Join the Party and Get Happy!

This week, I wanted to just let you know that you are awesome…right where you are.  You probably don’t own and recognize your accomplishments, do you?  You’re probably like me and you’re constantly working on the next thing, stressed about where you are and where you want to be, or where you think you should be.  So today, I thought I would remind you that you are pretty amazing and you should take a moment to acknowledge that. And when I say acknowledge your accomplishments, I’m not just talking about material or physical things; being brave enough to pursue your dreams or quit your job to figure out what you really want to do with your life is an accomplishment too!

I work a lot with kids and one thing I love about them is they own their accomplishments.  They learn a new skill or step and proclaim, “I did it!” with enthusiasm.  As adults, many of us have lost that sense of satisfaction and contentment when we accomplish something because we are quickly on to the next venture and comparing ourselves to others.  We rush our journey and the small milestones along the way.  We feel we must get where we want to go NOW. But why?  I think it’s because we live in a society that thrives on comparing ourselves to others–we compare our bodies, our careers, our homes, our lives! We feel pressure to be a certain way and fit in to what we believe to be the norm.

I don’t know about you, but I often suffer from what I call the “should be” syndrome.  The tape that plays in my head goes like this: At this age, I should be more successful.  I work in the fitness industry, so I should beable to maintain a perfect body. I should be further along with my non-profit by now.  I should be further along in my career. 

But then I remind myself, who said?  Who decides what should and should not be??  My journey doesn’t have to look like my colleagues’ or competitors’  and someone else’s definition of success might be very different than mine.  When I compare myself to others–and I often do and have to fight it!– I see how much further I have to go and I negate what I’ve just accomplished. I know many of my clients and friends share this sentiment.  But what would happen if we accepted our own journey for what it is, without comparing it to someone else’s?  What if we accepted our accomplishments–physical, mental, emotional, or material–as being enough without the “should be” syndrome attached to the achievement?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard and strive for greatness. I’m simply wondering if we stopped comparing our path to someone else’s, would we enjoy the journey more?!  And all that time worrying about how you compare to Joe Schmo could be focused on something productive that pertains to your story.  So who will join me in my mission to stop comparing and start enjoying the journey?  Let’s own our accomplishments! I dare you to!

Can’t wait to bust a move with you this week!  And remember that you are AWESOME!

 

You may have noticed that I haven’t sent out a weekly email in a bit.  I often teach, talk and blog about strength, courage, fear, gratitude, overcoming obstacles and other topics close to my heart.  However, over the past several weeks, I haven’t been able to take any of my own advice.  To be honest, I’m a blubbering mess that can only hold it together for a few hours a day when I’m teaching.  The reason?  I lost my best friend, my teacher, my comforter, my supporter, my soul mate–I lost my everything.  My beloved 15-year-old dog, Winnie, died.  I know for some, the fact I’m grieving so hard for a dog will seem silly, and feel free to stop reading now.  But I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from her both while she was here in the present world and in her passing, and I thought I would share with you what I’ve learned to honor her spirit.

First, I’ve been struggling with how to be a positive force and motivator in the midst of being crippled with sadness and depression.  When you have a job that is designed to make people feel better, how do you go about doing that when feeling like a complete mess yourself?  Well, I’ve realized–wholeheartedly–what I always preach in my classes: We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  Just do it.  Just keep moving, even if it is painful. The only way out is through, as they say. I didn’t know how I would get through teaching, but somehow that inner strength came through, and so much positive motivation that I needed to hear came out in my classes–things like celebrating your life and loved ones, being fully present and grateful for the amazing relationships in our lives (human and furry), and recognizing that our strength cuts so much deeper than we can imagine.  Even though that strength is limited in my daily routine right now, it’s important to remember that it’s there when I need it.

So here are my top six lessons I learned from my dog:

  • Always greet the ones you care about with love.  Every time I came home, Winnie greeted me with excitement, kisses, and hugs like I had been gone for an eternity.  This love-filled greeting always brightened my spirit, brought joy to my heart and made even my most horrible days much better.  In fact, I try to do it with my friends, loved ones, colleagues and clients because you never know how a warm greeting of love will change someone’s day.
  • Every day is a new beginning.  Dogs don’t hold grudges from years ago or even a day ago.  Winnie didn’t hold it against me if I took her on a lousy walk because I was tired or busy.  Every morning she woke up with energy and excitement, nuzzling me with joy to get out of bed and conquer the day.  She reminded me to start fresh each and every day and to not bring yesterday’s worries into today’s adventures.
  • Appreciate the simple pleasures. Winnie never wasted an opportunity to take in a nice roll in the grass, jog in the park, snuggle under a tree or warm nap in the sun.   Winnie forced me to get outside, slow down, and be present for the simple pleasures that are everywhere, if only we took the time to enjoy them.
  • Show compassion.  Dogs are truly kind souls.  Winnie was always the first one to show me compassion, lying her head on my lap, cuddling closer when I was going through rough times and just listening intently as I told her my troubles.  Her compassion toward me has helped me be a better listener and more receptive to others in times of need.  Everyone around you is going through something.  Be there.  Always.
  • Things don’t matter.  A dog can have the best time with an old, worn-out ball.  Winnie didn’t care that we lived in a small studio apartment.  She cared about playing and experiencing life with me.  She cared about love–being loved and showing love.  Her favorite toy was one she had for 8 years–new ones never compared.  Relationships matter, material objects don’t.
  • Love unconditionally.  Love yourself, your friends, your family, your environment, and your pets.  Show your love every day because you never ever know when one of those precious things you love will be gone forever.

I hope these lessons resonate with you in some way.  Hold your loved ones a bit closer this week and make sure to tell them how much you care for them.

winniecollage

Happy March!  Spring is right around the corner…I can feel it!  Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but either way it is a new month, a fresh start, and a clean slate.  If you’ve taken class with me, you know I LOVE fresh starts. I talk about how you can start your day over at any moment all the time.  In fact, every moment is a fresh start.

But lately, I haven’t been taking my own advice.  I’ve found it harder to bounce back from setbacks, unwanted surprises, and the busyness of life. I’ve found it challenging to always find the hope in a new day. But after some reflection,  I’m pretty sure I know why.  And this month I’m on a mission to stop it and I dare you to join me.   I’m on a quest to STOP COMPLAINING!

The last few months I’ve fallen into the life is hard and if only trap.  You know what I’m talking about. The “if only I had more time,” “if only I didn’t have to work so much,” “if only I made more money,” “if only I had a boyfriend/husband!”  I’m always preaching NOT to do this, and yet I’m spiraling down this drain of negativity! Do you ever have this problem?  AND, I’ve been complaining WAY too much, even about little things like the weather (It has been a tough winter though, right?!?)  But how does complaining about something serve me?  It doesn’t!

What we give attention to grows.  So if we constantly focus on what’s wrong, we are only going to get more of it.  But if we focus on what’s right in our lives, what makes us happy, and what we are grateful for, we tend to receive more of that positive abundance.   And by focusing more on what makes us happy and content, we are more apt to take ACTION to get there.  And action is key!

So this month I’m challenging myself to not publicly complain about ANYTHING–not the weather, not my personal problems, not work issues…NOTHING.  Now I’m not saying if there is a life event or situation that I need help with I won’t lean on friends and family for support.  But it’s different asking for help and complaining about life.

It’s not going to be easy and I’m sure I will slip up,  but it’s important challenge for me to take and I hope you will hop on the bandwagon with me.  Let’s see what happens when we stop complaining and start living!  Let’s take action and make March an awesome month!

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!!!

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

 

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.

Life gets bumpy from time to time and many 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 many tough situations.  This idea has literally SAVED me the last few years.  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 do this, but I promise you it is worth a try.  It’s so 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…f 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 got to  vacation more.  This becomes a habit–I  have to force myself out of it too–and only creates  temporary relief from a challenge.
The harder route, but SO much more powerful in the end, is to have the courage to CHOOSE to take responsibility for your circumstances and then creativity work through then.  For me, it again goes back to perception, attitude, and choice: What is this doing for me? What is this trying to teach me? How is this giving value to my life?  I’ll give you two examples in my own life, one professional and one personal.
Starting a business while working full time is a tricky task and I’ve had many days, where I just felt I couldn’t do it—I was extremely overwhelmed and exhausted, wasn’t getting half the things done I needed to get done, and I felt like a failure.  The only thing that pulled me through was asking myself what feeling like this was supposed to teach me.  When I really thought about it, it taught me to ask for more help from the amazing people in my life and to get creative in how I got things done.  It taught me I needed INTERNS—whom I’m SO thankful for! I have setbacks ALL the time, but CHOOSE to PERCEIVE them as lessons and these lessons make me work harder to find creative solutions and keep my ATTITUDE positive going forward.

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.

So, as difficult as it is, get honest about the things that happen to you.  What are they there to teach you? Don’t blame others for the circumstances of your life–that’s the easy route. Don’t blame your significant other, parents, the government, or boss for your problems.  Be bold, be courageous, and try to perceive the situation in a new light.  Remember, life is happening for you, not to you.
I’ll leave you with two of my favorite perception and action quotes:
“One new perception, one fresh thought, one act of surrender, one change of heart, one leap of faith, can change your life forever.”– Robert Holden
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” –Wayne Dyer

Lots of Love,

Lindi

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:)

“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.


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