Category Archives: endurance

Are you Nucking Futs?

Standard

We did it!  We moved our family of 6 to the magical land of Costa Rica and the next few blogs will provide insight as to how we made this decision and the physical/emotional journey of actually manifesting our desires in to action.

The seed was planted roughly 5 years ago when Adam and I first visited Costa Rica. There was a vibrancy, an energy that felt like home to me.  Time and time again, I questioned how we could make a move to Costa Rica happen but never made a strong effort to answer that question.  While the yearning to live in this tropical wonderland never really subsided, I allowed life to dictate a path for me.  I chose to be a spectator to my life rather than an active participant.

Fast forward 5 or so years and I found myself living in Arlington, Texas, and I was very aware of the nagging feeling that this was not the place for me (or my family).  I had this belief that I could (and should) be happy anywhere.  I had plenty of “rational” conversations with myself about how I should be content.  I owned a beautiful home on a small pond in a upscale neighborhood.  I had many friends.   The kids had friends.  I had two thriving businesses.  Adam had a well-paying full time gig.  My kids were attending top-rated schools.  I had a rich social life with zumba, bootcamp, yoga, pokeno, parties, etc.  I had easy access to every type of food, entertainment, store I could imagine. I was living “better” than probably more than 90% of the world’s population and, yet, no matter how much I rationalized how I should be feeling, I wasn’t feeling it.  Something was amiss and and I could no longer continue to ignore that pull.  I could continue to allow life to happen to me or I could listen to the call, drop fear, and start creating the life that was calling me forth.  Of course, my life consists of more than just MY wants and desires so I needed to be responsible in how I approached this questioning.  We are a family of six and it mattered that all members felt they had a voice in where the journey would lead us and what constituted a life of fullness for each of us individually and us as a group.
Searching for this answer came so very easily when we approached it one tiny step at a time.  The first step was acknowledging the pull, the whispers of my heart.  Without judgment.  Without any shoulds or should-nots.  The second step was to present my desires of change to my life partner and four boys.  And once they were on board with the idea of imagining/creating a different life path (because it turns out all of us were feeling misplaced/misaligned in our Texas life) we took the very next step.  We needed to know WHY we wanted to make the change.  We didn’t need to know what those changes would look like or how they would come to fruit or even if they would come to fruit but we needed to be very clear about WHAT needed to change.

So we sat down and made a values list.  What did we as a family value?
Our list looked like this….

values

Quality Time. Nature. Slower Pace of Life. Cleaner Eating. Simplicity. Lower Cost of Living. Community. Education Model/Support. Spiritual Health. Eco-conscious (off-grid). Cooperation. Sustainability. Personal Freedom.  Culture of Like-Mindedness.  Social Medicine.  Less Government.  Less Capitalism.  Sharing.  Shared Responsibility.  Equality. Encouragement of Play.  Multi-generational Influences.  Peaceful Spaces.  Mindful Consumption.  Empowerment.  Inspired Career.

And just like that we were all in agreement of what we valued, what values were currently out of alignment, and what we wanted to set out to manifest.

We have referred to this ‘values list’ a million times over during the exploratory and transitional period of the last 8-9 months.  Every time someone has asked us, “Why are you moving to Costa Rica?”  We know why!  Every time someone has mentioned that we may be nucking futs.  And, every time we have questioned our own sanity and decision making capabilities.  We just pull up this list and breathe in the absolute knowing, “ahhhhhh, yes, this is exactly why we are doing what we are doing.”

In response to all those who have questioned if we are nucking futs?  Absolutely nucking futs!  But at least we are nucking futs with values!

 

 

Advertisements

The Road to OZ

Standard
The Road to OZ

It’s been 2.5 years since I last sat down and gave attention to this blog.  Since I gave attention to the writing I love so dearly and the tool in which I most effectively process life’s shifting landscape.   The tool that allows me to bring connection to my circles.

In these 2.5 years, I have been wrestling with purpose, passion, values, self-worth, belief, and a loud inner critic that has invited me to play small.  I bought in to the lies of that critic.  The lies that it doesn’t matter if I write my stories.  It doesn’t matter if I share those stories.  It doesn’t matter if I stop bringing you in to my world.  It doesn’t matter if I live in alignment with my integrity and values system.  It doesn’t matter if I shave off a little edge of my authenticity to help people digest my life’s journey.  I bought in to the lie that in order to stay safe, to survive, I had to shed a part of me that others may not appreciate.  I chose silence.  I chose complacency.  I chose to don the masks.

At the beginning of 2017 (my 40th birthday), I began to tame that nasty inner critic.  I got clear on my values. I stepped back in to alignment.  I started creating visions of all that I wanted to manifest and I threw caution to the wind taking a trust fall straight in to the arms of the loving Universe.  I had Absolute clarity that it was time to quit playing small and it was time to step in to my power.

So it turns out that it DOES matter if I share my stories.  It matters to me.  And when I flow from that place of alignment, that place of listening, my stories stir something in others because we are all connected.  We are all taking this life journey together.  My story is your story or the story of someone you know.   I hope my sharings will inspire, push boundaries, cause you to listen to your universal nudges, step in to alignment with yourself and your 2017-07-13 07.56.57values, take risks, spark imagination, and if nothing else, help you to connect to the world around you.  Sitting here, at my desk in the Costa Rican Rainforest (more on that to come!), letting the words spill out of me, I have this elation.   I’m semi-giddy with excitement.  I’m hopeful the story munchkins will forgive my 2.5 year denial of their existence and visit me often going forward.   I’m fully committed to honoring the words whispered to me in the night, and on my runs, and any time they smack me upside the head singing in their munchkin voices, “This world you are experiencing is just SO magnificent.  Share the wonderment! Follow the yellow brick road.”

This blog will continue to cover a vast array of topics that will include family adventures, travel, living in Costa Rica, nature-inspired learnings, and general sharings of something that lights me up or makes me go hmmmm.  I will continue to spill the thoughts of living a freethinking, open-spirited family life.  I will have a secondary wordpress blog at SoGoodSoPure (coming very soon!) that will cover topics related to my Coaching Business.  There you will find topics geared toward women who are wanting to shed shame, learn vulnerability, find their authentic voice, step in to their unique power, and begin sharing their gifts with the world.  Both blogs will continue to be intimate and sometimes raw in their content.  Not all stories are happy stories but that does not lessen their need to be shared.  Life is messy and in the messy is where we feel most alone. Sharing our stories can be the catalyst of connection and ease our loneliness.  This is what I seek to do.  I fully believe that a life unmasked, a life untidy, is a life worth living. And the more we show up authentically in this big big world the more the world will heal.

That said, it weighed heavily on me as to whether or not I should go through and deleteyellowbrickroad the old posts in this blog as some are controversial, some are angry, and some are misplaced, and some I no longer identify with.  I concluded that those blogs are the bricks that paved my yellow brick road.  The stories, releases, perspectives, and feelings were necessary and are NOT meant to be erased in order to appease an audience of readers.  If you aren’t a fan of the journey I traveled to be where I am today, no problem.  Maybe instead, appreciate that the journey brought you the content you are reading today.  These new sharings of my life experiences/observances are the next yellow bricks in what is certain to be a lifetime of brick laying because I’m not certain one ever reaches OZ.

Journey On, Readers.   Journey On.

Starting Overs

Standard

I read about this wonderful project in Oregon,promoted by Oregon Humanities,called “Dear Stranger.”  Participating had a pull on me and I immediately knew I wanted in.  The very thought of exchanging a letter with a stranger fluttered my heart.  I was excited to find my own truth in this project and I am equally excited to hear my stranger’s story or remembrance, his/her  interpretation of what ‘start’ means.

Below is the letter I wrote to my stranger:

We were told to write about starts.  First starts, second starts, good starts, bad starts.  Naturally I began to think about my starts.  It caused me to pause and examine the “starts” I remember.  What was significant about them?  What emotions were present?  How did I grow and what was gained?  Lost?  I’m not yet 40 and, yet, my short life has seen its fair share of starts.  An abundance of starting overs.  Some by choice.  Some be the choices of others.  Some in which I felt empowered.  A trailblazer.  An adventure seeker.  Others in which I felt powerless, helpless, and bound by fear.

As I write this, I’m recognizing that I was never powerless.  I was never without choice.  I have always had choices in how I responded to forces beyond my control.  Forces sometimes so mighty, so loud that the only choice was to start over.  But I got to choose how that starting over would look.  What path it would take and whether I would choose to hate it, resist it, allow the power to jade me.

I have certainly resisted at times.   I have suffered deeply for not accepting what is.  I have suffered for trying to protect and cocoon all I owned and what I believe I owned.  In these starting overs I have seen that ownership, control, safety…these are illusions.  We never truly own, control, or create safety.  We simply believe we do.  I don’t say this out of bitterness but quite the opposite.  I say this because I have seen freedom in the letting go of all I wanted to possess physically and emotionally.  I’m free to acknowledge life circumstances for what they are.  Mostly outside of my control. Oh!  The freedom in that knowledge.

I have found that ‘starting overs’ are gifts.  If we welcome them, move with them, invite the lessons that lie within.  Stop wrestling with them. Surrender.

Truly each and every day is a starting over.  Each day we can choose how to flow with new beginnings.  Right now, if I fully invite my starting overs into my life, I believe I’ll continue to grow in empathy, love, and kindness.  And, so, I do just that.  I invite starting over in my career.  In my husband’s career.  I accept the challenges with my children and choose to love them deeper tomorrow.  I accept the financial struggle and uncertainty that comes with two years of unemployment.  I acknowledge my feelings and emotions and I appreciate the opportunity to know them more intimately.  I cherish the starting over with my husband.

Daily starting overs.  Each day new opportunities.  New growth.  I guess I’m truly grateful for this life, for the ability to choose, for the endless days of beginning again.  This breath always new, therefore each breath is, in essence, starting over.

*Deep Sigh*

Death of Ego

Standard

I am in the process of dying.  It’s a slow, agonizing death.  One in which ego dies first but ego is fighting to remain.  It is not weak and it battles. Each moment I have to consciously slay the beast that has defined me.  It arrives challenging me to lose this moment.  It threatens me with stories of the future.  It weighs me down with a past that I cannot change.  Ego belittles me with destructive thoughts about me.  About the one I love.  It taunts me with the lies that I’ll never be good enough.  It whispers to me in its seductive voice, “you’ll never be good enough.  Be better.  Be more.”  It steals The Now.  At times, I give it freedom and I allow Ego to distract me from The Now because my present is too painful to sit in.  Fantasies of future and memories of past are more comfortable than present.  But even those distractions do not remain for long because Ego destroys any peace.  It does not like to co-exist.

What Ego does not realize is that I am in control.  I am dying and Ego is dying with me.  I have taken a mirror as my weapon.  A breath.  An inhale.
I breathe in.  I see Ego reflecting back at me.  I am aware.  Ego slithers away from awareness, retracting back in to the shadows.
I breathe out.
Death
Peace
I am me.  Present.  Pain.  Capable.  Empowered.  Aware.  Goddess.

empowered-woman-2

Aside

Be the change that you wish to see in the world ~Gandhi~

Gandhi said it best in this quote and it’s always spoken to me more on a global scale. By global, I mean that I’ve always sought to serve others, be respectful, be kind, be genuine, be honest, raise responsible, aware young boys and trust that the world would return those same qualities. A what we give or put out is what our world will aspire to be kind of thing.

Well the last six months I’ve sort of sat myself knee deep (okay waist deep) in a self pity that I didn’t even recognize. While my goodness and good intents have not changed, my energy has. I used to trust. I don’t trust many any more. I used to be open and vulnerable and I’ve become scared and closed-off. I had gotten a good grasp on acceptance, happiness, enjoyment of the now. I’ve backtracked and I let the past and the uncertain future cloud the current beauty that surrounds me. Before I smiled freely. Now the smile is hard earned. Before I cared for my body with healthy choices and long runs. Today my body is a representation of the stress I have allowed to take hold.

February marks the 6 month anniversary of the event that changed our lives. And how fitting it would be that I would pick up the February issue of O magazine (something I never do!) and sit down to read an article that would positively impact my life. It was as though the woman (Martha Beck, Life Coach) behind the article reached out of the pages, slapped me across the face (in a good intended, best friend kind-of-way) and said, Amy, now is the time. Now is the time to step away from your funk, pull up your big girl pants, kiss the past goodbye, change your course, accept a new destiny, stop fighting the universe, and take charge. Be the change. A positive change. Yes, she really did say all of those things! At least I heard all of those things 🙂

I can’t control the past. I can’t control people’s opinions of the past. But I CAN control me and my representation of the past. The one thing I have not done is let go of the shame and hurt. The shame has dragged me down.

IMG_1584

The hurt has jaded me. They’ve aged me. Changed me. Converted me in to a burdened shell of who I am. After reading this article, shame had left. Gone. Pain felt strangely cleansing. They’ve had their time. Now is time for my true self to re-emerge. And I realized that what Gandhi says applies to my every day energy. I have to be the energy that I want to see in my own life. The energy I put out is the energy I will receive back. It’s not necessarily always applicable to a global change. By changing my energy I can change what I see in the world. And that is enlightening.

For six months, roughly 180 days, I have relived that first week of August. Every. Single. Day. When a few short minutes in the lifetime of minutes you’ve lived, change everything, it’s hard not to get swallowed by those minutes. To live in them over and over and over again. So much gone. So much vanished in to that everlasting black hole of time and space.

Black Hole in the universe

Reality is this, those were a really shitty 10,000 minutes (If I count that entire first week of August when things were literally changing by the minute). Reality is also this, I have lived roughly 18.5 million good minutes (give or take a few thousand)! 18 million!!!! Time to send those 10,000 minutes to the land of lessons learned. They’re nothing but a bit of chump change.

Because I would love all of us to appreciate the good minutes and learn how to ride out the not-so-good minutes I want to share a few key points from this article and how it so simply canceled my pity party and booked my Life-is-Pretty-Damn-Good-Party. No more looking back. Only forward.

If you’ve had a run of horrible luck, you can tell yourself you’re being tortured or punished. Or you can decide you’re being steered.

Mark and I have discussed this a number of times. We almost feel that we are fighting against what the universe wants from us or for us. We’ve always wanted and planned to do bigger and better things with our lives. Give back to our communities in substantial and meaningful ways but we’ve consistently allowed life and the pursuit of things get in our way. Now the universe almost won’t allow us the pursuit and we are deciding to be steered. Letting go is way easier than being tortured!

She-Ra, He-Man, and Teela

She-Ra, He-Man, and Teela…Masters of the Universe!(Photo credit: Han Shot First) 

Suddenly, everything’s shaking, jolting, falling apart. We have no idea what’s happening or why, only that all hell has broken loose. It gets worse and worse – until we wake up, see through our false assumptions to the deeper truth of our situation, and revise our life maps. This isn’t punishment. It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.

Best line ever! “It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.”

So the three steps Martha Beck suggests for finding your true self when you’ve hit a “rumble strip” on life’s highway is to 1) Hit the Brakes, 2) Put your mind in reverse, and 3) Find and follow smooth terrain. All straightforward and fairly simple.

When you feel so beaten down that you can’t sustain normal activities, it’s time to stop trying.

Stop sign

Stop Everything!

Except what’s necessary to survive. Eat. Sleep. Go to the bathroom. Make sure your children, pets, and sick parents eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. If that’s beyond you, ask for help. Not forever. Just for now.

We both have had stretches of time that looked a lot like this over the last few months. Luckily we make a pretty good tag team. When I’ve been up and cheery, Mark’s been in barely surviving mode. When Mark’s high on life, I’m sometimes too beaten down to sustain beyond eat, sleep, pee. Tag. You’re it. Our teamwork has helped us during those really dark moments when the only thing there is to do is survive that singular moment. Ride the wave of despair and nothing more. Fortunately, in the last few months we’ve had way more up days than down days. More sun than gloom.

Reversing off the rumble strip:

…key assumptions are clearly marked with intense negative emotions: fear, anger, sadness. Such feelings are big red WRONG WAY signs. Back away from them. Try throwing your mind into reverse right now. Think of the worst, most hurtful thing that’s happening in your life. Now, think of a way this horrible thing might be good.

Phew, that was a heavy step. But there is good. I’ve discovered who has my back, no matter what.

Rumble Strip Sign

I’ve been able to move forward with really positive support around me. We moved to the PNW! We have wanted to do that for awhile but were too chicken to take such a big leap. We bought an RV and have been out enjoying grand adventures as a family. Our core unit (the 6 of us) has become super close and there is an abundance of love in this home. I’m getting paid to write! That never would’ve happened if I had the luxury of staying complacent. There’s a lot of really positive to be seen even with those few bad minutes as part of the equation. The good in those minutes is that they forced change.

Finding the Smooth Road:

At the point when someone sees through a false assumption, the road of life suddenly turns smooth. Instead of crazy bad luck, bits of strangely good luck start showing up. They’re small at first, inconspicuous. Never mind – slather them with attention.

I love this! There’s so much good. Some of it super small, but when you slap some gooey positive attention all over that teeny bit of goodness it starts to seem like some crazy golden universe nuggets.

If you stop everything you think you should be doing, surrender to what’s actually happening, reverse your assumptions, and steer toward the glimmers of light that appear as your old beliefs shatter, the small miracles will turn in to big ones. Eventually, your good luck will seem as incredible and mysterious as your bad. Once more you’ll be asking, Did I do something to deserve this? Only this time, the question will arise from a sense of overwhelming gratitude, not overwhelming pain.

Good Luck Bad Luck

Good Luck Bad Luck (Photo credit: Stewart Ho)

After I read this article, I spent one more day fighting against the universe and then I surrendered it all. Not one more day like this. Not one more day. And you know what, since that release I feel whole again. I feel like Amy is here. She’s found her way back and I’m ready to shine on during the next 50 years of my life…or 26 million plus minutes. I’m enlightened and am the change. My change.

I’ve Been Life Coached!