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motivation

Meet Mikaila + How Her 6th Concussion Changed Her Life

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Meet Mikaila + How Her 6th Concussion Changed Her Life

In the Summer of 2014, I was given a gift in disguise.


An elbow to the back of the head granted me my 6th concussion; a circumstance which I at first perceived as an obstacle, but quickly realized to be a very powerful miracle.


I was hit by the occipital lobe, so my eyes were unable to focus on a screen or words. I had no access to TV, computers, phones, or written content of any kind. Listening to and processing information - visual or audial - was difficult.


Graduation from University, exercise, normal conversation, and large gatherings were put out of question by doctors. I became well acquainted with my bed… and myself.


I had not realized was that I had been given a rare opportunity to live simply; to get in touch with myself, with no access to outside information.


As a high extrovert completely immersed in the “hustle culture” at the time, introspection was a rarity. I had, in the past, searched externally for much of that which I defined as “happiness” or “success”. I can recall mentally straining for months, feeling such unease as I lay in my bed imagining what I was missing at school, how my athletics would be affected, and similar less than productive thoughts.


I quickly began to realize that what we focus on is the reality which we create.

And therein, the overhaul of my thought processes began,

for what we believe to be true for ourselves is how we experience life.

Albert Einstein once said that the most important decision which humans need to make is whether we live in a fearful or loving Universe, and I agree! Choosing to believe in the good, even if my mind couldn’t quite comprehend it, was a very intentional thought, which after a little bit of forcing (hehe), became a pattern.


The starkest of contrasts took root when I allowed myself to relax into life in this sense, trusting what I was experiencing without any logic, except that I had chosen to believe that there was a loving reason for the concussion. When the strain of attempting to control the circumstance dissolved, I began to notice simple things that I had never taken a moment to noticed before.

The vibrance of the seasons, for example. The purples emerging in the spring, to the lush greenery and warm wind of a summer evening, to the smell of crisp leaves in the air of the fall brought to my attention by the winds of change.


My busy mind previously fragmented by multiple thoughts shifted into a knowing that…


To live “here and now” is to be in tune with miracles present in each moment;


To be in conscious conversation with someone is to FEEL their emotions; to be compassionate;


To experience personal emotions of frustration or anger as an observer, simply knowing that emotions come and go like weather;


To begin to realize that absolutely anything is possible to create when you place your attention there, including recovery from physical injury; and


To begin to cultivate only positive thoughts out of realization that they literally manifest in how you view your world; your reality, and what is possible in your life.


Now, sometimes, I dance around the gym or catch myself with a face sore from smiling, walking through the grocery store simply because I am experiencing it: A life where every moment is perfect.


My definitions of certain words in our culture began to shift:


“Success” shifted from “accomplishment” to “experience”;

“Joy” became “this moment” rather than a state I had to reach;

“Comparison” became uncomprehensible, because no two perceptions or life stories are the same

“Judgement” stopped, because “Compassion” took root in my heart.


As such miracle minded concepts took root in my mind, these thoughts translated into a belief that recovery was very, very possible.


Thought turned into action, and my body slowly, through incremental shifts in training, began to believe itself to be more capable, as well: I have completed University and am beyond blessed to be able to move my body again. (Except for the splits; a skill I am determined to have! Currently sitting at approximately 90 degrees out of the full 180. Heheh!)


Choosing love and positive thoughts are the best medicine. After years of treatment, the greatest shift in physical recovery began once my mind truly and wholeheartedly believed it to be possible!!


When we do our best to choose a loving intention to underlie every thought, word, and action, no circumstance can be perceived as an obstacle. 


Here’s to relaxing into the world, welcoming what comes, focusing on abundance, loving all those in our lives, and believing that we ARE capable of surfing that wave.


:) :) :)

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Meet Jenna. This is her Story

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Meet Jenna. This is her Story

By Jenna Kress

 

Not cool enough. Not strong enough.  Not fast enough. Not skinny enough. Not talented enough.

The feeling of never being enough or doing good enough.

That is the story of my life.  

I was once a young girl with a creative mind and imagination; I dreamed of being on Broadway, was somewhat shy, and quieter than the rest of my family.  I also spent a lot of time in front of the mirror cutting myself down for being too fat.  I had some talents and hobbies but never really succeeded in one. I really struggled with putting myself out there because of how I felt about myself – fat, ugly, I had bad acne, weak, and what I would call “socially awkward.”   

Me. I'm the biggest thing that has ever held me back.

I do have to give myself credit because after hitting my heaviest weight, I did do something to change it.  I changed my diet and started exercising. I started University, got into a serious relationship, and became physically unrecognizable

I learned that if I work really hard at something, if I’m persistent, and if I really want it, I’ll succeed.  However, there was a lot of struggle during this time as well. I lost a lot of weight.  It became an obsession.  I exercised a lot, skipped meals, rationed my portions, and continued to shrink to a point where I knew people were saying things but never to my face- with the exception of my boyfriend at the time calling me a skeleton; “It’s like having sex with a Skeleton” he would say.  I vividly remember a point that hit me before I started losing a lot of weight – my boyfriend had accidently slipped on a pair of my jeans and then went on to make fun of me for that fact that he could fit into them- So I went from too big to too skinny.  Sadly my ex-boyfriend was more concerned that people thought he was the cause of my low weight, than he was about my health.

I tried bulimia.  I remember shoving my fingers down my throat.  That didn’t work.  I tried the back of my toothbrush.  That also didn’t work.  I remember how my throat felt.  Raw.   

Since bulimia didn’t work, I continued to eat very little, so eventually I ended up with anorexia. One of the scariest things that I vividly remember was weighing myself in my parent’s bathroom and seeing 95 lbs (I am 5’7”)- the scary thing about it is I remember smiling because I was pleased with this outcome.  

My mind was always on food – about when the next allotted time came up that I could eat and how many calories it would cost me.  I suffered from depression and anxiety, which I was taking a prescription for, but this further declined my appetite and gave me terrible tremors.  

I was very skinny but I never felt skinny enough.  

I was never good enough even though I excelled at school and landed a great job after I finished my degree.  I just wasn’t happy.  I began to drink more – often skipping food to offset the extra calories from booze.  

I can’t tell you how exactly how I made the switch to choose a healthier lifestyle, but I’ve made and continue to make a lot of changes to get where I am – I am a heathier body weight now and doing things I never believed I could.  I am very active being an indoor spin (i.e. Ride, cycle) instructor (‘Motivator’) at Wheelhouse Cycle Club.  Being up on the podium as a Motivator – leader – has given another level of purpose and self-worth to my life.  I have confidence on the bike- I can dance, move and be who I want to be.

The adrenaline that I get from these high energy rides keeps my energy and mood up for days.

My rides are intense, fast, dance-y and frickin' hard, but I love it.  I am continually surprised by my own capabilities. Riding and exercising has provided me both physical and mental benefits- but more importantly are the mental benefits I have gained.

On days that I have felt mental pain and fatigue- Riding has helped release that.

I have a better relationship with food because I know without it, I wouldn’t be as strong on the bike and wouldn’t be able to keep up with my active and busy lifestyle (I am also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Makeup Artist).

I have also been able to connect with others and am now part of a positive supportive community.

Leading rides has become part of the biggest thing that helps me love myself more- I love helping and empowering others to be their healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.  

My personal journey includes experiences of struggles and successes. I’ve loved, lost, laughed, and ugly cried probably more than the average person. I still have failures but I continue to learn from them, take risks, get stronger, and happier.  I am thankful for this body and that I can ride, I can run, I can do yoga, I can lift weights heavier than I ever imagined for myself.  And finally, I am getting better at appreciating myself and recognizing that I AM already enough, I’m more than enough.  

If you don’t believe in you, how is anyone  else supposed to?

Be excited about yourself! xo Jenna

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Meet Nolan. This is his Story

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Meet Nolan. This is his Story

I’ve always felt a bit sad; Not the 'breaking up with your first love'/ 'not receiving the mark you thought you deserved' kind of sadness, but a sadness that I can only describe as a rotting feeling that plagued my entire perception of happiness.
 
                  When I was in high school, the words 'depression' and 'anxiety' were terms most definitely not universally used to describe the mental agony people could feel. Instead, they were used as placeholders for when students were feeling a sense of nerve or disappointment.
 
“Ugh. I’m so depressed. This gives me anxiety,” became a sentence I became far too familiar with.
 
During this time, the best example actually came from my parents when I told them that I was sad but couldn’t explain why:
 
“Son. You’re just in a rut. You’re fine and you’ll get out of it. Depression isn’t real,”
 
With stigmas surrounding these words, where did it leave the small margin of people who actually identified with these forms of mental health?
 
I carried this feeling of deep uncertainty inside me for years. It wasn’t until I moved out of my parents’ house and fled to Toronto when I accepted that I was living with both depression and anxiety. Over the years I had spent countless moments buried in self-loathing, emptiness, exhaustion, frustration, and pain. There was once a point when I wouldn’t even allow myself to feel happiness because I was convinced that it was temporary and unrealistic. As I'm writing this, my mind is running 1000KM/h and my fingers are flying across my keyboard; even I’m in disbelief that I have felt this way too many times over.
 
Although my mental health latches on like weights on my shoulders every single day, today I am a stronger person.
 
The key to a resilient and fit mind is treating your body in the same respect. Although I have been boxing on-and-off since I was 11, I dove heavily back into the art when I began to feel myself slipping away like sand through my fingers—contained yet falling beyond control. For the first six months getting back into it, I vividly remember mentally projecting myself at the end of each jab; each hook; each over-hand right; hoping to beat my demons out from within. I was frustrated. Mad. Hurting. I wanted change so badly.
 
Through boxing I restored my body with discipline, a hard-work ethic, drive, passion, and purpose. Today I am reminded of all these things: I AM FUCKING STRONG. I AM A WARRIOR. AND NOT A GOD DAMN PERSON WILL EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. To my friends who seek change mentally and physically, TOMORROW IS TODAY. Get after it. Move your body. Every day is your chance to make things count.
 
-n

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