A Matter of Balance: A Woman's Quest for Health, Harmony & Kick-ass Heels

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rainbow Reflection

This blog post was 11/16/10  written while on vacation in Aruba.

This morning while walking on the beach in Aruba I saw the most magnificent rainbow.  Walking on the beach is one of my favorite past times and my morning ritual when I'm here.  I generally walk at least an hour each morning, stopping at the end of my walk to get my morning coffee, then enjoying it on the beach.

Aside from the $2 for coffee and my condo key, I usually have my ipod in hand, listening to podcasts or  favorite tunes. 

As I stepped on the beach today I saw a rainbow that took my breath away.  My first though was "OMG how beautiful!" Which was followed immediately by "I wish I had my carmera or my phone to snap a picture.  Should I go back and get it?" 

What?? Is that crazy?

There I was, rather than taking total delight  in the scene before me, I was wondering how I can capture it rather than just enjoying it.   

My grandmother was always the life of every party (many of you know her as Dolly).  She was also obsessed with capturing it all on film and video tape.  Smile for the camera. Hold that pose. And recreate the moment if necessary.

And while I appreciate having those tangible memories now (although I didn't like posing so much back then) I wonder if she every really enjoyed the moment. 

The memory struck me as I stood and took in the perfection of the rainbow.

In today's age of instant information where our lives are chronicled on Facebook and Twitter and our every action can be broadcast on You Tube, it's refreshing to stand in the sand, breath the salt air and enjoy a rainbow moment.


Addendum    Three days later I was taking a walk specifically to take some pictures of the scenery and find some interesting shots and lo and behold --- another rainbow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sharpening the saw

A few vacation scenes

Do you remember the parable about the woodcutter who had become totally exhausted by his work? He chopped furiously, unwilling to stop for a moment, in a frenzy to meet his quotas.

One day a stranger stopped and observed this frantic pace.  After a few moments, he asked the woodcutter if he could inspect his ax.  The stranger ran his finger along the dull blade and raised his eyebrows.  

"If you take a few minutes to sharpen your ax," he told the chaotic woodcutter, "the work will go much more quickly and easily."
"I can't," the agitated woodutter replied.  "I just don't have the time."

Sound familiar?

Are you cutting wood with a dull ax?  Could you move through your day with more efficiency and grace if you just took time to sharpen the ax?  

I was fortunate enough to take a vacation last week and as I return to my regular routine I'm reminded that sharpening our ax doesn't have to be a week away (how often do we get that luxury?).  It can be through exercise, meditation, healthy food choices or simply ten minutes a day of quiet.  Although I have a busy day today, I am planning to take a break a little later to read and enjoy a cup of tea this afternoon before I start my  Juniors class. Believe me, that 20 minute break can be a lifesaver!

Making time to sharphen the ax daily will hel pyou stay balanced and at ease no matter what your day may bring.

When we take time to do things which center and balance us on the inside the things on the outside flow much more easily. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shake what your mama gave you

After our zip lining adventure in September, Pina and I decided to bring it indoors for an adventure of a different type.  We headed to Xenia for an evening of Mediterranean food and Belly Dancing by the beautiful Tava.

I've taken Tava's Belly Dancing classes before so I knew were were in for a good show.

We sampled many different types of food (I even tried lamb for the first time believe it or not!) and we were swept away by the beauty and abandon of the dancing.  During the performance Tava pulled several women up to dance.  Even our waitress (who had also taken Tava's classes) joined in the fun.

Even though these women may not have had Tava's blingy costume (or her abs for that matter), they danced with confidence and grace.  They were not self conscious.  They were proud and simply inspiring. 

It was such a great reminder to "shake what your mama gave you!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

“Choose your attitude and your actions and boldy act!”

What keeps you from getting stuck in the mud?  Our Big Fish community is blogging about this topic this week. 

I love Lorin Beller's perspective - "The most frustrated people I know are not in action.  When we get stuck, we often try to think our way into action, but that just gets us even more stuck."  Yep, we've all been there!

Yesterday I spoke to the students at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy about what it's like to own a business.  At the end one of the students posed this question: " If you had everything  you ever knew about business erased from my mind and could only keep one thought, what would it be?"

Tough one!  

My answer was that you need to have passion to be an entrepreneur but you also must plan, plan, plan and be flexible enough to change the plan as needed. 

For me, planning helps keep me in motion. It is the first step to getting out of my head and taking action.  It keeps me engaged in Lorin's four steps for acting boldly:

DECIDE to act. 
DEFINE my goals. 
DEFY my fears. 
DO it.

Without planning  these steps would not be possible and I spend a lot less time spinning my wheels!

What keeps you out of the mud?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A look back - 20 years of dancing....and a whole lot more

This week I'm celebrating my 20th anniversary of becoming a Jazzercise instructor and franchise owner.  I never thought at age 24 that this choice would have become such an instrumental part of my life.

As I reflect back there are SO memories, but the legacy for me is all of the lives that have been impacted, in big and small ways.

Obviously sometimes it's an improvement in health or weight loss but many times it's an emotional transformation. Our bodies are a reflection of the life and attitude we create for ourselves and the biggest change is  when a person becomes confident in her body, and realizes all that she is capable of in every aspect of her life.  I am blessed to have witnessed all of these changes thousands of times over the years.

Just like I couldn't put just one class together of my favorite routines, I could never compile 20 years of memories in one simple list.  Yet, I felt an "anniversary blog" was in order.  So here are 20 highlights that come to mind ( in no particular order).

  1. Taking my first Jazzercise class with my mom at the Ridgefield Boy's Club with my first instructor Jill
  2. Teaching my very first class at the Fairfield Grace Methodist Church to a packed room.
  3. Opening Day of the Jazzercise Fitness Center of Stamford on Hope Street
  4. Teaching at the Tres Jazz Convention in New Orleans, as well as twice at the Providence Convention .What an honor to be chosen not to mention how much fun it is to be on the BIG stage!
  5. Hosting Tim Roberts at my Center (twice!)
  6. Traveling to Jazzercise conventions in Boston, Providence, Miami, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, New Orleans to dance and sweat with hundreds of other like-minded women (and men).  Truly exhilarating!
  7. Being mentored by the fabulous Donna Duris and Chris Melfi Damon who taught me how to rock the stage.  No one better to learn from than these two!
  8. Hosting a fundraiser for 22 families of firemen lost in September 11th.  In addition to the money we raised, having one of the Fire Chiefs who had lost several of his men attended the event in honor of his crew was a real highlight.  Plus a live performance by my friend Kevin Briody singing, The Parade,  with all of the instructors doing the final stretch which I choreographed  to his music.Not a dry eye in the house!
  9. My impromptu Bachelorette party (organized by Kara) in Vegas.  A lot of firsts that night, but as you know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
  10. Spending an afternoon and evening in Kansas City with Jazzercise founder, Judi Shepard Missett (completely by accident!), including a little shopping, dinner and then having a drink while listening to jazz (her favorite of course!). 
  11. Our Holiday performance show which featured the ladies from the Senior Center in Stamford, my elementary school Juniors, my  pre-teen class and a performance from our instructors.  Truly rewarding to see that joy through dance and movement IS for EVERYBODY.
  12. Mentoring women (probably almost 20 over the years) to become instructors and to realize their potential, achieve a goal and overcome doubts about how great they can really be.  Watching THEM teach is the real gift for me.
  13. Our first Susan Komen Fundraiser in 2000 with instructors from all over the area (Alicia, Lynn, Shannon, John, Mary, Deb, Chris, Donna...and who else?).  We raised over $17,000 that night for Breast Cancer.
  14. Being inspired by Judi's keynote speech at the Elite Instructor Convention this spring, as well as watching 20 years of her visionary leadership.
  15. Participating in countless community events, warm ups for charity walks, health fairs, fundraisers, auctions,
  16. Appearing on T.V. on  12 on Health twice as the guest fitness expert (twice!).
  17. Having my business story featured in Sixteen Weeks to Your Dream Business.
  18. Most recently, being selected as a cover model for Healthy Life magazine in 2011
  19. Working with my mom.  What could be better? She's funny, wields a mean Swiffer and is my best friend.   
  20. Above all, the relationships created  through this experience have been the biggest blessing of my life.   Not only the friendships I have made, but the friendships I witness being made each day. We have seen each other through marriages, divorces, untimely deaths, health challenges, births, bad hair days and much more.   We are always there to share a hug or shake a hip. And that's what keeps me going.

How about you?  If you have a Jazz-er memory we shared (even if you weren't taking a class, but just remember something about the Jazzer-journey), please add your comment below.

As the cliche goes...... thanks for the memories!