Leave Your Shadow

I’m passionate about discussing and sharing about difficult topics in order to allow other people to feel more at peace and beautiful within their own skin. It’s easy to talk about happy, exciting things but what we really need to talk about is the hard stuff. My thoughts today are on body image. As a health and fitness nut and coach I am constantly talking about, thinking about working on my own and helping others to have a positive body image. Self love and confidence is one of the MOST important gifts which I hope to instill and inspire in others but also one of the hardest things to attain. I think I have a very unique perspective and one I’m willing to share with you to try to expand your grasp of what it means to love yourself and the journey I went on to get there.

As a child I was the epitome of awkward; lanky, big feet, glasses, braces and of course the infamous unibrow. I was a nerd and a bookworm but genuinely a pretty warm and loving kid. I could play in my imagination for hours upon hours. Luckily, today that still is the case.

In my adolescence I realized that most girls were very concerned with how “skinny” they were. I could eat cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream every night and nothing stuck. I’m not saying this to brag whatsoever, I am simply stating the facts. It is hilarious to me how people can poke fun at themselves for being overweight as a child or in the past but as soon as you mention the opposite problem people want to shut you up real quick. I was teased by friends and strangers about being skinny but I knew I couldn’t help it so I just laughed it off.

As I grew into a teenager I suffered the tremendous loss of my childhood best friend to suicide. She was absolutely gorgeous and “perfect” from an outsider’s perspective. I had countless people ask me, “what did SHE have to be sad about!?” Simply based on the way she looked. Why does an attractive exterior mean that you have an attractive interior? Why should struggling and feeling depressed be exclusive to people who have less appealing appearances? How can people be so ignorant as to not acknowledge that life is NOT all about how we look?

I spent the rest of high school learning what it felt like to look “pretty” and “skinny” on the outside but inside I was carrying so much grief, suffering and pain. I struggled for years trying to cope with the loss of my best friend and sure, I appeared normal and attractive on the outside but my inside soul and mind were in constant turmoil and anguish. I didn’t know what to say when people could only comment (negatively) about how lucky I was about being skinny. Or “shut up, you wouldn’t understand.” How selfish of you to exclude me from the “suffering club” based on my appearance? But, yet again, how is this something that any teenager could verbalize? Most adults still wouldn’t. But you know what, if I have learned anything about life, it’s that it is too damn short to walk on eggshells. I will bare my soul to you even if it’s about topics that are hard to discuss because real recognizes real and I simply refuse to silence my heart now that I have learned how to love myself properly.

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Growing Pains

Last week my headspace was very much fueled by sadness and anger for the victims of yet another gun violence tragedy in the United States. This week I am coming from a fairly different angle after experiencing a weekend full of not strictly positive experiences but instead experiences that encouraged heightened awareness of not only the good but also the bad.

Friday, I got back to the beach with my One Wave crew for sunrise yoga and a meaningful cup of coffee with my yogi friends. As I have mentioned before, One Wave is an organization that promotes mental health awareness so most people who attend are either suffering from mental health issues themselves or are closely connected to someone who is.

It doesn’t matter who you are, we are all affected by mental health and ultimately the natural highs and lows and peaks and valleys of life. We talked in depth over coffee about going through hard times, changing our frequency levels so that we can attract good things and actually believing that they are possible and warranted for our lives. It is amazing to me how deeply human beings crave the need to be understood. It is not something that is unique to a gender, age group, nationality, or personality type. We all want to feel like we aren’t in this thing alone. It is a beautiful feeling when you can make someone else believe they are not alone and usually all that requires is listening to them. We all have that power.

 

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QUIT, PACK, OPEN

When I started writing my weekly headspace pieces I had no idea how awesome this weekly release of my thoughts would be. I did know and have proved to myself how hard it is to keep up with your blog even if it is once a week. I see why people do this as an actual career in itself because it’s a lot of work and you truly have to carve out the time for it. I wanted my weekly headspace to be a concrete way for me to write more, even if it wasn’t particularly well designed or crafted pieces. These are my thoughts plain and simple. In this process I have realized that I have A LOT of thoughts in one week. I mean, like, A LOT. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what thoughts to synthesize and what thoughts to dismiss. I talk to hundreds of people on a weekly basis because my business is all about talking to people and connecting with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s people who have known me since childhood or high school or friends that I have connected to through common interests  like fitness and traveling via social media, almost everyone asks me the same question, “Australia? WOW! How is it living there?”

I had my friend and  fellow coach ask me a while ago,  “What is your biggest takeaway  from all your adventures? What have you learned about yourself, other cultures, and the world?”  I realized that I think about this almost every day for one reason or another. I have lived it and I am living it. I have watched my mind expand and my heart break and connected to people from all over the world for about 3 years now. But no one has lived it all with me. Luckily, I have many companions, especially Jackie, who have experienced a huge chunk of it and the bond we share because of it is truly something special.  Through my blog I try to convey what traveling has done for me but I love to pause and reflect for new followers and because I am not sure if I have ever answered that question explicitly, my biggest takeaway from all of my adventures. I am feeling quite nostalgic as my 26th birthday approaches at the beginning of June and  I keep thinking about how different my life was last June. I had high expectations for twenty five but my expectations have been blown out of the water. Because I believed that the best was yet to come… the best came and is still coming.

My biggest takeaway from all of my adventures living abroad in two radically different countries and returning back home to America in between, has been that the world is an absolutely captivating and magical place, if you allow it to be. Being open minded is the key to happiness, success, relationships and quite honestly, life.  I truly believe that for the most part people are their own worst enemies and let their fears hold them back from the life they deserve.

Despite the fact that I was living in a third world country, backpacking through many South East Asian  third world countries, prancing around the fancy beach clubs in Bali, eating traditional meals with locals, paying more for my brunch then I did for my hostel, hiking active volcanoes at sunrise, making friends from every country you could imagine and experiencing something new almost every single day I finally realized how similar we all are. I worry this sounds cliche but that has truly been my personal experience.  Human beings are so similar it is actually quite scary. It’s such a mind blowing experiencing because not only do you see how similar you are but you are forced to perceive the world in a totally new and unique manner.

Despite having similar cores, we do have so many differences in our life experiences, family upbringing, cultures, educations, work experience, travel experience, views on politics, religion, dating, happiness and success. Nothing is more thrilling to me than chatting with friends from Germany, Holland, Vietnam, Indonesia, Italy, England, Wales, France, Canada, you name it,  and learning things you never could find in a  history book or experience in a college lecture hall. Traveling has forced me to be okay with not being in control(which if you know me was a VERY hard lesson for me to learn.) Traveling has forced me to see how taking risks is worth the reward. Traveling has forced me to savor the moments as they pass because you may only have a few nights with these new friends who you feel like you’ve known a lifetime. Traveling has made me realize that you don’t need a lot of money to travel you need a lot of GUTS. You need a lot of resilience. You need the willingness to get out of your OWN way and take some risks. You have to be willing to go to countries you know nothing about. You have to be willing to sleep on overnight buses for 17 hours in Vietnam. You have to be willing to play charades and to point to random food and pray you don’t get food poisoning, or take it like a champ when you do. You have to be open minded in your approach to your traveling or you could circle the whole globe and not change a thing.

I truly don’t believe everyone should quit their job and travel the world. I honestly do believe it is the single best decision I have ever made. Quit.. Pack… Open..Not only did I  find a way to make my career work in two new countries I gained the confidence to follow ANYTHING that tugs on my heart strings. Traveling wasn’t an option for me, it was a calling and a voice that needed to be answered. Wanderlust is not going to Disney World twice a year and on a cruise every five. Wanderlust is sincerely wanting to experience a new culture, a new way of life and a willingness to learn that everything you have ever thought could very well be wrong. Traveling forced me to get in touch with my truest self and make some huge sacrifices along the way. It is a whole different level of commitment when you decide to live abroad and become a permanent adventurer. You no longer are someone who leaves and comes back with cool stories to tell your friends and family. You are someone who leaves. You are someone who has to miss important weddings and special occasions. You have to construct dysfunctional holiday celebrations that show what the true spirit of those holidays actually mean.  You are someone who decides that the desire to see the world is stronger than any other guiding factor.

This is a terrifying inner voice to listen to. But when you do, it shows you why being open minded is so important. I know that all people have their opinions about other people’s life choices and many times people like to judge a path that is different from their own or the norm. I think that the 21st century has developed a whole generation of dreamers, doers, seekers and people who very well might quit their job and travel the world. That scares the HELL out of close minded people. It always has and it always will. But traveling teaches you to focus on the good. You don’t look back and dwell on the moments you missed your ferry, were hungover puking on your ferry, nearly died in traffic in Bangkok, got hit on by men, ladyboys, women, or anything with two legs. You look back and remember the people, the laughs, the views, the kick ass food and booze and experience that you simply can’t just look at photos of you have to EXPERIENCE yourself. I think that is the most special part of traveling. Even in today’s world of Instagram, blogs, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, any other social media site that people use to document their every move on a trip; pictures, videos, words, and blog articles can NEVER replace experiencing it for yourself. It never has and it never will. Every traveler holds those stories in their memory, some to share and some to keep, but no two people will see the same world twice.

You learn more about yourself traveling than any other life experience. You form bonds with your traveling companions that can’t be put into words. You are forced to coexist with people you have never imagined you be in the same room with let alone getting naked in front of and sharing a wall socket for your chargers. When you are traveling you  see humanity in such raw form, the good, the bad and the ugly. So when I try to reflect on my biggest take away from my adventures I have to say that it is so complex but actually pretty simple; being open minded is the key to life. It can be applied to every situation across the boards and it is a lesson I continually use in my classroom, my business, my friendships, my relationship and my life. You can see a big and beautiful world or you can see a world full of pain and darkness. That is totally up to you.

Good and evil have existed since the beginning of time and will continue to exist. Traveling has reminded me to be open to the magic that this universe has to offer. Not just when you feel like it. Not just for a week or a stage in life. Be open to what the world has to offer you and see the magic in everyday life. Don’t ever stop seeing life as an adventure and that mindset will manifest your reality.  Leaving home does not mean that I never look back, I look back all the time. But my eyes have changed, my mind has expanded, my heart has opened.  I take life as it comes and I take people for what they are. I control myself (this is without a pitcher of sangria in my blood) because I know that’s the only thing I can control. I EMBRACE uncertainty because instead of holding myself back or being afraid of it, I am learning to celebrate the fact that I have no clue what’s next. None of us do. The more authentically you open your mind and your heart to the world around you the more the world around you opens. Allow the world to be the magical and captivating place that it is. Get out of your own way. I’m not saying everyone should quit their job to travel the world but DAMN, I am glad that I did. 

A Good Guy

I try to be as open as possible about my life, my triumphs and my heartaches, my doubts and my beliefs and I am always willing to share matters that are close to my heart. Sharing is usually something that comes quite naturally and without reservation. One thing that I am always hesitant to share about are my romantic relationships. Not because they aren’t a huge part of my life but because I believe there is a sacredness in the intimacy of being in love that  should be protected and tread upon lightly. Not just falling in love but also falling out of love. I will never play the woe-is- me role. I am strong and independent but like anyone with a seemingly tough exterior have a big heart so I love and feel very deeply. I also was raised that if I didn’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say it at all. But today, I feel like I have a worthwhile message for girls who are in love, looking for love and especially those who are broken hearted.  

Around the time I started my blog and moved to Thailand I went through an emotional rollercoaster ride due to my relationship with my college boyfriend of five years. If you know me and/or him personally, please be aware that I write this with the utmost respect and delicacy. I also write it with a simple dose of the truth.  Like any relationship we had our ups and downs and for the most part we had a lot of ups but ultimately our lives were headed in different directions and we couldn’t continue to be a unit and go where life wanted to take us. At the time, I dealt with our breakup privately and in a tasteful manner which I still do to this day. I don’t believe airing his dirty laundry is beneficial for anyone. I forgave him on my own terms and took control of my own life, happiness, and destiny. It feels artificial to box it up and tie it with a neat bow because let me assure you, heartbreak is no simple matter. It was actually excruciating, relentless, isolating and persistent. But I can look back now, after I have fallen in love again… the right way… and be grateful for the pain because it lead me to where I am today. Long  before I started any type of relationship I fell in love with myself and how much I have to offer myself, my partner and the world.

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MOST

Disclaimer: I think A LOT. That’s why I love to write. I want to make an effort to make one blog post a week that is just my THOUGHTS! Call it a rant if you want, but hey, it’s my blog I can do as I please. I’m trying to think of a clever name for my weekly thought post, On my Mind.. (so boring) but I just want to have an outlet and less formal way to post on my blog instead of writing the post in my head for days/weeks sometimes! So, if you have any ideas drop it in the comments below.

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Here is what is on my mind today. Honestly, before I was a coach I thought it was quite strange how people who are into fitness always posted photos of themselves at the gym or their muscles so frequently. I remember thinking “we get it you like to work out” and apparently you love yourself a lot too. Fast forward to now my perspective and perception has shifted. We live in a world that is driven by images. We are attracted to things we look at. As a health and wellness coach, I can talk about my programs all day. I can show how they have changed my life and my perspective. I can talk about how coaching has impacted my ability to dream big and seize opportunities . But people are people and they are the most attracted by that before and after photo. It’s just the way it is.

As a writer, I try to paint a picture with my words but many people are too lazy to read them. No hard feelings, to each their own. When I post a photo of my results and my hard work it is to promote physical fitness and exercise but the purpose is really the message behind it. When you simultaneously work on your mind, body, and spirit at the same time your physical results also represent your mental expansion and your spiritual elevation. I wish I could show you a picture of my brain and the “transformation Tuesday” that is currently happening inside but instead I rely on my words to depict this growth and the work I physically put into my body consistently.

We live in a world where what matters MOST does not matter to most.

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This is Happier

“Life is too short to be in a hurry.” If we are always on the go, we are reacting to the exigencies of day-to-day life rather than allowing ourselves the space to create a happy life.”  If we simply react to life, how can we possibly feel satisfied? How can we ever feel happy and connected to the present moment? For me, reading is a wonderful way to focus on the present moment. I have so many things to juggle  currently my teaching job at an English language college here in Australia , building my online coaching business and supporting the coaches that I mentor to start their own businesses, running my challenge groups and connecting with people to help introduce them to the programs that have changed my life, teaching classes part time in Korea via Skype, not to mention trying to save time for my blog, my own fitness, my personal life, keeping up with cooking healthy meals and squeezing in fun time, too. As I have mentioned numerous times before, no matter what stage of life I am in, I’ve always been someone who fills up their life with TONS of responsibilities, activities, commitments, and people. “We must simplify our lives; we must slow down. The good news is that simplifying our lives, doing less rather than more, does not have to come at the expense of success.”

Keeping things simple in the 21st century seems like an impossible feat. Since I run an online business which is based out of America and there is a 15 hour time difference I often feel like I have to be constantly connected to properly stay in contact with my coaches and my clients. For someone who is an extremely outgoing, social person and someone who is building an online health and fitness coaching business; it seems crazy to think that I hate being so connected, but I do. I have many aspects of my personality and passions that lend me toward the hippy free spirit life. Being free is my absolute favorite feeling. But, the old saying “with freedom comes responsibility” proves itself to be true time and time again. You can’t be free without taking the time and effort to allow yourself that luxury. Luckily, I have learned to satisfy my desire for freedom through more immediate avenues; like traveling the world, moving abroad, hiking near the ocean and doing yoga. “Being enslaved by the exigencies of life and by our constitution does not preclude the possibility that we can feel free. We experience freedom when we choose a path that provides us both meaning and pleasure.” Although life itself is full with responsibilities (especially this whole adult gig) when we are choosing what life we make our own it is much easier to feel free and satisfied.

Since we live in a world that is constantly connected, one of the most pure and surefire way for me to disconnect is to read. Reading requires all of my attention and focus and I really feel like I can get lost in good book. The most recent book I read was “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar and it was one of those books you read and want to shout from the mountain tops so that everyone can read it and be enlightened. Ben-Shahar tackles the monumental question, “Can you learn to be happy?”  For someone who has been actively pursuing happiness for as long as I can remember, his message and research really hit home for me. In this piece I have included some of my favorite quotes because I simply could not have said it better myself. I had so many “Ah-ha” moments while reading this book and I felt reassured that my desire for happiness, meaning, and purpose are something to be celebrated not chastised. “Time is a zero-sum game, a limited resource. Life is too short to do only what we have to do; it is barely long enough to do what we want to do.”

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Your Story Matters

Understanding people is one of my top priorities in growing my relationships and perspective on life. I always want to know why they are the way they are and what matters to them. In friends, students, family members and quite honestly strangers I meet traveling or out at the bar, I am insatiably curious to know their story. Storytellers also love hearing great stories. In my coaching business, we are often asked what our “why” is for being a part of this business. The question is asked when we begin the journey as coaches and then it is asked many times as our personal business evolves, naturally the “why” evolves. My mission not only in my new career but as a human being is to use my story, my struggles and my triumphs to lift others up and inspire them. I am surrounded by a team full of incredible people who share their deepest struggles with their body image, mental health, financial trouble, self-confidence issues, relationship problems, (the list goes on) with their followers, friends, family and anyone on the internet to see. As I evolve as a person, a writer, a business woman and a human being I realize that the story that I know so well, my own story, is not something I have put in the spotlight lately.

Now I am living on the other side of the planet with people who haven’t known me longer than 6 months at most. The funny thing about constantly meeting new people is they can only meet you where you are. We can share stories about our past but people tend to judge us by our present. I notice this when I walk down the crowded streets in Sydney. If I’m on my way to work in my “teacher dresses” I give off a much different persona then if I’m in my activewear going to the gym or my casual beach clothes. People deal with me in a much different manner as well. We subconsciously put strangers in boxes and molds and sharing our stories about the inside are the best way to break those. Sometimes I would like a sign on my forehead at the bar, “More than just a pretty face”. Not because I am looking to meet anyone, I am currently the happiest I’ve ever been in a relationship. I just want people to stop judging the shell of me and start being interested in what is underneath. Due to the overwhelming response from my friends, old and new, of how happy I look and seem, I want to go a bit deeper than that shell. Right now, I am happy. But the struggle it took to get here can not be forgotten.

Social media is terrifying when it is used to magnify the good and stifle the bad. I will always be an optimistic individual but I refuse to discount or discredit the struggle and the pain that have been such a real catalyst in shaping me into the woman I am today. I accidently became involved with an Australian organization called One Wave, which raises awareness for mental health. I found out about a free Sunrise Bender yoga class on Bondi Beach when I first moved to Sydney and decided I had to try it out. The first time I went I was sold and have been going back nearly every Friday since. One Wave is a surfing community raising awareness for mental health and every Friday they celebrate Fluro Friday, where everyone dresses in bright, neon, wacky, rave-esque outfits and comes together to surf (or do free yoga for those of us who don’t surf). They kick off the morning with someone sharing their story about mental health and how it has affected their life, either their own battle with a mental illness or someone close to them. It is incredible to hear their stories and see the courage and refuge they have found in having a positive community to support them. We all deeply crave to feel love and acceptance. Why not help eachother get that satisfaction? I decided one early morning on the beach that I wanted to share my story. Not that morning. But some morning in the future. I will keep that promise to myself. For now, I am choosing to share it with you. My family, friends, and followers. Many of you know parts of this story, some of you know most of it, none of you know it all. I often exhaust all my energy on helping others because right now I am strong enough to do so. But it has not always been that way. It is pretty terrifying to be so vulnerable but at this point in my life and my journey, I know that I am ready.

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Earn the Donuts

February is known as the month of love. My month was filled with tons of love, new beginnings, a new apartment, and a lot of hard work teetering on the tightrope of finding a happy medium in life. January was just about as strict and regimented as I can get with my exercise and nutrition. This was an amazing way to kick off the year and promote good habits. Once February rolled around I felt a tad bit of relief since the second half of my 60 day fitness challenge I was allowing myself to be more lenient with my cheat meals and my alcohol. I am an all or nothing type of girl so “cheat days” are awesome for me. They usually include donuts or some type of naughty dessert, wine and probably pizza. Making fitness a part of your routine and lifestyle requires a lot of sacrifice but once you get in the habit I PROMISE it becomes much easier. But old habits die hard so make sure you are weary when you turn back to old ways… even if it is just for a day. Donuts taste so much better when you earn them. Both figuratively and literally. 

February was a month full of adventure and new friends. Due to my more flexible schedule this semester I have had more time to work on my coaching business which is amazing because working on my coaching business consists a lot of working on MYSELF.  I read professional development every day, connect to positive hardworking people, workout, eat healthy and share this journey with others through social media. It sounds really simple, but there are a lot of little daily tasks you must complete to grow a successful business. I am the type of person who can give my ALL to one thing but the nature of my personality, my ADHD, my current schedule and life has me spread a little thin. I’m not sure if I know any different. I ask myself why I do this but I know I get bored so easily I need A LOT to keep me busy and entertained. As usual,  I refuse to use that as an excuse… people always say to “enjoy the journey” but I find so many people really don’t. I can tell you I really do.

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Kicking off 2016: Dry January

My last post was Christmas Eve, so hello again friends. I hate to sound like a broken record because every time I realize how overdue I am for a blog post I start writing and apologize for my inconsistent nature. I have a personal goal to write SOMETHING every single day but that doesn’t always translate to blog material. Sometimes it is simply thoughts & musings in my planner, rants in the notepad on my iPhone or scribbles on my lesson plans. As I’ve said before I am someone who is very self-aware, both of my strengths and of my weaknesses. Suffering from ADHD gives me an incredible energy and ability to take on loads of projects but it also leads me to bite off more than I can chew. I want to do it all which makes it very hard to do it all well, consistently. This is something I cut myself slack for but when it comes down to it, I know that my behavior and my habits are in my control. My creative mind seeks space to grow, breathe, wonder and wander but my Type A side needs routine, control, and stability. I am an open book when it comes to my shortcomings and I refuse to “accept” things that are within my control as the “way it is”.

This is where the fitness aspect of my life is crucial. After a month of my 60 day exercise challenge and 5am wake up calls for workouts I am feeling motivated, determined, focused, dedicated, empowered, committed, and excited (clearly we have been working on forming adjectives in my ESL classroom this week). Having physical fitness goals and a program to follow gives me the discipline I need in my life. I am very skilled at doing whatever the hell I please. But, I am wise enough to want more. I know I can push myself to be more than average, ordinary, or satisfactory. Fitness reminds me you have to work HARD for what you want. You have to put in the effort on days you feel like it and especially on days you don’t. You have to commit and stay consistent in that commitment to see results. When you are wishy washy in your commitment your results are wishy washy and ordinary. With the start of 2016 I naturally reflected upon my journey through 2015 and how many ups and downs I had. When I bite off more than I can chew I manage to swallow anyway but it is a personal goal of mine to channel my energy into fewer projects this year with MORE mindful focus and intentionality placed on the chosen ones. 2015 has been a year of monumental growth from the inside out. The funny thing about figuring yourself out is you continue to change while doing so and hence, have more to figure out! You must believe you CAN do anything but accept you can’t successfully do everything(I know, I know…but you still wanna try). I know that my anything begins with using my words & sharing my constant journey to a balanced, healthy lifestyle full of adventure & genuine happiness.

I had two incredibly different teaching jobs in 2015, one that was so stressful, emotionally draining and exhausting and one that is currently uplifting, flexible, and my classroom once again feels like a place where I feel my creativity is celebrated. I feel like I am positively influencing my student’s lives every day.  I am happy to go to work every morning. I have also slowly but surely dove into building my own business as a health and fitness coach. This is something I never in a million years imagined I would do but as I progress as an individual I realize that most people don’t turn out to be or do what thought they were going to be. That’s the fun part about life. We don’t know what the future holds but we are surely in control of building ourselves up into the best possible versions of ourselves. Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” As I mature, I realize that when I make myself better I in-turn become better at whatever job or life obstacle is in front of me. The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.

Accepting that my path is incredibly different than an average American 20-something has given me the power to listen closely my heart and actually TRY different things to find what makes me genuinely happy. The hard part is this process is never ending and at times can feel daunting but I have some truly hysterical people in my life who remind me not to take anything too seriously. It is amazing to me what different people teach you and as a traveler, teacher and coach I am constantly influenced by so many interesting and dynamic individuals.  It is a fascinating world and my favorite way to experience it is through the stories of strangers and new memories with friends.

Between all these goals, plans and dreams for the future I refuse to forget the invaluable moments that are happening right now.

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Be More…

I wrote this blog post a few days ago. I usually write/edit  my posts for at least 2 or 3 days depending on the subject matter. My message is even more important now that I have received terribly heartbreaking news today that another one of my friends from WVU has passed away far too young. Brad Fagula, you were a hilarious and loving spirit who always knew how to have fun. You were a great friend to so many and I truly can’t believe you are gone. I still think my sentiments for this blog post are very pertinent to my feelings but the sense of urgency for gratitude has increased tenfold. When you go to sleep you never know what or who will be there when you wake up. All we have is right now. Memories and love truly do go on long after a physical body leaves this earth but I pray that my WVU family, Brad’s family and all of those affected by losing someone they love too soon, find peace and strength in this hard time. Our time is the greatest tool and the greatest gift we can give to those we love. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope it adds a smile and some inspiration to your day. ❤ RIP Brad

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This morning I am reflecting on how many people have reached out to me in the past few months whether it was about my piece about Corey, a blog post about my crazy traveling life or a fitness related post I have had friends from near and far tell me that they connected to my story, my words or were inspired by my attitude or positivity in some way. Some of these friends consistently like my posts, share or comment on them, but some of them I had no idea even read my blog or appreciated my work. It was eye opening to realize that just because someone is inspired by you does not mean you know it. Just like people hide pain and struggle, we often don’t publicize things that affect us positively. This is not a bad thing. There are many aspects of my life I leave off of social media even though as a writer and an online health and fitness coach it is part of my job to share my journey, we all live the majority of our lives outside the cyberworld.

When I post something I hope to add value to your day, bring a smile to your face, encourage you to work out, try a new recipe, quit that job you hate, or stand up to someone who is making you feel inferior. I am humbled and inspired by how many people respond positively to my story and I urge you to never hesitate to tell the person who inspires you that you feel that way. One incredibly small gesture means more than you know, especially for those of us whose main aim is to help others. The world needs more of that.That being said I am constantly inspired by my coach and friend Amy for helping so many people start their own business and running a kick ass business of her own. She leads with her heart and never gives up on anyone. I am inspired by every single one of you who has reached out to me and told me that I have helped or am helping you in some way. It is not always easy to share my thoughts, but I do it anyway because of the tremendous amount of support and positive feedback I receive. I know it also takes your time and effort to reach out and that in itself is worthy of a “thank you.”

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