Sunday, April 17, 2011

**A Renewed Heart and Mind – With a Little Help from My Friends**

A lot of new beginnings lately, and I’m excited.  These beginnings all have their respective goals, and I’m dashing towards them.  Whether I will get there or not, I will never know until I try, but with a little help from my friends and a little extra help from above (or around, from the universe, whichever you believe) I know somehow someway I will get there.  Actually, with more friends, the easier it gets.

  •  A new career:  as previously mentioned in my earlier posts, I left my last job mid-March, seeking for an opportunity that I know both my passion and skillset will flourish in (think smaller, more hands-on, working to build, not just working to process).  I have been meeting tons of people, from recruiters to entrepreneurs, getting their insight, pitching the vision for my new career, sharing my excitement and learning more and more what my future could be.  There is definitely a lot of self-driven research going on, but my friends have been amazingly supportive and helpful in this process – not only with daily encouragements and genuine well wishes, but with connecting me with people they know and educating me about everything I don’t know.  I know I still have ways ahead and what I’m looking for is going to take a little longer than just finding the next *job*, but I know that I will find that extra special something in due time.  The challenge is to stick to my belief and not cave to lower hanging fruits when things feel desperate. 
  • A new race:  One of the races I aim to complete this year is the Vineman Aquabike, which is a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike race in Sonoma, CA.  It will take place on July 30.  This is a whole new training and racing paradigm for me.  Training can be daunting, especially on the long bike rides, but thanks to my friends who love to ride I know I will never be alone on the road.  Furthermore, I know at those moments when I feel like I can’t go on anymore, I know it will be my friends that will help me get through it and accomplish my training goals…and eventually my race goals.
  •  A new team, new initiative: This year, I had the honor of being invited by a friend and fellow cyclist to join the local Team Luna Chix cycling group.  Basically, Team Luna Chix ( aims to “brings together women interested in learning new sports, staying active and inspiring others to do the same. Teams train together and support each other, while also fundraising for LUNA’s non-profit partner, the Breast Cancer Fund.”  You gotta check it out!  It didn’t take that much time for me to join the team, and a couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to the National Summit Weekend of Team Luna Chix, where women from all over the country who have joined the team gathered to learn more about the cause and our responsibilities as ambassadors for the sports we each represent (Mountain biking, cycling, running, triathlons).  Being a part of this group took my involvement in the sport to another level (e.g. impacting the community, getting involved on a national level, etc), I think – I will have a team that I will ride with and participate in races with, while fundraising for a great charitable organization (The Breast Cancer Fund) together and recruiting more people out there to join the healthy and active lifestyle I so cherish.  A band of friends that make a difference!  Now that is an exciting initiative!!!

Am I bragging about how many great friends I have?  No (I mean, yes I have some AMAZING friends, but I can brag about them perhaps another time) – my point here is that whatever I’m doing, I am not doing it alone.  I’m not alone in this.  I can achieve the things I never thought were possible, I can get through moments that feel daunting and scary, and I can just keep trying doing whatever I aim to accomplish – thanks to my friends that are there with me every step of the way!  Just look around and reach out – your real friends will reach right back out to you. 

Your battle with fibromyalgia – although at times you may feel that you’re on your own on this, but the truth is, you’re not alone.  Look around you – they may not ever fully understand what you’re going through (but do you really want them to?), but you have your family, your friends, and even… strangers that you may have just met, that might just want to be there and give you a smile (that makes a HUGE difference).  And when you feel that there is no one around you, instead of feeling shut out, just reach out – you will be surprised by the outcome of it.  I have learned that I end up alone or feeling alone because it is me that shuts others out – not because people just straight out avoid me for no particular reason.  When I started seeing the magic unfold when I reach out instead of waiting for someone to find me, it encouraged me more to extend my arms and heart and meet more people that ended up becoming important parts of my life of healing…. We are not alone.  You are not alone.  With a little help of our friends, you, me – we, can tackle this thing together.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Taking control of my time

Ok real quick lesson learned today... never ever will I ever take calls when I know I have a whole set of prep and training to do. Never. I must take control of my time, not postpone training times without discretion.

I can always call people back, but when the pool closes or you forget something crucial (e.g. A swimsuit!) from packing while on the phone (distraction!) and you dont have time to go back and return, it really isn't anybody's fault but my own.

I pay the price by having to get up super early tomorrow to finish today's training before my ride, at which I will end up inconveniencing my teammates by being 15 minutes late.

Never again. I need to stop trying to be everything for everybody. If I am not well I cannot do anything for anybody.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Minimizing the Conflicts in My Life Minimizes My Pain

Physically staying active is important.  Eating right is important.  Sleeping well is super important.  Speaking of sleeping well, when there is a lot on our minds, we all know sleep is not easily achievable.  Constant stress from underlying concerns, issues, inner-conflicts, external conflicts, etc… also contribute to pain, as stress lowers our serotonin levels, exposing us to higher levels of pain perception (as substance-P takes over weakened serotonin levels in our brains).
Why am I talking about this?  Well, I want to focus on a different aspect of well-being in this post, a small diversion from my usual focus of the physical, only because I do believe our sub consciousness plays a huge role in our physical conditions.  When things aren’t right, there is always an explanation beyond “oh it’s because I have fibro,” which I think is lame, not because I think fibro is lame, but because I believe that every flare-up has a logical explanation.  And that logical explanation leads to prevention or elimination of pain when it re-occurs.
My health has generally been amazing since I started exercising years ago, as I have been saying all along.  However, I have noticed that I have been feeling "less better" quite often starting…hmm, let’s say almost 9 months ago?  I was definitely waking up feeling more tired, less rested, and with more pain in my neck and shoulders than usual.  While it took me a while to identify where it was really coming from, in hindsight it definitely became as clear as day. 
Let’s start backwards.  March 10 was my last day at my last job.  Let’s just say that I defined that as my last day at any kind of a large, structured corporation, where politics rule over productivity and professional growth.  To date, I have spent my career working at very reputable Fortune 100 companies – I am fortunate to have had the experience, but now I am ready for a change.  See, I think that mindset has been brewing inside me for a while, but it took some terrible and very unfair experiences at the workplace for me to finally see that I was no longer to stay there.  Long story short, starting September/October of last year, things got pretty bad at work and although I worked hard, ate fairly healthy and exercised hard as usual, I was just feeling worn down, felt more pain than usual on a daily basis...also my immune system weakened drastically, suffering from a bad flu and several cold symptoms repeatedly, which was something I didn’t have to deal with for years.  My last two months at work were really tough, just feeling like I was being dragged into the office mindlessly, as I was so conflicted within about who I believed I was versus who I was living as.  I knew I no longer belonged, but I kept going because I gave them a commitment – but my heart and mind were already moving on to the vision and hope for the next move, my next career…  man, every day was just a challenge. 
I have to say, the first week after March 10 was one of my best-feeling weeks in recent months.  Then and only then did I realize, oh wow, not having that gut wrenching feeling anymore, not feeling conflicted anymore, despite the risk of just resigning without my next career position lined up, freed me from a lot of the pain I was feeling.  I woke up and I didn’t feel like I was run over by a truck.  I woke up and I could immediately get up.  I woke up ready to start the day.  I was happy.  That weight in my mind, heart and soul were gone – and physically I was better.
Being true to myself and taking the risk was the best decision I have made in a while.  It really helped me realize how important it is for me to let go of any complications in life that are possible for me to get rid of.  Let go and set myself free – that was what I needed to do.  I am focused on building my future now, not focused on getting through the day at a place where I felt completely minimized and overused.  I am looking forward to the future that I am working towards, and that gives me hope, and that hope gives me energy, turning on those serotonins in my brain and charging up my spirit.  I am devoting myself to the future, and not the past.  I am finally one with myself – then my body got better. 
Is there anything that you are holding on to, afraid of letting go because of the risks involved, or just making small decisions that you don’t feel comfortable with but making them anyway because of external pressure?  Do your concerns keep you up at night, make you frown, and weigh you down, both mentally and physically?  Do you feel conflicted between what you want and what you think others want?  Let it all go – do what you feel is right in your heart, and even if there are risks involved, just go with it with hope.  If you are aware of the risks, all you have to do is just be prepared for it and face them as you go.  At least that is what I’m telling myself.  I’m feeling better and just more hopeful.  I am charged, and I am able to renew my determination every day.  And that makes me healthier – which gives me more energy to keep pushing along, to find my next awesome adventure in my career, train for my races and prep for my future with joy. 
There are a lot of external sources of stress.  We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control whatever stress and conflicts that reside within – let’s start from there and eliminate or minimize yet another factor that could cause some of the flare-ups that we hate so much!