Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday


After several weeks filled with work, have tos, want tos, and a surprise injury, I decided to spend a few days lakeside with my favourite partner in crime…  
After hearing a terrific interview on CBC Radio with author Michael Harris, I challenged myself to disconnect… so I could reconnect!

“The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There’s no true “free time” when you carry a smartphone” 

My break from social media, text, and all things digital media came along thanks to the discovery of Mr. Harris’s incredible book, titled “The End of Absence”.  In this book he surmises that children born after the early eighties don’t know a world without the Internet.  The idea of being “unreachable” or information being “unknown” has simply never existed to them.  

Harris suggests we learn to “carve out space for absence in our life” so that we don’t miss the wonderful, creative, and endless things our internal systems are capable of, when not overburdened by our digital diets.  

It usually takes several hours before my brain adjusts to the lack of computer stimuli, but once I change my frame of mind, and stop thinking like a marketing, impulsive, over-sharer, I find a delicious sort of new noise fills the void…  
It sounds a lot like peace of mind.



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Motivation… Wednesday

#motivationmonday edited on Wednesday because…
“My back hurts!!!”


When you work hard to make everything perfect, the one piece that gets out of line can leave you feeling like everything else will follow…  

Fortunately my athletic background has helped prepare me for times like these, and so with a healthy dose of discipline, and a fresh round of red lips, I am taking it all in stride. 

I recently experienced some back pain that left me basically immobile for a couple of days.  After surveying the discomfort, I realized a rest was warranted, and said goodbye to the gym for a week…

Since then my back has been diagnosed as a sprain in the SI L5 region.


For those of you who were following along last year, you will recall I had a neck sprain at roughly the same time in 2013.  (See “Focus”)


This time around the pain is much lower down, located where my sacrum meets my L5. 
Lucky for me, I had some amazing encounters along the way to make sure I didn’t get too bogged down.

Marlo Lavonne & James Wyper brought their lovely dog Ana round for a sleepover, while en route to Calgary. 


We enjoyed my fave neighbourhood waffle joint Scandilicious, talked about upcoming projects (including Marlo’s book!), and discussed our tricks, and tips for breaking out of creative slumps, personal let downs, and in my case, physical setbacks.  

Afterwards, we stopped by to see Jules at Love Jules Leather, the incredible brand of hand made artisan boat shoes, that operates across the street from me.  Jules, and Josh are new friends, who inspire me each, and every day with their incredible work ethic, and strong sense of self. 

Photo by Marlo Lavonne
Finally, after a hearty lunch laugh sesh with my best friend Rydell, and a fresh iced brew from my friends at JJ Bean, I realized (as I always do) that things may not always be perfect.  But they are always worth it.  


Our culture of celebratory selfies, and highly edited highlights makes it easy to forget that we’re all imperfect.  And that those flaws whether personal or professional are what make life interesting, and varied, and well… real.  


So here I am being real with you now, in the hopes that my little hiccup in the confidence department helps you through your next one.  I may be down, but I’m not out.  I’m too busy laughing at my smushed post sports therapy face.



It’s just a sprain.  It’s just time.  It’s just movement. 

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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday

 

“Who are you?!?”
 
Society is obsessed with titles, categories, and accomplishments, and when you choose not to subscribe to them, or do things in an unusual order, you’re often left on the outer limits of social circles, and even jobs.  

The need to collect data, and connect like things is used to access risk, identify reward, and tell us how something may fit in to our world.  

When the visual that accompanies you, or your responses do not fall within the expected list of acceptable answers, you’re often met with confusion, or fear.  Worse still, when we choose to act differently, or pursue paths not populated by our peers, we are written up as high risk, or written off completely.

For some of us, being different is a choice.  We have tattoos, dress as we please, or colour our hair in ways that do not mirror the status quo.  Of course, these things in, and of themselves do not mean our personal leanings, beliefs, or lifestyles are as alternative as we appear, but they certainly present a warning to viewers that we are not assimilators.  

But what if you are dissimilar in ways you haven’t chosen?  What if our health, or lifestyle, or station dictate that we do not look like, or live exactly like those around us? 

When we are pigeonholed for these reasons, it can very quickly catch even the most outrageous, and outspoken of us off guard.  


“Yes, I have pink hair, and different interests than you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be invited to your BBQ, night out, or wedding.”

“Yes, I dress in revealing clothing, and have body modifications, but that doesn’t mean I want to be challenged, or mocked for my diet, health, or appearance.”


Unfortunately, our peers are not always interested in correcting their ignorance, pursuing challenges, or including people who do not “fit in” into their life.  

Being yourself requires fortitude, and a kind of mental toughness that may never show on the outside.  You constantly have to access, and consider the messages around you, and decide whether the additional time it takes to be different is worth it.   

If you’re like me, you made the decision long ago, and have accepted your fate as a fringe member of “normal society”.  Like me, you may also have found yourself a source of support, and comfort for people who are still being stung for their lifestyle choices. 

At the end of the day, if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you are open-minded, flexible, creative, or on the fringes yourself.   

So, it should come as no surprise to you then, that my answer to the question at hand is ” I am me”… Now get outta my way, or I’ll skate right over you.

 

“I’m not different for the sake of being different, only for the desperate sake of being myself. I can’t join your gang: you’d think I was a phony and I’d know it” – Vivian Stanshall
 
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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday


As some of you may know, I am a former Canadian team member, international competitor, and title holder.

When I moved to Vancouver, I not only left behind my friends, and family, but also my skating career.  After 10 years in the industry I was fried, and fed up.  Never one to play the sycophant, I had experienced the indignation of having my hard work, and talent passed over in favour of personal, and professional favours, more times than I cared to count.  The time had come to make a stand for myself, and an example of myself, by making a change.



I retired from full time performing, broke up with my partner, and turned my back on the only lifestyle I ever knew.


Costumes, make up, travel, and spotlights in the past, I had to start from scratch… (pun intended)

Change is a frightening thing.  It’s scary to say, and it’s scary to do.  Most of our culture is held in place by a plethora of “reasons why” – from work, to family, to culture, but more than anything else, people stay where they are, and put up with things that do not make them happy because they feel fear.  

I am not saying you should shrug off your responsibilities and “run away to join the circus”.  I am merely showing my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve taken, many of which included making changes, strategizing, and building from the ground up.  

Funny then, that beginning anew should lead to an amazing connection with a visionary from my past….

This week I had a fun, and inspiring meet up with skater extraordinaire Gary Beacom.

Gary is a true innovator, and has pushed the boundaries of the world around him, throughout his career.  I feel incredibly fortunate, and proud to have created circles that include people like him.  



From skating, to work, to life, we can choose to be creative each, and every day. Rethink the ordinary. Make things the way you want them to be. Skate past roadblocks. 


Change is good.

We each took a selfie as the coffee shop closed. Bet you can’t guess which one is mine




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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday

Tita by Smashbase Photo


People sometimes ask me how I stay focused, or what it is I do to succeed. These are funny questions to me, because I’m usually so focused on where I’m going, I don’t realize where I am.

But… If I were to try to answer, I suppose I would say: Focus is a by-product of sport, and so is my awareness of success. 

Quantifiable markers by which we determine who we are & where we want to be are built into our culture, and in some cases, shoved down our throats. For me, it’s always just been a matter of setting a goal, and then pushing towards it!  

By the time I get there, I’ve usually already cast my gaze in the direction of the next thing. 

It may sound exhausting, or neverending, but that’s just to throw off the lazy people ;)

Photo by Smashbase Photo

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Tita Tuesday – Mylee YC

It’s not as egocentric as it sounds… 

Mylee YC


Retired Combat Veteran, Model/Actress/Singer/Dancer, Health & Fitness coach, NPC Figure Competitor Breast cancer Survivor. LA/NYC


Meet Mylee.

Mylee served in the US army on active duty for over 12 years, retiring in March 2014.  During her time in Afghanistan, she was a pivotal member of the Special Operations Cultural Support Team, enabling gains in information, and cultural insight, and helping to promote governance for Afghan families. 

It was while in the service of her country that she found a mass in her left breast.  This was eventually discovered to be stage 3 breast cancer.   As she does with all things, Mylee treated this diagnosis as a challenge, rather than a sentence, and overcame it the same mentality she used in combat – never stop fighting. 


Today, Mylee is a spokesperson for Manning Up USA, along with fellow veterans, and survivors of abuse.  Mylee is also a certified trainer, teaching a tried, and tested mix of self acceptance, and self betterment, through health & fitness.  

Just this past week, Mylee saw a new challenge to fruition – competing in her first fitness competition!  She tracked the journey via social media, and shared her results, and final figure accomplishments with her followers, and fans, via social media.  

Mylee and I met back in June, on location in Venice, CA, when we shot with Steve Prue.  


I learned so much during our shoot!  Typically, fitness shoots are accomplished with lower weights, and reps, so that poses can be held while photographed.  When you’re as tough as Mylee, lower weights are not an option. 

Towards the end of the shoot, we played around with some super fun, super tough acro yoga – where I literally put my life in Mylee’s hands… or should I say… feet.


My favourite thing about these photos is how they display the teamwork, and trust necessary to succeed not only in fitness, but in life!  When you invest in yourself, and those around you, you can achieve heights, and success’ that would be impossible solo.  Though we come from different backgrounds, Mylee and I share this thought process, and have benefitted from it’s application to our journeys in life, and fitness.


I feel incredibly fortunate to call Mylee my friend.  Not only due to her many accomplishments, but because of the strength, class, and beauty she displays each, and every day, and the good she does for all those around her.  Despite her many, and varied experiences here, and abroad, her smile is effortless, and her laugh is infectious.  She is fun, lighthearted,and completely approachable.  


Follow along, and see for yourself!



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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday

Tita by Jeremy Pantoja
This super rad portrait by Jeremy Pantoja (based on a photo by Steve Prue) arrived in the mail!!! 

If someone had told me 5 years ago I’d be part of an amazing community of artists, models & muses, feel inspired every day, and make amazing friends in the process, I would have politely, but firmly called “bullshit”. Coming from a competitive sport where people too often tear one another down, it’s been an incredible experience to be embraced, supported, and praised for my work. Thank you to everyone who has joined me on my crazy adventures, worked with me, left comments, or included me in their art.  Life is a mother fuggin blast y’all. 
Daddy Issues Are For P*ssies by Fang Ling Lee
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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday

Feeling super inspired by the community around me, and their incredible ability to create, support, and assist one other.

“Finding your tribe, like following your dreams, isn’t always about what makes sense; it’s about what your soul needs.  As much as we’re looking for experiences that turn us on, we’re looking for people who do the same, whether creatively, emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually.” – Kelly Cutrone

Spent a day with some truly talented people, shooting for Dimes Brand.  Through my business Du Jour Marketing, I have had the opportunity to help people, and business’ build up their online presence, via social media, and digital marketing.  I’ve also had the incredible fortune to work with, and mentor StormyItuit, and Avery to expand their horizons, and work options, and they in turn, have helped, and assisted me too!


When I retired from skating, I wasn’t sure where I would end up…
but I knew that when I got there, I would be surrounded by people just like me.  

“This was when I learned that you have to give up your life as you know it to get a new one: that sometimes you need to let go of everything you’re clinging to and start over, whether because you’ve outgrown it or because it’s not working anymore, or because it was wrong for you in the first place.”  – Kelly Cutrone

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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday



“Being happy doesn’t mean you are perfect, it means looking beyond the imperfections”

 Taking a page out of Randifitmom‘s book today to remind everyone that we can choose to be our own best cheerleader, or our own worst enemy. Randi has shared her story of personal growth, development, AND body overhaul with her followers here on IG & Facebook for two years now, but she has been a constant source of inspiration, and motivation for me for many more than that. Having the courage to celebrate your success’ publicly can be just as difficult as sharing your misses.  This little mama has done both with grace, and flare, and I am beyond proud of her for it. Randi & I trained in some of the harshest, most abusive conditions imagineable, and it left us both with visible, and invisible scars. Choosing to share our fitness journeys via social media is a major accomplishment. And while people may feel turned on, turned off, or indifferent, each post & share is a record of how far we’ve come, both inside, and out.  

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Motivation Monday

#motivationmonday

Photo by Gracie Hagen www.graciehagen.com

“Life doesn’t have a remote control.  Get up and change it yourself.”

I firmly believe that change is good.  That’s not the same as saying that comfort is bad.  What I mean by my statement is that change precipitates growth, and growth inevitably presents opportunity.  Whether we see it coming or not, life often leads us to a crossroads.  Those who have the strength, support, and intestinal fortitude to absorb the changes are the ones who stand the greatest chance of enjoying long term success.  
I’m a creature of habit, and I crave routine, but within that lifestyle I do my best to take every opportunity that comes my way, especially when it’s something new (read scary).
If not for shaking it up every now and then, I literally wouldn’t be where I am, or who I am today!  From “conservative lil ice skater”, to “pink haired, world traveling cupcake”, all of the changes I’ve survived have brought me to where I am right now.  
My new avatar is an example of my willingness to embrace change, take on challenges, and do as I please.  

BAM! 

#motivationmonday
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