No… really, I am!

Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way. Friends and close introvertacquaintances often assume I am an extrovert.   This is a fair assumption because I’m very playful and outgoing and express extroverted quality in 2 main areas of my life.   The first is with those I am really close to. I’m playful in a very physical and childlike manner. I like to jump and dance and move and get other people to do it with me. Once you know me, and we find common ground I allow my authentic side to emerge.

The other area where I appear extroverted is when I’m in a leadership role. When I feel very comfortable in an environment or I’m running an event, I open up and work very hard to include everyone and make him or her feel at home.

You see, as an introvert, when I’m new to a situation or I’m the student I sit back, I observe and I attempt to be fairly invisible (although animals still feel my playfulness and want it to come out, but that’s another story). Being an introvert I know what it feels like to be outside looking in, to feel alone in a crowd, to feel lost and overwhelmed.  So when I am the leader I make sure to engage and make everyone feel at home, and help them feel safe, heard and connected.

That said, when an event or my “playtime” is done, I just need quiet. I need to shut down and recharge. I don’t want to go out all night; I definitely don’t want to be in environments where I have to yell to communicate. This is mainly because I’m physically incapable of the yelling part. My voice goes up an octave in pitch, but the volume is consistent.   Also, I love a deep conversation, and I find that talking and listening is difficult in a loud environment and this leaves the topics of conversation to general for my taste. Not to mention, if I’ve been going all day I’m physically and mentally done by evening. Nothing personal, it’s just the way it is.

So, for those that know me and even for those that are just meeting me, I know that I come across, quite often as extroverted. I’m high energy and a very positive person but I still need to recharge now and then. You may see me one day acting very quiet, contemplative and passive. Don’t worry, more then likely I’m not sad and nothing is wrong. I’m probably very happy, it’s just that I need some down time. I need to observe and listen and not bounce. Why?

Well…. because I really am an introvert!

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newparadigmIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything and that’s mostly do to the self re-evaluations I’ve been up to.  I’ve finally slowed my role and I’m now interested in writing up what I’ve been working on and what I’ve been learning.  So the next few posts will be dedicated to this self discovery and experimentation.

Recently I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. This book tells two stories. One is a WWII story about how Cretan rebels and British officers kidnapped a Nazi General off of the, Nazi occupied, island of Crete. The second is an interlaced story about the importance of natural movements, like the ones the Cretans practiced and what made the kidnapping possible, and how modern exercise has lost it’s usefulness.

The books emphasizes the importance of the bodies ability to burn fat for fuel and in the later chapters I was fascinated by the idea of rewiring my body to burn fat instead of carbs as my main source of fuel.   The book and my curiosity led me to the Maffetone, 2-week carbohydrate intolerance, Test.

I’ve always stated that I NEED carbs. If I don’t get them my body feels weak and lethargic and I easily get low blood sugar and become a grouchy monster. So when I read that this TEST required me to drop carbs for 2 weeks I was skeptical, and I worried for my families sanity and safety. As I read more about the test and the method I became intrigued because the list of Carb intolerance symptoms were as follows:

Carbohydrate Intolerance Health Survey. (Some Common Signs and Symptoms):

  • Poor concentration or sleepiness after meals.
  • Increased intestinal gas or bloating after meals.
  • Frequently hungry.
  • Increasing abdominal fat or facial fat (especially cheeks).
  • Frequently fatigued or low energy.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • Waist size increasing with age.
  • Fingers swollen/feeling “tight” after exercise.
  • Personal or family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/low HDL, high triglycerides, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer.
  • Low meat, fish or egg intake.
  • Frequent cravings for sweets or caffeine.
  • Polycystic ovary (ovarian cysts) for women.

My first thought when reading this was, “whoa, wait!  This isn’t what I’m suppose to feel like after eating?” For me, these symptoms, were my normal relationship with food.  Well, with the exception of the cysts and part about diabetes and such.

I’ve never been one to play around with fad diets or extreme restrictions but I love the fact that Maffetone makes it very clear that the carbohydrate intolerance test is just that, A TEST! A person shouldn’t continue the restricted diet for more then 14 days and then after that each individual needs to pay attention to their body to create a healthy relationship with the level of carbs they can tolerate.  Maffetone also makes if very clear that the foods are restricted but a person should never let themselves be hungry.  If you’re hungry eat!

SIDE NOTE:  My mom is currently taking this test and she is having trouble letting go of our societies current model that one must be hungry and monitoring calories to be eating right and not over-indulging.

I’m all for experiential experiments so I chose a date and took the test. As of today, I finished the test and I’m in my first follow up week where I’m slowly adding carbs back into my diet.

 

Results:

OUTSTANDING!

With the exception of Day 2 (lightheaded when I would stand up) and day 3 (felt like I had lead weights in my shoes), where I was withdrawing from carbs I’ve felt amazing! Here is what I noticed:

  • I lost 5 total pounds in 2 weeks , some is water weight some is fat. I’m not a heavy person and I mostly carry vanity weight; the weight that is healthy but hides the great 6pack abs everyone wants.  I was pleasantly surprise at the change in my body composition
  • I’ve had a ton of energy that was and is consistent all day
  • No mood swings and no feelings of low blood sugar
  • No headaches, stomach cramps, or bloating
  • I was never hungry. I ate when I wanted and then didn’t think about food most of the day.

 

Downside for me:

  • Since the test removes processed foods completely there is a lot of cooking and cleanup. I’ve always been one that when I want food I want it now! My go to foods that are quick were gone (even my fruit snacks). I did find some quick foods though: cucumber, almonds, cashew, carrots, and cheese.
  • Can’t really eat out without breaking the test in some way.
  • A lot more shopping.   Fresh food means buying what you will eat within a few days
  • I wasn’t super creative with my meals so I got a bit bored with the foods and would stare at my sons cereal box longingly
  • One day I had crazy cravings for something sweet.  At one point I was eyeing my son’s Frosted Mini Wheats as if my life depended on eating them.  I held strong though.  If you have the option it’s helpful to clean out any food you can’t have.

 

What I’m learning:

That’s for next time…

 

If you are interesting in the idea of burning fat as fuel go to http://philmaffetone.com/what-is-the-maffetone-method/

There is a lot of information including fitness suggestions, recipes (for after the test) and the MAF TEST.

Or google “fat for fuel” and you will find a ton of triathlete sites that suggest this style.

I definitely recommend the test for anyone. The fact that it’s so short and simple (but not easy) to follow makes it a worthwhile reset for the body.

 

Unitl next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Weather

Posted: February 28, 2015 in Life
Tags: , ,
Stormy beach

Wild beach day

For the last day or 2 we have been having on again off again snow. I love snowstorms, especially when there are huge snowflakes. I love all wild weather! I’m not quite sure why I love this weather but I always have. Perhaps because my spirit is somewhat chaotic and the wild weather is something I connect with. I love to walk, and be out in heavy snow

storms. When I’m on the beach I love when the weather is overcast and rainy. I revel in waves and uneasy surf. When Colorado had its 500-year flood I was out and about driving and exploring the chaos. You can read more about that adventure here.

I may have gotten this love of wild weather from my mother. We always go out together and explore. I remember when I was a teenager we, my mother and I, were watching it rain the heaviest rain I had ever seen. We were both gazing out of the window fascinated by the power and we were imagining that there was a tornado somewhere. Sometime later we received a phone call from one of my aunts asking if we were safe. She told us that a tornado did touch down in our town and hit the cemetery. We were out the door to explore almost instantly. We love it. In another life we may have been storm chasers as a profession.

I remember another time when I was a young child that we had a huge blizzard maybe the Colorado blizzard of ’82. No, that was over Christmas. I think that year we powered through the blizzard on Christmas day to go to my aunts house for our traditional get together (just the 2 families). No storm ever stopped my family. On another occasion, maybe ’83, after the storm had passed we went out and built snow forts and my uncle came over with his 3 wheeler and we powered through the snow and he would run into drifts and stop then he would throw me into the snow drift and watch me disappear. We played this game for, what seemed to me, most of the day. I would have kept going but at some point he decided I was frozen and we went home. We may have gone back out, but I don’t remember.

As I write all of these events I’m starting to realize my draw to this kind of weather. For my family it’s always been fun and a way to connect. We have always been happy in this type of weather and it has always been a powerful feeling to be out. When the weather was sending others in, we were always headed out. Love, connection, playfulness, and adventure, that’s what I feel in this weather.

Snow play

What are you doing

During the Colorado flood in 2013 my son was with my mom and me as we powered around. At the time he was 3 and now and then he talks about “the big water”. I don’t think it scared him, since it didn’t scare us and we were having a great time trying to find a road that wasn’t closed so we could go home. He may have gotten bored as we spent hours out driving around. He was such a trooper.

As I sit here writing this post the snow has subsided. It’s still snowing but the flakes are small again, not as powerful as before. I still love the beautiful stillness but it doesn’t call me out the way more extreme weather does. As time goes on I hope that I’m able to pass this love of wild weather onto my son. At this point I think it’s very possible since my husband isn’t dissuaded by weather either.

As a family, our motto seems to be:

Big snow? Let’s hit the slopes!

OR

Bad weather?   Well the office will be quiet and I should get a lot done.

Not much stops us from getting out and living. The more chaotic the weather the more we seem to do.

What does it mean to be fit?  If I were to poll a group of people would it be based on endurance, strength, asthetics?  My guess is that fitness would be directly linked to exercise, but it doesn’t have to be.  I would like to propose another way to think about fitness.

This is an experiential proposal.  Take a ride with me and see what you connect with and how it makes you feel.

Over the last year I have seen a few commercials that hint at fitness and I thought I would throw my perspective at them in the hopes that people may take a step back and re-evaluate their beliefs around fitness.

This first commercial has nothing to do with fitness but I was drawn in by the initial statement “Look at them.  Making moves that would put an adult in the emergency room.”  This off handed comment is stated as cold, hard fact.  It screams, “When you are an adult you can no longer play.  Deal with it. You are weak and fragile!”  After 5 seconds this commercial had lost me and I was stomping around my living room arguing with the t.v.  “People don’t believe this do they?” Are you kidding me?  What is this world coming to?!”  Later, I was still disturbed by the commercial but when I tried to find it I couldn’t remember what it was for. Turns out, it was a Cadillac car commercial.  They definitely weren’t marketing to me.

This next commercial I first saw on ESPN and to tell the truth, I think it’s great.  I found it Laugh Out Loud funny and although the focus is on exercise, the commercials presentation hits at our competitive spirit and might get people out the door and moving.  Still, for me, it’s message is exercise and that doesn’t quite resonate.

Props for the great satire, as I still laugh when I watch it.

The last of the commercials I want to present is a 180° turn from the first video.  It speaks to our child spirit.  The commercial talks about toys, building forts, playing on playground, staying out until after dark all the while showing pictures of adults climbing mountains, kayaking, and playing soccer.  It speaks to the need for movement and fitness in the form of play and usefulness.  This commercial sings to my heart and it makes me want to get out of my house and move.  Not for exercise. Not for competition. But for my mind, body and spirit.  In my opinion, this is why we have the ability to move.  We move so we can explore, create and enjoy our world.

Video  —  Posted: October 1, 2014 in Life, Movement
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Work or play

Work? Play? … Yes!

For a good portion of my life, work and play have been on opposite ends of the spectrum. Either I was doing productive, necessary work or I was free and playing; but never were they combined. How could they be? In my mind they were opposites.

Which isn’t surprising since even the definitions for these words put them at odds.

Work:

  1. Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
  2. Mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

Play:

  1. Activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, esp. by children.
  2. The conducting of an athletic match or contest.

Now, however, the idea that work and play are opposites doesn’t fly for me. The change occurred when I had my son and he started going to a Montessori school at 7 months old.  My son was doing sitting work and block stacking work. At one point he spent months doing container work which involved opening and closing containers that have different types of tops. In Montessori the children are curious and they are driven by their enjoyment of exploration and discovery. It’s also very purposeful because this exploration is how children discover their world, and how they perfect skills such as motor coordination, executive functions, troubleshooting, personal responsibility, and socialization. Every activity they engage in is very much their work. This is where my personal definitions of work and play changed. I now see the words this way: Work has a purpose or result that is external in nature and play is about our inner passion and enjoyment.

So here is my question: When did we as a society decide that work should be divorced from enjoyment, curiosity, and personal expression?

 In David Elkind’s article “The Values of Outdoor Play” he postulates that the requirements for a full happy and productive life consist of 3 things: Play, Love and Work.

“Play, love, and work are the innate drives that power human thought and action throughout the life cycle. Play is the drive to transform the world to meet our personal needs. Love is the drive to express our desires, feelings, and emotions. Work is the drive to adapt to the demands of the physical and social world. “–David Elkind

He goes on to categorize activities from this perspective:

  • Love is something one undertakes of their own initiative.
  • Play encompasses personal expression of the activity
  • Work comprises the products produced that are both original and useful to all.

With this new information let us re-evaluate what it means to play and to work. Our priorities get confused when we separate the two. At some point we decided that earning money at a job is a high priority, but taking care of our physical body is optional. We started to see being busy, stressed and always on the move as success. While relaxation, enjoyment and mental calm we regard as unproductive. It’s time to turn our work into play and our play into work. Or stated slightly differently: Our work should be enjoyable and fulfilling and our play should be honored for how purposeful it truly is. Our play is of the highest importance for our well-being and creative spirit. Embrace it and activate your highest potential. No more Work vs. Play. Let’s make it Work + Play … + Love.

Combine them, embrace them and live a full, happy and productive life!

horsesMy alarm seemed to go off very early this morning so I hit snooze.  Shortly there after my phone rang.  Turns out my horses decided that today would be the perfect morning to escape their field and storm around the countryside.

As I hurried out to collect them it occurred to me that whenever I spend time with my horses I learn something new about myself. Today, it was the knowledge that when I move with purpose, I move very easily.  In this particular case I had to run down the horses before they disappeared over the horizon!  I bounded over wood fences, dove under barbed-wire fences and sprinted across fields.    All the skills I practice in the park, and all the time I spend playing on the floor with my son has had the intended effect.  When I need a skill in the moment my body is prepared, fluid and capable.  Even more so then I sometimes realize.

When I finally caught up with my very winded herd, they looked at me and seemed to say “See! You CAN run like the wind!” This morning’s adventure made me so happy, it energized my day and gave me a new perspective on my skills and abilities. I so love my herd for that!

Rumplestiltskin

A question for you…

I have to admit that I love the ABC series Once Upon a Time.  It’s season 3 and in the premiere the main characters Captain Hook, Rumplestiltskin, the Evil Queen, Snow White, Prince Charming, and Emma Swan (Daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming) are on their way to Neverland to save Henry (Emma’s son) from the treacherous Peter Pan.  Yes, you read that correctly. Peter Pan is the bad guy.  Also Neverland is not a place you want to be.  In an earlier episode Wendy describes Neverland this way, “There’s a reason it’s called Neverland. Because once you set foot in its soil, the Shadow never lets you leave.”  I think that’s why I love this show.  It blows apart everything I know about fairytales.  It always keeps me guessing, which is awesome!

Certain TV shows grab us because they are able to play with human dynamics really well.  I believe when these shows create dynamics that the viewer can relate to, but create them in extreme situations that the average person doesn’t face, we love them.  Breaking Bad and the Sopranos are examples of exceptional execution of extreme situations with normal, relatable human dynamics.

I love human dynamics.  Something about taking the chaos of human interaction and finding the patterns within excites and fascinates me.  It drives my husband nuts sometimes because I see them in fictional TV interactions and sometimes I get deeply sucked in watching them play out.  If these fictional interactions are done well, they awaken me to an aspect of myself I wasn’t fully aware of.  Which, in turn, adds to my personal growth in the real world.   The below interaction between Rumplestiltskin and Emma Swan is such an occasion.  In this scene Rumplestiltskin is telling Emma that she lacks imagination. And in Neverland that just doesn’t cut it.

Emma: Why are you doing this?
Rumple: Because I want to succeed.
Emma: What makes you think I’m going to fail?
Rumple: How could you not?  You don’t believe in your parents, or magic, nor even yourself.
Emma: I slayed a dragon, I think I believe.
Rumple: Only what was shown to you.  When have you ever taken a real leap of faith? You know the kind where there is absolutely no proof?  I’ve known you some time Miss Swan and sadly, despite everything you’ve been through, you’re still just that bail bonds person, looking for evidence.  Well dearie that’s not going to work in Neverland.
Emma: I’ll do whatever it takes.
Rumple: Well you just need someone to tell you what that is.  Sorry dearie our foe is too fearsome for hand-holding.  Neverland is a place where imagination runs wild.  And sadly, yours doesn’t.

You can watch the exchange here but it might be hard to follow if you don’t know the characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YbpQQOAL6Y

I’m not sure how many people would have any reaction to that exchange.  The scene itself is just a plot device to justify Rumplestiltskin going off on his own.   However, when I watched the exchange I felt like Rumple was talking directly to me.  He was very clearly asking me, “Can you create something if no one hands you a recipe to follow? “  “Can you use your imagination to picture something wild and your creativity to make it real?”  This hits home because I’m working on the process of imagining my life and the imagination piece is a struggle.

So what’s the real difference between creativity and imagination and why are they important?

Let us start with definitions.

First Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions:

  • Creativity: The ability to make new things or think of new ideas
  • Imagination: The ability to imagine things that are not real: the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced

In essence the difference is between real and unreal creations.

I also went out and Googled the connection between these two words and how they relate to creating change in a person’s life.  The articles I’ve found also mention innovation, but innovation doesn’t apply to this blog post so I’m leaving it out.  It turns out that for life changing endeavors, creativity and imagination play pivotal roles.

So, here are the definitions I synthesized from my research:

  • Creativity: Taking perceived reality (all of the facts, evidence, arguments and proof) and coming up with original solutions.
  • Imagination:  Creating something completely wild and extraordinary without the limits of what is perceived possible in reality.

Please note that I use the word perceived in both of these definitions. I do this because reality changes for us depending on our perceptions at the time.  So what might be impossible to me one moment can become completely possible at a different point in my life.

So back to the questions I heard Rumple asking me.  Can I create something if no one hands me a recipe to follow? Can I use my imagination to picture something wild and then use my creativity to make it real?  When I started this article I thought I knew what my problem was.  I thought that I had let my imagination muscle atrophy by not allowing myself to come up with the wild ideas.  I thought by not using my imagination I also wasn’t allowing myself to use my creativity to make my life what I want it to be.  As I think on it more, I realize my imagination is fully intact. I just have a tendency to misdirect it into unproductive thoughts such as how much effort something may take and all the possible ways that same something might go wrong.  When I let myself imagine these wild ideas I don’t follow through and I don’t even bother to give myself a chance to be creative.    It’s not that I don’t have imagination.  It’s that I imagine great things and then imagine all the way those great ideas can be foiled.  Well done.

This is a big “aha” for me.  I now realize the true power of imagination.  It can be our greatest ally in becoming our highest most productive selves or it can be a super villain that thwarts us at every turn.  Creativity is the workhorse, the recipe creator, of our lives and it can only be cultivated and put into action when imagination is used for good, empowering endeavors.

Now I have an answer for Rumple.  Yes, I can use my imagination to create something wild and I believe I can create it in the real world if I can hold the imagination super villain at bay.   Perhaps that is what Peter Pan represents in the ABC show Once Upon a Time.  He is the form of imagination that manipulates us into inaction by stifling responsibility, maturity and personal power.  By indulging Peter Pan we leave the possibility for great achievement forever lost in Never Neverland.