Book review: What I know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

February 10, 2015

I have always admired Oprah Winfrey and the difference she has made in so many lives.  She shows honesty, vulnerability, spirituality and wisdom.  When I saw her book at the library, I thought it might be a good read, but wasn’t expecting the degree of insights this woman shared.  She also had a way of making me feel like I was sitting next to a good friend, who understood my journey.  Some of the topics she discusses are possibility, gratitude, connection, and power.

Though I have heard it before, her writings on gratitude, made me start looking at things in a different way, and I have started to pay more attention to what I am grateful for.  “Here’s the gift of gratitude:  In order to feel it, your ego has to take a backseat.  What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding.  Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation.  And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for” (page 79).

Lately, I have been experiencing more physical pain and fatigue. Much of this is do to some increased stress in my life as a result of some choices I made.  It can be hard to see the gratitude when I can feel so empty inside.  Yet, when I look around, every day brings something beautiful and a source of life.  I see this through calls and texts from friends, through looking outside at the trees blowing in the wind, and through reading books that make me go “aha”, I want to live this way.

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living life as a coach with fibromyalgia

February 18, 2013

The winter months have been busy with coaching activities. I am an assistant coach with 3 teams, 2 soccer and 1 basketball. It sounds a bit crazier than it really is. Most days it is helping navigate young female sport players around the field or court. I enjoy the physical activity and interacting with players and coaches in a healthy atmosphere. There are usually several girls who enjoy having a female coach around (most of the other coaches are male), though I tend to be structured and disciplined, I also connect on the emotional level. My favorite thing about being a coach is connecting with the players and building them up. My second favorite is the team dynamic, and strategizing on how to create a stronger team by building on the strengths and working through the challenges of the individuals.

My biggest challenge tends to be dealing with the mental processing and dealing with conflicts that arise. Since I don’t know the game of basketball real well, it takes a lot out of me to learn the fundamentals and think about what I can do to help. Though overall the conflicts with players and coaches are pretty mild, issues still arise. As a coach, I want to make an impact on the individuals, and when I say something I wish I hadn’t said, or missed an opportunity to build a player up, I feel disappointed in myself. With about 15 coaches in the 3 teams, it is a lot of personalities to deal with, especially when I prefer to please. There is some simplicity with men, in they appear to be more direct and move on, I also realize we can be a different species, and find myself longing for a girls’ night out. Any stress (whether real or perceived) or mental challenges can zap my limited energy, and increase my pain level.

I have also been trying to build a health coaching business. I absolutely love coaching people, but don’t care for the networking aspect. I am constantly battling inner conflicts of my own values and insecurities. I believe in the food program/healthy living that is the core of the business I am trying to establish, but also realize it isn’t for everyone trying to lose weight/become healthy. I personally have felt better as I am trying to change my eating habits, and am able to do things like coach 3 teams. I love being fit and healthy. Because I am uncomfortable promoting to people, I feel like a failure because I don’t know where to find people who would be interested in such a program, and don’t want to overemphasize weight loss because it can imply that I am criticizing people. I find myself completely shutting down, and realize this has little to do with my current reality. I will keep attempting to deal with the inner conflicts so I can see more clearly what direction to move here.

I am grateful to be so involved with my family. Did I mention my husband is a coach on two of the teams? It really is a family affair in the coaching world. I think back to 7 years ago when I spent a great deal of time on the couch resting from the daily activities and energizing myself so I can connect with those around me. Though I was still involved with my family, it was much more difficult to engage in the outside world. There is no magical cure, and it takes a great deal of soul-searching each day to determine where to invest my energy. Some days it seems to work, other days, not so sure. I will keep trying, keep searching, keep praying, to find the balance and build those relationships.  In the meantime I will keep making those memories on the field and on the court.


Do I buy new shoes or hide in a shoe box?

September 24, 2012

How best do I cure myself when I start acting like a crab?  I am feeling irritable because too many things are not going according to my plan and time-table.  I could write a whine a log, but generally that will just make me a whining crab and not really help me feel better.  The simple version is I am feeling overwhelmed because my husband is out of work, I can’t work, conflicts with people, I have some cold/illness that is clinging on, the joys of fibromyalgia and my knees still hurt.  So maybe it isn’t all that simple, yet I really don’t like feeling angry and frustrated.

I must admit, just coming up with my title post, put a smile on my face.  For some reason, that stems back to early childhood, shoes have a way of altering my mood.  With over 50 shoes in my closet or in the garage, I have plenty to choose from without even leaving my home.  The shoes I wear the most are more on the practical and sporty end, since the majority of the time I leave the house it is to do something active.  I wear my Adidas tennis shoes for running, walking and racquetball several times a week.  My soccer cleats, not the ones my younger daughter has conveniently made her own, but the other pair, are used for soccer practices/games 3-5 times a week.   Though I prefer the soft leather Pumas, over the other 3 I own, I would rather have my daughter be successful on the field with a great pair of shoes I happened to find on clearance for about 25% of the cost.   My black Teva sandas are my favorite shoe in the summer.  Keeps my feet cool, but allows me to run and hike if need be.  I have discovered I can even kick a soccer ball in them, they truly are the best.  My favorite winter boots are my Uggs. I think I spelled that right.  I used to make fun of people willing to buy such expensive shoes until I tried on a pair at Nordstrom Rack.  I immediately fell in love, and figured I deserved to not have my feet hurt.  After trying to rationalize to my daughters the cost of the shoes, I called my husband and asked if I could have them for my birthday.  The wonderful husband he is, said “yes”.  The other 40+ shoes I own are used so much less frequently.  My black leather boots are the next highest and then some clunker platform type of heals.  Being 5’4 (on a good day), I like the extra height but can’t walk in narrow heals.  Platform shoes don’t look as elegant, but makes me feel taller and some days more powerful.

Today I have several options to change the course of my day.  Hiding in a shoe box would give me some momentary relief.  I could escape from people for a little while, so that in my tiredness I don’t say something I will regret.  I hate feeling out of control with my emotions around other people.  Unfortunately this happened a few times this past weekend.  I can feel safe in my box, free from making decisions, bring my i-pod for some music, and hang out with my shoes :).  A little break could be a good thing, but eventually I will want OUT.  Though boxes are fun to draw when I am bored, I don’t particularly like the limitations and would need to create a skylights so I could fly away.  Buying a new pair of shoes would be a great way to go.  I could spend the day shopping for a new pair of boots or sandals.  I could find something with some zeal and show off to my family while ignoring their looks of “not again”.  Though the truth be told, I don’t feel like shopping, well maybe on Craigslist.  Perhaps after the post….

The surprising thing is I now feel energized and clear-headed.  Amazing what a shoe talk can do.  I may not be able to run today, but I can go for a walk and listen to some music.  I can do some Internet browsing to dream a bit, maybe plan ahead for my birthday shoes, October isn’t far away.  I also am capable of making apologies to the people I lost my temper with.  I can have conversations with people and learn to communicate better when I am tired.  Part of life is learning and growing.

On the shoe note – my plan is to see how many different shoes I can wear today.  I can do my hiding on the couch for some rest time and Internet shopping.  Maybe I will buy a new pair of shoes today – but if I don’t – I will be sure to really experience the feel of the shoes I already own.  Perhaps start with some slippers —–AAHHH.


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