August 30, 2014

Living, Loving & Unlearning

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Living, Loving & Unlearning, written by therapist Cynthia Brennen, who as some of you know, has been my close friend since 5th grade.

Cindy's new book is chock-full of helpful reminders and tools, written from the heart, to help us be more of who we really are. 

Here is just a sampling: 

Unlearning is the process of erasing all that is not in alignment with the beat of your soul. It is reevaluating those things you were told to be, think, and feel, and decide whether those experiences serve you in conjunction with your inner knowing or not.

The truer you are to your heart’s desire, the truer you are to your authentic self. The truth sets you free.

Anything that doesn’t feel comfortable in the pit of your gut is worth reevaluating. 

What we think about we become. Who we spend time with, is the vibrational energy that we emit. What we surround ourselves with, is how we feel. 

Only you have created what exists in your life, and only you can change it. 
Living, Loving & Unlearning at Barnes & Noble

The less energy you give a negative vibe, the less you feed its strength. 

I love this one:

Denial = Don’t Even Notice I am Lying. 

The power of forgiveness- such a good reminder!

The higher road to health is always available- Do you choose a life of positivity and joy or a life of negativity and sadness? 

Plus, 10 tips to push anxiety and depression aside. 

These are only a few of my favorites, and just the tip of the iceberg, of the wisdom that Cindy shares.

Enjoy the read. 

Living, Loving & Unlearning is available online if you are interested here.

Here's hoping that you have a labor free labor day.



August 25, 2014

Never Ever

One of the other highlights of being in Montreal at the swimming championships was meeting 92-year old competitive swimmer Charlotte Sanddal, who has a world record in the 50 meter butterfly. She began swimming masters at the age of 72. See her photo below! Even after falling off her bike four years ago and breaking a hip, Charlotte still swims a half mile every day.

92 -year-old Charlotte Sanddal and Cindy. (... I know!)
Charlotte said that instead of running for the coffee pot, she begins each morning with a short series of stretches in bed and then gets down on the floor and does 20 push-ups, which wakes her up. She concludes her day with a healthy dinner, a glass of wine, and 20 more push-ups before retiring for the night. And these are "man" push-ups. How do I know? Because after her race she got down on the ground and demonstrated them for us. Just like that! She said that she is delighted to still be able to swim and participate in life. She also reminded us "to be mindful and to always notice how we feel."

Which brings me to this:

I think that getting and staying in shape for many people might be one of those "Don't know, what you don't know" type situations, until it happens. Fitness isn't so much about looking well and being comfortable in our clothes at midlife, it's more about feeling well and being fit as we grow older. Like a piano, when our bodies are tuned-up, they work well.

When you realize that muscle burns more than 3 times the amount of calories than fat, you can see what an additional benefit exercise is. Our bodies really can be like well oiled machines. At this point in our lives, they need to be our first priority or our health goes downhill fast. As a former out-of-shape person, I am familiar with what a waste of time my lack of fitness was for me- in all regards- as in how many times a day it was physically, mentally and emotionally an issue for me. With only 3 half-hour workouts a week, and mindfulness about what we are putting in our bodies, this can be turned around quite easily. We just need to make the decision to do it. We also need to get clear with ourselves about what stands between us and having a body that truly supports us and that we love.

People who say they hate exercise usually haven't stayed with it long enough to feel it's incredible benefits and life force.

As therapist Cindy Brennen says, the first thing that she prescribes to someone who comes to her for stress, anxiety, or depression, is exercise.

It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

There is no better time than now to start.

August 17, 2014


I'll be back when the dust settles.

Nothing too crazy going on, just the logistics of life piling up, as they sometimes do.

May our choices reflect 

what our hearts and intuition are telling us

and not be a reaction

to all else.

This is all that I have to say for now.

It's a short one.


August 12, 2014

The Rest of The Story

97-year old Katherine Johnstone
Going to the World Masters Swimming Championships last week was quite an experience. A life experience. An epic experience. After having painted a ceiling ten days before departing, I arrived in Montreal in far less than tip top shape. My lower back had started to ache before getting on the train, and the ride to Montreal, coupled with racing the 50 meter butterfly the day before my main event, exasperated my condition.

I awoke at 5:30 AM the morning of my event ( the 50 meter free)  with a locked pelvis, in considerable pain, and in a panic.

Devastated that this was happening, the only thing that I had to grab onto was something that I remembered 46-year-old Olympian swimmer Dara Torres writing in her book:

"You don't need to feel well to swim well."

This, and my sister's reminder a few days before to "remain zen".

These two things, thankfully, helped to pull me out of the emotional gutter.

So I popped some ibuprofen, gathered a game plan, and decided to do a very careful start off the starting block, so as to not make my pain any worse, and use my upper body strength to swim like hell!

Low and behold it worked. I miraculously matched my best master's time ever and finished in 6th place. It was sheer will power.

By the time the race results were posted in the early afternoon, I was able to see a chiropractor who magically popped my back into place and out of pain.

But enough about me, the best story I have to share is about someone else:

When we arrived the first day at the swimming complex, I immediately spotted someone in the crowd who I thought was 97-year-old New Zealander, Katherine Johnstone, who had come to swim and claim her gold medals. Like stalkers, Cindy and I followed her and her daughter into the locker room. While Katherine was in the dressing room changing out of her bathing suit, I confirmed with her daughter that it was her. Honestly, for me, it was like waiting to meet someone like Meryl Streep. She was so gracious and happy to pose for a picture with us afterward. It was lunch time, and she had already been interviewed by others, so I didn't want to be too pushy questioning her. Plus I was feeling a little shy. I did say, however, that I thought she was quite a marvel, to which she replied, "I really am not- I am just doing what I like to do."

I'll say!

The other great news is that Cindy, my swim mate since 5th grade and shrink :-), took a whole second off her 50 meter free race. In a short sprint race, a second is like an eternity. I was so proud very of her too.

More info on master's swimming, should you be interested, can be found here. Master's swimming isn't just for racing. There are many people on my team who swim just for fitness and really enjoy it too.

And a great little clip on Katherine (at age 92) below!