These arms…

This past weekend I got to be a part of an amazing team and run Ragnar Northwest Passage. It felt SO good to be a part of a team again! The course also allowed us to travel through various parts of Western Washington that are breathtakingly beautiful! I was capturing as many pics as I could along with taking in moments of simply absorbing the atmosphere, the sounds of nature, and the gorgeous views I was getting to see. While on Whidbey Island near Penn Cove, our van had stopped to cheer on runners. It was perfectly picturesque. I snapped a few scenic pics and team selfies. Then I asked one of my teammates to capture a pic of me with the water behind me. It’s a beautiful scene. I was grateful she obliged and took my pic. I was grateful I asked her to do so. I capture pics to help me remember the moments. Especially recently. SO much has happened in the last three (3) months, let alone the last three days, that pictures are truly helping me to keep track of what has happened, where, and with whom.

Upon looking at my pics later that day, I came across the one of just me with the water behind. My heart sunk a bit. What I saw in that pic was my arms. My arms that don’t look the way I want them to. My arms that have so much lose skin and don’t reflect the work I’ve put in. Yet, as I began to spiral downward with the negative self-talk, my eyes welled up with tears. I realized in THAT moment, I have SO MUCH MORE work to do. I’m not only referencing the physical work, there is that. But what I am truly referring to right now is the INNER work. I want to look at pictures of myself and see the amazing person I am and express words of love and gratitude. I don’t want to be mortified by the look of my arms. I want to see my incredible smile, my radiant soul, a body that has endured significant physical challenges and is capable of pushing through the struggles. The truth is, I used to weigh 320 pounds. The truth is, after weighing twice as much as I do now, it takes the body time to adjust. The truth is, I do think I look pretty cute and fun in my colorful Fellow Flowers tank (“in it for the long run” are the words on the back) and my Jette Skirt Capris with the tantrum print from Skirt Sports. I’m wearing two flowers in my hair, “Believe” (turquoise) and “Fiercely United” (orange). I’ve got my Momentum bracelet on my right wrist that says “You’ve Got This” to remind me of my inner strength when I begin to doubt it. On my left wrist along with my Garmin Vivofit, I’m wearing my “Be Like Hayley” bracelet, reminding me of how incredibly precious each day of our lives truly are. Each aspect of my outfit is full of intention and meaning. I’m flexing my arms in this picture because it was just after I finished my third and final leg. I felt strong for how I finished. Despite going 6-8 weeks with no running and no use of my core muscles post emergency surgery to untwist my bowels, I still ran. I was upright and I felt strong. I KNOW I have more work to do.

Today? Today that EXCITES me! It does not make my heart sink. It makes me feel excited that I AM able to recognize the work I’ve done and to see what more I can and will do! I am in the midst of training for the Chicago Marathon. This is my first marathon that I will run! This journey of becoming a marathoner is pretty frickin’ AWESOME! It is FULL of moments that bring smiles and tears. Full of experiences that fill my heart and bring me joy. As I continue to look at my arms, I KNOW that these are the arms that will be outstretched above my head as I jump for joy across that marathon finish line. These arms allow me to hug loved ones to help them feel how much I love them. These arms allow me hold my son’s hands. These arms remind me to say, “this is me”. I am flawed, imperfect, and am learning to love every aspect of who I am.

Presence wanted

Be. Here. Now.

Your PRESENCE is wanted!

Yes, there are many things vying for our attention and demanding our time. THAT may not change. But the ways in which we CHOOSE to respond is completely within our control. When we own the fact that it IS a CHOICE on how our time is spent and cease the “should-ing” on ourselves, we feel more at peace with our decisions and we actually ENJOY what we are doing because we actively CHOSE to be there.

That is one way our presence is cultivated. Owning the choices we make in how we spend and share our time. Time is a valuable resource that gives no refunds. It rewards us immensely when we immerse ourselves in the WHY of our being and doing.

Our presence also helps us to bring about and deepen CONNECTION. And I think we can agree that CONNECTION is something that our world is craving and desperately needing more real, deep, connection. When we sit with a friend, thinking of nothing else but truly BEing with them, listening, and holding space for them, what happens? They feel heard, acknowledged, cared for. How did that happen? Because we were present WITH them. Presence can be felt, sensed, and recognized when it is there and when it is absent.

Today, and every day, I invite you to be PRESENT.

Show up for YOU.

Show up for OTHERS.

Immerse yourself in the HERE and NOW.

Allow this gift of TODAY to keep on GIVING!

In Every Way, Show Love TODAY!

In EVERY way, show love TODAY!

Meaning, in ALL that we do, let’s originate from a place of love!

With each and every person we interact with, let’s do so from a place of love!

With each message we send, let’s do so from a place of love!

With each task we complete and project we work on, let’s do so from a place of love!

Love IS ALL around us! It is with us at home, at work, at the store. Everywhere we go, Love is there. Because everywhere we go, there we are. Love is within us! We are Love!

Are ya not feeling it &/or you think this sounds a bit hokey? Well, I hear ya, I’ve been there. When I was full of judgement, cynical, and a hurt heart; I felt like love was no where to be found. And to an extent, it wasn’t, because I had no idea how to love. So if I couldn’t even love myself, why the heck would I think it would be realistic for others to show me love. If all I was giving was a cold shoulder, unanswered text messages, cancelled plans, why would I seriously think that I would be met with love and kindness?

The truth is, it was not realistic nor reasonable. I had to figure out how to love myself and to begin within.

As the lyrics go in the song written by Hal David and initially sung by Jackie DeShannon in 1965,

“What the world needs now, is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

This is one of many reasons why I felt compelled to bring forth the Show Love Today challenge. I feel it’s imperative that live our lives in a way that is meaningful and true to each of us, while infusing love into all that we do! Can you imagine how different things will be as we do this? It may take some time getting used to it, but it is worth it! As I have been entering each day from a place of love, I’m finding my heart and spirit to be more at peace, my mind more open, and an enhanced desire to truly understand each and everyone’s perspective. Each of us has our histories, our stories, our experiences. Each of us have the capacity to show love in abundant ways. I hope you’ll join me, and begin to show love TODAY!

Show Love TODAY

My heart has continued to ask me to bring this about. So here it is. The Show Love TODAY movement will begin with the Show Love TODAY Challenge on Instagram. This challenge will run from Friday, December 15, 2017 through Monday January 15, 2018.

Intention: To share images daily capturing how we show love to ourselves and others.

Aiming to build a habit in being mindful of approaching each day and each moment with love. How can we do that? Practice! Participants in the challenge will need to post their Show Love Today action, tag @VibrantLivingFromTheHeart and use the hashtag #ShowLoveToday. In doing so, this will enable participants to receive daily inspirational messages, opportunities to win prizes in the weekly drawings, along with putting a whole lot of love in our World! Can you see it now? Think about 30 days of sharing your loving moments, your loving actions. Think about how that will feel to share yours along with seeing others. We are here for EACH OTHER. This is one way that we can help elevate the vibrancy of our community, our world!

This is your invitation to be a part of something that can help heal our world! Yes, yes I know this is great BIG thinking! But we must BEGIN somewhere. This is something we are ALL capable of doing. It need not have any cost associated, simply sharing how you SHOW LOVE to others and yourself!