grow

no more bullshit

I’ve put this video clip in probably no less than 20 blog posts over the years since I started writing. Unfortunately, they all remain in the draft graveyard:

(Link to video here.)

Cheesy as it may be, I am so Jerry McGuire in this scene. I guess it’s just taken me a few years past 35 to write my mission statement. I’m not waiting any longer. I’m not afraid of getting fired.

Once or twice a year when I get SUPER pissed at myself for not writing more, and truly focusing on what I love, this scene pops in my head. Usually I get all fired up, start typing away, get a couple hours into the soap box space I feel so at home in, and then ding goes the phone or email when someone in my life needs something, and off to the archives of drafts, my passionate posts have gone…while my sweet little soul suffers, once again failing at first living for myself.

No more.

This week I had a tipping point moment, standing at an event with some very good friends who know me well and support every bit of me in anything and everything I do and want to do. I had one of the most gut punching moments of my professional life. I felt an enormous furry of anger, sadness, and frustration…and knew it was completely my own damn fault. As we were being introduced around the dreaded and what do you do? circle, every one of them owned and articulated what they “did” perfectly, and then as I described what I did, and they all piped in with their kindness about how good I was at X,Y,Z (which is true, because I have busted my ass to be good at what I’ve been doing to make a living), I couldn’t help but think:

WHAT I’M TELLING THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT THEY KNOW OF ME WORK WISE IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO OR WHO I REALLY AM!

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

…AM I DOING?!

How could even my closest friends not describe me/what I really do?! Because I haven’t been owning and presenting it out to the world, myself.

I’m a writer who hasn’t kept my butt in the seat. I’m a storyteller who hasn’t been sharing enough of her stories. I’ve gotten seriously sidetracked. When any client at any time asks me to fix a problem, or wants help running their lives better, I drop everything to jump all over the task, then forget about my own. It’s possible to have healthier balance. I know better, we all do!

I stood at that event and wanted to punch someone in the face: MYSELF! No more blogs unposted, books unwritten, or life experience teachings untaught, I said to myself. I haven’t slept on couches, in my car, and traveled the world for the past 25 years talking to, learning from, loving a zillion interesting amazing humans losing some of them along the way, just to keep all the truths and perspective I’ve learned to myself.

Gas up the car! We have officially started driving down this Blue Lollipop Road together. Hang on tight, because I’ll be sharing the things we think, but do not say. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

If you’re out there getting sidetracked yourself, might I suggest you make a big ol’ pivot and get your butt back in the seat? None of us are truly helping anyone else unless we’re helping ourselves first.

Glacier National Park

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #LessWaitingMoreDoing #HopToIt

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still hearing laughter

I’m currently sitting in my travel office for this week; the counter at the Blue Benn Diner:

Blue Benn Diner

Blue Benn Diner

I can’t get enough of this place when I’m in my hometown for BLR Play It Forward week each summer, even though I miss my coffee buddy so much.

I arrived in Vermont late Sunday night, and have spent the last few days reconnecting with some of my favorite people, and putting the final touches on plans for our 6th annual event that kicks off on Friday night. Sometimes I have to pinch myself at how ridiculously gorgeous this place I grew up in, is:

Vermont Views

Mount Anthony - Bennington Battle Monument

That’s view of Mount Anthony and the Bennington Battle Monument above. I took this photo from the town park where we will reveal our community give back surprise on Saturday. To say I’m excited and proud is an understatement. I’m trying my best to keep things under wraps as we complete all parts and pieces, but I really want to shout from the green mountain tops about the all the good heart and effort so many people have put, into making this special gift happen. I know the families of our girls will love it.

Today this article was published in the Bennington Banner.

REMEMBER. CELEBRATE. LIVE.

It’s so important to remember where we came from, no matter how far we might go from “home.” Giving back is key. Celebrating each day, and the happy memories we have, honors those we might not be able to see in person anymore. Living, realizing today is the day, to go, be, see, and do, is how we respect the clock that doesn’t stop.

Much of this life is so bittersweet. As we carry our bruised hearts around each day, I hope the voices of laughter that remain will always inspire us to keep arms wide open.

#AlwaysLookingUp #PlayItForward #RespectTheClock

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let my people go surfing

A week ago yesterday, I woke up in warm, peaceful, palm tree riddled Nicaragua:

Nicaragua Palm Trees

It was glorious. That day was my travel home day from a leadership development program I participated in called LeaderSurf. By the time planes, trains, and automobiles got me to my place in Charlotte around midnight and I opened my windows and balcony door, the city had shut down, and all was quiet and dark. Late night Sunday night transition was lucky timing for me as I was already feeling overwhelmed by the ding, ding, dings on my phone after choosing to be unplugged for 10 days. I woke up Monday morning to get my run in and was met on the streets with screeching, honking, red-light running cars…and before it was even 7:30AM. This morning was exactly the same. Cement city, a mad dash rush before the business day even started, and drivers looking fired up. (I’m not sure this fired up meant anything excited or happy about where they were going, either.)

You could say I miss the Nica Life.

Back to my stint in learning paradise:

LeaderSurf is based on experiential learning. It focuses on enhancing leadership capability by taking business leaders out of their comfort zones to teach them more about themselves. My time in Nicaragua and in this program was one of the best times in my adult life. I learned a ton:

Business Challenge

That’s me presenting my business challenge looking very serious. Being in the hot seat isn’t easy! OK, that’s a fib, because this is where the hot seat is:

Tiki Classroom

Tiki Classroom

…now that’s what I call a classroom!

Founder Brian, the Buena Onda Resort staff, and the surf instructors were all wonderful hosts and teachers:

Buena Onda Staff

Brian LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Instructors

Surf Lessons

…the views were gorgeous:

Mag Rock

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Buena Onda Resort

Nicaragua Sunset

…and I had a total blast, surfing, and wiping out:

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua

This one is my oh my god I just learned how to surf and I have no idea how to control this board yet, so please don’t make me run into my new friend, look:

Surfing Nicaragua

Later in the day we were both so excited we were up we didn’t realize we were heading right towards each other until the last second. Abandon ship!

Surfing Nicaragua

We didn’t event come close to hitting each other, but our faces?! No matter how many times I look at some of our group photos I cannot stop laughing. Donald, the photographer who was with us all week really knows how to capture a moment.

Surfing NicaraguaSurfing Nicaragua

Best? We got to give back:

LeaderSurf Community Project

The community we visited doesn’t have a source of clean drinking water. We brought 16 water filtration systems that we helped show these community members how to use. One of the filters can provide 100 gallons of clean drinking water per day:

Community Project: LeaderSurf

LeaderSurf Community Project

I won’t ever look at or drink a glass of water the same again. Here’s a portion of an email I wrote to my fellow LeaderSurfers the morning after I got home:

Late last night after getting back, the last thing I unpacked was my backpack and in the very last pocket I found the tiny round piece of a bucket that one of you had taken out to install one of the water filtration systems and handed to me on the community project day. That piece now has a home on my desk. Right after I found that piece I poured myself a glass of water out of the refrigerator on my way to bed and had an unexpected moment seeing that clean water flow out so easily. I will never forget it. After that I couldn’t sleep all night. Needless to say, lots more perspective than I ever imagined after this trip. I am so incredibly thankful!

LeaderSurf Community Project

2 days after getting back, I had a meeting at a local brewery. I swear when I saw this on the wall behind the bar, the world went silent for a minute and my jaw dropped to the floor as if I had never laid eyes on anything like it before:

Water on Tap

A water tap. Bottomless. Just hanging out, free-flowing, clear, and safe, for all to enjoy. I’ve been to that brewery before, but had never noticed this. Oh how eyes are so much more wide open after traveling to a new place that doesn’t have the everyday amenities I do.

We all brought school supplies for the kids:LeaderSurf Community Project

One of my most favorite parts, was handing out blue lollipops. It was like sharing a piece of myself. To me they always represent a small moment of magic. Smiles all around:

Giving blue lollipops

LeaderSurf Community Project

Wish I/we could’ve done more? Yes. Motivated to give and appreciate now more than ever. Yes. Living even more consciously than I was before? Absolutely.

I made what I hope will be some lifelong friendships with the other participants.

Sunset Reflections

When you have an adventure like this and all cards go on the table, the playing field equals. It’s the perfect way to step outside yourself and let others in. There’s an instant perspective shift that happens that’s like a new window to every part of your life. It’s as if you bond in an instant with the people around you even if they were perfect strangers the day before. You realize (especially in the silent moments alone) that the world is so much bigger than you ever imagined:

Great learning environment

Sunset Reflections

Sunset Reflections

Our Sunset Reflection times were in a beautiful spot for us to share what we learned each day. It felt so good to actually be IN the moments. I’m so glad I committed to going unplugged. I need to do that more!

Coming right off this LeaderSurf program and into my 6th annual Play It Forward event is like riding this totally indescribable wave (no pun intended) of positive energy. A serious force to be reckoned with! The passion I had before, coupled with the buckets of life and work lessons I learned during my week surfing, will help me be a better leader moving forward. I feel like I already am!

In case it’s not completely obvious, I’m a huge fan of LeaderSurf. The experience I had goes unmatched. I wish there were more programs out there like it, I’d be signing up left and right! Maybe I’ll have to create my own?! (Wink.)

Staying active and challenging yourself to anything outside of the environment you’re used to, is the fastest route to your truth. Be open to alternative ways of learning. Be vulnerable. Encourage the people around you to do things that light them on fire. Stay on fire yourself. Share. Be selfless. Always try new things, and never stop having fun…even when you’re working!

#ExperientialLearning #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #ServantLeadership

*If you don’t recognize the reference in my title, it’s to this this great book I’d recommend to anyone. Here’s the Author Yvon Chouinard on NPR‘s How I Built This, too. So good!

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my bluebird of happiness

In the fall of 2011, Honda sponsored a road trip for me. Honda fans voted on where to send me on my Blue Lollipop Road adventure and fortunately that included all east coast spots. That made it easy on me to pick up the car I got to drive in New Jersey, and also put me close to all things Northeast where I had an excuse to see some family and friends. I hadn’t seen this girl in years, but as soon as I dropped in out of nowhere, she was thrilled to host me in New Hampshire:

Play It Forward 2015

Lucky me.

(This photo was taken at BLR Play It Forward 2015.)

I remember sitting in Kate Emma’s living room after kids and hubby were in bed, talking about our friends and past memories of good times in high school. She made a suggestion that we should have a reunion soccer game, and that I host it. Neither of us had any idea what all of this would become next, but that one night of conversation would end up turning into something so much bigger and more powerful than we would ever imagine. Now here we are, about to kick off our 6th Annual BLR Play It Forward event.

As soon as I arrived back in Chicago (where I lived at the time) from my Honda trip, I got to work putting together this alumni soccer game idea, added in some community social events, and a travel scholarship fund. I keep in touch with a lot of people, but for whatever reason I had barely any connections to, or communication with old soccer friends at that time, and I sure as heck didn’t know how to go about starting a scholarship fund. This was one of those times when social media came in very handy. Finding alumni around the world I’d either never met or hadn’t talked to in years would’ve been nearly impossible otherwise.

I remember sitting in my apartment in Old Town on the 23rd floor right above Second City for HOURS and DAYS planning, planning, planning, and not coming up for air during the fall and winter of 2011/2012. I was clueless on all of it but I had never felt so sure about anything in my life, so I just kept calling, asking, messaging, and asking more, and I knew it would all work.

August 18th, 2012 was our first event, and it was by far the most incredible and bittersweet day of my life. I’ve never been able to put into words what that day felt like. All I know is it was this beautiful blur of celebration perfection for these two people who brought so much joy to the world. I’ve never felt sun on my face since, as warmly as I did at that moment we released those blue balloons in the sky after the game:

Balloons in the sky

Everyday since then, I always look up at the sky and clouds in a different way, reflecting on how lucky I am to have time with people who bring so much love and laughter to my life.

Two weeks from today will kick off our event once again. As I thought about writing this post when I woke up this morning, I remembered the hours I’d spend sitting at my desk planning this big dream we had. For those few months it was like everything else in the world disappeared and I was totally in my flow, completely present to what made me tick in every way. I would go to the gym downstairs in the morning for my booty shaking class, and straight back up to my apartment throwing my sweaty clothes in the laundry and wrapping myself in this beach towel I had that I often wore before hopping in the shower so I could send a quick email or make a quick call, etc. I cannot count the amount of times I’d look down at 9PM to find myself still wrapped in that towel, filthy and starving still sitting at my desk. I would jump up looking at the clock, grab a quick shower and fly out the door of my building to the Chipotle downstairs for a burrito before they locked the doors at 10PM.

Full circle:

Guess where I went this morning? Guess where I’m sitting right now? Guess how much time has passed today and I haven’t noticed because writing about Play It Forward and working on the last bit of push for this year is so my jam that hours fly by? Guess what I am wearing? Guess who still hasn’t taken a shower, and guess where I could run downstairs right now if I needed something to eat? Yes; booty shaking class, my desk, a lot, that same towel (Ok, maybe that’s gross, but I have washed it a lot so I don’t care:), me, and Chipotle. I’m just in a different city and it’s 6+ years later.

What does this mean to me? Everything. When you find that thing, that “place” where you could be hungry, tired, and the world could be swirling in chaos around you, and you wouldn’t even notice because you’re doing something that feeds your soul to the core, THAT is being inspired. It’s the power of Strong Mojo. I think that continuing to do that thing/those things throughout your life is key.

Play It Forward 2012:

Play It Forward 2012

Play It Forward 2012

2013:

Play It Forward 2013

Play It Forward 2013

2014:

Play It Forward 2014

Play It Forward 2014

2015:

Play It Forward 2015

Play It Forward 2015

and 2016:

Play It Forward

Play It Forward

…have been beyond special. I’ve experienced that people will show up when you stay inspired, believe in something bigger than yourself, and continue to share it. THE FIELD OF DREAMS IS REAL. Play It Forward is not me. It’s US. It’s the indefinable essence of magic when everything comes together perfectly. It is remembering where you came from, celebrating the memories you have, and living like today is the day.

I’m so lucky to have had such selfless support, help, and love, so I’m able to host this weekend each year. It would be absolutely impossible without all of you, so if you are reading this, thank you. We honor our friends in the best way possible by continuing to come together, and never taking a single day for granted.

Please join us July 7th & 8th!

Keep celebrating.

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #AlwaysLookingUp

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challenging

I have a new client who’s stuck. He’s completely capable, experienced, smart, kind, aware, etc., but something hasn’t quite clicked for him for his next phase. It’s all good, it happens, and usually a few times in a life span, reminding us that it’s time to pivot. I have full faith in what he will do, so I challenged him to set a goal with a completion date of April 25th. Then I threw myself in the mix of the challenge. If you’re going to ask someone else to do something, you should put your own money where your mouth is, right?

I had an epic sleep last night (yes, I know that word is incredibly overused, but it fits here, so?) which is pretty rare for me. I woke up feeling like a million bucks. As I got dressed for my run, I set a pretty big tall order kind of intention for my day. (Don’t roll your eyes! That stuff works, people!) Let’s just say there was a little extra pep in my step and I ran like the wind. (Ok, now this is getting really cheesy.)

Anyway, after run snapshot, the power of Diggidy:

Team In Training

(Ask me about this old nickname sometime if you want a good story.)

I’m convinced if EVERYTHING you wear/have/own/do in your life actually has some kind of meaning, things just feel better and flow better. This includes ratty old running clothes from a gazillion years ago like this jersey from my 2004 marathon in Phoenix.

This life ain’t easy as we have established many times here. As much as it’s up to us as individuals to kick our own asses each day to make things happen, shouldn’t we perhaps stick on this team in training, together?

This is #1, K! 9 more to go for me by 2 weeks from today. Hope you’re cranking on your end!

#CarpeDiem #TodayIsTheDay #GetIt

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life outside the drone zone

I went to the dentist today for some needlework. I don’t like the dentist. I’m not usually a nervous person, and I’m not sure the last time in my whole life I felt truly scared, but being in the dentist chair is so not fun for me. I told them I felt more at ease when I jumped out of a plane. My body gets cold chills, I feel hot and sweaty…I just don’t like it.

Recently I made a first visit to this highly raved about and recommended new dentist for the usual x-rays, cleaning, etc. (Don’t tell Mom but it’s been a while.) Go figure, because it had been a bit of time, that one “on watch” possible cavity had come to fruition, one needed to be replaced, and even better news; I needed a crown. Yippee! I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a few thousand bucks on teeth instead of you know, a trip to Italy for 2 months or something? Adulting is such a bummer. So in I went today for the first in a three part series we will call project drain Diane’s travel fund, but you only have one set of those teeth, so you better take care of them! 

My new dentist and her lovely assistant were the best. I mean, the best. (Like a mom with a rockstar reliable babysitter, I refuse to share any contact information for this amazing tooth care goddess in fear you will all call, book her up, and I’ll have to go back to that psychotic creepy old man that ripped my mouth apart last time adding buckets of fuel to my already flaming I fear the dentist bonfire.) This new bright shiny office and all of it’s help were kind and attentive. They listened to my past dental horror stories to genuinely learn what I needed, then got to work; numbing gels by the gob full, then one needle, and another, and another, and another. Did I mention another? They kept asking if I could feel this and that to ensure I was fully in numb la la land before starting to drill. When I could finally (sort of) feel the right side of my face nearly sagging to the ground, this ever so patient woman said “Well, I guess we’ve found out that you are very hard to numb!”

HA! Isn’t that the truth. Story of my life, sweet, gentle lady.

Back to why I need a crown:

A couple big cavities on a back tooth I’ve had for years are now cracked/damaged along with the tooth itself. Why? Because I spent a good portion of 2015 and 2016 not sleeping even though I tried desperately. You could say I had a torturous run of getting my heart ripped to shreds. (Picture it’s 1985 and a seven year old on Christmas morning turns animalistic assuming his wrapped box is a Nintendo.) Apparently on the rare occasion I did actually sleep, I was a gold medal champion jaw clencher and teeth grinder as I tossed and turned dreaming of things you don’t want to hear about. Break goes the tooth. (This is not a case of she just doesn’t brush or floss. With the Nutella habit that I have, I’m a nut…no pun intended…about my Sonicare, floss, and Listerine routine.)

If you really do give a super duper flying you-know-what about anything or anyone, you’re bound to feel intense pain when that something or someone isn’t so peachy keen. During those couple years when this deliciously gorgeous and abusive life was swirling around me, I didn’t rest much. Not because I was restless, but because I was ALIVE. Obviously too alive, too conscious, too un-numb. I now wear extra wrinkles at 38 proudly because I’ve come out breathing on the other side.

In 2003 after reading Roadtrip Nation, my 25 year old self was in love with these authors, and everything they were doing. Their book and manifesto were a big encouragement for me to continue my road warrior habits. I needed to discover. They get it! I thought. Life! It is supposed to mean something. What you do for work can and should matter! Purpose! Yay! I want to find that! I remember writing to Mike & Nate asking for advice on best ways to discover what kind of work I wanted to do. I will never forget what Mike sent back to me via email:

“YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND SOMETHING TO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT.”

And here we are.

I probably give two shits (by that I mean 2,222) about way too many things and far too many people. My heart is filled with that kid in a candy store joy more times in a day that I can usually count, then broken again a few minutes later, and all too often. I stay in touch with/put a lot of effort into/love a lot of human beings and that makes me happy. People are my jam, my priority. I feel like I live in an over the moon utopia of lucky awesomeness because I am able to share with so many other different, interesting, funny, kind, quirky, entertaining heartbeats.

I don’t ever want to be numb. Even if that means I could get raked through the coals a million more times.

The price tag for giving a shit is VERY expensive. There are HUGE needles involved. I will pay the bill and take the pinch every time. Life outside the drone zone might hurt more than existing in the safety zone, but every bit of pain is worth it. I hope until my very last breath, even if I’m stuck with a billion needles, I’ll keep moving towards the finish line still being able to feel every bit of everything.

What makes you feel alive today?

Life outside the drone zone

The above screen shot is part of a text conversation that happened as I was starting to write this. Perfect, right?

#LoveFinishesFirst #FeelIt #NeverNumb

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get a life! (outside.)

Bright and early this morning and just after writing this last night, I heard something VERY disturbing as I was grabbing a coffee. The TV was on in this public place with me paying no attention until my ears caught a designer on a home show who was being interviewed; “The average American spends 23 hours a day inside…”

Twenty three hours out of twenty four a day, INSIDE?!

What are we doing to ourselves, people?!

This fact is almost as disturbing as a couple others I’ve learned, such as the average American home built in 2016 was something close to 4,000 square feet, and there are an average of 300,000 items in American homes.

I’m about to cry over here.

Holy mother lode guys and gals, these facts and figures are so NOT cool. Are you in Target right now? The mall? Hiding at home with all the windows closed? Please take your hands off the cart, hanger, or remote, and walk outside for a minute. Do me a favor and think of why you are in Target, at the mall, or on your couch. Do you actually need what you’re shopping for? Do you have any bills you could pay where your money could be more effectively used rather than that “I can never seem to get out of Target for less than $200” that I hear all the time? Are you just bored?

Please put me out of business! Remember we declared together (by that I mean I’m pretending like you all agreed) that 2017 is THE YEAR OF LESS CRAP? How about now we add that this year can be the year of more fresh air? The year of more adventure out of four walls with your bestie exploring a new neighborhood, more time to kick the ball around at the park with your kid, extra hours losing yourself on a road trip alone, more fun gettin’ frisky under a tree at the top of a mountain with your shmoopster….oh the possibilities!

Here’s a teeny sampling of my past few months:

In the Mountains

Aspen

Red Rock

Palm Trees

Red Rocks

Colorado

Spain sky

Lake Sunset

I don’t know about you, but this girl sure isn’t staying inside for a minute longer than she ever has to.

Consumerism and isolation are forceful breeding grounds for fear, hate, obesity, misery and all those other things that sound just awful, sad, and not fun.

Life is WAY TOO SHORT to be awful, sad, and not fun…don’tcha think? Yahoo! The bell just rang for recess! It’s time for all of us to go play. Get up, open the doors, walk outside, hug a tree, a person, or both, and find a little more health and happiness on this crazy ride.

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #MoveIt #TheGreatOutdoors

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fall to your knees

Watch this:

I would say my light years ended on August 18, 1994, but I’m not sure that would count considering I had just turned 16 years old and some would say I was still just a kid. I guess I was? Maybe. I never felt like one after that day even though I did manage to live fairly carefree for the 20 years that followed.

Then December 10th, 2014 happened.

In the near exact 2 years since then, I have been brought to my knees too many times to count. If my light years didn’t end back in 1994, they sure ended before Christmas a couple years ago. That day, I walked alone in silence for 10 miles in flip flops. I didn’t know what else to do. I had gotten a phone call that would leave anyone speechless. After I hung up, I stood up and walked out the door in a daze. I had no idea the wrath that was coming beyond that.

My experience has taught when life starts to pummel you, she rarely stops. It’s one punch after the next, after the next. There are chunks of time where the beat downs of bad news, events, and loss come so hard and so fast, you can’t eat, sleep, or stop crying. You can barely breathe. You lose hope, feel unimaginably alone, and wonder what the hell is wrong with the world; life isn’t supposed to be like this. 

But it is.

If you are an old friend or follower, or have in any way joined me on my journey since starting down this Blue Lollipop Road on October 16th, 2008, I know you’ve noticed that I’ve been promising a lot here and not keeping up on my promises over the past many months. I know you’ve wondered from time to time what’s been going on because I’ve been absent from the place that means everything to me…right here. Thank you for your check ins and notes of concern. It has bothered me a lot to be away, after all this is the one place where I feel like I completely belong.

Come to find out, I get tired, I don’t really like to or feel the need to share everything anymore like I used to, and I’ve just needed a break. Let’s call it a severe recalibration on/in each part of my life. I think we all need this after a certain number of years existing in the same, maybe not so healthy habits.

Since two Decembers ago, I’ve hovered over a friend in a coma, watched another become skeletal from cancer, lost a love that was a life changer, and said goodbye, kissing the cold forehead of the sweetest and kindest man, my favorite man in the whole wide world…as he lay in his open casket. I’m currently sending daily “fist pumps” to a sick friend in the fight of his life.  I’ve paid off a debilitating debt that a past relationship left me, and I missed the chance to have a scheduled lunch date that I didn’t realize would be the last, with one of my best friends before she was gone. 8 friends and family members have moved to better places since May of 2015. To say this time has been hellacious, would be a gargantuan understatement.

And I know plenty of people who’ve had it far worse than me.

It seems that only when you get the most epic beat down, and you’re either forced to, or choose to sit in that pain- can you see what you are truly made of, and what really matters. I had always put serious blood sweat and tears into continually standing up, staying steady & energized, fighting with, dealing with, keeping up with expectations I’ve had for myself and out of life. I am strong. Well, I’m here to share with you now that the ass-whooping I’ve received during this 700+ day run recently has pulverized me. I’ve been forced to sit in my pain and have been surprised to find I was ready. It has left me away from here, relishing in days of much needed silence and self-reflection alone, throwing my endless and pointless to-do lists to the side, and not even caring if the wheels fell off the bus.

The control freak has left the building.

Relief.

Turns out the wheels will never actually fall off the bus. The bus keeps going.

I took a bad spill on Tuesday this week when I was running as usual, early in the morning. I was cruising down the sidewalk feeling like a million bucks, and just a few blocks from home:

Falling Down

img_6115

I even broke my shoe:

img_6122

So graceful I am!

I fell to my knees…hard. (See a theme here?) I was up within a millisecond and kept running while my whole body throbbed. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. I knew what I’d see if I looked down, so I didn’t. I made it home to grab money, pick rocks, leaves, and dirt out of my wounds, then went directly to Target for peroxide which was out of stock at 8 o’clock in the morning. (Of course!)

Work days don’t wait, so by the time I did the peroxide pour-over at 3pm that day, the burn and white foam made me screech like a kid who’s older brother just stole all her Halloween candy. Bruised hands, knees, elbow, shoulder and ego, arm scratched with all the way up. Now I know what people mean when they say they’re sore for a few days after a car accident. I will spare you with additional photos of my current 5 day later green crusty open road rash. Ew. It definitely doesn’t look or feel pretty.

I ran again Thursday morning, I can’t remember the last time I felt really scared about anything but I actually did feel afraid to fall during that whole run. It was bizarre. I didn’t fall. Yesterday I carried the anchor leg of the Charlotte Marathon for a relay team and crossed the finish line strong. Get back on the horse? You’ve got to.

I woke up this morning late, and as I sipped coffee in quiet, I found myself wandering to the wall near my desk. I tape things there at random, things that inspire me and make me smile. My eyes went straight to this area as I though of finally writing about all this today:

I see it

Top left is me with my friends Jon and Aaron (Bubba) many years ago, maybe 1999? during a back country camping and hiking trip in Canyonlands National Park. Travel and the open road. Life was good and “light.” Top right is the Peacock kid clan, that’s me and my fantastic siblings at my sisters high school graduation. Bottom left is what I call the “original” Blue Lollipop Road. I took that photo on a bike ride with my brother outside Cafayate, Argentina in 2009. Bottom right is my fun-loving friend Maria who passed away in 1994. We had the coolest fanny packs and best hair on the way to a 6th grade field trip. In the middle is sweet Katie and I. Katie has since passed as well. We called those our “chunky” days back in 1995. Silly teenagers we were.

A life filled with joy and pain.

This world has continued to horrify and delight me. Every bit of it. I see and experience so much good and so much bad. In March of this year, I cut out the top right words from a magazine thinking I couldn’t agree more. It reads:

“We’re taught fear. We’re taught jealousy. We’re taught ego. We’re taught comparisons. We’re taught materialism. But we’re not taught love. And that’s a very important crisis to start paying attention to.”

Indeed it is.

On the left the magazine cut out reads:

To proving yourself. Especially when no one else is around.

I went to an event a couple weeks ago to listen to an author share about her life. She said she’d gotten advice from a friend who told her not tell her story from when her wounds were still fresh and wide open, but to tell once they were scars; semi-healed places with marks of life. I love that advice and that’s where I am now. I’ve had a hard time finding my feet, let alone words, I’ve needed to step back to recreate and now I move forward here again. This place is my truth.

As I sit there, still in pajamas in bed at 4:21pm on this chilly fall Sunday afternoon, I have an odd and happy sense of peace even though I’ve just written and revisited all these feelings of being ripped to my core. I suppose this peace is what you earn from being pushed through a sword fighting labyrinth and then finding your way out when there’s no other choice besides curling up yourself and going away forever. When you prove things to yourself when no one else is around. When you allow yourself to fall all the way to your knees and stay there for a while…long enough to realize everything you need to before you get up.

I miss a lot of people, and every single day. That will never change. There are so many faults in our stars. Bad things happen to good people and I hate that, but I’ve learned to accept that fact as well. This has been a bitchin’ of a couple of years, and not in the cool, surfs up, dude kind of way. After a run of not feeling excited about anything, I’m finally crazy excited about the future. I can’t wait to fall in love again, I can’t wait to laugh more until my stomach hurts, I can’t wait to travel and see more of the world (next up…Spain!) I refuse to be afraid of the next wave of whatever that’s coming my way.

If this is your first time visiting here, welcome to my story and reason for doing what I do, in life and in business.

Everyday is a chance and a choice to drive in the direction of whatever we do and do not want. If we have our health we have everything. Life is awesome until that instant that It’s not. None of us will ever know when that moment is coming, so what are we waiting for?

My heart has been shattered into a million pieces, because I’ve been lucky enough to love some very good people. Not a single regret. Take another little piece of my heart now, baby…because I might end up going away for a while when it all gets to be too much, but I will never stop loving, or showing up.

#TodayIsTheDay #Truth #LetLoveRule

*(My goal is to start writing again every day like I used to, and finally finish my book! If you liked reading this, pretty please share it, and scroll down to the bottom of the home page of this site and enter your email address to subscribe to my blog posts:)

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