2019 – Year of the Phoenix Warrior

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2019 – Year of the Phoenix Warrior

What will you create for your new year? Who do you want to become and be?

Intention setting is one of my favorite things to do. For years, I have set an intention or a theme for myself at the beginning of each year. Rather than declare specific new year’s resolutions that I often leave in the dust within a month or two, I pick what energy I want to create for my life in the upcoming year. Then throughout the entire year, I thread that energy, that theme, that intention into all that I do.

Interestingly four years ago at this exact time, the final Christmas /New Year’s week that Russell Peterson was still with us, I set my intention for the upcoming year as “Let go and just breathe”. There was much in our lives that was in chaos and disarray to a very deep level and I knew I had to let go of a whole lot to create something new. Of course, little did I know at the time, how that mantra “Let go and Just Breathe” would become the strength I needed to survive the hardest time of my life.

Setting intentions can be weird and kind of magical that way. There is a stirring that goes inside of me, and I believe most of us, of a deeper knowing what we need to move ever closer to our most authentic selves. Sometimes I listen to her and sometimes I don’t. This time of year in which there is the cool blend of letting go of one year and getting ready to step into a new one, I allow myself to listen pretty closely to what is needed to get even more real.

This year has been the Year of the Warrior for me and there have been some badass, wonder woman, mother of dragons kind of movements. Mounted archery, running a 5k, starting a new career as a health coach filled with passion and purpose, doing my first horse shows, holding warrior woman retreats, and axe throwing are just a few of this year’s awesome adventures. The ways in which these have changed me is kind of amazing.

2019 is going to be the Year of The Phoenix Warrior for me. I am rising more strongly every single day from the ashes of the past several years. All of what those years have been for me – sorrow and joy, peace and despair, love and loss, light and darkness – come with me as part of who I am. But they will not leave me bogged down in the ashes anymore. I am dreaming big, bold dreams for my life and the lives of my kids. I am working daily to learn how to fly with these new, powerful wings that my warrior has formed. I am becoming more disciplined and determined to be my absolute healthiest, bravest, and most loving self. I am letting go of the fears I have of what others will think and simply speaking what is in my heart, knowing others will choose to journey along with me if it is right for them. I am flying with purpose, passion and joy towards a life of abundance in finances and in experiences.

I believe that I truly can create the life of my biggest dreams. I WILL do what it takes to make that happen and by this time next year will have an even more amazing story of life transformation than I do right now.

I am a Warrior. I am a Phoenix. I am a Phoenix Warrior!

Watch me fly or fly with me – the choice is yours!

 

Returning and Rising

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Returning and Rising – that is what has been running through my mind all day. Really it’s been moving around inside of me for awhile, but today especially I’ve been thinking about my journey and the ways in which I am returning and rising all in the very same movements.     It’s as if with the inhale of my breath I am returning to myself at the time when I first me Russell which was a time in my life I felt the most confident about who I was in my body, heart and mind.  And then in the next moment as I exhale, I am rising into a new, on fire me who is once again gaining confidence in herself body, heart and mind.  Returning and Rising!

Today this is especially true as it is the 20th of the month.  Russell died on the 20th of the month of March and so every single 20th day since then I have been uber aware of him, like the tingling of skin with a mild sunburn.  There is a kind of constant awareness that occurs, sometime super painful and at others just an enhanced awareness. This is what life is like for me on the 20th of each month.   Most of the time recently it is just an enhanced awareness, but I can still slip into that super painful place at a moment’s notice.   Today was just an enhanced awareness kind of day which brought more thoughts of him and what he would think of who I am becoming.

Today also marks my 1 year anniversary of becoming a health coach, which was a flukey kind of undertaking simply because my friend, Kathy, wanted to get healthier and my coach, Carrie, told me I should try it.   I went into last year not thinking I’d do anything more than “coach” Kathy.  Heck, I live a busy life with one business I run already. Who needed two?  Not me.  But now, a year later, I am in love with OPTAVIA and the profound opportunity it provides for people just like me who are wanting to get healthier but just need  the extra support, the extra education, the ease of a program to help them on their way. I am in love with getting to be part of people’s journeys to awakening to what a healthier life for their body, minds, hearts and finances can look like. I’m in love with being part of a ginormous community that is ALL about positivity and empowerment.  In an entire year, I’ve experienced not bit of negativity and that is astounding to me.  I am in love with how cheerleading other people helps me stay on my best path.

I am in love with the person I am rising into as she is also the one I am returning to.   She is a woman aware of her own power to influence her world.  She is a woman falling in love with her body again and finding joy in it.  She is a woman who feels confident about her path forward. She is a woman who knows that cravings are only temporary and so she chooses healthier options most of the time (margaritas and chips still call like a siren to me – lol).  She is a woman whose creative brain is so awake and energized that sleep is becoming less of a priority – what?!  She is a woman whose body feels stronger, younger and more capable than it has since it started birthing children. She is a woman whose body and mind feels like her own again, not just an extension of others.  She is a woman who is falling in love with life and seeking new adventures because her body can handle it again.  She is a woman whose heart is healing more rapidly and more deeply because it’s no longer hidden under layers upon layers of comfort food clogging it all up.  She is a woman who is rising from the ashes of her grief with a passion and a desire to help people live their very best lives in whatever way they dream of .  She is a woman who is a warrior, refusing to let fear of what others will think stop her from speaking her truth and going after her dreams.

So today on the 20th day of December I am remembering Russell, missing him and wishing he was here, while also knowing he would be my biggest cheerleader for my own health journey and for the ways I am using my greater health to pay it forward to the world.  He would cheerlead me loudly and persistently as I dreamed of a world where people were healed and whole and believed in themselves as much as I do.

So today I am returning to that woman he fell in love with as I also rise into the woman I can once again be in love with.   What a massive reclaiming of who I am and who I want to be is happening right now in this time and in this moment.   The gratitude I feel goes beyond words.

Don’t quit!

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Smacks upside the head are happening again this morning. Loving smacks but smacks none the less. I’m in awe of the ways that life drops just what I need to hear or see into my lap at times. Mind is being blown and inspired daily right now.

“Sometimes trauma happens, and if we’re being honest, a part of us rejoices, thinking (I am being honest this is true for me) ‘Well, now nobody can expect anything else from me because it’s a miracle enough that I’m upright.’ You are nobly doing your best to battle your way through it. You are a warrior because of the trials you are going through, but don’t you dare squander the strengths you have earned just because the acquisition of it was painful (or still is). Those are the most important stories to share. You can use the strength to pave a path for others to follow along behind. You do not have permission to quit!” Girl Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis

There is so much YES in this for me. So many hidden, secret truths to some of my personal blocks and excuses right now I can’t even articulate them coherently. Yes, there has been a lot of trauma in my life over the past several years. And there are pieces of that which still play a part in life journey now and forever. But it is time for me to let go of a thread of belief that I am somehow still living that trauma today.

All I know is that I will shush that part of my brain that wants to hide my story or hide my joy for the new amazing opportunities before me. I will not quit at any of the things that are giving me hope and energy to go after my dreams, not just talk about them as if they are fantasy of someday. Writing, coaching, facilitating retreats, creating – these are my joys.

No, I want to make my dreams a reality now. I want to wake up each morning and go after what I want not just grumble about all of the things that I don’t want. I want to use my story, my pain, my joy as the fuel to create a life so glorious and so full of love, health and positivity that I never need to escape from it. I want to turn every single excuse I into the reasons why I keep trying. I want to stop using my moments of sadness, pain and hurt as ways to stay complacent.

I want to see what my life could truly become if I stopped quitting. Seriously, it is time already!

Promises, promises

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“Promises, promises – How I’ve done what I’ve done.”

Ask my kids and those who know me best; they will tell you that I rarely make promises. Even when I agree to do or not do something, it is the very rare occasion that I will make a promise. Folks have tried for years to get me to make promises and I just won’t do it. When I do make a promise you can be sure that I will do anything within my power to fulfill it. That includes to myself.

Rachel Hollis writes in “Girl, Wash Your Face”, “I’ll start tomorrow… as many women do. We talk about the things we’d like to do, be, try and accomplish, but once we get to the moment of actually DOING it, we fold faster than a card table after bunco night….If you constantly make and break promises to yourself, you’re not making promises at all. You’re talking.”

Smack upside the head happened again as I read this chapter. I think I need to get really REAL and start making more promises to myself because those I won’t back out of. Anything less than that is all talk and excuses for me. And the big dreams I have for my life and my family right now are very worthy of me making some promises.
I made a promise to myself 13 months ago that I would get healthy no matter what I had to do, no matter what I had to change, no matter what I had to let go of, no matter what I had do to cover any costs, no matter what I would get healthy for myself and for my kids. I couldn’t take the risk and refused to continue to put myself at risk of serious health issues that could leave my kids completely alone. I promised I would stop risking my life for the sake of eating all of the incredible junk I was eating just because I gave into my cravings. I promised myself I WOULD follow my plan, listen to my coach and community and do the work. No more just talking a very good game but a promise to myself to live my best life no matter what I had to do. I am worth having a healthy body, mind and finances.

There are still a bazillion areas of my life that I am more talk than daily action. Believe me I mess up and fail in so many ways everyday. But my health – oh that is still the area that at least 80% of the time I am making good choices. Because I made a promise to myself that 2017 would be the last year I would feel miserable in my own skin. It was and will always be the last year that I walk around with 60 extra pounds on me leaving me hunched and hurting. Never, ever again I promised this body I am remembering to love.

If you are ready to promise to choose your health and loving your body and mind at least as much as you love the others around you, I am ready to lock arms with you and be a companion on your journey. I so much want everyone to feel the incredible joy I feel to have a body that is free and full of energy.
I promise you can do it too!!!!!

You Don’t Know

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Ooh, my Muse has awoken with a suddenness that has left me kind of stunned this morning.  Usually, I get an inkling that I’m moving towards writing something.  Not today.  One moment I was getting ready to leave for my day and the next the words started writing quickly and fiercely and rawly in my head.   I  listen to that Muse and act upon her invitation to heal.

“You Don’t Know”

Unless you have walked a path similar to my own, experiencing the sudden death of a loved one you don’t know, nor should you, the steps of this twisty path I wander.

You don’t know what it is like to go from one moment to the next wondering what might trigger sudden, unstoppable tears.

You don’t know what it is like to seek to find goodness and joy in life simply to hold onto it as a beacon of light against your own inner darkness which threatens everyday to suck you into it permanently.

You don’t know what it is like to think you’re making good decisions, the best that you can in any given moment, and then days, months, years later be racked with guilt because what if they weren’t the right decisions.

You don’t know what it is like to try desperately not to play the “what if” game over and over again.

You don’t know what it is like to want to be around people then as soon as you are want to be alone.

You don’t know what it is like to pick up the phone to tell your person something great or something tragic and then stand there, with phone in hand, wondering what to do when you remember they are no longer here.

You don’t know what it is like to hug your kids because they still just can’t understand what has happened.

You don’t know what it is like to live with the memory of having been the one who had to make the final decision and sign the papers to let your loved one go.

You don’t know what it is like to want to give your kids the best gift you can, knowing deep down nothing will ever be enough because you can’t give them back what they have lost.

You don’t know what it is like to go from abundance to scarcity to abundance to scarcity over and over again as you try to figure out your life now suddenly alone.

You don’t know what it is like to have to ask people for help for things you should be able to do on your own but simply can’t right now.

You don’t know what it is like to seek new avenues of growth and healing that seem to click but then fall through as one more dead path forward.

You don’t know what it is like to feel like a failure for no clear reason but you just do.

You don’t know what it is like to want to keep your kids as close to you as possible while also cheering them on as they grow and find their own, very uniquely separate paths from you.

You don’t know what it is like to think “Hey I feel pretty good right now and I’m rocking life.” to then have the next moment feel like you’ve fallen off a cliff and you’re stuck in cuckoo luckoo land again.

You don’t know what it is like to no longer love holidays or birthdays or special celebrations no matter how much you want to.

You don’t know what it is like to think “I’m getting my new life together and things are looking good.” then just days or week later wonder how things could be so far from that.

You don’t know what it is like to have grief settle into your body like lead as your grieving heart seems to infuse every muscle, bone, and tissue.

You don’t know what it is like to want to try new things but also be afraid of getting hurt because you’re all that’s left for your kids.

You don’t know what it is like to begin the process of transformation, celebrating every aspect of new life, new dreams, new goals and feel sadness because you can’t celebrate with your love.

You don’t know what it is like to have so much that was left unspoken, unhealed, and undone and struggle to let all of it go.

You don’t know what it like to watch your kids struggle with the same.

You don’t know what it is like to want to live a life focused on gratitude, joy and light  and also have your heart remind you that darkness and grief are part of the ongoing dance of life.

You don’t know what it is like to want to work hard and create wonderful new things but you can barely get off the couch still somedays.

You just don’t know.

 

 

My Deepest Why

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(This photo is from Soulard, one of our favorite places, a few months before we got engaged.)

Well, the horses will have to wait a little longer this morning to eat because my Muse has awoken with a loud, very clear “Now, it is time now to write this!”  When she so strongly speaks to me that I can hear nothing else but her voice starting to write the words, I drop everything and start to write.  For she is the link to my deepest, truest, more powerful self and honoring what is ready to come forth into the world is essential to my journey.

I knew yesterday morning when I was with my mom, celebrating her amazing health transformation, that my Muse was awakening and formulating the words to write about “My Deepest Why”.  Because you see, my mom getting healthier, my dad now getting healthier, my sister-in-laws getting healthier, my brother exploring getting healthier, my friends getting healthier, my kids getting healthier, and my growing passion for encouraging everyone I know to get healthier in whatever way works best for them – all of this is twined around My Deepest Why.

My Deepest Why is the reason that I truly feel like a Phoenix bird rising up out of the issues as if on fire herself.   The ashes of my life created by the sudden burning up of the life I knew over 3 1/2 years ago,  have been the bed I needed to heal, to explore, and to sort through what must I let go of and what will go with me as I rise into a new life, a new me.   I love and honor those ashes for every bit of comfort and every bit of wisdom they have given me.   And now, I am rising from them to further live a life of passion and purpose and meaning – one of the greatest truths that Russell and I tried to bring to our lives in all we did.  As individuals and as a couple, we believed ourselves to be seekers and dream weavers, helping to create a world filled with love, peace, and hope.

I distract myself even as I write.  My Deepest Why, at this time this moment in my life, is to encourage everyone and anyone I can to create a life for themselves that is as healthy and as happy as they possibly can.  Actually wait, that’s more my purpose than my why.  Writing my WHY, my Deepest one, is scary I think because there is so much emotion in it and around it that saying out loud is feeling a little huge.  But my Muse says keep going, you can do this, say it, own it, feel it.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.   My Deepest Why for all that I do in my life and most specifically for my new found passion for helping people transform their lives  as a health coach, is that I never, ever, ever want to again watch someone that I love die who might not have if they had been healthier in body, mind and spirit.   I can wish all of the time that we had found this before Russell died.  But wishing won’t change the fact that we didn’t.  I want to have the people I love be able to be with me for as long as they possibly can!

Daily, I am grateful that I have transformed my own health so that, hopefully, I will live a very long life with and for my children.   Being here for them as the best mom I can be is so much easier now that I am not consumed with physical pain everyday.   I am bound and determined to do all that I can do to live my most healthy life so that I can stay with them.

Now, I do more than wish and dream.  I am acting and deciding to live my life with no excuses of being too scared, too busy, too unsure, too whatever gets in the way.  There are people I love and care about who need what programs, what wisdom, and what purpose I have found or created.   I don’t want to live my life “wishing” I had told them of another way, after they are gone.

I lost Russell and the dreams of us living our best life together for a very long time.   I lost myself for a long time in the ashes created when my life burned up in a moment.  I am now rediscovering the wonder woman I want to be for myself and the world.  I don’t ever want to lose myself so radically again.  I don’t ever want to lose anyone else I love because their weight and the unhealthy habits of their life led to a sudden and way too early death.   I want to impact live and constantly expand my heart work to love this world and all of the people in mine with all that I am.   I want to know that what I have gone through and my sharing it with others might just help even one person feel like they aren’t alone.  I want all of us to get healthy so that we truly can create the lives that we only dream of right now.

In this time, this moment, I choose health, hope, love, and living my life as bravely as I can.    It’s all I want for all of us!

Thank you my Muse! I stand in awe of my rising from the ashes.

On The Other Side of Fear

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Fear and the recognition of the things that I am afraid of has become quite a lively interaction within myself these past few weeks. I’ve never really thought of myself as a fearful person and have always worked hard to act from a place of thoughtful calmness rather than from an anxious, reactive place. Heck, all that I have gone through in the past 3 1/2 years with my commitment to living my life out loud has been about acting towards my dreams rather than reacting from my fears. While that hasn’t really changed some new awarenesses of myself are arising with the entry of Phoenix into my life.

Rising from the ashes indeed with new intentions of living my bravest, most daring life is what I am being called to do. This photo of me with my two horsey loves right now is such a perfect depiction of what they signify for me. And it speaks to the part of my journey right now of moving past comfort, even if that feels shaky and crazy scary sometimes. I will continue to speak my journey out loud as I move through my fears one by one because I must if I am to release the stranglehold they can have over me.

Karoly is all about comfort for me. Just riding him is like riding the comfiest couch – it’s 100 %safe, it’s cozy, it’s like being permanently wrapped in a perfectly heated blanket, it’s about bringing light into my dark days. There is never any fear in riding Karoly. In fact, he can dispel the dark threads of anxiety from me quicker than just about anything. Just grooming him warms my heart and eases my breathing into a gloriously balanced space. This photo of me with him is from a mere 3 weeks after Russell died and it was a day of laughing and joy in the midst of one of the heaviest periods of my entire life.

Phoenix, I am discovering, is all about tapping ever deeper into my inner warrior. I fell in love with him immediately and was drawn to the fact that he is the image of what I have wanted since I was a young girl. A black pony with a desire to explore and connect with everyone and everything around him. He comes when I call. He loves to be groomed. He wants to trust. He’s the perfect riding size for me. And he also has pulled back the curtain of comfortable contentment I’ve had with Karoly to reveal some real fears lurking in the shadows. Fears that I must face if I am ever to be free of them. Fears I must move beyond if I am every to completely become the empowering warrior woman I dream of being. In many ways, Phoenix is symbolizing the dark threads within the light. Fascinating.

Phoenix wants to go and be in charge at all times. He’s super willing to try and listen to me, but definitely has a lot of anxiety hidden behind a mask of confidence. (Hmmm, sounding like me). He is so forward and so quick to react I can too easily see falling if I can’t learn to stay calm and balanced on him. Staying balanced on Karoly is as easy as breathing. Staying balanced on a much smaller and narrower pony is not quite so easy. I often hold my breath as I ride, forgetting that the very act of breathing deeply will help me stay grounded and balanced. So many life lessons being opened up before me to embrace or to ignore. With every moment I feel scared of what might happen if he spooks or bolts and I fall, and then I keep going anyway, I add a small bravery thread to my inner warrior and I’m a little less afraid.

People often comment on how many white animals I surround myself with – my dogs and 4 of my horses have all been white. While I think it’s circumstance, there is also the reality that in all things I try to focus on choosing the light paths of life – hope, love, possibility, joy, positive spins on things. Intentionally buying a black pony speaks to my belief that the dark side of life – pain, despair, grief, fear – all of these hold just as much value and wisdom for me. Walking the place between light and dark is a lifelong commitment of mine to live all of life to the fullest I can.

I am committing to exploring my fears as they pop up then gently yet firmly calling myself to step forward through and past them. I imagine I will be sharing lots about this in the comings days, weeks and months as I seek to lie a brave, transformative, hopeful life. I am so grateful to have 2 horses who are facilitating such a radical part of my rising and transformation. What an amazing, absolutely precious gift that is.