The End is the Beginning

It’s been a really great 2.5 years writing this blog. I’ve learned so much in this time, had great conversations, and rediscovered my passion for the written word. I owe so much of that to those of you who have participated in this community!

The time has come to move on, however, as I change the majority of my business focus to personal development and small business consulting (no worries existing massage clients, I’m still doing that too!). It’s time for this blog to wind down while I focus on the new site and newsletter.

If you like what I’ve done here, why not head over to the new site and check it out! You can read a more in-depth version of my story. I’m also inviting readers to share their own stories.

I’m so excited for this next chapter in my career, and I hope to see many of you there!

Lots of love,

Maggie O.

Milwaukee, I Heart [Attack] You!

Once again, I was supposed to spend last week out in a cabin someplace; hiking, meditating, and generally decompressing. This time, my consolation trip was a weekend in Milwaukee. I’d never actually been in the city itself before, just gone around it on my way to more exotic locales. Like Madison or Minneapolis. Within 30 […]

A Challenge I Could Do

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

I am running longer and farther than I ever thought I was capable of, and it’s an amazing feeling. I expected training for a 10K would challenge me both mentally and physically.

The challenge I didn’t expect is not to my lungs, legs, heart, or will to carry on. It’s to my resolve to be kind to myself.

This morning’s run was the start of a new week, and it was tough. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the 10K trainer that these runs are supposed to be challenging, and to not be surprised if you have to repeat them before you’re ready to move on.

Intellectually I can accept that.

It presented me with a dilemma this morning. I had just moved into the next round of intervals and it became pretty apparent during my second 15 minute stretch that I was going to have a very, very hard time finishing the third one.

As I pushed myself physically, I was going to have to try to find the line between doing as much as I was capable of, and not pushing myself too hard. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, you see. I am apparently very susceptible to the sunk cost fallacy.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I was challenging my self-kindness at all. I knew I had reached the point it was time to stop when my form really started to suffer. To run those final 3.5 minutes of that last interval wouldn’t have been kind or healthy for me, it was going to be too much.

I get a lot of satisfaction from finishing a run and making progress toward my 2015 goal. Today I got a lot of satisfaction from finding my limit and not going over it. Today I was testing my capacity for self-love, and I passed the test.

I can’t wait to test myself again on Thursday!



You’re Taking Notes, Right?

I can’t believe we’re already on the 8th Adventuring on a Budget post. How the heck did that happen? I’m pretty sure it’s only been a couple months since I set out to “prove” that a wellness lifestyle is not just for the privileged.

I also can’t believe that I am only now covering one of the most important parts of improving your personal wellness: keeping a journal (or 4 or 5 like I do, or is it 6?).

How can you possibly keep track of how your wellness is evolving if you aren’t writing it down? How can you science without data? Maybe you have perfect recall, which is awesome, but for the rest of us it’s a good idea to write things down.

I use my journals for almost anything. I write down business/blog ideas, I write out a daily mantra, I plan my schedule, write down what I’m grateful for, and of course, write down how things are going with my latest resolution. I also write poems and essay outlines.

I’m honestly not sure how I used to manage.

Keeping a journal was a chore for me at first. 750words helped me get over that initial hump. I loved that it analyzed my daily writing to give me cool pie charts showing my attitude, emotions, etc. Pie charts with bright, happy colors even! It got me into the habit of writing things down every day and I haven’t looked back.

Where you start is up to you. You don’t *need* pretty, pretty pie charts and word analysis to get value for your efforts. Like with pretty much everything else I’ve written about, consistency is key to getting the results you want.

Do you already keep a journal? If not, what would it take for you to start?



Forget Perfection and Make it Work!

Recently, I outlined what a perfect morning routine looks like to me, and how I planned to start implementing it right away. That’s all well and good on a morning when I’m working from home, but what about when I’m in the office? Here’s some things you might not know about me:

  1. I have a long commute, on a good day I can get to and from work in just under an hour. On a bad day, 90+ minutes.
  2. I use public transportation, and it takes two trains, buses, or a combination to get me from Chi to Evanston with waits for each, plus just under two miles of walking (each way). My actual time on any given train or bus is generally less than 20 minutes (less than 10 on the purple line).

So, I definitely get how difficult it can be to fit in self-care in the morning!

Today “should” have been a 45-minute run followed by stretching and a moderately long seated meditation. Only I had a client first thing, and there’s no way I’m getting up at 5:00 am. Not gonna happen.

This morning wasn’t going to be perfect, but there was still time for better self-care than just a quick mindfulness meditation. I did 10 minutes of yoga while my yerba mate steeped, and then I drank the tea on my yoga mat and wrote in a journal.

In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train
In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train

Then I got creative. I had almost 10 minutes to wait for each train this morning; a perfect opportunity to practice Tadasana!* My yoga teacher likes to say that Tadasana, “is an everything pose, or a nothing pose”. I like to use the time I spend waiting for my train to arrive to make it an everything pose.

It’s this kind of flexibility that leads to better self-care. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re never going to get started.

How about you? Any clever ways you sneak in some extra care on busy days?

*This is not an endorsement for yoga journal and I am not a yoga teacher. I cannot overstate how strongly I believe that yoga should be learned in person from a qualified professional.



From Fantasy to Reality

Have you tried doing any monthly resolutions yet? I love playing with new things every month!

I know that it’s still August (happily, I am not ready for fall!), but this morning I came up with my September resolution: turning on my computer 30 minutes later in the morning. I plan to ease that up to an hour, so no computer time before 8:00 am.

What will I do with all that time?

Seems like a 10K isn’t going to run itself, so 2-3 mornings I’ll be out running (with properly paced breath, even).

Extra meditation and yoga time! I’ve really, really slacked off on my morning yoga practice on non-run days.

In my fantasy life, I do my quick meditation check-in right away, then I follow that up with a run or yoga practice, and end with a longer meditation. I keep making excuses for why I can’t have that now, why it has to wait for some magical, perfect future. Excuses about not having time. Somewhere along the line, I decided that reading my favorite blogs took precedence over yoga in my precious early morning hours.

Again, this blog is about adventure! One of the reasons I stress that so often is that it gives me framework for looking at the preceding paragraph in a self-loving, nonjudgmental way.

I let myself have different priorities up until now (let’s get real, after writing all this I am totally going to start early), and that’s fine! Today is a new opportunity, tomorrow is a new opportunity, I will have another chance to live this dream until the day I die.

It can seem a little intimidating to cut back on technology at first. When I disabled my phone’s email notifications I practically broke out in hives; yet I haven’t missed any important emails, or failed to get back to clients and readers in a timely fashion.

Choose yourself, choose adventure, choose today!

Make time for your dreams
Make time for your dreams

*This post was originally published with a different title. A terrible title. Possibly my worst ever.

The Scary Changes

I’ve noticed that the more real and authentic I’m able to be on this blog, the more people engage with it and with me outside of it. Well, having meaningful human contact is one of the main purposes of my life, so let’s keep that up. Before we continue, I’m gonna throw up a Trigger Warning for disordered eating talk on this post.

I’ve been pretty candid in the past about my dietary experiments, namely, playing with adding and subtracting certain foods to my diet. I’m extremely comfortable (and enjoy) playing with the “what” aspect of mealtime. “How” has proven to be a much trickier subject.

I have a lot of issues with food and eating. The reasons are irrelevant, just know that they are old and deeply ingrained.

As I’ve been spending time trying to improve my wellness, I recently took a long, hard look at my actual eating habits. What I found… wasn’t pretty. It’s amazing what we can overlook about ourselves.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten very serious about incorporating mindfulness practice into mealtime. It’s something I’ve tried in the past, but never managed to make a habit out of it. Asking me to take one mindful bite of food? You’re basically asking me to run my nails down a chalkboard. Do not want.

But my life is about adventuring toward wellness, not running full speed away from it. So I did what I always do when things get tough: I set a timer for 5 minutes and ate as slowly and mindfully as I could until that timer went off.

You know what? It wasn’t so bad. In fact, it felt indulgent in the best possible way to take my time over my food and really focus on it. To pause occasionally and take a deep breath in the middle of a meal. I could do this.

Now when the timer goes off I don’t necessarily stay at the table and finish my meal in a mindful state; sometimes I want to get back to my reading, etc. But sometimes I do. Either way, I eat slower than I did before, and feel way better after the meal is over.

I’m not going to lie, this was a scary change for me to make. Engaging thoughtfully with food and mealtimes felt like a mountain too steep when I was at the bottom. Now that I know I can do it, I actually want to do it. The one time (so far) I’ve forgotten to do it, I was disappointed because I didn’t enjoy my meal as much.

Sometimes following through with the scary changes can lead to a much better place. Be brave and adventure on!


A Victorious Day

Today has been a big day; I’ve accomplished three things that I feel really good about:

This morning I did my entire 60 minute kettlebell class using an 8 lb bell. Assuming that my arms are still attached tomorrow, that’s pretty exciting.

For weeks now I’ve had a weekly task to register for the weekend with Her Eminence Mindrolling Khandro Rinpoche. Today I finally got to wipe that off the dry erase board. I am so excited for this special weekend!

Do you ever have tasks that you’ve been putting off for so long that they take on a disproportionate amount of importance in your mind? I’m talking about a normal, everyday thing that other people manage to do with no thought that you’ve been putting off for so long that it starts to seem impossible? That’s what my last accomplishment today was like.

I finally, finally applied for my passport! I’ve been saying to myself for almost a decade, “I need [should, have, etc] to get my passport so I can finally leave the US”.

I decided on Monday that that was going to happen this week. Wednesday, in fact. I made it my only task for today, that’s how serious I was about it (and how much I was overthinking it, because it took maybe 45 minutes and most of that was just waiting in line). I was literally shaking with nerves from the moment I arrived at the post office until I said goodbye to the (incredibly nice and patient) woman who was helping me.

Freedom is one of my most important values, and by continually putting off getting a passport I was neglecting that part of my life.

Here’s to freedom, and learning new massage modalities all over the world!

A Quick Question (plus bragging)

Is anyone else out there totally thrown by the fact that it is basically July, or is it just me?

Anyway, I made the time to walk over to the beach three days in a row last week when the weather was hot. It was awesome! I hope that you’re all managing to take advantage of those days too (well, those of us in Chicagoland, I understand that other places have more reliable summers).

I got a cool notice from my magic gizmo yesterday: I have walked 736 miles since I got it at the end of March. All those hikes to and from work are paying off!