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The Road to Balance: Week 1

April 30, 2018

Monday morning. A fresh start to another week. Some people dread Mondays. Not me, I get excited about a fresh week, after spending weekends away from doing business. Well….that’s not 100% truthful, as my family knows. I sneak to my computer on Sunday afternoons or Saturday mornings to “do something quick” and sometimes end up sitting there for longer than I intended. But I’ve been being more intentional about this lately and making a point of keeping business to the weekday. It’s my increased commitment to my family and my marriage.
This week I vow to eat healthier, make a commitment to get to the gym five times and start each morning with 20 minutes of meditation or other self-care.
This morning I hop out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:15. I change into my workout clothes, brush my teeth and wash my face, and grab two blankets to set up a sacred space on my couch for 20 minutes before I head to the gym. I hope Kelly is there.

Kelly is someone I met through a business function over a year ago. I recognized her from the gym because she’s the girl who complimented me on my haircut. I got the nerve to ask her last week if she would be my “accountability partner”. I don’t necessarily need a workout partner. Once I GET to the gym I know what to do. It’s just getting me TO the gym that seems to be the problem these days.

We agreed that we would meet 3–5 times a week to keep each other be accountable for making it to the gym. We exchanged phone numbers and last week was hit and miss with meeting up due to her getting back from vacation and me not sleeping well and blowing off the gym. So, this week I vow to do better.

I listen to some instrumental music while I do some Reiki on myself, hovering my hands over the areas that need it the most: my throat chakra, heart chakra, solar plexus and crown. Since I still have a few minutes I finish at my root chakra. It feels so good, like a warm tingling blanket washing over my body, nourishing me and filling me up. I can feel the ease and love.

This must be what it’s like for my patients. Why is it so easy for me to give and yet I deny myself the healing energy that I know and trust comes through my hands from a higher power. Thank you God for healing me so that I can be of greater service to others. Thank you for helping me this morning.

Off to the gym I go. The moon is bright as I walk out my front door and meet the crisp, cold air. I say my little prayer on my way to my car, at the foot of the stairs, as I shine my flashlight into the backyard below me. Please keep me safe on the way to and from the gym.I’m afraid of being mauled by bears and mountain lions. I can just imagine them pouncing on me at this early hour and no one hearing my cries for help.

Yeah, that’s the crazy shit I think about when I walk to my car in the early morning. Living in Colorado, it’s a real thing, encountering wild life (but not likely, like my paranoid mind likes to think).

I get to the gym and head to the classroom upstairs. There are a few other people already working out on the main floor. Men lifting free weights and using the machines. I get my iPad set up and decide on a lower body workout with Jessica Rumbaugh on Live Lean TV on YouTube. I love her “Best Bodyweight Butt Exercises”. She goes through them quicker than I can perform them, so I simply watch her demonstrate, pause my iPad and then get to work completing the recommended 10–15 reps each.

I am out of breath in between each exercise but I’m holding up well. Even though I think I can complete more reps on some of them, I stick to 10–15 because I am full aware that I’ll be feeling this later in my booty and thighs! I am jealous over Jessica’s tush and strength as she’s toned and easily moves through the exercises. I’ll get there, Jessica, I think to myself. For now I’ll use you as motivation.

After that routine I complete her “Best Lower Ab Exercises for Women” routine and have to modify quite a few as she demonstrates very advanced moves, with equipment that I don’t have available in the classroom. No biggie, I know even with the modifications that I’ll be feeling this later.

Kelly arrives partway through my ab workout. It’s good to see her, even though she sets to work on her own exercises after saying “Hi”. I finish ¾ of the ab routine, knowing I’ve probably done enough to make me sore later today. I complete my morning workout with some stretches and relaxing breath work.

I have a few minutes to chat with Kelly before we both leave and head back home to begin the work day. She is interested in doing some workouts together, maybe with an instructor if we can get one to teach a class at 5:00 am and gather enough other people to attend.

May 1, 2018

Tuesday morning. Boy did I start feeling sore last night! I spent about 30 minutes before bed stretching my shoulders, legs and hips. Pigeon pose, hamstring stretches, shoulder and chest stretches, spinal twists, child’s pose, self-myofascial release into my pecs. It felt wonderful!

I like a certain amount of soreness after exercise, it lets me know where I worked and that my time wasn’t wasted. I don’t like going overboard and having extreme discomfort or soreness when climbing stairs or trying to go to the bathroom. Ever had that painful need to sit and your quads are so sore that you cringe on the way to the toilet seat? NO FUN! Luckily I avoided overdoing it yesterday, so I’m happy!
This morning I again hop out of bed at 4:15 when my alarm does it’s annoying Bbbbaaa Bbbbaa Bbbbaaa. I set my clothes out last night, so I wiggle into my Under Armour capris, tank top and long sleeve black tee. After doing the necessary prep, I head downstairs and set up my quiet sanctuary spot for 20 min before I go to the gym. I take a shot of Ninxgia Nitro (my morning wake-me-up), grab my iPad and a couple of blankets and settle in on the couch.

Today I choose Tibetan Singing Bowls to listen to. I first say my gratitude prayers, do the Power Symbol on both hands and start with some Reiki on myself. The Reiki energy flows freely and I feel my stomach start to settle and the welcome feeling of openness and grounding seeping into my legs.

I receive a text from Julie, my old college friend who was the other Co-President of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club when I attended UNI. We were hoping to connect when I am back in Iowa at the end of the month, but it’s not looking too promising. I quickly reply to her after I’m done with my Reiki and head to the gym.

Ooops, I spent a little longer today doing self-care, so it’s 5:10 by the time I leave my house. Again I scan the yard, driveway and surrounding area for any wild animals and say a quick prayer of protection. “Oh, and thanks for yesterday”, I mentally say, because sure enough I did make it safely to and from the gym yesterday morning. Not gonna dwell on my forgetfulness.

Today I feel like walking on the treadmill. I brought my iPad again, and decide walking at an incline will feel great. A wonderful way to get the blood pumping in my legs so I can clear out some of the soreness and catch up on my coaching information with my business coach, Cheri. She’s really been helping me with my business; keeping me focused and accountable and giving me loads of great ideas to implement. It’s exactly why I hired her. She understands me and after five months of working with her I see my investment paying off. Today I finish learning about email marketing and move on to blogging.

I am so inspired after my 30 min brisk walk. I really need to write while I’m working out. Ideas and words come easily then. Take a walk or jog before you sit down to write, Justine, I make a mental note.

In my mind I partially write a blog on how I started a running club in Greene about 5 years ago and how my lack of self-confidence caused me to fail at being a true leader for our group. We had T-shirts made, we planned a time to meet, we ran together. Yet, with all my knowledge about running and stretching and injury-prevention I got scared and didn’t step into my “Leader Shoes” like I really could have. I’m sorry, “GangGreene, I let you down.

Ideas of keeping a journal of the next three weeks of my journey of getting back into shape, and eating healthier takes root. I can include info about my accountability partner, Kelly. I think about our conversation after my walk on the treadmill. She wants to work out together one day a week but we don’t have an instructor. I know I’m no instructor and I’m embarrassingly out of shape, but I won’t let that hold me back this time!

I tell her we can find workouts on YouTube and Pinterest and I can bring my iPad and we can follow the routines. This will be fun, learning together and being vulnerable over our physical condition and venturing into the unknown, but neither of us putting pressure on each other or ourselves. It’s settled. We’ll start after she’s back from a week-long vacation next week. That gives me some time to do my own thing and find some videos that will be good for us to use.

I finish today with some yoga stretches; downward dog, hamstring stretches, forward fold, spinal twists. My hips and shoulders and are feeling better; not as sore as last night. Good job, Justine, for taking care of yourself and getting up this morning, for you, I say to myself.Now time to get the girls up for school and then dive into work.

I begin a food journal, because I find that keeps me honest about what’s going into my body. I record my beginning weight, what I eat for meals and snacks, how much water I drink, sleep, and my workout. Then it’s all there in plain sight for me to track. I sometimes have issues sleeping through the night and it’s good to see all these stats written down.

May 2, 2018

Wednesday. They don’t call it “hump day” for nothing. When my alarm goes off this morning I jump up to turn it off (I have no choice….it’s across the room and I don’t want to wake my husband too much) but I immediately start bargaining with myself. Ugh, I don’t want to go to the gym. Just do yoga downstairs this morning. It will give you a chance to stretch. You need to stretch. You don’t need to go to the gym. Ok.

But as I get dressed (tempted to just stay in my pajamas, because c’mon, I can do yoga in my black ninja outfit PJs, right?!?), in my workout clothes I decide No. Yoga is the easy way out. It’s my “go-to” when I don’t feel like giving it much effort. I always feel like I “settle” when I do it this way. When I do it as a bargain instead of being intentional about it, it doesn’t feel right. I know yoga is a great workout, and I’ve used it for years to lengthen and strengthen, but when I’m in this bargaining mode I know me….I tend to pick the easier routines, the ones for stress relief or easy asana flow. Nope, today I’m going to the gym.

Last night I felt sore in my gluts. Whew. It felt great to stretch into pigeon pose and do some chest opening stretches on the foam roller and the floor. I know I’m only a couple days into this, but I’m already feeling better. A little lighter at the end of the day yesterday. Clean eating and getting a little exercise does that.

20 minutes of meditation and self-Reiki. My timer goes off and I spend just a couple minutes more as I finish up the root chakra. Then I head to the gym. I’m feeling accomplished, even though I haven’t arrived at the gym yet and despite not having a plan of what I’m going to do once I get there. I know Kelly won’t be meeting me today, hence why I was dragging my feet a bit this morning, aside from the fact that it’s “hump day”.

On the way I decide I’ll repeat Monday’s workout. It helps to repeat routines to see progress. It’s rewarding to be able to do it a little easier or add reps. Progress.
Today the butt exercises and ab videos are a little easier, and I do a couple more reps of each exercise and am able to complete the entire ab video. I feel proud of myself! I finish with some stretches for the hip flexors and chest.

May 3, 2018

Thursday. Ugh. I wake up early, at 3:47 am after getting to bed late and agonizing over a business situation. Ever regret doing business with someone but you’re elbow- and knee-deep into the process, without a chance of getting your money back and knowing you just have to stick it out? Well, that’s where I’m at. I won’t go into detail, this being a public blog and all.

I’m beyond frustrated with the dilemma I’m in and I went to bed ruminating over things. I’m pissed off. Angry. I feel powerless to do anything, either. Why didn’t I have an attorney look over the contract before I signed it? I berate myself.

I know why.

I have this trust of people that I shouldn’t have. I should really be more leery. Get things in writing. 

I stew over my dilemma for too long. I finally get out of bed at 4:10, just before my alarm sounds. I head to the couch after getting myself ready for the gym, and I start a meditation. There’s one on releasing anger. Yeah, I probably should do that one, but NOPE, I don’t want to release this. Not yet. I pick one on affirmations, and after the 12 min meditation, which I didn’t even pay attention to, I head to the gym
Today I decide running would be best. Normally that’s my outlet for stress. I’ve worked out more problems and had more conversations in my head and resolved more issues and healed more hurts by running than with any other activity in my life. So, running is a good choice.

Only thing is, I’m out of shape. I can’t run like I used to. Back in the day, not in the too-distant-past, I could crank out 10–15 miles at a pace of 7:35–8:30 min miles. Today my speed is 5.5 mph, which puts me up there at a pace of 10.57. Oh well. The old me would have chastised that and been ashamed. I learned long ago that my self-worth doesn’t rely on my pace or how far I can run. Believe it or not, that was my underlying belief at one time. I’m glad I came head to head with that. It was driving me into the ground and no way was it helpful.

Now-a-days I don’t find my self-worth in exercise.

Sometimes I wish I did, though, because it might make getting back into a healthy fitness routine a little easier. A little more motivating. I would like to find that spark again. The spark that used to get me up at 4:45, head to the gym from 5–6:00 Mon-Fri and Saturday mornings, only taking Sundays off to rest. A mixture of running, weights and occasional yoga.

I could have run every day that’s how much I LOVED it. I did weights to tone and help me run farther and faster. I guess I loved lifting as well. The feel of my strong legs and core as I did planks, squats, lunges, pilates work on the ball, medicine ball exercises. Boy did I feel great back then!

Yes, I sure would like to feel like that again, minus the unhealthy body image.

Today I manage to run one full mile without stopping, with a brisk walk to warm up and cool down afterwards. I can’t shake my anger and fear over my business situation, and the thought of having to seek legal counsel makes me sick to my stomach. The run is not as refreshing as I hoped, but I feel good having shown up and put in the time and effort. I head downstairs to do some free weights for my arms and some core work.

I am happy when I get home to see my weight has dropped 3# since Monday. Clean eating is paying off! Five more pounds to go. Four days of exercise in a row. Way to go, Justine!

May 4, 2018

Friday. Another restless night. Truthfully, I slept well in terms of falling asleep ok, it’s just that at 3:00 am I woke up and my mind starts thinking again about the situation I’m in. Words in response to this other business owner are rolling around in my head. Grace. All the times I’ve shown them Grace since I hired them many months earlier.

Then my mind comes around to Trust and Customer Service.

I lie awake ruminating on my words and I know there is no hope of me falling back asleep until I get my words down on paper. I can feel it in my gut, like an acid sludge that makes my stomach hot and restless.

I get up at 3:40 and head to my computer. I spend the next hour writing down my thoughts as quickly as they come. I end up with three pages that I know won’t see the light of day. But at least I feel lighter and more at ease. If anything, writing down my thoughts and feeling my feelings has help move them through. It’s what I advocate to my patients: “Feel it to Heal It”.

I send a text to Kelly letting her know that I won’t be at the gym this morning. I know I need a bit more sleep, if I can manage. At 4:50 I climb the stairs to my warm bed. I lie down and it takes me 10 min or so to quiet my mind enough to drift off to sleep. I don’t bother with setting my alarm clock. I trust that I’ll hear my husband get up in an hour to wake our girls up for school.

I am disappointed that I didn’t make it to the gym this morning, but I give myself grace. It’s okay, I’ll get back at it. Hopefully today will be a better day and I’ll be able to get a restful night’s sleep tonight.

May 6, 2018

Sunday: a day of rest. Not this morning. This morning I have dog duty because Marc went fishing. So, today is the perfect opportunity to get some exercise, I decide. I’ll jog outside with the dogs.

We head to Lions Camp Trail north of Woodland Park. It’s 50 deg on this gorgeous, sunny morning. We head out, me walking briskly and them running around and exploring. After a nice warm-up I begin a light jog.

I have issues with leaking some when I run, although it’s been better recently, today I just can’t keep dry. It’s a little frustrating, but what can I do about it? I slow to a walk and continue on. I like watching the dogs and the sun feels great and I admire the trees and the beauty around me. I pick up to a jog again, going downhill through the shaded area among the forest. It’s so beautiful and peaceful.

As we head back to the car, I jog uphill and feel my lungs heavy and laborious. I miss running. I miss pacing myself and feeling the hot ache in my lungs as I push myself to run further, faster. I miss the spiritual awareness I felt, the shape of the clouds, the connection to Spirit. Feeling my body, sleek and efficient. I’m a long way from that!

I slow to a walk and continue at a brisk pace all the way back to the car, calling the dogs near when I lose sight of them and keep them close when I see a hiker ahead, crossing in front of us across the trail. I don’t get upset at myself for not being able to run very far. I know I’m getting back into things and putting pressure on myself is not helpful.

A girl has to start somewhere, right?

Justine Calderwood

The Healing Spot Physical Therapy

"We Help Individuals Overcome Pelvic Floor Issues, And Heal Bowel & Bladder Conditions So They Can Be Active and Pain Free Again, Regardless of How Long It's Been"