A love letter to Myself

Dear: Alexandra,

It’s been over a month since your last letter to yourself and a lot has changed since then. I’m so proud of you for being able to pour your heart out like that for the world to see. Ever since then, your awareness of yourself has only grown. You have learned so much from yourself, and from other people over the past two months. Recently, you have made a new friend through your volunteer work at Moksha Yoga who said to you, “Imagine the things you could do if you gave yourself half the love that you give to others.” It still makes you feel emotional when you think about it because it’s true. Alex, you’re in this unhappy place right now because you don’t value yourself the way you should. You have given so much of yourself away over the past few years, that now it seems like you don’t even know who you are anymore. You have lost yourself in other people. You have allowed too many people to take your energy away from you. Because of this, you’ve constantly been questioning yourself, and your value. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. You are not the problem. The problem is that you have put yourself on the side line. You have put the needs of others before your own needs. This teaches other people that it is okay to walk all over you. If you don’t show enough respect for yourself, how is someone else supposed to respect you? You know this. You’ve just wasted too much of your energy trying to take care of others instead of taking care of yourself. So here we are.

You used to tell people, “you are the most important person in your life.” It seems like you haven’t taken your own advice. For some reason that rule applied to everyone else but you. Well no more. We know that this cannot go on, you have no other choice now but to put yourself first. This is your life Alex, you need to take charge of it. I see you doing it and I’m so proud! Don’t give up. Every obstacle that life gives you is just that, an obstacle. An obstacle that is meant to be overcome. The universe is testing you, God is testing you, to see if you really want this. To see if you’re ready for the new challenges ahead. You are ready, you’ve been ready. I know it. You know it. That is the whole point of this letter. I love you Alexandra Michelle Rinaldo, and I refuse to see you fall. I’m picking you back up because no one else can. You are a warrior. You are one of the strongest people I know. You are generous, kind, and compassionate. You have so much love to give, and now it’s time to give that all to yourself. You know that if your passion in life is to serve others, then you must serve yourself first. You are of no use to other people if you can’t walk the talk yourself. The best way you can help anyone else is to help yourself first. Lead by example. This is the greatest gift that you could give yourself or anyone else. As Michael Jackson says, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” As corny as that is, I don’t care. It’s true. The story of your life, your happiness begins and ends with you. Just you, that’s it.

A week or so ago, you were listening to a beautiful podcast with Alanis Morisette and Oprah, and Alanis said that “art is cathartic but it’s not healing.” I thought that was very interesting. She said that it “could be a catalyst for investigation.” In some ways, I agree. I think that these letters or short stories, whatever you want to call them are my own creative expression, and therefore my own form of art. I do find them to be very cathartic, but I don’t know if I would say they are healing. They have healing properties, and I find them to be very helpful to the healing process. But just because we’ve written these letters, does not mean that we don’t need to still do the loving work of always taking care of ourself first Alex. These letters are a symbol of us ridding ourselves of the things that no longer serve us in our life. They are a symbol of us choosing to move forward with our life, but we still need to be active in moving forward.

You’re doing all the right things. I know you’re doing your best. Keep it up. The more you invest in yourself, the better you will be. Your life, your happiness is what you put into it. No one else can do it for you. You have to do the work. It’s a labour of love. You work hard in the gym because you deserve to feel good, look good, and you deserve to have the strength and the power to take care of your damn self! You eat healthy and vegetarian because it makes sense for you. Because you value your body, and your health. You write because you love it. It gives you energy and you have something to say. What you write has value. You plan and cook your own meals because you care about what you feed yourself. Because for you, food is love. Food has always been a focal point in your life. You are a talented cook, you know that. For a long time you would work hard in the kitchen for the benefit of others. Now you are learning new ways of cooking completely for yourself. Good for you! You deserve only the best! Remember that. Work hard everyday so that you can provide yourself with only the best in life. You have done a great job of creating and maintaining relationships with amazing friends and family who love and support you no matter what. Keep finding positive people who give you energy, who teach you new things. The better you treat yourself, the higher your vibrations will be, and you will be able to attract others who are on the same wavelength as you. Good things are coming Alex! I can feel it. Keep loving yourself, keep working on yourself everyday. Everyday is a challenge but you got this!

I believe in you and I love you.

Alexandra Rinaldo


Trust Yourself, Trust the Process, the Results Will Come

Originally I wanted to talk about my fitness career and how it has evolved over time to the place where I am now. However, once I started writing this piece I realized that really it’s about how I equated my career with my self-worth. I have never truly admitted this to anyone, and it’s funny how I’m posting it online, but for some reason this just feels right, so I’m not going to question it. I’m sure some of my loved ones already know what I’m about to say because I’ve been circling around it for a while now, but I have been dealing with depression. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. It’s been really hard for me to admit, and I’ve been trying to fight it as hard as I can on my own but I know now that, that isn’t getting me very far. I do believe that depression is a very personal battle, one that you can only truly overcome on your own. However, not talking about it, or not talking about your fears only makes things harder. It’s like trying to climb a mountain with rocks in your backpack instead of food and water. And man, I’m tired. I’m done fighting alone. I think I knew that this piece was coming, I think I knew in my heart I had to write this, but I could only write it when I was ready. Hence the almost two-week break from my last piece.

I’ve realized that my biggest fears and my greatest joys surround fitness and my career (my career is in fitness) so really they are one in the same. It is very much my personality to always want to be surrounded by loads of people. I am highly extroverted and I’ve never really liked being on my own, until recently. I also have a tendency to respond more readily to outside expectations rather than expectations that I have placed upon myself. I am always the dependable friend who you can call on any time of day and I will be there for you 110%. I think that is why I love my job so much. It is so easy for me to think of others first, and to readily respond to their needs first. This is not to say that I don’t ever do what I want, but for the most part what I want is what others want. These are some of my greatest strengths but they have also been a hindrance for me, because they were always the easy thing for me to do. These things made it easier for me to pretend that everything was fine in my life, and to not tackle the things in my life that worried me the most. It was easier for me to focus on others, a coping mechanism if you will. I knew and/or believed that others needed me, so therefore I had to be the “strong one.” At least this was the expectation I placed upon myself. I didn’t want to burden others with what I was feeling or going through so I didn’t talk about it much, or at least not to the detail I would have liked. I am the type of person that feels this need to be brutally honest about everything. I need to talk about everything, but for some reason there were many things that I had a very hard time talking about. This was foreign to me and it never really made me feel good. But now the “strong one,” feels left behind. It’s no one’s fault, and that I guess is the hardest pill to swallow. It’s really hard when you’ve found yourself in a bad place, a place that you never thought you would be, and then to look back on your life and the decisions you made without shame, guilt, or regret. It’s really hard to not punish yourself, and make yourself feel small. However, what I do know for a fact is that when you find yourself in this place, a place that you no longer want to call home. A place where your fears are big (real or imagined) this is the time where you need to build yourself up. This is the time where you need to be brave. Because you will never free yourself of the regret, guilt, and shame if you don’t forgive yourself first. You did your best with the knowledge you had. Now you know better because you are in a place you never wanted to be in the first place. It is really hard to not take this personally because it is very personal. It’s your life!!! But crying, wallowing, and making yourself feel small will not make these problems go away. If anything they will continue to fester and grow.

I made the decision to be brave this past September. That is when it truly dawned on me that I can no longer live my life the way I was, something had to change. I realized that the way I was living was bringing me nowhere near the life I always wanted. I needed to take a step back and refocus myself onto myself. I needed to take the time to heal, and to realign myself with my core values, with the things that brought me the most joy, with the things that made me feel the most like myself. It started off small. I started to cut out habits that I had formed as a way of distracting myself from my worries and my pain. I then started to get myself to do more fitness classes with my friends, and I even started running outside (in the winter) with my friends. A task I truly hated because I am a terrible runner, let alone running in the cold. But I also enjoyed it because it got me moving. I felt great after every run, and I was so proud of myself for even trying. I also started to really clean up my diet during this time. I really started to eat more vegetarian. I don’t know it just feels right to me.

Eventually, my healing process lead me to make a soul map. This was a powerful tool for me, and it really helped me to put a lot of my thoughts into perspective. My weekend in Collingwood for New Years with my closest friends was the tipping point for me. It was the point where I could no longer hold my bottled up emotions in and they spilled out uncontrollably. Not my finest hour, but I’m so glad it happened. Because it opened up the flood gates and it was really the catalyst to my healing. Ever since that day I have been making a conscious effort towards my healing every single day. I journal, read, meditate, sing and dance, listen to podcasts, do yoga, eat the best I can, and so on every single day. It is because of all this I have been able to face my fears, to be honest with myself, and ultimately honest with everyone else. It is a big reason why these past few blog pieces have been so deep. It just feels right. I’m doing this for me, putting it online, and into the world is so therapeutic to me because the second I hit the publish button it is no longer in my control. By posting it I am surrendering to whatever happens. Not only is that super scary but it is also so comforting too. It’s weird. I’ve noticed that with my last two pieces, yes they drained me emotionally, physically, and mentally to produce, but at the same time they gave me so much energy and happiness. I have not reread them. I might one day, but for now I don’t feel the need to. Also, the song I’ll be missing you by P Diddy and Faith Evans no longer makes me cry. I know that talking openly about my depression will free me from it. Maybe not right away, but it no longer has so much control over me anymore. Even just typing about it at the beginning of this post was such a release. So much so, that I’m not emotional anymore about it (right now at least). I do feel that I can now speak in person to people about my depression and actually call it what it is. It doesn’t scare me anymore because now it has a name.

It has been really hard for me to allow myself to feel the things I need to feel. I’ve been fighting it for so long. I’m naturally an annoyingly positive person and I guess part of me thought that if I allowed myself to openly feel the negative things I was feeling I would no longer be that positive person. I now know that, that isn’t true. How do I know that? Well for starters, just because you aren’t being completely open about your pain doesn’t mean that other people can’t sense it, and no matter how fast you try to outrun your feelings they will always be there. Because you can’t outrun your feelings. If your life is out of alignment with who you truly are (and not who you think you are aka your ego) the universe will constantly remind you. The universe will keep smacking you down until you’ve finally had enough; until you can finally surrender and let it be.

I always knew that fitness and the gym was such a great metaphor for life. It really, really is and I don’t care about how corny it makes me sound. First of all, one phrase that my coach would always say to me when I was training for my bodybuilding shows was “trust the process.” I will never forget it. I fully trusted the process when it came to my bodybuilding training and I followed his guidelines to a tee! I did EVERYTHING HE SAID AS BEST I COULD and I knew that the rest would follow. I knew that if I put in the work, the results would show, and well… It worked! Man, I went from 8th place Bikini in November 2014 to second place Figure in 11 months! I look back and it makes me laugh that I had so much trust in myself, my coach, and the process when it came to bodybuilding but I had a hard time applying that trust to myself when it came to my career. It makes me sad that I allowed the negative experiences in my career that I came across post university to have me questioning myself, and the process. It’s a trap! It’s really hard to not take events that happen in your life, especially negative events, personally. It’s really hard to separate yourself from the bad job, or bad boss, or the fact that you’re not making any money. I’ve experienced all of those things trying to “make it” in the fitness industry. I always knew this was my calling, but I didn’t realize how challenging it was going to be. Instead of taking these experiences as lessons, and motivations to work harder to get past the grunt work and into the light, I allowed myself to become arrogant. I allowed myself to become a victim of circumstance, and because I was thinking of myself as a victim, all the terrible things were happening to me. In my mind, I wasn’t doing it to myself but rather life was doing it to me. I was thinking that I should be farther along in my career, not realizing just how much work is involved to really “make it” in any career, let alone my own. For some unknown reason I thought I deserved more than what I was getting. I’m re-learning that things don’t just come to you. I’ve always known that, but sometimes when you think that life has gotten the best of you, it’s hard to see through the fog of your own mind. Like I said before, put in the work and trust the process, the results will come. The more clear your are with your outcome, and you have aligned everything in your life with that outcome, eventually you will succeed. I’ve been there, done that, and here I am doing it again. I’ll be doing this process again and again for the rest of my life. The only positive is that I know what it’s like when you don’t trust yourself and the process, and I don’t ever want to feel that again. I can’t promise that I never will, but because I’ve learned it once before, it will be easier in the future to keep the faith.

The second major gym metaphor/lesson that I’ve learned is that failure is good, and if anything its welcome. The only difference is, failure in the gym doesn’t hurt as much. I mean it hurts! But in more of a physical sense, it BURNS!!! But it doesn’t have a lasting emotional and mental pain that failure can have in real life if you allow it to. Failure is essential to your physical fitness. You need to fail in order to fully understand where your fitness ability lies. You will never know how much you can physically do until you do it until failure. That’s when you know where your physical breaking point is, and you can only build from there. Literally, your muscle’s potential for growth if you do an exercise to failure is exponential! Getting to failure in the gym is HARD! It hurts A LOT! And the whole time your brain is screaming MAKE IT STOP FOR GOD’S SAKE!!! Man, I remember my coach would make me do bicep curls until I physically couldn’t curl anymore. Then he would help me get to a static bicep curl hold and make me hold the bicep curl until my arms fell limp. Like noodles. They would just fall and I couldn’t stop it. He was like “you’re not done until you can no longer physically curl your arm.” Damn… most people don’t get there. I did, several times. It hurt so much, but at the same time it felt oh so good! Why? Well, first of all it was over! Thank God! The pain was over, and all the was left was this feeling of exhaustion and accomplishment. Holy shit! I’ve never pushed myself so hard in my life and it feels so good! Now, apply that to your life. Sounds simple right? Nope it’s not. It hurts a lot. I would argue that it hurts more. If you fail in real life it’s not just you who may feel the impact of your failures and that sucks. However, what I’ve come to understand is that failures and obstacles are brought into your life because you were meant to overcome them. And they will keep manifesting in your life until you learn to overcome them. They are lessons. It is when your fighting through the pain, the fears, this is where you have the highest potential for growth. Failure informs you of what you’re capable of, the same way failure in the gym does. It took me some time to really understand this. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone and risk failure, the more potential you have to grow. I see that now. It’s hard, and I’m still working through it but if you truly want to have an exceptional life full of purpose, you need to fail. Failure is good, and it is welcome, a new mantra to live by.

There was a full paragraph that I edited out where I was outlining the points in my life where my depression was the most apparent. I was describing the times where I wasn’t writing my blog regularly, working out regularly, etc. I’ve realized that no one cares, and I don’t need to prove to anyone that I am no longer living that way, so I deleted it. Happiness, success, love, they all speak for themselves. These are all the things I will forever be working towards. To me happiness is balance, and what I’ve learned recently is that balance is a verb and not a noun. You must always practice balance, because the second you think you have balance, you’ve lost it and you need to find it again. I’m proud of myself for the progress I’ve made, and I know that my depression does not define me. I know that even though I’ve been suffering from depression, I’m still a positive person. I’m still here, fighting through the pain, and trusting the process, the results will come.

 

 

 


Are you brave enough to break your own heart? A second letter to myself, a new beginning….

Dear: Alexandra,

Wow! I’m so fucking proud of you! Honestly, the first heart breaking letter that you wrote and shared with the world this past Saturday was a huge shift for you in the right direction. As I’m sure you know, writing that letter felt bad; it was super scary and uncomfortable to write let alone put it on the internet. It felt super fucking good at the same time. It was also so liberating! Which is why it felt right. Abuse of any kind is really hard to talk about, however, I’ve been realizing just how important it was to talk about. Not only for yourself but for women, and people anywhere who’s found themselves in a toxic situation. You were able to write about your experience in such a candid and fair way because you were far enough away from that part of yourself that you were able to see it clear as day. You were able to see the bigger picture, you were able to accept it, forgive your abuser, and let it be. That part of yourself no longer serves you, you recognized it and you let it die. YAAAAAAAAS GIRL!!!

But here I am again about to break your heart yet again and let you in on some news that I know you know deep in your heart; this isn’t over. In fact, it’s only just begun. This isn’t going to play out how you originally thought. You’re not just going to write one or two heartfelt, painful letters to yourself. You actually have so, so many letters to write. You have to be brave and fight for yourself, and for what you believe in. You know that you have to anchor yourself in your dreams, values, and beliefs but you must be flexible in how you achieve them. You may not have thought at first that maybe this would be an avenue for you to live out your dreams, and yet here you are doing it. When you wrote your first blog post for 2018, you felt a burning sensation that just wouldn’t go away. You knew that it was important to write about your experience and to put it out in the universe. That was the beginning of your powerful and necessary journey to rediscover your power. You even wrote in that very blog your intention for this year was to find your power. Well bitch, this is your power. You’ve been told your entire life how you’re so loud, that your voice carries. Your voice has always been, and will forever be powerful. You know that. Which is why you know that you have to keep using your power, using your voice to fight for yourself. Your own wellness, and well the wellness of others as well.

You are a strong, powerful, opinionated, educated, able-bodied woman who has a talent for writing. You’re a storyteller. This has never been new to you but I’m here to remind you of this power. Words have always held power for you. Ever since you were a part of the “writing club” in elementary school. Why do you think you like writing this blog in the first place? Why has using a journal been so helpful? Why do you think you’ve fallen deeply in love with reading again? It’s not a coincidence. It’s a calling. A call that you now must answer. If you believe strongly in health and wellness then you need to use your ability as a story-teller to help convey that message to as many people as possible. You know that wellness is holistic. You know that mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health are all important. They must all be balanced in order for you to be the highest version of yourself. You must always strive to achieve this balance for yourself and part of doing that is writing your pain for others to see. For whatever it just feels right. It’s scary and it’s hard but you know you have a voice and you must use that voice to speak about things that are difficult to talk about. Pain and suffering is part of the human condition. Bad things happen to everyone, good or bad, rich or poor, it really doesn’t discriminate. But wellness can also be had by all. Wellness is something that you must always be working towards. You are the happiest, most positive, most loving, most powerful person when you’re working everyday at being the highest version of yourself. You have always seen yourself as a leader, but now you know that in order to be a leader you must always do your best to BE a leader. A leader in the wellness community. A leader that brings love, compassion, and integrity to EVERYTHING she does. Your writing, your classes, your private sessions with your clients because at the end of the day this is bigger than you.

By breaking yourself down in front of the “world” (the people who read your blog) you are not only able to build yourself back up, but maybe someone else as well? I’ve realized that there is power in making yourself vulnerable through these letters. Every time you write about your own experiences, and the lessons you had to learn, you are stepping more and more into the light. And when you step into the light, you will look over your shoulder and see that you’re not alone. That there are actually many people who know your pain too. People who are working through their own turmoil. Pain is relative. Everyone experiences pain in their lives, it is through your courage that you face your fears, your pain, and therefore let them go.

Image result for fear begets fear cheryl strayed

As the author Cheryl Strayed has said that quotes are little instruction manuals for the soul and I have to say that I agree. Like I’ve said above, there is power in words and your voice is powerful. Use it to regain your power, to be more in alignment for what you believe is your soul’s purpose. I know that you know, that you were made to serve others. You were put on this earth to do everything you can to lead people to bettering themselves and therefore bettering the world. But in order to do that you must do that for yourself first. You have to continue down this path of vulnerability to reach a higher version of yourself, and when you are at your best, it will encourage others to hopefully do the same. The best in you will therefore inspire the best in others. You need to believe that and keep fighting. Fight for your wellness, and the wellness of others. I know you believe that this is your soul’s purpose, but it’s going to be hard. Exposing yourself in this way, is painful but it’s powerful. You know that there’s great opportunity in candidly sharing your story with others. It’s a big part of who you are, how you came to be, but letting it go and putting it out in the universe also frees you to be whoever you were meant to be. Your highest version.

Keep fighting, use your power.

Alexandra Rinaldo


Are you brave enough to break your own heart? A letter to myself before I turn 29.

Dear: Alexandra,

It only seems fitting that you write your last series of blog posts before turning 29 next week in the form of a letter addressed to yourself. This is probably the hardest thing you’ve ever convinced yourself to write, and who knows what’s going to happen after you press the “publish” button here on WordPress and all of a sudden this letter no longer belongs to you. Once you’ve put this letter out into the universe it will be an official letting go of a bunch of shit that you’ve been holding on to your entire twenties. A bunch of shit that no longer serves you, and is in fact weighing you down. I want my last year of my twenties to be of liberation, so that when my 30th birthday rolls around it’s not filled with dread. I’ve never really been afraid of getting older because I’ve never thought of myself as old, and I still don’t feel that way. I feel like my life has only just begun, and there’s still plenty of things to learn, see, and do, which is why I feel like this letter is so important. I have no idea what the future will hold, but I know that if I want my life to be full of happiness, love, and abundance, there’s a lot of shit that I need to let go of. I need to break your heart Alex, and let go of this idea of who Alex is. I need to be brave enough to admit all of my faults; to let myself be truly vulnerable. This is the first step to acceptance and growth. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, you can’t change your reality for the better until you accept it first. You need to be honest about exactly what you’re dealing with in order to make a lasting change.

So here it goes. Ever since I’ve made reading, writing a journal, writing my blog, meditation, podcasts made by people I admire, and yoga more of a regular practice (I pretty much try to do most of these things daily), I’ve made great strides in my own personal self-healing and overall growth. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and the things that I convinced myself were true, but aren’t. I’ve really done my absolute best to dig deep, and to be present. I’ve realized a lot about the language I’ve been using to describe myself, not only to myself but to others. I’ve realized that I am a pretty good story-teller, and I’m pretty good at convincing others of my shit, including myself. However, when I say that I feel like so much has changed in the last two months of 2018, I really do mean it! But if I was truly honest, this wave of change began way before my New Years Eve breakdown. I felt the reckoning coming for a while. The people who know me the best, know this to be true as well. I’ve been saying that I want to change, that I want to be better, and do better for myself ever since I’ve moved to Toronto in September 2016. That is when I would say that I was asking for change the most. Even in my blog posts at the time, if you read them, there was a promise of change. The problem was, I really didn’t know how this change would look like, or how it would feel. Or I knew how all along, I just wasn’t open to the idea just yet. I was still very much trapped in fear, trapped in my own Ego. If you want me to get super real, I haven’t been as happy as I thought I was when I was attending school at Laurier. I convinced myself that, that was the happiest time for myself, and so I’ve held on strong to this version of Alex for a long time. Until now, when I’ve finally realized that this version of Alex no longer serves me. She never really existed. Well she did, but not as how you would like to remember her, and so here is the breaking of your heart Alex.

This past Tuesday you did a Yoga with Kassandra video in your Toronto home, and it was a Yin Yoga meditation focusing on the Sacral Chakra of Creativity and Sensuality. This is the third chakra video that you’ve followed made by Kassandra, and every time you have discovered something new about yourself. Generally, in these video she has come up with a mantra pertaining to each chakra, or if you’re focusing on one particular chakra all of the mantras said throughout the practice deal with the different aspects of that chakra. When you did this particular video, the mantra “I am open and receptive to connection and intimacy,” didn’t sit right with you because you knew that you’re weren’t ready for connection and intimacy just yet. If anything you had no real desire to talk to men in a romantic way at all because you felt as though you didn’t have the energy for it right now. Which is all really true, and totally okay. But why? Especially when most people know that what you want most in the world is true love with a romantic partner. You want a family of your own and someone to fight alongside you through life. So why do you feel as though you’re not ready for this right now? Well, you’ve told your friends that you want to focus on yourself, your finances this year, and your business. This is true, and you are already doing this to better all these aspects of your life, but why aren’t you ready to for romantic love?

We know it’s not because you’re incapable of love, because you have many loving relationships with your friends and family, but for some reason you’re constantly experiencing a Ground Hog Day scenario when it comes to your boyfriends. In many ways they all seem to be similar versions of the same guy, you’re only truly conscious of this fact now through your own self-reflection and meditation. But why are all these guys so similar to one another? Well, that answer came to you as clear as day after you reflected on your conversation with your roommate about her sister’s manipulative ex boyfriend. She was telling you how her sister was finally being honest about how terribly manipulative, and emotionally abusive her boyfriend really was, and that she had no idea that this was even happening. In fact, your roommate had believed that this guy was really great because on the surface he seemed great. You said that you could relate because your university boyfriend turned into a manipulative, and emotional abusive ex boyfriend. You went into detail about the shitty things he said and did during your fourth year of university, that I don’t need to repeat in this letter. However, after you left that conversation on Thursday night, you meditated on what you said and realized that every time you brought up the terrible things your university ex boyfriend did, you only talked about the things he did post break-up. If anything you never, admitted to yourself, or to anyone else that he was actually not a great boyfriend either. And if you did, you didn’t fully believe it. Sure, you both were very much in love with each other, but that love did blind you to the toxicity of that relationship. There were warning signs, and you know it. You knew it all along, but why was it so hard to admit that he wasn’t a good boyfriend? He was your first true love, but he was also a big lesson as well. He used you as an emotional crutch because he had a lot of his own shit that he was going through that he was never able to be honest about with you, or anyone else, including himself. That doesn’t make him a bad person, though this is something that you’ve told yourself ever since you broke up because it helped with the pain. He did a lot of hurtful things to you, he would guilt trip you, he cheated on you, and he would constantly depend on you for almost everything. It was exhausting and yet you still loved him. I know you felt stupid after the breakup, and after you saw just how terrible he was treating you post breakup. You were so upset with yourself for not knowing that he cheated, and for allowing him to manipulate you and make you feel bad for him as a means of keeping you around. But even still, you had and always will have love for him and THAT is even harder to admit.

For a while you hated him. You hated him so, so much. Now he doesn’t really seem to affect you, or so you thought. Yet here we are. It’s okay Alex that you loved him, that you still have love for him, and that he hurt you terribly. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. It doesn’t make him a good person, or a bad person, just human. You are both human. You were also very young. He made mistakes, he was in pain and unfortunately there was nothing that you could do to help at the time. He would never have been able to be the guy you needed him to be, and the love that you had for each other was real but it no longer serves you. It is not the love you need, nor is it the love you deserve. Whether or not you find true love, even though it is a wish of yours, may never come true if you don’t acknowledge the process healing you had to endure during your twenties. This is your final goodbye to your university ex boyfriend, who was in fact not a very good boyfriend to you at all. It was a toxic relationship when you were together and it was even more so when you were out of it. You loved him, you hated him, and now you have forgiven him. Now you know that he had his own pain that he unfortunately was inflicting on you because he did not know at the time what to do with it. That sucks. It’s not right, it will never be right, but it happened, and it’s going to keep on happening until you realize that it has nothing to do with you. This bullshit happens to many people all of the time, but it doesn’t have to define you either. Let it go. It’s over, and now you can truly move on in a very real way. You may have thought you’ve moved on but you didn’t. It wasn’t until you woke up after that conversation with your roommate where you realized that you’ve only been speaking about the negative aspects of your relationship with him from the breakup onwards, but your rarely ever speak about the hard times when you were together. That’s when you knew that he wasn’t his best self with you as much as he should have been. Nobody is perfect, but we can strive to be our best selves the majority of the time, especially when it comes to those we love. And for whatever reason he just could not do that for you. That’s hard to admit, because you loved him so, but it’s the truth. Now that you know all of this, and you have put it out into the universe, it no longer has power over you.

It’s weird to finally realize that by trying to not let it have power of me, it actually had power of me all this time. Pretending that it wasn’t there only made it more present in my life (all the boys I’ve dated who were just not right). Now that I’ve realized the power of presence and meditation, I can finally free myself of the burdens that I’ve been carrying through out my twenties. Goodbye university boyfriend, goodbye forever. Now that this part of you is gone, you can now be fully open to the possibility of true love, the love you’ve always wanted for yourself but could never figure out why it wasn’t happening.

You’re welcome.

Alexandra Rinaldo

love quote

Quote by Cheryl Strayed. I want to love myself and everyone else for real and to do so I must be real. I feel compelled to write these letters because I do believe in health and wellness. Healing both physically and emotionally is a big part of that.


Do you ever feel inadequate?

I’ve realized that feeling inadequate is a perfectly normal and a very human thing to feel, even though many of us are not able to easily admit to feeling this way. The reality is, we have all felt inadequate in some way. We may not feel this way all the time, or we are unconscious to how inadequate we actually feel; but at the end of the day, at some point in our development we have felt like we just don’t quite measure up. This may be in one specific area of your life, or in more of a general sense. The point is, no matter how much we try not to compare ourselves to other people, we just can’t seem to help ourselves. You will do it less often when you’re generally happy with how things are going in your life, but at some point you will do a check in to see how other people are doing just so you can get a sense of where you are in life… Whatever that’s supposed to mean. The thing is, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know how people are doing, it can be a very positive thing, when you genuinely want to know how things are going in someone’s  life and THAT’S IT. The thing is, you need to be mindful of your intentions behind checking up on someone. You need to be mindful as to WHY you care about whatever that person is doing right now in their lives.

Generally speaking, if you truly cared about someone and how they were doing, you would most likely ask them directly. Whatever we see on our social media platforms only gives us a small idea of how people are actually doing. We all know that whatever most people are posting, are either their ideal selves, or the parts of themselves that they are most comfortable sharing. Social media was meant to connect us, but in a lot of ways it has been used to separate us from one another. Instead of having more genuine conversations with one another, where we talk about what’s really going on in our lives, we look to social media as a way of finding that information out. It takes a lot less effort to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed to keep tabs on the people in your life, then to engage in a meaningful conversation. It is much easier to watch someone’s “story” Snapchat or Instagram. If we know for a fact that most people are only sharing parts of themselves on social media and not the whole picture, why do we constantly look at our “news feeds” on these platforms as a means of measuring our own personal success? Why do we punish ourselves like this, and feed our feelings of inadequacy? Even when we are talking with our friends and family, are we really being honest about our fears? Are we secretly afraid of being judged? Or are we afraid of becoming someone else’s problem? I know a lot of us never want to feel like a burden to someone else. This is a big reason why it is so much easier to pretend on social media, and have superficial connections. The nitty gritty isn’t pretty, and it doesn’t feel nice. It’s also very hard to admit. It is very hard to admit to yourself that you are deeply afraid, let alone to anyone else.

Where do these fears and feelings of inadequacy come from? From my experience it comes from a lack of trust. It comes from a lack of trust within yourself, and a lack of trust in God/the universe, whatever you want to call it. Because of this lack of trust, you therefore become hyper aware of the supposed “success” of others. Their lives seem much easier, happier, and more fulfilling than your own. You don’t actually know this for a fact, it’s a story that you have told yourself to explain your own unhappiness. For whatever reason, you have chosen to believe that you aren’t enough (good enough, smart enough whatever), that you don’t have enough, and you are aren’t doing enough.  There never seems to be enough, and therefore you are never satisfied, and you are never happy. Instead of living a life of abundance and gratitude, you end up living a life of scarcity. In our egocentric, capitalist society, there is always an element of scarcity. You can never have enough things, enough money, enough fame, enough success. There’s never enough. This is a story we tell ourselves, and it leaves us feeling left behind. What about me?! Well you wouldn’t be worried about that, if you felt as though you would be taken care of; if you felt as if you could take care of yourself, and that the universe or God was always looking out for you.

The person asking the question “what about me?” Is your ego talking. It is the small me. It is the small version of ourselves that we sometimes confuse for our actual selves. It is the part of ourselves that is always measuring up to others. It is the part of ourselves that is always trying to define itself by separating itself from others either in a positive light, or in a negative light. It is the part of ourselves that doesn’t see past our own self, it is the part of ourselves that is only truly concerned about ourselves. Our ego may trick us into thinking we aren’t selfish because we seem to care about our friends and family. However, a lot of times these people are seen as an extension of ourselves. If we stop concerning ourselves with ourselves, we might actually be happier. If we stop worrying about our lives, and start living our lives we would be a lot happier.

Below are some questions that I found in this book called Big Magic, that really got me thinking about what speaks to my soul. It got me thinking about the things that bring me such joy. The kind of joy that makes me want to shout from the hilltops and share it with the rest of the world. That feeling, is the feeling that you need to chase, no matter how challenging it may seem, because it’s not always going to be easy but it will always feel right. A quote from the happiness project, “happiness is feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.” You need to know what it feels like to feel “bad,” so that you know what to avoid so that you feel good, but sometimes even the things that make you the happiest don’t always make you feel good, but they always feel right, and that’s super important. When things feel right, they are in line with your values, they are in alignment with your purpose, and ultimately they are in line with your being. You just need to trust in that feeling, in things feeling right, even though it may be difficult at times. Keeping all of that in mind, reflect on the following questions and how they relate to you. What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love so much that the words failure and success eventually become irrelevant? What do you love more than you love your own ego? Why should I go through all the trouble to make something if the outcome might be nothing? Well the answer to the last question should be, because it’s fun right? What else are you going to do with your time here on earth, not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and curiosity?

Think about all that and how it applies to your life. We don’t know how long we have on this earth, and we should never take that for granted even though most of us do, because literally anything could happen to you. So with that in mind, how do you want to spend your time here on earth? How would you fill your life with happiness? You know the answers to these questions deep in your heart, you just need to quiet the thoughts in your mind long enough so that you can come to understand it, and believe in it.

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My Quest For Happiness; A Reflection of The Past Month

About a week ago was February 1st, the beginning of the month, and it was also Groundhog Day. You might be asking yourself, who cares? Trust me, I feel you; who cares about Groundhog Day? It does seem like a very pointless holiday, however, it helped me piece together all of the things I’ve been learning this month through practicing mindfulness, or presence if you will (yoga, meditation, and writing a personal journal), and through my quest for happiness, which I will now change to my quest for balance. How did this holiday inspire my writing of this piece? Well, I remembered the movie Groundhog Day (1993) starring Bill Murray. This is a very funny movie, that I watched a long time ago with my Dad. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it, but basically the take away lesson of the movie is this; if you don’t learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them. As they say, history always repeats itself, but I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to. In the movie Bill’s character gets stuck reliving Groundhog Day over and over again, and he is the only one conscious of this phenomenon. So he is stuck in his own personal hell, until he finds a way to break free of this cycle of it always being Groundhog Day. This is a very good metaphor for your everyday personal life, because if you think about it, we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. If you reflect on your life I’m sure you can think of the many times you have lost or broken your phone, or the countless partners you have chosen who were never quite right, or just about anything in your life that you just can’t seem to get right. Why is that?

Well, first off, you can’t fix anything that you can’t see. If you’re not aware of this pattern, and I mean fully aware of it, then you can’t possibly fix it. There’s a difference between what you think you know, and what you actually know. You may “think,” you know why you keep doing the things you’re doing, but from my own personal journey, I’ve realized that thinking alone isn’t going to fix the problem. A lot of times, your thoughts are what stop you from being fully present in the moment. Your thoughts aka your fears are what cloud your judgement, and have you in this endless cycle of unhappiness; because what you end up doing is playing out your thoughts in your life, and therefore your fears end up becoming your reality. How do I fix that? How do I escape this “Groundhog Day” cycle of history repeating itself, and of me having a hard time being completely happy? The answer: 1. You need to work on being present in EVERY situation, or at least as much as possible. The more aware you are of your surroundings, the people in your life (good or bad), the opportunities around you, your thoughts, your feelings, the better you’ll be able to make healthier choices for yourself, and the better you’ll be able to find balance and/or happiness. 2. Once you are more present, and aware of yourself, the better you’ll be able to understand your past choices and accept them for what they are. You first need to accept the reality that you are in before you can change it. You MUST be honest about your reality, and who you are NOW in order to make a positive lasting change. If you’re always thinking about the person you should be, or the person you used to be, you will never be happy with the person you are now. You will never be able to change the things that are stopping you from being the person you know in your heart you could be because your head is telling you all the reasons why you can’t. “You can’t run like you used to, so why bother trying.” “You’re so fat, you need to be more like so and so, they have the life that you want.” Your thoughts or your Ego is what is stopping you by telling you stories about who you are, and what you can and cannot do. Even if you “try” to accomplish something in your life, like working out regularly, if you keep calling yourself “fat” for example, if you fail, the blow is easier on you because you have already told yourself you’re fat and so therefore you aren’t capable of regular workouts. You have told yourself this story about how you’re a fat person, and most likely you’re not even aware of all the choices you’ve made in your life that fulfill this story of you being a “fat” person. This is how you get stuck in your own personal hell, or Groundhog Day, and you can never escape it until you realize how you put yourself there in the first place.

It’s so funny, because in a way by writing this article, I’m also repeating some of the words I’ve said in articles that I’ve written in the past about chasing your dreams, letting go of your ego etc. I’ve touched on this subject many times, and each time I have learned something new, but not enough to break through the cycle. Life really does come full circle all the time, it’s as if a kid was scribbling a circle overlapping another circle over and over again. Even this article is coming full circle from the article I wrote at the beginning of 2018 about Resolutions. The only way to not repeat this circle, and to break the cycle is to pay attention to the lessons you face each and everyday. You may have a moment of clarity where everything makes sense, and you feel as though things are finally got things right, you’re on the right path, and then for some reason you lose it. You fall back into old habits. Maybe not to the same degree, but you still aren’t as far along in your progress as you would like to be. The key here is to not let this idea slow you down, because that is all it is. Only you have told yourself that what you are doing, who you are right now etc. isn’t enough. That is your Ego talking. Your ego is the voice in your head that is always talking to you, your ego is your thoughts, and your thoughts cause emotional responses that only reinforce your original thoughts. Both your emotions, and your thoughts will then dictate your choices, and your actions. You need to be mindful of this. This is the first step to breaking through a Groundhog Day scenario.

This may seem simple enough but it’s really not. The Ego does a really good job of convincing you that it is who you are. It convinces you that you are whatever you call yourself, fat, skinny, fit, pretty, ugly, old, poor. It also convinces you that what you “have” is a part of who you are. If you have a spouse, you’re married and that has a status, or if you own a house you are a homeowner, and again, that has a status. These ideas only feed your ego. Your ego will feed on anything in order to help define itself. I have cancer, I’m sick, therefore some people may use that to define themselves as a victim. Either way, having cancer is your reality, whether or not you are a victim is up to you. The situation which is cancer is neutral, it neither makes you more or less of a person. However, the stories that you tell yourself, about yourself do make you feel more or less of a person, but that doesn’t make it true. Also, the situation of cancer isn’t permanent. You can either overcome it, or succumb to it, again this does not say anything about you personally. It just means you’re human. Another example, what happens if you lose the house? Do you lose who you are too? Does it make you less of a person? For your ego, it does. Your ego will have a hard time with this loss, and it will therefore redefine itself through your thoughts and emotions maybe as a victim of loss. Your ego will separate you from the present, it will cloud your judgement, and make this loss a personal loss. You are not your house, your body, your career, and so on. Why? Because none of this shit matters when you die. All of these things are temporary, and when they’re gone the world still turns, and you are still you. All of those things can be taken away at any minute, and so you shouldn’t limit yourself to these things. They have value for sure, and they are a part of your life, but they aren’t who you are. They are a part of who you are, but they are subject to change, and when they do, for good or for bad, it shouldn’t change the person you are.

The problem is, to do that is difficult. You cannot simply remove your ego from yourself, it is a part of you. Especially when we live in a very egocentric world, it can be difficult to break free of this cycle of constantly needing more things, more money, more status, more of everything because your ego is never satisfied with the now. Once you have achieved a goal, or something good has come into your life, it is very easy to then slip back into the cycle of looking forward to the next big thing instead of being appreciative of what is happening now. This is unconsciousness. Never being present. Always looking to the future for more, or dwelling on the past. You are never satisfied with who you are now, because who you are now is never good enough. You are living in a constant state of scarcity or lack. And social media feeds your ego even more so than almost anything else we have in today’s society. It is a big reason why so many of us feel unhappy. First of all, most of us only post photos of the things we’re proud of, the things that make us feel good about ourselves. This boosts our ego, “look, I’m fit,” or “look I have a new house.” Then other people feed our egos by liking or commenting on our photos. This approval makes us feel good, our ego needs that and will then post more photos like it to get the energy it needs. However, as most of us know, none of that is real. A lot of it is filtered and it is only a fragment of our lives, so why do we put so much emphasis on it? Why do we care so much? Simple answer, our ego. Even negative feedback is still a reaction, your ego is still getting attention and will then fight back in order to reinforce itself. Either way your ego gets stronger. Basically, there is nothing wrong with wanting to share things on social media but be mindful of why you’re posting it in the first place. Do the likes and comments on your photos matter? Is it ever really satisfying? Because if it was, then we wouldn’t always be on it, always posting, always seeking more attention. Even if you don’t post much on social media, a lot of us use it to measure ourselves up against others. Again, this only keeps you in a state of lack, and it never moves you forward. You never grow, and you never end up where you want to be because you’re so focused on what you don’t have.

Like I said in my first article of 2018, “there’s no such thing as a life that’s better than yours,” Love Yourz by J.Cole. There is always going to be someone out there who seems to have more, who is more, but you will never know what you have unless you stop looking to others as a measure of your own success. “There’s beauty in the struggle,” again a quote from the same song. Basically, there’s beauty in the present, you just have to wake up and smell the roses. Be grateful for what you do have, appreciate the love in your life, and then share that with others. These are the things that are pushing you forward. The more you open your eyes to the things, the people, and the opportunities around you the happier you’ll be. It is so much easier to see the ego in others, and therefore it is much easier to pass along good advice. However, a lot of times those same people are a reflection of the ego in you. You tend to gravitate to the people who share the same thoughts and opinions as you, so a lot of times, those people also share a lot of the same fears as you. The ego that you see in them you can also recognize in yourself, that is why it’s so easy to see it in the other person. Hence the Alice in Wonderland quote from my first 2018 article “I give myself very good advice but I very seldom follow it.” Usually the advice you give to others is the same advice you need to hear yourself, the problem is you were to blinded by ego to see it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all need to pay more attention, or else our egos and life in general are just going to get the best of us. I know this, because ever since I’ve made a conscious effort to be more present, I’ve realized how much of my life I haven’t been present. Always in my own head. I used to joke about it with family and friends that I sometimes live in La La Land. I never really thought of it as a problem, I just thought it was who I was. Alex just lives in her own world sometimes. But that’s not true. I’m not the only one who does this, and it doesn’t have to define me. Because living in a dream state, worrying about the future and fretting about the past alienates you from the present. Your thoughts can consume you and take you to a different place, and sometimes when you realize that you’ve left this planet for a second it’s too late. Something usually negative has happened to shock you awake, a fender bender, dropping your phone, breaking a glass, all usually occur because your head wasn’t in the game, you were distracted. More and more people are no longer living in the present. Distracted driving is a real thing. Our phones, social media, only feeds our thoughts, and fears. They help in keeping us distracted from the things happening right in front of us, instead we are worried about our next meeting, a deadline; constantly fixated on the things we need to do, to have, or accomplish. Fender benders, breaking your phone are just small examples, but a lot of the things that go wrong in our lives are because of us, whether you’re ready to admit that yet or not. Obviously, you don’t have control over everything that happens to you, but if you look back and you’re really honest about your mistakes, a lot of the time, it had nothing to do with you skills, or knowledge, it was mostly because your head wasn’t in the game. The moment you realize that “you” or the person who you think you are isn’t the problem, but the thoughts and fears that you constantly replay in your life are, that is when you can really make positive and lasting changes in your life. Why? Because the choices that you make out of presence, and mindfulness will come from a place of love and not fear. Presence allows you to separate your fears from reality, it stops you from personalizing everything in your life as a reflection of who you are for better or worse. Good things will happen, and bad things will happen, and only you can control your reaction to those things. However, the only way to make a positive change is to first take a moment, take a deep breath, try to calm yourself down, relax your mind from spinning out of control, and follow your heart. You know what to do, you know who to be, it’s your head that’s trying to tell you “protect” you with fear, but only your heart truly knows pure joy. Fear and joy live in the same space, the key is to live a life with courage. What is courage? Courage is accepting your fears, knowing that they exist and doing what makes you happy anyway. The more aware you are of your own thoughts and fears, the smaller they become, until they fully disappear. You can be and have whatever you want, you need to fully believe this by acknowledging and overcoming your fears. This is what I have been learning, and this is what I’ve been practicing and will continue to practice. This is something that you must strive to do always, if you don’t ever want to live in a Groundhog state again.

 

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Sir Winston Churchill


Challenge Yourself and Stay Motivated this Winter and Holiday Season!

 

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Winter is coming, we all know it. The days are getting shorter, and colder. It is during this time of the year that I find motivation to do any sort of physical activity other than Christmas shopping or baking, to be at an all time low. I used to work at an all women’s gym, and during this time of year it was basically a ghost town. Especially after work! This was because the majority of the clientele were moms, and moms have the special task of making Christmas happen for their families. I’m the biggest fan of Christmas! However, I do know that it can be a very stressful time of year. This is why keeping up with your exercise during this time of year is so important, and I’m here to give you some ideas on how to do just that!

I do understand that it’s cold outside, there’s less light, and this can all have an affect on your energy levels. However, there is nothing better than exercise to help with your stress, fatigue, and overall mood. Here is an idea on how to keep yourself active during this time of year:

Sign up for, or create your own fitness challenge! 

I have personally signed up for a fitness challenge this Christmas Holiday with two of my good friends from university. I have my own personal fitness goals that are forever changing to help me grow as a person, and as a fitness professional. I also think it’s important to try new things, and to meet new people. Plus, signing up for a fitness challenge with friends holds you more accountable to your goals, and to the challenge itself! If you’re wondering what challenge I signed up for? It’s the BOND X RIDE CHALLENGE. It’s a  5 week challenge that started on December 1st. Basically, you have to complete one 5K run, and one cycle class a week for 5 weeks. Now, this may seem really easy to some of you, and you’re right. It’s not a super hard challenge to complete. However, I personally hate running, and I’ve never done it in the winter. To me, that is a challenge! In addition, I picked this challenge because it’s fun! And because it’s totally possible to complete it during the holidays! There’s no reason why I can’t fit one class  and one run outside with BOND running a week.

So, my advice to you is sign up for a challenge this winter! A lot of gyms and studios run challenges during this time of year to help keep members motivated and engaged. If you’re not a member of the studio or gym, sometimes they have discounts to join the challenge, or other incentives. If there isn’t a challenge available to you at your local gym or studio etc, then create your own! Challenge yourself to attend at least two fitness classes a week for the next 5 weeks, or to go for two runs/walks outside. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, just pick an activity that you enjoy doing, one that gets you moving, and make sure that you are making it a priority to complete the tasks you have set out for yourself every week. Also, it is much more fun to conquer any challenge with a friend, but if you can’t find someone to commit? Then commit to yourself! Make this a Christmas gift to you! Because you deserve to make yourself a priority!

I’m sure we have all at least thought about our bodies recently, and the effect the holiday season has on it. Or maybe we have fitness goals of our own, and we’re afraid of getting derailed? At the very least, I know that many of us have weight loss goals for the New Year, but why wait until then? Start working on your goals now! If you can commit yourself to your goals now by creating or joining a fitness challenge for yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve those New Years Resolutions! Especially if you complete the challenge! Now, don’t expect miracles for yourself this holiday season. Pick or create a challenge that is “challenging” for you, that is totally possible to complete, and that it is something that you enjoy doing! You will not make time for your challenge if it doesn’t meet these requirements! Also, if you are creating your own challenge? Have a reward for yourself at the end! If you worked hard, and met all the requirements of the challenge, then you deserve to celebrate!

To recap, these are the things you need to motivate yourself to stay active this holiday season:

  1. You need a goal, or a “why.” You need a reason why doing this challenge is important to you. Maybe you have an overarching goal, like to loose 10 lbs and completing this challenge will bring you one step closer to that goal. Or maybe the goal is to keep your sanity this holiday season? Whatever the goal it needs to mean a lot to you.
  2. Pick an activity that you ENJOY! It can be anything! But you have to like it enough to want to do it more than once a week. If you don’t love the activity, you may find things that you like about it. For example, you may like the music the instructor plays, the instructor themselves, or the people who attend the class. Either way, there has to be something that motivates you to do it in the first place.
  3. The frequency and time frame for your challenge needs to be realistic for your current lifestyle. If you haven’t set foot in the gym in months, then don’t think a 30 day challenge where you have to go everyday is going to help. Choose a frequency that is challenging for you, but that you are capable of adopting into your current fitness regiment or overall schedule. I would say you should be doing this activity at the very least, twice a week for about 4-6 weeks. That will give you enough time to maybe see a difference in your fitness or to find yourself a new hobby. The idea is to continue being active once the challenge is over…
  4. Schedule out your activity into your everyday life. You need to make it a priority by adopting it into your current schedule and holding yourself accountable to that appointment. You are far more likely to be successful if you make the time for your physical fitness. Plus the entire holiday season will seem a lot less overwhelming if you set a schedule for yourself, or at least daily tasks to complete.

For those of you who are leaning more towards hibernation this winter season, I strongly urge you to resist! You will most likely regret it. Just because winter invites you to hide behind a frumpy sweater, doesn’t mean you should! Exercise shouldn’t just happen during the months when people are more likely going to see your body in public. Yes it’s cold outside, there’s less light during the day, and this can all affect your energy levels and your mood. But exercise is the best method to combat these issues! Exercise boosts your mood, your energy levels, you will sleep better, and you will perform better during the day. If you’re already stressing out about all the obligations you have this holiday season? Then you need to make self-care a priority, and I am looking at all of those moms out there! Trust me, you will be better able to take care of everyone else once you have taken care of yourself first! But enough ranting, some form of physical activity everyday is important for maintaining or improving your overall well being. Get moving this winter, I promise you won’t regret it!

 

 


New Year, New Blog: The Blame Game, a Reflection of the Past Year and the Year to come

Over the past year of 2016, I have not been so good with the frequency of my blog posts. I was even in the middle of writing my 12 Days of Fitmas this past December, and I didn’t finish it. There are several reasons for this, but there really isn’t a point in going through my various excuses. However, I did make a promise to myself last weekend during New Years Eve, that I would be more committed to my blog this year. Whether or not I follow through with this New Years resolution is completely up to me, and no matter what crazy stuff life throws at me, at the end of the day I have made a commitment to myself and to this blog. “Life” cannot be used as an excuse for anyone to not be able to achieve their goals, because bad things happen to everyone. Life is hard for everyone. Life harder for some more than others, but at the end of the day you can’t let yourself become a victim of circumstance. You can never give up on yourself, even if it seems utterly hopeless at first. Why? Because it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way!

The past year of 2016, for the most part has been deemed “a bad year,” by a lot of people on social media. I’ve seen so many memes, and songs made up about how 2016 took more things from us, than it gave us, and basically how they were so excited for 2016 to be over. This got me thinking… I wouldn’t say that 2016 was the worst year ever, at least not for me personally. There were a lot of good things that happened in 2016, some bad things for sure, but mostly 2016 was a year of a lot of change for me. If anything, 2016 was a very stressful year for me. I had to make a lot of hard decisions, and adjustments. I learned a lot, and I’m still learning. Change is good, and I’m happy so far with how things have been going. I feel as though I’m on the right path. But that doesn’t change that fact that change is also very hard. However, going through all of this change in my life and learning all these new things, has not changed some of my core values. This is why I am still so committed to this blog. Fitness, and health still matter so much to me, and so does helping other people. These things all make me so happy, and I cannot give those up no matter what is happening in my life. I’ve realized this past year even more so, how valuable working out and eating well is to me. This is because for a while during the summer I was living in this limbo between my Mississauga life, and the new life I’ve been trying to create in Toronto. I’m still in the process of forming my life in Toronto, but at least I’m fully situated in the city, and I am now better able to commit to my workouts and my regular diet.

Having a consistent workout regime, and a balanced diet can really help you have a better handle of the stress that life throws at you. I’ve learned that in the past for sure, and sometimes I forget, we’re all human, but I always remember how I was better organized, and prepared for life when I had a schedule, and consistent workouts. I felt like the best version of myself when I had fully committed myself to my own happiness. When I was properly taking care of myself by sleeping properly, working out regularly, preparing my own meals, and holding myself accountable to my schedule/workload, I was able to do more things than I ever could imagine! That doesn’t mean that I forgot about my loved ones, heck no! I could never do that! If anything I felt like I was better able to be there for the people I loved because I was so positive in my own life.

What I’m trying to say to all of you is this, since it’s a new year, put 2016 to bed. Stop blaming everyone else for the terrible things that may have happened last year. Accept that not everything in life went the way you hoped it would, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the future. The future is always bright, and change is always good! It may not always seem like that at first, but good things will always find their way out of a seemingly terrible situation. The key is to not fall victim to the situations that happen in life, but to learn from them. You must hold onto your values, and the things that make you the most happy and proud to be the person you are. Take these things, and use them to guide you through sticky situations, and to help you find the positives in what may seem like a desperate situation.

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My first awkward workout selfie of the New Year!! LOL 


You Have Value!

Recently I wrote an article called  Invest more than $ into yourself  because lately I’ve been giving the idea of investing in oneself a great deal of thought. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to invest in yourself and why you need to continue to do so. However, it was this past weekend when I met up with an old friend from Laurier for lunch that I realized the “why” behind investing in yourself. You need to take care, and invest in yourself because you have value. My friend, as well as myself reached a point in our lives where we felt lost. We fell into a funk, and forgot our own value. Because of this, we started making decisions out of fear, and holding ourselves back. This only made us feel as if we didn’t deserve much. We stated to think that maybe we suck? Maybe that’s why we’re not happy? We’re not happy because we suck. Maybe that’s why we’re not where we’re supposed to be in life? Or at least where we think we should be in life.

It took some time, and in our own ways we both realized that, that is not true. From my own personal experience, I realized that I can get myself out of this shitty situation. I realized that the situation I put myself in, is not a true reflection of who I am, or who I want to be. I learned that I needed to separate myself from the situation, and understand that maybe I’ve made mistakes, and maybe I’m a little lost, but that does not mean that I no longer have value, or that I won’t be able to find my way. This is very easy to forget. It is very easy to forget that you have value, that you are important, and that you have plenty to offer the world. There will be times where you find yourself in a negative relationship, in a negative environment, or in a job that you hate. All of these situations can have you feeling like shit, and they will also cause you to question your own self-worth. For me? I found myself in a job, and in an environment that I HATED SO FREAKING MUCH!!! Not only was it negative, I found that it completely conflicted with my beliefs, and values. I started to resent my job, and I hated feeling that way. It made me question myself, my career path. I started to question if I made the right choices? Is fitness for me? Maybe I’m just not good at this?

It took me time, and moving to another small gym, before eventually I began to realize that it was the company and the environment that wasn’t for me, not fitness. Actually, I’m really good at instructing classes, and personal training. I also realized that I can’t keep selling myself short, I need to follow my original dream and start my own business. I live and breath fitness… I mean that’s why I got into the industry in the first place! It was my passion for fitness, and how it empowers me that I even started instructing classes. I wanted to bring that sense of empowerment to others. I needed to remind myself of my purpose, and that I had value. No matter how negative the situation I was in, I had to remind myself that I will be okay. It wasn’t easy but the one way that I got out of this funk, and started to believe in myself was through my own personal investment. The best way to elevate yourself and to remind yourself that you have value is to invest in yourself. Do things that make you happy, do things that give you energy. Educate yourself, read, workout, try new things, go on adventures, whatever you have always wanted to do or learn, go and do those things. These are the things that will help you create your own happiness. I am not telling you to run away from yourself, but instead to take the time to be with yourself, learn, and grow. The more quality time your spend with yourself, investing in yourself, and getting to know yourself, the more you will be able to see your own value. Once you believe that you matter, and that you have value, the easier it will be to get through tough situations. You will be able to separate yourself from the negative situation, accept your mistakes, and move on because you believe that you can, and that you deserve to be happy.

If you find yourself valuable, others will too. Treat yourself as if you have value, because you do.