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runnersonbrooklynbridgeRecently I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show, he referenced a short essay called “It’s Always Your Fault” written by his guest David Heinemeier Hansson.  The essay refers to business systems and the question it asks is “How are you complicit in creating the conditions you say you don’t want?”. It talks about being accountable, about situations being a feedback loop and that you can take action and have the control to change.

As a fitness instructor, I immediately thought of how this relates to health and fitness. Our daily actions have consequences that affect our physical and emotional well-being and can lead us to a condition we don’t want. Inactivity and unhealthy eating habits can lead us to being out of shape, overweight, lethargic and unmotivated – or to more serious health issues.

There are many reasons we may not take care of ourselves; life gets busy, we don’t know where to start, it’s overwhelming, we never got into the habit in the first place, ignorance, etc. Most people are disconnected from the their bodies and don’t stop to realize how they feel.

Unhealthy habits become a feedback loop; lack of sleep can increase sugar or caffeine consumption to gain energy, lack of exercise causes fatigue so we’re too tired to workout, and so on. And then we tend to shirk responsibility for our actions and blame external factors.

The fact is we have the control to change and take action. So ask yourself: Are you in a condition you don’t want to be in? If the answer is yes, then consider:

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“How am I complicit in creating the condition I say I don’t want?”
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 Realize that you have the control to change and take action!

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It’s so inspiring to see young girls thinking differently, this 8 year old is very wise!

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“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.”
~ Harold Coffin

I’ve always thought of envy as a negative thing because it doesn’t feel good, it’s like something heavy in the pit of your stomach. Some time ago, I consciously worked on changing my envy to appreciation, to appreciate what others have and be happy for them instead of being envious. Although it is not always easy, especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself, it has worked quite well and I find I’m rarely envious anymore. Being happy for peoples good fortune makes me feel good, being envious makes me feel bad.

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“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you”.
~ Marilyn Monroe

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Recently I was listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Podcast “Happier” and she had another strategy. She suggested try to figure out what the person you envy has that you want. Then use that information to create more it in your own life. What a great concept, I love it! Makes sense doesn’t it? She said it helped her realize that she didn’t want to be a lawyer after all because she never envied lawyers! She completely changed her path and became a writer. Now I know we can’t instantly materialize what other people have but we can certainly take small steps in the right direction.

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“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.”
~Gretchen Rubin

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Give it a try, would love to hear if you have any realizations!

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❤ Love love love this, had to share it with you!

For the past while I’ve been following Elizabeth Gilbert the author of the book Eat Pray Love.  First on her Facebook page where she serves up daily inspiration, then on her fantastic podcast on creativity and now I’m about to listen her new book BIG MAGIC.

If, like most people, you’ve got a creative project in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to do (like write a book, paint, make a movie, take a drawing class, try pottery) but it never seems to happen,  then this is a must watch for you.  I hope it inspires you to get into that creative self inside you!

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I came across this letter by Richard Branson on happiness.
It struck a cord with me so I want to share it with you.
I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and join me in a little experiment:Let’s start each day by reading this letter and see what happens…

Dear Stranger,

You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.

It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my 65 years. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.

I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.  

Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’ They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.

 

Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

 

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And while these things have brought me great joy, it’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. Why? Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective. Try it. Be still. Be present.

 

For me, it’s watching the flamingos fly across Necker Island at dusk. It’s holding my new grandchildren’s tiny hands. It’s looking up at the stars and dreaming of seeing them up close one day. It’s listening to my family’s dinner-time debates. It’s the smile on a stranger’s face, the smell of rain, the ripple of a wave, the wind across the sand. It’s the first snow fall of winter, and the last storm of summer.

 

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species.  

 

Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.

 

But don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Take the focus off doing, and start being every day. Be loving, be grateful, be helpful, and be a spectator to your own thoughts.

 

Allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment. Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being I promise you, happiness will follow.

 

Happy regards,

Richard Branson

Click HERE to see it on Richard’s Website

 His letter is part of this book:

 

You can buy it HERE

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In honour of International Women’s Day I want to share a letter Yoko Ono posted on her Facebook page a few weeks ago right after her 80th birthday.  (It’s hard to believe Yoko Ono is 80 years old!)
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I really love the post because it’s filled with 80 years of confidence and wisdom.
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Whatever you may think of Yoko, I ask that you read it with an open mind.  Notice if the mind goes to judgement.  When we judge others we are judging ourselves.  If what she does makes her happy, and doesn’t hurt anyone, then don’t judge her for it.  This will also free you to do what you want without self-judgment.
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Although I am not yet 80, I can relate to her comments about ageism as I’m feeling it more and more as I get older.  Our society is so geared to youth, I sometimes feel invisible.
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So here it is, in honour of all the amazing women in history that have pushed through the boundaries that society has imposed.  I hope it will inject you with a little confidence to unapologetically be yourself, “Let me be me!”, I just love this.

DON’T STOP ME!
At my age I should be in a certain way. Please don’t stop me being the way I am. I don’t want to be old and sick like many others of my age. Please don’t create another old person.

So even when I am rocking on the stage, they are totally hard on me. They demand the musical standard of a classic musician and attack me for the rhythm or some notes which are not precisely in tune. I am not concerned with what my voice is doing. If I was, what you experience would not be. My voice will be dead, once I am concerned about it, in the way you are asking me to. Go to a classical concert, if you want to hear a “trained” voice. What I escaped from when I was very, very young. I created my own niche. If I tried to present you classic music it won’t be what I created. You don’t get that way, with Iggy for instance, a grand rocker, who is creating his own brand of Rock, just as I am.

Let me be free. Let me be me! Don’t make me old, with your thinking and words about how I should be. You don’t have to come to my shows. I am giving tremendous energy with my voice, because that is me. Get my energy or shut up.

A critic of my show I did on my 80th birthday. You wanted me to be coming in at the same time on the top of the bars with the tracks. Well, I like to syncopate my voice to come in before or after the music notes, not right on top of the tracks, you see. That’s done in classical music, also. Remember? Yes. I don’t mind using what I learnt from classical music.

Just let me be free, so music will come out as my voice in the way it wants. Otherwise, it will not be beautiful. My music is unworldly beautiful. It is a mixture of all the generations I went through on this planet: when I was born seeing the world with wonderment, when I was a wise infant, full of original ideas with not too much intimidation yet, when I was a energetic and rebellious teenager, when i was a sexy twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies and now. Plus all the folk music of the world, the Voice of people, never intimidated – and plus some music coming from another planet or planets! I respect that, cherish it, and am always thankful of note by note that comes in me and out of me.

Another criticism: That my short pants in my video BAD DANCER was very short. Was that bad? You are not criticizing other dancers whose pants are worn short. Do you have a separate standard for a person of my age even in the way our outfits are cut?

I am afraid of just one thing. That those ageism criticism will finally influence me, I would succumb to it and get old. So I am covering my ears not to listen to you guys! Because dancing in the middle of an ageism society is a lonely trip. Don’t stone me! Let me be! Love me plenty for what I am!

Yoko Ono

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