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Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Fitness, Happiness, Inspiration, Weekly Update, Wellness

Blog & Weekly Update July 3, 2017

I’m so glad you’re here! Thanks for taking a few minutes to check out some fun & enlightening videos and posts from last week!

Educational In a couple weeks I’ll be turning 55! Rather than feeling disappointed by the numbers, I’m proud that I’ve been able to overcome significant physical and emotional obstacles in my life and, most importantly, feel better than ever! Unlike women (and men) who are hesitant to disclose their age, I don’t mind. In fact, I feel like I’m in my prime. I’ve learned how to be more assertive and speak my truth without being hurtful. When my husband asks me where I want to go for dinner, I say the exact name of the restaurant, rather than, “I don’t care,” and then sulk because he couldn’t read my mind.

You may find it difficult to believe, but I struggled with self-confidence most of my life. Especially as the wife of a rock star, it was always easier to just go along with whatever Ted wanted. Ultimately, I wound up feeling angry until I learned to voice my opinion. You might say I’m a late bloomer since it’s taken me 54 years to figure out how to do that, but I’m getting stronger and wiser every day!

The trials and tribulations we endure not only fortify us, but these setbacks help us acknowledge the people, places and things with which we want to be surrounded. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier to be (almost) 55! And, I’ll admit, this past year has brought some challenges, but also some amazing changes in my life since I found Isagenix! I feel like it’s the fountain of youth!!

Check out this educational article about staying fit and healthy as you age: http://www.isagenixhealth.net/stay-fit-prime/

And what’s the deal with coconut oil? Is it good or bad for you? Here’s an interesting article by Chalene Johnson: http://www.chalenejohnson.com/nutrition/the-coconut-oil-debate-why-you-should-continue-to-use-coconut-oil/

The weight loss and fitness secret you haven’t heard before! Hint: Be selfish! Here’s a video you may have missed from my Motivational Monday segments with Julie Hays:

 

It was so exciting to visit the Isagenix World Headquarters in Phoenix, AZ last week with my friend and business partner April O’Leary!

A post shared by Shemane Nugent (@shemanenugent) on

Some of the Isagenix executives even came to Ted’s concert! Here we are backstage:

A post shared by Shemane Nugent (@shemanenugent) on

This is absolutely adorable! Watch how a stray dog walks on stage during a live symphony performance! I’ll bet s/he found a new home after this! http://boingboing.net/2017/06/30/stray-dog-joins-orchestra-on-s.html

If you’ve never heard my podcasts before, check out my favorite interview with Dr. Kapil Gupta about becoming MindLESS, not mindFUL. It changed my life. http://thisrockinlife.libsyn.com/rss

Emotional Wellbeing, family, Mindset, Relationships

Words Matter

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” said Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan after an American citizen woke up one morning and decided he wanted to shoot Republican congressmen because of their conservative beliefs. It’s bad enough that we have to go to war to fight Isis and people who hate the fact that we are free to say and do (within reason) what we want, whenever we want.

Words Matter Ted & ShemaneWe all say things we regret. I know I do, and my husband has been a perpetrator of verbiage that was hateful and toxic. For years, I warned him that his scathing rhetoric would get him in trouble. It did. He was investigated by the Secret Service for saying terribly unkind things about our former president, although what he said was clearly misunderstood. He’s passionate. But the passion, I warned, could be more effective without the childish name-calling. He finally agreed, and he explains everything in an apology on Facebook.

The First Amendment does not and should not ever include violence. As Americans, we have always set an example for the rest of the world. We should watch our tone, however, and not demonize each other through bombastic verbiage. This week’s tragedy caused my husband to alter his stance and he credited me as his reason for the drastic change. My persistence paid off.

During a time when the nation is turmoil fighting over basic beliefs and principles like health care, abortion and jobs, we had an opportunity to bring the two opposing sides together in a simple charity baseball game. Republican congressmen against the Democrats. It was a time where oppositional views were put aside so that regardless of who you route for, everyone would win.

As a Zumba fitness instructor, I see all walks of humanity in my classes; men, women and children of all races, faiths and political views. I am a conservative, Christian woman, but when Barack Obama was first elected, I remember seeing a few t-shirts with ‘Obama’ written boldly across the front of them, on people in my classes, but it never mattered. I welcome each and every person into my class.

There is a time to argue and a time to dance.

The Congressional baseball game raised millions of dollars for charitable causes. Liberals and Conservatives came together and cheered each other. The winning Democrats even handed over their trophy to the Republicans for Rep. Steve Scalise until he recovers. And for a split second, Nancy Pelosi actually agreed with Speaker Paul Ryan. Now that’s progress.

I’m not a celebrity like my husband is, but even I’ve been misquoted in an interview. One newspaper reporter printed that I said, “I hated writing my book”. What I really said was, “I loved writing the book”. With so many online bloggers and so-called journalists, the facts can be distorted. Wikipedia actually printed that I had two children, and I would know, I only gave birth to one. We need to be careful not to believe everything we read and hear.

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Paul Ryan

 
Let’s come together as Americans regardless of the color of our skin or our political beliefs. We all bleed red. Wouldn’t it be nice to see less mud-slinging in political debates and elections, and in our news? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just dance?

Emotional Wellbeing, family, Inspiration, Mindset, Success

Charity: Pass It On

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.Charles Dickens
Charity pass it on

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center

 

We’ve all experienced dark nights of the soul, times when we endure spiritual crises that bring us to our knees. We lose hope, hit the bottom of the depression pit, and perhaps even consider suicide. Let’s be real. Maybe you wouldn’t do it, but have you thought about it?

Taking the focus off myself and putting it on others has always lifted me from the deepest, darkest depths of despair. In 2004, Ted, Rocco, and I visited veterans at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. That day was one I can still see and feel in my mind.

The three of us went from room to room, floor to floor, visiting severely injured soldiers. The sights were gruesome—much worse than any Hollywood movie could depict. Ted played his guitar and entertained some of the troops in a rehab room. A young man who had suffered serious burns all over his body was strapped onto a bed; his arms and legs were extended. Emblazoned in my memory are the moaning sounds he made while his limbs were stretched so new skin would have a chance to grow.

As we ascended to higher floors, the wounds on these hero warriors seemed to get worse. The cheery demeanor of a beautiful, dark-haired woman overpowered the fact that half of her face had been maimed. She smiled wide and bright as she talked about recovering quickly so she could rejoin her fellow soldiers.

Nineteen year-old Corporal John Chrzanowski had been brought in the night before we arrived. Wrapped from head to toe like a mummy, John had been burned all over his body. To minimize the chance for infection, John’s visitors were kept to a minimum. Ted scrubbed up, put on a face mask and gown, and headed in to give John a pep talk. Rocco and I stood outside the room with John’s mother, Nancy. I had no idea what to say to her. How could any words bring her comfort? I asked if there was anything she needed, anything I could do for her. With all the confidence in the world that her son would someday make a full recovery, Nancy Chrzanowski lifted her chin and said defiantly that her son was an outdoorsman and she couldn’t imagine him recovering without being able to get outside. At the time, there was no patio at BAMC to shelter burned and wounded veterans from direct sunlight.

I was slightly stunned, but I leaped into the conversation as if something else had taken over my words. I had zero experience with fundraising and had no idea how I would do it, but I told Nancy I’d raise the money to build a patio at the center so her son and so many others could get outside into fresh air but stay out of the sun. With the help of my husband, Ted, Texas governor Rick Perry, and so many others, a beautiful pavilion was created at Brooke Army Medical Center and has provided relief to hundreds of deserving and honored American military veterans. That experience prompted me to start Freedom’s Angels to help wounded soldiers and their families. Most recently, we raised money to provide a much needed track chair to a veteran who had lost his legs. Now, he can go to the beach with his family and not worry about the complications of walking with prosthetic legs in the sand. Ted and I are also on the board of directors for Operation Finally Home, which provides mortgage free homes to veterans and their families – something they should have anyway. We also help raise money and awareness for many military charities like K9s for Warriors, which places shelter dogs with veterans suffering from post traumatic stress. We’ve hosted too many children with terminal illnesses for me to count. Or want to. Meeting innocent children stricken by a death warrant is heartbreaking. It’s so unfair to them and their families. It puts everything in perspective, doesn’t it? How dare I complain of having a bad hair day or gaining a few pounds? Those children would love to have my problems. So whenever I have my pity days, I think about people who struggle with much more daunting tribulations, and I get involved.

You don’t have to write a check to make a difference. One Thanksgiving, Ted, Rocco, and I went to a soup kitchen and served the homeless. Lend a helping hand to others and you’ll be more appreciative of what you have.

What can you do to help someone today? This week? This month? How about this year?

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This is an excerpt from Shemane’s book, “4 Minutes a Day, Rock ‘n Roll Your Way to HAPPY

Coco
Emotional Wellbeing, family, Finding Strength, Happiness

Coco

She would have been 22 years old, but I never mourned her until now. Life gets in the way, you know? I’ve been busy raising my son Rocco, who is now 26, and helped to raise two of my stepchildren, Sasha and Toby, although they were nearly adults when I married their father. Five other step-children came into my life, Fleetwood, Starr, Louisa, Heather and Chantal but we only visit once or twice a year. This morning when I Googled “how to do music.ly” a social media site that marries lip sync and dance, I found a tutorial of a young girl teaching her mother. And I cried. Through the awkwardness and the banter, it is obvious the mother and daughter are very close. Thirty seconds into the eight minute video, the mom cannot contain her pride and hugs the young girl, while her daughter pushes away, smiling. The mother says “I love her. I love her so much! This is my only chance to get to hug her…” Although likely embarrassed, as any teenager teaching a parent how to lip-sync to a rap video would be, it is clear they have fun together. They giggle, and playfully tease each other as the mom tries to learn this new technology and be “hip”. I know…., my son will be embarrassed I used that archaic word.

It was then that suddenly, after more than two decades, I realized I missed her and I never even knew her. I missed having a close sibling for Rocco, and another child of my own. I would have named her Coco, because, yes, I like Chanel, but also because it rhymes with Rocco. I wonder what they would have been like as brother and sister. I wonder what it would have been like to have a daughter I could tease and learn from, and hug. Would she be embarrassed by my selfies, clothing choices and attempts to lip sync and dance? What would she teach me, I wondered.

On those crazy-long information sheets required to fill out at the doctor’s, I have to acknowledge that I have been pregnant twice, but only delivered one child. I have to check the box for ectopic, or tubal pregnancy. It never, ever bothered me until now.

Like many women who’ve had miscarriages, I felt all the symptoms of pregnancy for weeks. It’s hard to deny the hormonal changes that occur in the body; breast tenderness, fatigue, and a sudden aversion to certain foods. I’d endured it all before when I was pregnant with my son. The most important symptom was, of course, my intuition. I knew that there was a tiny human growing inside me. And I knew it was a girl.

On a ski trip with my father, son and husband, Ted, I woke up one morning with incredible pain in my abdomen. I immediately wondered if I had food poisoning. An hour after the initial cramping started, I was bent over in pain. I knocked on my dad’s hotel room door and told him I wasn’t feeling well. My husband was going to drive my son and I home. We had a couple of good ski days already. Maybe I was over-doing it and needed some rest.

It was only thirty minutes into the four-hour drive home that I realized the pain was becoming extraordinarily severe. In fact, I thought I was going to die.

We found a nearby hospital and I was admitted immediately. “I’m pregnant,” I said through sobs. At that moment, I started to realize what was at stake: a life. Maybe two. Hundreds of women still die during pregnancy-related deaths every year in the United States.

The ER doctor said surgery was imminent and urgent and that I would lose one of my fallopian tubes and the fetus, the baby. The human. The soul. While I was being wheeled into the operating room, as if in a movie, Ted and Rocco told me they loved me and they’d be waiting for me.

Was this really happening? The pain subverted my attention from the fact that I would no longer be pregnant. What does that mean? Where does she go? Perhaps I’d never be able to have another child. Maybe I will die.

After the surgery, I woke up in the maternity ward. Couldn’t they find another place for me? I heard women screaming during childbirth, and then..babies crying… The pain prevented me from thinking about it too much.

The phone in my room rang. Although I was still groggy from the procedure, I struggled to answer it. “Is Ted there?” A woman asked. She said she heard that Ted Nugent’s wife was in surgery there and that she was a big fan. I hung up. Seriously?

And then it was over. Life got in the way.

I returned home and went through the motions of raising Rocco, going to Toby’s basketball games and Sasha’s volleyball games, and being my husband’s wife. Years passed and I continued to write the number “2” in the doctor forms inquiring about how many pregnancies I’d had.

I never sulked. I never cried about the life that was lost.

Until now.

Now, I wonder what kind of video tutorials I would have done with Coco. What career path she would have taken.

I miss her.

And I never had a chance to hug her.

Top of the mountain with my son Rocco and friend Danielle Russo-Slugh
Emotional Wellbeing, family, Happiness, Relationships

One Good Run

As I trudged through the hotel lobby with layers of long johns, two turtlenecks, a wool sweater, ski pants, gloves, helmet and a jacket, feeling like a sweaty Abominable Snowman with cement blocks for boots, I briefly questioned why I go through all this effort just to ski down a snow-capped mountain ten thousand feet above sea level. For those of you who don’t appreciate winter sports, it might seem as though the hours of preparation for snow skiing simply aren’t worth the payoff. The sub-freezing temperatures alone are enough to scare any cowboy.

Having been born and raised in Michigan, however, ice-skating, snowmobiling and skiing are in my blood. Growing up, my brother and I and all the neighborhood kids made igloos, snowmen and had serious snowball fights for hours in single digit temperatures. During the long, cold, depressing winter months in the Winter Water Wonderland, the big thrill was to climb up the side of a nearby bridge and ski down the side of the overpass which lasted a total of fifteen seconds, if you were slow. That’s how I learned to ski.

Your first time on skiis (or a snowboard) probably feels a lot like getting on a bucking bronco. Beyond the physical challenge, it’s just plain scary. Someone can tell you all day long to lean forward and point your skiis or snowboard down the hill and not to sit back in your boots, but when you’re standing on two slippery boards headed for the bottom, your body will think that’s an insane suggestion. Even if you’ve skied for decades, as I have, and you’re feeling pretty confident about your ability, you can get distracted for a second, cross your ski tips and bam! You’re suddenly tumbling down the hill somehow still attached to your skiis and poles, flying down the slope like a drunk Tazmanian Devil.

Now, I’m not intimidated by advanced runs (a black diamond) that are so steep you cannot see the bottom until you look over the edge, but there I was on a groomed Intermediate run (a blue square) taking a nasty spill that would have been hilarious on You Tube. As I laid there with snow down my pants, up my sleeves and all over my face, I actually laughed. A young snowboarder came by and asked if I was okay. I did a quick physical scan: arms and legs worked. I could tell because I felt the pain. “Yes,” I told him. “I’m okay, thanks.” He handed me my goggles that had flown off in the fall. I got up, brushed myself off, grabbed my ego that had suddenly been misplaced and headed down the mountain for more physical and mental anguish. Like any good adrenaline junky, I cannot get enough!

We ski for that one moment when everything comes together and turns the extraordinary effort into complete bliss. The sunshine warms your back as you dance down the slopes, knees close, hips making figure-eights, breathing the cleanest air imaginable. You glide effortlessly on top of the snow, feeling exhilarated, and that is the magic moment when you realize all the trouble is worthwhile. There is an unexplainable chemistry amidst the mountain air and your spirit, like a first kiss with someone special. A physiological reaction hijacks your heart and soul. You cannot imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else.

That’s what happens in one good run.

Hours after my laughable fall, I was lost in the glistening, snow-covered mountains. I ended up at the top of a double black diamond run (extraordinarily difficult) that I doubt Tom Cruise could ski down without stopping at least once. It was the only way down the mountain, so I pointed my skis toward the bottom and prayed to make it down alive. Taking my time, I traversed from one side of the slope to the other as that same young snowboarder who stopped to help me earlier flew by. Seconds later he was tumbling down the steep mountainside. I counted six times but I’m sure it was more. After the snow dust cleared, he laid face down in the snow, not moving. Sliding down toward him, I grabbed his hat that had flown off in his tumble and handed it to him. “You okay,” I asked. He looked up and smiled. “Yeah. Did you see that? It was awesome!”

Apparently there is more than one way to have a good run.

Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Fitness, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Meditation, Mindset, Nature, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wellness, Wisdom

Tearful Yoga

The room was completely dark except for the illuminated “Exit” sign.  As I lay on the floor in a supine position, sweat streamed down the side of my face, arms and legs. Toxins and stress drained from every pore.  It had been fifty-eight minutes of the most strenuous stretching, balancing, and hard-core strength exercises a body can tolerate, but as I lay in my own pool of sweat, I felt elated.  Yep.  Elated.

The instructor, Michael, taught an intense power yoga class which included traditional yoga postures combined with a series of faster paced moves which called for a bit of mental gymnastics.  When a difficult pose ended, another began. There was very little rest. When we were instructed to hold a challenging balance that required muscular strength and stretching limbs and torsos beyond what was once imaginable, my mind played its usual tricks:  leave now and go get a cappuccino…why are you working so hard on a Sunday when you could have slept in and read the paper….there’s a woman at least ten years older than you bending like a pretzel…..c’mon…you can do this, etc…

At times, there was no music, just the sound of the instructor’s voice encouraging us to go deeper into the pose, or take just another “sip” of breath. Serious and seasoned yogis use a diaphragmatic breathing technique that’s supposed to bring attention back to one’s breath, maintaining calm and focus amidst chaos. The mind continually races, however, with thoughts of “I should have worn the black tank top….what am I having for lunch….to…I bet I’ll lose three pounds of sweat from this class…”

While there are many different kinds of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, power, gentle, and everything in between, yoga has evolved from thousands of years ago. Today, yoga is a culture of its own. There are people who do (it) and people who don’t.  You either fall into one category or the other.  There’s little flexibility because many gurus are so serious about their craft. Although I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than thirty-five years as a choreographer, program developer and instructor, I often feel as though I’m out of my league when I attend a yoga class.  It’s a feeling akin to sports fanatics.  You either like to watch games or you don’t.

The yoga culture extends to manners and clothing, as well.  Be prepared to speak in a whispered voice and be cognizant of your space when entering a yoga studio. Smiles are given freely and often, except when walking on someone else’s mat or (gasp!) when a cell phone buzzes. Anger is simply not welcome.

Stretch pants previously reserved for the gym and only the gym are now seen on both hockey moms and dads in and out of yoga studios and worn as a statement; “I can do the splits and I eat kale.”

The lights dimmed with just a hint of radiance from the gorgeous chandelier above me and the music became so loud I couldn’t hear myself or the person inches away from me breathe, or fart, although I’m quite certain that happened to at least one of us during the hour.  It felt like a nightclub scene, but without any alcohol or pick-up lines.

The instructor never demonstrated any moves, and as an intermediate yogi, I was unfamiliar with the sanskrit terminology, so I cheated by looking at those nearby including my son, Rocco, who is currently attending yoga teacher training.  Not realizing we would have to remember sequences, I simply played “follow-the-leader” as I mimicked those around me in the shadows of the dimly-lit room.

At the end of the class, when it was so dark I could only see the ‘Exit’ sign, we laid on our sweaty yoga mats, exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. It was quiet, with only a faint sound of deep, relaxing sighs.

Then, with the first sound of the piano notes, it started.  I felt a tightening in my throat, and heavier, more intense breathing.The music blasted, but this time with a more peaceful, poetic combination of Gaelic, New Age and classical sounds that both calmed and comforted me.  The volume of the music grew along with its intensity to levels that I felt in my bones. Suddenly, a persuasive, emotional wave took over me and within seconds, tears filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks.

I began to weep.

Salty tears of elation mixed with my hard-earned sweat.

And it felt so good.

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Emotional Wellbeing, Relationships, Wisdom

Sometimes It’s Best To Save Yourself

 

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“Save yourself.”  That’s what a friend told me after we discussed a predicament involving a mutual acquaintance.

Sometimes it’s best not to get involved in situations we cannot control even though we may think we can be of assistance.  It’s difficult to allow others to make their own (bad) choices and allow them to figure out the predicament themselves, but occasionally we may need to.  Often, it’s best to back away, bite your tongue and save your sanity.

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Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Happiness, Mindset

Who Ultimately Wins An Argument?

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I planned my attack.

In my mind I had it all mapped out: How exactly I would respond to the person who had said something hurtful and humiliating.

I knew what I was going to say. After all, I rehearsed it in my mind for hours. No, days.

We were at a gathering where a dozen or so people were laughing, telling stories and feeling elated about the camaraderie of old friends and new.  No one else knew that what this so-called friend had said in a joke brought up old wounds in me.

The offender knew.  I’m sure of it.  Although, I don’t think that they intentionally wanted to hurt my feelings.

Regardless, the words they said cut like daggers into my soul. It felt as though Mike Tyson punched me where I had already been black and blue.

So I waited.

And waited…for an apology that never came.

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