Life is Like Climbing a Mountain

25 10 2010

Hi Gang!

Well it has been over a year since we’ve been actively writing here at Gym Jane and since I moved over to write at my Dare to Evolve blog. But as I’d mentioned, there will come a time and aplace that we return, at least for stints. I currently have a small vlog series going, and it happens to revolve around climbing a mountain! Many of you here who had been following along with Chris and I know very well our forays into the local peaks and the adventures that came as a result. So I thought it fitting, if you aren’t already following over at DTE, to let you know about this latest “jaunt”, trailblazing up the side of a mountain. 🙂

Life is Like Climbing a Mountain

Dare to Evolve,

Daring To…..

22 07 2009


Lego evolutionGym Jane has been here for a little over two years now and it’s been an experience to say the least. A part of the growth on our personal journey’s to discovering our utmost potential as human beings and to connect with all of you, that we might do so together.

As part of that process, for the first time since we’ve started, I’ve come to that place where movement is the next natural step in my personal evolution. So I’ll be continuing, but over at my new blog:

Dare To Evolve

Come on over, check it out, feel free to subscribe and, of course, to continue sharing your thoughts, challenges, experiences and success’s. You’re a part of what has made this growth thrive.

See you on the flip side:),

P.S. Gym Jane ain’t going nowhere. It’ll still be here. And if anything, at a time when Chris and I have some wacko idea to undertake together, we will most likely revisit these pages once again;).

It Only Takes One…..

8 07 2009

Family UnityI watched a talk today by Seth Godin that spoke about tribes and how they,  founded on shared ideas and values, give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. This resonated with me in a big way and brought to mind a belief I’ve grown up with.

I’m a Baha’i. The Baha’i Faith was founded by Baha’u’llah who brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential message is of unity.  And that a fundamental unity, the basic unit and all-important building block of society is that of the family. Unless the family is healthy and unified, society cannot be healthy and unified.

Seth’s focus on the tribe and his example of how we are moving back to that equates to moving back to the foundation of the family unit. Because if we think about it, that’s what tribes were, families. And it took an all embracing, all connecting medium to help us see that. Bringing us back to the basics, but now within a completely different context and being able to expand on it to a scale never before imagined.

I look at my family, immediate and extended, and see this very trend occurring. We are becoming far more connected than ever before (as we all continue to grow in our own personal lives), maintaining it and setting a whole new pattern (unique to each of our experiences) for what family, and unity, means for the generation only now in it’s infancy.

Now I’m not trying to paint a sweet and idyllic picture of the process itself. Families torn apart by divorce, children deserted by their parents, abuse on all scales, control, manipulation, rebellion and the list goes on. These are present in some form or another in our families. As a result, many don’t want to have anything to do with one another. It’s no wonder we’re having a tough time bringing about world peace. How can we possibly unify the world when our own family is in disarray. Besides, our family would blow a gasket if we addressed any of this stuff.

Well, Seth offered 3 questions we can ask ourselves when  looking at leading a movement, when creating that change. First was “Who exactly are you upsetting? Because if you’re not upsetting anyone, you’re not changing the status quo”. Well I think we can safely say we’ve got that one covered.

ConnectingSecond was “Who are you connecting?”. Think about it, honestly. We all desire, deep down, to be connected with each other. That is why we hear so often, despite anger and sadness, of children deserted by their birth parent(s), seeking them out years later. When disconnected from our own family, seeking out that connection elsewhere, trying to make a family with those we surround ourselves with, yet still feeling resentment and anger towards the ones we “left” behind. Why? Because what we really want is to be connected to them. Even though claiming to have stepped out from under the shadow of a controlling parent, still catching yourself making decisions based on the hope that you may see some sliver of acceptance, acknowledgment or approval from them.

Third was “Who are you leading?” Because more than the mechanics of the process you’re going through, it’s about the who and the fact that you’re initiating the action.  “For who” is where we draw our drive and inspiration that propels the actions we take. Now the idea of “Leading” ones family can be taken out of context. Another way I see it is, by taking personal action, leading the way down a path not yet embarked upon, you provide the opportunity for that change to occur, that they in their own right, will become leaders as well, leaders in creating greater change in their lives around them.

It has to start somewhere. If all the families within a community are healthy and unified, then that community will be healthy and unified. If all the communities in a state/ province are healthy and unified, then that state/province will be healthy and unified. If all the states/provinces in a country are healthy and unified, then that country is healthy and unified. If all the countries of the world are healthy and unified…….

And it only takes one. One person to choose to create movement, to create the change in their life, to lead the way. To connect with one, another one in their family looking to do the same. One family to have the courage to face the pain, the sadness, the discomfort. One family to live the joy, the love, the adventure. It only takes one world to manifest the pinnacle of unity.

It only takes one……

Dare To Evolve,

What Do You Mean, “I’m Ideal”?

1 07 2009

dwayne_johnsonA great blog I follow called “Better is Better“, by CST Head Coach Adam Steer, had a pole about “The Ideal Male Physique“. There were a bunch of various pics of various guys in popular culture, with varying physique’s. And the vote’s came rolling in. And I felt compelled to write in, but my response was getting a little  too long and so decided to write it here. Now since then, he also had one for “The Ideal Female Physique” and so I speak in general to both.

lucy_liuWhat is the ideal physique? This is something that has been a hot topic for ages.  Whole industries have evolved around striving for it. Billions upon billions of dollars made (and spent) on it. Why so obsessed? Perhaps because, like all aspects of our lives, we are drawn to the highest state or highest level of perfection in ourselves.  Nothing wrong with that right? And that holds value for us on all kinds of levels. As it relates to our physical appearance, it has come to represents things like success, happiness, power, pro-creation, strength, survivability, recognition, acceptance, even intelligence and a ton more.

PhelpsLet’s take a moment to identify where we draw our ideals from. What we use as our template of perfection and whether we measure up. More often than not it is from popular culture, as they are the most visible figures in our societies. And they’re successful, living the dream. Hmmmnn, and if we look like them then maybe we’ll be one step closer to having what they have, right? Right? Anyone….anyone…..Bueller?Serena 2

Then there’s an industry (with a ton more tied in) that spends inordinate amounts of money and energy into “presenting” what the ideal is, interlacing it with scientific data, popular culture and all the keys to a more fulfilled and happy you.  Which of course, although not as quickly as clothing fashion, changes with the seasons. Any of this ringing a bell?

Combine all this with the emphasis on the external experience (which has the gravitational pull of the Moon), it’s no wonder we find ourselves looking in the mirror and thinking we’re somehow less than “ideal”. belly dancer

And we work SO HARD to try and get there. And more often than not, we fail to reach the goal we hold in our minds. How do those who do it, do it? Well, they have a huge advantage over each and every one of us. And no, I’m not talking about private chefs, loads of money to buy organic, trainers or people to take care of the day to day mundane chores so they can focus on attaining that physical ideal. Those are merely the reasons we give to devalue the hard work they’ve put in, to exonerate ourselves. No, the wahlbergadvantage I’m talking about are their genes. Their DNA. They have a genetic edge over you, over me…..over each other. No one, can get to the physical ideal they have achieved, THEIR physical ideal, no one. Just as no one can achieve YOUR physical ideal. Well, okay, that’s not true, we can get pretty close. But we often can’t maintain it and it usually comes at a price to our health and vitality.  We’re born with  our genetic make-up. We can’t change that.   All we can do is mine, as if in search for gems of inestimable value, for the perfection that already lays within us.


To say “I want that build” or “those abs” or “legs that look like that” or “a butt that looks like THAT” is unrealistic. If it’s in your genes to come close to that because your body type is similar, then okay, you may get close. We can look to those who have attained their ideal, as inspiration for our own journey, but we’ll never be able to have exactly what they have. Employing the methods they have used we can get exactly what we have.

And the funny thing aboutGabrielle that, is it means that the only ideal is, in fact, striving for your ideal. The “physical ideal” is constantly trying to be narrowed down and peg-holed. Yet it can’t, because we are so diverse. Adam’s blog posts were such great examples of that in both the voting choices presented and the plethora of varied responses from the participants. We all have such varied tastes and therein shows the beauty we see throughout that variety. Which means the ideal lies within each of us, and by striving for it, we add to the value of it’s ever expanding definition.

Dare To Evolve,

Angel Face of a Serial Killer

14 06 2009

Angels and DemonsWhat are your strongest qualities? When you look back on your life, what are the qualities that got you thru the tough times? What attributes have you been recognized for? Now take a moment and ask yourself, “Are my strengths serving me any longer? Or are they actually holding me back?”

Back in early February, I had a pretty intense dream. To summarize, it involved my being called upon by the FBI to track a serial killer. As the dream went on, I went deeper and deeper undercover to try and find him.  Then black.  I came to, very groggy and confused, in a white room. I was with the serial killer and his assistant, standing next to a table that had a teenage girl tied down and sedated. I realized that I was assisting him as well. The horror and sadness I felt that I was helping a serial killer was overwhelming.

But when the serial killer’s first attempt to kill the girl failed, I snapped out of it. I was not this person I thought I was. And I started tracing my steps back thru the dream. I had completely forgotten (literally) that I was actually trying to stop this guy. When I remembered the rest of the dream and what I was doing there, I realized that I had foiled his first attempt thru some earlier steps I’d taken to prevent it. But I still needed to maintain my cover. In the end, I had to wait until the last second, just before the serial killer was about to drive the knife into the girl, fighting against my rage and every urge to charge and tear him to bits, to signal the S.W.A.T team. The S.W.A.T. team took him down (alive) and I carried the girl off to safety.

dreams hulidreams hulidreamscapeNow, I sent this dream to my father-in-law, Richard Hastings, who uses dream interpretation as a tool for personal transformation work. And he is very good. This coming from one who used to be skeptical of most any dream “analysis” methods out there (actually, still am;). We figured out some great connections. Thru this process, he helped me to translate the “serial killer” into “serial negative” (the habitual patterns that were creating negative results).  From there we then looked at how to turn the serial negative into a “serial positive”.  Well it was this process that gave me the key to later discovering something else from the dream.

A few weeks after the dream, I’d attended my first Circular Strength Training seminar to become a certified instructor. And from that weekend, came to  the realization, via a very obvious example, that one of my strongest qualities, Independence, was actually working against me. It was blocking me, threatening to come between me and opportunities available that would only expedite my forward progress.

So how does that relate to the dream? Well, you see, the serial killer in the dream looked just like the teenage girl on the table. And although I knew it wasn’t “her” (it was actually a 40 something, balding man with goatee and glasses), that is how he appeared to me. As something that I would normally associate positively with. In fact, would go so far as to consider it a friend. The serial killer (negative) was in fact my Independence.  I even had to fight my own strong instinct to  “take him down myself and rip him to shreds”, to allow for the S.W.A.T. Team to enter. Because the S.W.A.T. Team represented the next evolution of that deeply ingrained quality, which is Interdependence. The ability to work together, to depend on each other,  for a greater purpose.

And you’ll note that the S.W.A.T. took the serial killer alive! If it were left to me and my natural inclination, he’d be dead, and I’d still be struggling to take the next step. It wasn’t about now regarding the quality of Independence as the enemy and squashing it. It is key in unlocking the door. Now is just the time to progress onward, to release it,  that it may transform one stage closer to its greatest potential.

It would be very easy for a “serial killer” to continue it’s work, unnoticed, unimpeded, even unbeknown to itself, if it turned out to be one of your mightiest Angels. Be honest and take a moment, you may be in for a surprise.

Dare to Evolve,

Running With the Pack

11 03 2009

lone-wolfYou know that feeling we get when we’re on the brink of a major change in our life? We’ve been positive, worked hard, open to the experiences and opportunities thrown our way and the learning that comes from going through them. Everything seems to fall into place, allowing movement forward without great difficulty. Then we come to that edge, the place  that dictates we must make a choice. Step through a door to continue forward or content ourselves to stand  and “hang out” until we are ready to  do so. The hard part: we need to confront old patterns and habits that no longer serve us (or never served us to begin with)  in order to attain the key that will unlock it.

I came to such a place when I attended the Circular Strength Training Instructor Certification a couple weeks ago. Going into the weekend, I felt it was going to be (outside of whatever material was to be presented) one of those significant transitional points. I just had no idea what form it would manifest itself or in what direction it would take me.  It wasn’t until the closing remarks that I got the first hint. We’d just had an amazing weekend, everyone worked really hard and the positive energy around what we’d snarling-wolfaccomplished and were embarking on was high. Then, as part of our send off, we were told, upon receiving confirmation  of our certification, what we could and could not do.  Reminded what our certification meant and to what extent we could operate within it. The hackles on the back of my neck started standing on end. I could feel a wee spark  ignite. All of a sudden I wasn’t feeling so excited or “high” anymore.

Yet my reaction was totally unfounded. They were simply stating what the certification gave us license to teach. Just because one takes a basic first aid course doesn’t mean they can now go and perform surgery. It is a standard of excellence, with a built in system for optimal progression as instructors, so the quality of what RMAX International has to offer doesn’t become diluted before reaching others. I respect that immensley. And yet I was reacting as though it were something negative.

It wasn’t until the next day I realized my initial reaction was “they’re putting limits on me”.  “They’re  stopping me from doing everything I can to get the benefits of this system (which I really see the value of) to others.” Say what?! Why would they do that?  Well, they wouldn’t. I wasn’t reacting to what the CST Head Coaches were saying. I was reacting to the idea of a group, or “pack” if you will, telling me I “can’t” do something, placing “limits” on how much I can do to realize my full potential. An idea that had been a major reality for me growing up.

Due to that reality, it developed a very strong sense of self-reliance and independence.  I don’t try to be a “lone wolf”. That aspect of me just is,  having come out of necessity in order to survive.  But over the years, through key observations by those closest to me, I became aware of it and have been taking steps to move beyond. For although independence is a valuable quality, it can only take us so far. wolf-pack

Let’s use an unfolding theme here: the analogy of the wolf. On it’s own, it can become stronger, fiercer and individually more capable than if it were part of a pack. Yet by itself it can only do so much, being relegated to eating small game and scavenging.  But as part of a pack, together, their strength, fierceness and ability are multiplied exponentially. Together they can achieve amazing feats, such as taking down immensely larger animals than themselves, like Bison or Moose.

It is that interdependence, which I have been working towards. We need independence, so as not to “lose” ourselves to the pack. We need it in order to be a contributing member rather then a drain or impediment. But to then “let it go”, to be able to defer to the pack for the mutual benefit of all, to depend on one another, to assist each other in achieving more, reaching for ever greater heights, this is the natural evolution to fulfilling our utmost potential.

So I stand at the threshold, looking through a door, on the other side of which awaits a wolf pack.  Daunting? Yes.  But considering the alternative……..I’m going running with the pack!


Going Circular With Strength Training

1 03 2009

ifAs  some of you know, for the past year I’ve been training predominantly with a system called Circular Srength Training. I was introduced to it and it’s creator Scott Sonnon thru my kettlebell training and certifications.  It became the diet of my physical training, as its “Health-First Fitness” approach provided the path and tools that have helped me return from a pretty serious back injury. And that journey took me the better part of a year. It was just this January that I was able to say to myself that it no longer hindered me from moving forward with the physical endeavors  I want to pursue. It was the first time in years that I felt “balanced” on both sides.

This process also helped lay a solid foundation and “hardwire” the “uploading” of tools to my “spine” that will assist not only myself, but those I train, to attain and maintain optimal results in their Health and Well-Being, for the long haul. And back in the summer (after about 4 months of working with the materials)  I knew I would be working towards  certifying as a Circular Strength Training Instructor.

The last 6 months, that has been my focus. Continuing to work out theprasara1 issues with my back and gaining the skills and knowledge needed to meet the requirements to becoming an instructor. Last weekend, I attended the certification seminar. You can check out my review (and those of many others for a fuller picture) of the weekend on Scott Sonnon’s Blog.

I was originally going to throw up my review here, but thought, it was only part of the whole. I wanted, rather, to take this opportunity to introduce you more to the system as a whole, as I feel there is far more value in that, than just  my thoughts on a seminar (though they too speak to the system;) .

Those who have been with us for awhile know that anything I speak about, I speak from a place of passion. If I don’t believe in it or see any value, I don’t throw it up just for the heck of it. And I have once again come to the point where I feel that a system, in its approach to physical fitness and well-being in the balancing of the “whole”, makes the most sense, gives you the biggest bang for your buck and the greatest value for the time you invest.  One day, perhaps, I’ll find something else. I don’t rule out the possibility.  It is the natural evolution when constantly striving to fulfill ones greatest potentsonnon-clubbellial capacity…..

……but whatever system that may be, it is going to be pretty hard-pressed to succeed:). Because one of the qualities that shines the brightest from Scott Sonnon, his Head Coaching Staff and RMAX International (CST’s flagship organization),  is the constant striving to fulfill their greatest potential capacity, anchored by CST’s foundational principles, which have a depth and applicability, to the widest range of diverse peoples, unlike any system of physical culture I have ever been in contact with.

This is in no way a knock on anything else out there. There are many great approaches and many great systems that work for all sorts.  This is about taking pause to consider loosening your grip on great, to open yourself to greater.

But don’t take my word for it, because in the end only you have the final say:

Circular Strength Training