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2012: a good year filled with many blessings and lessons learned. One of my favorite years to date. 2012 brought me many levels of growth, evolution and joy through constant learning, education and personal development and the expanding of my young and amazing family.

Like many people, the closing of a year brings about in me the desire to reflect a bit. I’d like simply to use this post as a medium to share my thoughts on lessons learned in 2012…

Taking Care Of Yourself Is Paramount
One of my main goals in 2012 was to take better care of myself and stop considering myself to be invincible. I take great care and pride in helping people achieve better health and always knew it was important for myself as well but never had to give it much thought or effort because I have been able to deal with stress very well throughout my life. After a few years of a myriad of stressors it finally caught up to me this past year, teaching me how important it is to not lose sight of my own needs in the process of helping others. Stress is everywhere. Physical, emotional, spiritual, work, illness, family, financial, political, exercise, sleep debt, poor nutrition and on and on. It is unavoidable and should not be ignored. It can be managed but you need to acknowledge it’s existence and respect it’s power. Ignorance, denial or dismissiveness are a fool’s errand: temporary gain for a long term loss. It is not a knock to your awesomeness if you acknowledge that life has been wearing you down and subsequently you need to take better care of yourself.

This has been the biggest area of exploration for me lately. I explored it a bit in the posts Sand Castles and Why A Trainer Is Giving Up Working Out. Stress is incredible in many ways. We wouldn’t be here without it but the expanding collection of stress on all of us humans paired with the haphazard treatment of it is incessantly wearing most of us down and silently killing many of us. This is something we all need to look at much deeper. To really take the time to think about the stress in our lives and how we understand and manage it. I am just starting to understand the scope of stress and my daily interactions with others makes me think that nearly everyone underestimates stress and what it’s doing to them. One of my main goals this year is to continue my education and development in this realm and help others do the same.

The More You Learn The More You Realize There Is To Learn
This is cliche but so true. Nearly every day I learn something new which opens up more avenues to look into and explore. Hopefully I can continue to share my continued education and learning with all of you. Humans are amazing and we are only scratching the surface on how intricate, complex and detailed health and the body really are. As I wrote in the quick post A.B.L., always be learning.

Individuality Is Key
I’ve always known this be true and having been in the fitness industry for 10+ years has only reinforced the idea that we are all different. Despite all being human which inherently makes us very similar in most ways, there are an infinite amount of variables that make us all incredibly different. This year has brought this idea even more to the forefront of my thinking regarding health and wellness. In essence, I knew we were all different but I had no idea just how different and how much we are different on a daily, weekly and yearly basis.

When I wrote the post Snowflakes I delved into this idea a bit more but as the year went on it only solidified how much I believe our individuality should underlie how we think about, theorize and treat our wellness.

Balance And Flexibility Is Vital
Although I think that literally, physical balance and flexibility is key, what I learned this year was more figurative in nature. Healthy living is important to many of us (particularly if you’re reading this) and the more we discover and learn about how disconnected we are from natural living the more many people begin to separate themselves from the rest of the world unless the people you spend your days around are on the same page. Although my family and friends are concerned with health and are supportive of my thoughts and practices I am learning that most of them are not yet willing to join me on the health fringe just quite yet. Like nearly everything in life there is a middle ground and this year has helped me manage how to discover my personal flexibility and balance. Learning to pick my battles and let my hair down every once in a while has gone a long way in enabling me to have a more enjoyable and functional relationship with the rest of the world that doesn’t quite take health as seriously as I do. I have run into and interacted with many that are on the health fringe and I think we are all finding how important it is to keep some flexibility and balance in our lives.

We Are Making Ground But Have A Long Way To Go
This alternative movement that I am a part of seeks to achieve something great and planet altering: reconnecting humans with our natural health and vitality through a focus on bringing natural food and living practices back into the mainstream. The challenge is great as there are many things in place taking us in the opposite direction and there is little slowing it down it often seems. The good news is that there are a lot of things brewing right now, simmering down below but heating up. More and more people are starting to take their health into their own hands and it is slowly but surely creeping into the cultural conscience. More often I hear the words natural, organic and local. Pastured and permaculture are starting to take root. More and more companies are starting to realize that people want real ingredients in their food, not scientific laboratory creations. This is really good news. There are even an increasing sprinkling of public spots where we see some of the conventional wisdom being challenged (i.e. fat, cholesterol, drug/pharmaceutical prescription, aerobic exercise). All of these give me great hope that the tide is turning but there is a LONG way to go. Only people like us can vote with our dollars and voices. The more we seek out, ask for and even demand better things the sooner we will get it.

Honorable Mention:
Cholesterol: My understanding and knowledge of this crazy little substance is growing like wildfire.
Gut: It’s all about the gut. Bacteria and the intestinal barrier are fascinating areas.
Hormones: They rule all. Another area where I’ve grown to understand the power of.

Well, I guess that’s the big stuff but it was all amazing, eye opening and inspiring. Thanks for a great year, for reading and for all your questions and feedback. I look forward to a bigger, better, healthier, and even more enjoyable 2013 with lots more to learn. Let’s keep changing the world one day at a time!

Thanks for reading, have a great year!

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