By: Tiffany Carrasquillo
" When you're worried and you can sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessing."
White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney...I love that scene. I'm fortunate to have watched it a thousand times. That song really helps bring me back to grace when I've fallen from it.
Admit it, we all fall from time to time. No matter how much we know or what we believe or how hard we try...we can fall.
I often think about the great ones from Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, and Mahatma Gandhi, to Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and every other person who faced great obstacles and broke through them by helping others.
Here we are in our daily lives facing obstacles. Some are not so bad. It just seems that way in our perspective. Yet, other times the obstacles are real threats and that's when we really have to dig deep down and find out what we are made of. Sometimes it's easy to know on the surface what it is you have to do, but deep down how do you find the "how to do it"?
The answer is simple but not easy. Such is nature and life itself. Everything in existence craves balance. From the infinite universe, to this very planet, to the tinest particles like atoms...everything needs balance. Why would an atom explode, or a hurricane begin, or an earthquake happen? What is the purpose of life and death? The answer is simply balance. When out of balance chaos begins in order to restore that balance. It's kind of an abstract and matter of fact way of thinking about it but I assure you it makes sense.
So, what are the things you feel when you are out of balance? Anger, frustration, WORRY...all products of fear. What do you do when you're out of balance? Well you are no different than the world you exist in. You can explode in a rage or outburst. You can even implode, holding it all in until your health deteriorates. Believe it or not you are craving balance.
Now, what can you do to restore balance without exploding or imploding? Maybe you can show mother nature something by leading by example. ..try this...
1. Take a breathe. Take in all the good air you can muster. Here's the sneaky part...Exhale all the garbage you are holding onto inside.
2. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Focus on the great things you have in this very moment. Anything you can say thank you for, even if it is just that you noticed a beautiful tree, appreciate it. Look for the blessings. Seek and ye shall find.
3. Give something, anything. If all you can give is a smile then you go out there and give all the smiles you can to anyone and everyone you can. You never know who's day you'll make. I guarantee your smile will be someone else's step 2 from this list.
4. Play songs that uplift your spirit. No matter how horrible we feel you know that when a sweet sound touches those ears you're forced to do step 3 and smile. Warning...this one may make you want to move or sing...whoa!!! Imagine that..giving the gift of song and dance to someone and you BOTH get to enjoy it. WOW what a world.
Ok look, pity parties are the worst. Yea it's okay to need one once and a while but don't stay too long. The company there is miserable. Sometimes you just have to sing that tune, give a smile, give thanks, and breathe through it. Before you know it someone will be writing a blog and putting your name in it under inspiring people who triumphed. Heck, write one about yourself. You deserve it.
"When my bank roll is getting small, I think of when I had none at all, and I fall asleep counting my blessings."
How we take care of ourselves is a direct correlation to how much we can give of ourselves. Just because we are caregivers to others does not mean we are at our full potential to be caring best for them. What I mean is we must operate and care for our ourselves in the most optimal way possible in order to maximize how much we can give of ourselves to others. For example picture yourself as a Maserati. if you leave that Maserati in a garage (ie no exercise) and give it the least optimal fuel (ie nutrition).... are you really able to maximize that amazing machines potential? If our kids & loved ones are our passengers...Are you caring for your machine to live your fullest potential each day? Where can you give more to YOU?
Throughout my life, I never thought of myself as someone who was "accomplished." Don't get me wrong- I had my daily routine but nothing within it really consisted of anything that would make someone sit up and say "wow, that girl is really doing something." I was always smart, did well in school and in my professional life. However, there have always been things that I wanted to do, but nothing really got me off my derierre and got me to put wheels in motion. That all changed after I had my son. Why the change? Why then? Quite simply, I was tired! Tired of what? Everything!! It wasn't just the "new mom-sleep deprived" type of exhaustion. I was uncomfortable and FAT! I was tired of not being able to cross my legs and have my leg slip off only a moment later. I was tired of wearing skirts and feeling like i needed to call the fire department because the friction of my thigh skins rubbing together would cause a fire. I was tired of not having energy. Can you imagine- I was actually tired of being tired!! As if that weren't enough - most of all I was tired of my own attitude. I wanted energy, not only to get through my day with my son and my hubby, but enough energy to say i got thru it and actually enjoyed myself. I wanted to do things!
During my pregnancy, I gained 60lbs. Yeah that's right and yeah I said it! Whoever said you can eat whatever you want during pregnancy must have had a plastic surgeon on speed dial in the delivery room. NO CAN DO! You can't eat a whole pint of ice cream even if its low-fat. Whatever fat is in there always has to hit your body somewhere!
Of course, I allowed myself the obligatory 3 month " 1st time Mom Adjustment Period" (isn't that what its officially called?) by the end of which I was ready to pull my hair out and was feeling very lonely. That's another thing they don't mention in the "What to Expect" books- how alone you feel, spending a whole day alone with your kid, talking to them and actually getting mad when no one responds. And in my case, my husband works crazy long hours which means days of this on end. So you can imagine my need for adult interaction often resulted in long, often uncomfortable conversations with cashiers at the supermarket, the poor shlub who waited on me at the bagel store, the UPS guy delivering gifts- you get the jist. Finally and not a moment too soon, my best friend (and savior) told me about this program she was doing in VA. I decided it was time to make things happen for myself.
I went to my first Stroller Strides class alone (with Jonah of course but without friend accompaniment). I went into it thinking what most of us probably did- a walk in the park. Well, LA DE DA it wasn't!!! Let's just say that muscles I had never used woke up and said "Finally! Some attention." I was sore for DAYS! Despite my soreness and the weird way I was walking because of it- I went back. Not only did I go back to that class, but I sought out other locations. I went more than once a week. I started forcing myself & Jonah out of the house each morning to Stroller Strides because I knew that if I didn't, my apartment would devour me and I would devour everything in it.
Once I got the ball rolling, getting myself to Stroller Strides became my priority. I can honestly say it has changed my outlook on my life. With Stroller Strides in my life, I accomplish 3 things everytime I go - I get myself off the couch, I get fit, and I meet new people. What keeps me motivated 2 years after starting it? Why do I keep at it? The reasons are endless, but here is a short list;
Thanks for being one of my cheerleaders, Adele!
(Lisa has been a Stroller Strides member since August 2010 and continues to inspire us all)
It was July 19th 2011, when I facebooked a note about an Aha moment that resulted from an exercise class which I surprizingly knew I wasn't ever going back to. Here is just a part of what I wrote..."I walked into this studio really hoping to find a place where I can get refocused and centered. The other area where I felt this class lacked was the inspiration to look at myself, really look inside and push myself, feed my spirit and take note to the beauty of that moment. As a mother, we are so wrapped up in our kids moments that we forget to take the time to look inside and remind ourselves of who we are, that deeper place that needs to always be fed and nurtured. I needed this class to not only be a physical challenge but one that puts me in another place in time. "
It has taken me 6 months to find a place where I can focus on me and continue to explore my spiritual growth. I recently found a home, a teacher, and am ready to start my long awaited journey. This journey will take me thru 40 days of yoga practice, spiritual growth and a transformation of my mind, body and spirit. Being who I am, I am mostly present in my work (which I absolutely love) yet as a result, I have been hiding behind it and avoiding the signs that kept showing up at different times and places. It is finally time to unravel the inner self again and embark on the journey towards an awakened spirit. Ive learned that the word yoga means "to join one point to another," "to leave one place, space, condition and move toward a better one." Where I am going, I dont really know, but I promise to take you with me and share what I am learning along the way. I invite you on this journey as I am going anyway and the results will be life changing!
Nothing is Impossible!