Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to Find HER

Be Still

At this moment in your life it is extremely important to find your own voice because honestly, this is one of the easiest times to do it. As life goes on, we assume more & more responsibilities. We get married, have careers, maybe a couple of kids. When life begins to pile on, if we don’t already have a true sense of self, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  This is a beautiful time in your life. Embrace the blessing of these moments and get to know who you are, what you like, what you want. Get to know the core of you, the voice of your feminine soul.

Finding your voice is about allowing the whole being to be expressed, through your voice, your movement, your creativity. It’s about realizing there is passion in your heart, wisdom in your soul, knowing in your mind, and a phenomenal strength and beauty in your body. A woman who has found her voice is free.  And it isn’t a matter of picking out one note and singing that forever. The beauty of being women is that we play so many tunes, though each must be in harmony with our true essence. And the world needs them all, all the loving, tender, caring feminine energy we can give it, served by our power and strength. How do we find that? How can we hear the voice of our soul?

Be still, then…

·         Ask yourself, ‘what do I want, what am I here for?’ Then, get still because when you become quiet, it just dawns on you.
·         Embrace the feminine spirit, that thing that makes you different from men because, my darlings, you are. Give thanks to the Divine that you are not the same as men. Claim & celebrate your being in this world as a woman.
·         Believe in the power and strength of other women. Bathe in the bliss of their company. Release those words we’ve all heard, ‘women just can’t get along’ because the reality is when we spend time together, our bodies sync.
·         Celebrate your ability to heal because it is a process that you are a part of.
·         Tell yourself the truth.
·         Believe in your strength and resilience and your capacity to do difficult things.
·         Be your ultimate, committed lover.
·         Accept help.
·         Accept change.
·         Create change.
·         Enjoy your sensuality.
·         Let go.
·         Dance.
·         Do exactly what you want to do.

These are the moments to try everything, to explore your interests. These are the moments to be unashamed, to be daring. These are the moments to surround yourself with goodness; good sounds, good smells, good people. As Erykah Badu says, ‘pick your friends like you pick your fruit’.

I have this posted on my mirror and it’s such a powerful way to walk out the door – ‘she went out on a limb, had it break off behind her, and discovered she could fly.’ Remembering this statement gives me wings to move through my day. It is such a simple measure but it empowers me which, in turn, empowers the people I come into contact with.  

Embracing your strength, knowing your power, believing that you were designed to be healthy & happy enables you to hold your head high and look the world straight in the eye. As a woman, it is all up to you. It is up to you to be amazing. It is up to you to be strong. It is up to you to be unstoppable. It is up to you to be sincere. It is up to you to be alive. It is up to you to tap into your inner source of power, a power so strong, it can change the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it beautifully when she stated, ‘the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’

These are the moments, girls. This is the time. Today is the day.
Witten for the December 2010 Issue of Mwari Magazine


I met Francis about 5 years ago in a place we both love…the gym. She was a staff trainer and I was an independent, bringing in clients maybe a couple times per week. We always acknowledged each other but never really spoke much in the beginning. I’m a very quiet and observant person so I would just watch her as she interacted with everyone. Little did I know she was also watching me. The members loved her. She had a wonderful touch and an engaging smile. You just knew she genuinely cared. If she wasn’t on the floor training someone, or teaching one of her countless classes, I would see her sitting at her desk listening and advising. I was impressed by her.

One day Francis approached me and asked if we could have a conversation. She invited me to her office and begins by saying, “I’ve been watching you.” She commences to tell me of a devastating childhood injury that nearly kills her and left her without a chest muscle, an upper back muscle or a breast on her left side. Now, most people use even the slightest aches and pains as an excuse to do nothing. Their conversations usually start something like, ‘I would workout if…’. Well, not Ms. Francis. She decided to strip down. Ok, let me explain. There was a fitness competition approaching and she asked if I would be willing to prepare her to hit the stage. If you’ve ever seen one of these contests, you know the suits we have to wear are designed to show everything you’ve worked so hard to develop.

Now, I had personally trained and, trained with some of the best athletes in the world but Francis presented me with a new challenge. With her never having done anything like this before, could I get her as symmetrical as possible (remember she doesn’t have the musculature on her left), do it around her hectic schedule (work and 3 kids) and do it in 3 months (Whoa!). Every competitive and egotistical bone in my body roared, ‘OF COURSE! I CAN DO ANYTHING! What a nice feather in my cap this would be’. But, I didn’t give her an immediate answer. I needed to think it through. I had to be realistic.

The next day Francis and I sat down to put a schedule together. That’s when she informed me that she had the dates wrong. We didn’t have 3 months. We had 6 weeks! Oh well, we’re both excited at this point so we scratched the old schedule and made a new one. It was going to be an intense 6 weeks of training twice a day. Ok, I’ll fast forward to tell you about the true strength of this amazing woman. We trained on the track of Clark-Atlanta and as I’m leaving my house one morning, the sky turned black and opened up. What was normally an 18 minute drive took over an hour. I called Francis to reschedule but I couldn’t reach her so I kept driving. When I got to the track, what I saw brought tears to my eyes. She wasn’t sitting in her car waiting on me; she was doing her laps around the track completely waterlogged. I sat there for a minute just watching her. It was raining so hard I don’t even think she saw me.

Her dedication to achieve the goal she set for herself more than paid off. Not only did she grace the stage but, she dropped 11% body fat in only 6 weeks and placed 4th in her first showing ever! Think about that as you’re turning the pages. You’re getting life changing information from someone who understands the process, has done it and continues to do it with an unrelenting schedule and 3 little women at home.

Throughout my 15 years in the fitness industry, I have seen some great trainers – those that their clients rave about – and I have seen trainers that frighten me – whether through their lack of knowledge, desire, or seemingly total disregard for the client’s safety. Francis is perched on the apex of the great ones.

I’m sure some of you bought this book as a show of support for your friend Francis and others because they truly have a desire to make a change. Whatever your reason, know this; your life is your responsibility. Don’t allow her desires for a healthier you to collect dust on the shelf. If I know Francis, and I believe I do, she would prefer that you take this book with you to the gym, outside in your back yard, upstairs in the room with that beautiful treadmill you bought with the greatest of intentions, or lay it beside you on your living room floor. She’s given you the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ but they’re just words on a page without some energy being expended from you.

Your body was meant to last a lifetime…the span and quality of that life is up to you.

I wrote this forward for 'Weightlifting Made Simple For Women' by Frances M. Martin

You Incredible YOU!

Girls, I'm just a bit older than you so I've had a few chances to say, 'If I'd only done "something" sooner'. Well, good for you, that you now know me. And what I know for sure will help you live incredibly, if not immediately, in short order.
I've learned that the key to a fulfilling & fantastic life is strength - physical, mental & spiritual strength. These are three of the layers we have been created with & each of them requires our attention.
Being that you're sitting on a college campus, I trust that you believe knowledge is power. So, answer me this... What do you know about your body? For my medical students this question goes a bit deeper than Anatomy class. The question is what do YOU know about YOUR body? Within this question lays the key to your wonderful life.
We all have the gift of hindsight and the knowledge I've gained with this ‘back vision’, puts me in the position where I am now able to talk with you about Definite, Simple, Fun, & Creative things you can implement today that will make your life better... sooner.
I have one more question.
Do you have any idea how freakin’ incredible you are?! In every way imaginable, you, my girl, my sister, are a dynamic creature, given charge of so much. We are natural nurturers & teachers. We can't change that. So embrace it and know that we HAVE to be strong in order to support our strength. Does that make sense? Here’s my reasoning. I've always envisioned women as trees. From the intricate details to the curving shapes, trees become even more magical as they move AWAY from their root system. As it reaches up, it also reaches out. It blooms. It blossoms. It bears fruit.  It changes colors. Imagine how strong the roots must be in order to support all that's happening above.  As women, we too, support the very ground we spring from, making everything & everyone around us even stronger. Our reach grows exponentially. Our strength supports our strength.
How are we able to do that? How are we able to give so much and still maintain our sense of self, our sense of HER? How do we hold on to this strength throughout our lifetime? I promise you, it's not as difficult as one may think. I've spoken with several incredible women, asked them this very question and everyone's answers are quite similar. Like Ms. Maci Peterson, the founder and Editor of Mwari. Unless my antenna is off, she instantly struck me as a beautiful, giving spirit. I recently asked her... How? How, with everything happening in her life, is she able to remain focused, healthy, & happy? At such a young age, Maci has embraced her strengths, nurtures her talents and simply goes for it. She's no different than you. She's not better than you. So, how does SHE do it?  (You can read the details of our conversation on my blog,
In this portion of Mwari, you & I will explore the 'how’s'.
• how to become stronger physically
• how to become stronger spiritually
• how to properly feed ourselves
• how to give to ourselves
You'll find Simple, Fun, & Creative ways to answer 'how'. There are recipes & exercises for your physical self, and you'll find ways to embrace your creative & spiritual self. I will share with you what I know. And because I know there is no 'one way' I invite you to share with me what you know. Send me an email,, and share your stories on how you choose to strengthen & celebrate your being as a SHE.
We have lots of work to do girls. I need you ready.
Written for Mwari Magazine, December 2010 Issue