Dreaming My Dreams

Howdy, Do you remember your dreams?  What did you want to be when you were a child?  I wanted to be a journalist.  My best friend and I decided that when we were older (21 years old was 'older' to us at the age of 11) we would live together.  Our basement would be an ice rink and there wouldn't be stairs that led to it.  Instead there would be an ice slide from the bottom floor to the ice rink basement.  I can remember the conversation like it was yesterday and I still kind of want that ice rink basement idea. :)

Over the years I have had many dreams.  I have reached some (working out for a living) and let others go (School of Journalism at Columbia University).  I have noticed when I limited my dreams based on societal things and worked hard to allow my mind to wander into anything that would sound interesting to my soul.  I remember when I found out that Elmo was a black guy named Kevin Clash.  I was watching a talk show years ago where he was the guest.  It wasn't until that moment that I realized that I hadn't ever considered becoming a puppeteer because somewhere inside I had judged it as something black folks didn't do.  I had never seen someone black doing it and had completely counted it out as an option.  The funniest part was I am, in no way, stereotypical with how I live my life.  Still, no one is immune from those judgements about what is or is not possible.  We are surrounded by limiting factors every day.  After that moment, which was profound for me, I knew that I had some digging to do within myself.

Dreaming is so important.  Being limitless when you dream is the key ingredient to finding out what you really want to do.  Taking away the need to know how is the hardest part of dreaming.  We always want to make sense of something, so much so that when we dream we forget to just feel what you feel, think what you think and then see what shakes out.  So, I challenge you to dream.  Dream big.  Make a list of what you want to do, what you want to be, where you want to live, how you want to feel.  There are no limits, there is no right, there is no wrong, there is just you.  Before the phone existed someone wanted to talk to someone else who was far away.  Before hot air balloons someone wanted to float around in the sky in a basket.

You just never know where your dreams may take you…



Don't Stop, Get It, Get It

Howdy, Whatever it is that you are doing in order to reach some goal or another you will need one thing: discipline.  You will need to keep doing whatever it is that you are doing and not stop when you feel like the results aren't coming.  My favorite line from anyone is, "I have tried everything."  I want to complete the sentence with, "and stuck with nothing."  How can you wonder why you haven't gotten where you wanted when you give up on everything?

Getting somewhere you haven't been isn't some glamorous event.  At the end of your journey, when you have reached your goal, others may see it as some overnight transformation.  You are the only one that really knows (besides your partner, therapist and maybe a friend or two) what you went through to get to where you are, starting from where you were.  Reaching your dreams is a lot of work, a lot of struggle, a lot of letting go and a whole lot of holding on.

People ask me on a regular basis if I get sleep.  I do get sleep, but it comes around my getting my dreams accomplished.  I know what I want and where I am going and sleep sometimes gets in the way if it is hours long.  So two hours here, 3 or 4 there sprinkled with the 20-45 minute snoozes I do while waiting to do something else.  I get my rest, just not in the way most do.  I have a goal, several, and that requires me to do things differently than others may want me to do… or understand.  My goals aren't about others so why would how I reach them be about anyone else's idea either?  I also have to remind myself that I set this goal and why (especially when I am exhausted).  Discipline.  Doing it.  Making it happen.  Even when I don't want to.  In all honesty, I always want to do what works for my goals.  Do I always?  No.  But 98% of the time I am working in a way that will and is fostering my reaching my goals.

What goals are you currently wanting to reach?  How have you sabotaged, if at all, your goals?  What scares you about reaching your dreams?  How long have  you had them and how many times have you given up on your dreams?  Sticking with something is hard when you don't know the outcome.  Well, you never know the outcome of anything, save for life.  Death is always the outcome.  So what we do between the birth and the death is always the unknown.  You aren't actually sure of anything and risk things on a daily basis regardless.  So what exactly is the issue with doing something and not letting it go just because your goals haven't been reached in a month.  You will need to take steps.  We are, all of us, trying to be somewhere we aren't instead of embracing where we are and looking forward to the inevitable change that we are heading towards.  So maybe the first step is small and seemingly insignificant.  Do it anyway.  Who cares what and how you judge it, just do it.  Then do it again.  Then again.  Until it is just what you do, you see change, and then it will be off to the next dream.



A New Courtship

Hi there, Took a couple of days off and now you get a triple dealio!  Yep, 3 today… spread out of course!

Owning what you want it a big friggin deal.  We don't always feel like we are allowed to say what it is that we actually desire.  We fall into this invisible, but palpable, line of desiring only what is practical, acceptable or allowed to us by religion, our parents, society.  We may never admit that what we want is to paint toenails for a living, if we come from a household that has doctors and lawyers.  We may never admit that what we want is to marry someone of the same-sex, if we come from a deeply religious background.  We may never admit that we want to be a homemaker if we live in a society where people believe that women's liberation means not doing certain things instead of doing what you want.  We accept a lot of rules based very little on what it is we actually would like in our lives.

Often, when we aren't able to figure out what it is that we want, we force it.  We make lists.  We go to places that tell us where we are strong and what we could be good at.  It is odd to me, for someone else to tell me what I want.  I think we have truly come a pretty far distance away from ourselves.  I think that it is time to rekindle the relationship that exists between us and our selves.  What do you do when you want to get to know someone who isn't you?  You usually go on dates, talk on the phone, maybe you write emails.  You certainly ask a lot of questions.  You ask questions about their life, childhood.  You may ask them what they wanted to do when they were younger.  You may even ask some harder questions, questions about hurt and trauma.  You are trying to get to know them, find out what makes them tick and whether or not this is who you want to be with.  You dig deeper with someone else than you dig into yourself.

What if you started courting yourself?  Finding out what you like, going over who you wanted to become when you were a child and what makes you tick.  Sit for hours discussing the world with yourself, being vulnerable and excited for the information that you are being given.  Ask the questions and wait for the answers.  They begin to flood in when you open up.  By the time you have been dating yourself for a while you might realize how much you really do want to be with you for a long, long time and that you have some adjustments to make in your life in order to have the real you exist in it.  Do what is needed to support your relationship with you… that is love.



Ideally You

Hello, When do you want to be who you want to be?  What is stopping you from being that person right now?  I always work with my clients to sketch out their ideal self.  Who do you see yourself as, ideally and why?  How does that person live their life; what do they eat, where do they live, what do they look like, who are their friends?  When you look at the person who you want to become as already existing (which is true) you can begin to see reaching that goal as doable instead of 'pie-in-the-sky' dreaming.

We often believe that our ideal isn't doable, though we almost always have planted firmly in our minds what we would ideally like and who we would ideally like to become.  Many times, we look at our ideals as goals that are not attainable.  We accept mediocrity and believe that no one, or at least very few, can ever reach the point where they are living their ideal life, being their ideal self… at least not all of the time.

What if this weren't true?  We get so caught up in the stories we tell ourselves, and others day in day out, that we believe them and see them as the only way.  We believe that there are places we cannot reach, ideals we cannot meet.  If we believed everything that we aren't doing now just isn't possible then nothing would ever change, there would be no advances in any area.  200 years ago many people wouldn't believe that computers would exist, or dreamed of a computer.  Many times we are looking around to see if someone is doing what we want to do are being who we want to become.  We look for someone to be an example for us.  We forget that we are someone and we can be our own example by projecting out our idea of how our ideal person lives.

Try seeing that person you want to be as your example, your guiding light.  If that person can do it, so can you.  Start telling yourself the story that you are already there.  Start choosing to live the life you would like to.  Do it today, do it now.



How Do I Know?

Happy Weekend! How do we know what we know?  How do we know what we feel or what the feeling is for?  What if we have no idea what our feelings really mean, like people looking at a mirror thinking that there is a whole world on the other side instead of just a reflection.  What if feelings were that mirror and nothing more.  What if they actually told you nothing about the external world and were only and external representation of what is happening internally.   However you were feeling would be represented by what you were seeing.  What if our feelings created the external world so that we could practice using the skill that is emotion.

It could be that we are akin to someone from the year 1455 being transported to 2012.  They could very well use computers as artwork and iPods as doorstops. We may not actually have any idea what emotions are for.  We may be using them incorrectly.  How do you know that we aren't?

Ultimately everything is like this.  We go on an idea that we were given and we run with it because it helps, we believe, us function in this time and space.  We rarely believe we could be heading in a direction that isn't the highest level of use of our abilities.  We rarely spend time imagining what we actually could do, what the possibilities are.  When we think of things that are beyond what we have accomplished at this moment we tend to resist it.  It is like our brains, our imaginations are in prison or have been browbeaten to only repeat what is known.  What if you broke out of that once a day.  What if you allowed something that doesn't exist in our present day (that we know of) to exist in your imagination.  You saw it, you felt it, you knew it was true.  What do you think would happen?  How do you think, if at all, the world would shift?




Yo! Wherever you are wanting to go.  Whatever you are wanting to do.  Whatever you are wanting to become.  Go. Be. Do.

You are the only thing that is holding you back.  Your ideas about what can or cannot be true are holding you back, not the reality.  What you can or cannot do is based on what you believe you can or cannot do.  Who you are and can be is limitless.  Where would you go if you could go anywhere?  Guess what, you can.  All of your ideas around what is holding you back are false.  Where there is an idea there is a reality.  What you can perceive you most certainly can achieve.

Try to see yourself, uninhibited.  See yourself free of concern, worry.  See yourself doing what you want despite fear.  See the options that are infinite.  Risk dreaming without the judgement that you live your life with, under, around, within.  Have fun.

I see a shift happening where we begin to see our lives as opportunities to experience what we are drawn to and not what we should do.  I see us shining.  I see us happy.  Smiling.  Loving.  Living.  Living.  Living.

Go on, jump.



Gonna Make A Change...

"A year from now you will wish you had started today."  ~Karen Lamb Good Day!

Change is inevitable, however, our minds and bodies absolutely love the status quo.  We literally hold on to what we have for dear life, even if what we have isn't what we ultimately want.  There are so many ways that we sabotage ourselves or allow others to do the same just so things don't change.  The reasons we don't change are many:  lack of self-worth, belief, love… fear.  Basically we get stuck, all of us, and we do everything we can (sometimes consciously) to stay stuck.

When we are making big changes, communicating these changes to others can sometimes be what stands in the way of where we are and where we are attempting to go.  Often we don't communicate what we are working on because we don't want to be viewed as flawed or we don't want to face how others will feel about our changes.  Whether it is giving up drinking, eating only whole foods, working out more, including a spiritual practice, or any number of other changes, we fear other's opinions of our choices.  The only reason we fear what someone may say is because we are questioning what we are doing ourselves.  The truth is you may get resistance from others around your changes.  That isn't surprising.  Change is scary for those who are stuck, or those who feel that stability is what you should be striving for.  However, if you give those people the chance, and the right energy around your decisions, they will have to either come on board or fall off.  Many times letting others know that you are changing and that you need support the door for them to do the same is opened.  I have seen many of my friends and loved ones make big shifts after being asked to support others around shifts of their own.  The flip-side of this is that if you communicate your changes in a way that says you are not sure or supportive of your own decisions, your loved ones will support your lack of certainty by being seemingly unsupportive.  They may sabotage you, they will test your resilience.  They are reflecting what you have shown them, that is all.

Many of my clients end up changing their relationship to food and exercise.  Most end up afraid of the reaction of those in their life that are used to how the status quo.  Obviously their friends and family have supported the behaviors that have allowed them to maintain a lifestyle that creates illness and dis-ease… so the fear that they won't be supported in the change isn't unfounded, after all, when we see others changing we begin to look at ourselves.  However, we all need to give our family and friends the chance to support us and the opportunity to do some self-reflection.  They love us, they want the best for us even when it may not seem that way.  Communicating in a way that lets others know that you are secure in your decision gives them direction to be secure in your decision as well.  You have to own what you are doing and communicate as such. You also need to understand that change is hard and that the resistance you may get is not about you at all.  Your changing will ripple out in so many awesome ways, it is assured. You will be tested regularly by your own voices and from the voices of others.  After a while the become less and less impactful.  The bottom line is, when you are ready to make a change, really ready to make it, when you own your decision to do so, nothing will hold you back, not even yourself.



"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."  ~Andre Gide

Is This The End?

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."  ~Joseph Campbell Howdy!

Today I had a number of conversations around ending relationships.  Specifically friendships.  Many of the discussions were around having difficulty staying grounded while being around someone who was very negative or 'bitchy' as it were. Other conversations were around people who had a wee bit too much cray cray going on.  Either way the conversations were all interesting and ones that I could totally relate to.  I have broken up with quite a few friends in my day.  The reasons range from friends wanting to be more than friends, friends becoming obsessed, friends flipping out and being co-dependent to friends being über negative.  In all cases I have communicated my issues with the friendship as best I could and moved on.  I am a believer of healthy beginnings and healthy endings.

I know that my ability to choose to end a relationship because of compatibility would be understood if the relationship was of an intimate nature.  However, the fact that I do the same for friendships has come as a shock for some.  I have been accused of not valuing relationships because I am ok with them ending.  I feel that everyone has a right to his or her opinion and I have the right to ignore those opinions and go on living my life as I see fit.  I see people often holding onto relationships because there is a history and they feel obligated.  I am not sure how this is serving anyone to be with someone because you feel like you have to.  I truly believe that when you let go of things you don't use, what you need in your world has the space to come to you.  I believe that everyone has the right to choose who they let in their life and for how long.  Not all relationships get better with time.  As you grow so do others.  Not everyone grows in the same direction or in a way that enhances or supports the growth of another.

What would be the point to stay in a relationship, friendship or otherwise, that isn't serving your ideal self?  When is it time to draw the line and end a friendship that takes more than it gives?  I know that I have never doubted an ending even if I missed a part of the history that I shared with that ex-friend.  Good relationships don't end.  I have also become friends with people who I once cut out or who had cut me out.  Sometimes distance, endings, can bring you towards one another in a smarter, healthier way.  Much more so than hanging on for dear life when the last breath was taken long ago.

"Every exit is an entry somewhere."  ~Tom Stoppard



Assumptions & Invalidations

"Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in."  ~Alan Alda Howdy!

After teaching my last class today I was telling a couple of co-workers about the fact that I have Bieber Fever.  I mean, it was bound to happen.  The kid isn't going anywhere and his music is getting better.  So, I gave the new album a listen and was happy to hear a little dub step and just a more mature sound.  It was nice.  I reported this to my co-workers who were skeptical to say the least.  The song 'As Long As You Love Me warrants a listen, in my opinion.  I am not overly keen on the message per se (I tend to sniff out co-dependency like a drug dog looking for contraband) but I do get the idea behind it.  He basically is saying that he cares about his girlfriend above all material things.  He has found a partner he wants to spend his days with, through thick and thin.  It is always a beautiful thing when someone can say that they want to stick it out with someone else.  As the song played on of my colleagues said, "What does he know about tough times?"  I immediately began thinking.  I realized I was feeling frustrated because I felt that a human being's feelings were being invalidated due to assumptions being made.

Assumptions happen.  I know that this is an area in my life that I must work on accepting completely because I get charged around it.  When assumptions are made about me I feel like I didn't get a chance to explain myself or be myself.  I sometimes feel marginalized.  I also observe how rare it is for people to really ask each other questions and have genuine curiosity for one another. Often we assume we know someone based on a limited experience with them.  Yes, generalizations can be made and be close to truth, however being genuinely curious is one of the best ways to get information.  Believing you know who someone is because you see them doing something once certainly leads to more errors than a little.

So when the comment was made I thought… How can this person assume that Bieber (or anyone) wouldn't  know hardship?  Is it because he has fortune and fame?  I mean everyone who has fortune and fame is happy and secure and has never had anything difficult to deal with, right?

Additionally, I began thinking about how many of us discount the feelings of people all of the time because of the assumptions made about someone because of their age, socio-economic status, intelligence (academic), etc.  Adults decide kids don't know how something feels because we believe that having a few years more on this planet (in this lifetime) means we know more.  Teens assume that older folks don't know because they are older and not where they are.  We all assume that our knowing, experience, reality is the only one that is valid most of the time.  It is no wonder we can feel defensive and bruised on a regular basis.  We are all trying to assert our point of view as the right one, often times by invalidating everyone else's.

How often do you assume?  How have you invalidated someone recently because of assumptions?  How does it make you feel when you do it?  Do you know if you have done it?  Have you felt invalidated recently?  Often when we invalidate others it is because we have been treated similarly or we do it to ourselves.  We are more likely to decide someone else doesn't matter if we have been told (and we believe) that we don't matter as well.

You matter.  I matter.  We all matter.  Our feelings are valid.  Our ideas are valuable.  We are loved and supported by the abundance that surrounds us.  Share your stories.  Own your value.  Live your truth.  Love yourself.

"Assumptions are the termites of relationships." ~Henry Winkler



Sweet Dreams

"All human beings are also dream beings.  Dreaming ties all mankind together."  ~Jack Kerouac Howdy!

I was recently asked to talk a bit about dreams.  One of my friends has been having recurring dreams and wanted to know what I thought about them.  I loved that she asked me to discuss it because I LOVE talking about dreams.

When I was a little girl I had a recurring dream/nightmare.  There was a monster that was built out of colored, translucent blocks.  I dreamt about this monster quite a bit and would talk with my mother about it.  I also had dreams (and sometimes still do) where I am walking along and the floor begins to open up, or rather, the strips of wood begin to fall away revealing an abyss.  I have to strategically walk along the parts of the floor that are left in order to not fall.  This is a dream that has morphed into stairs becoming too narrow to walk down safely and/or too steep.  I also have dreams that predict something (usually completely benign) or happy, fantastical dreams that are recurring.

One dream I have had over the years was about my ex-boyfriend, let's call him Doug.  Doug and I were college sweethearts, enemies and then post college sweethearts.  He was what I basically used as the standard for every relationship after we ended. Our relationship had been healthy: he did his thing, I did mine and then we had our shared life.  My relationship with him was the first time I knew I could be faithful.  Up until that point monogamy was just some idea that existed for others :)  He was the love of my young life at that point.

So after we finally called it dunzo for real I went on loving and losing and dreaming.  Yep, dreaming about a future that never existed and wouldn't.  Usually the dreams would come when I was in a relationship that wasn't going well.  After a while I began to see the dream as a death knoll for the relationship I was currently in.  I would sometimes have to be talked out of calling Doug after one of these dreams by a dear friend who gave me great advice.  She said,  "We always have one, the one that got away.  The one that affects you in a way that no one else will.  It is normal for you to long for those times, those feelings especially when you aren't feeling good things now."  (or something like that, you get the gist).  After he was married I really had to chill out on the desire to call and go over the dreams I had just had (usually we had fallen in love all over again and things were rosy and sunny, of course).

I know that my Doug dreams were information.  They gave me the feeling I wasn't getting in my waking world.  They helped me remember what it was like when I knew how I felt, instead of the feelings I was having in the current relationships where I was forcing feelings.  The dreams reminded me that I wasn't dead inside, which I would sometimes believe when I was in a relationship that wasn't passionate.  The dreams stirred in me a desire for things to change.  These dreams have always been gifts.

Dreams can be a place for growth and healing.  They can be a place where we work out something that we cannot in the waking/astral world.  Both places are reality, just different dimensions, but both are real.  The best thing about the astral or dream dimension is the rules.  There really aren't any!  You are able to fly, rewind, go into the future or the past, be different people (or simply you in different bodies), you can do anything.  Time doesn't exist the way it does here.  Things happen in an instant in the dream/astral world which is very different from the waking/material world.

Interpreting dreams is something that I don't feel is necessary, in other words, I don't read the books that say when you dream about birth someone is going to die, or when you dream about a crow someone will crap on your head.  I believe that you aren't going to actually recall enough of a dream to be able to interpret it clearly anyway.  I counsel people on going with their gut and their emotions when they wake.  How did the dream make you feel.  What were some of the first thoughts about your dream when you woke?  Recurring dreams however are different.  I believe there is something your subconscious/astral self is trying to get across to you.  It took me years to realize why I would dream about Doug.  Once I came to the aforementioned conclusion about those dreams I had an "a-ha" moment.  I think you will know what the recurring dreams are about when you are ready.  Truthfully, you may already know and probably do.  Be open to receiving the information you are seeking and it will come.

If you want some help remembering some of your dreams or working on getting better at manipulating things in the astral dimension there are a few great books out there.  One that I super is called, Dreaming Your Problems Away by Dr. Bruce Goldberg.

Until later, keep dreaming!  Please reply if you have more lucid dreams after reading this post :)



"I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky;  then I awoke.  Now I wonder:  Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?"  ~Zhuangzi


Why hello there! "Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.  Never excuse yourself."  ~Henry Ward Beecher

How many times have you said any or all of the following:

I can't because I am tired.

I don't have any time.

I am too busy.

I am not thin enough.

I am not strong enough.

I don't have enough money.

I don't have enough friends.

I don't feel like it.

I can't.

That is impossible.

There isn't enough _______.

"I attribute my success to this:  I never gave or took an excuse.  ~Florence Nightingale

We make excuses for ourselves because it is more comfortable than risking, than coming out of our safe little jacked up cocoon and actually seeing what we are capable of.  We say that we are too busy, too tired, not skilled, not rich etc. when the real situation is we have all the tools we need to do whatever we want.  First, we have to stop making excuses.  We have to stop allowing ourselves to get out of something because we may have to work at it.  When you allow yourself to be responsible for what you do and what you decide not to do you realize just how truly capable you are.

We choose to live where it is comfortable, even if we are unhappy.  The unhappy place may be safer than pushing the edges of the box you've constructive to live in.

What can you choose to own right now?  What will you stop making excuses around?

It is easier than you think.  When you hear yourself giving a reason around your behavior simply stop and do what your highest self would do.  Period.  No excuses.



"Pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee for personal failure."  Bill Clinton

ps, I LOVE music, as you must know and I LOVE Alanis Morissette.  Here are the lyrics to a fantastic and appropriately titled (for this post) song.


Why no one will help me 

I am too dumb I am too smart 

They'll not understand me 

I am lonely 

They'll hate me 

And there is not enough time 

It's too hard to help me 

And god wants me to work 

No resting no lazy 


These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They've kept me stuck 

They've kept me locked in my own cell 


I'm too far from home 

It takes far too much energy 

And I cannot afford to 

No one will ever see me 


These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They've kept me stuck

They've kept me locked in my own cell 


These excuses how they're so familiar 

They've kept me blocked 

They've kept me small 

They've kept me safe inside my shell 


Bringing this into the light 

Shakes their foundation 

And it clears my sight 

Now my imagination 

Is the only thing that limits 

The bar and its rise to the heights 


No one can have it all see 

I have to they want me to 

And I can't let them down 

I'll never be happy 


These excuses how they served me so well 

They've kept me safe 

They’ve kept me stuck

They’ve kept me locked in my own cell 


These excuses how they're so familiar 

They've kept me blocked

They've kept me small 

They've kept me safe inside my shell


Love What You Do, Whatever You Do

"The only limits are, as always, those of vision."  ~James Broughton So I have been discussing work with various peeps… and realized it is a topic that comes up time and time again.  Work, what you spend most of your day doing, deserves to be looked at carefully.  Any place that you put your time is worth paying attention to.

We are what we think, say, do etc…  If you give something your time you are giving a part of yourself.  If it isn't something you enjoy what the heck are you doing?  No end is good enough to lose yourself over.  We tend to look at things such as money, status, etc. when considering a "job" instead of considering how much of your life that "job" will be taking.  And take it will if you aren't being fed by it.  It is no wonder we sometimes look around at our lives and wonder why we are unhappy.  If you are not happy with how you spend your moments in the work that you do, that work will become your hell instead of an expression of your dreams.

When you love what you do everything changes in you.  Love has a place to take hold and blossom.  Finding that thing to do that you love isn't always easy.  Sometimes you have to try various things and leave various things when they don't work.  It is always ok to go toward what works and leave what does not.  Think about the alternative, staying in something that steadily and most certainly will asphyxiate your dreams.

Your life is limitless, go live without the fear that keeps you from pushing toward what you really want.

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise."  ~Robert Fritz

Good luck in realizing your dreams :)




"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou We all have people who motivate us, encourage us, inspire us to change for the better. One of those people for me was/is Heather Smith.

I was a rower in college. I LOVED my time as a collegiate athlete and have to credit Heather, my novice rowing coach, with instilling in me a love of rowing, coaching, and athletics in general. I remember when I joined the rowing team and was told that we would be running 3 miles on one of the first actual training days. I immediately became nervous because I hadn't run 3 miles before. I didn't do a sport in high school due to the fact that I had gone to 3 different high schools in 3 different states. There wasn't much consistency and, though I did very well in school, I didn't enjoy it. I was excited to go to college for several reasons, one of which was athletics. I began training for my sport (I didn't know what sport it would be, but I knew that I would find it) the year before I went to college… actually it was more like the summer before. That summer prior to college I joined the local YMCA and began running 2 miles a day. I thought I was doing great at around 12 minute miles… and I was, for the beginning. So when I heard, during that first rowing practice, that I had 3 miles to run I thought, "Dammit! one more stinking mile than I had ever done!" I finished the 3 miles by bringing up the rear and by walking here and there… but I finished. My coach was encouraging the whole way. She would run ahead to talk to the lead pack and then slow down to talk to the ones having a hard time, like myself. I remember being amazed at how she never seemed out of breath.

I remember when we did hills a month or so later and Heather ran past me saying, "your butt is looking good!" It made me feel GREAT! My body was changing and I hadn't even thought about it really. I was rowing because I was enjoying every detail, every moment, everything. My body getting toned was just a by-product. Heather was always there, cheering us on, keeping us focused, and pushing our limits. We did what she told us because we knew she had a clear vision and, well, we won… everything. Besides, how can you complain about working hard when your coach barks orders at you while she is doing pull ups using only her fingers? At that point you will do whatever she says because she is badass! Seriously. I mean, what an example! She was (and still is) a Goddess!

A couple more months passed. We did stairs and I was in the lead. She looked at me. She congratulated me and I felt great. I was feeling good about being a competitor and getting better. I didn't know what it all meant but I loved it and kept going.

In February of my freshman year the rowing team had an indoor rowing event. We raced on the rowing machines (we call them 'ergs' for 2000 meters. Basically for a rower 2000 meters is death. It sucks. You lose sleep over having to do a 2000 meter piece, an erg test, as they are commonly called. Well, during this event we had to do TWO erg tests!!! One for the "heats" and then you get placed into the "finals." All the women, varsity and novice compete as a group and the same with the men. Somehow I ended up in the Grand Final… the only novice that did. Being a novice and new to sports in general I took a nap after my heat and basically didn't think about it. I was relaxed because I didn't know I was supposed to be nervous. Heather knew that I would probably need a little encouragement because I didn't really grasp how awesome it was that I was in the grand final. She came over to me after I woke and said, "All of the varsity girls are saying that you won't do well… that experience always wins." Well, I have never had a shortage of ego and was shocked at their complete disregard of me as a true competitor. I got on the erg, in the middle of 7 other varsity women and sat ready. Just as the coxswain said, "ready all, row!" LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' played through my head, "Don't call it a comeback, unh, I been here for years, rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear…" I pushed all the way to the lead, all of the women not in the grand final and all of the guys were standing around us, screaming my name! It was awesome and I won! I won.

Heather pushed me to be more than I knew I could be in rowing. She also showed me how to be a completely present and solid coach. She saw something great and made it better. After that year I knew that rowing, sports, and coaching would be in my future somehow. Each day I get clearer and clearer on my future in sport, athletics, and motivation. It is a beautiful journey.

Who has motivated you? Pushed you? Seen more in you at some point than you have? How have you risen to their fantastic expectations? Who are you encouraging and shining light on?

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." ~Galileo Galilei



(No) Limits

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space." ~William Shakespeare I took my first Hot Yoga class today and nearly passed out. It was awesome. There was a point where I said to myself, "just go for it! So what you pass out, someone will take care of you. Yogis are generally helpful, right?" At any rate, it got me thinking about limits and how many of us are afraid to even tempt them. What is stopping you?

What is the worst that could happen if you hit a limitation? What is the fear? Failure? Death? Dishonor? Self discovery? Whatever the "reasons" for not pushing yourself I am certain that the benefit far outweighs the risk. If you don't believe me, try it. Try going beyond the point of where you think you can. Instead of turning and running, push longer, try for more, open yourself to the unknown. Then do it again. There is a wealth of information to be given and received when you are working through your own perceived limitations.

Pushing past perceived physical limits advances you in more areas than physical ability alone. When you are at the point where you don't know if your body will actually continue your mind expands and you learn about what makes you tick. You begin to see habits that keep you from moving forward in other areas of your life. You may notice that you decide you aren't able before you try. Or you may be given a glimpse of possibility (which really is all there is). Possibility is rather amazing, especially when you see that possibility in yourself. That experience of having faith enough to risk doesn't only apply to physical experiences, it applies to just about everything else as well.

Physical training can be a safe and effective way to gain discipline, courage, and strength in all the areas of life that call for you to be disciplined, courageous, and strong. So what will you do to prove that limitations are what you make them, so make them a thing of the past. Instead maybe you can approach a difficult thing with, "Let's do this!" or "It will be what it is." Or "I am about to make this yoga class my b*tch! Woohoo!!! Or any other approach that encourages you to go for more. :)

"Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin

xo a