<![CDATA[Chick Chain Walking Club - Teri\'s Blog]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:26:24 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Rise and Shine]]>Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:31:11 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/rise-and-shineWhen I was a little girl I would sometimes spend the night with my mother’s parents, Jay and Myrna Martin, who lived just a few miles from us.  My grandfather was a strong, stubborn personality who was the life of every family get together and reunion.  My grandmother was a quiet soul who loved to read, especially westerns and romances.  She wrote poetry (some good, some not so good) and if you borrowed one of her books you might find slips of paper with scribbled poetry hidden away in the pages.  They lived in a small, modest two-bedroom home with lots of nooks and crannies to snoop in for me, my sisters, and all my cousins.

On the mornings when I would spend the night, my grandfather would throw open the bedroom door at the ass crack of dawn and bellow “RISE AND SHINE, THERE’S DAYLIGHT IN THE SWAMP”.  And, you got up – there was no groaning, or whining to sleep in, you best just roll out of bed.  But, when you got up there were so many things to do.  You got up to go fishing, or to the grain mill, or to the county fair and walk through all the 4H exhibits, or work in their huge garden, or help with lunch that was inevitably hamburgers fried in an iron skillet to well done, and I mean well done, or hot dogs boiled in water on the stove.  They made us all feel loved and getting up to rise and shine was something wonderful. 

Then, one day, they’re gone.  And, you grow up.  Getting out of bed doesn’t bring exciting adventures as soon as your feet hit the floor.  There’s not a new flower to discover blooming in the garden, there’s no rhubarb to pick by the back fence for rhubarb-strawberry pie. There’s not a new kitten to cuddle at the grain mill and the fish you caught broke the line and got away.

Often, being an adult sucks and there’s no other way to say it.  The innocence of being a child is lost and the monotonous day-to-day life dulls your being.  Your day becomes filled with undone to-do lists and people who don’t have your best interests at heart.  Rising becomes a challenge, let alone shining. 

When I was going through my divorce there was a whole week right after my ex-husband and I separated that I did not shine, not one little flicker.  I went to work, worked all day through a haze, came home, had an ice cream bar for dinner, crawled up stairs, fell into bed and pulled the covers over my head.  Literally, covers over my head.   I thank God for those ice cream bars because they pulled me through. 

One day I got up and thought to myself, this might be an OK day.  I started to rise and dimly shine.  I slowly began to heal by making an effort to pull myself up and out.  I started to walk with friends to be connected and be supported.  The wonderful Chick Chain Walking Club was started.  Once I was stronger and ready for new adventures, fun things suddenly began appearing on my doorstep. I was ready to shine.

When being a grownup becomes overwhelming again and the shine isn’t as bright as it could be, when the first words in the morning are “Oh shit, here we go again”, remember to stop and consciously try to find and feel joy and gratitude in the littlest things.  It’s time to reconnect with loving family and friends who will say in the wise words of Loretta Castorini from the movie Moonstruck, “Snap outta it”.  How can you not rise up after that? 

So, in the memorable words of Grandpa Jay, “Rise and Shine, There’s Daylight in the Swamp!”.

My Rise and Shine wishes for you:
I wish you will write poetry, read romances, believe in love, passion and forgiveness.  Find your passion, lovelies, and then live it!

You make as many wonderful memories as you can with your children and grandchildren, for those memories are part of the fire that keeps their light shining. 

You know no matter how dimly your light may be shining, it’s still shining and that little light will rise to call love, gratitude and joy back home. 

I hope you connect with loving family and friends who will help you rise and shine even brighter.

And, finally, know you shine as bright as all the suns and stars in the universe.  And, I’m forever grateful for your brightness lighting the way in the darkness.

As always, with infinite love and gratitude,
Teri
  Picture
Myrna and Jay Martin

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<![CDATA[´╗┐Find Your Mojo]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:19:55 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/find-your-mojoFind Your Mojo
“I don’t much like my life right now”, my friend said as she dramatically dropped her head to the table. And that’s how our dinner night started.  I had envisioned a laughing, gossipy, catch-up dinner, not a bare-the-soul dinner.  I longingly looked at the people sitting at a table next to us while they ordered a round of shots and for a short moment, wished I was with them.

I’m very fond of my friend and was worried about her and so I asked her what was going on to make her life frustrating.  She looked exhausted with dark circles under her eyes.  I know she had challenges in her life, which included caring for two school aged children, working two jobs, a husband who worked rotating day/night shifts and she had just lost her full-time babysitter. 

She explained how she didn’t like the way life was unfolding for her.  It was becoming overwhelming.  She didn’t feel much for her husband, the sex was not great, she was worn out from trying to maintain a grueling schedule. She wasn’t feeling it for anything or anybody.  She loves her husband, adores her children but was confused about the lack of feeling anything for anything.  She felt numb.  After hearing her woeful story, I wasn’t sure I’d like her life either and knew my friend had lost her mojo. 

A few days after our dinner, another friend called and shared she was depressed and sad. She was going through a divorce after a long marriage and was frankly a hot mess as well.  She was struggling with major life changes - a new job, a new place to live and creating a new life.  And through it all, her mojo had gone astray.

Mojo means different things to different people. Some think it’s a certain air of attractiveness, others think it’s sexual appeal, still others think it is personal energy, like an aura. To me, it means a life force – knowing, accepting and following your life's passion.  It means feeling confident, strong, positive, and hopeful.  It means quieting the voice that always whispers - be safe, don’t leave that comfort zone.  It means feeling attractive and strong, finding and speaking your voice, no matter your body type or if you’re having a good hair day.  It means being living powerfully and with joy. All the things we want in our lives are within our reach.  

The thing about mojo is that it can be lost without warning. You wake up one morning and it’s just gone.  Perhaps life has worn you down or maybe you haven’t taken care of yourself, or your life is too busy taking care of others. 
Maybe your mojo was stolen.   Typically, people who try to have it all also feel a need to do it all.  It drains the body’s energy, creativity, and health.  

Enabling behaviors are a mojo stealer.  A phrase I recently heard really hit home for me "Doing things for others that which they can do for themselves robs them of the dignity to make their own choices and to learn and grow from those choices."  You may think if your loved ones aren’t happy then somehow it must be your fault and since it's your fault, you need to work twice as hard to make them happy.  It’s a never-ending, exhausting and unrelenting spinning hamster-wheel feeling getting you nowhere. 

If you've lost your mojo, I hope this list will help you find what's missing and to learn how to love yourself which is the hardest challenge of all. 
  
Find Your Mojo List
  • Put some laughter in your life, even if you're laughing at yourself.  Laughing and keeping a sense of humor, even in the darkest of times, has amazing healing properties.
  • Slow down in life.  You don’t have to do everything, right now, right away.
  • Take time to heal and spoil yourself.  Get a pedicure or a massage.  Buy a book!
  • Realize that another person’s happiness isn’t your responsibility or job in life. 
  • Take care of you before you take care of others – it’s not selfish, it’s self-love. 
  • Write in a journal.  Sometimes putting thoughts to paper really clears up the fog and you can see a new positive path to take.
  • Put things in perspective – decipher what’s real and what are you making up in your head. 
  • Breathe deep and often – breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4. It’s incredibly relaxing.
  • Finally, gift yourself the time and space to let the things you are seeking, find you.  Your mojo is not far away, it’s out there looking for you and it’s on the way back home.
As always, with infinite love and gratitude,
Teri]]>
<![CDATA[Welcome to Funkytown]]>Sat, 10 Sep 2016 14:08:39 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/welcome-to-funkytown Welcome to Funkytown

I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror.  I avoid mirrors like the plague, they are unkind in their honesty and by avoiding them I can pretend I’m still at pre-baby weight (my baby is 25 years old).  But this morning something felt different, there was a shift in the universe and I found the courage to face the truth once and for all. 

And so, I began my inventory.  My hair was slicked back from being wet and I thought to myself is that a half an inch of gray roots? Do I need to color it already?  How did that happen so quickly?  Then I moved onto my body - holy flubber, Batman, is that a back fat roll?  No, said a snotty voice in my head, it’s a back fat loaf. The list continued on.  My “girls” were near the end of their life-long trek to drift across the east/west equator of my chest.  These babies weren’t heading south, they were achieving their goal to end up in my armpits. And when did they stop being perky?  My booty was beyond bootylicious, as it had morphed into the Earth’s second moon and the pull of gravity was not attractive.  The list continued droning on and the inventory’s voice was not a nice voice – in fact it was nasty and full of ‘you should haves and why didn’t yous’.  My three dogs were scratching at the bathroom door probably wondering what was taking me so long so I let them in with a resigned,  “Welcome to Funkytown”.

 I couldn’t bear to look anymore or listen to that not so nice voice, so I put on my pet hair covered robe that only three dogs and three cats can provide (call us crazy), grabbed my make-up caboodle filled with every age defying makeup I could buy, and shuffled off to the kitchen counter.  This is where I put on my makeup and drink coffee my wonderful husband makes each morning as he gets up a few minutes earlier.  I grabbed a coffee and flavored it with my latest diet attempt – fat free hazelnut non-dairy, non-milk, filled with unpronounceable additives coffee creamer.  Aaahhhhh, I thought to myself, I deserve that extra tablespoon.  I’ve earned it. 

Then to punish myself even further I use a 10X magnifying mirror and as I looked this particular morning, I knew why I was such a funky monkey.  I’m getting older.  I had sweated all the way through the deep valley of menopause and slid into late life infertility where estrogen is nothing but a distant memory.  I had age spots. Good God, was that a chin hair - oh no, it’s worse - it’s a freaking whisker.  I had gray hair, which is a vicious demon that must be defeated every four weeks (and don’t ever think you can miss your appointment).  I was soon no longer going to be in my fifties.  I was quickly going to be in the sunset of my years where time runs out and mortality looms.

I was turning 60. There I said it.  It’s out in the open.  Don’t judge me.

I talked to a friend about it and shared my body inventory escapade.  She slapped her hands on her knees and said, “I know just how you feel!”  She asked me if I talked to my friends the same way those self voices talk to me.  “Of course not,” I said with disbelief.  “I would never talk to my friends that way.”  I do often compare myself to friends and co-workers and I frequently (ok, always) seem to come up with the short end of the stick. “Then why would you talk to yourself that way?“ she asked.  I think she was trying to tell me to start loving, accepting, and respecting myself just as I am.  I believe I sighed heavily.

I had to rethink how I treated myself.  I thought about her challenge and asked myself these questions:
  • What if I left FunkyTown and rewrote all my internal nasty voices?
  • What if I owned have back fat loaves?
  • What if I was perfectly fine with having Earth’s second moon as my bum?
  • What if I was ok with aging, gracefully or not?
  • What if I practiced daily gratitude and listed all the amazing things in my world like
    • a  fantastic marriage, wonderful children and their partners, and oh so amazing grandchildren
    •  being healthy and on the right side of the dirt
    • having a great job on a great team
    • having wonderful and supportive friends who, by the way, for some reason think I’m beautiful on the inside and out
I acceptedmy friend's challenge.  I’m moving on up and leaving Funkytown behind.  I’m saying goodbye to all those unkind, unloving voices thriving in those dark streets.  I’m going to work on loving myself – all 60 years of me.  I’m going to love me as much as I love my family and friends. 

Are any of you lifelong residents ready to leave Funkytown?  I’d love the company.

My Welcome toFunkytown wishes for you:
  • You look in the mirror and, no matter how you're feeling about yourself, you say, "Well, hello there, beautiful!"
  • You know that Funkytown doesn't have to be a permanent residence.  Don't buy furniture and groceries to live there forever.
  • You know that whatever challenges you're facing, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important" (quote that I love from Kathryn Stockett's, "The Help").
  • You know how absolutely wonderful and beautiful you are inside and out.

With infinite love and gratitude,
Teri
 
 

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<![CDATA[The Top Ten Things I Learned in 2015]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 20:21:14 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/my-top-ten-list-of-what-i-learned-in-2015The Top Ten Things I Learned in 2015
As my Year of Listening draws to a close, I’d like to share my “Top Ten” list of things I learned while being trying to be open, listening and present.  It's amazing what you can learn when you shut your mouth and open your heart.  Thank you all so much for allowing me to share this incredible year’s journey with you.

1)    I learned how to become more empathetic as people shared their stories. By being focused on listening, I was more involved in conversations and not just waiting for my turn to speak. The old adage to reflect back what people were saying is so true and provides chances to clarify with time to think about what was being said.  It took the exchange of ideas to a completely different and amazing level.

2)    I learned how to become engaged in a situation without trying to control and manage it. Through the 12 step program, I learned a fantastic quote (paraphrased here).  “Do not do for others that which they can do for themselves.  It robs them of the dignity of growing and becoming who God meant them to be.”    My son said it much more eloquently when I rushed to help him with a normal life situation, “Mom, you can’t do this for me, I have  do this on my own and learn from it.” 

3)    I learned starting over and loving a person does not protect you from outside pressures.  Match.com man (aka Rick) and I had to navigate some very tricky waters this year.  I had to acknowledge old bad habits from the first marriage were not going to work in this relationship.  Rick and I had many forthright conversations about the direction we needed to take.  These were not easy conversations.  Often, we would acknowledge, “OK, this is going to be an awkward and uncomfortable talk”.  But, we made it through with flying colors.

4)    I learned not to take things so personally.  A fantastic book, “The Four Agreements” teaches this.  By not taking so much personally, I found a freedom to speak authentically without obsessing what the other person may think about me or how I might be perceived.  We can only control ourselves and how we respond to the world. 

5)    I learned, once again, that I’m a perfectionist control freak and letting go is the only cure.  I’ve known this all along but it really hit home when I thought I could manage another person’s life, because, well with my life experiences I knew best. Thus the 6th item on the list.

6)    I learned how to let go.  Let go of the past.  Let go of stories that I’m not quite good enough.  I learned failure isn’t going to kill me but it is like the mythical bird, the Phoenix, who burns to ashes and then emerges stronger, better and more beautiful than before. 

7)    I learned that speaking in front of fifty or more people is nerve wracking beyond belief, but I can do it and not throw up (though it was close).

8)    I learned some people live awful, unrelenting and devastating lives.  Many through their own choices, still others because of life circumstances.  But, these same people try to heal and become whole through sheer perseverance and grit.  We are all imperfect yet still so worthy of love and forgiveness.

9)    I learned gratitude can change lives.  When I wake up in the morning and consciously show gratitude for my past, present and future, my whole life falls into place.  This doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses or it’s always dark and foreboding.  It means some days are awesome and some days suck, and if I remain grateful for it all, things seem to balance out.

10) And, finally, the biggest lesson of all is that people, in general, are doing the best they can.

Brene Brown is the author of Rising Strong.  I am a fan of audible books and listened to her book during my long commute.  It was pivotal for me.  Brene is a professor and qualitative researcher on vulnerability and shame.  

Her style is open and sprinkled with a Texas twang.  In her book, Brene tells a story of when she was extremely frustrated about sharing a room with another presenter during a speaking event and her roommate was, well, less than stellar.  After relating the situation in a counseling session, her therapist asked her, “Do you think, in general, people are doing the best they can?”, “Oh hell no” was Brene’s response.  But the question sent Brene Brown on an investigative mission. And, ultimately, her story caused me to ask everyone that same question. Rick and I had quite a conversation about it and my friends told me they had spirited conversations about the question with their spouse, family member and friends. 

There is no right or wrong answer.  I personally believe, in general, that people are doing the best they can.  Sometimes, it may not the best in my book, however, by pausing and thinking of their experiences, where they have been, where they are going then perhaps they are doing the best they can.  As are you!

My Top Ten Lessons Wishes for you

-       You know how grateful I am for you - for giving me the honor to listen to you, for letting me make many mistakes and still supporting and loving me.  There aren’t words enough to express my gratitude.

-       You feel the freedom of not taking anything personally, knowing whatever was said or was done to hurt is a reflection of where those other people are coming from.

-       You know you are truly doing the best you can.  No matter how good or bad you feel, no matter what you say or don’t say, you ARE doing the best you can.  And for that, I love you.

-       And, you know I’m thankful my year of listening is ending.  Now I can be all about me again.

-       I wish you all the healing, love and peace in the upcoming year. 

As always, with infinite love and gratitude,

Teri

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<![CDATA[My Year of Listening Part Deux - How Listening Changed My Life]]>Thu, 20 Aug 2015 00:34:36 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/my-year-of-listening-part-deux-how-listening-changed-my-lifeI have been trying to write a blog for months and nothing seemed to stick.  There were drafts written and drafts deleted.  I wrote high-faluting messages like Live Big, Be the Best You Can Be stories, but none felt real or right.  The concept was good but there was no oomph behind the words.

I couldn’t write a blog because another story was in my head begging to be told.  I kept telling it to be quiet, shut up and GO AWAY – I can’t tell people about that.  But, there it was again, floating in my head on the way to work, on the way home, during a work meeting, while watching TV and right before I fell asleep.  Match.com man kept asking when are you going to write a blog.  I would answer by giving him the stink eye.  Leave me alone, I would tell him, I have writer’s block.  He would respond by giving me his evil raised eyebrow.

One particularly beautiful morning, I was sitting on our outside deck enjoying the wetlands view and soon, I clearly heard my mother’s voice say, oh for Pete’s sake, just write it.  And so I did.

My Year of Listening, Part Deux – How Listening Changed My Life

I have been working hard in My Year of Listening.  This process has been such a challenge, it deserves a second chapter.  As a talker, I love the being the center of attention, feeling the flow of conversation’s give and take, and the positive energy it provides.  However, the flip side of listening is being too quiet because of being afraid to speak up, often feeling uncomfortable or just plain intimidated by the situation.  A perfect example is a group I recently joined. 

I began attending a 12 step program and support group.  An extremely important principle of 12 step meetings is keeping and protecting the group’s anonymity so I won’t go into any details of why or what program I’m in nor share any information about its members.  They have earned this respect.

I was angry for weeks about being in a 12 step program and adamantly did not want to attend. I was really pissed. I didn’t want to go and felt I shouldn’t have to, so I pouted every week in every meeting.  The meetings always start with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer.  The moment of silence was nice but I couldn’t believe they were saying the Serenity Prayer.  As I listened to the group saying the words, I thought the Serenity Prayer is just a cop out – way too passive – these people needed to take action and take control was my high and mighty way of thinking.

But, really, I was very afraid – afraid of my anger, afraid should I speak what toads and frogs might tumble out of my mouth and scare everyone in the room.  So I sat there listening and feeling superior, because it was just a circumstance of life I was there.  I really didn’t need help.

I sat listening, meeting after meeting, for months, every week, once a week, slowly I noticed things starting to change.  I began to listen, really listen to these incredibly brave and honest people as they shared their stories, outpouring their grief, weaknesses and strengths, fears and failures, and their successes.  Listening began to change my life.

I learned life’s secrets from these every day, normal people, the same ones who I angrily judged on my first few visits.  I was schooled in perseverance, humility, learning once and for all how to let go of my raging Control Freak Perfectionist anger.  They helped me understand I can’t control the world and everyone in it, I can’t cure the world and everyone in it, I can’t save the world and everyone in it and it is OK I’m not a super human.  Through them, I discovered my span of control was only with me, no one else and my circle of influence was no bigger than a hula-hoop size space around me.  

I started sharing my own story, slowly at first and soon found their understanding, warmth and non-judging support began to loosen the tightly closed fist around my heart.  One meeting, like a jigsaw puzzle where suddenly the pieces begin into fall into place, the Serenity Prayer began to make sense.  That was the week I joined the group in praying.  I truly listened to the prayer and understood it isn’t passive as I first thought; it is a call to action, a road map to choosing change and choosing happiness.  Only true listening, not being the center of attention, taught me this. 

Recently, I was honored by a member who asked me to be their sponsor, but since I’m continuously cycling through Steps 1 and 2 (harder than you might think for us control freaks) I felt they might do better with someone who had gotten to at least Step 3.  Instead, I told the member I would be their cheerleader and special listener every week.  And so the healing gets passed on.

I continue to go to meetings, sometimes dragging my feet, but always glad when I get there that I’m there.  I’ll go as long as I need to go, maybe forever, maybe just until things in my life have righted themselves.  But no matter how it all works out, I’ll always be grateful to all of them for showing me how listening can powerfully change lives.

The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference



 My Part Deux – How Listening Changed My Life wishes for you

You don’t need a 12 step program to see how powerful the Serenity Prayer can be.

You know there is hope and help just a meeting away.

You know there is no shame in seeking help, wisdom, or guidance.

You have the courage to take the one small step to change something in your life which needs changing. And know I’ll cheer you on.

You know how honored I am to count you as my friends.

With infinite love and gratitude,

Teri

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<![CDATA[My Year of Listening]]>Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:39:37 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/my-year-of-listeningI am a talker.  I talk constantly to my husband, children, family, friends, co-workers, strangers, people on the plane, train, street, grocery store, and Lowe’s.  I will share stories, connections, life experiences, and jokes.  I like feeling connected to people and this is my way.

I was talking to a friend when I saw a missed an opportunity to hear her story which was something very important to her.  Soon, after pretending to listen, I found myself making the conversation all about me  - no surprise.  She would say something and I would respond, I know! and here’s what happened to ME, here’s what I think and this is about me, me, me.  I then recognized how she may have felt shut out and down.

So, I made a new goal.  My 2015 focus.  I’m calling it My Year of Listening with a capital “L”.  This is a stretch goal for me and harder than you might think. 

I once read the greatest gift you can give someone is listening by giving them all your attention and focus.  This absolute focus on the listener gives them validation, a feeling of importance, and though they might not recognize it, a sense of being a remarkable human being in the universe.  I have a friend who is an incredible master at this.  She listens with all her focus and being, leaning toward you, making eye contact, her attention on you and only you.  There are no distractions as she listens.  She will ask insightful questions and clarify things you might have said to help her understand better.  She makes you feel as if you and only you are the most important person at that time in that moment.  I always walk away from our conversation feeling validated, truly listened to and, strange as it may sound, more confident.  This is what the gift of listening can do.

As I travel this road of listening, I find it very difficult to listen with everything I have.  I try to have fun with it  The more I share my goal with people, the more I’m called on it when I’m slipping down the slippery slope. I have backslid a number of times already.  I start by listening and but soon begin to daydream about adult beverages and shopping or developing a response to what is being said, listening with half an ear and waiting to quickly jump in with a response.  Then, all of a sudden - yada yada yada is all I hear myself blithering.  I have to stop mid-sentence, look at the speaker and ask an intelligent clarifying question which usually is, “Um, what were you just saying?”  

But sometimes I find the speaker is sharing things I just don’t want to hear.  It may be something really personal or information where my paradigm of the speaker negatively shifts so suddenly it makes my head spin, or they really take so long to get to the point that I want them to just shut it.  I stay with it though and listen.  I may pop a sweat because it is freaking hard work staying quiet and focusing.

The important lesson I have learned through listening is this powerful and magical secret -  I don’t have to solve their problems, I don’t have to fix the speaker, I don’t have to provide advice and guidance, I don’t have take on their issues, I don’t even have to like them.  I just have to listen, giving the person the gift of hearing and knowing the story they’re telling is much, much more than the words they use.

By the way, I can’t wait until January 1, 2016 when I can make it all about me again!

My Year of Listening Wishes for You

You look past words, tone, and even the speaker to hear a true story being told.

You listen to someone sharing how absolutely delightful and shiny bright you are.  Pay close attention for they are sharing a truth.

You hear a story that might have been missed had you not been truly listening.

You believe in yourself. 

And, as always, you know you inspire and motivate!

With infinite love and gratitude,

Teri

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<![CDATA[My Dirty Little Secret]]>Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:52:36 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/my-dirty-little-secretIs there something in your life you’ve never told anyone?  A little secret no one knows and you’ll never share.  Maybe something embarrassing, like toilet paper stuck to your shoe and no one mentioned it, or your pants were unknowingly unzipped as you sat in a meeting and someone from across the table texts you to zip your pants, or maybe you were unkind to someone and you regret the hurt it caused.  All these things are very human and everyone has a dirty little secret.  It’s what you do about it that makes all the difference. I have many little secrets, and yes, my pants were unzipped in a meeting and one of my coworkers texted from across the table to tell me that I was showing off my underwear.  

I have another dirty little secret and its rather embarrassing.  So, here it is - it’s just so not right.  Ok, I’m telling you now….I haven’t walked in a year.  GASP.  Be still my pounding heart.  There it is, my fall from grace, out in the universe for all to see.  Yes, I haven’t walked in a year.  I can’t believe it either, my friends!  It has always been my hope that the Chick Chain Walking club website provides motivation, giving people confidence to change their lives one step at a time.  So, to not have walked in a year felt like I was lying to everyone.

I haven’t walked in a year.  I have every excuse in the world, two surgeries on a broken ankle, another fall last summer that caused a concussion, and a large blood clot that stubbornly just will not heal.  But those are all things that can be recovered from, but the longer I “recuperated”, the longer I laid on the couch.  The more I lazed, the more I beat myself up and then sat some more hating myself for it.  I gained twenty pounds in one year.  I felt like hell. But I still kept up the website, feeling like a fraud.  I sat on the couch some more.  Now what do I do, I thought to myself as I sat even longer.  I can’t share this with anyone.  It’s just too embarrassing.  Maybe I should just give up the website.  I was frozen with indecision. Thank goodness my chicas have been leaving me in the dust and walking every weekend and many in 5k’s so I’ve been able to share their pictures and their triumphs.   I’ve also had unbelievably awesome guest bloggers to share their stories.

But it was an email from a reader in Los Angeles who wanted to know how to start her own sister walking club that  finally got me motivated.  I realized I have to come clean because that’s the only way I’ll be strong enough to get up off the couch and stay true to who I am and who I want to be.

I know I’m not the only one who battles a secret or the feelings from backsliding from a goal.  I truly struggled with the irony of having a walking/exercise website while sitting on my bum for a year.  Finally, after I had had enough of feeling sorry for myself I knew I had to share my struggles before I could move on.  I am now slowly getting back to walking, making it a priority and feeling so much better about myself and my goals.

Many of us have struggled with a secret and it often paralyzes us from moving on.  Secrets can hold us back from being the best of who we are.  Friends have shared secrets of childhood abuse they’ve suffered, others shared secrets of being bullied in middle school or even being the bully.  The memories of the secrets come with self-doubts which are heavy weights holding us down, not letting us move with forward with grace.  We begin to hide from ourselves.

You don’t have to share your secrets to be free, but don’t let them stop you from rising from the couch. moving forward and towards who you were meant to be.

 My Dirty Little Secret Wishes for You

I hope you recommit to your goals and move towards being the best you can be.

You realize we all have secrets - big secrets, little secrets, so don’t let them own who you are.

Don’t let secrets or negative thoughts about the secrets hold you back.  Let them go and feel the relief and weightlessness of being.

 BELIEVE!  Believe in yourself and the remarkable person you are and who you can be.

Forgive yourself.  Forgiveness wears many faces and sometimes forgiving yourself can heal the paralysis that’s holding you in one place.

Know that every day, every one of you inspires me to grow, learn and move.

And, finally, always double check your pants and shoes before leaving the bathroom!

With infinite love and gratitude,
Teri

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<![CDATA[The Smallest Step by Katie Butler ~ Guest Blogger]]>Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:53:06 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/the-smallest-step-by-katie-butler-guest-bloggerWeight has never been something that I wanted to talked about openly. In recent years I have learned that I NEED to talk about it openly in order to fully understand that I have a weight problem. I eat…all….the….time. I could be happy, sad, mad, glad, pissed or having the best day of my life and I still would find a reason to eat. As a substance abuse therapist I pride myself on helping my clients find the “root cause” of the dependence issues. I have always believed their substance abuse wasn’t their problem but an outcome of something that they had never dealt with (ie: PTSD, childhood abuse, depression). I have racked my brain thinking about what could have lead me down this path of self-destruction and yet I continue to be stumped by this. Is it genetics? Maybe, both sides of my family have had weight issues here and there and it was always easy for me to place blame on genetics. Is it depression? Maybe, life isn’t easy and as a thirty something year old adult there is plenty to be depressed about, bills, bills and more bills. Again it’s easy to place blame on depression, but in the end, the fight I have had for the last 32 years is one against myself.

In May of 2013 I had just returned from England. I was the heaviest I had ever been, depressed, stuffed into my clothes and exhausted all the time. I had an open conversation with my doctor about my weight and after sobbing for 20 minutes in her office she asked me openly how far was I willing to go to get my weight under control. As a therapist it’s easy for me to see which direction my clients need to be guided into, but now the tables had turned and I was in the hot seat. I blurted out that I would do anything except surgery, I wasn’t ready for that conversations yet. I had been successful in the past with healthy eating and exercise but struggled to stay motivated. I had been on weight watchers for going on 2 years and had stalled out on making any progress.  

My doctor told me about a prescription medication called Adipex.  It is a medication that help curb your appetite and also boots your energy level. My doctor set me up for a 12 week trial of the medication and indicated that I would have to come back each month for follow up to ensure that the side effects weren’t interfering with my life as well as to help keep me on track. After 12 weeks on the medications, beefing up my exercise routine and eating healthy I lost 22 pounds. I was floored! I felt amazing, my clothes were baggy and my energy level was so high that I often found myself cleaning my house at 10pm to just burn off the excess! I went back to the doctor after 12 weeks and  together we came up with a plan for the future. I ended up doing another 12 week trial this past January and lost another 28 pounds! My doctor then told me about  a new medication called Belviq. It’s similar to Adipex but a long term medication that helps control your appetite and also gives your energy a boost.

 I have officially lost 52 pounds and continue to work hard each day. To celebrate my success I recently purchased a treadmill (no more excuses for missing the gym!). I am blessed to have coworkers to push me and help me stay motivated. This year we have competed in the 5k Cheetah Chase walk. I placed 17th in my age group. My coworkers and I are  planning on doing the Corporate Cup 5K and the Alive and Running VA 5K this year. I am also thankful to have a husband who was so inspired by my journey that he joined weight watchers as well and has lost 30 pounds so far.  In total, I have lost 52 pounds, 4 pant sizes, a shirt size, many inches all over my body and gained a brand new perspective on life, love and happiness.

 “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must but take the step.”   

Katie Butler 

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<![CDATA[Choose Love]]>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:23:41 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/choose-loveA close friend and I were talking about some issues in her life and she asked me if I ever felt like I've been in a dark hall feeling for a light switch that can’t be found or if I've woken up in the morning and felt like life really wasn’t all that.  I told her I sure have felt like that - it's called depression.  

People don’t like to talk about being depressed because, well, it's depressing.  There’s still a shadow of shame that overlays peoples’ perceptions of someone who battles the darkness of depression.  The sufferer keeps it hidden and locked away, though it is always present.  It walks with you, talks with you and sleeps with you, if it even lets you sleep.  It impacts how you interact with people, family and friends.  You stop feeling anything but an never ending numbness.  The feeling becomes a way of life – an obsession.  Depression robs you of hope, beauty, confidence, life and love.  Depression can last a day or a week, or for some, a lifetime.  

So, now that I have you all depressed (see, it does make you depressed) how can depression be healed?  The answers sound easy, but the actual work is very hard.  Someone I truly respect, love and admire once admitted to me she suffered from horrible depression and often thought about ending her own life.  This woman is highly successful in her personal and professional life.  No one would have guessed she was suffering, it was so well hidden.  She shared how she got help from an excellent therapist, went on  antidepressants and was able to work through the issues that caused her to feel so hollow.  She said she chose love.  She chose to love herself and her family and take steps to heal.

Like my friend, I have fought depression at certain times in my life and because of her openness and honesty I found the courage to take my first step in healing.  I decided to choose love and sought professional help and found an incredibly wise counselor and began to learn to care for myself.  This means loving and forgiving yourself with all your faults, cracks, and imperfections.  

How many of you can honestly say you love and care for yourself and I mean love yourself like you would a close family member or good friend.  How many of you can take a compliment with a simple thank you?  Someone recently complimented me on a dress I was wearing.  I never wear dresses, so I was already out of my comfort zone.  When she said I looked great, I found myself pointing out how big my butt looked in the dress.  She looked at me so strangely and said to me, can you not see how absolutely beautiful you are. 

It was an aha moment for me and I share this so that if you are feeling negative, hopeless, and depressed, choose love and start to care for yourself.  There is no shame in what you’re feeling.  Even if you aren’t depressed, choose love.  I have the privilege of knowing some of the most incredible people in the universe and many have suffered from depression, many haven’t, some have happy lives, some don’t, but all have chosen love.  It’s a choice you have to make every day, day in and day out.

Still, there are times when I wake up and I don’t want to choose love.  I whine to the universe asking why me, why do I have to do this? Then I stop, breathe deep, count every blessing in my life and choose love once again.  I choose to believe in love, to open myself and be healed by love.  And then I'm healed once again with a warm and healing light. 

So, at times when the world seems to have lost it's sparkle and I think my butt is too big, I still choose love and see myself how my friend saw me and how I see you – absolutely beautiful!

My choose love wishes for you.

~ That if you’re battling depression, choose love, be brave and take the steps you need to get help.  There is no shame in being depressed.  It takes a brave person to take steps to heal.  And, remember we are here for you.

~ You choose love, every morning, every day, all day long and all your life.

~ You open your heart to new ways of thinking about yourself.  Shed a bright light into yourself and see those wonderful things you may not even know you possess.  Bring them into the brightness of day.

~ As you choose love, be courageous and take a step out of your comfort zone.  Recently, we were at a beautiful peaceful lake and I was talked into trying Kayaking.  I don’t swim and I was so terrified I had a panic attack on the water.  But soon I got the hang and rhythm of using the paddle.  I did it without any mishaps or broken bones!!  This may sound like a small thing, but for me it took a lot of courage.  I challenge you, with love of course, to step out of your comfort zone.  You’ll know what to do when you step up and out.

~ Know that always, always, always, I count you as some of the most incredible people in the universe.  You inspire, guide and motivate me.  You share your lives and your love with me.  For that, I’m always filled with gratefulness.  

As always, with infinite love and gratitude,
Teri 

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<![CDATA[Doubting Your Dreams]]>Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:40:33 GMThttp://chickchainwalkingclub.com/teris-blog/doubting-your-dreams I have been, well, a little squirrelly lately.  Family and friends will confirm that.  With the stress of life and work changes I thought I was managing it well. But one morning, I knew it was bad when I didn’t want to get out of bed.  I just wanted pull the covers over my head until everything was all over.

 I was starting to doubt my dreams and the direction I was taking - making a marriage commitment, a major move and trying to be healthy.  I remembered a quote I once read and it said the closer we get to our dreams, the louder our self-doubt becomes.  The loud nagging voice that says you’re making a big mistake, this is a bad idea, you’ll never make it and you know you can’t do it. It’s a voice which usually starts with a trigger.  Perhaps you suddenly had a detour on the road to your dream, perhaps you ate ALL the chocolate stashed in your desk – you knew you couldn’t lose weight, right? Or it may say you know you’ll never be as beautiful as “fill in the blank”.  It’s an ugly voice and sometimes speaks like a teacher from grade school who didn’t believe in you, or a sports coach who yelled at you, or a group of middle school friends who made fun of you.  It all sounds the same.

My trigger happened when I got mad at Match.com man for the first time in our relationship.  I hate conflict and all that goes with it.  My conflict used to look like cupboard door slamming and saying words that can’t be taken back.  I acted like that in my first marriage and look how that ended.  Feeling anger makes me extremely uncomfortable.  So things stew and simmer until the anger reaches a boiling point.  I just knew that in this newer relationship I would be mature by discussing things like a confident, calm adult with all the lessons learned from my divorce.  Yet with so many moving parts in my life I was starting to doubt my dreams.

It all started with a tree.  There’s a tree on our property I think should be cut down to have a better view of the lake.  Match.com man vehemently disagrees. It’s an old beautiful oak right next to four other beautiful oaks so I gave in and told him fine, keep the tree!  But it’s been simmering just below the surface and all the little annoyances that come with building a house and planning a wedding seemed bigger and harder to overcome. Then, the voices started.  As I tried to avoid the voices of self-doubt and hoping it would go away but the voices got really loud!  Telling me it was ALL HIS FAULT, wasn’t it!  If he’d agree to cut down that damn tree, we’d be back on track, but noooooo, he believed it looked better with the tree standing just where it was.  The voices whispered to me, see, this will never work, you better give it up, play it safe.

Then, one night when we talking on the phone, I suggested something and he disagreed.  It was the last straw.  It was either start yelling or stop talking, so I ended the call and steamed.  What was I getting into, was this the right thing, maybe I was making a big mistake. I’m going to give him a piece of my mind I ranted silently to myself.  Should I call him back and let him have it, after all it was ALL his fault, should I just stop the house and the wedding, should I take a break from the relationship.  If only he would listen to me. 

Then my aha moment stuck like lightening.  Because I was so angry and stressed from other things, I doubted the direction I was headed.  I was listening to those voices.  I was beginning to repeat old patterns by complaining and blaming others, making it not my fault but theirs.  I went to where I felt safest and was making everything someone else’s fault. When I started this relationship, I promised myself I would be honest with him and myself.  But many life changes were taking their toll and I was letting self-doubt and blame speak louder than my promises and dreams.

I knew had to tell Match.com man what I was feeling, seeing and perceiving.  We had the conversation and did talk calmly like grownups.  By creating a safe place to share thoughts and feelings, I found he was feeling not listened to as well.  We came to a compromise and the relationship felt stronger for it. Suddenly, the self-doubt voices were gone and the dream was bright again and back on track. 

And, I told him he can keep that damn tree.

My Doubting a Dream wishes for you


You accept you have gifts beyond compare.  Lead with your gifts, not your resentment.  It will be amazing how healing it is.  It opens the doors to letting wonderful dreams come true.

Know the greatest gift you can give someone is to just listen.  Not offer advice, not tell them what to do, not to try to get something from them, but just to truly listen and travel their journey with them.  This quiets their doubting voices and yours as well.

You see that when the louder your self-doubt and blame becomes you're able to look how close you are to having a dream come true.  Keep moving forward and remember the negative voices get louder as you get closer to getting what you want.

You see that when you’re truly unhappy, you look first at yourself rather than pointing a blaming finger at someone else.  I have found when I’m mad at someone for no real reason, there’s something bothering me about me and once that’s resolved the other issues magically melt away.  The self-doubt quiets and the dream becomes within reach again.

You know how absolutely beautiful you are.  Tell those ugly voices to shut the hell up! No matter what you weigh, if you have PMS, if you are suffering from the F3 virus (feeling FAT, FUGLY and FUNKY), if you can’t find the right job or if you are overwhelmed with life, know this a passing moment and you are truly, deeply and wonderfully bright and beautiful.

As always, with infinite love and gratitude,

Teri

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