Friday, December 30, 2016

An introverted end to 2016

As I write another end of year reflection post, it would be easy to join in on the laments of how awful the year has been, what with the iconic celebrity deaths and the political climate. I could offer a more positive, upbeat post on the highlights of my wellness business this year. I’m sure I could even come up with lists of 16 or 17 lessons learned, goals to attain, and what to let go of or grab hold of in the New Year. But this year, perhaps even more than in previous, I’m feeling quiet and reflective. Therefore, I want to write from that contemplative space.

I’ve never been a big New Year’s person. I would always much rather watch the “When Harry met Sally” New Year’s party scene than actually go out to one. The thought of being somewhere crowded and crazy like Time Square or Vegas for New Year’s makes me itch a little. Even in the year 2000, when it was finally appropriate to party like it was 1999, I went to a watch night church service with my friend’s family and then slept over. Sad, I know. I wish I could say I made up for it in later years, but that would be a lie.

It’s not that I dislike New Year’s. I’m all for toasting with champagne and singing a few rounds of Auld Lang Syne. I just prefer to do it in the comfort of my home, preferably before 11pm. It’ll still be a new year when I wake up the next morning, right? Again, it might seem kind of sad, but I like it that way. After all, the 525,600 minutes that make up a year are so loud. By the time we reach New Year’s Eve, I generally want to slow down and enjoy a quiet space. It’s the only way I can hear the voice inside and discern my next moves for the new year.

So, what’s on my agenda this weekend while the rest of the world is kissing, toasting, ball dropping, and praising, from one year to the next? I’m not exactly sure yet. But it’ll include some remembering, some thanksgiving, and a chorus or two of Auld Lang Syne. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Soul Trainer

A few weeks ago, I shared this month marks my one-year business anniversary and my three year blogiversary. It’s so weird to look back at my old entries. It’s like re-reading old journals. I’m still kind of amazed that I decided to chronicle my life experiences and observations in such a public forum. As I said before, it’s cool to see how things change and remain the same.

I started my blog after a huge life transition. And in the last three years, there have been several more. I’ve written about career, relationships, hurts, and healing. I’ve written as a (hopefully) wise friend, guide, and co-journeyer. I’ve demonstrated how fitness and movement have become my metaphors for overcoming in life. Basically, I feel like I’ve found myself, healed my heart, and discovered purpose in this blog- to promote health and strength from the inside out.

So, when a life coach friend of mine told me one day, “You’re like a soul trainer,” it totally resonated with me. Yes. I suppose I am. And I’m not a counselor-trainer who will just give you the prescription and rattle off book knowledge without having gone through the process myself. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have been walking through it all right along with you. It only makes sense then for me to finally settle into a more appropriate blog name. Soul Trainer. Nothing will really change as far as what I write about. I’m just clarifying my focus in a way that captures what I really do. Let us continue to grow together in strength, joy, and wellness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Open hands, open heart

I just started a new journey...a journey toward openness. That might seem weird because many people experience me as pretty pleasant and agreeable. Am I warm and friendly? For sure. Big-hearted? Absolutely. But open? Um...yeah, no. Honestly, I haven't minded my aloofness. It's been very protective and I've appreciated the safety it's given me. But as with most coping mechanisms, they work until they don't. They are helpful until they cost you something or interfere with meeting other needs. In my case, my standoffish demeanor has kept me from the connection I crave. Therefore, I figured it was time to do something about it.

I met up with my yoga instructor friend over the weekend. I just had a simple request. "Can you show me some heart opening poses?" As corny as it sounds, I just wanted to bypass talk and use my body to invite love into my life. Romantic love, sure. But also a deeper experience of God's love...more intimate encounters in friendship love...more work related opportunities to express love. Basically, I wanted to learn how to be a big ball of sunshine radiating love and light...without opening up, being seen, and letting people in, of course. Sadly, you can't have it both ways. Boo!

At any rate, my friend guided me through a spontaneous heart opening flow. I breathed. I expanded my chest. I noticed the areas of tightness and discomfort and moved through them. I noticed my fears, validated them, and then gently disputed them with truthful affirmations. It was just a one time session, so there's lots more practice to do. But I believe making this a regular practice will manifest powerful things in my life. I just had to create space in my heart for it.

It's important to know that I will still vigilantly guard my heart. I care for and want to protect it. Not everyone who feels attached to me will gain entry to my sacred space, just as not everyone that I attach to will grant me access to theirs. And that's okay. You can't say you truly love someone without also honoring their limits. But now I understand that you can guard your heart and still keep it open. If I'm lovingly attending what I need and communicating sincerely with others, I don't need to be afraid. All I need to focus on is giving myself when I'm moved to give and do it with open hands and an open heart.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy Anniversary Gambrell Wellness

There’s something about the last two months of the year for me. It’s almost as if my personal season for change and renewal can’t wait for January 1st. I tend to get a jump start in November and December. I suppose that’s why I launched my wellness business one year ago and my blog three years ago this month. Since it’s a milestone and all, I figured it only made sense to dedicate my posts this month to my babies- my business and my blog. And since it’s Thursday, I see no better way to kick things off than a throwback post. Here is my very first entry. Pretty cool to see how amidst all the change some things remain the same.

Getting in the arena

I guess I’ll begin this blog like I did my very first tweet. This is me getting in the arena. I have long avoided social media. I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose I can thank my mom for instilling a healthy dose of paranoia in me- you know, those loving, cautionary reminders that anything you put in writing and on the internet is out there forever. While that is true and I think lots of folks need that reminder, what that message did for me was scare me into hiding. Now, I love my mom and I certainly don’t blame her for my reticence to enter the public forum. There’s a whole host of personal insecurities and life experiences that I can thank for that. What I will say is that it’s taken me a while, but now, as a 30 something year old woman, I’m ready to take a risk and be seen. I’m ready to share my ideas even if they’re critiqued. I’m ready to be my authentic self and hope to be rewarded with meaningful connections to other people.

So, who am I? I should probably mention I’m a professional counselor. That doesn’t make me an expert or a know it all, and no I’m not analyzing you. My profession does afford me a practical skill set of being able to connect, as well as offers insight into human nature. I’m also a Christian. Not a “Jesus on my neck-a-lace, -ace” (Ke$ha) kind of Christian, but a compassionate, sincere one. My faith informs everything in my life so that will be the underpinning of most of my posts. You were warned. 

Lastly, in this blog I hope to speak to soul matters, the stuff that gets us at our core. I'll offer stories and ideas that have inspired me. They might be sad and painful. They might also be funny and joyful.  I want to share ideas from the perspectives of both a friend and a co-journeyer. I want to meet people where they live. Most of all, I want you (whoever you are) to connect with my words and somehow, through the time and space that separate us feel seen, heard, and understood. It’s quite an ambitious endeavor but I’m up for it.

So until the next post, may you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers and gets along well...(3 John 2).

Originally posted December 18, 2013 hence the Ke$ha reference.