Archive for: motivation
Please forgive this delayed Thanksgiving message. We were in the throws of a floor tiling project in advance of Christmas company and the time slipped away. Although the day has passed, I am reminded by my friend David at Snipers Skate Shop, that we need to celebrate Thanksgiving as a “Mindset…not just one day of the year.” Please take a moment to enjoy and share this message from one of our most inspirational Presidents, Abraham Lincoln:
In the past few months, I’ve had the honor to work closely with remarkable Veterans and civilian leaders who fully committed to creating a permanent Veterans Family Center here in Maine. It was the vision of Staff Sergeant, Travis Mills, one of only five surviving quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, to have a permanent, handicap accessible camp for Veterans and their families to relax, rehabilitate and rejuvenate among fellow Veterans. This week, Travis retired from his military service and will be moving his family to begin a new life away from the familiarity of 19 months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed, his unit, squadron and fellow veterans. Like many veterans and their families, change can bring exciting opportunities but it can also trigger stress and anxiety especially for those dealing with PTSD.
As teenagers go, I was a pretty good kid. I stayed active in sports, was the editor of my yearbook, acted in theater productions, stayed on the honor role, and was always home by curfew. But, like all good kids, when you fall, you sometimes fall hard. A day after graduation, I told a little lie in order to attend a dinner and a play in the city. By midnight, we had crashed the car in the median after the driver feel asleep behind the wheel. I ended up in the hospital with a severely broken wrist and hand. Beyond my mother’s wrath, I also suffered terrible flashbacks. For years, I couldn’t get into a car without tremendous anxiety and the sound of a gravel road would completely freak me out. It is remarkable how traumatic experiences affect our physical and emotional state and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for our military and veterans. While I won’t presume any fool-proof solutions for the physical and emotional complexities of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are some helpful healthy choices that are easy to incorporate right now that may help alleviate some factors that aggravate PTSD.
For those of you who connect with me regularly, you know my passion for our military and our veterans. From the bravery, courage, and inspiring leadership of my amazing veteran husband, Mark Gauger LtCol USAF(ret), to the thousands and thousands of everyday people who have risen up to serve our nation so valiantly, I remain in awe of your service and sacrifice. Recently, working here in Maine with the Travis Mills Project and the expansion of the National Veterans Family Center, I have become acutely aware of the unspoken needs of our Armed Forces. No where is that need more evident than in the tragic death of Marine veteran, Clay Hunt, in 2011. This article is a spotlight on a team who has taken up Clay’s torch to inspire leadership and provide mentorship for our veterans.
Have you ever had moments in your life when you’ve met someone and you knew that the meeting was more than just coincidental — like fate or faith had something to do with it? Recently, while on a wonderful anniversary trip to New Mexico, Mark and I met a terrific couple whose anniversary is the same date as ours. In just a few short days, we became fast friends and look forward to seeing them again soon. Was it just a coincidence.…or was it something else? There is a saying that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” When you keep yourself open to possibilities, it is remarkable how many pivotal people will enter your life at just the right time. Recently, one of those pivotal people in our lives has been Dr. Alfredo Galvez. I thought you might appreciate spending some time with this genetic genius as he answers important questions about your health.
Laughter and fun have always been a theme in my family. After dinner, we often got a case of the giggles and wacky improvisation ensued. From our trademarked moves as the Zucchini Brothers to my youngest brother’s Elvis impersonations, evenings ended with us all in stitches. Last night I found myself in an extra silly mood and spent the better part of the evening laughing to Youtube clips of comedic geniuses like Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams and Steve Martin (three of my favorites). Isn’t it amazing how great you feel after a good chuckle? There’s actually more to it than a well-delivered line. Laughter can help you feel better, live longer, and what a way to go!
I am a sucker for old movies and, speaking of suckers, one of my favorites is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — the original with Gene Wilder. I watched it this weekend and rather than focusing on the river of chocolate (yum!), I paid close attention to the even sweeter message this campy little movie conveyed. You see, the lead character, Charlie, had a vision to win a golden ticket. He held onto that vision and ended up getting everything he had ever imagined. Walking through his wacky chocolate factory where anything and everything seemed to be possible, Mr. Wonka invited Charlie, and us all, to “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” It made me realize that we have the same imagination within all of us and that paradise may be right in front of us after all.
Update: Have you ever had a moment in your life when someone or something changed you forever? Yesterday, I had that moment. In a rustic dining hall packed with veterans, lobster, laughter and an whole lot of camaraderie, I met Travis Mills. His jovial spirit and engaging smile don’t serve to mask the tragedy he’s been through…those traits are who he is and who he has always been. Travis has a divine spark within him which manifests as a burning desire to support, encourage and lift others up especially during difficult times. This is his story of help and hope for fellow veterans and their families.
Have you ever learned another language? My parents made us take a foreign language course in school likely because their parents made them. My dad grew up in an Italian family with relatives who did not speak English so he was exposed to another language and culture his entire life. He was still required, however, to take Latin — uhg! My mom took French in high school and does a great job speaking it today when they travel. My brother took German has maintained his ability to speak fluently. I took Spanish in school and am now teaching myself Italian. It all reminds me of my favorite comedian, Steve Martin, who quipped, “It’s like they have a different word for everything!” While you may not be inspired to learn another language, you may be surprised to find out just how powerful your own words can be when it comes to your health, fitness, motivation and success.
In high school, my brother and his buddies started a band. Not only were they a crazy-talented bunch, they also had an uncanny ability to throw a concert together on a moment’s notice and fill the room with 300 or more avid fans. Last summer, they got the band back together for a one-night-only concert on the lake. It was a blast and we’re looking forward to an encore this year. It proved to me that you can go back and relive experiences from your past. With summer in full stride, maybe it’s time to shake up your fitness routine, rekindle some passions of your own and maybe even cultivate a few new ones.
Each year, it is estimated that the military discharges nearly 300,000 Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard members. For those of us who have been in the military or are members of military families, the transition to the civilian word can be challenging. My husband, Mark, worked tirelessly to develop an initiative here in Maine called the High Tech Patriot Program (HTPP) helping guardsmen and women attain high tech jobs. It was a win-win for the employer and the military member. Here are some of my other favorite organizations that may provide support to you and your family.
Every so often I get an email from a future Special Ops student who is preparing for the challenges of some of the toughest training programs in the world (SEALs, Special Forces, AFPJ/CCT, RECON / MarSOC and foreign groups for SAS, SBS, and the Foreign Legion):
Here is the question: Stew, I have been training pretty hard mixing in weights, calisthenics, running, swimming, and a few non-impact cardio options for additional heart / lungs work. I find myself not keeping up with others in the group or even meeting max repetition / faster times standards in the PST. I am feeling pretty discouraged with the workouts but I stay motivated to train with my buddies. Any advice?
Change is good. How good? Well, since becoming a marine spouse, resigning from my government career, moving to Okinawa and becoming a first time mom all in two year’s time– I’m here to say from experience “Change is REAL GOOD!” I now have a beautiful husband and daughter AND work from home. My work is so rewarding! I get to help people realize their true potential. I help them peel back the layers to unveil their inner beauty and fierceness! However, this is not an easy task. The “C” word can make ‘em or break ‘em. Fear and apprehension of change can really F things up for a person. I can’t even imagine my life any other way and would have none of this– NONE– if I had let anxiety over CHANGE hold me back.
Sooo, why is change such a scary thought when it comes to health and fitness?
I’ve been working on a number of home improvement projects lately. This weekend I tackled the kitchen, walk-in pantry and guest bathroom — Ugh! What astonished me in cleaning out cabinets was all of the stuff I’ve accumulated from wedding gifts, to inherited treasures, to just plain junk. The hardest part of de-cluttering for me is letting go of things. It is a family characteristic to keep things if they pass two basic tests: could it be worth money or will I potentially need it someday. Forget the fact that just a minute ago I didn’t even know I owned it! Maybe you’re guilty of the same behavior especially when it comes to your health. You may not know what your health is worth until you lose it. As we close out April, let’s do some spring cleaning of our own and find out what your health is worth, now and later.
Tysen Ober is a 23 year old soldier who recently returned from an overseas deployment to Kuwait. With no job, no school, and no relationship awaiting his return, Tysen knew this was his moment to do something big. And boy is it big! Tysen will be running 3,500 miles from California to Maine to raise money for wounded warriors. His hope is to inspire others to “get out, get active and get involved in giving back to this country.” His drive and vision inspired me to talk about how far we can all go with the right attitude (see the bottom of this article for ways to support Tysen’s quest).
With four rambunctious children in the house, my parents always found creative ways to burn off our endless energy/wear us down in the evening. One of my favorite memories was going to the old fashioned drive-in movie theatre in town possibly because it was the only time we were allowed to dress in our pajamas in public! We cuddled under blankets and watched The Jungle Book. Big old Baloo was my favorite character, a lumbering bear who didn’t have a care in the world and yet was full of wisdom for a wide-eyed jungle boy named Mowgli. One thing for sure about Baloo was his ability to enjoy the “simple bare necessities of life” from back scratches on the bark of a tree to picking “a pawpaw or a prickly pear.” Maybe Baloo was onto something - the right prick can be painless and may just heal what ails you…”You better believe it baby.”
In desperate need of a warm up, we ventured down to sunny Florida last week. Mark’s parents have a lovely home there and it has become our winter respite. Our daily routine includes tennis, golf and a swim in the pool which includes a walk by the neighbors Gardenia bush — my favorite flower. In fact, Gardenias were the centerpiece of my high school prom bouquet. While other girls had corsages, my date went all out with a bridal like bouquet that he insisted I carry it all evening. Okay, awkward! Even though the details of the dance have faded, I am amazed at the power of scent to trigger memories. It’s no wonder aromatherapy has become such a beneficial tool in our wellness arsenal. What better way to celebrate the bloom of spring than with the power of the flower.
My latest workout DVD, which will launch next winter is called “Slim and De-Stress.” Think of the initials S.A.D in my title to replace Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as S.A.D. The new workout is 30 minutes of high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. I use plyometric moves with winter themes, like snow angels, snowflakes, snowballs, the nordic track, ski lunges, mountain climbers, speed skaters and more.
The best part? It’s shot on location at a Caribbean beach so your mind gets a vacation, and some sunshine, while your body gets a de-stressing, endorphin-boosting workout.
Growing up I never had a nickname. It was always Chris or Chris Anne and, of course, the occasional “Christine!” when I was in big trouble. When my brother was born he got the nickname Tiger which I thought was a really awesome name because he sounded so tough. Guys always have the coolest nicknames like The Duke, Maverick, Indiana, and even The Babe. Occasionally they can be less flattering especially if you find that a certain protruding part of your anatomy is becoming name-worthy in it’s own right. If so, it may be time to banish that belly.
Did you ever see the movie Signs? I’m not usually into scary movies but this one sucked me in! The writer/director, M. Night Shyamalan was able to weave drama, suspense, science fiction and family tragedy into a faithful message of hope. It all begins with crop circles on a family’s farm and ends with our heros battling for their home and survival from alien invaders. Fortunately, the signs we usually encounter aren’t extra-terrestrial in nature. From flashing road signs to beeping message lights on our smart phones, signs are designed to get our attention. Your body is filled with them — maybe it’s time to pay attention to our internal signs.