Progress not Perfection

Nailed It

At the beginning of November, I declared my intentions to start taking better care of myself, and follow my own advice.  Overall, I am happy to report that I have made a lot of progress in the consistent self care department.  Instead of trying to make a ton of changes all at once, I picked a few things to focus on and add into my daily routine.  I didn’t just want to add things in, I wanted to stay consistent with these changes.  First and foremost, I went back to being more vegan than vegetarian.  My body functions and feels much better when vegan and I find I have less issues with my IBS.  I was able to maintain being vegan even through the holiday by preparing and bringing some of my own dishes.

The second change I made was committing to starting my day with breakfast every day.  Thanks to years of chemo and IBS, I was not feeling hungry in the mornings and found myself going at least half the day without eating anything.  Since incorporating breakfast daily (usually a vegan protein shake or smoothie bowl), I have noticed an improvement in my energy.  Third, I wanted to get back into using the Soqi bed every morning.  The far infrared rays do wonders for my energy and overall health.  I often felt I was pressed for time in the mornings and unfortunately, the Soqi bed was generally the item to get removed from the to do list.  During November,  in order to achieve this goal, I started doing my morning meditation in the Soqi bed.  This allowed me to kill two birds with one stone without feeling like I was short on time.

Not every day was perfect, I found myself dealing with distractions that would derail my efforts temporarily.  One of the largest distractions was looking at emails and messages in the morning before even getting out of bed.  In order to minimize this distraction, I started putting my phone across the room so it was not as accessible.  This allowed me to focus instead on my meditation and the Soqi bed before diving into work. In reality, distractions are just another way of saying excuses.  As I become aware of my own bull, it is all about progress.  So, I am going to accept and pat myself on the back for the work and progress I have made.  Moving forward, I am willing to be better and do more than my next excuse.

A large part of my success this month was having accountability partners.  While I may roll my eyes, fold my arms like an arrant child, and make a huge huffing noise when my loved ones are reminding me about my goals and self care,  I am blessed to have people in my life that love me enough to not only care about my well being, but also put up with my shenanigans.

Here we are in December (how did that happen?).  I am looking to maintain the changes I have made, and gradually incorporate additional self care items.  I will be incorporating physical activity this month, 2 to 3 times a week, including some yoga.  As I have written about in my book, taking my head and putting it up my ass as a form of yoga does not excite me, however the principals and the benefits of yoga do.  So, Jodi and I have signed up for a 6 week long beginning yoga class.  I am going in with an open mind and the willingness and awareness that by no means will I be perfect at this.  By no means will yoga come easy in the flexibility department, but I am excited to start from scratch, learn something new, and gain the benefits of the experience.  Also in December I am going to get back to journaling daily.  This was hugely beneficial for my mental wellness and overall emotional health and it is time that it once again be incorporated into my daily routine.

A challenge I have faced prior to this month was focusing on the idea of all or nothing.  I kept telling myself that I had to change everything, all at once, in order to be successful.  This concept was overwhelming and often led me to not making any changes.  As you are looking to make improvements in your life, gradual changes are far more sustainable and less painful than trying to change everything all at once.  Be patient with yourself as you make these changes, remember that you will not be perfect.  We should focus on progress and not perfection.

All my best to you my Fabulous Fighters,

XOXO

Fab

The gift of enough

You are enough

I’m constantly learning new things about myself. I am a work in progress and reinventing myself all the time. This weekend while I was relaxing and thinking of all the things I could write about I couldn’t put pen to paper. I was struggling to find the perfect words to inspire this week. Then I realized I do not inspire others by being perfect,  I inspire by the way I am dealing with my imperfections and struggles. I started to think about all the women that inspire me daily and the one thing they all have in common is their strength and perseverance.  The reason for their strength is not because things worked out for them, it was because things went wrong and they handled it in a million different ways. They inspire me because of what they do with their faults, their struggles and their imperfections.

 

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.  We are not perfect souls we are works in progress, and that is a beautiful thing.  This journey teaches me everyday that my only job is to embrace myself and just be me. I am enough.  I have the opportunity to inspire by being me, by sharing my story and my journey.  So my Fabulous Fighters, be you!  As we head into the holiday season remember you are enough.   We put so much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect tree or the perfect gift for someone, we need to keep in mind the love that we exude and give to others is enough. You are the gift. You are amazing as you are and therefore, what you do will be amazing.  Remember to breath, to stop and smell the hot cocoa and enjoy time with your loved ones as that is what it is all about.   

“You are not a number on a transcript, or a scale. You are not unloveable though sometimes you may fail.  You are full of strength and grace when life is harsh and tough.  You are unique, and you, my dear, will always be enough.” H.B.

XOXO

Fab

Gratitude, Grace, Girls and Giggles

Teenage ballerina Mackenzie
Today Mackenzie had try outs for another ballet show. As I was waiting in the room with all of these amazing young ladies and hopeful dancers I took inventory of the feeling in the room.  Girls stretching and warming their bodies in preparation for a half hour audition. Some girls speaking to each other and exchanging pleasantries some keeping to themselves getting their game face on.  The one thing missing was the sound of laughter, the sound of teenage giggles. I was reminded that the world is changing at a rapid pace and we are forgetting to teach our children not to take everything so seriously. We have become a society of manic panic to be the best, do our best, and push our children to follow suit.
I was reminded that my daughters dance journey is hers. She is full of love and determination for the art of ballet. Dave and I agree that we want Mackenzie to push herself, which she does everyday. Her work ethic is beyond admirable.  What has been at the forefront of our recent talks, is reminding her to live in the moment of this ballet journey and to enjoy the ride.  As a 13 year old young adult most things at this age seem overwhelming and beyond her control. What we have tried to instill in her is that the control she has is how she looks at a situation. Every situation, even a nerve wracking audition. She gets to choose to live in the gratitude of the opportunities instead of investing her time in worrying about the outcome.   The ballet world is an amazing but competitive forum, as are sports and other activities our children participate in. In my opinion it is my job as a mother to encourage and foster a healthy mindset for her. That starts by example.
As you may know, I grew up on the stage where I was often judged, belittled, and ridiculed. The stage is also where I learned to grow a thick skin and eventually found my voice. My intention was to NEVER be a stage mom or make Mackenzie feel anything less than the amazing young lady that she is.  The world is big enough for everyone to succeed in their own way. The world is big enough for everyone to have their own happiness. The world is big enough for all of us to share in each other’s successes and happiness.  My advice is to enjoy the moments in between achieving your goals as those are the moments that matter the most.  Those are the moments that will be filled with joy and laughter.
So my Fabulous Fighters live moment to moment joy, laugh more often and share those giggles with your friends and family.  The world needs it now more than ever. We are the leading examples for our children.
All my love,
Xoxo- Fab

Falling into Fall

IMG_1351I have literally fallen into fall. Fallen face first onto my bed, snuggled with my pillow and had to take a much needed inventory of my health. As many of you know I have been the energizer bunny all month long as it has been breast cancer awareness month. I have had many amazing opportunities to travel, speak and to raise awareness. What I failed to do was make my health a priority within the hustle and bustle of this month. I have neglected the one thing I have total control of, and the one thing I constantly remind others of.

As October came to a close I laid in my bed, looking at a night table full of prescription antibiotics, holistic remedies, and warm tea for the numerous ailments that I incurred over the month. I realized I had put myself there. I truly neglected my health and my well being. This is not the first time this has happened and to be brutally honest it probably won’t be the last.

I want to change that behavior, I want to walk the walk and talk the talk. I have no problem telling others that self care should be top priority but when it comes to my own well being I struggle to find balance. This is not easy to admit but I feel this is a step in the right direction. Sharing honestly about my struggles with all of you is also admitting to myself that I am struggling. I have fallen and for a moment lost my spark. Rising from that I am promising to bring the whole damn fire! SO this article is my new beginning, my promise to do the very thing I set out to do – BEAT CANCER!

Today marks 4 weeks until the beginning of the Christmas Holiday, I have a plan in place and all of you are my Fabulous witnesses . I will be updating my progress throughout the month and I hope to inspire someone to make their own health a number one priority.

I am realizing that falling down is human, but it is how we Fabulously Fight to rise up. We are all worth the effort and love.

“Self Care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” – Katie Reed

All my best to you my Fabulous Fighters,

Fab- xoxo

 

Back in the Big Apple and MORE!

It has been another banner week here at Fabulously Fighting!!!  First, we are pleased to announce that our own publishing company Born of Fire Publishing, LLC has been established!  Look for more info regarding a second edition and a second book coming soon!!!

We started this week in NY with an amazing empowering women panel discussion at NYSC Astor Place Flagship location.  Thank you to NYSC and FitNic for hosting this panel – I was honored to be with such an inspirational group of women who are making a difference in this world!

 

Saturday was the Friend’s of Mel The Art of Living Life Beyond Cancer seminar.  What an amazing day full of education, information and inspiration! It was great to see some of the Pink Warriors in attendance and to meet so many survivors, fighters and care takers.

Saturday night we painted the town pink at the Booby Bash to support Miss Pink at Society on High in Boston.  What a blast for such a great organization!!!

The Little Things, Goats, The GOAT, and more!

It has been an action packed couple of weeks and we still have a little over a week to go in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  Here are some highlights of the last two weeks:

Thank you to The Little Things.com for having me on the show! It was an amazing trip to NYC – the first of many!

We had a great photo shoot with some of the Pink Warriors.  Thank you Born Imagery and David West for capturing the bond we share!

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Goat Yoga!!! What a great experience and a super fun and successful fundraising event for Miss Pink.  Thank you to all who came out!

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I am so honored to be able to support a fellow Pink Warrior and to  have two of my photos auctioned off as part of a fund raiser for Breast Cancer.

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Thank you Tara for making me one of the survivors that you were walking for at the Making Strides event in the greater lakes area.

At this moment Dave and I are honored to be on the field in Foxboro for the Crucial Catch game.  We got our picture with some of the cheerleaders and we are ready to cheer on our team.  Go Pats!  Thank you Mr Kraft for your support of fabulous fighters everywhere!

Forty and Fabulous

Forty and Fabulous

The idea of this article started a couple of months ago. October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and my 40th birthday, I knew I wanted to write about how and what I was feeling. Each time I tried to sit down and write about it, I had so many emotions it was to hard to put into words what not only this month means but what turning 40 means.  It took me until this morning, two days after my 40th birthday,  to actually put into words my emotions surrounding it.  I started to ask myself:

Am I growing or dying –  because I am doing one or the other.  Am I living a life full of positivity and possibilities or am I wading in the pool of pity?  Am I just existing or am I working towards serving a purpose?  What is my purpose?

I’ve thought a lot about the last 39 years and the reoccurring theme has been the faces of all of the doctors that have said I wouldn’t make it, who looked at me with pity, and the dumb founded look they each had when I said I would prove them wrong.  A third of my life has been taken up by cancer.  40 is just a number but it represents the years of struggle that have made me who I am.  40 represents the years I have put into achieving happiness.  It represents the years it has taken me to truly understand what living moment to moment joy feels like. These past 40 years have taught me to be fully present in the now, but it has taken me this long to understand that most of us believe that the next moment must be more important than this one.  Most of us go through life unconscious of the power we have to create our best life.  Now, 40 years into it, I finally understand that I can miss my whole life thinking that way.

I have come to realize that the purpose of my 40 years – over 12 with cancer – is to help others live with adversity and not let their challenges destroy their chances of living their best life.  I used to say that “Cancer is what I have, not who I am” – I even used that motto as the title for my e-book.  While I still believe that cancer and my adversity does not define me, my journey with cancer is what has helped me to become the person I am today.  At the age of 27 when I was first diagnosed, I didn’t question if I would live, but how I would live.  My family and I have worked hard throughout this journey to make each day count and to be a point of inspiration and hope for those that cross our path.

Happiness is a choice. Living a life full of love and laughter is a choice. Today, standing at the beginning of a new decade of life, I am recognizing the work I have consistently put in to create the best life for myself and my family.  I often say that the present is a gift and we should live each day as if tomorrow is not promised.  While it may not be promised, tomorrow offers the opportunity to improve upon the day before and to plan for the day ahead.  We must each find our reason for being, what drives and inspires us.  The future and all of the possibilities it represents is my motivation.