Thursday, August 27, 2015

The hill

The hill that beat me.......

Well today's ride was a set back - notice how I did that, what I really wanted to say is that it was a failure, but I'm working on negative self talk, so I changed it. This is the hill that did it -  Looking at it in the pictures it isn't nearly as intimidating as in person, but believe me - it was really steep and really long and  I didn't make it up it - I only got a little over half of the way up when my legs just stopped working. There were tears. There was lots of negative self talk. There was talk of giving up completely and never riding again. Duane and the girl stuck by me though. They encouraged me to walk to the top of that hill (which was a challenge in and of itself), get back on my bike and finish my ride. My goal was to ride 8 miles today and I did in spite of having to walk up this hill. Still I feel as though I failed. 

I learned something though. That little self destructive voice that I've been working my whole adulthood to quiet is still there - it has less power than it used to, but it's still there. My first instinct, even after all the work I've done on myself, is to put myself down, call myself a failure and want to quit. Ultimately, I've made progress because I've learned to listen to that voice, really take a honest look at those words, and make a decision to move on without believing them. I didn't give up - that's the real progress and the next hill was hard, but I chanted in my head "I think I can, I think I can" like the little engine that could, until I realized that I didn't think I could, I knew I could - that chant changed in the middle of that next hill to "I know I can, I know I can". And I did.

Ultimately, I realized that my flash point of negative self talk is self destructive and I can not and will not believe it. Honestly, was I ready for that particular hill? No, I wasn't, but that's all right - I'm still training. I've only been doing this a couple of months. My first ride was 2.15 miles and was on a bike trail off road - today's ride was 8 miles on the road - that's a huge accomplishment and that's what I have to focus on, not the one hill I wasn't ready for. My body is changing and getting stronger with every ride I take - that is what I need to remember when the negative self talk starts.

This is a lesson that bleeds over into the rest of my life. There is less negative self talk in my head then there used to be, but I realized that I still do it in subtle ways. I need to be better about my self destructive tendencies and focus more on the positive. I'm a beautiful, powerful creation of the Universe and I deserve to be happy, healthy and loved. That starts with a better understanding of myself and stronger self love. 

Today was just a reminder that I'm still a work in progress and that is okay. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be doing the work I'm destined to do. It's about the journey, not some preconceived destination. My journey is mine and it is beautiful. 

Oh, and I will complete that 10 mile ride on September 10th because I won't give up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


"The remedy of all blunders,
the cure of blindness,
the cure of crime,
is love."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The older I get and the longer I live here on this beautiful Earth, the more I realize and experience that love is the key to it all. Love is the answer to all life's questions. 42 may be the answer to life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams, but in real life - in MY life - the answer is actually Love.

In all I do, I try to be sure it is rooted in love. Sometimes that love is love for the Universe, sometimes it's love for my family, sometimes love for my friends and sometimes it's even love for myself. When I act or speak from a place of love, I contribute to the blessings showered on us by the Universe because as Rob Breszny says, "the Universe IS conspiring to shower us with blessings". I truly believe this and when I lose sight of it, I'm reminded when love enters again into my heart.

Random acts of kindness are truly acts of love. I try to remember that when someone reaches out to me or when I reach out to another. Everyday things in my life that seem little are actually very big when I remember that it is love that is behind it. The sun shining down on the Earth is an act of love from the Universe. The wind blowing a breeze on a hot summer day is an act of love. Lending my favorite fan to my daughter to cool down her room during a heat wave is an act of love. Giving my son room to make his own mistakes and learn from them is an act of love. Being present to listen to my beloved vent about the challenges of his job is also an act of love. Being in a 12 step program is an act of love to myself that ripples out to show love to my family and friends. Prayer is an act of love as is meditation. Eating healthy local foods is an act of love for myself as well as the farmer that supplied it.

Love shared ripples out and becomes bigger and bigger - so big it can not be contained and eventually helps to change us all into better people. It supports my journey of self love and growth. Love begets joy and hope and adventure.

I'm riding in an organized ride in September called the New England Parkinson's Ride to raise money for Parkinson's research. I'll be riding the 10 mile route in honor of my grammie who died 20 years ago and suffered with Parkinson's Disease for many years. This is an act of love - my love for my grammie and my love for myself because as I train for this ride, I see changes toward health in my physical, emotional and spiritual self. Exercise is an act of self love and as challenging as it is, I see the bounty it provides in my life every day.

I also discovered a beautiful group that facilitates love today thanks to a video I saw on Facebook. It's called More Love Letters and the website and story behind the group is at I'm planning on getting involved with this organization because quite frankly I believe - I feel in my gut - that the world needs more love and I know I'm called to do more with my own love. This group is about writing love letters to folks who may be struggling or to leave letters anonymously in public for folks who may need a little love in their lives to find. What a simple but profound idea and action. A simple act of kindness - of love - can change lives. And taking that step to reach out and help another just brings more love into my life.

That my friends, is the Universe showering me and you with blessings.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wisdom teachers

"The three teachers who impart wisdom: suffering, thought and a truthful heart."
-Welsh triad (translated by Caitlin Matthews)

August 8 from The Celtic Spirit Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
by Caitlin Matthews

Yes I know I'm a bit late writing about this one, after all it is the 10th, but it's taken a couple of days of pondering to really wrap my head around this quote. 

Suffering is definitely a source of discovered or learned wisdom. As a matter of fact, I think our culture tends to really emphasis suffering as a way of learning about ourselves or developing our art or even just making us a better person. It seems sometimes that suffering, though necessary, gets a lot of attention that lends to the passing judgement on some who "have it easy". Can we learn wisdom without suffering? I think so and not only can we learn without suffering, suffering doesn't necessarily mean we are going to gain any wisdom. 

Now I'm not knocking wisdom imparted by suffering - I've learned my share of hard and simple truths from suffering and I think many people who take the time to use the other teachers in this quote are more apt to find wisdom through that suffering. I think it takes a great deal of thought and seeing things through a truthful heart to reach a place of wisdom in our lives with or without suffering. I also believe that one can gain wisdom in one's life without suffering. That truthful heart and living thoughtfully can definitely help one find the wisdom of life all around us.

Suffering is not necessary, but I do believe it is universal. An experience doesn't have to be huge or life threatening to cause suffering. I also think it is part of my journey to find a way to live that transcends suffering - to find peace, serenity, hope, gratitude and joy in things that once would make me suffer. And ultimately, when it's part of my journey, to transform that suffering to wisdom.

When my little Arlo Edward died, I suffered. I mourned, I shut down, I felt such pain and I never want to go through that again, but I can't in all honesty say I regret it. I would love to have my little boy here with me now arguing with me about his chores or sitting with my as I read him Harry Potter or just watching cartoons with his siblings, but his death taught me so much about myself and about Spirit. I was pleased to carry him, even for a short time, in my womb and I thank the Universe for that experience. That experience - that loss - lead me to my therapist and to OA and the people that I've met there. The experiences that have happened since then were tainted by that and I gained so much from those experiences. But I needed thought and my truthful heart to gain wisdom from all of that. I also needed the thoughts and truthful hearts of others to teach me and help me get out from under my suffering.

A truthful heart is key to success in a 12 step program. Honesty with myself is how I grow and become closer to the Universe and fight my disease. There is a term "brutal honesty" that is very appropriate to this part of the journey, though I prefer to think of it as loving honesty. Being honest with myself and my sponsor (yes you read that correctly I finally have a sponsor!) is an act of love toward myself. Being able to look at my actions and feelings honestly with love and compassion helps me to gain that wisdom about myself and to grow as a mother, wife, woman, and human being on this planet.

I don't know about other people's journey, but I do know that all three of these teachers: suffering, thought and a truthful heart are necessary for me to know wisdom in my life. I'm sure there are others who can gain wisdom without suffering, but I think the other two are key with or without it.

Now wisdom is such a fancy word, but as I approach my cronedom, I find it more and more appropriate to my journey. I truly believe my sponsor and the other people in my life impart wisdom to me in their words and actions. That wisdom is the Universe making Herself known and using those folks to teach me and guide me and show me the wisdom of the Universe.

I'm so grateful for those lessons. I'm grateful for that suffering. I'm grateful for thought. I'm grateful for my truthful heart. And I'm grateful for the people that have been put on my path to impart wisdom whether they were aware of it or not.