Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Do you face fear when it is "just like riding a bike?!"

 "Oh, it's just like riding a bike!"

When ever I hear this, I can't help the wave of heat I feel come over my chest. My face tenses and I have to take a long. Deep. Breath. After my big "S" this phrase has meant something entirely different to me. I stand firmly that it is NOT just like riding a bike.

About a year ago, I was just re-learning to ride a bicycle. I was riding around my hilly neighbor hood almost every day. I was actually getting better and better too. One day, I was going up this hill. I dreaded that hill. I was going up up up, but then I started to drift to my right. Now drifting you think would be an easy task to recover from. But, for me my dear friends, there is was no such thing as a recovery.

I kept drifting over to my right, heading right at a car parked on the side of the road, and eventually dumping over the side of my bike right onto someones drive way. There I lay splat on the ground, catching my breath. I was calm and there were no tears running down my face (which was a surprise because when it came to my emotions then, there was often no control in the matter). I looked at the damages: two bloody scrapped knees, two scrapped palms and a sore wrist. Not too bad right?

The next day my wrist was worse. On a pain scale only about a 6.  Still not too bad. But as time went on I found it harder to do plank in class, which I was teaching mat almost every day. Over this little pain, I developed a severe fear of getting back on the bike. I did not get on my bike for almost a year. If I even touched it, I would start to tremble.

I let this "fear" of a bicycle get the better of me for too long. Now in all other cases, when I am fearful of something physically demanding or doing something really challenging, I just say to myself, "Come on Hill! You've had brain surgery for heaven sakes!" This usually helps me push through. So a little bicycle is what I was afraid of?!

Today I got back on my bike. I looked at it and said, "Today is the day. You are after all, just a bike." I didn't give myself a chance to think about it. I hopped on and said, "Its just a bike," and off I went. I focused on my breathing and staying balanced. I did not care about the cars that were behind me. I just stayed focused on staying straight.

I was feeling good and let my mind wander on something not very important and I felt myself starting to drift. AH! Damn that drift! I drifted over to the right, headed for a parked car. Again. But this time I let out a yelp and my little right leg reached out and put my foot down! My right hand had to gently reach out and touch the car. I was saved!! My limbs did exactly what they were supposed to do!! The dogs in the near area all went crazy from my yelp, but I was quickly off again.

I rode around my neighborhood for a long while. When ever I would get nervous, I would just take a deep breath and focus on going straight. When I arrived home and dismounted gracefully and a wave of emotion washed over me. I was overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment. While it might seem silly to some, that was one of my biggest tasks to finally achieve.

Overcoming my fear was one of my biggest accomplishments. 

I love this lesson. Fear has been playing a bigger part in my life, I feel, more than ever. I have learned a lot today in that I can not let fear just sit in me for almost a year, or even for a day.

If there is something you are afraid of, like doing something physically challenging, entering that contest, taking that class to develop a new skill, or even just practice using your voice for something you want. Don't let that get the better of you and let that fear have control over you not reaching the places you want to go. 

If you are faced with fear, think of my story and...

Take a deep breath, stay focused on staying straight, and keep going until you are home.

Practicing living gratitude daily,

Hillary Brown

I vow to never let fear sit in me for almost a year.

Living my life on my own terms...

What are my three priorities for the next 30 days that will move me closer towards living life on my own terms?

I feel this blog challenge has helped delve deeper into things that I really want and it came to me at a very interesting time. By not putting any expectations on myself other than the explore ideas and feelings I find that even though I am still challenged to expose things and reach those deeper places, it has has helped me come so far all ready. So I am going to make writing a priority.

I need to create my schedule so I am 100 % in control of my time. I am going to research and explore other opportunities which include the development of my online business.

I am going to study and practice my butt off to pass my next exams with flying colors. I will need these teaching tools to set me apart from the standard in teaching around the world.

Which key tools will you turn to regularly to maintain your mindset and how will you use them effectively?   

Meditation daily. Saying what I am grateful for daily and living gratitude daily. Look where ever I can for inspirations, books, the world, friends, family. Keep up with my physical practice. Train 3x's a week, Pilates every other day, and yoga 1-2 times a week.

Practicing living gratitude daily,

Hillary Brown

30 day challenge

Four Beaches or Double Rainbow? Um. Both!

This day of the challenge asked us what is your perfect day? 

For the past few days I thought that I had already answered this question in my last post. That was a perfect day in my vision to come. I have thought about it and the beautiful day that I have had shines a little light on this whole challenge thing.

I had most of the day off and I decided I need a "me day". I woke up early, right as the sun was rising. My room was filled with cool colors of the dawn. I did not plan this of course, but it gave me about an hour to lay, be still, fall in and out of sleep while thinking about my day to come. Because I only had to teach one class today it was actually very relaxing knowing what I had planed (or lack thereof) for the day. I had a rough draft for my schedule, but no concrete plans, which for me, is quite liberating.

I rose out of my warm heaven of a bed and put Etta James on Pandora. While her polished, soft voice filled my room, I did some light yoga stretches just to catch my body up to speed with my mind. I just love the way down dog opens your back line and lungs and the strength I feel holding plank. While getting ready, I packed my bags and food for the day, and I was on my way.

On the way to the studio I did my 'gratitudes.' This is where drive in silence in the car and list out loud everything that I can think of that I am grateful for in those moments. Today, it consisted of being grateful for the lessons I am learning and trying to practice, my family, the world I live in, the colors in our beautiful world, the special people in my life, having a good sound mind and healthy body, and the list goes on and on...I also ask for guidance and support in things that I am personally struggling with or being challenged in.

I then get a phone call from my mother! It is always a joy chatting with her. She gives me some wonderful advice on a decision I was trying to make.

I arrive at the studio early, just as my best client/friend arrives too! I have already called in to get a smoothy (Waimanolo Blue..yummy). We chat about my next career move and I make some realizations.

We then walk up stairs to the studio and have an amazing class. I do the class with them because there just happens to be on open reformer. We have been working on the classical Pilates level 3 regime. Everyone is really grasping things and I am seeing changes in their strength and tone in their bodies. We got through the entire level 3 repertoire! That is what we have been working towards for a while now. So exciting! When finished, everyone is energized and was full of life and excitement to take on their days.

"My" beach 
I start my adventure by driving up to the North Shore. On my way, I pass an old neighborhood, my undergrad college, and lots of memories after being on Oahu for 12 years. I stop for lunch at my favorite fish taco place. It is along wait, but I don't mind. I don't have any where to be by any certain time and with no one waiting for me. I sit down to wait for my food and read a book my brother gave me, "Ishmael." When my food arrives I am off in search of a new beach!

I pass the usual spots that I have been to recently (as in the past year). I find this wonderful beach park in Laie that is empty. Fancy that! I have my own private beach!! I lay down and read, make a couple work calls, nap, and wake to the sun kissing my skin. I keep trading off between reading and admiring my amazing view. I look left then right down the long stretches of beach and see no one in sight. This is a very rare moment. The colors of the ocean are dozens of different shades of greens, blues, and grays. The sound of the gentle crashing of the waves is soothing to my heart and often busy mind.

I decide to move on and explore some new things along my drive. I turn down a road that I have never been down to find an amazing new school, a large field with students playing soccer,  and a new hospital I have never seen. Grateful that the people in this area have these much needed facilities.

On to my next beach. I end up at Sunset Beach and it is not as crowded as it normally is. I decide to go for a swim. Oh my. How heavenly it was to first step into the water with just my feet, wait for wave to come crash over my shines, and then dive head first into the texture of liquid ecstasy. I swim for a good while, enjoying the serenity and cleansing feelings of this vast power.

I want to take some pictures of my view, but it just so happens these two little girls proceed to dump all their sand toys right as I am about to snap my photo. At first I was a little perturbed, but then I started taking pictures with them in it and they are some of my favorites from the day.

I went to three other beaches today, including one that had a turtle. On my drive home through the pineapple fields, I saw a rainbow that turned into a double rainbow and then I proceeded to see two more. Four rainbows in one day. I want to say this is no unusual occurrence in Hawaii.

After many moments of "ah' and excitement for the beauty around me, I make my way home. Here I proceed to make dinner, put my laundry away, watch a movie, and start this entry.

Today was pretty damn perfect. I got to teach an hour to feed my body, stretch my mind, and work towards a common goal with others. I got to spend some quality time with myself, ponder on things that I have been seeking guidance on, feed my eyes with the waves, mountains, and people around me.

There was one moment on the beach where the people to my right were speaking Japanese and the people on my left were speaking Italian. I loved it. This helps me affirm that I want to travel.

I got to enjoy and appreciate the world around me. With me. I feel so blessed to have had this day to open my eyes and heart to what life is really about and what lifestyle I lead and want to lead.

"This whole 30 Day Blog Challenge is to move you towards creating freedom in business and adventure in life by giving you clarity on what that means to you. So let’s get even clearer shall we?"

Today was my perfect day. It was just what I needed. When I first saw this question, I honestly didn't realize or know. But after my special me day, I understand the point of this question. If I could live everyday as I did today, would I? Umm...Hell YES!

Thank you Natalie for this question today, as I am grateful for the exercise in exposing my heart to such a day and the possibility for this day becoming on often reality.

I said I was going to do this challenge to open my heart and mind to new things, well, I got what I ordered.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


If you are just joining me today, I have taken on a 30 blog challenge. I receive a question, I then answer it and post the challenge link at the bottom. I am not in this to win a prize, I am in this to learn more about myself and to use this a way to finally get motivated to share my journey. Today's challenge question is : 1) If you woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and who would you be?

My first thought was to share my 5 year vision letter (a letter you write to yourself in present tense in where you want to see your life in a certain amount of time). But then, I had what Dr. Brene Brown (my favorite researcher and author) calls vulnerability gremlins in me saying, "don't expose that much of yourself! What will people think? They will tell you its not possible. They will judge you, they will laugh...ect" But what it really comes down to, it does not matter what people think about MY dreams, MY visions, and MY choices. I vowed to use this time to be brave, dare greatly and share my journey and this is part of it. So here it goes...

Dear Hillary, 

Today was the perfect day! I taught at the studio for a few hours and ALL my clients are healing and really grasping things. They are seeing their bodies change over night and are seeing and feeling the value of The Total You's (my company) approach to Pilates and life . All my classes are full, with waiting lists. I love healing people and teaching them about their bodies. This is what feeds me, my mind, and my soul. The dance studio side is doing stunning! My teachers are amazing, dedicated, loyal, and committed. I can rely on them for anything. My dancers are excelling in everything dance and have a great understanding of how their bodies move through space, becoming wonderful technicians and are learning the most important thing is self love. I love my studios! They bring me a sense of peace and overwhelming joy. I feel so happy and centered to be there. I feel so fulfilled when I arrive, and even more so when I leave. My book is doing wonderfully. Every day I get letters and emails about how my journey has helped people from all over the world. That is why I am here, to help heal. I come home to my beautiful clean house, I could not ask for more room. My garden is in bloom, all the fruits and veggies are growing beautifully. Even the chickens, goats, and dogs bring a smile to my face. I am so blessed to be making enough money to support my amazing lifestyle. I teach 3 days a week at the studio, spend a few days volunteering at my favorite organizations, and travel to teach workshops all over the world and get paid very well to do it! I come home to a great person who brings me happiness in love daily. I am so blessed to have found a partner who shares the same values and priorities. Whom I can be my myself with through and through, but who also leads me to be a better person and who teaching me about life, myself, and the world all the time. Tomorrow I am going to meditate, take a class in the a.m. then spend the day outdoors by myself. I am going to explore something new about where I live and learn something new about myself.

To be continued...and I am still adding things.

This is hard from me to say in writing and I am not sure why...but in almost all the areas of my life I am free to do what ever it is that I want to do. I believe I already do live a millionaire lifestyle (without the millions haha). 

First, I get to wake up. Every morning when I wake, I practice gratitude that I am here to experience just one more day on this amazing planet. I live in a beautiful place (Island of Oahu) and wake to a beautiful view (of Diamond Head) in a home that I consider my sanctuary. I NEVER dread going to work. Believe it or not. If I am working hard on taking care of myself, eating right, sleeping enough and always making choices that benefit my higher self, it is never a struggle getting to do what I love in the world that I have created. Even though I am still practicing this and have not perfected it by any means, If I feel something is not benefiting me and I start to feel some sort of dissonance, I brain storm first on why I feel this way, seek council from my wonderful and beautiful friends and family and then figure out what I can do to change it. I believe we always have the power to change our lives. I am still learning lessons in life daily, which I love. These blessings in disguise may be hard and booooyyyy they are challenging, but it is what feeds my passion for my personal evolution.

If I were to be free to do anything I want, (more than I already do) I would love to travel to expand my knowledge of people, culture, this world and its wonderful vastness of evolutions. Which would probably lead to things that I would want to help change and make better. That is why I am doing this blog challenge. I know it is possible to travel and do what I love so I am hoping that this challenge will open my heart and eyes to new ideas and help the fire in me grow. I also would love to be able to spend more time with my family and allow them the freedom to do so as well. We live so far apart, that my heart aches for them. This is after all my choice, but it does not dull the pain.  
Second question (this one was way easier to answer): What’s your definition of freedom in business and adventure in life?

My definition is being my own boss in everything life, who is in control of my time and choosing how to spend it and whom to spend it with. Period.

Practicing gratitude daily,


30 day challenge

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stroke of Inspiration


Opposition in life comes to all of us and comes in many ways. Most opposition is mental but some is also physical. We seldom seek out opposition and most shun it- looking for an easier path. Some are blessed to have real opposition that tests their metal. 

You, my beautiful daughter were a princess, fast becoming a queen, with the world literally at your feet. And because you had abilities, personality, and looks you were in command. And you were not always a gracious commander. 

Then you were brought low, and given a second chance at getting it right. 

Your recovery aspirations were lofty concerning the damage done. 
You set your goals and put in lots of hard work. 
Your spirit was undefeatable. 
Your determination just continued and continued.

And four years later we have our princess back, a little humbler, a lot more mature, and just as vivacious as always. 

I love you Hillary ,


It is hard to believe that only four years ago I almost lost everything in life. I start with this letter from my father because it not only touches me, but there is a piercing reality and sounding truth to it all. It is a sweet reminder of where I was, where I came from and where I am today. I love my father, even when he calls me out on my "not-so-graciousness," because as we both know, he could have said a lot worse truth!

Four years ago on October 29, 2008 I survived my massive stroke. I was only 25 at the time, and looking back now, I was with out a legitimate care in the world.

I use this source to share my story in hopes that it will help reach people who are in need of what ever insight, stories, inspirations and so forth that I have to share about my journey. Which in fact, is a beautiful, forever evolving, exposing tale.

Before I go into details about, what we now call "My Big S," I would like to reflect on the celebration of my four year stroke- aversary. I gathered around me some of my closest friends who live on the island of Oahu and who are some of my greatest inspirations. Some knew me then, some know me now, some I feel have known me from life times ago. I asked them to meet me at Kaimana beach and to bring some written inspiration to share with the group. My dad brought the above letter, some brought stories, while others brought simple phrases. My intention with this blog is to touch on a few of these inspirations and inspirations I find daily, reach people about physical and mental health, share my experiences in growth and evolution, give tips on maintaining and achieving overall wellness, and the journey to becoming The Total Me.

Also, I recently joined a 30 day blog challenge. I started this post over 6 months ago, and here I am seizing the day and finally will be publishing.

I humble myself here today to express my graduated for all things life: little, big, small, and probably insignificant to most. I hope you enjoy this journey with me!

Living gratitude daily,

Hillary A. Brown