Focus:Where Art Thou?

I have seemed to lost my focus. I wish it would come back. I remember the good old days when I was able to focus, concentrate, and accomplish things. I was able to make things happen!  But, now sadly it has went away. Oh focus where are you? Did someone steal you? Or, did I just stop appreciating your value so you showed yourself the door? Whatever the reason, I really need my focus back and, I need it back soon!

Along with my focus, I feel like I have also lost my motivation, drive, and determination. I am wondering where my edge went also. My go getter attitude. I feel like one day I woke up and a part of me  that was gone. Where did it run to? Everyday it seems as if  I am constantly on an internal scavenger hunt looking for these attributes that make me who I am. Without them I am lost.

Currently I am working on my very first novel. To write a book is hard work and it requires a TON of FOCUS! That is why having my focus back is so important to me. Who knew it would be so hard to actually write a book, and without focus I am doomed, and set on a path to self-destruction. I have a vision for my book, a deadline, and a dream of where I want this book to go. My motivation helps me with that, so I guess I do have a little bit of that left. I want this book to do well, I am a creator. I know the potential that I have to create a life changing project. My determination helps me with that part. I see myself as a brand name in society, a force that is not to be reckoned with. I see multiple projects happening on a daily basis,  a vision of being an outstanding presence in the lives of other. My cutting edge attitude, and high-speed drive to keep going will help me accomplish that piece. But to start I need my FOCUS!

I am on a mission. I will get my focus back, and this time I will not let it go. I will hold on to it tighter than I have ever held onto anything else in my life. Though I know focus is intangible, I will treat it as a tangible object that I will never break or lose. Focus I want you to be my old/new permanent best friend.

And when I get that focus back, I will complete my novel, I will conduct speaking engagements, I will create shows for TV, and maybe I will even have my own TV show. I will be better than I would ever have imagined that I could be. I will be the epitome of a woman who can shape the world…all because I have FOCUS.

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Veterans’ Day is only one day, Why not make a daily salute to our troops

When I was living in New York I never personally knew anyone who was in the military. I never met a person who went to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. I never met anyone who was risking his or her life in the midst of battle to protect our country.

While living in Hawaii I have met many people from different branches of the military who serve our country and put their lives on the line for our freedom. They go to war, they fight hard,  and endlessly. Knowing someone who has went to the battle ground one, two, or, three times makes this war a reality that I once choose to ignore. Hearing stories from the field and, seeing how families are affected by multiple deployments, brings to life a side of this war that I was blind to when I did not know a single member of our military. Hearing a story told through the media, and hearing a story told by a person who was actually fought in combat are two completely different experiences.  This experience has put a few things in perspective and also adds a new spin to the meaning  on what it means to fight for freedom. Last week we celebrated Veteran’s day, but for what our Veteran’s do for us as civilians we should take a moment each day to honor them and what they contribute to our own personal well being.

To know a solider,  a wife of a solider, or a child of a solider whose father has died while in combat, to me is a surreal experience. People are fighting, dying, families are waiting patiently with anxiety for loved ones to return. If they do not return hearts are broken, the family is permanently broken. Some soldiers come back different. PTSD is real. They go to war and see things that they wish they have never seen, they experience things that they wish they have never experienced. The game of war is not a video game with a reset button, in life there is only one chance to survive.

Personally, I am still against the war. Don’t get me wrong, I feel this is a war that did not have to happen. As the Black Eyed Peas, say in their song “Where is the Love”, “there is a war going on and the reason is undercover”. This is not a war of freedom, it is a war of politics. So for that, since lives are lost each day in vain, I will continue to be against the war. However, I will continue to honor, support, and not take for granted the men and women who fight in this war. A friend of mine says that he feels “honored” every time he puts own his army uniform. He has pride when he fights for our country. So to my friends, and all our troops, past and present, I say Thank You.

My Word: Resilient…

Recently I watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. First I must admit that I loved the book, so I would recommend the book to anyone as a first option rather than seeing the movie. In my opinion the movie does the book a great injustice (but I hear that about most books that go to movie version, right?). Maybe when I have my book turned movie we can keep it as true to form as possible. Sorry, I digress.

When I originally watched Liz Gilbert on Oprah in 2008 speaking on her journey, I immediately  fell in love with her story. Her admiration, courage, and inspirational message, was one that forced me to stop, think, and reflect on my own life. I think we all may have points in life when we feel unhappy, uneasy, worried, and stuck. But the way we move forward from those points are the true measure of who we are as individuals.

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I must admit that after hearing Liz Gilbert speak, and eventually reading her story, significantly helped me make the decision to move away from my city life and come to Hawaii. I was at a point in life where I did not know what to do next, feeling unhappy, and stuck. I knew something needed to change and, I had to be the vessel to promote the change that was needed for my life. Though it was not an easy decision, it was what I personally needed, change. Looking back now I know it was the right decision, even in times of doubt I know it was right.  It was a change that saved my life.

In “Eat, Pray, Love”, it is mentioned that every person and city has a word. The word for Rome is sex, the word for New York is achieve, and Gilbert declares her word to be attaversiamo which is Italian for “Let’s cross over”. Well this had me thinking about what my word could be. At first glance I thought my word should be “crazy hot mess”. I know, I know, that’s three words. Maybe if I translate it to another language then it will be only one word. But, then again I am really not that much of a crazy hot mess, and that really doesn’t describe the essence of my full being and everything that comes along with it.

So after much careful thought and planning I decided my word is RESILIENT! In some respect I hate to use the word Resilient as “my word” because I do have times where I feel that it is a commonly overused word. But as I think more about my own life, what I have overcome, the choices I have made, and where I am now, I can’t help but to say that my word is truly Resilient! I have struggled, second guessed, hated myself, and came back to eventually love myself and everything I have to offer the world. So in retrospect, yes I am Resilient!

However, there are times when I feel as if I am not worthy of using that word. Have I been through enough? Do I really know what it is like to come out of a struggle and keep living? I ask myself those questions because in my real life I am a therapist. I have a degree in counseling psychology, and I think I am pretty good at what I do.  I help families who struggle with controlling their teenage children. After a recent session I had with a parent, I realized resiliency goes a lot further than I have ever imagined and sometimes the only choice in life is to be resilient in order to find the energy to wake up the next day.

See this parent is a single mom with four children. Two of the children are in elementary school, one is in high school, and the oldest is a young adult. This mom has been constantly struggling to make sure that her older children lead the right path in life and learn responsibility, while making sure that the younger children avoid the pitfalls of society. Recently this mom lost her job. An unwanted setback that will end up in a test of her own strength.

As I sat in session with her, I listened. I realized that she has no choice but to be resilient. She can not just give up on herself, because to give up on herself would be to give up on her children. As a single mom she does not have the luxury of taking a year off from life to travel and find herself. She cannot just pick up and move to start life over when life gets tough. She has to keep living through the hard times. She has to keep pushing, have hope, and pray that tomorrow is better than the day before.

As I listened, I felt at a loss for words. I have never been in her shoes. I cannot imagine the hopelessness that she was feeling. But, I was there for her. I did the best job I knew how and,  I attempted to help her remember that she does have to keep going.  I realized that no matter what life gives her, she will never have a simple choice, she has to think about herself and the children. She cannot give up, she keeps going each day, holding on tighter to the feeling that the best is yet to come. She continues to believe and have faith that life will work, and in the end she will come out of it surly being resilient!

Bikram Yoga: I wonder if this is what Hell feels like?

I recently started practicing Bikram Yoga. I must say that it is awfully hot in that room. Yoga in a room that is at least 100+ degrees may not sound too appealing at first. It is actually kind of crazy when you think about it. 90 minutes in a room of pure heat and sweat. Not only your sweat, but watching other people sweat also. Lesson 1: You must be comfortable with standing in your own sweat! All while trying to focus on yoga poses. Crazy, Yes! But since I have come to realize that I am anything but sane, I put my mind and body to the challenge and signed up for Hot Yoga!

Now don’t get me wrong, you will survive the yoga room. It is hot, but bearable. As long as you don’t have heart problems you should be good to go from start to finish. Lesson 2: You probably will feel sick, light-headed, nauseated, and want to just want to run out of the room. But don’t run. Stick it out. Challenge yourself, you will defiantly be surprised how soon the 90 minute class is over.

While I was living in New York I had wanted to try Bikram Yoga. I thought it would be good to do in the winter while it was freezing outside. At least I could be overheat myself for 90 minutes while there was snow on the ground. I never got around to going in NYC, so when I found a studio in Hawaii, I figured why not try it out. Initially I had only wanted to try it out  for seven days and then I would be done. But soon that seven days turned to thirty, and then those thirty days turned into just having a full on membership. Yes I must admit I am addicted to torturing myself with Hot Yoga. I enjoy standing in a heated room that feels like it can be a version of Hell on earth.  Or actually, Hell may be just a few degrees cooler. Anyway oddly enough I like it! Three days out of each week I choose to stand in 90 minutes of heat, repeating the same 26 poses, hoping just to stretch just a little bit further, lift my leg a little bit higher, and balance for just a second longer each time. I see progress and I love it!

So is Bikram Yoga still torture, Yes, most days it is. It is HOT! Drink lots of water! But the plus side is that it is also fun. It is a mind-body challenge that is an experience all in itself. It helps my muscles to relax, and it helps me to focus on getting better with everything I do in life. What more can I ask for. So bring on that 90 minutes of heat! I am ready to push harder, bend further, and go longer!

Hawaii- The state where a Gym Membership is not needed!

The best part to living in Hawaii…Not needing to have a gym membership! No matter the day or time you can always find a way to do a free workout. It is either right in front of your face, or you can create your very own. So for those people who love to workout, but there is no gym budget, In Hawaii you can stay fit and keep money in your pocket at the same time.

I think Hawaii is the best state to workout in, you can workout year round and, avoid the hostile heat waves or frigid cold that may prevent you from wanting to go workout outside. In Hawaii no equipment is needed! Just you and your desire to stay in shape. The scenery is beautiful, serene, movie like. It is an experience that most people can only dream of. You can always run on the beach close to the ocean to add intensity, or take a run on the concrete.

The favorite is hiking up the human stair master otherwise known as Koko Head. Walking up those 1000+ stairs is sure to give you a good workout any day! Walking is never a problem if you are looking for a low-key workout, and if you are adventure go for a hike in the mountains with amazing postcard like views. Hiking is sure to give you a full body workout as you will feel each body part hurt the next day. Trust me I know.

If  you want to change up your routine and go for a swim, the ocean is always available. Paddling will give you a great back and tone up those arms, and surfing will force you to use every part of your body.

For the athlete in you, beach volleyball is always on whenever the sun is out. Try heading over to the beach just to play, with the spirit of Aloha of course they will let you play!

If you don’t like working out alone and are looking for that group motivation,  there are many beach boot camps around at low cost. Nothing like an intense beach workout to start or end your day!  On the island there is practically a group for every type of workout, and new ones pop up on a daily basis.  There is even FREE Yoga at sunrise! So do you need to be confined to the walls of a gym with the hard body types to get a good workout?  Nope! Just take a stroll outside.

How much baggage is too much?

The interesting part to dating is that I do get to meet a variety of men. Although it is not always a positive experience, and there are some men that I want to forget, I like to think of each of them as a possible extension of my social network. If we can’t date, maybe we can be friends.  Some of these men I do like as people however, they are not boyfriend material. Others I find that I like, are absolutely boyfriend material, but they come with baggage.  And when I say baggage, I don’t mean emotional (although that may be trouble),  I mean physical, like kids, an ex-wife, or multiple baby mammas. Now that is the baggage I try to stay away from.

Before I actually realized that I was in my late twenties, I would never ever date a man who already had kids from another relationship. No matter how nice, cute, and smart he was,  It was just an absolute NO!  I am not a person for drama, and for some reason baby mama equates to drama. Although the two people can have a very cordial relationship, there are always kinks that need to be worked out. And I believe if you want the man then you have to take everything that comes with him, including kids. So if a man had kids, I was not interested.

However, since my move to Hawaii I have met a plethora of men who either have kids, ex wives, or both. And although they may live in a far away place such as the mainland, they still exist. It is easy to find a man on this island who has probably been married and divorced by the time he is 25, and of course has one, two, or three kids. Or he just may have one, two, or three kids without ever being married. Should I fault him for having a past life? No I can’t do that. But it really makes a relationship difficult when I come with just me, and he comes with a prior family.

A few months ago I met a really great guy who has baggage. A whole lot of baggage. And because of that I fail to allow myself to move forward and like him. If we had met 10 years ago, I would have instantly fell in love and would have began to plan our wedding in my head. In my world he would be the man who compliments my style, the one who inspires me to do better, the perfect addition to my life, and I to his. He is attentive, he has the most amazing charm that comes with a caring attitude. He cooks, he is smart, and he communicates like no other man I have met.  Unfortunately for me it is too late. He has BAGGAGE.  He is 30, but he also comes with three kids, one ex-wife, and one other baby mama. To me that’s a lot of baggage. Baggage that I just don’t think I am ready to deal with. To be with him, means that I must take on a ready made family. Am I ready for that? I don’t think so. I just recently learned how to not be selfish and self-centered. I will say that I am still learning how to care for a man, but now to care for a man and his kids? Wow, that is just too much too soon.

So, how much baggage is too much? Am I missing out on a good man because I choose to stop myself from extending love to his prior family? Or, am I correct in admitting that kids are not something I want to deal with right now and move on. I want my own family, with my own kids. It is not the same if the kids belong to another woman. But, if I believe that I can truly love someone, maybe I should be willing to accept everything and everyone who comes along with him.

Maybe I can start with accepting a man with one child, but a man with multiple children…ummm that may be a little bit too much for me.