52 weeks off the map

Off the map #5

Well, here I am on Monday of the 10th week of going off the map! Remember that our purpose in going off the map was to change our lives – our health, our relationship with God, to think differently and to become the best we can be.  Let me start with the easy stuff first and update you on the categories and how we are doing.

Pilates:  Robert continues his practice – yay.  My personal practice is going great and I’ve upped to 2 private lessons per week.  Pilates School is going good – my mind is getting sharper about studying and memorizing and thinking/assessing – all of which are requirements for the program.

Blue Zone – Well, something switched in the way we think (finally!) and we are in a pretty good groove.  Yay!  We are both still a little high on sugar – but much higher on the Big Dog Salad and daily power nutrient shakes.  I’m feeling better and know that sugar will keep notching itself down in my life.  Here’s my new phrases: Sugar kills my brain.  Fat kills my heart.  Veggies and Whole Grains bring mental clarity, longevity and energy. This helps me choose more carefully.  The heavily documented and researched links of sugar to alzheimer’s and other brain problems is very convincing and in societies where very little sugar is eaten, there are very few incidents of alzheimers and the like.

Zig Ziglar/Graham Cooke – The quote in my Zig day planner today is:  The single greatest cause of poor self-image is the absence of unconditional love.  As we go deeper into our Graham on Developing your Destiny and deeper in Zig regarding developing a healthy self-image – it’s very clear that both of us are starting to “get it” and believe what God says about us!  I have had some situations that in the past, prior to these 10 weeks, I would have had a much harder time handling.  But, we a strengthened sense of Identity and an improving self-image I can be a lot more steady on a daily basis and surprises more readily without believing they are my fault, or that I caused it or that I’m being rejected.  Oh, yes…I look forward to continuing this journey for 42 more weeks.

Walker Meditation – we took the 30 day challenge.  Robert did ok.  I did pretty good.  I have such a strong devotional “system” already that I don’t think this method is better than.  I’ll stay with my current method.  However, I think if someone is not journaling or reflecting and meditating on the Word and messages heard; this is a GREAT system to begin doing just that!

Sabbath – Ahh…..Love, Love and Love.  What can I say?  The more we take our day of rest the more rested I feel.  Even with a full schedule and a lot of loose ends and some big surprises lately, I’ve rolled with the flow.  Sabbath is helping me to go deeper into God’s peace and rest.  It’s also a natural “pacing” – knowing that an intentional rest is coming…I can stay focused and steadily on task during the week.  Mentally, I’m getting better at “shutting down” the thinking circuits so I can just BE and ENJOY.

 

On the more reflective/philosophical note:

The word fulfilled from that last post is now a standard by which I assess how I’m doing.  If I am not feeling fulfilled, I check in to ask, “why not?”  Once I understand why not, I try to adjust.  Sometimes this is not so easy.  The past couple of weeks, my sleep has been rough.  My brain has been so active studying and learning – both for school and for all the things in this “off the map” stuff we are doing.  With Robert buying and business, changes at church, changes in friendships – my brain circuitry went a bit wonky.  So, I finally (yes, it took me awhile) we to the Lord in 2-way journaling.  Ahhh….in that time with Him, I expressed all my loose ends and asked Him, “how can I settle my brain down?”  His response is below as recorded in my journal.

 

The Lord said to me:  Oh Kimberly,  it is a full set of circumstances right now all lined up.  It’s ok to have your circuits lit up – quite natural actually.  So, deep breaths.  I’m enough.  I have you.  I’ll never leave you until I’ve given you everything I’ve promised you.  Find some REST in knowing that while your circuits may be lit and disconnected, I am fully operating and in perfect control.  And no, we don’t have to tighten up the circuits and reconnect them all at once.  I have all the time in the world because I am the creator of TIME.  So, it may seem to you like these things need to be taken care of sooner and that they are just “running around” willy nilly in your mind.  But, take them captive….just place them in a box, close the lid. Quiet yourself and allow me to guide you in the right way at the right time to deal with each and every one of these. Rest my love, rest knowing I am sovereign and I’ve got you.  You’ve done a fabulous job navigating and I am so pleased to see you walking out your transformation and the renewing of your mind in the circumstances that I’ve allowed to come your way.  I’m not asking you to shove things aside or bottle things up…just to gather all that’s in your mind up and put it under my sovereignty and remind it all that is’t subject to MY TIMING.  No urgency, no striving, no fretting.  Allow the lights on the circuit of your mind to start dimming and settling as you embrace  these truths:  I am your Abba Father and I love you without reservation, perfectly. For all of eternity you are my daughter.  Rest your mind knowing that Jesus is sitting at my right hand and he is interceding for you each and every moment of every day.  Know that the Holy Spirit is your guide and comforter and you are FILLED with Him.  Know that you are in Christ and Christ is in you.  Know that you know that you know these things and allow these powerful, truths to settle everything that feels lit up and undone.  Let it wash all over you and all through you.   Breathe in my love, breathe in my peace..my shalom and let it wash all over you.  There you go.  Enter my rest.  Claim my rest.  Rest in my rest.  Feel yourself unwind as you put all these loose ends that require attention aside.  Trust me to lead you to sort them all out at the right time.  Breathe in my shalom.  Exhale the chaos.  Breathe in the truth that I work ALL things out for good.  Exhale doubt, exhale concern, exhale any confusion. Trust me and at the right time, we’ll open the box you’ve put these loose ends in and together, we’ll handle them ok?!  

So, I learned a LOT about how to quiet my brain and how to give Him all the loose ends.  Wow huh?  The more I understand I am HIS DAUGHTER….the easier it is to just rest in that and look out at life from that perspective!

So, as we continue to stay off the map – growing in many areas I say to you – this is WORTH it.  To commit to changing at any age, to collaborate with God, to connect with Him and to know that although this requires focus, humility and challenge…the other option is not an option.  The non-option is to stay the same.  I say Lord, bring on the change!!

 

52 weeks off the map

Off the map #4

I want to start with a definition.

Fulfilled: Feeling happiness and satisfaction. Providing happiness and satisfaction.

 

Last night, as I was winding down and heading to bed, I felt a certain way.  This is a new feeling.  I’ve been feeling it more and more frequently.  So, I decided to pause and reflect and ask the Holy Spirit, what is this?

The Holy Spirit answered fulfilled.

 

Oh, wow, fulfilled.  I can get used to this feeling.  Happiness.  Satisfaction.

With Pilates school, I’m learning the skill and art of setting crystal clear priorities (CCP).  I mean really saying, “what HAS TO GET DONE?”.  Then I do that FIRST, to completion.

 

This IS not being busy – I have been busy in my past.  It’s about intentional choice and that means that every moment is more alive, more real, more of an experience.

School may be what thrust me into this high level CCP lifestyle. But CCP’s have increased my enjoyment, experience and presence in more of my moments.

This is NOT about planning every moment.  But because the crystal clear priority things were completed fully; I could decide of the non-critical things what to do or not do.  In last week’s case, I truly enjoyed and relaxed throughout our entire day of Sabbath on Saturday and on Sunday I applied CCP to what was on the “to do” list and was able to have an impromptu coffee date with a friend AND sit and watch an entire football game with Robert – no guilt, no distraction…just pure enjoyment of the time. Let me say, it is amazing how much “to do” can truly wait without negative consequence!!!!  Please reread that last line, because it has the potential to radically change your life!!!

Yes, I think that Pilates school has been a gift on so many, many levels and this feeling of fulfilled is one I’d like to keep experiencing more and more of.

Update:

Pilates – on track and on target. The more I practice.  The more I learn in School.  The more i LOVE Pilates and the more I want to help others experience and understand this incredible method of body/mind/spirit exercise.

Blue Zone Diet – added beans, sugar reduced and big dog salads are going to be reintroduced this coming week.

Zig Ziglar/Born to Win/Graham Cooke – Developing your Destiny – truly an impressive body of work with incredible wisdom. I see both Robert and I growing tremendously from flooding our mind with Biblical thoughts, encouraging words and strategies to Win in every area of life. With Graham, our idea of who God is for us and all the “upgrades” and opportunities God presents is really enhancing our understanding of Abba Father and Holy Spirit along with how much of what Christ did for us was about FREEDOM and FAVOR in THIS life!

Walker Meditation – This is going ok.  It is a beautiful system for getting mileage out of any spiritual message you watch or listen too.  I mainly use it for Sunday sermons and meditating on those scriptures and thoughts through the week.  The nice thing is the timing.  Our church updated Mission/Vision/Goals/Values recently and so our messages have been going over those – again, God’s timing because this dovetails beautifully with Born to Win and Developing your destiny.

Sabbath – What can I say?  I am a believer that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  As we are intentional I can see both Robert and I not being so “empty” and “striving” during the week.  I imagine that the compounding effects of a Sabbath rest every 6 days will be like compounding interest in a bank account!  God truly knows best what’s best for us!!

Thoughts???  I’d love to hear them.  Please share these posts if you feel encouraged and blessed by them.  Thank you so much for reading!!

52 weeks off the map

Off the map #3

Well, we are ending our first month “off the map”.  This month has gone by so fast! Perhaps it’s all the “new” we are incorporating at once at some level.

What we imagined, or more accurately what I imagined is we would launch ourselves in more deeply upfront.  Instead, it’s more like wading in the water, feet, ankles, calves…you get the idea.

So, here’s a quick recap and then I’ll share some “aha’s”

Pilates – School has been a huge shift in my world!I I’m enjoying every moment of it but it’s been a radical adjustment.  I feel like I’ve got a bit of a “groove” on that feels like a “win”.  Because of this radical school thing, I’ve ended up battling some anxiety and while me and the bully anxiety went a few rounds, I struck some deep blows!

Blue Zone Diet – uh, well,  not good at all here! Sugar consumption way down and veggie consumption on the rise.  Whole grains and beans – I’ll tackle that in October.  Step by step. Forward although certainly not perfect..but direction over perfection!

Walker Meditation – one week in and we are both loving it.  It’s a well organized spiritual journal and spiritual focus system.  Robert has set timers on his phone so that he can take several minutes serval times a day to reflect and meditate.  I reflect before I start work and during my lunch break.  I can see the power of these consistent small moments.

Born to Win – We are listening to Zig each morning right after listening to Graham Cooke. It is amazing how these 2 powerhouses from different generations and with different approaches communicate nearly identical things about identity in Christ, and truly being born to win.  With Graham we are listening to his Developing your Destiny mentoring series.  Often, we will listen twice or even 3 times to a particularly eye opening teaching.

Sabbath – AHHH…We look so forward to Friday evening through Saturday evening.  Honestly, it helps me “push” a little during the week knowing that a rest IS coming.  The long term implications of a weekly 24 hour rest are looking brighter and brighter to us.  As always, the Lord was right…man wasn’t made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man!!

 

Aha’s

  1.  I’m learning when to push and when to brake.  I’m basically  just a pusher! I’ve counted on God to help me push through some school work when I wanted to just not think or do and His strength has been sufficient for me.  I’ve also learned that during a week (like last week) when the load is a little lighter..don’t push ahead, enjoy a bit less work but also take time to review some of the stuff learned – a compromise that was right on.
  2. Patience with myself as we adjust to new routines.  Like my devotions are now in the evening instead of the morning since with listen to Graham and Zig in the morning.  Many evenings I’ve flat forgotten to do my devos!  Now, I ENJOY devotional time…but I’ve done it in the morning since 2004. In the past, I’d have beaten myself up good for forgetting to do devos. Now, through God’s grace and the renewing of my mind,  I’m able to say, “‘m on my way…It’ll all come together, God loves me and He’s ok with this”.
  3. Special times: Robert and I sitting with our earphones on (we share a pair) on the patio love seat listening and learning together in the mornings is…PRICELESS.  To share our thoughts and what “hit” us is such good conversation and to be so “together” in this from the start is so awesome.  Again, I think the long term implications are bright!!
  4. Lastly, this thought is a HUGE and a new one and not fully processed.  Recently, I’ve experienced some relationship difficulties that look very much like relationship difficulties I have faced in the past. The shame I have felt.  The confusion.  The”I’ve been wronged” again of pride/anger.  The “I’ll love ’em anyway but just stay in a safe spot”.  The fear of an “end” to another relationship.  UGH…Then, listening to Graham today, he said that WHAT IF theses repetitive things was God showing us “come this way.  Come around. Come up.”  And it hit me – I immediately saw a brick wall and each time I see this ole brick wall, I turn and RUN.  Today, I saw God inviting me OVER the brick wall – He tossed a rope over and said, “Come on…I’ve wanted you to come up over this wall when you were 15 and every time you’ve run into this wall since then.  Will you come over the wall this time??”  I replied, “Oh Lord YES…help me come UP and OVER so the brick wall can be behind me and I can move FORWARD.”  That’s all I know right now.  When, I’m up and over…I’ll share more!

Thanks for reading.  Sign up to follow the blog if you enjoy these.  I’d also love to hear your insights, questions, etc….

52 weeks off the map

Off the map post #2

16 days “off the map”.  Off the map simply means doing  things and thinking differently to gain a different result.  This is my second post about our journey committing 1 year to doing things differently.  Methods are central to our off the map – to do things differently you need a new way to do things and methods are powerful at helping us do that.

Quick recap of our methods

  1.  Sabbath each week – God took one after 6 days of creation.  Jesus said in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man.  The “race” of life is long and so the Sabbath allows us to have regular rest/refreshment/restoration.
  2. Blue Zone Diet – Based on the diets of cultures around the world who live healthy lives the longest.
  3. Zig Ziglar’s Born to Win – a method that teaches how to live a balanced life in the following areas: physical, mental, spiritual, recreational, family, career, social and financial.  At it’s core is that God made us to WIN!
  4. Pilates – Yes, I’m a teacher, now in AdvancedTeacher Training (started the same day we started this off the map journey) BUT, it’s applying the principles in my own practice more fully and Robert hasn’t done Pilates – but now he is!
  5. Walker Informational Retrieval System – that name sounds so unlike what this is.  This is our biblical meditation and reflection method.  It took over 25 years to develop and we are actually starting this Sunday with the sermon we will hear on Sunday.  Renewing our mind comes in large part from getting revelation and transformation from Scripture not simply “knowledge”.

Ok, so 16 days in…what have I learned or experienced since we drove off the map in a big way:

  1.  Pilates School and my Pilates practice are like peanut butter and jelly.  The more I study, the more it informs my own experience of the method.  And the more I experience the method the better I feel physically, mentally and yes spiritually.  See, when our bodies feel GOOD and we can just do what we want without undue effort or restriction or limitations or pain/discomfort – it releases energy to spend in other ways!  As for Robert he is just beginning and I’m starting him in exactly the way I’m learning in school.  He is in the investing phase of just doing the work and soon he’ll begin to reap the benefits.  He started just this week because I wanted to learn in school first. So, to be continued!
  2. Blue Zone Diet – Hmmm, I’d say this hasn’t truly begun.  We’ve cut out junk and sugar but haven’t yet fully adopted the philosophy in practice.  At first I felt some “failure”.  But part of what I’m learning is that we began and it was that – a beginning.  A change in direction, following a new map.  So, it is ok to take time in adaptation.  The BZD isn’t all that different from how we’ve eaten in the past; but what is different is my time and my willingness to do a lot of cooking (I’m unwilling).  So, I have to explore new ways to incorporate this.  This week coming up, it’s about getting more beans in.  Small steps.  Hopefully by 1/19 we’ll be in a nice groove. Robert has lost at least 5 pounds and he is thrilled!!
  3. Sabbath – Ahhh…we take ours from Friday evening to Saturday evening.  I can’t tell you how much I look forward to this time!!  It’s not hard to make a slight “push” to get the priorities (crystal clear priorities) done so that Sabbath can be enjoyed.  It’s not a time of doing “nothing” but there is a mental approach of rest/relaxation and putting life on “hold” for 24 hours.  Again, we are learning here.  So, what I’ve learned thus far is a little extra “push” during the week is worth it and a little mental commitment to rest on Sabbath is worth it.  For me, it can be hard to stop pushing and doing.  Luckily, Robert is very good at saying “shut it down and let’s relax.”!!!
  4. Born to Win – This is perhaps where I think we will find our biggest leap forward over this coming 50 weeks.  Zig is rather contagious!  It’s very clear when you listen to him how RIGHT he is!!  What I really love is that He reiterates God’s truth that we ARE born to WIN. Balance for us is hard..isn’t it for most of us?  And Zig’s approach is beyond helpful in this and also in keeping a frame of mind that is positive.  We are still working on our “goals” – doing it Zig’s way makes you REALLY think before setting a goal and causes us to break them down.  Do what you know to do and we’ve you’ve done that, you’ll see what to do next.  I believe too many people never really get goals accomplished because they can’t see all the steps from start to finish…well, no one can..but ya gotta take a few steps first!
  5. Walker – nothing to report.

So that is the “data part of this post.  Here’s the more personal part.

Starting school the first two weeks was HARD! I was stressed and I’m committed to learning to live each day in peace/rest – UGH.  My second week went better and I learned to just settle in and as I learned more how to use the system and where to find the time and how to study.  This week, is week three and my heart rate and blood pressure are back to normal! I had such fear that I would be stressed like I was the first 2 weeks for all 18 months of school and I knew I’d blow up if that were the case.  Well, satan is a liar and so is fear!  I’m sure as I take a first written exam or write my first case study or have my first exam where they watch me teach a client…the stress will elevate…but, I can know that it is temporary and in that I can take deep breaths and just do my best.  Going off the map in so many areas of my life is killing my “perfectionist” tendencies…because I don’t have a choice – a HUGE bonus I hadn’t thought of.  I can either go back to my old map…or be patient with myself on the new one.  I’m not going back. 🙂

Mentally and spiritually – the first two weeks were rough.  When there is anxiety it is hard to hear the Lord and hard to calm the physical response to the anxiety.  So, in week two I accepted that my body was in a physical state of anxiety and allowed my mind/soul and spirit to move toward rest and on faith believed that my body would respond.  This week, Ahhhh…it did!  So, again…rough spots are temporary not permanent.

The KEY to getting rid of the anxiety was listening to 3 songs so many times if they were a record, I’d have worn out the record.  The other key was “setting” my mind to not give in or give up to the anxiety.  See, David killed Goliath with one of 3 stones.  He picked the 3 and then picked the one.  My one stone for anxiety is REST.  So, I’d stop or pause in my day and listen to these 3 songs to give me the mental/soul and spirit realignment or to help me stay on track if I was on track.

It is our heart’s desire that by sharing our journey – the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the victories and failures that others will be encouraged.  Especially others that are like us 50+ and bravely starting new things!!  It’s not too late for any of us!  Still breathing?  You can go off the map too!!!  🙂

Next post…more on being off the map and on how I’m learning to not be a people pleaser…..

Here is the first of the 3 songs https://youtu.be/sIaT8Jl2zpI

The other 2 are from Lauren Dangle and they are: https://youtu.be/URFOBc69xig

https://youtu.be/Br1q_i1RHPU

52 weeks off the map

52 weeks and we are going off the map!

To use the words of Graham Cooke, Robert and I have “gone off the map”.  It simply means that we are charting new territory that we haven’t been in before and our old “maps” won’t do us any good!

Let me explain.  Robert and I are at a very exciting juncture in our lives.  At 56 and 61 we are truly beginning NEW careers (as most our age are winding down).  Robert is several weeks away from buying a new business and I am starting Advanced Pilates Teacher Training. We are also more committed than ever to have a deeper intimacy with God, more committed to our health and we really want to become all that we can be.  See, we believe God put GREAT things in each of us.  However, because of many, many variables, the critical factor in becoming all that God designed us to be and achieving the amazing destiny He designed for us is OUR THINKING!!!

Quite frankly the way we think and look at life and ourselves is a problem.  So we decided that in light of all the things mentioned in the above paragraph (careers, health, intimacy with God, achieving our potential and reaching our destiny)we needed to employ proven methods to help us as we go off the map into determined and focused pursuit of becoming, achieving and reaching.

Why methods?  The simple fact is that methods WORK to change minds and build new behaviors.  So, for health fitness we chose Pilates (that probably seems obvious) but this method of exercise builds strength, flexibility, stamina and mental clarity – all things we need, especially as we age chronologically.  For health- nutrition we chose The Blue Zone Diet. This may not seem as obvious.  Blue Zone Diet is based on how people living in the “blue zones” around the world eat.  Blue Zones are cultures that live longer and healthier than other cultures on our planet.  That’s what we want – a long life with good health.  For spiritual we have selected The Walker Meditation method along with listening to the teachings of Graham Cooke.  Why?  Biblical meditation leads to revelation which leads to renewing our minds and thinking differently.  Why Graham Cooke?  Because we feel that is who the Lord wants us to listen to as we seek deeper intimacy with Him.  Also, because rest and peace are things we desire much, much more of and Graham is an expert.  And lastly, for our overall careers and life balance(financial, social, family, recreational, career spiritual, physical and mental – Zigs program helps you balance all of these) we have selected to follow and study this year the Born to Win method from Zig Ziglar.  We’ve committed to these methods along with committing to Friday night to Saturday night being a day of Rest (the Biblical word for it is Sabbath).  Rest for 24 hours – not in a religious, legalistic way.  Rest in a Biblical and obedient way.  The Lord took a Sabbath rest after 6 days of creation and He modeled this for us.  He also told us in the Bible that Sabbath is an eternal commandment – eternal.  See, we’ve decided that God is right and that our American pace is insane.  So, that’s a high level view of our 52 weeks of going off the map!

After our first week, I decided that I’m going to blog a bit about this journey.

Week 1:  As part of this 52 week journey,  I made a commitment to annihilate fear and it’s partners doubt, worry and anxiety.  So as I focused on rest and peace…the little bugger anxiety went in to overdrive trying to keep me from rest and peace. My blood pressure rose, my heart rate elevated and the physical tension was intense.  The first week of Pilates school took 15 hours of time and the “pressure” I felt to make sure I finished the first week on schedule put me in agreement with anxiety.  But, I fought…I would say no with my will and spirit,  but physically my body didn’t adjust much.  But, I kept saying no mentally and asking God to show me how to respond opposite of anxiety.  God reminded me of the teachings He had given me last year (see God always prepares us before He takes us off the map) and told me to focus on Crystal Clear Priorities.  Oh yeah…CCP’s – well everything else had to take a second chair to getting Pilates studying, reading, lectures and practicing done.  Yes, I took Saturday as Sabbath, despite knowing that Sunday would be probably 5-6 hours of Pilates school.  CCP’s worked!  I found a little sliver of peace and a reasonable slice of fantastic focus!   Several nights I was up in the wee hours, praying and reading and settling myself down in God’s presence.  It can be hard to choose to get up, even if you’re not really sleeping, and go read and pray and be with God – but, when I returned more confident, loved and peaceful, the sleep I did get was quality sleep. I’ll take that as a victory for week 1!!  Even though anxiety was present, I remained committed to peace and rest – this is what a wise Pastor once described as focusing on direction and not perfection!!

Thanks for reading.  Would love to hear your thoughts.  If you want to keep reading, please sign up and follow this blog! Please share with others as you feel led!