentching because that is where I started noticing the most positive change coming from. It takes me a long time and a trillion tons of patience to make changes, recently I have begun to see some fruits from my labor in both my emotional state as well as a few indulgent items from my vision board. I was flash mobbed by a group of my clients this year (yes it was AWESOME!) I have had the most unbelievable flow of positive energy and universal signs in response to my writing, even with out the praise I get from external sources, internally I feel all the pieces of the puzzle clicking into place as well as an overwhelming sense of peace and well-being while I am in the action of writing. Here is the BIG INDULGENT ONE....last week while writing my bio for my new website (coming very soon!!) I took a "mental break" and entered probably my 100th contest to get Michael Buble tickets with the certainty that one day I would meet him and this time actually WON!!!! This Friday I will be front and center in NYC watching him perform on the Today Show!!!!! I have had so many supporting signs pointing to starting my new business venture as well as writing my story, as I continue to rendezvous with faith, I start to see my net appear.

          My Father didn't even send an email this year for my birthday and although it was in my mind all day when and if he would call and acknowledge me I kept breathing the thought away and re-focusing on the beautiful gifts in front of me. I was so spoiled by my husband and girls, my amazing friends (many of whom I consider my new family) and by my openness to realizing my worthiness, surrendering the desire to have someone else make my day special. I cultivated the love for myself, the people I choose to surround myself with and the confidence to use my voice. I was heard, I was smothered with love and I had an amazing birthday. Next year I hope I read this blog post and see even more growth, that maybe the thought of when and if he will call will not at all take away an ounce of my peace. Speak your truth, speak your dreams and live in your happiness, serve yourself so you can better serve others. Have confidence in you, your gifts and share them with the world. I wish for everyone to embrace their birthdays, celebrate your life and surround yourself with those that love and celebrate your soul.

~Many of you have expressed that you have shared comments on the blog....I am so sorry to say that I have not received them due to some issues on Blogspot. As of September I will be shifting the blog to my new website on Wordpress....I will leave details on this site as I make the transition and hoping you will transition over with me!! In the meantime please send any of your beautiful thoughts to me via email pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com

With love and gratitude~
xoxo,
M


          

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feel the Pain

         I feel like I am going to vomit, literally vomit after getting off the phone with my Father. It is a relationship that I have done so much work on, it is probably the most challenging relationship in my life. As I have shared with you before, I am determined to heal that part of me. It amazes still to this day with all the work that I have done that I can have something as simple as a phone conversation and it sends my stomach into a nauseous, acidic, roller coaster ride of pain. I make the phone call every few months out of obligation, he gave me life and for that I am grateful. I have always been taught to honor your parents, it even says it in the bible. What happens when they do not honor you?
     
          How do I honor him when I have been severely wounded by the person that is supposed to protect and love me more than any other in the world? My father doesn't see or hear me, his reality is different than mine but none the less mine is my truth. I feel such a deep pain of abandonment every time I talk to him. I listen to the mundane details of his daily life, how him or other members of my family have been wronged and who they plan on suing this week for something "someone else did to them." The involvement the legal system has had to take with my family's inability to take accountability for their actions is mind-boggling. I hesitate to even write about this because it is never my intention to hurt someone else, even my Father but as I am sitting here feeling, REALLY FEELING the acid churning in my stomach and the lump in my throat I realize that I am hurting myself. I work on forgiveness with my Father, for I truly know that he did the best he could with what tools he had. It feels bad, wrong, dis-respectful to not have a relationship with him. I am however becoming intolerable to the harm I allow this relationship to cause to my emotional and physical body. What I am beginning to realize is that I have to forgive myself.

           I have to let go of the thoughts that I am not a good daughter, that I am not worthy of my authentic self, that what I am and have to say is rejected and argued with. I have asked my Father multiple times to come to therapy with me, his response is that he doesn't believe in therapy. A personal dagger to my heart, I believe that therapy literally saved my life, I would've walked around numb and unengaged my entire life without it. In turn I always felt this statement was him saying that I am wrong for going to therapy and that even if he didn't agree with my choices he was also not going to respect them. In speaking to him today, he spoke of one of my brothers whom has bravely entered in-patient rehab for drug addiction, there is a family portion of the program (aka family therapy) which he said he was eager to participate in. Was that just someone punching me in my gut?  What came up for me at that moment besides the physical nausea is that my brother is worthy of my Father's attention and love but I once again am not (a recurring theme in my very large family.) All of the wishes I have had, all of the love I have craved, all the rejection I have felt because those wishes are unfulfilled. I know personally that usually a life crisis brings people to therapy, what still robs me of peace in this relationship is why does the fear of death of another person in my Father's life bring him to therapy finally but the death of our relationship while I am still living isn't motivation enough for him.

          So I vented to my friend that knows my life struggles, I wrote a teacher/mentor of mine for a meditation to release the painful sensations in my stomach and help regain my center of power as well as a throat meditation to release my voice so that I could continue on my healing path of letting my voice be heard through writing. In the past I would have tried to fill the void by over-exercising, over-eating, over-working, getting depressed and watching hours of mind-less television. Or the big bad one...I would let all this pain sit in me until the evening and then I would have downed it with a bottle of wine (that is when it is really bad because with my family history of addiction I severely beat myself up when I intentionally use alcohol to numb out pain.) I instead today choose to feel the pain, cry a little bit and acknowledge it but not attach to it. I recognize it as a familiar feeling, I use it as motivation to keep working towards finding peace. I need to forgive myself for all the thoughts I have that come up during and after conversation with my Father. I do fear total abandonment from my Father but in a sense that has already happened, I barely have a relationship with him. I intellectually know that you can never change another person, that chances are if you have strong wishes and rationals for when and if this person can/will change the reality is is that you are the only one that can change. Once you do and find peace in the relationship what the other person does is out of your control but whatever they do no longer takes your power or peace.

          I am sure that this relationship will always carry pain, that some interactions I will be able to handle and not go to the darker places and then other times something will trigger that old familiar painful response. In that moment I am working to forgive myself, to have compassion and love for myself, to feel it, acknowledge it and then move through it. Knowledge and a fierceness that I am worthy of my thoughts, voice and authentic self. That I have healthy tools and people in my life that do love and respect me unconditionally and there is where my attention needs to focus. At the end of the day the peace has to come from within me. At this moment my stomach feels a bit better, my voice a little strained but there again more practice, more growth and more love. I love my Father but I am working on loving myself more.

Do you have challenging relationships in your life? Do you allow their happiness to be more important than yours? Do you feel the physical pain or numb it? I invite you to share your story with me in this healing community......

Hop over to the blog www.pilatesfusionllc.blogspot.com
or privately email me pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com

xo,
M
         

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Story You Tell Yourself

          What is the story you tell yourself? What do you believe to be the truths of why you can't do something, get the job, find the perfect relationship, live your dreams? Do you truly want to heal and live your best life? What if I told you that in order to do it that you need to divorce your story. No trial separation, no visits back to the unhappy comfort zone, not even one little indulgent dance with that old record playing in your head. If you are not ready to give up that story then you are not ready to fully heal and that is okay, everyone has their path and their own divine timing. If you are ready then I would like to share with you another one of my stories that I have told myself that directly stands in my way of my self worth. I cannot say that I haven't still flirted with my old stories but I can say that I am 100% aware of my story and how I allow it to stop me from living my authentic life and releasing my inner voice.

          I heard a line in a movie once, "if you do not want to have sex with yourself then who is going to want to have sex with you." So true, okay a little crass but true none the less. My story that needs divorcing is all about my self-worth. I know without a doubt that to heal I need to internalize feelings of belonging, love, acceptance, worthiness, beauty, and importance. I need to own all of those qualities and live and breathe them. For years I looked externally for all of those values, as children those qualities are instilled in us usually by our parents and here is where my story starts hitting the repeat button. Fact, I lost my Mom when I was nine years old (lucky for me she had instilled all of those qualities I listed above) what I didn't count on was what came next in my life. The death of the man that my Father was when my Mother was still alive. That man as well gave me those affirmations but after my mother's death he changed no doubt as a coping mechanism to mask his pain and although he was present in my life the affirmations stopped. He passed the job along to nannies and a Step-mother that wasn't capable of continuing the nurturing of my soul and self-worth. I was confused as a child that was raised to feel certain qualities about herself and then just like that those affirmations vanished rapidly turning into new characteristics that I knew didn't match my true authentic self.  In the desperation for love and attention I took those new characteristics on because negative attention was better than no attention at all. Words like selfish, stupid, bad at math, sloppy, spoiled, unlovable, unimportant, unwanted became my reality and I in turn gave power to those words by making them my story that I told myself for the next almost 20 years.

          So those stories are tricky because I am proof that they can come from a very real place especially if those stories were created out of times of crisis and tragedy. The desperate need to feel safe and loved enabled me to start to believe what I was told about myself daily. I clung to any attention because I was used to getting it by the tons before my mother passed, I didn't know any different. This attention was different and that was all I knew, I rationalized it because it was a new family, it couldn't be the same as it was before.  As a child it is not only necessary but human nature to develop your sense of self and worthiness from the models you see and live with day to day. Brene Brown recounts a story in her book Daring Greatly where her daughter is found in her classroom by her teacher surrounded with an explosion of glitter, the teacher responds by telling her that she is so messy, being the daughter of a PhD shame researcher her daughter responds to the teacher by saying I am not messy, I made a mess.

           I was always told that I was messy, after awhile of never being told otherwise I believed it. So a story in my head was born. I played by the rules, after a few years of confusion and fighting those new words told to me, I gave up. Surely the adults were correct, what did I know I was just a kid and although I always felt my soul and voice literally tearing at my stomach (I literally developed acid reflux and had ulcers in my esophagus and throat as a teenager into my adult years) I ignored it, lived on Tums. My survival mechanism was to lay low, do what I was told and try like heck not to have those words of unworthiness said to me because each time they were it felt like a piece of my soul died. I looked for love for those words that my Mom told me outside of myself. I took scraps from anyone that would give it, I was promiscuous I allowed things to be done to me and to my body that looking back now were such acts of violence against myself. I was lucky and believe that my mother was a guardian angel when I met my future husband at 15 years old,  he needed to love and attention as much as I did and we smothered each other in beautiful affirmations and together saved our souls. I still fought that false story and many times felt that I didn't deserve my husband, I broke up with him a handful of times, acted out returned to my abusive, unworthy ways. The beautiful thing is he knew it all and loved me anyway.

          Like I said I am lucky I found that one person that would help me remember those words my Mother and Father used to tell me. Along the way as those words of worthiness were repeated to me by him as well as a growing group of others once I left my parents home and entered the world of my new true and authentic story, I started to believe them enough to know that I couldn't ignore them. Through divine intervention and the gifts of my daughters I have with every soul of my being taken on the task of healing myself of finding my self worth and my voice. The confidence still wavers, the voice still shakes but I am wide awake, I see my truth, hear it and can speak it to almost anyone. The almost is the piece I am working on, the little dance with that old song in my head not completely divorced however I have put it on notice, hired a few awesome big gun soul lawyers and am taking it to court. When I win, there will be a massive celebration and a tank full of awesome lessons learned along the way not to mention one very sexy, smart and strong me!

Please share your stories with me over on the blog or via email.....gratitude for you and your courage wherever you are on your path.

XO,
M

www.pilatesfusionllc.blogspot.com

email Maren ~pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com

         

         

Monday, July 8, 2013

In Search of My Voice

          Lately I have had trouble finding words, specifically words aloud. I was sitting in front of a class I was leading and promised myself that today I would not rely on my notes, on reading someone else's words. I after all have a lot to say, the challenge is in that seat of the teacher where I speak and no one responds back as they would in a conversation my mind goes blank. All the hours of preparation, talking to myself in the car and mini-pep talks to myself in an instant vanishes from my mind. I wouldn't call it a case of stage fright as I have been teaching groups of people for years and am not nervous about being in front of people and sharing information I have been trained and educated in. The personal stuff, being vulnerable that is the hard part. It is important for me to be authentic so when I have a lack of confidence or self-worth it all goes downhill, my voice disappears.

          This happens also in certain challenging relationships in my life and I know stems from a learned place of not feeling worthy of my feelings, my voice. So even with all the work of healing and transformation I still struggle. Where I have made great strides in the relationships I choose to have in my life today, there are those dark places that are still filled with fear for me. So the work is being authentic and being heard. Writing has been an outlet for me, for letting out the voice I have kept quiet for years. I kept it quiet in fear of disappointing, losing people and being told that what I was thinking was not reality based. It is not my intention to harm others by telling my story but there is a great fear and a reality is that it will, so I hold back, I contain my story in a container. The new issue is that when my mind goes blank and I lose that voice, that container starts to crack, it is too small to hold my big voice and it is ready to bust out. At times I feel like I will not be able to control it, that it will be very, very messy (I do not like messy). I know without a doubt that all the soul work I have done for the last almost 9 years will never come to full transformation until I let that voice out. So how do you find a place of worthiness, of being ok with the pretty much constant feelings of discomfort? I am working on it, when I know trust me so will you!

          I try my best not to numb it out, some days are better than others. I write, I go to yoga, to therapy. I get outside and connect with nature and try really hard to sit with myself not in judgement but acceptance. I share pieces of my voice, my story with those in conversation aloud in practice for taking that seat as a teacher. To speak without judgement and the expectation of anything in return except my own personal worthiness. I am in practice of being authentic and walking the walk before I talk the talk.  I found this quote from a teacher that I have had the honor of practicing with and a little birdie reminded me of today........

           “To truly understand what it is to be in the light, you have to also understand what it is to be in the shadow. Because it is one thing to hold the light within myself, but how can I hold the space for another being when they are in their shadow and still love them? And not judge them? I am only going to judge them if I am still judging me.” 
― Seane Corn

As always please share your stories of finding your voice with me over on the blog or via email....

xoxo,
M

www.pilatesfusionllc.blogspot.com

email Maren ~ pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com

Friday, June 28, 2013

Web of Lies

          I allowed my web of lies to keep me from my passion the last 2 weeks, in an apology to my soul I will never let it happen again. I got wrapped up in life, in my business, my kids last week of school and left no time for me, for my passion. Lucky for me I know my old tricks and purposefully scheduled my first ever Writer's Workshop with Hay House publisher over this past weekend.  I knew once school for the kids was done and the weekend before my summer work schedule began I would need an escape. No better place than New York City, in one of my favorite places in the world learning all about my new favorite thing...writing!
          So I carried my backpack of guilt and exhaustion into the city from my last 2 weeks of feeling like I wasn't able to put 100% into anything I did (especially missing my first weekly blog post).  I parked the car in the cheapest garage I could find, I asked the attendant how much it would be for the day, he responded $16. Now for anyone that has parked a car in NYC you know that $16 is a BARGIN!! I took it as a good omen and walked up the street to Hotel Pennsylvania. The hotel itself was a bit grungy and run down but the energy was palpable, exciting and bustling with tourists, seminar attendees and employees eager to help. All the way to the 18th floor I felt my heart rate start to rise, I was nervous and full of anticipation. After check-in I found a seat amongst the other 200 participants that had registered, I took out my notepad and pen and eagerly awaited the knowledge to pour into my brain. I had the realization that this was the first time I registered to take a class about writing, another step on the path back to my true self. The weekend was everything and a zillion times more what I ever could've wished for, I soaked up every word from Reid Tracey Hay House CEO, Kris Carr was beyond inspirational and transformative for me. Other greats included Gabrielle Bernstein, the "Spiritual Junkie" and then came my zinger...Nancy Levin.
          Nancy is the event coordinator at Hay House and now a brilliant self-published writer. She holds a Master degree in poetry and was given the job of getting us writing (which let me tell you as a new writer, that is a daunting task, writers block is a form of the plague). She did many exercises over the weekend but one in particular as I said zinged me and you know how I love to be called on my sh**t. The assignment was as follows, write for 5 minutes about a story I tell myself and then what the truth is. Deep right?!? I thought so, I immediately went to why I have not started writing a book yet and I will share with you what I wrote (no editing has been done).

          I tell myself I am not smart enough, educated enough, worldly enough to become a writer, speaker and transformational coach. The truth is I am perfect, although imperfectly perfect I am exactly where I am meant to be on this path of healing and learning. One becomes their thoughts, if I think I am not smart, I will not be smart. I need to say it aloud especially when I do not believe it, own it when I feel less than deserving, and breathe it when I feel like I am suffocating. Stop telling yourself no and start telling yourself yes. Do not do and say to yourself what my Dad and his wife did and said to me. 

          So that is me being completely vulnerable, I show you my insecurities and this piece of my writing because the most AMAZING thing happened right after! Anyone that is looking to live a deeper, happier, soul-satisfying life needs to read on. I have held myself back from writing for years because I didn't go to college for it, I do not have the credentials that what I thought made a professional writer.  IT IS AN EXCUSE AND A DREAM KILLER. So I vowed after reading my answer to never say I am not, can not become or am not smart enough to be a writer. The workshop ended after 2 full days of to this date the most inspiring days of learning in my life! I think I walked but it felt like I skipped with a big, fat smile to my car. I greeted the parking attendants and it went down like this.....

Attendant ~ "Hello, will we have the pleasure of seeing you again tomorrow?"

Me ~ "Unfortunately no, my workshop ended today so back to my day job tomorrow in New Jersey"

Attendant ~ "What was your workshop on?"

Me ~ "Writing"

Attendant ~ "Oh! So you are a writer"

Me ~ "YES I am!" (Can you feel the smile on my face?)

Attendant ~ "Wow, you must be very smart!" (Seriously...I kid you not!!)

Me ~ "I am brilliant!"

Attendant ~ "What type of book are you writing?"

Me ~ "I am writing my story to heal myself and inspire others to live their best lives."

Attendant ~ "So you must be very happy."

Me ~ "In this moment I couldn't be happier, are you happy?" (I knew his answer, his eyes told me before he spoke)

Attendant ~ "Yes, I am very happy. Yesterday as I walked home from work I walked past 2 homeless men on the sidewalk, one asked me for a quarter. I honestly didn't have one and explained that to him, with that the other man sitting next to him grabbed a dollar out of his hat that he used to collect donations and passed it to the him saying, go get yourself a cup of coffee my friend." (The attendants eyes welled up, as did mine) "When I see things like that I am reminded to be grateful for all I have and to be happy."

Me ~ "What you saw was human spirit and the clarity you have is you in alignment with your soul, absolutely beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing that story with me."

Attendant ~ "Thank you for being so kind and treating us like people this weekend, not all people are so kind and aware of the people around them in life when parking their cars. Please come back anytime."

Me ~ "I sure will and thank you, it has been a pleasure talking with you, have a beautiful week."

          So that right there was me being in alignment with spirit, with my true self. I became my thoughts, just like that! I opened myself to thinking and speaking to myself in a kind, dream affirming way and the universe instantly gave me the gift of a test to see if I really meant it.  When I did I was given the gift of having a truly meaningful interaction with a beautiful soul in alignment with how I try to live in this world. Since this interaction just this week I have had 2 people close to me offer help in the arena of publishing and writers coaching! I have started to write my new bio for my new web page and I have started to write my story. With no expectations, not worrying about where it will go, or if it is perfect, I started it to heal myself. Now if those things are not the universe, spirit, maybe even God telling me that I am moving in the right direction then it is one REALLY big coincidence! However I don't really believe in coincidences, I believe everything happens for a reason and that you are the master of your ship.  What you say you become.......

          Try it out and let me know how changing your thoughts can help change your life, leave a comment at the blog or email me pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com.
pilatesfusionllc.blogspot.com

With gratitude...
xo,
M

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trust Your Struggle

          Oh how I love this!!  TRUST YOUR STRUGGLE.......just what I needed to read this week.  My healing path has been really long and really hard.  Do you ever have those weeks where you are just sick of yourself? Tired of the self-help, therapy, meditation, quiet reflective time and how to I live my best life moments? Still feeling stuck, drained of internal resources and finances? Well it isn't pretty but I am there this week.  Normally I try to use all of my years of tools to pull me from these funks I have every now and then but I can honestly say it is just resulting in frustration.
          At the beginning of the week I told my therapist that I am just in a crappy mood and pretty much feel like marinating in it because right now I see no way out. Anything she was trying to say to me I had an awesome rebuttal ready to tell her she was wrong and just didn't get it. The clincher is I get really excited when I get pissed in therapy because it usually means some big break through is coming my way. I was still stuck though and break through/change is hard and REALLY uncomfortable. So writing about it only seems like the next natural step. Frustration, depression, and cranky are familiar friends of mine.  I have written about this when I am sick as it is highlighted then but sometimes we just have those darker days for no apparent reason.  I have literally trained myself to sit in these times, to not numb them out and to use them to reflect on.  This week I just wanted to be cranky.

          I think sometimes I sit in these places to propel change, when these feelings come up often I know big change is coming so I can honestly welcome it. With that said it is still really hard, but when I read this quote I was able to shift perspective.  My struggles are here for a reason and when things start to really pile up it is a test to my true authentic self....in order to embrace and trust my struggle I have a line of questioning that I use that I want to share with you.

                       1 ~ Where are my frustrations stemming from?  What is making me cranky?

I have to become super clear, is it something familiar, something that comes up for me frequently?  Is it emotional, physical or both? Am I doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?  Am I really implementing all my years of therapy, yoga, life experience to change or and I just intellectualizing it with little to no action behind it?

                       2 ~ Can I change the circumstances or and I am I using excuses for in-action?

I am a big believer that you are the captain of your ship, you alone are responsible for your life and although things may happen to us that are beyond our control, we have a choice to use it to enhance us or we can use it to victimize ourselves. So do I use the list of reasons why "I can't" to not do anything or do I use the list to say screw it nothing is going to stop me.

                       3 ~ Am I blaming my unhappiness/mood on others **this is a big one

ACCOUNTABILITY, what is my role in my situation, if I am blaming others I am the playing the I am right and you are wrong game.  I am victimizing myself, I am closing myself off to learning or seeing different ways, perspectives and probably a big lesson that I need to learn in life.  One of my teachers says that anyone that claims to be an expert has stopped learning.

                       4 ~ Am I addicted to the drama of my life's circumstances?

I grew up around A LOT of drama, it is my family or origins way of existing and their way of numbing out and I catch myself all the time getting caught up in the stories I tell myself of why I can't get out of this cycle or I get addicted to other's people's dramas and I make it really hard because I love listening to people and genuinely love helping those that ask for my help or opinion. I have to be careful and check-in with myself...am I just addicted to the drama right now to avoid doing something that I need to be doing in my life?

                     5 ~ F.O.M.O. Fear of Missing Out

This is brilliance that I read from Mastin Kipp of TDL this week, I am a busy woman with a ton of responsibilities and I really like to let lose and have some fun so when I get invitations to go out with friends I have to really examine, do I really want to accept the invitation or is it FOMO? I can easily distract away from the work of changing my life with fun and I can rationalize it big time!!  I deserve it, I work hard, when do I get to be a little naughty and have some fun, etc...... From Mastin's blog.....

"It’s rampant, pervasive and a dream killer. F.O.M.O., if it dominates your system, WILL prevent you from living your best life at your highest potential.

F.O.M.O. says that wherever we are isn’t the right place and that something, somewhere outside of ourselves is bigger, better and shinier. Some place, other than where you are right now, is where you are “supposed” to be.

I shouldn’t be HERE, I SHOULD be THERE. F.O.M.O. is another way of SHOULDING all over ourselves. And when we should all over ourselves, we deny Grace, we deny Divine Timing, we deny the miracle that is within the present moment waiting to be seen."

          So here is my struggle, I have been working on starting a new business.  I on top of my full-time job as the owner/operator of my own fitness studio enrolled myself in an online business school this past winter which I have almost finished, late but finishing.  In addition I teach yoga at a studio in town 2 mornings a week, I write blogs, I am a Mom of two girls, a wife, I like to have time to be a friend, sister, daughter as well, I go to therapy one-two times per week and all of the incredible long list of details that come with all those responsibilities.  Some times every minute of every day is so full and although I am doing all things in alignment with the future vision of this new business I have to be super fierce of protecting some down time for myself and not exhaust myself so I set up the trap of being too busy/physically and emotionally spent to create my new business let alone take care of my body, mind and spirit.  So the last few weeks I took on a bit more than I could chew, I fell into my old patterns and traps until this week when my body and mind said ENOUGH!  It is a habit, an old coping mechanism that doesn't serve me but is that old comfort zone.  So right there I have to TRUST THAT STRUGGLE comes up for me often because I haven't gotten it right yet, not yet in alignment with the new me and my dreams.  The frustration of not having enough time and not showing up 100% to all my other life commitments can propel change. I will leave you with more Mastin Kipp....this is my mantra and my practice this week.....

"Wherever you ARE is PERFECT. You have been GUIDED there. And wherever you think you need to be is an illusion.

The present moment, where you are, what you are doing is PERFECT and MIRACULOUS.

Miracles, like Grace, can be wonderful – or they can be a kick in the teeth (in the moment). But in the long run, from the MACRO point of view, we will see why things had to be the way that they are and were.

If you choose to see EVERYTHING has a miracle, then where you are right now is perfect. There is nowhere to run to; there is nothing else to do except be in this moment and allow what is to be. From that place of radical acceptance MAJOR change can happen. The first step in any transformational experience is acceptance and surrender to the present moment the way that it is. From that place we have the awareness, humility and POWER to change what is.

You might have F.O.M.O. – but if this moment is a miracle, there is nothing to chase or run away to, if this is IT… then what would life be trying to show you? What are you learning?

Where is the miracle in this moment? If you have been guided to where you are RIGHT NOW, where is the miracle?"

Please share your struggles with me, what tools do you use?  If my tools speak to you try them out and them let me know how they worked!  Gratitude for your time and for you.

xoxo,
M

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or email Maren pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Embrace Your Weirdness

          When is the last time you did something weird and fun just for you?  Could you do it without worrying about what others think of you?  If your answer ends in "x" amount of years then this blog post is meant for you!  In the spirit of being brave and bringing forth your life's true purpose we must accept all parts of ourselves.  Your weird, fun and care-free side is your creative expression and in my opinion what makes you uniquely you!!  For years I hid many faucets of my personality in order to "conform" with those around me because my uniqueness wasn't celebrated or nurtured as a child, I took on the role/appearance of what was expected of me but at the same time was acutely aware of my true yearning for expression for my inner self.  I would let it leak out in little tiny ways around mainly only friends, in the clothes I wore or the mix tapes I made because I was able to show my true self around them so I felt that in a way I was putting my creative some times wacky and weird self out there until I entered my very brief stint at college in Arizona.

          I could be myself, I could stop the portrayal of the Maren that everyone expected and be the Maren I wanted to be, all new people and a fresh start.  I found a lot out about myself in the short 5 months I was there.  One, that I could be respected, admired, supported and loved for being truly who I was (thank you Nicole and Jonelle, my sweet friends).  I could try new patterns of behavior, new styles, new dance moves and even if they were less than perfect my friends were still there and didn't shun me because it wasn't cool or proper or mainstream.  From that day forward I slowly started to do what I should've done in my adolescence....find that creative, unique side of me and embrace it no matter how weird!  As the quote says above, there were people that loved that part of me that I had made small and hid for many, many years.  I still struggled with this especially after moving back home in my twenties to where my husband and I grew up where appearances and keeping up with the Jones's is the way of life.  In my family of origin it was all about keeping what I call the Kennedy appearance and not discussing our "issues",  to be a preppy, conservative, white bred family that had nothing but class and manners and no dark side.  It was easy to fall back into those patterns of my childhood but when I did I always had a low level of depression for not expressing who I truly was and finding a community that supported me for just that.

           Through a lot of therapy and yoga, I have day by day come closer to embracing my weirdness, my true self without excuses or apology and I encourage all those around me to do the same, I tell my clients that I don't like people that are perfect and have no issues, I don't like wallflowers or people that do not embrace who they are and are judgmental.  To those people I truly feel that if they judge me it is because I am doing something that they cannot do, I am happy to work with them if they are interested in bringing forth their inner weirdness and true life's purpose but if all they want to do is judge and not change then I thank them for challenging me to make sure that my beliefs about myself are true to my soul and then find those that are on a open, wholehearted living path as I am.  So I encourage everyone I meet to do something scary everyday, something out of your comfort zone, find out what you like what you don't like.  What makes your heart sing and smile so big that nothing can take it down, what excites you and what are you passionate about.  So in the spirit of being who I am with no apology here are a list of some of my favorite things.......


  1. Reality Television (Bachelor/Bachelorette #1, any singing competition The Voice, Idol, etc....)
  2. The sun and the beach...I love the sound and smell of ocean air, it feeds my soul
  3. Music, pretty much any kind but especially cheesy 80's, 90's music and love ballad artists like Josh Groban and Celine Dion, I also love what others music tastes are, you can learn so much about people by what kind of music they listen to
  4. Michael Buble (ok I know he should fall under the music category but I love him for more than his music!!) and yes my husband knows :)
  5. Bologna sandwiches on a hard roll (only from NJ or NY) in the summer...it is a childhood thing with my sister, we have them every time we are at the beach together
  6. Dancing...even though I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld and people tell me I have no rhythm I do it anyway on purpose in front of people
  7. Hugs....I feel strange greeting people with a handshake, I always ask if it is some one new (I don't violate people's personal space) but human touch is so important to me and is something that I have lived without and refuse to ever live without again
  8. Tattoos, I don't have one because I have never found one that truly sings to me, and if/when I ever do I will get one (or two) but I love seeing what others have as tattoos, I think it tells a story about them
  9. Cooking, it is my favorite way to take care of those I love, nourishes their bellies and my soul
  10. Being alone (this is new for me) I like the adventures I take with myself whether it be a trip into NYC, yoga in my sunroom, rollerblading (I really love that!) Just being quiet and reflective in my own mind in a state un-infuenced by others and 100% balanced on feeling and just being with me, myself and I!
          I could go on and on but these are a few of the things in my life that are not negotiable and that I am proud to say describe me, who I truly am.  Weird, creative, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, nurturing, funky, delicious and fun!  I would really love to hear at least one thing that you hide from people ( a guilty pleasure) let's see if we can make that little secret of yours a new part of revealing your true self, embracing your weirdness and attracting those in life that love you for exactly who you are.

xoxo,
M


or email Maren at pilatesfusionllc@gmail.com