Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

The Fight of Two Wolves Within You

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

What wolf are you feeding?

Our thoughts can be our own worst enemy, or are biggest advocate.  How we channel our thoughts effects the trajectory of our lives.  It is inevitable that both “wolves” will always be a part of our journey, however, we have the power to choose which one wins minute by minute, day by day, one small victory at a time.

The evil wolf allows negative thoughts in that add up over time to where you no longer realize you are living in your own self-made world of pity, sorrow, skepticism.  You have fed into the negative talk for so long that it has now become a part of who you are and maybe even how you are perceived.  This wolf is the easiest to feed.  It’s easy to slip into negative self-talk.  It’s even easier to complain, gossip, brush-off, ignore, or give-up.  Even the negativity that you brush off as joking is feeding into the evil.

Negativity breeds negativity.

But the second wolf?  That second wolf is full of promise.  It’s also full of work.  And THAT my friends, is where the magic resides.   The second wolf requires patience, commitment, tenacity, grit, perseverance, trust.  It feeds on learning, sharing, praising and the forming of habits.

The second wolf brings forth a sense of accomplishment, pride… peace even.

What’s that cliche phrase?  Nothing worth having comes easy.  You could apply it to this evil versus good wolf scenario.   Take the road with the challenge for the end result is worth more than its weight.  Feed the good wolf.  Feed the wolf that reaps the most benefit.

Right?

But what if I told you to feed both.

If you read into the Cherokee story, the alternative resolution is “if you feed them both, they both win.”

Think on that for a moment.

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Both wolves have characteristics necessary to life.  The evil wolf provides fearlessness, courage and strong-will.   The good wolf provides reason, clarity, courage, longevity.  When paired together they are powerful.

It is up to us how we manage our thoughts and how we provide an avenue for both wolves to co-exist. Mental clarity, self-awareness and confidence resides in the mind over matter.

“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

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Motorcycles, Leather and a Baby?

Towards the end of August I had the privilege of taking some photos for my very dear friends Andy and Liz, to only be surprised with the news of a baby on the way!  What a fun opportunity to switch mindsets from doing a couples photo session to a BABY announcement session. My heart! ❤

 

The weather was not in our favor, and having already rescheduled once, we were determined to keep plugging away, despite the rain and 1 million percent humidity levels.

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As all males, I think Andy was less than thrilled at the idea of photos, however, adding in the excitement of the baby announcement helped ease the nerves and joy and pride soon took over.  We had a solid hour of photos, endured the rain and then I held the honor of keeping this beautiful secret locked tight.

Until now.

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I think it is safe to say these two are going to make the absolute COOLEST parents on the block.  I am overjoyed for them and cant wait to spoil this baby in all things Harley-Davidson.

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Congrats, kids!

Enjoy the Ride!

 

Cheers!

End of A Fitness Instructing Chapter…

After a nearly ten year long chapter in my book of life, the time has come to say “see ya later” to teaching fitness classes.  I taught my very last class this morning at the Council Bluffs YMCA and I absolutely cannot think of a better gym to close out my fitness instructing tenure.  These people all showed up in my fave color of BLACK, with smiles on their faces, ready to get their butts handed to them as I dished out a mashup of all my FAVE moves.

Even the slackers killed it. ❤

 

I know for most, this isn’t much of a thing.  But this thing is HUGE for me and I am not sure I am emotionally QUITE ready for this chapter to end, however, professionally and personally it’s time.

With a career shift (I am still in higher education but have switched institutions and programming size), comes great opportunity, and I am eager to spend my time really digging deep into strengthening programs that cater to our under-served student population and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education across the Metro area.

Some really exciting stuff, guys!

But, with that, comes sacrifice!

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My fitness instructing career began clear back in 2002 in my hometown fitness facility and after a brief hiatus in between my move to the City, I held positions with 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, IWCC, and the Omaha Metro YMCA, specifically with the Council Bluffs branch.

I LOVE(D) it.

Teaching fitness classes in the city opened up the door to my stint as a national fitness trainer as a Master Trainer for BBLive, which provided an incredible opportunity to meet fitness minded folks from all across the U.S. and within my territory of Iowa and Nebraska.   (You can read more of my Master Trainer life here and here).

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I still to this day talk to Sarah (second from right) at minimum once per week.  The friendship built through MT’ing was a gift in and of itself.

And the HUNDREDS of people I had the great privilege of training over the course of two years was such an incredible journey.

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To close this chapter is pretty sentimental.  But, to close it with the YMCA folks who have been with me for nearly FIVE YEARS at the same time, same day, is something I will cherish to the end.

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The CB-YMCA is where the Slacker Corner was formed:

 

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And where I earned the OFFICIAL rights to be the Supervisor of them all:

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It’s where I learned time and time again that age is just a number and mental strength always perseveres.

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It’s where I got to know members on a deeper level and held the honor of celebrating their milestones and achievements in their health and wellness journey (here’s looking at YOU Randy in your incredible journey to doing a BURPEE in class with us)

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The folks at CB-YMCA learned to live with me through all my costume themed classes and endless photo opportunities:

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The CB-YMCA is where we celebrated members, turned family, and fought with them battles never before imagined:

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We celebrated BIRTHDAY’s and HOMECOMINGS in a BIG way:

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They chastised me with signs, questionable words under their breath and always with splashes of humor:

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And celebrated with me my LOVE of all things BLACK:

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We grew together as a family as we left the old for the new:

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And banded together to overcome not only the end of the workouts, but life’s ever waving highs and lows.

Class was more than class. It was (and will continue to be) a time of togetherness, camaraderie and love.

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In my reflection over the last several years, I see grit, tenacity, passion, exhaustion, fear, triumph and happiness.  I gave it my all and I sure hope every class, every trainee, every one-timer and every regular truly felt the love I had in teaching and took away something from their experiences.

Putting that mic on brings out a side of me that is a rarity.  Taking the microphone off for the very last time this morning has left a void, but I know, in my heart of hearts, I WILL be back again one day in front of the class.  Let’s just call it a cliff hanger with a sequel to be determined.  And I am sticking around on the sub list so I can get my “fix” on the occasion… 😉

Until then, I am going to continue my participation at a gym I attend as a participant (here’s looking at you, Edge Body Bootcamp) that challenges me physically and mentally every single day.  It’s my personal happy place.  Fitness is a LARGE part of who I am and what makes me happy.  It is not something I will ever let go.  I live for the challenge it places on me. It’s my own personal competition and I am my own opponent.  I friggin’ LIVE for it.

So, on that note…

Here is a CHEERS to my run in fitness instructing.  It’s been fun!

Until next time…

Why Blog?

In the world of social media, one could make the assumption that a blog is just another platform to overshare.  There are many reasons as to why people choose to blog whether personally, professionally, branding, memory preservation, or for collaborations across brands.

All blogs have their purpose for the identified author and audience.

 

When I first started my corner of the blogging world, I started out with sharing experience’s, places, networking and promoting brands and products with giveaways and challenges.  It has evolved into a place where I can share stories of what means the most to me as it relates to the people, events and experiences I surround myself with.

Mostly,

I blog for memory preservation and for story telling.

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I am not a big fan of documenting my every move and every photo on traditional social media platforms. My mind has shifted over the years to providing rich snapshots of my life versus a smattering of unrelatable photos and check-ins.  My blog provides me an outlet to share the what and the why’s behind my actions, my thinking and my surroundings.

 

  1. Places!  I love to share the places I have visited or roads I have traveled.  Reasons being are twofold: 1. It helps promote the business/location and I am all for giving someone a glowing recommendation when warranted (and also why you will see me hyperlink businesses) and 2. It gives readers ideas on where to travel or points of interest to visit on their next adventure.
  2. Friends!  My blog allows me a platform to brag on and show-off my friends.  I have a lot of fierce women surrounding me and I get the opportunity to show them off in the beautiful light I see them in and gives YOU, the reader, the opportunity to see their personalities and true beauty too!

     3. Personal!  It’s my place to share my beliefs, ideas, tips but also the highlight reel of my family life, married life, biker life and all the things in between that mean so much to me.

But, to dive a little deeper… I blog for memory preservation.  Alzheimer’s and memory loss are legitimate concerns for me.  I do a lot of reading on Alzheimer’s and memory preservation.  My memory fails me often the more I shove in my brain over the years.   I often joke that I have early onset, mostly because there are many events/moments that I simply do not remember that others do, but I also know that is partly because I wasn’t making a POINT to imbed some of those moments into my long-term memory.

At any rate, I want to be able to look back on the special moments in my life and read about those experiences long after the little details have left my mind.  I want documentation of my thoughts, my adventures and progression of my personal and professional development.

 

Blogging provides a different platform to share.  It’s my platform and little corner of the world, and for those of you who continue to follow along, I thank you.  Thank you for taking time out of your life to read about what is going on in mine.  You have taken a deeper love and interest in me and what I find important and valuable.  Thank you.

I only hope I provide you the same respect, love and admiration.

 

Cheers to living, breathing and loving this life we have.

900 Miles + Blazing Sun = Happy Heart

This last weekend I took off on my own little adventure through Iowa, just me and my trusty two-wheeled side kick.  It had been a minute since just she and I went on a little adventure, so it was high time!  Of course it was the hottest weekend on record for June.  I mean you literally started sweating just looking outside.  Brutal.  B.R.U.T.A.L.

But, hey.  When the open road calls, I answer.

Friday, June 15th, 10am.  Bags packed, tire pressure checked, oil levels solid.   Time to pack it up and ship on out.   Until my saddle bag handle falls apart ever so nicely in my hands.  I laughed.  Out loud.  Of COURSE this would happen, because why not?  Sigh…   Three pieces held together by 6 itty bitty little screws.  Do you think I can find any of them?   Nope, just one loan ranger that had apparently been hanging on for dear life (and holding my lid on too).  Thanks little buddy.

Operation: fix this shit, stat.

As I am searching through bins in the garage to find replacements Clint calls and says to take his bike. Um, no. This weekend is reserved for me and my girl. His response:  Well, guess you better fix it.  Good luck.

Already on it, good sir.

A little trip to good ol’ Tractor Supply and 30 minutes later, home-girl was on the ROAD!

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Destination: Ames, IA for a late lunch with my HS girlfriend, Erin.

Friends, I don’t think I stopped smiling the ENTIRE journey.  Well, except once, in Des Moines.  Traffic was thick, some cute bubbly blonde teenager was on MY ASS, so I turned around and gave her a little piece of my mind, hopped lanes, and went back to smiling.  Spent almost two hours catching up with Erin on personal and professional life, a nice solid hug to close our afternoon out, and back out to the heat I went.

Second time the smile left my face.  That heat hit ya right in the feelers, man.

 

That frown turned upside down the second I hit Hwy 30 headed East.  Destination: Cedar Rapids, IA to hang with my galpal Cyndi!   She had an ice cold glass of water and a PBR waiting for my arrival and I happily chugged them both.

And then it was off for a fun (and sweltering) photo sesh.

Look at this cutie!!!!!!!!

STOP IT CYNDI!  If you are cool enough to know this chick, you know her laugh is TOP 10!  More to come on that.

We spent an hour or so doing photos and then it was time for drinks, food and music to close out our night.

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Saturday hit me like a hangover from hell.  Mind you I had three beers and one vodka over the span of 4 hours.  PBR HATES ME AND IT MAKES ME SO SAD. I mean, come on.  You’re supposed to be my friend, Pabst.  What happened between us?  My head was pounding, my stomach rolling, Cyndi wanted breakfast, I wanted a soda, so I popped some ever-so-faithful Dramamine and Aleve and off we went.  First hill I had to yell at Cyndi to slow down if she didn’t want puke in her car.  Lovely house guest I make!

Anyway… Dr. Pepper saved my ass.  Dramamine is my hero.  We all survived the morning, and it was off for a day in the sun on the AMVET Poker Run!

We cruised north and east for a little over 160 miles.  I met some of her girlfriends, we signed our names to a random wall, we sweat out any and all drinks that went down the hatch and all and all had us a solid day!

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Poker Run wrapped up around 4pm with Cyndi winning some hundred dolla bills, y’all… (you just sang that didn’t you?)

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4:30pm I peeled off and headed to Ankeny, IA to hit up Whiskey River to see my cousin Erika.  Guys.  4:30pm, heading west, 105 degree index… and I am the genius going straight into the sun.  And guess who didn’t give two shits?  This girl.  Permagrin here to STAY!   My mind was happy.  My heart was full.   This was turning out to be a solid weekend.

6:30pm, drinks and dinner and a few hours of catching up with the gorgeous Erika made for an even happier girl.

And this is where I excel in making plans.   I try not to solidify much until necessary.  I told Erika to pencil me in as I might stay with her, but once 9pm rolled around, I was jonesing to move again.  If you have followed me long enough and know me well, you already know night riding is my absolute favorite time to ride, hands down.

It certainly is the most dangerous, but guys.  Your senses come ALIVE at night.  Your mind becomes sharper, your eyes more alert, the sounds and smells are heightened 10 fold.  It’s magic. Simply magic.  So, 9:15pm I fueled up and pointed my headlight towards Omaha.

And we rolled in just slightly after 11:30.  It was pure bliss.

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Father’s Day Sunday and I get a call from my dad jonesing for some open road time and a few beers, and so 20 minutes later I was out the door.   Hair hadn’t been washed in four days.  My face was a collection of at least 6 layers of lotion and sunblock and an additional 3 layers of makeup on makeup.  #killingit

Full disclosure:  Yes, I rolled into bed the second I got home Saturday night.  Sweat and sunblock and road grime and all.  Clint is a lucky… LUCKY man.  HA! #killingitagain

90 miles later I was at dad’s and we hit the road for a mini-southwest Iowa tour of bars.  It was a GREAT day!  As I was telling him about my weekend adventures he said “You are a daring little girl” to my night riding.  To that he followed up with “it’s my favorite too”

Like father, like daughter on that note.  Check!

I decided to peel off at Sidney, IA to head back to the city. I have a college friend staying with us for two weeks and I was in dire need of a shower.  It was when I reached Hwy 34 that the clouds showed their ugly head.

But, I think I had mild excitement at the thought of cold rain hitting my overly tanned shoulders.

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I hit it.  And I have made a mental note to get some RainX for my windshield.  We had a few hairy moments on some construction zones.

Clearly, we made it home safe and sound.

And deliriously happy.

My head needed those miles.  My heart needed those miles.  My LIFE needed those miles.

I recently read a quote:

Just because your time is full, doesn’t mean your life is full

Really hits home, doesn’t it?  Once upon a time, my time was full.  Of stuff.  Of work, of training, of teaching as an adjunct for a University, of fitness teaching, of conference calls, of weekend events, of this, of that.  My time/life. was. busy.  My life is still busy as many of the above-listed items I still do, but I am prioritizing appropriately, and condensing the amount of TIME spent on each.  A balance is essential.  I also reflected and eliminated some of those things in my previous life that were once fulfilling, but then after digging deep into my heart and mind… they actually weren’t.  I was missing out on the here and the present with my friends new and old.  I was missing out on things that at the end of my life, I didn’t want to regret.  I want to spend my time, my days, my life with the people and the things that make me feel fulfilled and that I know will make my heart absolutely happy at 90 when I look back on these times.

So, if this quote resonates with you, I encourage you to stop.  Reflect.  Take action on things that are going to fulfill you and your bigger purpose, whatever that may be.  What is going to make you feel proud at the end of the road?

Now, go LIVE!

 

Cheers!!