I love life through someone else’s eyes!

I just wanted to write a short blog to take us all back to the very first post I wrote ‘ I love life moments’. It is such a precious feeling and one that I felt I couldn’t write about once and then never touch on it again. If we are to choose to be happy in our life, then we need to remember that when things may seem to be a little crap we have to reflect and find that one thing that we truly value in our lives. Hold onto that and remember how it makes you happy and nurture it. You may even be able to find that one positive thing (however hopefully more) in each day and this will remind you of how precious life is and how much you love it.

I began thinking that I do love life and I believe that on most days I can find a positive. However this reflection also made me realise the habits and routine that are so ingrained in me everyday. I like to believe I am spontaneous however it was becoming evident that my spontaneity was being heavily measured by how it would impact on the structure of my day. I all of a sudden realised I couldn’t handle doing things that weren’t planned and organised around my schedule without causing a little bit of anxiety.

This takes me to a beautiful morning where I truly connected with the I love life moment again, as I floated down a stream somewhere in Northern NSW in a Kayak, with a fishing line (I don’t even fish), watching the sunrise whilst the rest of the world slept (or were frantically getting ready for work). Rewind a couple of days when two of my friends that I work with suggested that we get up before work and go kayaking and fishing. Pretending to be the spontaneous person that I am, I instantly said yes. Meanwhile deep inside a little flicker of anxiety kicked in as I would miss a training session that morning, I wouldn’t get to do the normal prep before work and my carefully thought out breakfast might be abandoned. Seriously……this was a major wakeup call for me. Had I let the routine of work take over me completely??

My morning of fishing

So the morning rolled around and we were heading down the highway at 5am all a little weary but truly excited about the morning. It was so peaceful when we got to the creek and it was so special to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I got onto the creek and all of my worries and anxiety vanished, as I was able to connect with nature and remember what really is important in life. This may have been a first for me however this was the life my friend lives and he takes so much pleasure in sharing it. This is a regular occurrence for him before work and I can see now how it can easily balance life out. To step out of my own routine and see how someone else loves life was so special.

The sun peaking through the trees

The morning was amazing with one fish caught and released, a few casts ending up in trees, a broken shoe and then me allowing a little bit of anxiety to kick back in to make sure we weren’t getting to work late (didn’t allow for those pesky road works though). The rest of the day we were on such a high as we had started the morning doing something amazing and sharing it with beautiful friends. Now that was one amazing I love life moment.

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So my challenge to myself, and all of you is not to immediately say ‘no’ when someone asks you to do something. I know at some point we have all said no straight away and then looked back and thought, hang on why did I say no? I feel so inspired by my friends that they can connect with something they love to do and ensure it is balanced into their everyday lives. It is so important to step outside of the box and view the world through someone else’s eyes and to take pleasure in the experience.  Challenge yourself to see the world through someone else’s eyes and all of a sudden you just may add another ‘I love life moment’ to your life!

love life

 

Michelle x

Goals and dreams – bringing on change!

Running club on Tuesday morning brought many a connection and understanding of the people that join me for the early morning runs. Our group gets together and there is no agenda of being better then anyone else; there is no judgment of previous or lack of previous fitness efforts. There is just the acceptance and support that we are all there to look out for our health and have a little social gossip and fun along the way. We are all there for our own reasons; to get a little fitter, stay healthy, work on our fun run times, get the kms on our legs to run a marathon, triathlon or ultra marathon or we are just there for me! When I say me, I mean each individual is there for himself or herself. I took so much pleasure when I witnessed a lady running with us take a deep breath at the top of the hill and comment happily on how quiet and peaceful it was. It was so refreshing that amongst the sweat and lack of oxygen she could thoroughly take in the environment around her and enjoy it. She had a moment to herself and connected to the world around her, it was the time in the day that was truly dedicated to her. I would put that down to a classic ‘I love life moment’. To exercise and find a connection with the world around you is why I get up each morning and pound the pavement.

Connecting with the environment

Connecting with the environment

It was also on this morning that I witnessed others pushing their limits to get to the top of a grueling hill and to follow this with a spontaneous clap for themselves and each other. I get to this point in my writing and I still haven’t reached the point of this blog. It was just that in the space of an hour everyone that was at running club that day touched me and set me on yet another tangent of reflection. The tangent of reflection I find myself on is goals and dreams and that we are all getting up at 5.30am to strive towards our own personal goals.

It was after running club when we had moved on to the slower pace of coffee club that the conversation really stimulated my need to consider what it is that this year holds for me.  Three of us sat around discussing life in general over our coffees and juices when one of the ladies brought up the year of the snake. According to the Chinese calendar 2013 is in fact the year of the snake and as my running partner said ‘it is a year of change; think of it as shedding your skin’. I of course had to Google the year of the snake and regardless of its definition (which does run similar to this) I had already felt a flutter of excitement with the thought of shedding your skin. Now I wouldn’t say my life is in drastic need of change but something about shedding your skin made me smile and got me thinking.  For me change generally means packing the backpack, slinging it onto my back and jet setting off to another country to explore another culture. I wouldn’t mind 2013 being about this, however I decided to look at it in a different light and a little closer to home.  As long as I can remember I have written down goals and dreams of the things I would like to see, do, learn etc…. It all started with a teacher that had us write down where we would be in 10 years time. Well as a 13 year old ten years seemed like forever so I rapidly filled an A4 page. By the end of high school it had moved to two A4 pages and by the end of university it was four double-sided A4 pages and dedicated to a lifetime not just ten years. To this day I still have it and still add to it and I am happy to say I have also ticked many dreams and wishes off the list!

Since travel takes up about ¾ of the list I have begun focusing on what I can do now. Lets just say I have started to revise and add to the dream list. In terms of change in my life for 2013, I think it is time to stop dreaming and wishing and start doing. So often in the last five years I have sat around with my very close friend and dreamt and made plans. It is by far our favourite pass time. However we will always self confess that we spend a weekend dreaming then pack it all up and head back to work on Monday and forget all that we said, only to pick it up 3 months later and begin the process again. So this is what I am going to change in 2013. Instead of dreaming I am going to start doing.  I am realistically going to look at my dream list and make a plan. I am going to begin with learning. There is so much I want to learn and after some contemplation; photography, guitar, Spanish and further study in nutrition have made it to the top of my list. I am excited by the thought of finally following through on something I dreamt of so many years ago. I have also added to the list a dedication to charity. This will begin with participation in ‘Walk in her shoes’ (which will be another blog in itself) and also fundraisers to help send school supplies to the school I taught at in Mombasa, Kenya. As a pledge to keep me going down this track of change and committing to my goals and dreams I shall up date the blog when I have enrolled in courses to set me on my way to achieving them. I do have a feeling that this may end up in a snowball affect as now the dreams and goals for 2013 have started to gain momentum and shall only be added to, it is inevitable really, as I do love to dream.

It is so refreshing and exciting to write a list of your dreams, goals and aspirations and I encourage everyone to give it ago. Alternatively pull out the list that has been stashed at the back of the cupboard and make a commitment to them, what can you achieve in 2013? Which ones will take you down the path of change, which ones will enhance you as a person? Dare to dream and dare to achieve. Perhaps it is change in your life that you seek, 2013 is the year to reflect and make the choice to change your life or an aspect of your life. Embrace it and enjoy the journey. Change is a wonderful thing, reflection on your life and what you want out of it is essential and learning everyday from the people around you is truly amazing.

Good luck, enjoy and feel free to share your dreams!

Michelle x

Friends and Family

Tis’ the season for reflection, the time in our lives where in between BBQs, drinks, catch ups, shopping, cooking, travelling and indulging that we may take a quick moment to look back on the year that was. It’s that impending question of ‘what’s your new years resolution?’  Some of us have been so consumed doing the above that we don’t even really consider it and just throw out the stock standard ‘lose weight’, ‘eat healthy’, ‘save money’ and ‘stay in contact with friends’. However recently I have taken note of those around me and listened to what they’ve said. I have also watched so many people go through things that we all think will never happen to us and all of a sudden I started to consider ‘what do I take for granted?’  and ‘What have I taken for granted this year?’. The list that can come to mind in an instant is quite daunting! I was at a wedding of some close friends recently and it was something that was briefly mentioned by the groom that sent me down this path of contemplation.  He thanked his beautiful bride for teaching him about the importance of friends and family and for staying in touch. Now I know that staying in touch with friends was one of my token new years resolutions however I began to think after he mentioned this about how often I do take the friendships and family connections for granted.

My initial reflection of 2012 would instantly bring to mind a torrent of words all revolving around amazing and epic. A year of fulfilling travel dreams and marrying the love of my life…it doesn’t get much better! However this is a direct reflection of my personal achievements and experiences. If I scratch a little deeper I remember all the friends and family that made all of it possible. I also think about those close to me that haven’t had an amazing year and how I haven’t been there as a friend. I took the friendships for granted, while I was consumed with planning the year of my life.  There are also those I know in my life who were thrown a curve ball, a challenge or just plain shitty times and now they see the world in a totally new light as they realise what they took for granted.  We are also all quite familiar with the quote ‘ I’m just so busy, tired, etc…’ to catch up or call. That’s just my friends, then there is the family where you make all the same excuses however because they’ll always be there you don’t tend to make as much of an effort. However as I have listened and learnt from those around me it is this statement ‘they’ll always be there or there is always next week’ that is the direct making of taking people and their love and friendship for granted. Life is just to unpredictable to rely on these quotes as I don’t no what is around the corner and a friendship is too important to lose because I can’t be bothered.  I don’t want to be left with regret because I took things for granted (as I have experienced it before). There is nothing more important then love, friendship and family. It is what defines us and therefore we have to ensure that we don’t take it for granted.

In my life I am quite blessed with wonderful friends and family and all of whom I have taken for granted. I have some friendships that have spanned a lifetime, half a lifetime, fleeting years and maybe weeks and all of which I taken for granted and it is the love of those friends that have kept the friendship alive. I can’t thank them enough for that and they know all to well how slack I can be and they are oh so forgiving. It is never that I don’t love them or that the friendship doesn’t mean the world to me it’s just that I somehow let other things get in the way.

So to get back to my reflection it is at this time of year that I want to make not a new years resolution but a commitment to the relationships in my life. I know as humans we will always take things for granted such as our health, youth, lifestyles, money, jobs, family, partners, life and friends. However as part of a little nurturing of the soul it is time to reconnect with friends and family and ensure they know how much you value them. I want to take the time to catch up with friends, check in to see how they’re doing, go for a coffee, see a movie, sit in comfortable silence, share a bottle of wine, go for a run, pick up the phone. This is how I want to spend my life, surrounded by good friends and family. I have recently had the most beautiful time sharing a wedding with close friends and spending Christmas with my family and I loved every crazy hectic minute of it. It is so important not to lose sight of those that are close and not to take them for granted. Friends and family are what make our world so special, beautiful, interesting, colourful, challenging and of course full of fun and happiness. I am going to make a commitment to try and be a better friend and not to take the love and friendships I have for granted. As for all the other stuff we take for granted and put off till tomorrow….well that’s a whole other story but perhaps this is the year that I do learn to play the guitar, photography, learn Spanish….here’s hoping!! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas shared with beautiful friends and family, remember to always cherish the wonderful people in your life.

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Michelle x

 

Sneaky Habits

Let me describe the moment that we are all familiar with. You look in the mirror, you put on a pair of shorts, you go for a run, you’re tired and lethargic and you think, why am I feeling like this, it’s unfair, I work my butt off, I watch what I eat and now this! The image in the mirror has slightly changed, the shorts are fitting a little more snug, the run isn’t quite as enjoyable and why do I feel tired all of the time! We’ve all been there, some maybe there right now!

This feeling can happen to anyone and it’s just so sneaky. Picture the classic person who was active their whole life and then all of a sudden they reflect on the last 3 years and the runs don’t happen as often and have been replaced with the couch, the gym may get a look in occasionally but it has been replaced by the pub and the healthy eating……. Yet they still believe they’re living an active lifestyle. I relate to this feeling really well. I live a clean and healthy lifestyle. I’m a chronic label reader, aware of the amount of sugar I consume plus all the other numbers and nasty’s, I’m fanatical about the amount of exercise I do, but ever so sneakily some part of my awareness turned a blind eye for awhile. I all of a sudden slip on my shorts and have that uh oh moment, I realize there hasn’t been much progression at the gym and my body feels blah!! Then bring on the feeling of disappointment and regret!!! This is something I am changing about myself and I will try and share a little of it with you! It just takes a little reflection and you can start to identify the little sneaky treats, the extra servings, the extra rest days and not to mention the excuses!! If I’m honest, I haven’t been living the lifestyle I thought.

Firstly the feeling sorry for myself had to go. It is so easy to fall into this feeling and discuss it with your friends, but in the end it was my sneaky brain, body and actions that somehow got me here.  Secondly the disappointment and regret, I had to show myself a little bit of respect, because I had worked so hard previously and lets face it my next choice can be a better one. I had to reflect on how far I had come and realize that I am in tune with my body so therefore I realized what had happened.  I can shrug my shoulders; slap my wrist put a smile back on my face because I know tomorrow I’m going to feel better.

Anytime is a perfect time to reflect on how you feel and critically analyse what you eat and what you do because sometimes you are sneaky without realizing it.  The negative thoughts that can manifest themselves after such a discovery need to be pushed aside. Ignore the voice that says, oh well, what’s the point in trying, I’m going nowhere, and I’ll never achieve what I want. Instead think from this moment on I am back on track. I will feel healthy again, my journey back to fitness is just a run away, my health is eating fresh healthy food. You deserve to feel good and be fit and healthy. Make a plan. What exercise will you do in a week, go for a walk, ride to work, go back to the gym or just pick up the intensity because you’ve been slack. Throw out the temptations and don’t feel angry because you can’t eat it feel empowered because you can deny it and make your health your priority. Avoid sugar! Nourish your body, mind and soul again. It’s never too late to be the person you want to be. So if you have fallen off the wagon or want to jump onto it, just do it. Remember it is not a destination but a way of life. You won’t have to avoid all of lifes temptations but start to become aware of when they are being sneaky! Treasure yourself, be kind to yourself, respect yourself and know that every positive choice is one step on your journey to living a healthy lifestyle.

So it’s time to take care of yourself, fill the cupboard with fresh food as close to its natural source as possible, keep a diary and create a fitness plan and stick to it. Respect yourself and be proud of the change.

 

nourish

Michelle x

 

Africa – for the soul

Melts my heart
Melts my heart

This blog is one to nourish the soul! Think a life long dream. Hours spent wishing, visualising, wondering and yet despite this always believing it would happen. Then at some point in your life things fall into place and you think, yup it’s time!! This is pretty much how Africa became a reality. I’m not even sure when travelling Africa developed into my psyche, as it has been apart of me for as long as I can remember. It is also a passion that I have spent hours discussing and dreaming of with my closest friends.

At the start of 2012 it became a reality. Brett and I boarded a plane and embarked on the 2 days of flights, layovers and minimal sleep. I have to admit I was full of so many emotions and didn’t know what to expect when I got to Africa. It has always been the lure of different cultures and animals but above all it was to experience the people and the beauty and harshness that epitomises Africa. I felt like so many do that I needed to do something to help. But how can I help when I didn’t really understand what needs to be done. So the trip to Africa became a road to self-fulfilment and discovery. To this day it is all about what Africa gave to me, and it is something I will always cherish.

On our travels through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya Brett and I visited orphanages and witnessed first hand the incredible work that people are doing for mankind. Often the volunteers and people who run these facilities have given up everything for a cause, to create a better world for the homeless children of Africa. It is so humbling to see these children who once lost everything to be so excited and full of life, embracing their new life and all of their new family. However there was still a small emotion that could be detected which was desperation, the need to impress the foreigners in order to gain something and anything off them. Again the heartstrings are tugged and you want to do and give all that you can. It is unbelievable to witness the number of children who are orphans living in orphanages and also the number that are unable to be in an orphanage due to lack of resources.

It was because of this that I wanted to stay for a month longer and teach in Mombasa, Kenya by volunteering with an organisation GVI. I had the privilege and pleasure to teach at Precious Vision Care Centre in Mombasa. During my month there I fell in love with the students, the teachers and fellow volunteers. My first impression was the passion towards the students and the program that radiated from the teachers and volunteers. It was infectious and soon Precious had found its way into my heart.

Whilst I was there I took on Standard 7 English and was completely taken by surprise. This fantastic class of students were an inspiration; they valued their lessons and respected their school and teachers. Being a teacher myself sometimes this is hard to come by in Australia! Getting to know each personality was a massive highlight and adapting to their needs and levels was a challenge I embraced. These students were at school from 6.30am till 5.30 pm Monday to Friday and again for half a day on a Saturday. This was their life for many of them and the only opportunity they had for a meal. It was hard to witness a student come in on a Monday looking lethargic, as they hadn’t eaten since they left the school on Saturday. The only comfort you can take from this is the fact that it was your money and time that allowed this student to have an education and two meals a day. Again a number of emotions to deal with and of course the ever present ‘is what I’m doing helping or is this just for me?’

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As part of my time in Precious I was also set the task of PE teacher or otherwise known as Madam Sports. I embraced the role with the determination to have them value or perhaps consider any other sport other then soccer. Phew a hard task for the boys and welcomed one for the girls, the sport was to be netball. We of course had tomake some modifications and I am still not sure they realise that you have to shoot a ball into a hoop! You do what you can with the resources you have!! After a number of lessons on the field (think vacant lot where they burn rubbish) I had assembled together a class of standard 7 students ready to take on the teachers. This was to be the first ever teacher vs student match at a game they both didn’t really know. It became a whole school affair and proved to be a success. I wasn’t quite prepared for the fierceness of the competition by both the students and the teachers, apparently you had to win at all costs and believe me they don’t like to lose.

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I could write on and on about my experience in Mombasa and the beautiful students that sneak into your heart. I could discuss the school and how the volunteers have turned it around and it is now something the community is proud of, I could highlight the need to collect water everyday or the lack of room for all of the students or the fact that the students have to bring their baby siblings to school or they would miss out on an education. However I will leave you with the beauty that is mankind and the way that hope can find its way into every child and the belief that through education anything is possible. I have walked away from Africa knowing that every little bit helps if the help is empowering the people of Africa. Providing them with hope and independence to take charge of their own future and destiny. To lend a helping hand, to give a little wherever possible, to ensure what you do goes towards empowering the individual and the community; that is how we can make a difference. The world is beautiful, however too many people miss the opportunity to understand and experience the good of the world. We can make a difference, even a little one!!

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‘I love life’ moments

One of my greatest things to experience is when you have a moment of reflection that just hits you; all of a sudden you appreciate life. I like to call it the ‘I love life moment!’ It can happen at the most random times and it can be fleeting or it can be a whole day! I remember walking down a dirty street in Edinburgh freezing my butt off reflecting on yet another job interview when I suddenly looked up and realised where I was and how I had gotten there and thought ‘I love life’.

I had an ‘I love life moment’ this morning at around 5.30am and it was such a random point of time and I must admit a first. I had managed to roll out of bed and make it to a 5am training session by 5.07am and threw all I could at the session (since I was late). We had just finished one particular set of torture when I hobbled outside to get some fresh air (think 12 guys one girl, hot morning, sweat everywhere) and took a deep breath and I got that first hint of the earth drying. The sun had just reached the grass and the trees that were still wet and that smell hit me. It was summer!! I got a flutter in my stomach of excitement and a promise of a hot summer to come. I briefly reflected on what I had already done to benefit me today. It was still so early and already I was being kind to myself. It gave me that little bit more motivation to get back inside and work my ass off some more.

However, I was reluctant to let this moment pass by quickly as it so often does. I wanted to embrace it for as long as I could. So what better place to do that than the beach!! After training I sat on the beach and took a little longer to reflect on the morning, the training, being nice to my body, my friends and my family. While I was there I decided to take some advice from a close friend and got my Zen on!! Ahhh bliss, I truly do love life!! I then did what all people do, snapped a photo of the beach in all its glory and shared it with the world on facebook….sharing the zen!! I left with a smile ready to embrace the day and all its challenges.

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Sharing the Zen!

So my challenge to you is, today find the one moment in the day that makes you think ‘I love life’ and try and hold onto it a little longer, loiter in the feeling and embrace life for all that it is!!

Welcome to Nourish

Nourish Fitness started as a discussion with friends about the cycle of health and feeling good. It started as my own journey of trying to get out of the cycle of starting another health kick for 8 weeks (or one) and then achieving results and falling off the wagon. It started with discovering so much knowledge about my own self, of health, of fitness and finally deciding to become a Personal Trainer. I felt like the fitness world was missing the ability to relate to someone who had been there done that and in fact was still doing it!

I have studied exercise science and education, gained my certificate 3 & 4 in personal training, I’m a qualified coach in numerous sports, I teach Physical education and Health and still my journey to a nourished well being is on going. What I can say is that it is a journey to a balanced life between your body, mind and soul. They work hand in hand. It is what I have learnt, it is creating the environment of falling in like with yourself all over again. It is creating the respect you deserve, it is understanding that you are entitled to nourish yourself and you are entitled to feel healthy, look good and be amazing.

It is my aim at Nourish Fitness to start that journey with you, help you achieve your goals and be empowered by your ability to achieve. It isn’t a 12 week body challenge. You will see results before 12 weeks and it will become a life long nourished lifestyle you will obtain. Educate yourself again and give your body, mind and soul the respect it deserves.

Nourish Fitness blog is a space that I hope supports, encourages and inspires you on your journey to a nourished wellbeing. Hopefully it will allow you to also feel ok on those days when you didn’t quite achieve all that you wanted; because it’s ok, we are after all only human! Together I hope we will go on a journey of self discovery. It will be a blog for all to enjoy; the free spirit, the wanderer, the professional, the quiet achiever, the person just waiting for something to inspire them…let this be it!!

xx