13 Jan 2014
Life is hard. Life is bumpy… more like tumultuous! It hits you in the gut when you least expect it. But at the same time, life is beautiful. Life is hope. Life is magic. Life is a wise teacher. Life gives us daily gifts, even in the rockiest times. I wrote a blog a while back about my three “go to” words and I wanted to pull them out again as we start accelerating into 2014: Perception, choice, and attitude. These words are how I deal with the wild roller coaster of life and what keeps me grounded and somewhat sane in times when I just want to scream and shout: WHY?!?!? REALLY LIFE, REALLY?!?!
I am sure many of us have already faced disappointments, struggles, and hardships this year, even just two weeks in. And if you haven’t, you probably will at some point in 2014. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow, Lindi, way to be a Debbie Downer!” I know, I know…BUT there is a method to my madness! By starting the year knowing that we have the tools to deal with the pain that will pop-up in our path, we can find light in even the darkest of places. I often say to clients, instead of thinking, “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert negative, death voice here), think “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert happy, positive, excited voice here!) It’s about perception. I tell my clients to get excited about the burn, because the more something challenges you, the more it changes you. Now, trust me, I know this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to life outside DMF.
Things happen that are out of our control. BUT, what we CAN control is how we CHOOSE to react and PERCEIVE these events and our ATTITUDE going forward. By adopting an attitude of life is happening for us, rather than to us, we can make sense out of tough situations. This idea has literally SAVED me the last few years, and continues to save me daily! Any situation, relationship, event, or moment that is challenging me or causing me pain, I look at as a teacher. I ask myself, “What am I supposed to gain and learn from this?” This doesn’t always come naturally and I often have to force myself to ask myself these questions, but I promise you it is worth a try. It allows me to surrender to the situation and ultimately rebuild my hope for the good that is yet to come. It’s much easier to fall into the “blame game” route as I call it. This blame and victimization route is SO prevalent in our society. We are constantly putting our problems on someone else: If only my boss wasn’t so controlling…If only my partner cared more…If only there wasn’t so much competition in by business…if only my co-worker wasn’t such an idiot…If only I had more money… If only I lived in a better neighborhood… If only I didn’t inherit my dad’s sweet tooth…If only I could vacation more. It’s a nasty little habit that many of us fall in to.
The harder route, but SO much more powerful, is to find the courage to CHOOSE to take responsibility for our circumstances and then creatively work through them. For me, it again goes back to perception, attitude, and choice: How can I perceive this situation differently? What is this trying to teach me? How is this giving value to my life? When we can look past the painto the gain, life changes for the better. Once I deal with perception, I deal with choice. I can either choose to go forward positively, with new found wisdom and light, or I can take with me a jaded outlook that life sucks. And I will ALWAYS choose the positive ATTITUDE even if it takes me some time to get there. You might say, “But Lindi, you are such a positive and hopeful person.” No, I CHOOSE to adopt a positive attitude because going forth with hope is the only way to free me from the pain of the past, and often, the present.
So as you venture into this New Year, remember that you have the power of perception, choice and attitude to help you make sense of any roadblock that pops up in your path.
Can’t wait to dance it out with you this week!
Lindi and The DMF Team
06 Jan 2014
Happy 2014! We are SO excited to bust a move with you this year! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “New Year, New You” a gazillion times by now. I truly dislike this phrase. One, because I feel like it implies that I totally failed last year and I need to start over from scratch. And two, it’s become such a marketing tool in our commercial world–a catch phrase, if you will, for the media to pin a story of getting fit, making more money, being more productive, etc., etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a fresh start, new goals, and a clean slate, but I think we often get caught up in the immediacy of our sexy, new goals rather than taking the time to create a real VISION and PLAN for the entire year. I’m completely guilty of this myself. I jump head first into life, often without a solid plan. Well, not this year. I’m trying something different. I’m actually taking the time to create the vision and the plan before I go about setting lofty goals. It’s a bit exhausting, but I KNOW it will be worth it. Will you join me?
They say a vision will pull you forward. George Washington Carver says, “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” The Dalai Lama says, “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” So I ask you, what do you really want your life to look like a year from now? How do you want to feel? And most importantly, why? It’s nice to set goals, but often we don’t seepast the goal and we set them in a hasty, non-committal manner, without establishing the bigger picture. That’s where vision comes in. Having a clear vision of what we want, and more importantly, WHY we want it, helps pull us through the difficult hurdles that are sure to pop up in our path. For some people, defining a vision might be easy, but for others (like me!) the task can be can be daunting. What DO I really want??!! What does that REALLY look like??!! Ahh, too many life questions! BUT, while taking the time to sit with my thoughts, I’ve found that honing in my values and what I believe to be my purpose, helps me define my vision. What do I feel I was put on this earth to do and how will my vision drive me toward this purpose? What type of people, activities and lifestyle will lead me toward this vision? How can I foster relationships that will fulfill my vision in the upcoming year? What about you? What does your vision look like?
Next step: the PLAN. What’s your roadmap to the vision for 2014? It’s nice to say I want to change the world, lose weight, grow my business, save money, do more community service, buy a house, find a significant other, but if there is not a solid PLAN, in a month or so, life will surely get in the way. And I don’t mean a general plan, I mean a specific plan that includes small, daily and weekly habits that are key in achieving your goals, and more importantly your vision. I read a great article recently about systems. The author says rather than setting goals, we should focus on the systems behind the goals. For example, if you are a coach and the goal is for your team to win a championship, the system is the daily training and practice regimes. If you’re a writer and your goal is to write a book, your system is a daily writing schedule. Focusing primarily on the system, rather than the goal, sets us up for success.
So this year I encourage you to join me and get specific about your system or plan. What can we do daily, weekly, and monthly to propel us toward our vision for 2014? I’m still working on mine, but I really feel that taking the time now will help me in the future. What’s your plan look like?
We are ALWAYS here for you at DMF and hope we can bring some sweaty, dance-party joy into your life and vision for 2014! This year is going to be awesome and we can’t wait to share it with you!
Lots of Love,
Lindi and The DMF Team
24 Nov 2013
So, if you are like me, you are already feeling the madness of this time of year setting in with upcoming holidays, parties, get-togethers, shopping, travel, and FOOD….everywhere. Although merriment and excitement hover in the air, exhaustion, anxiety, and stress lurk around the corner too. I often find myself slipping down the treacherous road of over-indulgence when it comes to the delicious treats and over-flowing spirits that abound this time of year. Sound familiar? And with all the “things to do” and “places to be” I often lack motivation, personally and professionally, to stay true to my purpose and goals. I can easily get swept up in the madness and lose sight of what this time of year is really about.
So what am I to do? Well, this year I’m making a vow to savor these next six weeks. And I don’t mean the food! I don’t want to go into 2014 hung over and tired. Even though my schedule is insane, and I’m sure yours is too, I’m choosing to remind myself that we are NOT guaranteed tomorrow, so to complain about the craziness of this time of year is wasted energy. I’m choosing to slow down a bit and really savor what is important to me in life–friends, family, love, giving and gratitude. And what a cool thing that I get more opportunities to be with friends, colleagues and family because of the added parties and events! I’m choosing to remember that food and spirits won’t bring me the type of fulfillment that being truly present and engaged with the ones I love will. I am choosing to remember that, for me, this time of year is about gratitude, love, giving, and faith–NOT eggnog, gingerbread, and wine (though I’m not saying those aren’t added bonuses!) I’m choosing to express to people how much I love and value them with my words and actions, rather than stress myself out over finding the perfect gift. My hope is that these choices will propel me into the new year with energy and a renewed commitment to what’s important in my life rather than the dreaded, “Ok, now I got get back on the bandwagon” mantra.
Want to join me in this quest? What are your thoughts on this time of year? We are committed to make these next six weeks AWESOME at DMF so join the party and come savor and celebrate life with us!
08 Oct 2013
This week, I wanted to share with you my dream. My hope is that you will have some wisdom, advice, or a connection that can help me turn this dream into reality!
I’ve been in the early stages of developing DMF YOUTH, a dance-fitness after school and educational program that blends a positive, motivational dance workout with a life skills development curriculum. Our goal is to empower kids and teens by building self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth and nurture health in all aspects of their lives–physical, mental, emotional.
DMF YOUTH is not a traditional “dance-class.” We are based in fitness and create an awesome environment for youth to get fit in a non-competitive, fun way without the pressure of having to be a perfect dancer or athlete. Our motivational, cardio-dance and strength training workout feels more like a dance-party than a class. We incorporate life-skills and character development into the curriculum, making this program truly unique. We use dance and fitness as the platform for helping youth realize their ultimate potential and gain the necessary tools needed to live healthy, happy and productive lives.
Each week, we discuss and use games and exercises to delve into topics like attitude, leadership, positive self-talk, cooperation, self-control, body-image, nutrition, and standing up to peer pressure. Everywhere young kids turn, there is pressure to “be cool” and “fit in.” DMF YOUTH helps participants shed insecurities and the need to “be” like everyone else and encourages them to tap into their own unique talents, power and potential. To build a sense of community and help youth embrace a “give vs. get” mentality, the program culminates with a service project that participants vote on, such as hosting a Dance-Off to raise money for a charity or hosting a dance party for sick children at a local hospital.
My goal is to get the program into inner city schools and charter schools like KIPP, Promise Academy and the Young Women’s Leadership Network. There is just no fitness program (other than traditional sports) that really delves into life skills and character development that so many of today’s youth, especially under-served youth, need in their lives.
Sound interesting to you and want to know more? Have a contact or school you think could benefit from DMF YOUTH? Want to join me in this quest? I’ll take ALL the wisdom and awesome advice you have! Thanks for your support! And thank you to EVERYONE who has ALREADY so graciously helped me on this journey!!!
30 Sep 2013
Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE kids. If you don’t love kids, please don’t stop reading as this is NOT a gush fest about kiddos, but rather a reminder of how we should perhaps live our lives.
Did you know that the average 4-year-old laughs about 300 times a day and the average 40 year old only 4? That’s pretty sad people! Laughter and joy are natural for kids. Children LIVE in the moment and find happiness in the little things—a ladybug crawling on their hand, a dog whose tail is wagging at warp speed, a funny face an adult makes, the wind on their face! Laughter often ensues.
But somewhere along the way of growing into “mature” humans, we start pushing down that child-like wonder and appreciation of the magic around us. I know we have pressure at work and home, bills to pay, and important “adult rolls” to play, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to see the world around us through the eyes of a child. One of the coolest things in the world is to see a child’s face when he or she experiences something for the first time. What would happen if we tried to be a more open, appreciative, and excited about the awesomeness around us? What if we tried to go through our day as if we were experiencing things for the first time? It could be as simple as appreciating how amazing your food looks (I’m a bit of “ooh and awe” person myself), or noticing how cute and funny squirrels look when they eat a nut. That was random, but boy it makes me laugh every time I see those little squirrel hands work.
PLUS, laughter is AWESOME for your health! Research shows that laughter reduces levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and dopamine and increases health-enhancing hormones (such as endorphins), neurotransmitters, and infection-fighting antibodies. We know the importance of laughter at DMF which is why we ALWAYS try to include a song that or dance move that will make you giggle. It’s science people! We need it!
So this week, DMF challenges you to increase your laugh quota and try to find more joy in the little things. You can start by watching this adorable laughing baby (Click on link below). You’ve probably seen it before, but watch it again and get those endorphins flowing!
Can’t wait to bust a move with you this week!
Baby Laughing Video
09 Sep 2013
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” –Peter Drucker
So as many of you know, I just returned from an amazing solo trip to St. John. Yes, I went by myself. No, I’m not crazy (most of the time!) My solo vacation surprised many people and I had to explain to almost everyone I met why I was there alone. I wanted to clear my head, figure out my next steps, and essentially just get away from everything–stress, work, anxiety–and just let my body and mind be quiet.
Well, as much as I LOVED my vacation, it really struck me how hard being quiet and being alone with yourself and your thoughts can be and I think this is what truly scares people (probably unconsciously). Though I didn’t have TV, I did have internet and I found myself checking Facebook, emails, and other sites that I really didn’t need to be bothering with. Essentially, I was procrastinating from just sitting and “being” and dealing with what I needed to deal with. But how many of us really spend the time just being quiet and thinking? What would happen if we put down the remote, the computer, the food, the book, and just sat and thought AND listened to our thoughts? What would happen if we didn’t stuff every minute of our spare time with activities, events, and people? What would you think about if you were truly alone?
I think many of us mask our authentic thoughts, desires, and intuition with the “busyness” of life, societal expectations, and the overwhelming amount of distractions we face daily. We ignore the big questions like: What is my purpose? Am I a truly happy in my career, relationships, and life? Am I living a life that I’m proud of? Am I being a loving, non-judgmental person? Am a giving my all to my partner? Am I being a good friend? It is often easier to just “go with the flow” than to really examine and take responsibility for our lives. Trust me I know! I realized on my vacation that I wasn’t fully taking responsibility for my own happiness and well-being, but rather just “pushing forward” in the direction I felt I had to go. I was often letting outside influences–media, clients, society–guide how I was growing my business rather than taking time with my thoughts and examining whether I was truly happy with where I was going.
I’m not going to lie, the tough questions can be uncomfortable, especially when the answers to these questions are “no.” When the answer is “no,” the bigger question of “why” emerges and then the super overwhelming task of creating a new path. Digging deep into the “whys” of life takes time and as crazy, busy New Yorkers living in a fast paced environment of getting ahead, making money and just surviving, it can be easier to just ignore them and keep pressing forward.
But why should we just press forward? We are better than that and we deserve better than that. So you might ask, “Lindi, what did you figure out?!?” Well, I’m still working on it, but a couple of things have definitely emerged and I would like to ask for your help with a few of them. First, while the new, improved vision for DMF is being discovered, I will be offering a few less adult classes per week in the hopes of creating a truly special experience each and every time. You’ll get better music, better motivation and a better overall workout! We want DMF to be your go-to workout on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and we promise to get you super sweaty, motivated and HAPPY!
Second, DMF YOUTH is in the works! My passion for teaching, as some of you know, extends to children and teens and my hope is that DMF YOUTH will be an integral part of after-school and educational programs across the city. DMF YOUTH is a dance-based fitness program that blends a positive and motivational workout with an interactive and fun life skill development curriculum. Want to know more and how you can help? Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you Tuesday at 6pm, Wednesday at 7pm, and Saturday at 2:30!
19 Aug 2013
This week, I wanted to share with you my “go to” words: choice, perception, attitude. These words and how I relate to them have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life and have also helped me find meaning and joy in the day to day grind of NYC. If you’ve been to a class of mine recently, you’ve heard me talk about perception. I often say to clients, instead of thinking, “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert negative, death voice here), think “Oh my god it’s burning!” (insert happy, positive, excited voice here). I tell my clients to get excited about the burn because the more something challenges you, the more it changes you. Now, trust me, I know this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to life outside DMF.
As for the personal… Last year I started dating again…ugh! After my divorce, I took a lot of time off to figure out, well, life! I finally felt ready to date. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming at first with lots of highs and lows, but I kept a positive attitude. However, after months of first and sometimes second dates, I was starting to doubt that a quality guy with my same values, zest for life, desire to change the world for the better (I know it’s cheesy but it’s a must for me:) and passions existed. And then I met someone special. We connected quickly on many levels—intellectual, physical, spiritual— which I always find difficult. We could talk for hours and I felt supported and happy with another person for the first time in years. I finally had someone to motivate ME and be MY cheerleader and I felt I did the same for him. I wanted to be a better human being because of this person. But unfortunately, the timing and the circumstances were not ideal for him and it ended as fast as it started. I’m not gonna lie…I was a bit heartbroken. BUT, what that person and our time together taught me was that there ARE good guys out there. It was almost like the universe/GOD was giving me a little taste of the amazing so I wouldn’t get discouraged by all the mediocre! Here is where choice, perception and attitude come back into play. I CHOSE to PERCEIVE the heartbreak as a lesson, a reminder of all the good things that one day I will find in a partner. I chose a positive ATTITUDE going forward, rather than be jaded by yet another one that didn’t work out.
Lots of Love,
05 Aug 2013
I had one of those days today. You know, those days when getting out of bed seems like the hardest thing in the world to do; those days when all you want to do is sleep and pretend you DON’T have a mile long to do list; those days when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t motivate yourself in any way, shape, or form.
Why am I telling you this? Because we ALL have these “funk” days as I call them, and rather than fight it, I’m surrendering to the funk and sharing with you some of my favorite quotes and tips for getting out of it! Obviously, busting a move is my favorite way to break out of a funk, but sometimes it takes a bit more than dancing! Take what you want from below, leave what you don’t, and have a GREAT day!
1.) Acknowledge the funk. Don’t try to mask it by distraction or destructive behavior like binging (always my go to), being unkind, lashing out at coworkers etc. Also, accept that it is OK to not feel 100% all of the time. If you’re like me, when you feel unmotivated and unproductive it irks the sh#$%t out of you and you feel lazy. But if we can acknowledge that we are only human and we might not always have a stellar day, we are much more likely to “deal” with it appropriately:)
2.) Don’t be afraid to share your feelings with someone you trust. George Eliot once said, “What are we here for if not to make life less difficult for each other.” Yes! I told a dear friend how I was feeling today and just receiving a hug from her and having her tell me it was “OK” seemed to lighten me up. I hope DMF can be a place you feel safe enough to acknowledge that maybe you didn’t have such a good day. Once you acknowledge it, we can help make it better!
3.) Turn on some great music and MOVE. Sometimes an awesome song is the only thing that gets me out of bed! And PLEASE don’t turn on something that is going dig you deeper into a hole, like some sad Adele song or some depressing ballad. Pick something that has the mood that you want to be in. I have a whole playlist of “pick me up and lift me up songs!” Getting your body moving and those endorphins pumping is a sure fire way to lift you up.
4.) Read something that inspires you. I have a lists of authors and leaders that I pull excerpts from that I know will help me see things differently or spark a light inside of me when I’m feeling down. Which leads me to my favorite quotes for when I’m in a funk:
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.” -Charlie Chaplin. So true and something I come back to often in life AND in my teaching. Emotions are temporary (like the burn we feel when working out!) and we must remember that feeling and dealing with them only makes us stronger (yes, I just quoted Kelly Clarkson).
“The only way out is through.” -Robert Frost. This goes back to acknowledging how you really feel. Feel it, cry it out if necessary, and don’t deny it. Once you feel it, you can move forward! If we suppress those negative feelings and mask them by turning to food, alcohol, and other destructive behaviors, they inevitably come bubbling back up to the surface, often with a vengeance. Today, I came home had a good cry, took a nap, talked to Winnie (my fur therapist) and decided to just sit with the feelings even though it was uncomfortable. Just sitting with them helped me figure out why I was feeling that way in the first place.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa. You may ask, “How does this quote get me out of my funk?” Well, it’s been proven that when we do positive things for others and put our focus on their needs, we inevitably feel better. When I started teaching today and focused on what can I give to my clients that will make their day better, lift them up, and provide motivation for their of their week, I immediately felt better. So do something kind for a friend, coworker or stranger and spread a little love. You might be surprised how good it feels.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie. This is one of my all-time FAVORITE quotes. I practice gratitude every day but when I’m in a funk, I go on gratitude overload! This gratitude overload forces me to acknowledge all the GOOD things in my life rather than just focus on the negative state I’m in at the moment.
I leave you with my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Remember, tomorrow is a new day, fresh start and a clean slate. DMF is always here for you and we are a GREAT way to get out of a funk:)
24 Jun 2013
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” –Unknown
This is one of my favorite quotes. If you’ve been to a DMF class recently, you may have heard me say it. We all build walls. Sometimes the wall comes in the form of self-doubt (I’m a HUGE culprit of this)—Am I good enough? Am I strong enough? Can I be a leader? Can I start a business? Can I be successful? Can I REALLY change the world?!?
A close cousin to the self-doubt wall is the fear wall—fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of standing out. The fear wall prevents us from the joy that comes with trying new things, pursuing our goals, and ultimately being our true selves.
Another wall is worry (yes, I’ve got this one down pat too!) We worry about anything and everything, rather than being the BEST we possibly can be, taking action toward our goals, and TRUSTING that being great will lead us toward success.
What do all these walls have in common? Two things: One, they ALL create limitations, hindering us from taking ACTION toward what we want and discovering our ultimate potential. Two, they are ALL in our head!! Yes, the walls are in our head because they are just THOUGHTS! Our thoughts do NOT have to be our reality. Our experiences may have helped shape these thoughts, but when it comes down to it, we do NOT have to believe them, listen to them, or be a slave to them unless we CHOOSE to. I know this is easier said than done…I struggle every day and it definitely takes practice. BUT, just recognizing that our thoughts aren’t necessarily truth, we begin to have the power to choose what to believe and acknowledge.
So what are your walls? DMF wants to help you tear them down and punch your limitations in the face. Come move your body this week, sweat it out, and get HAPPY with us. Remember, happiness is a choice. Choose happiness today and share the DMF love with everyone around you.
10 Jun 2013
Those of you who have taken DMF know that you will never hear phrases like, “let’s get bikini ready,” or “time to chisel your back fat,” and “let’s trim our trouble spots” during class. This is on purpose. I don’t like hearing it, thinking it, or saying it. For me, hearing that I have to “get” to certain weight or body type before I’m “ready” to be in a bikini is not motivating. And, thank you for telling me I have trouble spots! I actually don’t even where a bikini, because as a person who has struggled with my weight my whole life (yes, fitness instructors and dancers struggle too!) I’ve gained and lost so much weight over the years that even though I have SERIOUS abs, they are covered by a nice layer of, shall we say, “skin!”
But everywhere we turn and in every media outlet, even the great ones, we see words like: losing, trimming, cutting, chiseling, and sculpting overruling words like healthy, strong, active, fun, motivate, and inspire. We are inundated with the constant reminder that we are never good enough, that we always have to “lose” more or always have to “be better.” No wonder we are all so messed up! It’s hard to embrace and love ourselves, as is, when there are daily reminders of how far we need to go. I have very fit clients come up to me all the time and pull the skin (not fat, skin) on their arms and say, “I still can’t get rid of this.” When I first got into fitness, I would be more PC and try to suggest ways to deal with this life threatening skin issue. Now, I just say “that’s skin…don’t be crazy!!! Be kind to yourself!!!” Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE proponent of health and fitness, I just wish we could steer the language away from tearing ourselves down and more towards building ourselves up and finding balance in our lives. AND, it’s important to remember that it’s OK if we don’t look like Barbie, especially if are embracing healthy choices on a daily basis. Who cares if we have a little junk in the trunk as long as long as we are living active, strong, and most importantly, balanced lives!
So, here at DMF we’re boycotting this language and choosing to use more positive, motivating lingo to keep everyone here moving to the groove. And, even though this is tough route to take, with new clients and media outlets so heavily focused on talking about the physical benefits of DMF, we’re sticking to it. Even though DMF provides an awesome calorie blasting, sweaty workout, we will never focus on measuring outcomes and promoting “beach bodies,” but rather focus on having fun, feeling strong, and feeling HAPPY and MOTIVATED in class and in life. So join our positive body image party!! And spread the word as we start a positive and HAPPY fitness revolution!