Favorite Candy

Last Thursday I asked my clients the fun question of “what animal and why”, so I thought I would ask another fun question this week.  This one did not have all the deep thoughts in it but it was fun.  Today’s question was, “What is your favorite candy and why?”

This group was only made up of about 10 clients but we had a great time.  I explained to the clients that sometimes the candy you like says a lot about you (sometimes I go out on a limb and make assumptions like this but generally it is true).  I explained that my favorite candy is m&m’s sometimes with peanuts because sometimes I feel like a nut but sometimes I don’t!   I also think that when they cut me open to do my autopsy (I am sure I will die by some mysterious means that they will need to do this or maybe they just want to study a crazy person a little closer!) anyway I am sure they will find multiple colors and realize truly how much I loved m&m’s.

Anyway back to the group…. We had a great time sharing this info and this group who earlier in the meeting stated that they are usually out of control and hard to handle, felt very connected to each other and were surprised at their similarities they had.  So much so in fact, that when one man mentioned loving a candy called “violets” someone else spoke up and reminisced about how he used to love them and it brought back wonderful times in his life when he lived in New York.  Since the rest of us had no idea about this candy, it was fun to hear all about it and be a part of their moment.

Interestingly most people liked the fruity candies like skittles and lifesavers with a few of us opting for chocolate of some sort.

I find it fascinating that asking a simple question about candy can bring a group together and put people in a very positive space.

So what is your favorite candy and why?

Wonderful Wednesday

As you can see I might be going to deep into the alliterations this week, somebody stop me!  But here is why today was a wonderful Wednesday.  Today my daughter started her senior year of high school.  It was a wonderful moment marking a huge milestone in her life and mine (of course actually graduating will be good but one step at a time please).  Also, I proved myself wrong today,  I thought I would turn into a sniffling ball of tears but crazy enough I held it together.  I was a little emotional but nothing like I thought I would be.  When I got home from work, I spent the afternoon with my daughter looking through her scrapbooks and posting embarrassing photos of her on facebook (Hey isn’t that a mother’s job!).  I love spending time with her if you couldn’t tell by the earlier post on her birthday.

So that is reason enough for it to be a wonderful day but there is more.  Today was my Thursday and tomorrow when I am done at 3pm I will be off until Tuesday.  It’s not that I don’t like my job, it’s more like I need a break.  Mentally I am spent!  I am looking forward to this time off and flying to OKC for a wedding and spending time with my friends of over 20 years.

Now that brings me to the therapy part of the blog… time for some reflections or teachable moments… taking time for yourself.  Do you do it?  Why or why not?  How often?

I talk about my running being my time for myself but that is not always enough.  I am attempting to find out new ways to take time for myself.  Rejuvenate my mind.  I was given a gift this evening by Dave (another reason why today is wonderful, I love presents!).  The gift was a full body massage!  Something I kept saying I wanted to start doing for myself but felt I needed a reason to do this.  Okay, more of a reason than, I want it.  More like I just ran a half marathon (which was when I actually spent money on a massage recently) and I deserve this to help my muscles recover.  But do we really need to make up excuses to treat ourselves?  Or maybe it is just taking care of ourselves.  I’m gonna work more on that.  Maybe not a massage every week, maybe reading a book I want to read, maybe taking a yoga class or just taking some time to just sit in silence and meditate/slow down.  I’m still working on all the ways to take care of me but I urge you to take care of yourself and come up with some good ways to nourish your soul.

Training Tuesday

My alternate title for today’s post might have read something like this “How Shanna Get’s Her Groove Back” (never actually saw that movie but I am sure it was funny!  For those that might not know what I’m talking about, there was a movie, “How Stella got her groove back” and probably explaining it was not as funny as if you just read the title at the beginning and understood).  Anyway… here goes…

I have recently been struggling with my workouts.  For some crazy reason after several years doing the run as much as I can during the week, spend a couple of days at the gym doing weights, I have felt like I hit a plateau.  Staying in shape but not really feeling like I am getting anywhere.  So I am trying something new.  This to be exact:

You might be saying what that heck is that, has Shanna lost her mind (but if you knew me, you would know that to be true all the time) or you might already know what it is.  I will try to explain it.  The strappy things  allow you to do things like this:

I’m not quite to this level but just imagine me there, in say, awhile!  Now to why this extreme?  Well the other stuff gets boring, lifting weights, jumping jacks, crunches (oh the dreaded crunch) all that stuff we do to stay in shape but don’t feel like it is making a difference.  This does some of the same stuff but does it through suspension and resistance with your own body.

So last night (on Motivational Monday) I hit the gym with my personal trainer (sounds fancy but just a really nice guy at the gym who is trained in all these weird exercises and likes to watch others be tortured, and I pay him for it!)  Anyway he has a class consisting of myself and one other nice lady who I guess wanted to be tortured too.  We worked out for only 30 minutes and I was shaking like I had done an hour with weights.  Today I woke up and my arms hurt sooooo bad but good bad, like you know that you did something good for yourself.  I really think this will push me off my plateau but not the way of me screaming to my death (you readers are so cruel), the way up towards the top of another mountain.

Also I am really starting to focus on my intensity of my miles.  A couple of Saturday’s ago I did an 8 mile run outside and at the end I thought, “What the heck am I doing!  That sucked!”  I began to think about whether I really wanted to continue to train/run.  But I kept pushing.  I ran 3 to 4 miles a day 3 to 4 times a week and made the runs more intense/pushing myself up hills a little faster, sprinting hard to the finish.  I am proud to say that it paid off.  Well in the sense that I did not give up.  And that I ran 8.10 miles this past Saturday and if felt good.  Finally!  The feeling I remember!  I think I will keep that up.  Still focusing on that goal of the 10K in a few weeks to do it in under 50 mins.

So my new training schedule will look something like this: (with an increase in miles over time)

Monday: Suspension Training

Tuesday: 4 mile run – pushing and sprints at the end

Wednesday: 4 to 5 mile run – intervals/hills

Thursday: 3 to 5 mile run

Friday:Rest

Saturday: Long Run

Sunday: Rest

Unfortunately I will have to modify it a little this week due to flying out to OKC on Saturday for a very important wedding (Hurricane Issac if you are reading this, stay away from interfering with my traveling plans!)  But I do think this is doable.  I think I am getting my Groove Back!  Now let’s get a faster groove than before!

Motivational Mondays

Today’s motivational quote is something that I am challenging myself with today.  Change!  Change is hard but necessary.  Time to make some things happen!  I hope you take a moment to think about this quote and apply it to your life.  Maybe sometime soon I will tell you more about the changes I am wanting/willing/motivated to make!  Keep reading.

What Animal and Why?

This is what I did at work today with my Clients in our morning group therapy.  Usually it is all about how you are feeling, what are your goals, let’s get into positive space and start our day off right (even if by this point in the morning it is more like my afternoon because I get so early!).  Well we had all of that but I wanted to do something fun with my wonderful group of 32 souls.  So my last question of the morning was “if you were an animal (besides a human animal), what animal would you be and why?” I thought this would be fun and since it was my Friday (I work Sunday – Thursday) it kind of felt like a fun last day activity and it was!  (Let me add that it was a loose interpretation of animals too, just continue reading you will understand)

The first person of the morning was not feeling too well and could not come up with anything and I began to think, “oh no, I have really set myself up here!”  But that quickly ended when the next person really got into and started talking about how he would be a monkey and began to act a little like one (quick reminder, I work with grown adults, but I let them be kids because we all need that sometimes!).  We moved through the crowd with everyone really giving thoughtful answers and I thought I would share a few (okay maybe a few more than a few but you will understand when you read them).

Many shared their passion for birds and being one to fly above the sky.  While one man shared that he would be an eagle because it symbolized freedom to him and he could imagine soaring above the trees and being so majestic.

A woman shared that she would be a butterfly and looked at this opportunity in recovery to transform into a different person.

Another man shared he would be a zebra because they are one of a kind, no two zebras are striped the same and he too is one of a kind.

One man shared that he would be a tick (after being creeped out because I hate ticks, I listened to his answer why).  He explained that ticks are patient; they will wait in one place for a long length of time before their prey comes along and then finally latch on at the ideal moment.  He did a great job tying this to his recovery from substances and how he is become patient and waiting for everything to click with is recovery.

Then there were two final Clients that were very overwhelming.  The first was a Client who has come back a couple of times and he explained that he would be a clam.  He choose clam because over the 40+ years of his life he has created a hard exterior and if he would just open his shell just a tiny bit and let a grain of sand in, he could turn it into a pearl of recovery!  Loved that!

The final one was a man who has been with us a little while but has never really had anyone to take care of him.  He has never had a family.  He explained that he would be an orangutan because they are never alone and he thinks of all of us as his family!  Loved this too!

So this is just a sampling of one of my groups during the day and a little peek into why I love working with Clients.  But it also got me to thinking, what animal would I be?  The one that kept coming to me during the meeting was turtle, because slow and steady wins the race.  But in my running mind (when I was on the treadmill putting in my 5 miles after work) I was thinking Cheetah, because they are fast and lean.  So really I guess I am a yet created turtle that runs fast like a Cheetah, a Cheetle or turtah!

I share this because we need to think out of our boxes of life.  Yes we are animals but have we thought about the traits of other animals that we like and why we like them?  Is there a way to utilize this in our everyday life?  I don’t believe they will ever come up with a Cheetle or Turtah but I do believe that I can work harder to fulfill my image of a faster 40 year old Cheetah and be persistent and focused like the turtle in everything I do.

Which leads me to this: What animal would you be and why?

Wild, Wacky Wednesday

Can’t say I am ready to have a complete blog day dedicated to wild and wacky Wednesday’s but I am starting to believe that this day of the week is a day where I can never guess what is going to happen.

Let’s start with the events of this morning…Woke up with the worst headache, you know the ones you want to cry but you know that if you cry it will only hurt worse.  So I got ready for work and then took some sinus stuff hoping the headache would at least go away before I had to sit across the table from my first client and try and be insightful.

Then found out, upon entering my car that someone had been in my car and it wasn’t Goldilocks!  Well, it might have been but she would have a raspy voice because she left cigarette ashes in my car (which as a person who is highly allergic to cigarettes was thinking “what a wonderful stressor for her already painful headache”.  She/he did however make off with about $5 in change.  Then made her way over to my partner in crimes car and took all his change but the nickels.  Kind of wondering what nickels ever did to her or was she just trying to make a point that quarters and dimes are more important.  (If you are a friend to nickels, don’t let them know this because I think they are useful in many situations!)  Anyway I am sure whoever took the money needed it more than me but please know that after 4 years of living in the same place and never locking my car, I have now decided that “trusting me” has now disappeared.  Roxie the Rav 4 will be locked!

Why would all this complaining be “wild or wacky”?  Well, I am not normally a complainer and I really hope this did not come across as that.  It is more for me a wild, wacky, and unusual way to start my day.

Also, I learned something about myself (which this is probably why I do what I do) that this event made me upset and somewhat violated but I was able to reframe the event and my thoughts.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy that someone decided to take something that was not theirs and they were in my car which is really just about 5 feet from my front door so that was a little scary.  But I was more upbeat about the situation than I ever thought I would be.  Some examples of thoughts that ran through my head… they needed it more than me, how sad is it that someone has to steal from others in order to pay for things for themselves, wonder what kind of background they have that they think this is right to do to others, and I hope I never have to be their situation.  These are all simple thoughts that we may not ever give a chance to develop because we decide that getting mad and upset is the answer.  But for me, if I would have been upset, it would have affected me all day.  I would have let whoever got into my car and stole change, affect everything I did for the day.  It would have taken away from my clients and they did nothing to me and are the people I need to help.  So I reframed it.  I moved on, well kind of, I blogged about it which is therapeutic too!

I hope the lesson you get from my rant is that stopping to think about things that happen to you is a good thing and letting bad events take over your day does not help you, it really only helps those who violated you continue to do so.

Oh and my headache went away a couple hours after getting to work and the day turned out pretty good!

Motivational Mondays

I thought I would try something new.  I am an avid quote fan if you can’t tell from my ongoing list of motivational quotes page I have on this blog.  I use these quotes to challenge myself, my clients, myself (oh wait, I already said that!) but I really do mean myself.  I need to be motivated on a constant basis because I am just like everyone else, if I hurt or am tired I don’t want to exercise.  If I don’t feel well, I want to lounge around on the couch.  If I’m grumpy (oh wait that never happens!  😉 okay it happens a lot more than I would like to admit) I need motivation.

So I decided to try motivational mondays.  I am not sure what way, shape, or form this will take ie: quotes, inspiring things, pictures of words from Pinterest (my other obsession) or just stories of motivation.  Also let me make this statement, when I say mondays, I mean monday evenings because I get up realllllllyyyyy early and I am not a morning person so I only accomplish the absolute necessary things in the morning like shower, teeth brushing, eating breakfast, and fixing my lunch before I walk out the door.  So if you are looking for motivation to get you out the door on monday you may have to use it for tuesdays to get rid of your terrible tuesdays instead!  Or read it a week later, which this method is not recommended due to the fact I want to keep you reading and interested in all my insightful material.! 🙂

Here is my first motivational monday posting: 

For me this quote really strikes a chord and sometimes not a very nice sounding one, kind of out of key actually.  I am back on that whole got to make a plan/goal and put it out there.  I see a theme going on here.  (If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to go back and read my other blogs especially the one on “Figuring it out”)

If you are not happy where you are, why do we stay there?  Why don’t we make some changes?  I know a huge reason!  COMFORT!  We are comfortable with where we are even if we don’t like it.  Sounds kind of bizarre but it is reality for many of us.  I know several times in my life I have faced situations that were no good and I chose to continue to stay there and deal with the pain because it seemed easier than finding something else.  I was comfortable and felt in control because I knew what to expect.  When we step out of that comfort zone is when things get scary!  We feel out of control.  But if we step out with some sort of plan/dream/goal, we will not only be more successful, but chances are we will find comfort in our efforts.  We will wonder why we didn’t make this change sooner.

So I challenge you on this first motivational monday to decide if this is where you really want to be?  If not, why not take a day to at least dream of where you want to be and begin to figure out how to get there.  If it is where you want to be, then congrats!  You are doing great!  Me, most of my life is where I want it, just working on some other things, imagining, dreaming, and planning.

Ice Cream Therapy

As some of you might know, I visit ice cream stands during this time of year almost on a nightly basis.  (That is the real reason I run.  So I can eat Desserts!!!).  I was thinking recently (with the help of my significant other, Dave, who is often my date to local ice cream stands) ice cream really has a therapeutic quality to it.  Here goes my attempt to at least connect that without the use of science because I am not really into that!

  • Ice cream is therapeutic if you’re hot because it cools your core body temperature.
  • Ice cream helps a sore throat when you are sick.
  • Just the act of eating ice cream, especially on a cone, has to be done slowly as to avoid the dreaded cold headache and therefore slowing you down.
  • If you have low blood sugar, ice cream provides all the sugar needed (plus I am sure a lot more than needed) to raise that blood sugar.  (Please don’t use this justification if you are a diabetic!)
  • Ice cream is made of milk so you are getting your calcium.
  • Ice cream brings a family together because all I have to say is “Ice cream” and everyone is happy and ready to go!
  • Buying ice cream at your local ice cream stand supports your community and therefore makes you feel good for helping others!
  • Ice cream is a great end to a long day or a wonderful beginning if you chose to eat it for breakfast which sometimes sounds like a great idea.

See ice cream is therapeutic!  Now you can go eat ice cream at your local ice cream stand and think about all the therapy you are getting with just one lick!  Enjoy!

Figuring it out…

That’s a loaded title isn’t it!  Maybe it should be trying to figure something/anything out!  Let’s see if I can do a little bit of figuring it out…

Let’s start with the running part:  I feel like I am in a rut.  Let’s start over.  I have a 10K race coming up soon (see I say race because of the competitive side of me but it is really just a run with at least 400 of my closest friends but I want to do well so it is a race!).  It is the Lone Gull 10K (http://www.lonegull10k.com/) that I ran last year so this is where my issue is coming from.  I have run this race before and I really want to do better than I did last year 52:57.  You would think, well silly, you have been running longer this time than last and you have completed more miles than last year so chances are there will be no problem.  But you are wrong at least the no problem part (really I am referring to my inside voice talking to myself not you who is reading this!  I am sure you are just waiting for me to get on with it already).  I do have a lot more miles under my running shoes, in fact I have been through several pairs of shoes since that race, I am just starting to feel like I have hit a wall.

Last year about this time I was running more miles a week and exercising more.  Now I run anywhere from 3.5 miles to 4.5 miles a day with a long run on the weekend (last Saturday it was 8 miles and it almost killed me but I finished).  You are probably now tuning out because you are thinking, “Girl you are crazy, that is a lot of miles!”  I know it is pretty good, I just want to get faster!  Now we are back to the competitive me.  I am currently trying this new plan of running at a good pace for about 5 mins and then increasing it to where I feel challenged and keeping that pace for as long as possible which is easy to do on the treadmill but almost impossible to do outside.  I am still completing my 3+ mile runs outside in the same time and feeling out of breath.

So I am trying to figure out what’s going on… it’s probably the humidity, the fact that I work a full day before I do the run, or maybe my diet.  I am trying to make changes but I just haven’t figured it out quite yet.  Could it be my expectations are just too high or that I am crazy!  I agree with the crazy part but not the expectations.

As I was running today and trying to listen to my thoughts and trying to process everything in my head it got me to really thinking…. Could my expectations be too high?  Really!  I don’t mean that I can’t expect the most of myself, I just wonder if by not really setting a time goal how do I expect myself to ever reach something that I just expect to be there.  (That was a little confusing!)

I guess what I mean (and I will continue to use my running as my example) is that I want to do better than last year.  But what does that mean.  Does that mean I want to do faster miles (faster than my average of 8:48) meaning I will have a faster finishing time?  Do I want the race to feel easier?  What exactly are my expectations?

How often do we set ourselves up like this?  We make a general statement that I want things to be better and we never clearly define what it is we are looking for so then we never know when we get there.  We just keep saying we want it to get better, we want it to get easier and yet when things change we just continue to want something else.  Our expectations continue to go unmet.  Obviously I am a victim of that!

So how do we change things?  How do we get our expectations met?  Well to me, now, looks like we need to verbalize, write them down, tell someone, or just do something to clearly define our expectation.  So here is what I am doing….I do want the race to feel easier!  I want to do at least 8:15 min miles and I do want to finish faster than last year and it would be awesome to finish in under 50 mins.  So there you are!  A set goal/expectation and I have told others, I have written it down, and I have defined it!

What are your unmet expectations?  Have you really already met it and don’t even realize it?  Write it down, define it, own it and strive towards it with all you’ve got!

Birthday!

So I sit here on the eve of a huge birthday.  Not mine (already turned the big 4-0 this year and it wasn’t too bad) but my daughter’s 18 birthday!  I’m feeling somewhat traumatized.  Not that I don’t look old enough to have an 18 year (which I don’t think I do :-)) but that my daughter is growing up.  Technically tomorrow she becomes an adult.  But fortunately for me she still has her senior year of high school so I feel like she is still a kid.

But now back to the traumatization…. I didn’t think we would ever get to this point.  Realistically I knew we had to get here but it just goes so fast.  Time really does fly.  Feels like just yesterday I was watching her dance across the living room floor, twirling so hard she would fall down and now she gets up in front of huge crowds and expresses herself through dance so elegantly bringing tears to my eyes.  She is incredibly focused in everything she does from school to dance to what I hope she is when she drives, focused!  What can I say, I’m so proud.

Why do I feel traumatized/overwhelmed by these big events?  Is it because I am starting to feel old (not really, I only feel old right now because the gym and I are having lots of dates lately and he seems to be beating me up!)?  Is it because I know that in one more year our house will be empty?  Well that might be some of it!  I love my kid and want her always to be around even though that is unrealistic and I would probably go out of my mind if she lived with me forever!  Or she would go out of her mind if she lived with ME forever!

I am thinking the real answer might be in the fact that it marks a big transition.  I remember when I turned 18 (hey stop laughing, it wasn’t that long ago that I can’t remember some of it!) I remember the thoughts of freedom that went through my head.  I was excited now because I could make my own decisions and it was a great time.  As much as I want that for my daughter, I also still want her to want her mom’s opinion on things and to ask me what I think.  I hope this doesn’t change because she has one more day under her belt that shows she is older.

How are we supposed to handle these big transition times?  Well I want to say with grace and elegance but really we are not in the 50’s where we have to hide our true emotions.  I am currently handling these moments (which there promise to be quite a few this year with it being her senior year too) with lots of tears.  Some tears of sadness because I will miss her.  But tears of joy looking back over what we have accomplished together and what she has accomplished on her own.  Also lots of pride because really in the end, I created a pretty good kid/emerging adult!  Caring, loving, and kind hearted and overall someone I am proud of.

So tonight’s blog is dedicated to this child of mine who changed my life 18 years ago and continues to be an integral part of my daily life.  I would not have it any other way!  Happy 18th Birthday Mackenzie!