Becoming Comfortable with where I Am – UBBT Week 2

So this week was very full of work.  Work and work and lots of work.  As a free-lance school psychologist my work ebbs and flows. Some weeks I have more freedom, other weeks I have things that keep me away from the mats.  This week will also be a bit fuller, but I know I did a decent job this week and next week will only get better. Last week’s challenge was to find a little more about how to work meditation into my daily life. Not just mindfulness, but also meditation. I took the short route for now and downloaded the Headspace app and purchased a year’s worth of access.  There were good reviews, and actual instruction, so I’ll start here as a version with training wheels and dig further down the rabbit hole as I am ready.  I’m enjoying it so far and I can stick with this as it reminds me on my phone.  Hard to forget when it tells me to do it!

I’m a little behind on the physical side of things, but I am keeping track with how much I am exactly behind and picking up a little each day.  Will be no problem this way to jump back on track.

This week the biggest thing that I have had challenge over, not all the time but sometimes, is trying to be comfortable with where I currently am in my life and in my process.  I’m still a relative baby in the martial arts.  May 2018 will be my 8 year anniversary in the arts, and I am 34 years young. I feel sometimes that I don’t entirely belong in this place.  I see the accomplishments of my cohort members, and I am in awe of what they have accomplished in their time in the arts.  It is said that you should spend time with the people you would be happy to become, and I need to keep that in mind when I feel that I do not have the history or expertise to pull upon.

I’m supposed to pull together goals that I want to accomplish here for the 2018 UBBT.  The last time I tried this was two years ago, and I came up quite short.  Not because of anything external to me, but what I was dealing with in my own mind.  I was untrusting and looking to external forces to pull me along my path.  I now know that no matter what I am responsible for my thoughts and I create what is going on around me.  So for me being a person living with PTSD my reality is sometimes skewed.  I’ve found that doing things to gain the approval of others, and assuming the worst to be something I have to talk myself out of often.  My mind tries to connect things that aren’t there in it’s misinformed attempt to keep me safe and protected.

So because of that, its really really difficult for me to know sometimes if I am doing something because it is in alignment with what I truly want, or if I am so searching for validation and belonging that I embark upon activities that are off the path of where I should be going.  I’ve stayed in jobs too long, relationships too long (or not long enough), and signed up for things that, when looking back, had nothing to do with me but had everything to do with gaining favor or being included with those around me.  To be accepted, to have value.

So because of this, my number one goal this year is to continue to learn how to trust, and to get to the end of this year knowing myself.  Knowing what I do because its what I want to do.  Saying no to the things, without explanation, of those things that do not serve me.  To engage in activities that bring me light and love, and build more solid relationships with people in which I also know to be on this path.

A second goal is to look at a wellness-based self defense series that I can create for health, relationship, and environmental based issues.  Sensei Tom (check out all the things he is doing at is a huge proponent of this, and is why I feel I am drawn to his work.  While I’ve been attacked during a time that I did not have a martial arts background, what would have helped me to avoid my situation more would have been more environmental self defense.  Once things are hands on, it’s a different story.  But if we can help other people to get out early, that could really be what people need.  And you don’t need 10,000 reps of these things, its having the knowledge and living by it that makes the difference.  So we could save people in a few hours and not take 5+ years to get to a level of proficiency that you could consider yourself to be safe.  I want to rely on my health habits and environmental awareness for my self defense.  I hope to never need to defend myself from an attacker, but I do know that I need other things daily: to eat the good things, workout to keep my bones strong, and practice martial arts for my spirit and mental challenge.  This will be my WOW project and I will be looking to develop it building up now researching here and there and then really digging in over the summer when schools are closed and I have the free time I need to make something that I can really be proud of and put my brand behind.

A third goal is to look at my body realistically and know that I have quite a long way to go physically to get to fitness competition shape.  I’ve always competed against other people in all that I’ve done.  I’ve never set up a competition against myself.  So I set the goal that by my 35th birthday in November 2018, I would like to be at a place that I could enter a fitness competition, such as the one that you see going on at Master’s Worlds at the Envicta Fit Fest.  But I know myself, and setting a goal that far out doesn’t make sense for me.  Because I do my best work at the wire, I’ve always been a midnight crammer when it comes to school and work, and I ace it.  There is something about a sense of urgency that fuels me to get going.  So I need to break this goal up into smaller chunks to make sure that I do get there.  Because you cannot cram off 10-15 pounds of body fat when it’s all you’ve got left to go.  So I eat with the science-based guidelines of Precision Nutrition, as I am a Level One coach and coach others actively.  I started 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, which is not a diet, as you consume the same calories if you would have eaten them throughout the day, but instead changing nutrient timing.  If you want to learn more about what I’ll be doing, check out #3, the Daily Fast.  I’ve also reserved a gym partner for each Monday to lift, which I know that I do better when a part of a team (it’s how I found martial arts in the first place).  I won’t cancel on a training partner, and I have more fun this way.  Life is supposed to be fun, not full of pain.

I’ve got to spend more time thinking of the other things I want to accomplish, other than those that are a requirement of the process, such as logging the journey on the web, daily fitness activities, righting wrongs, repairing relationships, daily acts of kindness, daily martial arts activities, book reading (I’m currently reading “Toward a Psychology of Awakening – Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path of Personal Spiritual Transformation” by John Welwood – link to a sample here,  as well as listening to “A Selfish Plan to Change the World – Finding Big Purpose in Big Problems” by Justin Dillon – and a link to that one here. …  But again, back to goal one, this is something that will require met to really dig through to make sure it is all in alignment with who I am and who I am becoming.

Till next week. Check out the happenings of my cohort at :



UBBT Week 1 Done

Wow is there a lot going on this year with the Ultimate Black Belt Test!

W have a strong team.  People are engaging each other, asking questions, sharing successes and being all together amazing.  Starting strong as we all have has been a great way to get this year rolling.

It’s been fun working through different ways I can focus on physical fitness in lots of different ways in my daily life.  Not just to get stronger and leaner, also working on flexibility I feel will be important for some nagging back injuries that tight muscles are not helping.  I know the physical fitness piece will be doable based on what needs to be completed each day. The most important part is that consistent every day action.  A favorite quote of mine is from Zig Ziglar and it goes something to the tune of relating motivation to cleanliness, and that neither lasts which is why we take showers every day. When you have a big goal in front of you, it’s easy to fall off if you do not keep organized with what is in front of you. I’ve done this pretty well this week.

I was fortunate to have a call with Sensei Tom earlier this week to talk about the Wow project and how to start thinking of ways to implement this not only in my school, but something that could potentially affect many throughout my community through my students.  I have some design work to go through before I toss out any big reveals (I’m one that likes to really think through and mentally work through many scenarios until I reach on that resonates with me).   The project will revolve around prevention of bullying and domestic violence, and I’ll be spending time researching things to see what is already out there in terms of information.

I also was able to travel to South Carolina from Ohio this weekend to participate in a jiu jitsu seminar as an Uki for my good friend black belt Jennifer Recinos.  The instruction and opportunity to roll with many different ladies was amazing!  I spent the entire day Friday in a car which kept me off the mat, but I planned ahead with some of the exercises the day before and will make up a little time as well during the week this week. It made for a very tired day today as I took a flight home to make sure that I was there and present for my nutrition clients as well as the jiu jitsu class I co-teach on Sundays.  I feel its important to keep my commitments and I planned appropriately to be there for them.

I feel I was most successful with my jiu jitsu sparring rounds this week, as I was able to complete 29 five minute sparring rounds, almost all which entailed rolling with upper belt women.  I also did some digging on where I was going to take my 10 boxing classes.  I have a current shoulder injury that I am in the process of healing up, so I want to wait until this is not aggravating me so I can fully focus on strong punching.

Food has also been good – I was strategic with cheat meals, paired them with workouts (still had protein, fats, and smart carbohydrates just not the best form of them) and the rest of my meals were full of great veggies and fully on track with my goals.  I sleep so well hydrated and properly fed.  It motivates me to do more of it.

One of the bigger struggles for me is mediation. It always has.  I have an incredibly active mind – which helps me with problem solving and day to day live.  In that way I am appreciative.  But with mediation, it is very difficult for me to sit still and see the thoughts pass by without wanting to act on them.  It’s hard for me not to use mediation as an idea factory – which is what seems to be happening.  I know I’ll get better at it, but for now ….. I’ll get there.  I want to do some training with Transendental Mediation as I am intrigued by the different brain waves that are accessed with TM.  I did some preliminary google searches on finding specific instruction in this area, and need to find something more local than what I was coming across on the web.

Going into this upcoming week I know that things will be a bit of a challenge. I work pretty much every day this week as a school psychologist in various duties throughout the day, which will test the limits of my food prep and workout organization.  I’m planning on rising to the occasion by planning meals ahead of time, going grocery shopping tomorrow, and doing workouts earlier in the day to make sure that time does not get away from me and take me from being able to get things done or stuck doing them at 11:30 pm when I should be going to bed.

Till next week.

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