The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz
Tuesday Jams – Cake by the Ocean

Tuesday Jams – Cake by the Ocean

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image - tuesday jams 2

This song just puts me in a damn good mood. It’s so much fun to sing and I love it when it comes on my playlist during class. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I do live by the Ocean, but it’s a solid jam. Enjoy..

Warning: Explicit lyrics. Ridiculous video.

Trouble viewing this video? Watch here.

Dance on, Campers!

Jennie B

Good things happen on Tuesdays. – Sista Sista, Jessica

It happened while I was mopping.

It happened while I was mopping.

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image - while i was mopping

It was late by the time I was closing up the studio. I’m a certified pole fitness instructor now, and I’d just worked a triple header of a night – Twerk Class at 6, reception at 7, and A2 Pole Fitness at 8. I was happily exhausted, on an intense emotional high from having the privilege to teach, challenge and help the incredible women who walked through the studio doors that night. I could have never expected this would be part of the teaching process… The looks of accomplishment on the girls’ faces when they get a new trick or spin, watching someone become a bit more comfortable with their body, catching them getting lost in the moment. It’s truly incredible to help facilitate these moments and I was riding the high these experiences brought.

And then it happened. 9:45 at night, gleefully exhausted, closing up the studio, the realization hit me:

I was physically exhausted and increasingly sleepy (it was nearing my bedtime for sure), yet so much more incredibly happy and fulfilled mopping the studio’s hardwood floors in that moment than I had been in quite some time.

Mopping. I was mid-tedious, mind-numbing task and I was so grateful to be in that moment. It’s part of the package – teaching at the studio – closing up when you work the last class, so it wasn’t my first time doing it. It just happened to be the first time the realization hit me like a dump truck.

THIS IS WHAT IS MISSING. The absence of THIS in my regular, day-to-day life. THIS is the feeling I keep chasing.

I’m not talking about the act of mopping itself, I’m talking about the feeling of fulfillment that comes during even the most mundane of tasks. I think maybe at one point in time it had been there in my day job. But slowly over the years, that feeling faded until it was extinguished. Fortunate enough for me, I’d been given a glimpse of that incredible feeling, and I wanted more.

It was right then and there I made the decision to take ACTION (<– hey yo!). I wanted THIS FEELING, this intoxicating feeling to flow through all areas of my life. I didn’t just want it in my part-time job, I wanted it in all of my jobs.

I started editing my resume 4 days later. Just 4 weeks later, I filled my letter of resignation. Two weeks after that, I began my new career path.

THAT FEELING now courses through all parts of my life. Even when times are tough, it’s still there. A quiet roar, it’s waiting patiently for me to realize it hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s here to stay now.

Maybe it was just time for me to find it again. Maybe I’d finally mustered up the motivation to make it happen. Maybe I was just straight up over it’s absence. No matter what, I didn’t just want it, I finally believed I was deserving of having it. And that might have been the most important part of it all.

And it happened while I was mopping.

Until next time, Campers,

Jennie B

It will happen as fast as you let it. – Someone wicked smart but unknown.

Tuesday Jams – Ain’t Got Far to Go

Tuesday Jams – Ain’t Got Far to Go

Posted in Music Snack

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image - tuesday jams 3

We’re bringing back the Music Snack! Why, you ask? Well, music is and always will be a big part of my life. And sometimes a good song just says it better than I ever could, you know?

*A tiny little change – what once was published on Wednesdays will now be on Tuesdays. Because let’s not forget how the circus feels about Tuesdays, yo. Enjoy!

Trouble viewing this video? Click here: Ain’t Got Far to Go – Jess Glynne.

Until next time, Campers..

Jennie B

Good things happen on Tuesdays – my awesome Sista Sista, Jessica

my year of ACTION

my year of ACTION

Posted in circus, life, year of ACTION

MBC_My Year of ACTION_Feature Image

If you look at the notes in my site dashboard, you’d notice the draft of this post was opened on 1/8/16. And it saved multiple drafts over the next few hours that all had one thing in common…..

They were all blank.

Title = present.

Text = none.

Doesn’t quite fit the title, does it? Let me explain a little:

I’ve never been one to pick a word to describe my year ahead until now. On New Year’s Day, I came across Chris Brogan’s My 3 Words for 2016 and really enjoyed the concept of picking 3. My initial words were:

love – action – faith

Pretty solid, eh? I thought so as well, however one kept standing out among the crowd. Many of you would probably suspect it was the word “love” having read my posts for the past few years .. well you’ll be just as surprised as I was to realize that it wasn’t. The word that had the most meaning and draw to me wasn’t love or faith (although I credit a lot of the blessings in my life to these two words). It was ACTION.

And so I decided 2016 is my year of ACTION. Charged up with motivation, I sat down to fine tune my January Desire Map goals to ensure they lead to my year’s ultimate aims, with My Beautiful Circus being at the top. But that’s the tricky thing about getting all revved up on motivation and inspiration, though. When it comes down to the ACTION part, it can be scary as freakin hell, you hear me?! And that is exactly where I found myself on January 8, 2016 while logged in to the My Beautiful Circus dashboard: paralyzed by the thought of actually taking the ACTION.

The following day after my failed ACTION attempt, I was talking to a dear friend of mine and former colleague at lunch. While explaining what went down with my blank page scenario, her eyes lit up and she insisted that is what I should start writing about – my lack of ACTION on my year of ACTION post. That it could help not only me, but others who get caught at that final step. You know, the one that switches from talking, brainstorming and thinking to the doing? Yea, that one.

And so here I am, writing about my lack of inspired-action for my year of ACTION post, hoping that just maybe it’ll kick start you to do something today you’ve been putting off for quite some time.

Last year was quite the interesting, eye-opening, life-expanding year for Jennie B and my circus. (And that’s probably an understatement.) The epitome of “A lot can happen in a year.” I’ve learned that it’s totally A-OK to be:

  • thrown off your game
  • completely shake things up
  • have complete and unfettering faith that something that sounds crazy to others will actually work
  • forgive and try to move forward, embracing openness and vulnerability
  • achieve a long-held dream only to realize it’s no where near what you want anymore
  • fail and fail hard
  • ask people for help
  • and be unabashedly (and unapologeticaly) grateful and happy about the things in your life

And that’s just the short list of things that came to my mind for 2015! Last year was a year of learning, accepting, testing and watching. This year I’m taking more of a no-holds-bar kind of attitude. I’m going to tackle those pesky nay-sayers in my mind that hold me back from moving forward.  It’s my year of ACTION. And even if the only ACTION I take is deciding to get out of bed and face another day, I’ll know it’s a step in the right direction. *Because let’s be honest, some days that’s a triumph in itself when your circus has gone to hell in a hand basket. I’m ok with ACTIONs big and small, just as long as I’m doing and not talking.

So tell me, what’s your word(s) for this year?

Have you already started embraced them in various ways? 

I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on 2016!

Until next time, Campers..xxo,

Jennie B

A little less conversation, little more ACTION. – The King, Elvis Presley

Get outta here, Bear!

bear

I wish I could take credit for the title of this blog post, but it wasn’t I who coined the phrase, it was one of my life lines, Christina Mortti of Good Graces Photography. And she has no idea how much it stuck.

A little background on my dear friend Christina and how the phrase came to be:  Mortti and I have lived together for a total of 3 of the 6 years we’ve known each other.  (Currently, we live a mere 7 minutes apart and try to get together at least once a week.)  She’s someone I used to catch myself envying for her often relaxed view of the world, until I learned how to adopt this view myself.  It’s not that she doesn’t care about things, but Mortti’s got a way of diffusing otherwise intimidating situations to a simple every day occurrence or slight nuisance.

Case in point: A couple of years ago, after visiting her Grandparents in the North Carolina mountains, she told me and a group of our friends how her father had cautioned her against going out for a run by herself in the woods during the visit.  A legitimate concern, he asked “What would you do if you were by yourself and came upon a bear?!” and in true Mortti fashion she replied with a simple “I’d just look at it and say ‘Get outta here, bear!’ and keep going.”

At first when we heard the story, we replied with a few “that’s so Mortti” type comments and went about our way. Crisis adverted, right? Totally. Who wouldn’t simply wave off a bear and keep going about their way?  I’m sure it happens all the time up in the mountains!  But there was something about the phrase that just …. it just stuck with me.

“Get outta here, Bear!” I caught myself saying it at random when any similar situation would come up in conversation.  The phrase has this odd power to dwarf that which seems overwhelming.  The things you get yourself worked up about that probably haven’t even happened yet?  Yea, those are bears.  Fears and anxieties?  Those are bears, too.  Intimidating people or situations?  Bears.  Long training run or race coming up?  Bear.  Mean people?  Bears.  Negative or attack thoughts against yourself? BEARS! BEARS! BEARS!  Borrowed worries from the future? Bears.  Again.

See where I’m going here with this?

I probably say “Get outta here, Bear!” at least every other day.  Sometimes it takes me getting worked up about something before I realize it’s just another bear.  When that happens, I’ll picture the issue or person as a bear standing in front of me, I wave my hand, tell it to get outta here [real talk: sometimes it’s get the f outta here], take a deep breath and boom….I start to see the situation with a bit more clarity.  I’ve done this with fears, anxieties, frustrations, negative and attack thoughts against myself, you name it – I’ve totally “bear’ed” it.

But hey, that’s what you gotta do sometimes.  Look something straight in the face and with a wave of the hand say “Get outta here, Bear!” and keep on walking.  Seriously, it’s like magic.  Try it this week and let me know how it works out for ya.

Thanks, Mortti, for always being yourself and for helping the rest of us make it through the day just a little bit easier.  You help keep the circus running.

Especially when the bears get out of line.  🙂

Until next time, xxo,

jennie b

power of the ocean.

On January 31, 2015 this happened…..

blue gorialla tattoo

In the spirit of Don’t Just Stand There, I took action on something I’ve been contemplating for months on end.  I got a tattoo.  Below is a picture of just one day after I got it done and one month after I got it done ~

tattoo day after and month after

It’s white ink and located between my wrist and my elbow on my left arm.  The guys at Blue Gorilla here in Charleston were very upfront on how much it would fade over time, which I assured them was exactly what I had wanted to happen.  I wanted a subtle note – a reminder for myself – and the crazy part is if you’re standing just 2 feet away and don’t know it’s there, you can’t see anything.  I could not be more pleased with the outcome, and I can always go back down the road for a touch up.

A lot of people ask me what the word kaimana means.  It’s the Hawaiian term meaning Power of the Ocean. *It also means diamond, but that’s a total side note.  I’ve wanted a tattoo for quite some time, but knew I wanted it to really mean something to me.  Initially I had thought the word love, but when it came down to it I wanted something a little more.  Last Fall I started a random search for terms related to two of my favorite things: the ocean and elephants.  And that is when I cam across kaimana. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was perfect for my first tattoo.

I have a vast appreciation for the Ocean that I can’t quite explain.  It’s filled with endless beauty and power.  It builds and destroys.  It’s home to some of the greatest ecosystems and creatures on the planet.  It inspires and erases.  Having the best of times, it is a place of celebration.  During the worst of times, it reminds you how small your troubles are, like tiny grains of sand, or that this too shall pass like the waves crashing on the shore.  That is why I chose this word  It’s what launched this 8 year journey in this city by the sea. The power of the ocean brought me here.

I’m fortunate enough to be a stone’s throw and 20 minute drive from the Ocean.  Luckily, though, when schedules prevent me from making the quick trip to the edge of America, I can always glance down and be reminded that even when the circus is out of whack and up to it’s crazy tricks again, these moments are fleeting and I’m just one small piece of an entirely larger puzzle.

So hows’t that for taking action?

Don’t Just Stand There, do something!

Until next time, xxo

jennie b

I wasn’t supposed to be here right now.

I wasn’t supposed to be writing to you.  I was supposed to be reveling in much needed family time with Sista Sista and her newest little, Baby B.  However, the Powers that Be had other plans in mind.  Due to the wicked crazy influx in snow and ice storms (most recently the one that plowed through the U.S. just yesterday), flights were canceled leading to their trip from Connecticut to this charming little city by the sea to be postponed, date TBD.  To say I was am was disappointed is a pretty big understatement.

me and sista sista

That picture’s me and Sista Sista when I was brought home from the hospital. Not to brag, but I’m her first memory as a human. Ok so maybe I am bragging a bit, but, that’s a pretty phenomenal thing right there, huh? Talk about the ultimate one-upper. I was her first memory …. BOOOOOOYAHHHH! 🙂

In all seriousness, yes, I was disappointed that plans were changed and canceled, but more importantly I’m learning yet again to be O.K. when the plans I had held in my mind simply just don’t work out.  I got a really giant lesson in that this past Holiday Season when plans changed and a 2 week house guest wasn’t here, and again on my 31st birthday when my computer crashed sending the entire day to hell in a hand basket (worst.birthday.on.record.), and again last Friday when my car wouldn’t crank up and I ended up going home with an unplanned, brand new, shiny starter for the Honda.  You can have the best, well-laid plans and sometimes they just don’t happen.

The biggest mistake we make, when things don’t happen as we had hoped or planned, is to hold on to the outcome that was lost.  Staying stuck in what didn’t happen as opposed to going with the flow of what is happening.

I’ve struggled with not getting frustrated when my plans didn’t go as I’d hoped, realizing not only am I part control freak, but I often become too attached to the outcome and place entirely too many expectations on that outcome.

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever make any plans or have any expectations, but what I am saying, and learning, is to be O.K. if things don’t quite pan out.  My Uncle told me once, and forgive me as I’m paraphrasing this, expectations lead to future frustrations.  Well now ain’t that truth, huh?  This is something I consciously work on anytime situations such as these arise.  And when I’m planning things, I try to pump the breaks when it comes to what I’m expecting as possible outcomes.

The news of Sista Sista’s cancelled trip did upset me, yet after I acknowledged and allowed the feelings of sadness and disappointment to have their due time, I was able to see there were other plans, unbeknownst to me, in the works, surrender to those plans and move into the acceptance and trust phase with much more ease.  It’s all about letting go, remember?

Come to find out, though, in a special circus twist, it’s probably for the best Sista Sista and two month old Baby B weren’t able to make it here this weekend.  Last night (Friday night) I found myself coming down with a wicked, gnarly head cold.  I haven’t been sick in over a year, but 5 days ago I actually noticed how poorly I’d been taking care of myself these past few weeks.  Not getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night, I hadn’t taken my daily probiotic in 3 weeks – simply because I was too lazy to go pick up a new bottle, I’d filled my schedule to the brim and not left adequate time to work out as much as regularly, and I definitely have not been eating as well I could have been.  I commented to myself that I better clean up house or I was heading towards an exhaustion “check yourself” cold.  And here I am. So this morning I’ve gathered my arsenal of cold remedies and confined myself to bed with House of Cards Season 3.

cold remedies

[ACV + honey tonic, the netty pot, re-stocked probiotic, mucinex D = I like to work with Eastern & Western remedies.]

I guess things really do work out the way they’re meant to be.  And we can see that when we let go and surrender to the current moment.

School of Life = winning.  Jennie Boo = still learning.

Until next time, stay safe & warm out there!

xxo,

jennie b

Pole Dancer Down.

Cat’s out of the bag, kiddos, this girl is a pole dancer and I have been for the past 8 months.  Before your mind starts going crazy, I’m most likely not the type of pole dancer you immediately think of.  I take pole dancing fitness classes at a studio right down the street from my house.

And you want to know something? I absolutely love it!

This isn’t my first venture into the world of pole dancing.  About 7 years ago I organized a bachelorette party where I took the bride and another bridesmaid for a private lesson.  [The bride was furious and didn’t speak to me for the first hour, but eventually she came around. 😉 ]  I had so much fun in those 2 hours we spent during the private lesson, but I was too shy to ever actually sign up for classes on my own.  Until I turned 30.  A voucher came up on Living Social so I went for it.  5 weeks and I was hooked.  I took a break for a few months, moved to the opposite side of town, and then found myself itching to get started again.  That’s how I landed at my current studio, Amorous Dance Pole and Fitness.

I’ve been training at Amorous for the past 7 months and I could not be more fortunate to have found an extended family in the amazing women who teach and take classes there.  There’s been so many lessons I’ve learned at the studio, and I’ll get into them as we go along, but for this post I’m focusing on the lesson I’m currently learning….and it has to do with the pulled muscle in my back that is driving me bananas at this very moment.

I started the new year having been promoted to Level 3 (there’s 7 levels in total) and for the first time I was learning how to go inverted!  Talk about a whole new set of muscles that I hadn’t used since I was probably 12 years old learning how to do a round-off back layout in gymnastics. Apparently I was a little over-zealous as in week 4, when I was doing a hold called The Gemini and felt the most intense strain / pull in my back, underneath my right shoulder blade.  What’s a gemini you ask?  It’s this:

gemini

image source

Essentially there’s 3 points of contact between your body and the pole: your leg, your side (just below your ribs), and your arm.  You can watch a video of it here. <– Don’t worry, it’s clean.  So you can see there was a lot going on and unfortunately it was too much strain on my back having learned inversions just 4 weeks prior.

This particular pull is fairly common in the pole dancing world.  It happened on February 2nd and I’m still in deep recovery mode with it.  (Word on the street is I can estimate at least 6 weeks on it.)  You’d be surprised how the little things catch the pain – putting sheets on the bed, chatarunga during yoga, sneezing! – each time it’s like Woah, pump the breaks, jb! So.frustrating.

I talked to the studio owner and we adjusted my classes to keep me active but still allow my back time to heal.  I can pretty much do everything except going inverted at this point, but I still find myself getting wicked frustrated with my healing body not being able to keep up with others in my class.  Has this happened to you before, too??  I’ve had issues with this ever since I was 10.  I didn’t care if I was hurt, I wasn’t going any less intense working out or performing.  (Seriously, I tried out for the dance team once with an insanely sprained ankle.)  It’s so difficult for me to allow my body the rest that it needs to heal itself and even at 31, I’m apparently still learning this lesson.

This injury is putting me way in check. I haven’t had something take me out of the game in years and that’s through training in krav maga, MMA fighting, kickboxing, AND 3 half marathons. Low and behold it was the pole that took me down.  Oh, the pole and all of it’s life lessons!  I’m constantly reminded of something a yoga teacher used to say years ago when I took her class downtown – Practice in the body you have today.  Learn, know and accept your limits.  Tomorrow is a new practice.  And although last Tuesday I left class and cried frustrated tears in my car, this Tuesday I left class proud of what I had accomplished, even though I still couldn’t keep up with everything.  A huge thank you to my awesome teacher, Rachel, who talked me through my frustration last week after class.  (You’ll hear about her again in a future post as I always seem to end up in her class during the most difficult of times!)

My back is on the mend and as with any injury, time and rest will allow it to heal – no matter how much healthy encouragement I try to give it.  This pole dancer may be down, but she’s definitely not out.

Until next time…..learn, know and accept your limits.

xxo

jennie b