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Everyday Enlightenment

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Everyday Enlightenment: The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth is the title of the book I started reading. I always thought these "enlightenment" books sounded dumb because of the cheesy titles, but there are lots of Spark Buddies out there right now reading books like this. I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did!

The First Gateway: Discover Your Worth
This chapter was about making choices that are based on what you think you deserve. I don't want to sound all high and mighty, but I *do* make good choices because I *do* believe I deserve good things. I know I'm worthy; this chapter was good to read, anyway.

The Second Gateway: Reclaim Your Will
This chapter just blew me away. The author writes about willpower - to paraphrase, it's not willpower that most people lack, it's focus. Bam. Hit the nail on the head. I couldn't figure out why I was stuck in this little rut on the way to reaching my goals, and lack of focus is exactly my problem. This chapter had a little bit of educational philosophy in it - do one thing, and do it well. Like in education, it is beneficial to learn one thing but learn a lot about it.
The author suggests that we stop trying to do a million things and instead focus on what we really want. I thought "geez, this sounds exactly like me!" I have been running, swimming, biking, yoga-ing, Pilates-ing, dancing, strength training... and none of it has been focused. My goal is to have visible muscles for the summer. While dancing, Pilates, and yoga are great, they really are not contributing greatly to my goal. I need to focus on those activities that are going to help me reach my goal. I have taken enough classes at the gym for long enough that I know which ones I really like and which ones are just kind of "eh."
For instance, I only kind of like dancing. I tried it a few times, and it's just not my bag. And while it burns calories, I'd rather be burning calories on my bike or on my running legs. So instead of spending my time doing something I kind of like, I'm going to start spending my time doing something I *really* like.
Maybe instead of taking three yoga/Pilates classes each week, I'll only take one (because i really *do* enjoy them) until I am close to or at my muscle goal. My goals are certainly free to change, but until then, I need to choose one goal and give it 100%.

"...the best way to get something done is to do it."

Today is a group run, and then a shopping afternoon to get a bike rack and helmet. Yahoo! I am going with a very good friend. I always look forward to spending time with her. She is a great friend and I know I can always count on her. Neat thing about her - she has a beautiful voice, and she just won a trip to Las Vegas in a karaoke contest. How cool is that?

Today I will:
Drink at least 4 Siggs of water
Read some more about enlightening myself
Plan next week's workout schedule (based on my recent enlightenment)

Have a super sunny day!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROOVYCHICK9 4/25/2010 8:57PM

    Just ordered the book on your recommendation. I have read some of his "stuff" before. He is great. I am looking forward to reading it. Have a great night. You rock!!!!!

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CAMROLA 4/25/2010 12:01PM

    Sounds interesting--I may just give it a look myself. Thanks for sharing!

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RIPPEDPAUL1 4/25/2010 7:56AM

    A great entry and keep us posted on your book. I'll check it out too.

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BIPPA2002 4/24/2010 11:21AM

    It's funny how you "know" something as a truth but you have to read it to get that AH, HA moment. Then you know in your heart that it been true all along! I work for a coaching firm and our lead coach always says have no more then three goals at a time, and no two in the same area. Have one for home, one for work, and one for health/fitness. That way you are focused fully on that one thing and it's amazing what can happen!

Have a great run this morning!

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SEPPIESUSAN 4/24/2010 9:28AM

    To be honest, the title kind of turned me off too, but I read more closely when I saw that you said that the 2nd chapter blew you away. I totally agree that when I lack willpower (sometimes I lack it, other times I have tons) I also lack focus. Thanks for putting it in new terms for me.

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GROEDER 4/24/2010 7:02AM

    Sounds like a very good book. Thanks for sharing.

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ANDASI 4/24/2010 6:39AM

    I second this notion of focusing on one thing. This works for me when im all over the place i get overwhelmed and feel scatered.

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KENP22 4/24/2010 6:28AM

  a positive entry. thanks.

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Weekly wrap-up

Friday, April 23, 2010

I learned something very important last night. If I have a 6:15 class at the gym, I can just forget about the to-do list. When I come home, I have dinner and veg out on the couch. Good lesson.
This week was a really good week for me. I finished my school work! I can concentrate on my fitness and "ME" goals now. Last night I reflected a little bit on April, and it was kind of a bust as far as my goals. Sure, I did my workouts, but I did not eat very well. I went out to eat too often, I drank too much wine, I had too much takeout on days when I didn't feel like packing my lunch... Next Thursday is my measurement/weigh-in day with my trainer, and I'll be amazed if I didn't gain any weight.

But on Wednesday, it was a new Carrie. I woke up, went swimming, had a super day at school, and came home in a really good mood. It was a little strange to be at the gym and thinking "I don't really *have* to get home for any reason." Nice.
Tonight I'm going to re-vamp my goals (I thought I'd do this last week, but that idea feel flat on its face) for the rest of April, and I'll start thinking about May.

And finally, thank you all for your wonderful encouraging and congratulatory words. I haven't met any of you in person, but that doesn't diminish the support I've gotten from you. There have been days when I wanted to drown myself in Ben and Jerry's, eat brownies until I have to roll into bed, and drink wine like a sot, but I didn't. So thank you!!!

Have a super Friday!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROGUE_1 4/24/2010 9:08PM

    Sounds like a great end of the week! I bet it feels wonderful to be able to start working on "me" goals and on your fitness. Isn't it nice to have actual down time? Enjoy it :) You have worked so hard, you deserve to veg on the couch!

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EATNBOOGERS 4/23/2010 8:53PM

    I'm still excited about your new free time--can't wait to hear what you're going to do with it!

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GSDMIKE 4/23/2010 7:35PM

    Goal setting weekend. Sounds like fun. Hope to be setting a couple new ones myself Sunday night. Have a great weekend.

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TMAC10 4/23/2010 9:42AM

    i'm so glad you've had a great week! let's make May amazing!

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CAMROLA 4/23/2010 9:40AM

    It works both ways--thanks for motivating me to keep going! Congrats no your progress, and enjoy the fruits of all your work!

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CFMOSS 4/23/2010 7:57AM

    You are doing incredibly well - understand wanting to drown in Ben and Jerry's -- I've been opting for Edy's slow churned which has been on sale. Yum...have fun in reviewing and resetting goals and...a great day.

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MANDYG1970 4/23/2010 7:36AM

    First time visiting your spark page. You are such a ray of sunshine. Have a great weekend!
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Day 2 of Freedom

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I stayed up late last night to watch Food, Inc. Very interesting. I told my honey last night when he came home "I think I want to spend a little more money for the chicken part of our co-op." Hm.

I am headed out for a swim again this morning. I just feel like I have so much more energy now that I don't have assignments nagging at me. Yesterday afternoon I even got to stop and take a leisurely look around the library! I am going to catch up on some books that are NOT about education (well, I got *one* that's about education, but I'm really interested in it. I guess that means I picked the right profession!). I'll keep you posted on the books and the lessons I've learned from them.
I did every single thing on my to-do list from yesterday. Yahoo! I think calling my daily list "to-do" instead of "goals" works better for me. I personally see goals as things like "be able to do a dozen push-ups at the end of the month." That's just me, though.

Tonight is stretch class and Pilates. I did some super strength training last night, so the stretch class will do me good. This month has been light on Pilates at the gym - they are doing a bunch of dance classes - so I'm looking forward to tonight.
Today's To-dos:
Drink at least 4 Siggs of water
Pack lunch for Friday
Choose outfit for Friday
Clean up school books
Take time to read (for fun!)

Off to finish my coffee, pack some clothes for this evening and head out for a swim. It's going to be an easy swim today, just something to get my blood flowing.

Have a super day!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOUTHGOINGZAX 4/23/2010 1:52AM

    I found Food Inc. really intriguing (interesting? good probably isn't the right word...) too. A large part of the reason I have an 800 sq. ft. garden is to be able to really enjoy what I am eating - it means a lot more when you personally have taken the time to plant the seed, water, weed, and witness the growth and "bearing of fruit" of your own food. I also would LOVE to have chickens (some people up the street do, right in their backyard - no anti-poultry ordinances in our town), tiny little banty hens with fluffy feathers on their legs (they look like they are wearing pantaloons) that lay little blue and brown speckled eggs....can you tell I am the daughter of a farm-girl? - but only for the eggs...Although I have witnessed the killing of chickens and participated in the feather plucking on my cousin's farm, I don't think I am ready to kill my own birds. Heck, I cried just sticking a needle into my cat. But I digress.

It's your day, your time, your freedom, your success! Yay!!!! Enjoy it, because you definitely earned it.

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EATNBOOGERS 4/22/2010 8:23PM

    I want to hear about bike rides! :-)

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CFMOSS 4/22/2010 7:05AM

    Good job!!! Have a great dy and I too look forward to seeing how your life moves forward.. Wonderful and scary.

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JILLIANPRNCSS 4/22/2010 6:59AM

    Enjoy your freedom, I can't wait to read how you choose to focus your energy.

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The end of the road...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When this afternoon is over, I will be done with my masters classes. Totally done. No more papers, no more lectures, no more tests. Done. I am SO excited. I think the best part will be no more nagging thoughts - "I really should work on my paper..."


And hopefully my "blah" blogs and my "blah" attitude will disappear, too.
So my new "me" project is going to be an action plan. An action plan to get me back on the weight-loss trail, not just on maintenance. I am amazed and thankful that I haven't gained any weight during these stressful couple of weeks! But there is work to do. There are muscles to grow, biking to do, and running miles to fit in. The action plan will include all of this and more. Maybe some trips to look at some art, maybe some time to work on my San Francisco scrapbook (I went on the trip last summer!). Time to get back to playing my piano - I love the way it feels to play the piano.
I have some great book suggestions (thank you!), so I'll be making a trip to the library soon. I have read some wonderful new ideas of ways to spend my free time (thank you!) and I might even try some new things.

Today's to-do:
Drink at least 4 Siggs of water
Pack Thursday's lunch
Pick clothes for Thursday
Vacuum downstairs
SEND FINAL PAPER!!!!
Get a 15 minute run and some strength training done this evening

Have a super day! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EATNBOOGERS 4/21/2010 11:04PM

    Woo hoo! Congrats!


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ROGUE_1 4/21/2010 9:29PM

    CONGRATS on being DONE! That is sooo exciting, I can't wait to be able to say that myself. Well, FIRST I must take and pass the GMAT exam to get into business school :) I'm itching to go back to school so bad, I can't believe I MISS it!

You're going to kick butt with your new action plan and hopefully your blah days will turn into better days!

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CAMROLA 4/21/2010 4:18PM

    So much work you put in -- and you DID IT! So psyched for you. I remember what a good feeling that was. Time to celebrate!!!

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SOUTHGOINGZAX 4/21/2010 12:28PM

    That's really fantastic, Carrie! I remember taking my master's thesis to the library for binding - the last step in a 4 year process - it felt so surreal, and everything seemed brighter, lighter, more in focus....It was an extraordinary feeling. So you enjoy it! You really earned it!

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SEPPIESUSAN 4/21/2010 7:41AM

    What an amazing feeling that must be!! Congratulations on finishing your Masters.

If you get a chance, please let us know about the books you read - I'm always on the hunt for good new books!

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CFMOSS 4/21/2010 7:40AM

    A great milestone - celebrate!

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PINKCOCONUT 4/21/2010 7:33AM

    YEAH!!!! A few more hours to FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!

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KATZABELLAMAMA 4/21/2010 7:17AM

    Woohoo!! School is tiring especially at this time of year. Sounds like you have a great things planned to fill in your time.

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SUNNY2DAY2 4/21/2010 7:04AM

    emoticonenjoy your extra time...you deserve it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOSINGITALL4ME 4/21/2010 6:58AM

    Congrats! You deserve a break after all the hard work you have done. Enjoy your extra time!

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LEARNING2LUVME 4/21/2010 6:28AM

    Congrats, that must be a HUGE relief for you!!!

Hoping your "blah" attitude disappears when everything is over. I know I had a very blah day yesterday and I'm praying today is better.

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BSTAKINGACTION 4/21/2010 6:18AM

    Congratulations! You've been working so hard!!! Enjoy...

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Blah

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today was one of those days. I came home from work yesterday not feeling so good. It was that feeling like a cold was coming on; achy body, stuffy nose, sore throat... Stayed home from running club and took a sick day today. Slept for hours today, and I guess I feel a little better.
I honestly don't know if it was a day off I needed or if I should have made myself go running last night - maybe it was some exercise I needed.

I have been SO stressed about getting my school work done; I have a big paper due tomorrow night, and I had three more assignments due this week. And I really want to do well with these last two classes. So I worked hard on my papers today, submitted three of them... tonight I have a quick question to ask my prof at chat time before I submit my final paper. And then I'm done. Not just done with these two classes, but with my master's classes. As soon as I get the results from my comprehensive exams, I will know if I have earned my degree. It's going to be a little strange being totally done with school... it's been such a part of my life!
So I have to work on thinking of activities I can do in the evenings since I don't have schoolwork to do anymore. i would LOVE suggestions. On Saturday I am going to buy a bike rack for my car and a helmet, and I plan on getting out on the bike pretty often. I can spend more time working out at the gym, I can get some swim laps in, and who knows what else. But I definitely need to take some selfish ME time after this week.

Off to get my sweet potato out of the oven...

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TMAC10 4/21/2010 5:22AM

    I am so excited for you to be done with your masters! it is an amazing feeling but it does take some time to adjust not being in school! there are some times now where i still feel guilty when im lounging around because i'm wondering if there is some unwritten paper somewhere i need to write!

with getting sick....are you taking enough vitamins? it seems like every since i've started taking my fish oil, mag-cal, and multi i haven't been sick. if i do start to feel the little bit sick i will either take echinacea or emergen-c to give myself a boost.

hope you're feeling better today!

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KATZABELLAMAMA 4/20/2010 10:25PM

    Stress has a funny way of showing it. You deserve some selfish YOU time, you've been working really hard these past few weeks.

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GROOVYCHICK9 4/20/2010 10:16PM

    You go girl. I am sure you will find something to do with your time. Just enjoy it for a while. I did and then I had kids and am now thinking about going back for my masters. Not sure what to get it in. You deserve some time to rejoice in what you have accomplished both professionally and personally. Celebrate!!!!!!!



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ONECOOKIETWO 4/20/2010 9:04PM

    Wow Carrie! This is the final push all right. And it is nothing compared to what you have already gone through. You will prevail, and then you'll get good news about the comps, and then...

I just wonder what you'll do next.

But as any great athlete will tell anyone: "I don't focus on what will happen after this game. I don't worry about the next games. I am just going to concentrate on winning this one."



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CASSIOEPIA 4/20/2010 8:16PM

    Awesome Carrie - that will feel so sweet to be done!

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GSDMIKE 4/20/2010 7:31PM

    I'd say take up the guitar or piano, but being a music teacher you probably already play. Maybe take up the tuba, it could be considered strength training too!

Congrats on finishing your Masters program. I've done the night school + full-time job thing before and I know how much of a commitment that is. Great job.

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EATNBOOGERS 4/20/2010 7:12PM

    Biking, gardening, reading, anything your house needs to be able to be sold, knitting, book group, running/walking/hiking group, volunteering, sewing, dance classes.... these are all things *I* would do in your shoes. ;-)

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JOPAPGH 4/20/2010 6:51PM

    Wow, no school at all! That will be an adjustment.

Exercise is good, and curling up with a book you want to read, not have to read. A movie with the sweetie is always nice. And there is always SparkPeople...

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MAIA2011 4/20/2010 6:35PM

    I gained 80 pounds over the last five years of school. I was also commuting an hour or more each way. Therefore, I am very impressed that you are managing school and losing weight, also. Keep up the good work!

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