An Exercise in Self-Discovery

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Some people are born to be athletic, made to move, and take part in sports. Oh how I wished to be one of those people! I can remember being in middle school and wanting to be able to run fast around the school path, but instead I’d start out as fast as possible, and be spent in another 10 minutes. School sports…well, check the blog post about where it all began, for the full juicy story there. Despite all this, and because I'm a driven person (my husband would say stubborn, I prefer driven), I set out to follow the nagging voice in my head reminding me to be curious and somewhere there would be a fit for me.

My story is not unique, I have tried a lot of exercise options, and found them hard to stick to. I’ve tried working out at big gyms, group classes, walking, Zumba, the list goes on. They were all fine, but nothing inspired me to want to show up on a consistent basis and place priority on being there. I remained open to experimenting, and still am, and I feel like this is key to the journey of health and wellness. It’s ok to fail, or not like something, but you’ll never know until you at least give it a shot. For me, change happened when I was open to trying a “new” class called barre3 ten years ago. A small studio had opened in downtown Lake Oswego, and I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. It must have been divine intervention, as a small room of mirrors, windows and ballet barres would not normally fall in my wheelhouse. Something clicked for me in that space, I felt comfortable and encouraged, and curious to learn more.

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I started small and my practice organically evolved with my life. Starting with DVD workouts between meetings in my home office, to online workouts with a sleeping baby by my side, to dedicating a full hour to a studio class and bringing my daughters along.

The big shift happened for me four years ago, with a birthday present from my husband. He bought me a package of classes, because I’d set a goal for myself to be in to be in better shape than I’d been before having kiddos. I don’t believe in weighing myself, so I wasn’t out to achieve a number on a scale. I felt fine in my clothes, which is usually my overall gauge of fitness. For me I just felt like I’d lost a piece of my independence and ability to pursue something just for me. With two little ones, its a common challenge to face.

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I believe this sweet birthday present began a journey of discovery for the life I’m meant to lead. I learned I could take a full hour completely for myself, and finally figured out how to leave the guilt behind. This self-care time made me feel clear headed and invigorated. Slowly as it became a habit, and I became unafraid to ask for my hour, we all saw the changes that followed. The lesson is, by me giving to myself I was in turn showing up in my best way possible for those who are most important to me. 

This journey also inspired me to explore the option of opening a barre3 studio of my own. This story doesn’t end with me opening a beautiful studio, but it does show the value of following your dreams and saying yes to experiences that are out of your comfort zone. I called owning a studio my “secret dream” and once I started saying it out loud, I started believing it could be a reality. Once I took the step of daring to think of this crazy dream as my future, I also started making a conscious choice to say “yes” to things I’d normally shy away from. “Do you want to be a part of a class that’ll be filmed for an online workout training” Normal response would be, no thanks, but I said yes. “Do you want to join a 6am class which will be aired on the local news, for a new studio that’s opening” Sure, why not, sounds like fun. As a rule follower, and creature of routine, this doesn’t come naturally to me, but I was surprised by the spark it lit inside me, when I did the things I normally wouldn’t think I’d be asked to try. Saying yes, and seeing where it leads is a practice I put into my daily life.

At the end of the day, I chose not to open a studio of my own, but continue to dedicate time and energy to my barre3 practice. The experience of exploring my dream taught me incredible lessons. I’ll never forget feeling lit up by the challenges put in front of me, and facing them with tenacity. Finding joy & fearlessness is something I’ll always be grateful for. It made me realize this it was just the beginning of my journey. I now understood I was made for more, and I’d search until I found what I was made to do.

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This brings us to today, where I feel more confident in my skin than I ever have. I work harder than I ever have, juggling a full time career and following my entrepreneurial dreams. I chase two growing little girls, and I can keep up because their mama was made strong from planks, bridge lifts and 3 pound weights. I’m really proud of the healthy lifestyle we’re modeling as a family, we show up and make it a priority. Every weekend they ask which class we’re going to, which studio we’ll be at and who’ll be in childcare. It’s part of our routine, and if when they forget, I remind them “it’s ok for mama to take one hour for herself, and we’ll all be together afterward.”

I’m thankful for a practice that makes me feel strong, encourages me listen to my intuition and provides a supportive and fun community to be a part of. Given my lesson of the power of saying “yes” I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite books, which I hope inspires you to realize how smart, talented and courageous you are and can be!

“I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” - Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person