We are all one

We are all one
Jennifer Varenchik

Friday, July 29, 2005

From Sore to Soar!

I’m aching, my body is so sore (how sore is it?).

Today was the beginning of a new journey for me- one that I have been preparing myself for, for quite some time. Today I signed up with a personal trainer at my gym. I know, I know, its' so LA. But I need to be accountable to someone!

Last weekend, while I was learning how to tie a hand drum, an image of the “better Jennifer”, the person that I know that I could be if I strived to be the best I could be, flashed before my eyes. How do I get there? Who is she? Why aren't I her now?

That’s easy, I would say because I’m lazy, I’m really lazy. Not all the time, but enough for me to put on quite a few extra pounds (a few….?). True, I’ve run 3 marathons, working on my 4th, but still, I do not look like a marathon runner. I don’t even think I look athletic.

I’ve been a gym member since 2003, but have not been a regular. I would rarely set foot in there, for various reasons (excuses, really). The lamest and biggest excuse is that it was my ex who paid for the membership, it was all his idea. I don’t need no stinkin’ gym! But the truth is I do. My work out routine is non existent and I need to be accountable to someone. So I made it one of my goals to call the gym and check out the personal trainers. I finally get around to it Thursday. They tell me I could come in today, if I wanted. I know myself, I need to take action ASAP or I won’t do it. So 45 minutes later I find myself at the gym asking for “Joey”.

Joey looks like a trainer, he’s Asian and probably in his late 20’s. He starts asking me all kinds of questions about why I’m there, what’s my goal, how active am I, etc. I start answering his questions, and then remember back to when I was in the best shape of my life. I was in high school; I had 2 personal trainers because I was in recovering from a torn ACL. I was a soccer star, I had one personal coach and one personal trainer that worked me out. I was fit and boy, back then, I looked good. I don’t even know what my body fat was, but it was low. Now all I have to show for it is a big scar on my right knee. Most people look at it and just get this blank stare, kinda like a “poor her”. Those looks are especially from “girly girls”. But I love my scar and I’m proud of it- and it’s a great conversation starter…lol.

So anyways, it turns out that the image that I had of myself was also part of my body memory, remembering back to when I was fit. As Joey was putting me through physical torture, he was telling me that my muscles will remember, they have memory. They will remember what it was like to lift weights and be pushed to the limit. After every exercise Joey would ask me, “How do you feel girl?” and I forced myself to respond, “Good!” I decided that no matter what he threw at me, I would do it, I wouldn’t complain and I would smile. Towards the end I wanted to quit, it was really hard, but then I closed my eyes and remembered back to my goal image. He was there all along, coaxing me “only 5 more girl, come on, 4,3,2,- you’re done!”

Crunches, sit ups, dips, squats, running laps (they have a track inside)- by the end of the session I felt good and tired. He told me to go home and eat. No problem there, that’s what got me into this situation in the first place.

So all day I’ve been drinking water and feelin’ pretty good. I got to hang out with my good friend Bel, she’s my hairstylist. We’ve been friends ever since I moved to LA. We were pretty wild back then, but now she’s married to Michael Dudikoff. He’s an actor best known as the “American Ninja”. So I got a hair cut and we agreed that next we we’re gonna hang out at the beach. Woo-hoo!

I’m set to meet with my regular trainer tomorrow at 7am. I requested 6am, but when he called to confirm, I changed it to 7am. I’m gonna hit the hay early tonight, sometime before midnight. I want change in my life and a part of it is getting my sleep patterns back on track- no more 3am bedtimes here.

Oh, and if I had a digital camera I would take one of those “before” pictures in a bikini- NOT! Come on now, I'm not about to do that! But I’ll be sure to prance around in much cuter clothes this time next year. :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Various thoughts from Dr. Jen

It’s now after midnight, this is the first time I have a minute to sit and think about the past few weeks.

Wow! I have been so busy! It all started in early June, with the Torres Martinez tribe in Palm Springs, CA. I was out there doing an entrepreneurship class, and then moved on to Elko, NV for another week long entrepreneurship camp. From there I went to Lake Tahoe to work with the Washoe tribe for Native Wellness Institute. Over the 4th of July I went home to the Tohono O’odham reservation- but that was a very quick visit. Let’s just say it didn’t go the way it was planned to go….I ended up spending the weekend at the Gila River Wildhorse Pass- which was an awesome alternative!

I was a little disappointed, more hurt by my biological family- but I guess that’s what happens when you are surrounded by unhealthy living. Oh, but the cool thing was that I got to spend time with my great aunt, who helped me with learning some O’odham language.

So, back to the road….After AZ, I was sent to San Diego for the UNITY conference. That was the best UNITY that I have ever attended! Mostly because I was able to hang with 2 of my most cherished friends- Robert Johnston and Kel Jones. Even though the hours were so long, every morning I woke up so jazzed that I was getting paid to work with 2 awesome people. To top it off, I was able to bring 2 up and coming leaders from Los Angeles, Sandra Sanchez and Shondiin Gonzales. I was happy to introduce them to my mentor, Jeri Brunoe Samson. So yes, UNITY was cool.

Oh, and I learned a really great lesson. I headed out to UNITY with the notion of working with the youth- but then was thrown a curve by being told that I was in fact going to be assigned to the ADVISORS! I was kinda upset. I didn’t complain or say anything, I just went to my room and prayed about it. I realized that if that was where the Creator wanted me, then that was where I was going to go. As it turned out, it was the best thing for me. I had a blast meeting all the advisors and chaperones.

So learned to always go with the flow- if I am truly to be an instrument of the Creator, then I relinquish control and let Him guide me where I am needed.

My travels didn’t stop there! Right after UNITY, Jeri and headed to the LA airport and flew into Spokane, WA and then drove over to Couer D’Alene, ID. We were there for another week, with White Bison. I was there for the Daughters of Tradition training. I almost got to see Randy Travis- but that’s a whole ‘nother story (huh, Mona). I also had Louella set up an intertribal arranged marriage for me. On the last day of training, one of the elders asked if her grandson, who is currently stationed in Iraq, could get a hold of me when he gets home- LOL! Our class was full of elders, they were there with the “Adopt a Grandma” program, that was cool. I sure learned a lot from them. And, hey, I may have gained a future husband- LMAO!

So all those travels lead me up to my proudest moment this summer- UNYLA’s youth summit. Because of the…hmmmm, what’s the word….animosity…? Well, let’s just say not all the Native organizations get a long here in LA. In October of 2004 we set out to change that by starting a youth coalition from the 3 main LA native organizations. We have been meeting for 9 months and this past weekend’s event was the culmination of their work. Our goal was to not have any adults on the stage, that it would be the youth in front, it was their show. Let me tell you, I had to fight back the tears as one by one the youth took the stage. Their words were so powerful! We could leave, move or even die, and UNYLA will still go on- they have taken ownership and have what it takes to keep it going.

Not only did I get to see the next wave of LA leaders born, but I also got to meet some great people. First, let me start with I was so happy that I was able to fly out my young nephew to attend the summit. He was out here for spring break, and I took him to one of our planning meetings. He met a lot of the kids that I work with, and a lot of the LA ndn community members- man, I dragged him all over! We had fun, too, but he did have to put up with 2 work days.

Anyways, I was able to bring him out and I know he had a good time. My sister called me to tell me he couldn’t stop talking about the summit and the people he met. One of which I was also glad to hang with, DJ Abel. He DJ-ed for the youth dance, and he also gave 2 workshops. He taught me about gravitas- an important political word......but I'll stop there, that's another blog.

I also got to spend some time with Donavon Barney, Abel's cousin. I first met Donny at this year’s UNITY conference. He spoke some great words at the youth forum and he also sang the National Anthem on UNITY Talent Show night. Donny made a big impression on one of LA’s community members, Ben Hale. I just heard that he got into a big entertainment internship up here in LA (he's from San Diego area), so I have a feeling we will be seeing him up here more often.

Well, all this reporting, I didn’t even get to my main topic- why I named this entry “Dr. Jen”. In short, in the last 2 days, I have received phone calls- some in the middle of the night, from friends of mine, who needed a friendly ear. I guess I’m just happy that first of all, I have friends! And that I could be there for them. Those guys know who they are, and I boys- I love you. Thanks for thinking of me to turn to- I hope your minds rest easy. I will carry your thoughts with me when I go to ceremony.

Up next, thoughts about the big decision that I have to make- and don’t want to….
Peace, thanks for stoppin’ by-
Jen (Jen-nai, to some)