The 7 Life Miracles: Connect

My dear friend Julie Wilkes has written a book, The 7 Life Miracles! I will be working through her book and journaling my experiences as I go. For more information on the book and what I intend to do here, please check out THIS POST!

7 Life Miracles

Miracle 2

Connect

Look for your coach & pay it forward.

When I read the name of Miracle 2, I thought, Nice! I’m all about connecting! I could make friends with a brick wall! This Miracle is going to be MY JAM!!! Well, as it turns out, although both involve connecting with people, Julie’s definition and my definition of “Connect” vary slightly.

When Julie writes about Connecting with people, she means looking for people in my life that have “coached” me through difficult times and served as life examples. “…people will come into our lives to CONNECT with us, teach us, and show us how to be successful on our journey” (Wilkes 29). <– Hey Jules! You just got MLA cited!!! 

The assignment for me then is to find people in my life who are challenging me and strengthening me to become the best version of myself possible. This actually wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I work very hard to surround myself with good people that are constantly working to become the best versions of themselves. Watching people grow inspires me to do the same. So yes, it was easy to recognize that there are many people in my life who support my growth, but identifying exactly how they have fostered growth and change became the challenge.

These are 2 of my Life Coaches:

Amee

  • I know I have written about Amee before, but this entry wouldn’t be complete without mentioning her. In a few short years, Amee has truly become the big sister I never had. She is a beautiful spirit whom I look up to and strive to emulate in many ways. One of the biggest lessons Amee has taught me seems simple enough: Don’t be a jerk. I mean, this shouldn’t even be a lesson! This is just a common sense rule, right?!? Wellllll, I’ve needed some reminding of this rule and Amee has done it with a verbal smack to the back of the head, followed by a reassuring hug. A few years ago (Wow, time has FLOWN!), I was dating this guy, Mike. We would date for a few weeks (I think maybe once we made it past the 1 month count), break up for a few more and then get back together. Through an entire year of this, Amee was by my side for the happy times that Mike and I were together, the frustrating times while we were together, the devastating times when we were apart and finally, the sad, yet also exciting time that we broke up for good. She was happy when I was happy and understood my pain when I was sad. And what did I do to repay her for this kindness? I skipped her birthday party. It may sound childish, but for my group of friends, birthdays are a BIG deal, especially so for Amee, being a FREAKING cancer survivor and all! Here’s what happened: Mike and I were broken up for most of summer 2012, but were spending a lot of time together. At the end of the summer, right around Amee’s birthday, a weekend camping trip had been planned that I figured, if I could get Mike to invite me on, we’d have a blast and end up back together. Well, long story short(er??), that happened, but it came at the cost of missing Amee’s birthday because I put my relationship with Mike ahead of my friendship with her. And her feelings were rightfully hurt. Believe me, I still feel awful about it. I can’t remember any of Amee’s exact words to me about my decision to miss her birthday, but after all was said and done, I had learned my lesson. Guys come and go. Amee will be there forever. But don’t take advantage of that. Love her like the sister she is and don’t be a jerk.
  • Side note: One of the reasons Amee is a great coach in my life is because she isn’t afraid to call me out on my bullshit. She’s the first to sing my praises when I’ve accomplished a challenge, but she’s also the first (and sometimes only) to tell me I’m being a jerk, dumb, too sensitive, etc. I think that’s a wonderful quality in a friend, because I might not know that I’m experiencing a growing challenge if no one tells me.

Shelly

  • My friendship with Shelly started off a bit rocky. I met Shelly at my first big-girl, post-college job. We worked at a local campus newspaper. I was the Executive Assistant to the publisher (it sounds WAAAAY cooler than it was) and Shelly was a Graphic Artist/Layout Designer. One of my job duties was payroll every 2 weeks. Why my boss had the person who was paid the least dole out everyone else’s paychecks is beyond me. But it gave me insider information as to who made how much money. And guess whose paycheck was bigger than mine each week! SHELLY! So before I even knew her, I hated her. No, it’s not fair, but I was young and dumb and hadn’t met Amee yet, so I didn’t know not to be a jerk (makes sense, right??). I know that Shelly will ream me if I don’t include this portion of my jerkiness: I was such a jerk that a few of the other staff members and I would go to lunch once a week and I wouldn’t invite Shelly. I know. I was a jerk. Again,  I still feel awful about it. Eventually, Shelly and I began talking and discovered that (SHOCKING!) we were both young college grads that enjoyed the same things. I opened myself to her friendship (I know, I’m SUCH a martyr!) and we quickly became best friends. As happens with many friendships, they go through phases of being together 24/7 and seeing each other a few times a month. Last month (as you all SHOULD know! 😉 ) was my birthday. The party was wonderful, but ended in me having WAAAAAY too much to drink (it was an embarrassing, novice move. I accidentally skipped dinner and then gave in to way too many shots). For the past few months, Shelly and I had only been seeing each other maybe once a month. It wasn’t that we didn’t love each other, our schedules were just different. But there she was, at my party, taking care of my drunk ass.
  • Shelly’s Heroics include (but are not limited to):
    • Alerting me to the fact that it was past time to go home.
    • Finding my coat and putting it on me.
    • Assigning someone to carry me down the stairs.
    • Pulling her car up to the door and tossing me in it.
    • Having a plastic bag on hand in the car for any “emergencies.”
    • Once home, locating my pajamas and dressing me in them (even though my shirt was on backwards!).
    • Assuring me that even though I didn’t have my phone, friends were looking for it.
    • The next morning: Arriving at my house with my phone, McDonald’s breakfast and memories to fill in the blanks where I was a little lost.
  • Lesson learned: Don’t discount your friends just because they’re not around as much as they once were. It might have been easy to look at my friendship with Shelly and just assume we weren’t as good of friends as we once were and be concerned or even hurt by it, but she showed me otherwise with a delicious Egg McMuffin. 😉

I am blessed beyond words by the people in my life. I could go on and on and on about the lessons they’ve taught me and how they have helped me grow into a woman I am proud to be. But for the purpose of brevity, I will leave it to these beautiful women!

SO WHAT??? How will I make changes to connect with my Life Coaches?

  • I will continue to be open to the lessons my people bring into my life.
  • In addition to my once-a-week phone date goal I made for my last Miracle, I will also thank 1 person a week for a lesson learned from them.
  • Pay It Forward: I will allow myself to be open to others and use my life experiences, both good and bad, to help my friends learn something from me.

Now it’s your turn! What lessons have your life coaches taught you? How can you pay it forward?

“The strongest individuals are the ones who ask for help, offer help, and enjoy the journey of learning with others.” – Julie Wilkes

Twinsies!!! I never leave home without my book!

Twinsies!!! I never leave home without my book!

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ALL THE LINKS!!!

  • My thoughts on Miracle 1: Embrace HERE!
  • Check out everything Julie Wilkes HERE!
  • The 7 Life Miracles on Facebook!
  • Seven Studios on Facebook!
  • Learn about The 7 Life Miracles book HERE!
  • Preorder The 7 Life Miracles  on Amazon HERE!
  • Can’t wait until February 25th?? Neither could I! Check availability at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and get it now HERE!
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The 7 Life Miracles: Embrace

My dear friend Julie Wilkes has written a book, The 7 Life Miracles! I will be working through her book and journaling my experiences as I go. For more information on the book and what I intend to do here, please check out THIS POST!

7 Life Miracles

Miracle 1

Embrace

Seize the day.

Make your life extraordinary.

Today’s chapter is all about embracing our lives as an unexpected gift. Many of us go to bed each night, expecting to wake up in the morning and go about our days. I am certainly one of these people. I have been very fortunate in my health to allow myself to expect to wake up each new morning. Sure, I have had bouts of illnesses throughout my life (who hasn’t?!), but nothing that would truly cause me to even consider that I might not see tomorrow. Even so, each day really is a gift. Whether I view each new morning as a gift because I am part of the world again, or if it is a gift because, among many small trials and challenges throughout the day, most days do not involve giant blows to my happiness.

However I choose to view them, I need to be more conscious of the gifts each day brings and embrace the blessings that they are. In The 7 Life Miracles, Julie instructs readers to ask themselves, If you were told you only had a limited about of time in your life, what would you change? She then provides a list of things to consider and recommends focusing on just a few that “resonate with where you are in your life right now.”

My Daily Embracings:

  • How I treat my personal time: At the end of my typical day, after a full day (7am-4pm) of work and some sort of workout, all I want to do is have dinner in front of the TV. Whether it’s Detective (ohhh…she’s a Sergeant now!) Olivia Benson’s hard hitting law enforcement, the secret identity of “A,” or the dramas behind the operating room doors (yes, I still watch Grey’s!), I need something simple and mind-numbing to simply chill out to. Well, 1 show becomes 2, and before I know it, I’ve stayed up way too late wondering why Columbus doesn’t have a crime lab like the one in Las Vegas (I will never give up on CSI!). As much as my mind needs some serious down time, I need to focus on limiting it so I can get to the other bazillion things on my to-do list.

I will limit my evening TV watching to no more than TWO shows per night!

  • Are there people you cherish with whom you have lost touch? My life has been blessed with amazing people. And as I have been told and have told others, “friendships wax and they wane” – they go through phases. My girlfriends that I rarely went 24 hours without talking to, I now catch up with once a month. It’s not for a lack of love or interest in their lives, it’s simply that my life changes and so does theirs. Sometimes our life paths are right next to each other, and other times, they’re a continent apart.

Every Monday, I will choose a friend I haven’t talked with in awhile and set up a phone/Skype/face-to-face date.

  • Would you shift your priorities to place emphasis on different things in your day? Some days I don’t have a moment to focus on the bright spots in my day. I go from work to the gym to Alternative Fashion Mob meetings to home to the shower to the kitchen to the microwave to the couch and to bed. PHEW! With all these obligations, many of which I have chosen to have in my life, I forget to stop and focus on how blessed I truly am. I can get so tired, stressed and overwhelmed that my life becomes one giant #firstworldproblem instead of a beaming #firstworldblessing. 

Every night before bed, no matter how tired I am, I will take a few moments to thank God for the good things that happened that day. I will take the time to write these things down so I can look back on them when my days become especially trying.

    • I am also quick to forget or neglect that there is a creature in my life that just wants my love and attention, a little bit each day. My Boston Terrier, Dewey, is never forgotten, but I get so wrapped up in my own life, that I don’t tend to his emotional needs. Yes, he gets fed and let out and cuddled, but the little guy needs some play time!! His #1 priority in his life is making me happy. Why shouldn’t I do the same for him? (Granted, it’s easier to take him outside for some Dewey Time when it’s not Snowpocalypsing outside!)

Everyday when I get home, I will dedicate 30 minutes of my day to Dewey. Whether this means taking him on a walk or playing ball in the house, he will get my undivided attention beyond the cuddling that I am usually in desperate need of!

Now it’s your turn! How will you embrace each day??

“Change doesn’t come easily, and it won’t happen just because you want it to.” – Julie Wilkes

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ALL THE LINKS!!!

  • Check out everything Julie Wilkes HERE!
  • The 7 Life Miracles on Facebook!
  • Seven Studios on Facebook!
  • Learn about The 7 Life Miracles book HERE!
  • Preorder The 7 Life Miracles  on Amazon HERE!
  • Can’t wait until February 25th?? Neither could I! Check availability at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and get it now HERE!

The 7 Life Miracles

I am incredibly blessed to be friends with some pretty amazing people. In my close circle of friends, there are people who have

…and that’s just a handful of my people!

I am  overjoyed and proud to say that I can now add to that list a friend that has become a published author! Julie Wilkes is one of my hardest corest (yes, that’s a thing!) physical trainers. Last year, she opened Seven Studios, a yoga/pilates/Insanity/whatever-will-kick-your-ass studio. I began attending her classes because another dear friend, Alexander McAfee-Chang, told me I had to experience her classes. And no one says no to The Chang. No one.

And as always with workout related topics, he was right. Not only did Julie’s classes challenge me physically, but she has this unique ability to challenge your spirit as well. Julie’s entire workout theory is based on a system of beliefs she has experienced and wrangled into a philosophy called The 7 Life Miracles. She took this idea and turned it into a self-help workshop wherein she worked with people to live their lives to the fullest. Many people had success with her program and they wanted to share it with their friends – thus was born Julie’s first (of many to come, I assume!) book and my latest Goodreads add.

In her book Julie “breaks down the excuses or ‘stories’ that create road blocks and opens up the possibility of what your life looks like when you share the gifts, talents and passions that are locked inside of you.” Now, I will admit, I am not usually the self-help book kind of gal. Not that I am against or don’t believe in bettering myself through literature, I just haven’t really put the effort into improving myself through that medium before. I am reading and putting serious effort into Julie’s book not only because she is a friend (but yes, this is the biggest reason!), but because I have experienced tiny bits of her miracles “theory” before. Whether it has been through asking class participants to “think of someone they adore and let them know about it this week” or not taking life for grated and living each day like it’s our one and only or simply looking outside of ourselves and doing good for someone else, Julie’s Miracles have already touched and improved my life.

In The 7 Life Miracles, each Miracle section has a journal entry prompt in which Julie asks the reader to seriously think about what they have just read and how they can put it to use in their daily life. Now THIS is something I can get behind! Blogging = Journaling! As a way to keep myself accountable and share my experiences, I am going to use my blog as my journal. In the beginning of her book, Julie suggests the reader picks a journal that “has an inspirational quote on the front, a colorful tapestry in the binding, or anything that makes {the reader} look forward to using it.” Uhhh….what’s more exciting than my pretty, little blog here?? I’m always excited to tap on these keys and share my thoughts, whether it’s for my own benefit or the benefit of my readers (hopefully both)!

I am not going to set a time limit for my entries, because we all know how that goes for me…But instead, I am just going to write as I proceed and process through my Miracles.

I am hoping that by reading my journal entires, you will be inspired and encouraged to pick up your own copy of the book and join my adventure! I truly believe that this will be something that will be best experienced with others. We can share our challenges, successes, ideas…all of it! I know that I am looking forward to sharing this exercise with my people – and I would love for you to join us!

ALL THE LINKS!!!

  • Check out everything Julie Wilkes HERE!
  • The 7 Life Miracles on Facebook!
  • Seven Studios on Facebook!
  • Learn about The 7 Life Miracles book HERE!
  • Preorder The 7 Life Miracles  on Amazon HERE!
  • Can’t wait until February 25th?? Neither could I! Check availability at your local Barnes & Noble Bookstore and get it now HERE!

After a Pilates/Yoga Fusion Class at Seven!