Thankful Thursday: Is This What I Truly Want?

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise!”

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

-Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poetry always moved me, but I didn’t quite appreciate the beauty and simplicity of her words until recently.

My journey- sometimes impossible but always worthwhile- continually forces me to confront my past, my fears, my choices and my vision of a life that I am working so hard to shape each second of every day.

It’s not easy. Nothing worth having, ever is.

But Angelou’s words always seem to appear when I needed them most, as a reminder to strip down the obstacle to it’s barest core and walk away from it with a lesson instead of a burden.

I’ve worked myself into the ground, trying so hard to do everything I can to move past this point in my journey and get to the next level towards my higher purpose. It’s as if I’m trying to make up for eight years of stagnant growth in a few months.

I ignored my body’s urgent messages, namely exhaustion and lack of focus, to slow down and committed myself to a grueling schedule.

I made excuses for skipping the things that actually make me feel good, like exercise and healthy eating, and told myself that it would have to take a backseat to what was necessary in the moment.

I forgot that experiencing the journey moment by moment was the whole point here, and the destination is only a byproduct.

We work ourselves into the ground or up against a wall and grind ourselves down even further until there’s nothing left. It’s become a silent disease that cripples us and stifles our passions. But we sacrifice it all for a vague dream or a status quo, never taking the time to stop and ask ourselves:

Is this what I truly want?

Maya Angelou was a remarkable woman in so many ways. She left a permanent mark in the world with her brilliance and her dedication to teaching us the most important lessons in life: self-acceptance, equality, kindness, dedication, love.

I’ve given up so many times in the past at exactly the point that I find myself now. I get so tired and the vision that appeared so sharp and bright when I began, suddenly gets blurry and confusing.

But if there’s anything I’m grateful for this week, it’s that I’m hitting that turning point and choosing to ask myself the important questions so that I can continue moving forward, not backward.

Get a workout in. Skip the piece of cake and reach for fruit instead. Go to bed earlier to get quality sleep for the day ahead. Saying no when I possibly can’t get it done. Saying yes when fear tells me not to. These are the little steps I’m taking to get there, bit by bit.

Thankful Thursday 529

Do you take the time to take care of yourself?

What are you thankful for this week?

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How Powerlifting and Latina Magazine Changed My Life

Where the heck are those curtains? I thought to myself.

I was rushing through a department store one afternoon on my lunch break from work when I received the email.

Hello!

I’m working with Latina Magazine and for our social media issue, February, we’re reaching out collecting images from Latina bloggers all across the web. We’d love to include you!

I stopped in my tracks, nearly bumping into another other harried lunchtime shopper, as I scanned the message that popped up on-screen.

Latina magazine? Really?!

Considering I was inconsistent at best with my blog and my workouts had petered out considerably, I felt both awed and somewhat embarrassed. How could I possibly be included in a social media issue when I’d taken such a huge step back from this world?

I’m reminded of how I felt when I started training with Natalie a little over a year ago. I had just gotten over some of my gym fear by stepping out of my apartment and joining my brother on some runs. Natalie was a professional powerlifter and personal trainer with years of experience handling  heavy weights. I’d admired her from afar and I talked myself into giving it a shot. I figured I’d keep running and this would be a fun, new way to keep fit in the meantime.

The first two months of training were all about laying the foundation by building on my existing strength and layering on some of these new movements. I didn’t even touch a bar until several months of getting the basic movements down.

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I can still remember how challenging it was to practice RDLs with a pvc pipe, awkwardly mimicking Natalie’s movements and completely embarrassed by what all the gawkers were thinking of my horrible form.

Of course there were no gawkers. There was no one there to criticize me or point fingers the way I scared myself into thinking would happen. Fear is a tricky and powerful thing.

I spent years before I started training, questioning who I was by equating my self-worth with what I didn’t have. I wasn’t thin. I wasn’t “successful”. I wasn’t a leader or inspirational. I wasn’t enough.

The baby steps I took with powerlifting a year ago opened up doors that I never thought I’d get through without a battering ram and maybe another decade of hemming and hawing. I found an outlet that showed me unequivocally what I could do with a bit of effort, and more importantly, with faith in myself to get it done.

It inspires me to talk to other women who are out there kicking butt in their gyms, their living rooms, and their communities by illustrating the way exercise and healthy eating have transformed their lives.

Strength is beauty, in any context.

Reflecting on the last year of lifting highs and lows, I find myself still working on that foundation where I began. I may have traded in the pvc pipe for a weighted bar with plates but the work is still going on in my mind to get past the fears of what he might say or what she might think.

Battling back that fear in all my endeavors continues to be a major hurdle that trips me up sometimes. These days I’m choosing to focus on the rebound, because no matter how much my inner critic finds ways to hold me back, I always end up right where I need to be.

I stood there, in the aisle of a busy department store and allowed myself to hesitate for just a moment. I let the fear in and talk me in and out of a series of thoughts doubting who I was and all that I had accomplished a year after I started blogging and lifting. But only for a moment. And then I got back to the business of proving that I did in fact earn this, no matter where I was in my journey.

And here I am.

From healthy living to raising our kids to saving money, the thriving community of Latina bloggers is an ever-growing group that is not afraid to speak up about the issues that matter to us. In the February 2014 social media issue of Latina magazine, we featured some of our favorites–including our own Irina Gonzalez‘s punto on this virtual familia. Check out our full list of the 37 Latina bloggers that you should be following in 2014!
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A Woman’s Intuition

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A bit of visual inspiration today from my tea.

When was the last time you felt innocent?

Did you trust your naiveté or did you scoff at the supposed silliness of looking at the world through such a broad lens?

As we grow older we let go of the wild imagination of our youth in favor of what’s logical.

I can’t help but wonder, what’s so great about being logical?

Before experience and influence hardened my views into the practicalities of adulthood, I dreamed.

I dreamed recklessly, without abandon. The world was so huge and limitless.

The innocence gave way to disillusionment over the years and dreaming so big became scary.

I clamped down on the urge to explore beyond a certain point because the unknown was fraught with all sorts of frightening repercussions. Kind of like the big bad monster that lived in my dark closet which scared the crap out of me when I was four.

Twenty-five years later and the monster still has me shaking in my boots.

I sit here drinking my tea, dreaming.

I dare to look at the monster in the face for at least a minute and I’m going to say, “BOO!” just this once.

My four-year old self would be proud of me.

What’s your transformation story?

What inspires you to change?

As always, keep paying it forward and stay healthy! 🙂

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