Inspiration is Everywhere
This journey of promoting health and wellness is evolving in a way that I never would have predicted and I am so grateful for the experience. Not only have I met some amazing people whose growth motivates me daily but I am also beginning to view so many things in a completely new light. In teaching and motivating others, sharing my passion for healthy living is offering new opportunities to teach and motivate me and the inspiration that is everywhere truly connects us all. No matter our experiences, we all struggle with moving forward from time to time. Whether it be those first few steps never attempted before, hitting that wall that seems to slow or stop our progress or even just maintaining the standard of a healthy and happy life, we all experience setbacks that can be overcome with the right focus, determination and a little bit of inspiration.
It’s been just about a year since Ingrid has been coaching the lovely ladies of Miller’s Pond Community Center and it is truly amazing to see all their hard work pay off week after week and month after month. I remember when she began instructing there and the degree to which she challenged them then compared to now. To see these ladies today is to know they truly found themselves through this regular physical activity, the camaraderie and friendship found in group classes and the supportive and encouraging atmosphere that Ingrid creates and insists upon for everyone. Each one of them has their own story of accomplishment while they continue on their journey of wellness, MANY of which include considerable weight loss and smaller clothing sizes. More importantly, however, their confidence has improved as well as many pre-existing ailments and health concerns have either lessened or disappeared completely.
One perfect example of this transformation is Sharon Garcia who whole-heartedly understands and implements the fact that consistency, dedication and belief in oneself are the keys to achieving your goals. Using more than just words and a positive attitude, since attending Ingrid’s classes, Sharon continues to work hard and now finds herself several pounds lighter and in single-digit clothing sizes. Again, above ALL the physical accomplishments, her quality of life has improved, she now believes in herself more than ever before and she chooses every day to use love and encouragement to maintain her momentum as well as encourage others. This energy is so much more powerful than any energy wasted on criticism and judgment and I believe that it is the only way to truly master, accomplish and achieve anything. Sharon is a true inspiration as are many of the ladies of Team Ingrid and we look forward to following each of their stories as they continue to break through their challenges and reach their goals.
I was blessed with a happy childhood, a loving family and a grandmother who cared for me 24/7. Through the experiences of my life I held on to some more than others for some time not realizing that it only held me back from moving forward. Talking to my grandmother today, I realize that more than anything. This year she turned 102 years old and is still as sharp as ever. Physically, her doctor has said for years that she is “as healthy as a horse” and would ask her how she does it. She always enjoyed this little exchange and the answers are fairly simple: she exercises regularly and eats plenty of fruits and vegetables. I would humbly add, that I believe her daily meditations through prayer and ability to let go have also been instrumental to her long life and good health.
Physically, my lola is still able to get around as necessary and sometimes with assistance but as long as I can remember and even to this day she exercises as often and in any way she can. For several years, it was using her walker to and from one room to another, as many “laps” as necessary. She would also include leg lifts and leg and arm raises while she sat or even lying in bed just to get the blood flowing. When my husband and I went to visit her he was amazed to see how my aunt prepares her food. He saw so much of the freshest, most colorful vegetables with a little bit of rice and plenty of fruit for the taking. Neither her exercising nor her eating preferences were a surprise to me by this time. I never saw how impactful these habits were before and now I’m SO glad to say I truly understand the value.
When my lola is in a talkative mood, she is quite fun to listen to as she tells stories of being a child athlete, parties she attended as a teenager or even stories about her children growing up. She likes to laugh and joke around a lot and will often break out into song. A few years ago, I interviewed her for details of the Japanese invading the Philippines during WWII as she was pregnant with my mom at the time—her seventh child out of thirteen. I don’t know what I expected, but what I got was far from it. Ultimately, she had let it all go, all of the particulars that would have made an interesting and dramatic story, was of no use to her anymore and she had moved on more than likely long before I came around asking questions. What she values with passion and intense emotion today are not the hardships of her life, not the darkness and not the pain of her past. She invests her energy and the strength of her spirit in now, in whatever brings her peace and joy, and happy memories. Of course, she’s still human and can find natural irritations to bring up daily as we all can but it’s not the essence of her life, it’s just on the surface, just the external. Whenever I call and ask how she’s doing, her answer is almost always that she’s doing just fine.
I’ve been working on this particular post for much longer than I normally spend on any piece of writing and, personally, it was worth it to take my time. It is always humbling to step back as a teacher and take the time to focus on all that has been teaching you. Though quietly reflecting on what inspires me is often part of my day, I really wanted to share it with everyone in the most authentic way possible. Hopefully the inspiration I found in just these stories for me will reach someone new today and together we can continue to find and share the potential beauty through hardship everywhere we go.