Why do we stop dreaming and being ambitious? Too risky as adults? Can we really change? I hope so.

I remember thinking as a kid, my life is full of my biggest dreams. Each day was dedicated to just having fun and in the mix, fulfilling those dreams step by step along the way. 

But why do we stop? Bettering yourself, whether your body, mind or spirit, isn’t reserved for one time in your life. I’m still working on my splits, backbend, skateboarding, surfing, writing, foreign language skills. I never want to stop. 

But what if we could ask ourselves ‘what do you want to be when you grown up’ every day of our life? 

Well I think we can do just that. And here’s why:

– I feel I owe it to myself. That may sound selfish but it’s not. I’ve got to follow my heart before I can effectively help someone else follow theirs.

– I love achievement. It feels amazing.

– I want to be the best I can be. My goal has always been to build an amazing business. And family too, which is really just personal business. 

– I constantly crave new experiences and wisdom.

– Most importantly, I have a dream. I have goals so I know where I want to be and I have confidence that I will get there.

If you go thru life with a great eye in which you’re constantly developing, the dedication to move forward even when it’s tough, an unbiased mind that is open to change and new ideas, and a mouth that’s not afraid to speak up for what is right (but knows when to bite it’s tongue and admit that it’s wrong… something I’ll work on for the rest of my life)… Even with just one of these traits, or a few, or just working on one or a few, you’ll better yourself. 

Are you open to change? Comment below some ideas of how you think we all could in 2019.

Join Fitbynature’s upcoming membership website from March 2019: work on bettering your body, mind and spirit for your best year yet. PM to get on the waitlist. 

‘Tis the season for me and it fills me with fear. Every year I have to get an mri of my brain and if you haven’t had one it’s like a claustrophobic rave party for one with an intermission and disgusting metallic-tasting injection then another rave party you thought was over. It takes about 45min and then I wait to see my neurosurgeon after the weekend, seeing if there’s any changes.

It’s now been eight years since I had a tennis ball sized brain tumor. Specifically it was on my cerebellum which they only discovered after I began losing my balance and had weird shooting neck- to head- aches.

It thankfully turned out to be dormant, an enormous growth that had stopped. And while I ran a Nyc marathon qualifying half marathon just two weeks before with only feeling dizzy, an even bigger shock to being able to do so with something that big yet seemingly unknown in your brain, was that even now no one can tell me why.

However, I am proudly free of over the counter, prescription and natural medicines because my body is vital, it’s functioning properly and as a result it’s symptom free. I still have to see my neurosurgeon this afternoon but I’m feeling good about it. Because my food and lifestyle nourish my body, I listen to my body and honor what it tells me, I see every day as an opportunity to grow in every way I can no matter my age, and each year I set myself a challenge where all those elements can come together.

The idea of the challenge began back in the icu immediately after surgery when I was asked my name, age, did I know where I was and the date. Now I don’t even know what the date is most days let alone having just had brain surgery but having got the other answers I told my neurosurgeon it was the day of the Nyc marathon and I was going to run it the following year. Which I did, with my hub alongside, in a Boston marathon qualifying time of 3.34! And the next two years. We raised over $20k for brain tumor research, my neurosurgeon being one of my biggest sponsors.

The fourth year we decided on a marathon of surfing instead and headed to Nicaragua. However on return having suffered third world bug effects, from both ends if you get my meaning, I was still feeling off. I’d also had a big bleed and done three negative pregnancy tests. So I went to see a girly doc also fearing secondaries as I’d been told may be expected.

Anyway a scan would reveal I was healthy, in fact so healthy I had healed to the point of procreation, 5 months so to be exact. It turns out my post brain tumor body hormones were not normal; they’re what I now refer to as my superpowers! What’s more he’s an incredibly handsome little boy! He may still be the best brain tumor survival challenge I have brought to my neurosurgeon (let alone myself!).

Fast forward to this year Where I set myself a challenge again. Having had a tumor on my cerebellum, balance is most certainly not my forte nor rotation, both of which are particularly harrowing for someone with a love of fitness founded through a love of gymnastics and dance.

But I knew I could step up to this challenge. Or rather drop in. I learned to skateboard, culminating in a line I was pleased with in no less than the Haleiwa skate bowl near Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Suffice to say I’m excited to see my neurosurgeon this afternoon. For him to see the changes I have created to positively affect my life.

Tune in next blog for Ways to Bio-hack your Own Health: we’re healthy to the level of our cells and food, movement and mindset can get you anywhere you desire if I’m anything to believe!

Our body contributes far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength, power and endurance.

Your health depends on movement

There is exercise, and there is movement. This is not about smashing out reps and killing yourself, completing a “work-out” to achieve an external goal at the expense of your body’s inner workings. Too often we have extremes of inactivity and lack or over exertion with inappropriate intensities that sends our already stressed bodies over the edge. We ignore the basics we ‘should’ be capable of doing, like touching our toes, squatting to the ground to get something or rest, twisting around even in the car to get something behind us.

Then there’s our inner functioning:

– your heart moves your blood. It’s a muscle and needs daily aid to keep it in better shape than just ok

– unlike blood pumped by your heart, your lymph is fluid between your body tissues that needs movement. It gets rid of waste, transports white blood cells (immunity) and absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats.

– your joints move your body but need movement to remain lubricated

We’re made to move

Having just got off a long haul flight it couldn’t be more obvious to me that I’m not meant to watch four movies in a row!

And not just physically but mentally too. Interestingly, neurological health is not a one-way street with the brain telling the muscles ‘lift,’ ‘walk’. Research shows that using your legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system. Cutting back on exercise makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells — some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives. It’s no accident that we are meant to be active: to walk, run, crouch to sit, and use our leg muscles to lift things.

Oh and getting sunlight into my eyes- first and last thing if the day to reset my sleep, and that essential (non) movement is a whole other blog post.

We have stopped moving

Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost. We all know this story too well.

What can you do right now

– Just don’t sit.

– First thing out of bed do 5 min of mobility or stretching. Think of cats and dogs when they wake and stretch. Every time. A lot of times, throughout the day.

– Instead of going to the gym for an hour (then being so pooped you’ve to sit on a couch for the next), do something each hour.

– Squat more. Not at the squat rack but put your pots and pans on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, sit on the floor to watch tv or to play with your kids, to send emails, a daily commitment. Oh and get a squatty potty – your body’s internal forces affect your core way more than your outward efforts and knees up physiologically means stuff just drops down and doesn’t need forcing.

You can live without exercise but not without movement. And if what we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost, let’s change our leisure time to include movement, daily. That’s more leisure time, every day.

People often ask me how we have so much energy. Not just the kid but as a family. I’m not sure it’s a question of energy though. Even in most of my clients cases, once the motivation and inspiration are installed, energy is merely how.

Yesterday I skated Banzai Skatepark. I mean it’s a skatepark in the middle of Hawaii! Almost a year ago to the day I stood by my toddler scootering there and dreamed I would one day too. It’s such a symbol in paradise, a skatepark of great surf (& skate) champs. It was just a dream.

But that’s not why I write. Even though I have now skated at that park!

Today as I thought about dropping in, my toddler said to me, ‘I believe, mum’ and so did I. There’s two things I wanted to teach my kid: one was empathy for others and the other to believe in himself. And here he gave both right back to me. At just 3yo. Even if the latter is my words to him.

I read somewhere (& can’t find it to quote it!) that the best role model a kid can have isn’t one that’s successful, but one that shows us how to get up after we have fallen. And oh yeah I’ve fallen, and failed miserably, in bad temper, cried, just walked away.

And he’s seen. And heard. Telling me it’s ok, singing Bob Marley, that everything is gonna be alright.

And in the end it is. He’s right. Kids give us a chance to be better than we used to be (think that’s from Deadpool 2?) and mine certainly does. He makes me want to be a better mum, a better person, a better everything. What a guy.

What’s your inspo?

When your life is based around movement, in your body’s ability to change with change, to go with the flow, create your own flow in mobility and strength, and maybe inspire others while you’re doing all that, it makes sense to share my biggest move yet: back home.

I’ve said this to friends who were ‘but surely moving to the USA was your biggest move?’ And sure, I moved to the USA a year after life saving brain surgery. It was stressful, I even bought my apartment I’d lived in in Australia for the last eight years literally 5 hours before getting on that plane! My life was in flux and I was all go with the adventure. I was even mid-training for the Nyc marathon. I just changed run routes, sprint tracks and yoga classes and seamlessly kept on.

Even two and a half years after living in San Francisco, we moved to Chicago, in February, in -17f/-30c. When our last box was unloaded and we decided to go get brunch, my waters broke, 9 weeks early and Lachie was born the next day. Fast forward another two years and we moved back to San Francisco for yet another two years, a common cycle it seems!

And now my hub has taken all his great work in USA and found his dream job back in Australia. We’re on our way home, complete with our dream off the plane pretty much intact to the letter. It was what we decided we wanted to be doing and wanted our life be like (albeit the miraculous child!).

Suffice to say I’m getting the knack of this moving thing. Sorting, culling, letting go of things, rebuilding, renesting, rescheduling our days. In each place I’ve moved I’ve added new friends, starting with a local park, cafe, even the hospital where Lachie was born and all the wondrous nurses we came to know and love as our friends. Each place welcomed us and provided the sense of community and belonging I’ve felt in my own home in Australia.

Things have been stressful but I’ve found the more I move my body, the more I feel capable of dealing with change, and now specifically the big move itself. Not just in the feeling of having achieved something for myself by completing a workout, still adhering to my daily meditation and finding the most satiating best sourced foods each day, albeit not even in my home town anymore. We are now loving a week respite before embarking back home in Australia in beautiful Hawaii. Getting our daily dose of vitamin d, soaking surfing and sand castling in the sea, and time together just as a family and seeing that no matter what changes around us so often that we have and I hope always will have each other wherever we turn. I couldn’t be more grateful.

There’s so many parallels between body movement and physically moving countries. Flexibility: around decisions, letting go of physical and mental stuff. Strength: in remaining true to myself, my family and our dreams amidst all that must happen in this move, and our way. Mobility: in having both the flexibility and strength at the same time! Mindset: staying true to our dream, amidst outcomes outside our control and turning apparent failure into feedback. And Gratitude at the top: for the flexibility strength mobility and mindset capabilities to embark on all this, on our dream in the first place and now seeing it thru.

Now one chapter is about to close and blossom into a whole new chapter. And I feel it’s the biggest move yet. Firstly, home is a house with a heart. I would not have stayed in San Francisco if I hadn’t made my home there. As the song says so long ago, I’m leaving my heart in San Francisco…especially in Marin County hehe.

And then it’s about letting go. When you let go of things you really can’t control, freedom is born. It’s liberating to be honest and as a result feel happier and more content than ever.

And lastly, when you’ve achieved your dream, our dream off the plane as we have called it, it’s time to dream again. It’s time to step up again and look to where we want to be. Which is unending really. I want everything and I will go get that. Which is why this is my biggest move yet.

I’m leaving a life I have loved; I’m moving into a life I will love. And right now I’m trying not to move all that much and to sit and dream just where I’ll go.

Today I am celebrating just how far I’ve come.

On nov 4 2010 I had a brain tumor. A tennis ball sized one. It’s kinda a big deal to have something like that growing inside you you were unaware of, but also taken out of your brain. And to keep on living like nothing is any different. (Except for getting it checked and stress over it each year but that another story.) For now, it’s stopped. And it makes me more than grateful for all I have and can do.

As fate would have it surgery was 4 nov, which is the same day as the Nyc Marathon.

The same Nyc marathon I’d qualified to compete in October 2010 for November 2011, just three weeks before surgery. I told my neurosurgeon I’d be doing it the following year moments after surgery.

When my recovery was on track I began training. More miles, more sprints, more running shoes, more massages, more yoga. I did that marathon nov 4 2011. In 3.34. My neurosurgeon still keeps a photo of my hub and I crossing that finishing line.

We did it again in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 I did a marathon of surfing in Nicaragua.

And the last three with my son Lachie have been a different type of marathon altogether, but likewise made up of tiny things that come together. Like each km your watch beats; moving to Chicago, his birth, his milestones, moving back to San Francisco. I think I love most that I started bouldering with him at the base of the climb in my hubs arms when he was just four months old (and now he’s 3 I’ve just climbed my first v6!).

It’s hard not to just look at today, the survival day, the finishing line, as all there is. But it’s not until I look back on all the things that I’ve achieved that I realize exactly how far I’ve come: living in USA for six years, running my business in nutrition and fitness both online and in person, having a baby (oh yeah that biggy!), skiing and surfing so many places I’ve only ever dreamed of visiting. Oh and learning to skateboard and drop in this year!

After years of surviving when no one thought I would, I see my body isn’t broken after all. It’s still moving and grooving and keeping up with my three year old, so I’m calling that winning at life.

So how am I spending this nov 4? Sitting on top of a mountain I love, surrounded by people I love, watching the sun set, about to embark on another huge adventure.

If meditation is understanding the mind then movement is understanding the body.

Even simply walking you can feel how your big toe reaches for the ground, your foot rolls through to your heel. As you lift a leg you can feel it’s quad engage, and the opposite glute (very important for getting a gluteus minimums, sorry my mums joke in defiance she has a maximus anything related to her butt haha!). Your hips are held stable by rock solid core and spine, in turn stabilizing your ribs as they breath and move in and out in completely different directions to your walking motion. Your arms counter nutate with their opposite legs and your neck holds all that weight of your head steady and strong as you smile your cheeks off enjoying this ability we so take for granted!
My purpose for working-out is strengthening, connection and shifting energy not exercising just to get it done, frustration and giving all my energy away. Move-out don’t work-out and you’ll find a habit you (and your body) actually like. 
Move into each movement, simple or complex, and find the connections through your body as a whole. In climbing and bouldering for instance, our hands only pull us to the wall; the movement is propelled upwards from our toes and butt. In our beach move-out today, we trained barefoot, and whilst step jumping onto a bench and driving our knee upward as we jumped yet again, the feeling of returning our whole foot to its full use in both driving and landing is eye opening. The first few I found myself landing on the outside on my right foot, over balancing a little. Using my arms in opposition to my legs gave me greater balance, rhythm and drive.
Even sitting reading this right now, how far forward is your head reaching, your eyes lowering to read, your shoulders slumping and coming together to bring your hands in to hold and scroll this phone. Just looking up you can feel your body straighten. Now sit on the edge of your chair on your sitting bones (apt name right?!), and without letting go of the phone, roll your shoulders down and back and push your chin back to aligned your head a bit further back. You’ve just moved to understand your body a bit better. Congrats.
Like meditation, we can observe our body openly and honestly, through movement. We can find a freer sense of ease and develop empathy for ourselves (and others around us) to create a greater sense of connection
I’m humbled by this body. It’s not just the skin sac that keeps all my bits together. It’s my frickn body and look what it allows me to do. 

As a child and teenage gymnast I remember many tears. Ankle weighted toe shoe walks, bouncing splits pushed from above, hollow back pulses. And then I’d go home and try and replicate them each day until next practice, each time with the same tears.

Funnily enough I’m not that into pain anymore ha. But I am into the notion my body is telling me stuff thru symptoms and trying to listening to those. Which can be really difficult for most of us living in such highly inflamed bodies, where inflammation becomes a barrier to our ability to feel. And not just from physical overuse or poor food choices or even the best food choices we can from poorly nourished soil. We just live in so much stress, which alone is enough to inflame us all.

So if we can’t hear what our body’s saying to us how do we learn to listen to it?

One of the simplest ways is to turn your attention to the way your body is feeling right now. Take a few deep breaths and relax each part of your body starting from the top of your head and working your way down to the bottom of your feet. Once you’ve checked into your physical state, take stock of your surroundings using all your senses. Notice the breeze on your skin. The beauty of a nearby tree or flower. Your kid’s sweet voice echoing from his play room. And say a silent prayer of gratitude for all that’s happening around you that you can experience by simply being still.

We spend so much time swapping from one activity to the next we seldom stop to ‘live’ in our bodies. Frequent check-ins help me relax and in turn applied to movement help me improve. Try it. Be bodyful!

What if I fall? oh, my darling, but what if you fly?

-Erin Hansen

I love this quote. It reminds me of a commercial I used to watch as a kid if a little boy on top of his garage in mask and cape scanning the sky around him. When do we lose this feeling of the potential to fly and replace it instead with a fear of falling and failing?

And thanks even more to the internet it can feel beyond overwhelming to jump headfirst into trying something new. The online world offers easy access to people who have already gone thru the paces of discovering what they’re passionate about, so we forget how much work, waiting, heartbreak, and starting over had to happen to get them there.

For that reason it’s so easy to stop trying when we don’t find immediate success.

Sadly it’s even more common to not try at all.

And we teach what we need ourself. Starting over seems something I’m made for. I first started Fitbynature in 2004. In 2010, brain tumor surgery stopped me in my tracks as I spent the next few months learning to walk again. Perhaps more so was the severe dip I felt in my confidence which, despite those around me not really seeing anything different in me, had been zapped. Everything I knew about health, movement and nutrition seemed wrong, especially if someone apparently so fit and healthy could be so unknowingly sick and dying.

Fast forward to 2012 and starting over by moving to the USA. A new country, a new city, a new culture, new friends, new lifestyle, new habits, new thoughts.

Fast forward again to 2015 and the birth of my beautiful boy, in yet another city, Chicago. Never mind I wasn’t to know until I was 5 months pregnant despite tests, not so dissimilar to my brain tumor discovery days before surgery. How did these things keeping jumping up on me?!

After nearly four years, this August I made the decision to start over with my business. I have never stopped learning, studying and working whilst in the states, though had stopped charging without a work visa with Lachie’s birth. I have loved teaching for free, being with likeminded people who just loved what I did. I’ve written blogs about what we’ve been learning and what they’ve taught me. Sometimes what we teach we so appropriately need ourself: the confidence to start over.

And now we’re moving back to oz. I think I’m all ready. In fact I feel drawn to it like a magnet, starting over, and helping others do the same. Because this time it’s different. I am open to this next adventure, I am choosing it, not being lead.

Nearly everyone can name something they’re drawn to like a magnet. I’m buzzing again with all the feels about what I’m passionate about, but not so much I’ve forgotten how much work, waiting and heartbreak awaits to get me where I want to go. But knowing where it is I want to go and realizing where I am, I’m excited to pull all the details together to head toward my desires in this adventure.

Come with me? Cos you know that you you desire to be? That one who can climb mountains, run and crawl thru tunnels with your kids, surf for the first of many times, listen to your own body and move it thru ailments you previously sought help for when it got too bad. It’s the same you, just where you’re going!

Don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Let’s make it one. Remember, you’ve just the same (if not more!) potential to fly than anyone!

Sign up for online group coaching (begins January) and the waitlist is now open!

A lot of the time we take our body for granted. It’s just taking us thru each day and we don’t pay attention until something’s wrong or hurt or we get an injury. Look down at your knees and realize the hips above and the ankles below carry us around all day. So they’re probably something we gotta be appreciative for on a daily basis not just when something goes wrong.

This week I experienced my first climbing injury. Ever.

I went thru the range of emotions. Of course the usual ones anger, sadness, disappointment… but then something unexpected happened, I felt happy.

Happy in the realization that I’d achieved my goals climbing a V6, dropping in at the skatepark. How come we forget to celebrate stuff like that?!

Happy that new goals and adventures are ahead. So what can i do with a cast? Running. That’s right I love running! I’ve run three nyc marathons to celebrate getting my life back and how far I’ve come. Sounds perfect for now, no? I’ve managed to run twice already this week, once from Ocean Beach over the Golden Gate bridge home another thru the beautiful trails of mt tam. Not a bad second option!

And happy that I got to see a great doctor. Here in Marin, so close to the home of ski-bumming and Tahoe, and then also the home of mountain biking, she recognized my injury immediately. On the X-ray she saw the fracture – astounded my ligament was so strong it had actually broken the bone off my thumb instead of snapping. She said while I was getting away from quite a long recovery I wasn’t getting away without a cast. She then took the extra care to set my cast, in pink, and glitter, both of which Lachie is particularly happy with: ‘mummy, your hand looks so pretty!’. Deal = sealed.

Three things we can all easily take for granted are breathing, appreciating, and our ability to move this body moving you all week long. And we all know, if not family-wise, there are certainly others who don’t have this ability. But when do you ever stop to appreciate and focus: that everything I do have right now I get to move into. Our bodies are moving for us on a daily basis so focusing on what we do have, what you do have, is going to keep you moving. You’re so fortunate to have your body. Let’s not take it for granted.

Challenge:

– write three things you’re grateful for about your body each day this week. Post your most grateful in the comments