Cycling For Women of Every Age

We all know the key factors in maintaining great health, right?

  • Good Nutrition
  • Reduce Risk Factors
  • Proper Sleep
  • Supportive Medical Care
  • Clean water and air
  • Exercise
  • Positive Mental Attitude

As a Mother, we look after our families and ensure that all of the above are covered but often find ourselves last on the list – especially when it comes to exercise.

After my kids all moved out and found their own lives, I found it surprisingly hard to adjust. I thought it would be great to have peace and quiet. What I found was a great gaping hole in my life. I worried about my kids, a lot. I had a sense of purposelessness. I doubted myself and my value.

One day, I found myself in such a dark place that I could not stop crying. I had begun to have some serious pain in my left knee and it was swollen and ugly. I felt overweight, unattractive and old. I started to think that Jeff would be better off without me. At that point I realised that something was very wrong so I went and saw my GP. I was not living a joy filled life. I was a sad, sad woman.

I totally do not judge anyone who needs medication to help them through rough patches in their lives. Sometimes, it’s just too overwhelming and the hole too deep to climb out of alone.

I chose not address my feelings with my GP, I just showed him my knee.   He had a good look and told me it looked like I had the knees of a 65 year old (I was 53 at the time). He ordered X-Rays and by the end of the day I knew I had hardly any cartilage in my left knee and that bone on bone situation was causing the swelling and inflammation.

Obviously, I needed to drop some weight to take the pressure off. I needed to find a way to exercise which would not cause further pain in my knee. My GP suggested I either buy myself a bike or get myself into a swimming pool.

I bought a bike and I think it saved my life.

I had no background with cycling except for hooning around on a bike as a kid. I did however have a friend who was a cyclist and she guided me through buying the best bike for me and getting me started with riding again. I did not know how the gears worked, how to change a tyre and climbing even the slightest incline was really, really hard. I felt embarrassed and awkward but she encouraged me to keep riding. Jeff bought a bike too and we would ride together, sort of. Jeff rode off into the distance and I tried to keep up without falling off.

I Googled “women’s riding groups” and discovered She Rides. This is a relatively new initiative by Cycling Australia designed to help Australian women to get back on their bikes. I booked in to She Rides Hollywood course located in Perth. She Rides offer three levels of courses for Road Bikes and Mountain Bikes. I chose the Confidence Course as that fitted my skill level at the time.

I met some fabulous women and had great fun doing the initial eight week course. Some were on upright bikes (the ones with the cute baskets) who just wanted to be able to confidently ride the kids to school while others were dressed in cycling gear and were on dropped handle road bikes. I learned so much during that eight weeks! The best part was the new connections I made with the women in the group though. Connection is so key to loving your life.

Riding has become a wonderful part of my life and I participate in group rides with women whenever I can.

Best of all, Jeff can’t keep up with anymore. Winning at life!

Vietnam

Finding a way to exercise that suited me, my body, my own needs and was fun for was the key for me. I just developed a mindset that I did not care what anyone else thought about how I looked or what crazy things I did. I allowed myself to gradually just get better.

I love cycling. I love riding with a bunch of women. I love the camaraderie of the coffee after the ride. I love that my knee is pain free and I have muscles in my legs.

I have cycled down a mountain in Bali, around the gardens of the Peterhof Palace in Russia, Down a volcano in Hawaii and around an island in Vietnam as well as given the track a good try!

Cycling has been a blessing in my life from the moment I began.

 

Simplifying Life With Affirmations

It feels like everyone is on the New Year New You bandwagon at the moment. I know that’s a good thing. Change is key for personal growth and it feels great to set new goals for the coming year.

But, sometimes the pressure from advertising and the information barrage can be simply overwhelming. De-clutter, minimalize, lose weight, eat right, quit bad stuff, the list is long.

For me, I get great results when I focus on a couple of things that bring about real positive change for me.

When my kids were little, I used to go into “Christmas has to be perfect” mode. I would be thinking about all the things…….the perfect gift wrapping, the perfect gifts, decorating the table to perfection, making sure the house was perfectly clean, the perfect menu and on and on with mind spinning, anxiety inducing craziness. And guess what, nothing was ever perfect enough for me and I had no joy in all this preparation.

Then I found some wonderful books on affirmations. The first book I found was “Creative Visualisation” by Shakti Gawain and this opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking.

In the beginning affirmations gave me a coping mechanism to overcome my tendency to try to control and perfect everything.

Then I found that affirmations could help me to change the way I saw myself and that I could affirm new and better ways to view myself.   I could invent affirmations that would help me to attract great things and good people into my life.

For me, affirmations are a way to positively brainwash myself and over-ride the negative self talk which can so easily spiral me down towards anxiety and depression. They are something that are uplifting and a way of taking some action when things, thoughts or circumstances are not in your control.

Here is my recipe for inventing great affirmations:

  1. Make them in the present.
  2. Make them positive.
  3. Make them about you (you can’t do them for others)
  4. Be Specific.
  5. Use your emotions.

The most important thing is that the affirmations you create need to make you feel joyfilled and expectant. When you read, say or think your affirmation it should bring a smile to your face. Smiling and laughter releases Endorphins which help to relieve stress and make you feel happier. A good spiral to be in!

I surround myself with written affirmations, my bathroom mirror is my favourite spot. They make me feel happy, positive and uplifted.

I have created a free affirmation poster to help you to create great things in your life. This is one of my favourites – For Abundance enjoy!

 

What affirmation have you created for positive results?

 

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Christmas Tree Travel Adventures

Our Christmas Tree has become a lovely reminder of travel adventures and special people.

In the beginning, Jeff and I experienced a culture clash over the Christmas tree.

Jeff stood firmly in the real pine tree cut down and shoved in a pot camp.

I wanted to unleash my creative spirit and argued for something unique and a little crazy each year.

For several years there was disharmony over the Christmas Tree. A sad state of affairs considering joy to the world and all that.

So, we compromised and bought a two metre pine look-alike to assemble each Christmas. I planned to adorn it with only angels. Angels of all kinds, plus lights. Peace on Earth!

We are blessed to get the opportunity to travel and in each city we visit we look for a Christmas Tree Decoration. Our tree has become like a travel journal.

Each year when we put up our tree, the decorations remind us of places we have been.

Last year, Angela who stayed with us from Hong Kong, took enormous pleasure in decorating our tree. She added a Pineapple Bun decoration from her city. Angela studied Marketing at the University of WA and did everything with flair and passion.

This year, our tree was installed and decorated by Ziye, Iris and Addie from China. Ziye has been with us since February and Iris since July.  They were fascinated to see the Cloisonne Panda from Beijing and to hear about our experiences and what we ate in China.

Hawaii
Helsinki
Amsterdam
Disneyland
Sweden

Now we have added a new tradition. With the birth of our first Grandchild this year, Chloe and Joel presented us with a customised decoration for Xavier William’s first Christmas. So much Love!

 

I wonder how many Grandchild first Christmases we will celebrate.

How wonderful, how blessed.

 

Are You in the Picture?

I have been reading posts on Facebook about women who are never in the photographs.

Precious Mum’s who take the pictures but never appear themselves.

My Grandmother, Daisy, was an expert photo avoider. In every shot we have of her from the time I was born, she is hidden (usually by a kid awkwardly perched on her knee).

Photographs were few and far between when I was a child. It felt like they were rationed. You may only have had 24 exposures and you waited days for them to be developed. Our film was precious, once the photographs were taken we hoped they would “turn out”.

Nana struggled with weight issues all her life. She was a beautiful cook, famous in our family for her airy, light sponge cakes. Food was love and pleasure to Nana.

Even when she did go “on a diet”, Grandad would sabotage her by giving her huge boxes of chocolates.

He loved and treasured her. My mother and I speculated that he thought someone would steal her away if she became slim.

Nana bought joy to our family.

She listened to my stories – really listened, made her eyes big and surprised as the story unfolded.

Nana was an encourager and fiercely loyal supporter.

To me she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She curled her hair and wore a pin in the front. She had her clothes custom made by Aunty Anne. She had her own particular style. She wore rouge and lipstick. Her favourite colour was mauve. Green was unlucky so we never wore it, or gave her anything even slightly greenish.

I wish I had told her that she was beautiful.

Now, I look back at old photo’s and search for her. I found some Super 8 footage of her holding my baby brother. She leaned into the camera as if presenting the baby and the joy on her face said a million words of love.

I wish I had told her how beautiful she was.