Christopher Clark: Creating a Happy Life, In Spite of Incurable Disease

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

“I do think you have to choose happiness, because it’s YOUR life.  You are in control of your own personal happiness.  I could lay in bed sick and angry, or I could choose to laugh . . . and make a happy life.  I don’t find that it is any more difficult than it was before.  My problems have just changed.”

Christopher Clark told me a story about another friend of his that was also diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease.  When this friend's doctor told him of his diagnosis, in almost the same breath the doctor made a plea that he would not take his own life.

For many, receiving word that they have this untreatable, incurable, gradually debilitating disease is a death-sentence.  For Clark, there was grieving to be sure; but there was also a determination to rise above the temptation to languish in his pain and despair, and instead to live the rest of his now-shortened life with a good amount of grace, and even more of humor.

Chris's choice to find happiness in spite it all is evident throughout this interview, which is surprisingly entertaining given the topic of our discussion.  We first explore his love of acting and directing and how he eventually pursued it as his profession.  He is now a professor and head of the theatre department at Utah Valley University, on top of being a well-known actor and director.

We talk about the huge transitions he and his family has faced the past year plus since his diagnosis, what physical symptoms he deals with daily, what he is the saddest about losing to his disease, what he has learned about himself through it all, and how he still finds the will to continue progressing in his personal and professional life in spite of it all.  

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Christopher's Instagram
Last week's episode with Emily Nelson
SURVEY!!!! (It takes less than a minute to fill out--thank you!)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

Emily Nelson: Empowering Yourself to Become the Best Version of You

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

“Come and give your all.  Don’t say, ‘I want to look this way . . .’ but, ‘I want to become the best version of myself.’”

Emily Nelson is one of the most high-energy women I've ever met.  And she puts that energy to good use as the co-creator and co-founder of HIGH Fitness, a workout that is taking North America by storm only 2 1/2 years from its conception.

In today's interview, Emily talks about how her growing up years inspired her to have a strong work ethic, what she did to get past her initial shyness, and the path she took after college that eventually led to creating a new fitness brand with her friend and business partner, Amber Zenith.  

Emily is passionate about their vision: to not just create a class, but a fitness community that inspires men and women to move past focusing on the exterior, and instead on becoming the best versions of themselves.  There is a reason why participants tell Emily every single day that her classes are changing their lives.

You'll also love hearing about what Emily thinks is the hardest challenge behind trying to balance life as an entrepreneur and a mother, why she and Amber are committed to not filling their feeds with sexy photos to increase their business, and how they have combatted the nay-sayers by staying true to their mission to inspire each person who is apart of the High Fitness community to live their best life.  

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes
Emily's Instagram, and Amber's (her co-founder) Instagram
High Fitness Instagram, Facebook, and website
Last week's episode with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
SURVEY!!!! (It takes less than a minute to fill out--thank you!)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

My Happiness List

Monday, August 7, 2017

Why, hello there!  

It has been quite a while since I posted beyond doing my podcast episode updates.  I had to scale back this summer because I'm pregnant (14 weeks along now and due February 3rd)!  

I'm not one of those women who powers through nausea well.  This pregnancy has been like my others, in that the all-day morning sickness leveled me.  But it's been different than my other pregnancies in that I have been very weak physically.  As a result, I've forgotten so many important things, and slacked on others.  All our fun summer plans/routines went right out the window.   However, the nausea is finally at a level I can function with, so I'd love to get back to writing here more!  I have missed this!!

I'd like to break the getting-back-to-blogging ice by sharing a list of things that make me happy.  I know this sounds a bit selfish; but as I still get through a pregnancy, parent through some difficult things, and deal with the general stress/busy-ness of life we all deal with, I know that it is best for me to remember what helps buoy up my happiness and do my best to actually ensure those things are incorporated in my daily life.   A happy mother deals much better with stress!

If you are familiar with The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I loved that book and listen to her podcast as well), then you might be familiar with this concept.  Once you have your own happiness list, then you are equipping yourself with important information about yourself, and you can then use that list as a tool to actually create that daily happiness in your life.  It won't likely happen all at once, but you can gradually pick away at your list and come up with routines and ways of thinking that make that list a daily reality.

So, with much ado, here is my Happiness List:

1) Quality TIME and CONNECTION:
   By myself
   With my children
   With my spouse
   With friends and extended family

2) Organization
   For what I need to do each day
   With my larger goals
   Within my home
   Minimalism with toys, household items, and clothing
   Time management

3) Health
   Daily spiritual practice and study
   Physical, through daily exercise and healthy nourishment

4) Progress
(This one might need some clarifying--I NEED to feel that I am improving myself and my life.  This is who I am at my core. If I'm not working towards growth, then my happiness really suffers. That's what this blog and my podcast are all about!!)
   Personally--working on improving my habits/practices
   Parenting--major overhaul at times, and smaller tweaks
   Marriage--what marriage doesn't always need work?
   Professionally--I'm not receiving money for what I "do," but my blog/podcast are still very much 
   my work and I like to improve

So, now that I have my list, I can look at it and analyze where the holes are in my life.  I'm already working on a hole.  

My husband started a new job a month ago where he has to leave for work at 5:30 AM.  That is when I used to get up and exercise, which took care of some quality alone time to myself, my physical exercise, and even my spirituality (I listen to talks/scriptures/podcasts or just think and pray--which helps my spirituality a great deal).  

I've had a hard time adjusting to this new schedule, in large part because now that I'm trying to exercise either with my kids or with them at a gym daycare (for the first time in my parenting life), I feel a lot of guilt--exercise time doesn't feel like quality "me time" as much now because I know I'm essentially taking time away from these kids or things they'd like/need to do.

But exercise is still really important and needed, so it's something we simply have to make the best of.  Instead, I'm trying to shorten my workouts and make them really purposeful so my kids don't have to sacrifice too much of their lives for that.  I still get in my exercise, and my guilt is lower because I'm shortening the time I used to take to do so.  And to make up for the other "me time" components I've been needing, I'm trying to wake up after my husband leaves and do two things first: Meditate (for even five minutes--this is a new practice for me); Study my scriptures/religious books.

Then, if there's time (and there should be!), I can work on my podcast (and not blogging!) for a little while before the kids get up.

Doing this new routing checks off so many things off my happiness list!  I'm slowly working towards getting up earlier and hoping I can officially be an early bird to better my overall happiness.  This is big for me because exercise used to be the only thing I'd wake up early for--I'm not naturally a morning person at ALL.  But I am well aware that having that time and developing that pratice will serve me and my family much better in the long haul.

What is a hole in your happiness list that you are currently working on?!

Other ladies are sharing their lists today (although I'm sure they are much less wordy than me--I have held in a lot of words the last few months!).  Check them out below, and if you'd like to participate in a similar series then sign up on Madeline or Kiana's blogs:

Madeline at CaseyLand

It feels so good to be back!!!!

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife || "Goodness:" What It Is and How to Develop It

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Many of us resist developing ourselves into our own unique expressions of Godliness, of humanity, because we fear the exposure, and the risk, and the potential invalidation that comes through doing that . . . If that is the only paradigm we operate in, we limit our ability to really develop into beings capable of offering goodness in the world, and creating a better world through our own capacity."

What is "goodness?"  How do we develop it when faced with real and imagined pressures?

Today, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife answers these questions by fleshing out the term "goodness" that often comes up in her teachings.  Jennifer shares how to discover what it is we truly want and feel we "should" do with our lives and then how to better own our choices, especially when we are often only faced with difficult ones.

Jennifer also offers how to live up to the core desires we have, more fully cultivate our gifts, and how to in turn better tolerate the internal and external push-back we might experience as we develop true goodness within ourselves and our lives.

Like her past episode on About Progress, this interview is one worth listening to several times to fully glean Jennifer's wisdom.  There are many ways to apply this discussion to parenthood, marriage, "control freaks," "victims," and those who live their lives based on others' approval.

More on Jennifer:
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife grew up in Burlington, Vermont as one of eight children.  She studied Psychology and Women's Studies at Brigham Young University, and went on to receive her Masters and PhD in Counseling Psychology from Boston College.  She has a private practice  in Chicago, IL where she works primarily with LDS couples on relational and sexual issues. She is a frequent guest on LDS-themed podcasts, and has written articles for LDS-themed magazines and blogs on the subjects of sexuality and modesty as well as mental health and faith.  She is married to John Finlayson-Fife and has three wonderful children.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunesSoundcloudStitcherPocketcastsGoogleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!


Show Notes:
Jennifer's website and upcoming workshops
Video she recommended, "How to know you life's purpose in 5 minutes"
Jennifer's past interview on perfectionism
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcast episodes from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas

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