Rules for Being Human

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1.  You will receive a body.  You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

2.  You will learn lessons.  You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life.  Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons.  You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3.  There are no mistakes, only lessons.  Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation.  The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works”.

4.  A lesson is repeated until learned.  A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it.  When you have learned it, you can then go onto the next lesson.

5.  Learning lessons does not end.  There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons.  If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6.  “There” is no better than “here”.  When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again, look better than “here”.

7.  Others are merely mirrors of you.  You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8.  What you make of your life is up to you.  You have all the tools and resources you need.  What you do with them is up to you.  The choice is yours.

9.  Your answers lie inside you.  The answers in life’s questions lie inside you.  All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10.  You will forget all of this.

~Anonymous

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Invest in yourself

I love to learn.   In fact, I make sure I am in a constant state of never-ending improvement.   As Robin Sharma states, the greatest investment you can make is an investment in yourself.  How are you investing in yourself?  What are you reading lately?  What are you studying to increase your knowledge?  What are you exploring to expand your borders?  What are you opening your eyes to?  What are you willing to discuss?  Who are you going to listen to? What are you going to try today that pushes you out of your comfort zone?

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Morning Power Hour Ideas

So this post from last week inspired a lot of conversation via email, twitter, Instagram, and in our office.  We’ve had a few new people join the 5 AM club for their morning power hour!  I’m stoked!  Not only because I know how powerful a morning power hour can be but because it’s an extra push in the morning if I know other 5 AM peeps like Rebecca, Karen, and Lindsay are all rolling out of bed at the same time!  You’re not alone, ladies!

I received a few requests to elaborate more on what to do in a morning power hour.  Here are some ideas to make the most of your power hour.

Tip #1 Babies are very good at interrupting you.  This is not the way to maximize your time during your power hour.  But this morning, as if to mock me writing this post, Maggie joined me at 5:06AM.

Power Hour Interrupted!

Power Hour Interrupted!

Now onto the good stuff.

1.  Start with tea.  I should really say start with stretching but it would be a big fat lie if I didn’t say I start with tea in the morning.  My new favourite is Almond Cookie from Hamley’s in Barrie.  It tastes and smells like an almond wafer.  It’s heaven in a cup when mixed with some stevia and heavy cream.

2.  Okay, now stretch for five minutes.  Stretch on your own (hmmmm, piriformis stretches are the best!) or grab a foam roller and roll out those muscles.  If you’re in Barrie, you can pick on up at our office!  Not sure how to foam roll?  Check out our video on how to do it.

…and here’s where it gets fun (really!  I promise!)

3.  Books.  I made a 2013 reading list of 24 books I want to read by the end of the year.  I’m on track to make that happen and part of it is that I not only commit to a minimum of 30 minutes each night before bed but I sometimes add in time during my morning power hour (15-30 minutes).

4.  Journal.  I used to be a collector of journals but I never wrote in them.  Until my friend and colleague, Dr. Amy Robinson, inspired me to finally fill up those pages.  She’s been journaling forever and has noted on many occasions how it has helped her stay connected, process thoughts, work through challenges, and more.  So, I now journal.  It’s also something I do right before bed if I don’t want to go to sleep with a string of thoughts running through my brain.

5.  Purpose Book.  Different than a journal.  I add to it once in a while but not often.  I created a book (picked up supplies at a local arts & crafts store) with the intention of each time I opened it I would be inspired.  The pages include (but are not limited to and continue to grow – if you have some new ideas for me, please share!)

  • A photo of my kids with the word “WHY” at the top.  Because they are my reason for working hard and creating an exceptional life.
  • A list of my values & value statements
  • My purpose.
  • A gratitude page
  • A list of affirmations
  • My kids bedtime affirmations
  • My life list (a bucket list)
  • A list of extraordinary people I want to meet
  • A list of extraordinary places I want to visit
  • Pages of quotes that inspire me
  • A list of books to read (which has since been moved to my Amazon page so that I can access it whenever I’m in a book store or just want to order online)
  • My goals for the year, broken down into quarterly objectives, both professional and personal.
  • A page dedicated to each of the following topics: health & fitness, intellectual life, emotional life, character, spiritual life, love relationships, parenting, social life, financial life, career, quality of life, and life vision.  I’ve written out what would be the ideal in each of these.  (This took a while and I’m often modifying.  I have a file in my computer with the same so I can add in/change as I see fit)
  • An ideal day in my office (my vision for what an ideal day for me is so that each time I read this, I can picture it in my mind with such clarity that as I move towards it, it becomes a reality)
  • A list of priorities for both my personal life and our office (a top ten list of things I would like to see in both areas)
  • A list of five things that would make 2013 my BEST YEAR YET (thanks Robin Sharma for this one!)
  • Pages with ideas from books I’ve read.  For example, the Six Steps of Success from Think & Grow Rich.
My Purpose Book

My Purpose Book

6.  Podcasts.  Find something relevant to your field or something that inspires you to be your best you.  Keep in mind I love inspirational information that revolves around health, parenting and self-development!  A few of my favourites are:

7.  Meditate.  I haven’t mastered this one yet.  I’m not even in the ball park.  Meditation to me often leads to sleep, which would be against the purpose of power hour.  But I’m willing to work on it.

8.  Movement.  Go for a walk.  Do yoga.  Lift some heavy stuff.  I tend to leave this stuff to my exercise routine but I like to shake things up sometimes.  If the mood strikes and it’s a beautiful morning, I’ll walk the dog down to the lake and just breathe.  It’s lovely.

I hope this inspires you and gives you some ideas to go on.  And please, share with me what you love to do with your power hour!  I’m always open to new ideas too.  I like to change things up, keep things fresh, and have fun with it.  And I never forget my tea.

Ignore the Critics

Some people will always be a critic.  A critic justifies their deficiencies by telling you that you’re wrong.  Regardless of what you choose to do, how well you succeed, and regardless of all the amazing things that come into your life as a result of your choices, they will be critical.  They will point out what they would have done differently.  They will claim they could have done it easier, faster, better.  And they’re not going to change.  They will always be a critic.

You’re not going to silence them.  But you can ignore them.

I hear about these critics when I practice.  Stories from people I have the opportunity to work with.  Stories from people who are making BETTER choices in their life to create a HEALTHIER lifestyle.  Stories from people who are no longer willing to live a life that is less than that that they deserve.

“My co-worker thinks eating by design is wrong.  She thinks it’s just a fad and that any ‘diet’ that eliminates food is wrong.”

“My husband doesn’t believe in chiropractic.  He says it’s a sham.”

“My best friend heard that CrossFit causes too many injuries.”

“My wife thinks it’s pointless to wake up at 5AM just to work on myself.”

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All you can do is ignore these people.  Because even when you do see the success come into your life that is a direct result of all the hard work that you do to create more exceptional health for yourself, the critics won’t care.  So just ignore them.

I’m more proud of the way I feel, the way I look, and the way I function NOW more than any other time in my life.  I’m healthier.  I’m more vibrant.  I’m feeling awesome.  My body is working better than ever before.  I’m stronger.  I’m happier.  I’m all of these things because I choose to make better lifestyle choices.

I move by design.  I move every single day.  And I lift heavy stuff at the gym three days a week.

I eat by design.  I don’t eat grains.  I limit sugar and dairy.  I eat  protein, vegetables, fats, and a bit of fruit.

I think by design.  I get up for a morning power hour.  I read.  I journal.  I play.  I practice gratitude.  I serve.

I am powered by design.  I get checked, and often adjusted, weekly by a chiropractor.  My brain-body connection is optimal and my mind and body loves me for it.

So critics can be critics.  They can look at the my lifestyle and think it’s for not.  But in my own life, I see the outcome.  I see how much healthier I am.  And so to the critics who think that it’s too much work, too strict, not backed by research, and crazy….keep on with your thinking.  It’s okay.  I choose not to listen to you.

But have an awesome day.

Being Andrea

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Being Andrea.  It seems so simple and yet sometimes it can be so difficult.  When I set out to write this blog, I promised myself I would be authentic and transparent  I would tell it as it is whether I’m speaking from my mom heart or my chiropractic heart.  It can sometimes make me nervous, like with this post I wrote.  Because when I share some of the things that happen in my life, I don’t know what to expect in return.  Most times it’s support but I imagine I’ve irritated some people along the way.

In my head I sometimes go back and forth between what is me and what I feel that I should be perceived as.  Sometimes I want to write something or say something and a little voice in my head says “Andrea, that’s not what a professional should say!” or “Andrea, watch yourself, you don’t want to offend this person.”  The topics I want to explore aren’t rude or inflammatory, I just think that most people think and expect something from professionals.  Maybe not? And regardless, should I really care?

The world is moved and shaped by people who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to say and do things that are against the mainstream.

Steve Jobs.  Ghandi.  Martin Luther King.  Nelson Mandela.  Princess Diana.  Mohammed Ali.  Elvis Presley.  Oprah.  John Lennon.  Amelia Earhart.  Benjamin Franklin.  Mother Theresa.  Voltaire. Beethoven.  Eva Peron.  Thomas Edison.  Malcom X.  Bono. Dalai Lama.  Rosa Parks.  Bill Gates.  Margaret Thatcher.  John F Kennedy.  Einstein.  Galileo.  Confucius.  Charles Darwin.

Should I go on?

These people, and so many others, have left their indelible mark on our history.  And while their ideas, thoughts, and plans may have seemed crazy to many at the time, they are now regarded as massive game changers in our world.  They weren’t afraid to speak their mind (or at least they didn’t show it).  They weren’t afraid to go out on a limb.  They weren’t afraid to go against the mainstream and stand up for what they believed in.

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, one of her chapters is devoted to “Being Gretchen”.  And I’ve been thinking of this concept ever since I read it.  I’ve wondered if I sometimes dilute Andrea.

I have pretty great ideas!  And I have exceptional thoughts!  I like to share them with others in my office, through speaking, and through writing.  So, here are some of the commitments I’ve made to myself in the near future to embody being Andrea.

  • I promise even more transparency in my blog.  The ideas and thoughts I have with regards to health and parenting are different, yes.  But I think that by speaking my truth, the people who get it, will appreciate it even more.
  • I’m writing a book. I’ve actually written a few books in my life but “Jeffrey the Giraffe” from grade three probably doesn’t count as a big contributor to this world.  (Although the school librarian thought it was brilliant.)  Others have sat on my computer for a few years but they were kind of like beta projects for something bigger.  That something is coming.  
  • I’m putting together a Parenting seminar that I think people are really going to enjoy and gain from.  Topics will explore the parenting dynamic of living a life by design.  

I have a number of other ideas that I’m marinating on.  Ideas that really get me excited for both my professional and personal life.  Ideas that scream “ANDREA!” and make me smile on both the inside and outside.  I think a part of me needs a new project every couple of years and with the above mentioned plans and others I should be set for a while.  I look forward to sharing more and not holding back on things that I truly believe would make a huge difference in the lives of a lot of parents. 

My Reading List for 2013

I was asked a while back by a good friend and fellow chiropractor, Dr. Angie Meyer, to write a blog post all about my reads for 2013. I put together a goal for myself this year to read one book a month. And then inspired by my friend and other fellow chiropractor, Dr. Karen Osburn, decided that my BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) would be 20 books this year. I’m on #13 as we speak and I still have five months to go so I might just eclipse that BHAG I set out for myself.

I have always loved to read. I used to devour books as a kid. The works of Aesop, Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, Lynne Reid Banks, Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl (up until a few years ago I referred to him as Ronald Dahl, my apologies), Washington Irving, Norton Juster, Ann Martin, and C.S. Lewis (amongst others) occupied my days and nights.

As I grew older I took to a variety of topics. In high school, I compared and contrasted the novels of Margaret Atwood. I wrote a paper on the love letters between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. I poured over the works of Shakespeare. I loved to get lost in the words.

Once I entered college, my reading became focused on text books. While not as exciting, it was necessary to digest books on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, neuroanatomy, and a whole bunch of topics ending with -pathology. To counteract the minutia of class after class of text after text, I took inspiration from Dr. Palmer’s Green books (I haven’t read them all…and not sure if I ever will but I read from them every once in a while) and Dr. Fred Barge as well as non-chiropractic but just as inspirational books from such authors don Miguel Ruiz, Richard Bach and others.

When our kids arrived, I found I just didn’t have the time make the time to read as much as I used to. The new year changed that and with the awesomeness of an accountability group (thanks Karen & Amy), I’m sticking to my goals of getting back to one of my passions. So, here is my (ever-expanding) list of books, some of which I had already read but wanted to re-read.

1. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem

2. The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

3. The Four Agreements

4. The Last Lecture

5. Good to Great

6. Wheat Belly

7. The Paleo Solution

8. Steve Jobs

9. Killing Sacred Cows

10. The Charge

11. The Greatness Guide

12. The Leader Who Had No Title

13. Think & Grow Rich

14. The Happiness Project

15. Quiet

16. Breaking the Habit of Yourself

17. Jonathon Livingston Seagull

18. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

19. The Now Habit

20. Contagious

…..and if time permits

21. Disciplined Dreaming

22. On Writing Well

23. It’s Not About the Coffee

24. Long Walk to Freedom

 

Something I found that has helped is that I created a Wish List on Amazon. If I learn of a book that I want to read, I add it to my book list. Right now I have 64 books on it with so many more I’m sure to add. Once I get close to the end of a book and I have none on my night stand waiting to read, I place an order or go to Chapters. It gives me so much satisfaction to have them arrive in the mail or sit neatly on the passenger seat of my car.

One of the curious things I have found is that people are very skeptical about my desire to read so many books. The number of times I’ve been told: “Oh good for you but I would never have time for that!” is innumerable. But here’s the thing. It’s totally possible if you do the following:

1. Prioritize reading in your life.

2. Choose books that truly interest you.

3. Choose a time of day that you can get alone (even if it’s – gasp – 5AM). I usually spend 30-40 minutes in the morning and then 20-30 minutes at night.

It’s not rocket science. And the more I read, the more efficient I become at getting through books. Some books drone on and I find I put them down in favour of others but I do want to get through the twenty books by December so starting one but not finishing it doesn’t count. And certainly there are days where I just don’t feel like reading. So, I don’t. But I can often carve out an hour where I plunge through a few chapters and I get caught up.

So, thanks for asking, Angie! And for everyone else, enjoy!

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Taking Care of Me

This post is about me.  I’m making sure I’m taking time for me.  I find that in times when I have my greatest amounts of stress is when it’s very easy to let the most important things in my life fall to the wayside.  Like my health.  Sound familiar?

Everyone has their stuff.  I don’t think it should ever be a competition about who has more on their plates.  Besides which, different people react differently to different levels of stress anyhow.  I think, however, many of us sometimes have difficulty realizing we have too much on our plate until it’s too late.  Increase in stress.  Not taking care of ourselves.  Symptoms manifest.  And then we ask “why did I get sick?”

Hmmmm.

Whatever state of health we are in is a direct result of the life choices we make.  Tough pill to swallow (pun intended) but an important concept to understand and respect.

So, as I started out this post saying, it’s about me.  While I have a lot of plates spinning right now, I’m making a point of carving out ME time each day.  I’ve been judged for being selfish or told that it “must be nice to have so much free time to be able to do this” but it’s neither of the above.  These are essential steps for me to be at my best, even when I feel like I’m at my worst.

  • Getting adjusted.  Hands down the most important thing I can do is get my brain body connection checked.  The more stress I’m under, the more often I get checked.
  • Power Hour.  Still happening.  Although I do admittedly deviate from the 5AM hour based on the amount of sleep I get.  But certainly I start it at the latest 5:45 in order to get a good hour in before the rest of the family gets up.  I’m journalling a lot lately during this power hour of mine.  I’ve been inspired by an amazing woman (Melissa ) who has reminded me of the benefits of journalling lately.  And I find that by writing down my thoughts, I am feeling more connected, more on purpose, and more organized.
  • Eating Paleo.  With a little more chocolate than usual thrown in.  Vegetables.  Proteins.  Fruits.  Fats.  It’s really that simple and is necessary.  If my eating gets off track, then everything gets off track.  The chocolate, however, keeps me sane right now.
  • Moving regularly.  The last month I’ve averaged twice a week int the gym but I’ve been doing tons of mobility work as well as walking.  Like with my eating, if my activity levels go to the wayside, I don’t keep up good habits in other areas of my life.
  • Hugs.  I don’t know about you but when I’m under stress it is easy to not put focus on the relationships with people you value and care about the most.  Extra hugs for my husband and my kids are needed and appreciated.
  • Meditation.  I am TERRIBLE at meditating.  Really truly.  Same with yoga.  Anything that makes me sit still and be with my thoughts makes me bored.  This is why I know it’s something I need to be doing more often (both meditation and yoga) so that I can learn to appreciate aloneness as well as the art of achieving a zen-like calm.  I have simply been focusing on calming different parts of my body from the tips of my toes and working my way up to my scalp.  It’s a small step but a step in the right direction.
  • My Accountability Group.  I am so grateful to Karen and Amy who keep me on track and help me keep on purpose each Wednesday morning during our call.  I am so appreciate of them.  A couple of weeks ago I was having a really tough time and they ended up texting me back off the ledge of feeling like a failure in both the professional and family aspects of my life.  Amy wrote about how tough it is being a working mom in this blog post and I am forever grateful for women who can be honest and bare their souls through paper and blogs.  I think we are definitely stronger for admitting when we need help.

So, this intended to be a short post but apparently it became a cathartic release for me to be able to share what I know helps me in times of high stress.  Keeping my family healthy and organized starts with me being healthy and organized.  If I fall apart, my family falls apart.  This I’ve learned.  So it’s not selfish to set time aside for yourself.  Far from it.  It’s vital.  And removing whatever guilt that might surround this time for ME was crucial for me to be able to enjoy, appreciate, and respect the time I create for myself.

We all have 24 hours in a day.  It’s how we choose to spend those 24 hours that matters most.

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