Tag Archives: The Rubyz

Via Ferrata


Point to Ponder:
What’s your Via Ferrata?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As referenced in last week’s journal, our iGnite Escape’s are always filled with unexpected, laughable and ample ah-ha moments. In addition to meeting the Rubyz, the memory that made the greatest impact during this summer’s escape to Banff, Canada was on our 6-hour, Via Ferrata climb on Mt. Norquay–7000 feet up!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Via Ferrata, you are not alone. Prior to planning our trip I was also unaware. Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron way” and is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, other fixed anchors and suspension bridges. Having rock climbed before, I didn’t feel it was as physically challenging, however while the views were spectacular, six hours of reaching, climbing, scaling, and repelling at 7000 feet high is no easy feat. In fact, at times it was so physically, mentally and emotionally daunting that many of us agreed that we were tired of feeling scared and several of us wanted to stop; however, that is when the experience became the most rich and rewarding.

As the fear and fatigue escalated, Kim, one of our guides stepped in. Gentle yet firm, she reminded us that taking long deep breaths was essential, as deep abdominal breathing allows for full oxygen exchange that lowers heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure and calms our mind. And, having practiced the deep breathing throughout our adventure, I can confirm that it does quiet the body and mind.

Next, and while this sounds ridiculously simple, she encouraged us to eat, stay hydrated and take pit stops as often as we needed. Here’s why: Snacking and keeping our blood sugar at normal levels helps reduce anxiety and increases concentration. Staying hydrated helps us stay focused and decreases brain fog, and while we climbed (it got much more difficult before it got easier), staying focused was essential. And, allowing ourselves to urinate (rather than holding it) truly caused a sense of relief and Kim needed us to be as comfortable on the mountain, because not only would that allow us to stay focused on the tasks at hand, it would keep us safe.

Kim’s final wisdom nugget that left the greatest impression on our experience was when she reminded us that whether or not we quit or kept going, a “feel good” chemical response in our bodies would occur. In the event we were to quit, we would feel safe, relieved and out of danger, therefore our body would release serotonin. On the flip side, if we finished what we started, we would experience an endorphin rush and feel a true sense of euphoria. Kim’s point was that either way, both of these responses feel good and when the next similar opportunity were to present itself, we would more than likely choose the same path. In other words, as a result of stopping before we accomplished our goals or finished what we set out to achieve, life patterns are created. To Kim’s point, this is why she was respectfully relentless and would not let us quit. She knew that if we continued to persevere, work through our fears, fatigue and even anger, the result would be empowerment and excitement, which is most certainly what we all experienced. When it was all said and done and we were celebrating over beer and wine, we unanimously agreed that we were thankful we didn’t quit and completed the climb, and as we learned in this summer’s journal Be a Novel, Keep Moving and Stay Young, many of us agreed that climbing the Via Ferrata significantly reduced our risk of Alzheimers disease and increased our neuroplasticity.

So, what’s your Via Ferrata? Is there a “thing” in your life that you are avoiding starting or finishing due to fear? If there is, I encourage you to start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing, as well as a good endorphin surge. Then, add on. Trying an iGnite class you’ve never taken is the perfect place to start, as is participating in our 12-Day Body Re-Boot that begins this upcoming Saturday.

All in all, fear is normal and without it, we’d be robots. However, what’s vital is our willingness to be a beginner and embrace challenges so that time and time again, courage can step in and we can experience life at its best.

Action Item:
Make the choice to be a beginner and embrace challenges. Start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing as well as a good endorphin surge.

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You Are Breathtakingly Beautiful


Point to Ponder:
When it comes to your body, are your thoughts, words and actions routinely critical and destructive or do you operate from a place of gratitude and give thanks for your health and everything your body allows you to do?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Like all iGnite Escapes, they are filled with unplanned and unexpected unique moments that make for the best memories. Some are laughable and life-changing, while others–well, not-so-much. For example, during this summer’s Escape in Banff, Canada, there were a few moments that landed in the “not-so-much” category. The first involved a mouse that invaded one of our condo’s kitchens during the night, while the other was out-of-control and irresponsible downstairs tenants who thought it was a good idea to leave their condo at 4:00 in the morning, after they lit a fire in the fireplace. Without going into too much detail, the short of the story is that at 2:00 a.m. they began their rambunctious party and at 4:00 a.m the fire alarm went off, which meant it was a sleepless night for three of our members.

Despite the inconveniences, there were many more inspiring and contemplative experiences, all of which I’ll eventually detail in future journals. However, for the purpose of today’s journal, one of the most memorable moments that spontaneously occurred was in the hot tub (pictured above), where we relaxed, soaked our tired bodies and reminisced about the day’s adventures. This is where, on the final evening of our trip, we met The Rubyz, an all girls Christian pop band from Nashville.

Their names are Addy, Tanner and Jessica and their ages range from fourteen to seventeen, but despite their youth, they were incredibly mature and bold. We engaged in great conversation and they even serenaded us (a cappella!), and shared their newest song, Breathtakingly Beautiful, which was breathtakingly beautiful!

As we spent more time with them we learned that their record label is iShine. This is when we knew it was not coincidence that we met. These girls were iGnite kind of girls!

Since meeting The Rubyz, I have sent them our iGnite Shine Bright tanks and even though their target market are tweens and teens, I have listened to Breathtakingly Beautiful over and over again. While I am not necessarily their audience of choice, the song’s uplifting message is powerful. And, even though at some point in our lives we have all preached confidence, value or self-worth to another female or have been preached to, this is a song that every woman, at every age and stage of her life should listen to every day. I think that even the most self-assured woman is fighting an uphill confidence battle, which is why it is imperative that we counter all of the destructive falsehoods that surround us with only positive messages and encouraging affirmations.

As it relates to our health, our confidence, self-worth and value is connected to our health, because they are what drive our behaviors and decisions. Health is much broader than the numbers on the scale and the size of our clothes. Sure, numbers are important because they provide valuable information, however health is also claiming your worth and loving yourself more than the numbers on the scale. Health is multidimensional too. It’s a delicate balance and dance between our body, mind and spirit. If we are fixated on exercise, obsessed with our weight, how we look and every calorie that we consume, we will never be satisfied or reach our goals because we are operating from a place of deprivation and judgement rather than gratitude. One way to counter the hyper-focus on the physical is to start each day by saying, “I am a breathtakingly beautiful creation by God!”

I can speak to this because I have lived this life. Looking back, I was miserably focused on the way I looked. I was always asking or wondering, “Do I look fat?, do I look skinny?, how do I look?” Any chance to catch a glance of myself in a reflection or mirror was the perfect opportunity to give myself either an A or an F. Ugh! That is all so gross! And, because I was working in the health and fitness industry, I quickly realized that I was a first rate fraud. I was not representing health and I dang sure wasn’t a good role model. All I did was look the part but I didn’t love myself. My confidence was wrapped up in my physique and I was instead representing the worst of the fitness world, which is the lie that our physical appearance defines us and gives us our value. I believe this is also what keeps women in a perpetual tailspin. It wasn’t until I stopped judging myself, gave myself a break from being perfect and began appreciating my body for allowing me to live a full life that my body started responding better than ever.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do think being at a healthy weight is important, but it cannot control your life. A healthy diet and regular exercise is critical to living your best life, but it cannot control your thoughts, your worth or your life. Eating perfect, looking perfect and exercising perfectly can never be the goal because it’s unachievable. Instead, the vital action is waking up everyday and saying “thank you for my breathtakingly beautiful body and life”. The second step is to exercise and eat well because you love yourself and you want to honor the body and life that has been given to you.

Finally, because valuing your mind and spirit as much as your body is the key to having the greatest health and most satisfying life, I also encourage you to commit to protecting your mind and heart by not reading or listening to things that don’t serve your life or are not in alignment with how you want to think or live your life. I may sound like a prude, but last January I gave up E!, the Entertainment channel. I chose this because even though my values do not align with E!, my excuse was that at end of the day I needed brainless television. There’s do doubt that it was indeed brainless, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t absorbing what I saw, which was unconsciously impacting my thoughts about myself and my life. It makes me think of Proverbs 22: “Above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows through it”. The things we read, listen to and watch are all absorbed by our heart which effects our overall health.

Curves, no curves, long torso, short torso, long legs or short legs, you are His masterpiece, you are breathtakingly beautiful, part of His perfect plan and created to do great things! Listen to Breathtakingly Beautiful (shown below) now and throughout the week. Wake up every morning and give thanks for your health and being breathtakingly beautiful!

Action Item:
Listen to Breathtakingly Beautiful now and throughout the week. Wake up every morning and give thanks for your health and being breathtakingly beautiful!

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