With our thoughts we make the world.
When I was 30 I went through a difficult divorce. During the course of the marriage I gained 40 pounds and worked my way up to smoking three packs a day. I was so upset after the breakup that I couldn’t eat! For two weeks I was on a diet of black coffee and nicotine, as I tried to imagine putting my life back together and make sure my three year old son knew I hadn’t abandoned him. After a few weeks on my crash diet, I looked in the mirror caught a glimpse of the guy I was before I put on all the weight. Instantly I became determined to lose the remaining weight. In about four months I was back to my pre-marriage weight. I looked and felt much better. However, I was still smoking like a chimney.
Several years later, after my morning commute to work, I sat at my desk and realized I felt terrible. I checked my resting pulse, it was over 100 beats per minute. In that moment I had an
“AHa” experience. I knew that if I didn't quit smoking, it would kill me! I spent several weeks thinking about this until I was ready to make the change.
Like many people, I had quit several times in the past. Each time I went cold turkey for a week to several months before getting hooked again. I thought these were failed attempts, but that wasn't true. They gave me an essential piece of knowledge that freed me from my addiction to nicotine forever! I had to accept the simple fact that I could NEVER smoke another cigarette. In the past, after a week or month, I’d begin to feel that I’d mastered the addiction, and that having one cigarette was okay. Each time that cigarette triggered my craving and in no time, I was right back where I started. Now that I knew the truth, I was ready to quit for the last time.
I used some subliminal tapes to get me through the first two weeks. This was my first introduction to enlisting the power of my subconscious mind , just as in hypnosis. Now, over 25 years later, I’m still smoke free. I believe that quitting smoking was the best choice I ever made, and to this day, I would no more smoke a single cigarette then put a loaded gun to my head.
Now that I was a non smoker, became interested in trying to add some muscle to my lean body.
I didn't know much about weight training, so I began to read articles in Men's Health and Muscle and Fitness. I found a gym and started training. In the beginning I used mostly cardio equipment and circuit training. However, in no time I began graduated to free weights and continued to push my limits.
Like most newbies I didn't understand balance. I spent too much time working on my chest and arms and ignored my back and legs. However, as I continued to train I learned and began to see gradual transformation. I discovered that a regular lifting program, with a diet good could actually transform my body. After a few years, I wanted to help other achieve the same results, so I became certified as a trainer with the American Council on Exercise. During the same time I also began training in therapeutic massage, and after completing both programs I began working as a Trainer and Massage Therapist.
When I turned 40, I decided to give amature bodybuilding a try. I entered the NABBA Mid-Atlantic Competition here in Richmond. I won my division and went to the National Competition.
My introduction to meditation came years later. Smoking, in many ways was a poorly chosen attempt to deal with my anxiety. I came by it honestly, my mom was a worrier, and periodically struggled with agoraphobia.
I joined a small meditation group in search of some inner peace and stillness. It wasn't natural for me, to say the least. I remember the early days, arriving cell phone in hand, heart racing as I just managed to finish my last appointment so I could finally "do my meditation." That was almost 20 years ago. Since then I have tried many different approaches to meditation and mindfulness. I’ve attended many retreats with amazing teachers (Sogyal Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Ponlop Rinpoche) and completed training in Transcendental Meditation. Several years ago I discovered, Centering Prayer (a Christian meditation practice). I found it easier to connect to this practice because it felt familiar. I currently meditate twice a day, and have a simple sitting practice which has transformed my mind and smoothed many of the rough edges I had all those years ago.
I started Actualize in 1996, with the goal of helping clients get in shape and feel better as a Personal Trainer and Massage Therapist. Many of the men and women I worked with benefited and reached their goals. Unfortunately, others needed more. Like me, they had psychological and spiritual barriers that blocked lasting change. I drew on my struggles and experience as I searched for ways to help others overcome their barriers a healthy life.
If we want to change the most basic elements of who we are we must change our thinking, and overcome the emotional triggers that lead us right back into self-destructive patterns.
When I quit smoking, I gained an appreciation for the power of the subconscious mind to overcome anxiety and help me through the transition. After some research and careful thought, I decided hypnotherapy would be an excellent tool and I trained with and was certified by the American Institute of Hypnosis. Over the years I’ve helped clients stop smoking, lose weight, deal with anxiety, fear of flying, nail biting, impotence, improve study habits, and other problems. Hypnosis is a powerful tool, sometimes the results are miraculous, and sometimes gradual, but it can definitely bring about amazing changes.
Most recently I completed credentialing as Certified Professional Life Coach. I believe this combination of skills and disciplines bring together a wide and power mix of tools for transformation. In many ways I feel this was just a formal acknowledgement of the work I’ve been doing with clients to help them transform their bodies and their lives during the last 20 years.
I also found that Meditation, and Mindful practices like Tai Chi let us get at this fundamental layer of personality and rewrite the programming that feeds into the cycle of failure.The foundation of this process is derived from a balance of Mind, Body, and spirit. I have spent years of my life building the tool kit that will help you to active this balance, and truly actualize your life!