Monday, August 23, 2010

A Defining Month

In life there are defining moments. Moments that stand out in stark contrast from the rest of life. Moments that reflect our authentic selves. I feel compelled to share not one defining moment with you, but a defining month. The month of August 2010.

August 8, 2010
Butterflies flew through my tummy as we drove to Glenolden. I was about to compete for the first time in my life, most surprisingly in an athletic competition: The Bad Ass Bitch Invitational Strongwoman Competition. My entire life, anytime I had to do anything remotely physical in front of someone I felt embarrassed, less than, disabled. Today I was showcasing my body. A part of me was thinking, “Why am I doing this?” but the other part of me knew I needed to. Experience told me that the scariest decisions to follow through with, have offered the greatest rewards. I went into the competition that day having made the decision that I would put all of myself into the events. All of the energy I was unable to put out through out my life….I would funnel into my performance. This time in the exhibition of my body I felt proud, strong and able. The result: 1st place in the novice division, was just icing on the cake.

August 11, 2010
It was the evening after the competition when I first started to feel melancholy creeping in. Something was not right. By Wednesday I was experiencing a mild depression including a resurgence of negative self talk. Luckily I had a life coaching session that morning. The first half of the session I felt like I was spinning my wheels trying to deal with the fact that gremlins seemed to be gaining control in my mind. I couldn’t quite grasp what had triggered me to send me into this tail spin. Halfway into the call, with the help of my amazing life coach, it hit me. The trigger = winning the competition. Winning had offered the opportunity for old patterns of feeling not good enough to come in. Tears rolled down my face, a mixture of sadness, relief and even joy. Realization turned the light on to my gremlins and they scattered into their corners. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” –Marianne Williamson

August 18, 2010
I was on a trip to an amusement park in 7th grade when I got kicked off my first ride because the buckle could not fasten. Since then amusement parks became apprehension and shame parks. If I went (I usually avoided going) I would wait in lines full of fear, straining to see the seats and comparing myself to anyone else overweight coming off to see if I was smaller. This day as I walked into a local fair, I was excited to get on a ride without this fear. Me and my daughter decided on one. There was no line so I didn’t have much time to think. As we sat down a moment of fear washed over. I held my breath as the attendant reached to fasten the lap bar. I relaxed as it clicked into place. The ride started and my four year old daughter started to squeal with belly laughs, I couldn’t help but join her. Then all at once I became absolutely present, I noticed the way her face looked, the sound of her laughter, the wind blowing on my face. I was lost in the joy of that glorious moment. That’s when I noticed the queasiness in my stomach. There were no pukies, but if there had been it would have been totally worth it.

August 19, 2010
I was sitting in my knee surgeon’s office where 4 months before I had been sitting crying, feeling devastated by the news that I would have to have surgery. Not because surgery scares me (I could care less) but because the thought of not being able to Crossfit was overwhelming. He walked into the office and shook my hand…congratulating me on making in through the 4 month, acknowledging how It hadn’t been easy and telling me I was free to pursue all movements again including running, jumping and squatting. At any other time in my life a surgery would have been the perfect reason not to pursue physical movement. However after my initial frustration and sense of loss, I decided to make the best out of the lot I was dealt. I decided I wasn’t rehabbing from surgery, but rather training for my comeback. I never stopped pushing, learning, getting stronger, all because I was able to accept where I was. In the doctor’s office, it hit me. Those 4 months that has seemed so long when they were stretched out before me…were over. I wasn’t weaker at the end of them….I was stronger in mind as well as in body.

August 21, 2010
In the days before the Philadelphia Metro Dash I started to question my judgment. I had signed on to run a 4.5 mile dash through the streets of center city after 4 months of no running. The running would be broken up by physical challenges that included an 8ft wall to get over, but I could only think about the running. That morning I woke at 5:30am ready to see the challenge through. With the help of some amazing people that is exactly what I did. I would have never believed you if you would have told me a year ago….5 years ago….10 years ago…15 years ago that I’d be running 4.5 miles and going over a wall...and doing it for fun. But there I was doing it…finishing it.

As I reflect upon this month I am struck by the constant in each of these moments, fear. Not really fear itself, rather the practice of accepting and embracing it. Fear is not my enemy, rather my ally. It offers me the opportunity to choose the present moment, to choose my highest self, to experience the greatest joy and it offers me the greatest freedom I have ever felt.


"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson


Also in August, I received one of the best presents ever. The present was from my friend (and Radical Woman!)Cheri. Cheri and me have one of those 'connections.' You know the kind where you just seem to “get each other” without even knowing all the details? In fact when we ate dinner together last Friday we realized we knew very little about each other. At the end of the dinner Cheri presented me with a t-shirt. I thought cool, I love t-shirts! As she explained I was taken a back. The shirt was the “team killer” shirt that was created in support of Kate “Killer” Rawlings who competed at the Crossfit Games last month. Cheri told me how much she liked Kate's story. Kate had been an athlete in college but had gained 80lbs after.  To accomplish going to the Crossfit games is amazing for anyone,  for someone who hasn't been fit thier entire life it's even more impressive and immediately tells you about a persons character. On the back of the shirt were listed Kate’s sponsors. At the bottom was RADICAL HATELOSS! Cheri has bought me a spot on the Team Killer Shirt! Cheri, can’t say enough how much that met to me. A sincere THANK YOU.