The Aftermath of Inspiration

This is the diary of an extraordinarily ordinary person.

Also the diary of a person who has not worked consistently nor been in school for almost a month, so I’m just derping around, reflecting on life, wasting time, and finding things to do. Luckily, work starts on Monday.

Recently (not just during my post-school intermission, but even throughout this past semester), I’ve noticed that I have rarely felt passionate about the things in front of me, whether that’s school, relationships, activities, fitness goals, or just life in general.

Please do not take this the wrong way! It’s not that I’m not enjoying life, but I’ve been lacking some intrinsic “oomph” that drives me to set my heart on something.

The only thing that my heart is truly set on is pursuing a deeper relationship with God, which I guess is fine because that’s the foundation of everything else. But I still can’t help but feel frustrated that my disposition has been kind of bland and aimless recently.

It’s easy to be inspired to do great things (or small things with great love) through prayer, enlightening conversations, beautiful songs, thoughtful articles, and Facebook videos with heart-tugging montages (#honest). What’s not easy is facing the aftermath of inspiration. The aftermath that involves…doing normal, everyday things.

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The aftermath of inspiration that involves seeing and choosing to love the face in the mirror that has zits all over her forehead (including one particularly pesky and red one).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves emptying out the sink trap, my least favorite thing in the sanctuary that is the kitchen.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves re-studying notes from the past year at the dining room table.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves responding to emails.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves conversations that don’t inspire or excite you at all.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves sweeping the floors of the millions of hairs that three long-haired girls shed in their apartment (haha ew, but I know some of you can relate).

The aftermath of inspiration that involves NOT looking at inspiring things anymore and just doing what you need to do.

The aftermath of inspiration that involves dirt-ordinary things that are necessary in order to achieve greatness, to change lives, to become the men and women who we are created to be.

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I feel like I get on an inspiration high with so much consumption of social media. It’s obviously a great thing that there are so many uplifting, inspiring, loving people out there; I am grateful for everyone who puts out positivity in this world. There’s never enough of that. However, recently, that’s where the inspiration seems to stop for me.

I watch the inspiring videos, read the inspiring articles, and then go back to the tasks of life with very little passion. I really do believe that some people go forth with a “get after it” mindset 24/7, but I…just don’t. Like, I’m doing what I need to do and seeking opportunities to be better, but I’m not trying to “get after it.” I’m just doing what I ought to do.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many goals right now, and for the goals that are already set out for me (i.e. finish school with a doctorate in physical therapy), I’m kind of lackluster about them (except for the Spartan Race in August; I’m stoked for that). So I do what needs to be done, expecting it to either fulfill me in the moment or expecting myself to feel some sort of passion because, “This little task will pay off in the end when I reach my goal, right!?” … But nope. Neither of those things stirs in my heart.

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throwback to last year’s Spartan Race lol

That’s the problem though. I always want to feel like I am fulfilling some profound inspiration that budded in my heart at one moment, but the aftermath of inspiration involves emptiness sometimes. It might involve wandering. It might involve doing things cerebrally for a while instead of doing things emotionally. It might involve doing little things with great love but not feeling love at all, because love is a choice, after all.

(I do believe that you should be at peace with what you are doing; how you feel is so important and should not be forgotten!!)

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if you feel like 1-year-old post-nap Alison all the time, re-evaluate what you’re doing

Speaking of inspiration, I just read this in a Sisters of Life magazine, and I think it’s relevant to my situation:

“We have tried to learn the great art of being with others… It’s a way of receiving another — looking at the person before me, not as a project or a problem to be solved, but as a gift, a unique masterpiece of God’s love. It’s developing the habit of gazing at this person with the heart…” – Sr. Maris Stella

I think this can apply not only to people, but to every task that may or may not feel like it’s lending to my ultimate fulfillment.

So I guess the aftermath of inspiration isn’t really “aftermath” at all, but rather a true gift in and of itself. The dirt-ordinary task, the people in front of you right now, the opportunities and experiences you are given today — this is the greatness, the life-changer, the essence of becoming who we are created to be. And seeing it as such is a habit that needs to be developed, so maybe that’s what God is helping me to do now.

I think it’s time to let life inspire me as it happens rather than feeling the need to do everything because I am inspired. Does that make sense? And if passion for something does take over my heart one of these days, I will be all the more grateful.

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idk this is an old gif in my media library, but Beyonce is always a good choice

Have a great Thursday! God loves you. I love you.

So tell me:

THOUGHTS!?

 

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Don’t Let The Mirror Steal Your Joy

Real talk tiiiiiiime.

Last week, I completed a fun workout outside. I think it was this one:

5 rounds
  • run the cul-de-sac (~200m)
  • 60 sec squat jump with knee up twist (15#)
  • 60 sec v-ups
  • 60 sec down dog spiderman pushups
  • 60 sec reverse lunge with kick (30#)
  • 30 sec side plank right
  • 30 sec side plank left

It involved running, so you know I felt extra accomplished when I finished. I was hot and tired, but I also felt energized and strong.

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But then I looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden I didn’t feel as satisfied with my workout anymore. I honestly think I’d been watching too many Crossfit videos that weekend, so all I had been looking at were bodies like Stacie Tovar’s:

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I’m obviously not as fit as a Crossfit Games athlete (or almost any Crossfitter, for that matter), but when I looked in the mirror, I subconsciously compared my body to fitter, leaner bodies.

And that stole my joy.

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We’ve talked about the comparison trap 1000000 times on this blog, but it never seems to fade away (for me at least). Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that I am in a healthier place than ever, mentally. But it’s still important to realize that aspiring for thinness OR fitness can be dangerous (← great article from Spoon University).

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In other words, aspiring for another person’s body (seeing someone else’s body as #goals) is denying yourself the opportunity to realize the amazing things about your body and what you can do.

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If I let myself define my workouts by how I look afterwards, I will end up miserable, and working out will become merely a means to an “end”— to have a certain physique (which is actually not an end because physical aesthetic alone is never fulfilling IMHO).

This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t set goals, but I think there’s a difference between setting goals to be like someone else and setting goals to be the best version of yourself at this stage in your life.

Even with that perspective though, how can you tell what “your best” is? Am I not doing “my best” right now just because I’m not pushing myself to lift the heaviest weights possible, to run more, or to eat less sugar? Maybe. But I’m going to say that I am doing my best, because I have other priorities ahead of fitness (that is, fitness that goes above and beyond basic fitness for health) towards which I devote my time and energy as well.

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Since I’ve been working out when I feel like it and in a way that feels right for my body on each day, I’ve truly come to love working out. When I started this blog almost three years ago, I probably said that I loved working out, but I don’t think I truly did. I was still forcing myself to work out when I didn’t want to and to do workouts that were way too intense for what I needed that day.

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throwback to when I went to New York Sports Club in high school

This also doesn’t mean that you should never work out if just because you don’t feel like it. However, if there is one Pinterest quote I am willing to share over and over again, it’s this one:

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So cheers to moving and grooving…

…whether that’s running or walking…push-ups on your knees or clapping push-ups…air squats or heavy squats.

…whether you have a cut six-pack or a “muffin top” with those spandex capris…a perky butt or a cellulite-dimpled butt…biceps or no biceps (I happen to have the latter on all three of these)…

Don’t let the mirror steal your joy. Let exercise itself be your jam, not just “the body” (whatever that is to you).

So tell me:

Have you ever let the mirror steal your joy after a workout?

Other thoughts! 

Five Minute Friday #3: Making Changes to Fulfill a Purpose

I have a new companion who comes with me to all my meals, but I’m not really sure I want him there… He kinda weighs me down sometimes, but I can’t let go of him, and I always pay attention to what he has to say.

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See him? Mr. Exercise Physiology. I have an exam for on Tuesday, and I need all information about metabolism to saturate my brain.

Other recent happenings include lots of sandwiches with guac…

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…and Lent! It started this Wednesday, so this week’s Five Minute Friday vlog has to do with making changes in one’s life in order to fulfill a purpose (not just from a Catholic perspective).

link to the video here!

Catholics do have set rules for fasting and abstinence throughout Lent. Here are some infographics if you’re curious!

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Ooo Valentine’s Day is this weekend, isn’t it? Flashback to when I wrote a letter to my future husband on this blog for Valentine’s Day two years ago. “Dear No One” is still my theme song.

Happy weekend!!!

So tell me:

If you participate in Lent, what are you giving up/adding? Giving up: makeup and scrolling Instagram (I can post but that’s it). Adding: Must be at least 5 minutes early to everything if I can help it and a decade of the rosary each day.

If you do not participate in Lent, do you feel called to make any specific changes in your life to meet your goals?

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day/President’s Day/the weekend?

I’ll be celebrating “Galentine’s Day” with Rachel tomorrow night! 🙂 The only way I might choose a guy over Rachel is if he comes up to me with a single rose in his mouth, Coldplay/Tori Kelly tickets, and a box of chocolates jar of peanut butter within the next twenty-four hours.

How to Be a Good Friend in College

I’m feelin’ this beautiful fall weather at the core of my soul and I LOVE IT.

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I just broke out the boots this morning since they were calling my name from the back of my shoe collection bottom of my shoe pile.

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Let’s catch up by talking about how to be a good friend in college. The edition that doesn’t have to do with carrying your friends home after a frat party (although, that’s also what good friends do).

My friends here in college are honestly some of the best people I’ve ever met, and I am constantly inspired by how much they want to be better people through education, self-sacrifice for the good of others, wholesome experiences, and nourishment of their faith.

Thanks to these wonderful people, I’ve compiled a semi-serious list of…

{how to be a good friend in college…and at any stage in life}

Forget the age/year difference. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students can all hang out and their social lives will not be tainted. In fact, they will flourish.

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freshmen, sophomores, seniors, and grad women gathering for our freshman friend’s birthday

Have an early breakfast date with a friend. (Walk to the farther dining hall just to eat good omelettes. Bonus points if you both bring your own peanut butter and then take pictures of one another.)

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Be a good lab partner, because college labs can be deathly tedious.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. That’s when the deepest and best connections happen.

Sing and dance like a fool around your friends. If they tell you to stop, you can stop. But try it anyway, they might join you.

Set goals with one another. Whether that’s going to the gym five times a week with a buddy, acing a class, going to church every Sunday…or checking off food bucket list items together.

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#42: Spicy Food at Thai Dish — check!

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Tell your friend if he/she has something in his/her teeth. That feeling of looking into the mirror after talking with lots of friends and seeing stuff stuck in your teeth. You know.

Reserve judgement. We all do silly, stupid, sinful things.

Embrace spontaneity and don’t be afraid to ask your friends to join you. I’m always afraid to ask people to do things with me on a whim because I’m afraid of rejection, but I have learned that I love when people reach out to me to do spontaneous fun things.

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like a movie night and epic hair braiding feat. Lauren’s gorgeous locks and Rachel’s mad skills

Don’t pressure your friends. Peer pressure is real in every way. It’s easy to be pressured and it’s easy to fall into the trap of pressuring others. It’s not the end of the world if either one happens to you. Just be aware.

Pray for your friends. Especially when you kinda don’t want to talk to them/you’re annoyed with them.

Ask for prayers from your friends. You need ’em too.

Branch out. Having a close friend group is so important and good to have. That being said, cliques are overrated, and there are people who really want to know you but are too scared to approach you. You might even be that scared person. Launch out and just talk to people. The people worth having as friends will reciprocate.

Hope you all have a fabulous day!

I don’t know what your hair looks like today, but however it looks, ROCK IT.

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So tell me:

What is one way you can be a good friend/one way your friends have been good to you?

Do you believe “age is but a number” after a certain point in life?

What did you do this weekend?

Where should Rachel and I go next for our food bucket list!?

Weekly Moves and Grooves XXII {Long-Term Progress}

Hi!

Phew, it has been an exhausting but AWESOME spring break! I can’t wait to tell you all about how the rest of our week went tomorrow. (Hint: it involves copious amounts of food.)

Which is one reason we like to move and groove as well 😉

weekly moves and grooves

Sunday

gymnastics warmup + Julie’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop workout

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I remember the very first time I tried Julie’s “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” circuit workout when she first posted it three years ago, and it would KILL ME. I had to take breaks during the intervals, and I would pause the timer sometimes to catch my breath.

It is still an awesome workout and it makes me a sweaty beast to this day, but I can definitely push myself through the workout more strongly and quickly. Hooray for progress (and eating more to fuel workouts)!

Monday

dynamic warmup + circuit workouts

5 rounds:

  • 8 calorie row
  • 10 pushup burpees
  • 16 kettlebell swings (25#)

5 rounds:

  • 10 overhead press (15#)
  • 15 goblet squats (35#)
  • 20 modified v-ups/v-ups

For warmups nowadays, I’ve been doing lots of planks, sun salutations, and dynamic stretches, rather than straight up cardio machinery. I personally find that it’s more interesting, motivating, and effective to warm up this way!

Tuesday

lots of walking in NYC (approx. 7.5 miles)

Wednesday

more walking in NYC (approx. 7.5 miles again)

Thursday

gymnastics warmup + Lindsay’s Legs on Fire Tabata

The legs on fire tabata is another workout I would do often when I was becoming more interested in fitness a few years ago. I would barely be able to make it through the first two tabata sets before needing to take a longer break. This time around, I still need a break between the third and fourth sets, but I’m definitely feeling a lot more power and speed in my movements.

Friday

lots of walking all around my hometown (approx. 5 miles)

Saturday

25 pushup burpees + 25 burpee tuck jumps + pull-ups + lots of walking in NYC (approx. 7 miles)

I did the two sets of burpees and pull-ups at home before and after our NYC adventure. Although, it would have been cool if I did them in the city, eh?

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Rachel and I are on a bus back to Boston right now! Spring break is coming to a close, but it was absolutely wonderful and we’re ready to see our friends in Boston again. Whether or not we’re ready to get back to the grind is another issue…

Happy Sunday!

So tell me:

What kind of long-term progress have you seen in your fitness journey?

What is your favorite way to warm up?