Earlier this month I attended the Advanced PSYCH-K (registered trademark) with 15 other women. What an amazing experience to be in a room full of really amazing women all working towards the same goal- evolution. Since I was reviewing I was able to see the next layer of what PSYCH-K can and is doing for me. I was finding the blocks I had previously glossed over- “I love to learn/ I hate to learn”, “I love myself unconditionally/ If only I could be different I would be lovable unconditionally”, such conflict and yet there they were. As I was trying to read my directions, facilitate smoothly, and learn the words fell out, “I HATE LEARNING!” What!? I attend workshops as much as I can, I love to gather knowledge, I love to find information and see how it fits into or changes my life. And yet here are these three words expressing something completely different. I found that sure enough there was a conflict, I truly believed both statements- “I love to learn” and “I hate learning”. Using PSYCH-K I balanced the belief statement that “I love to learn”, within moments there was a calm that came over me, and I was able to feel a naggle of discomfort watching another person struggle with learning. This naggle took me on a trip: 4 years old, up on Bill Williams mountain looking at the butterflies learning about their names, where they went in the winter, why they came to my mountain in the summer, and what they ate. I was in bliss! I was learning and loving it. Fast forward to 5 years old, in a room with one window, my chair had the back to the window, sitting with 3 other kids and our job was to sit quietly and “learn”. Why were we talking about “A”? What was “A”? Why was it important? Only until we learned that “A” could be used with other letters did it find any value in my mind. My passions were to sing, to commune, to move and those things got my name on the board. I wanted to help the other kids succeed in what I had just figured out and again this was disruptive. So my love for learning was slowly changing to frustration. I do have some great memories of school, I do however have some that still make my stomach hurt after 25 years.
Now all the pieces are falling in peace, I now know that I do really love to learn and that it is safe for me to learn. I can be okay with the other student’s discomfort of learning without jumping in and saving them. The next naggle will cost me a steak dinner. I had the thought pop in, “No wonder I have been frightened by the thought of teaching!” All the students moving through their difficulties, learning along side the students, learning ways to teach in a most efficient way. Wow, that is a lot if there is a conflict that I hate learning! So now this naggle is there and is growing, we will see what will transpire, the path is clear and my heart is ready. The reason I say this will cost me a steak dinner is because a teacher bet me a steak dinner that I would be a teacher someday. I poo-pooed him quite quickly and now I get to retrace my steps, maybe I do want to teach. I do love to learn and isn’t that one of the prerequisites?
A friend reminded me I had this wonderful outlet to share the happenings in my life. I haven’t shared since my dear friend passed last summer.
August 20, 2011 at 10:45am I joined travels with the man I love, Sean McLoughlin. We had LOTS of family and some friends help join us in marriage. We celebrated at Watson Lake over looking the lake and it truly was perfect. While watching friends get married, I was always worried I would be the bride that would sniffle, and cry. What happened was that this upwelling joy bubbled up and out. I had a tear drop, and a voice waver but in the end it was laughter that caught my breath and I would ask for nothing different!
When I left Prescott that afternoon to head into the world as a married woman I knew I would never have to travel alone. Sean and I can now see the world hand in hand. We headed up north on a 3 day road trip to Seattle, caught a cruise ship that took us up the Alaskan coast. We were able to see some magnificent sights, share laughter with strangers, and take the time to nurture our new status…husband and wife.
Then on June 2, 2012, we moved into our newly purchased home. Yes, you read that correctly, we are home owners! We have a beautiful home up on a hill overlooking Lynx Creek. We have a full acre of land to play on and nurture. This summer we found that we have fruit trees, asparagus, mint, oregano, onions, strawberries, sage, honeysuckle, and flowers all growing in our yard. We also have rabbits, squirrels, woodpeckers, snakes, frogs, lizards, sparrow hawks, owls, coyotes, deer, and javalina to keep us company. It has been an amazing journey to make this house our home. I am still working on accepting the fact that I am now a home owner AND I know how to fix the little things and ask for help on the big things. My life today is better then my dearest dreams and the best part is that my dreams are becoming dearer and wilder AND I have a buddy to dream with.
I made a deal with myself that I would share a little bit about all the work I have been doing. In May of 2010 I began learning about a technique called PSYCH-K (there is a registered trademark at the end, I just can’t find my way around this thing to get it). PSYCH-K works with an idea of 3 levels of mind- the conscious (what we dream with, and set goals with), the subconscious (the power behind our thoughts, the “auto-pilot”) and the superconscious (the highest level of consciousness, God consciousness, helicopter view).
Having our subconscious as the power behind our thoughts is an awesome idea IF it believes in what the conscious mind believes, an example- Say I decide I want to be a successful broker I go to school and study hard for my exams BUT my subconscious somewhere in my past got the ideas that I didn’t deserve to succeed and a woman couldn’t be a broker. Things would start popping up that seemed to be sabotaging me, I could graduate but no job offers, I would hear the affirmation a woman couldn’t be a broker. And so my subconscious could look like it was working against me. With the use of a PSYCH-K process known as a balance. Those limiting beliefs that “I don’t deserve to succeed” and “a woman can’t be a broker” can be transformed into enhancing beliefs like, “I deserve to succeed” and “a woman can be a great broker”. With this transformation of beliefs the subconscious will start finding ways to prove itself right.
Where the superconscious comes in is also VERY important- permission is always, ALWAYS obtained before transforming beliefs. For me this is really important because, wouldn’t it be nice to know that this is for the good of me, you, and the universe? I know there have been times, my mind has received a “great idea” and when reality hit, ummm, I changed my tune of how great an idea was. With PSYCH-K, there is a built in safety switch, if there is no permission obtained, we stop and retrace. Also there is a commitment of change obtained from the subconscious, what a gift to have a go ahead on a “great idea” instead of burning steam on something my subconscious doesn’t even want to change.
I am bringing this up because our wedding had many, many PSYCH-K balances that helped make it so perfect. Sean and I worked together to balances some limiting beliefs we both had, we each balanced our own limiting beliefs, and we used some of the balances to get a visual of what our “perfect wedding” would look like.
When we decided to go on a cruise, I knew I had some balances to do before being on a ship for a week (there have been times I have needed to feed the fish, if you get my drift). Also, Sean didn’t feel comfortable in planes. That is actually why we drove up to Seattle, just to cut down the flying. While we were in Nevada we did a PSYCH-K balance about flying. We had to wait about 10 days to see if the balance would work. One thing I noticed right away was that he was able to rest in the car. On the plane though we were both blown away, about an hour into the flight he fell asleep. He has now flown 3 more times and is now looking forward to flying to Hawaii.
When we were looking for our home and buying our home we again hit the drawing board of PSYCH-K balances. It was really amazing to balance that we would know our perfect home when we saw it and then to walk into a house and know it was perfect. Then balancing all the limiting beliefs around owning a home, having such a large home, so much land, such a great price, etc.
It is good to be back and my hope is that I can keep current and add a little to each of the stories in depth. Happy travels!
I had the privilege? opportunity? chance? hmmm those words just don’t seem to fit what I want to say. I sat with a mentor, a friend, a woman I look up to as she drew her last breaths. This woman came to me coughing just before I left for my trip in 2009. She seemed to think that it was just allergies or a chair she was re-upholstering so I was not to worry. I went on my trip and didn’t think twice about her situation. When I got back she seemed a little smaller, and her cough was a little more persistent. I guess a client of hers gave her money to have an x-ray and sure enough it wasn’t just a cough. She still didn’t say the words, but it was inferred she was not well. She told her story that this was just a minor set back and all would be well. I wanted to believe her and so I did, she would heal and continue to live and teach me. Last fall she quit her chemotherapy because she felt she would die doing the last treatments, I believe her. When I saw her she had shrunk to an adolescent’s body and her rosy cheeks had a grey hue to them.
My maternal grandparents both died from lung cancer and so I know it is possible to get that cancer. I know it is possible to die from that cancer. I know families have been left because of that cancer but I have never been in close proximity to someone “battling” any type of cancer. I had no idea what to expect and once again ignorance is bliss. I was able to just experience the reality of the situation and have no idea what I was up against. I use these terms loosely because they are words I hear, I have no connection with them. By Webster’s Dictionary battle means- any fight, conflict, or struggle; cancer means- a malignant growth or tumor that tends to spread; dying means- drawing to a close. In my own dictionary cancer means- the body’s way of telling the mind something is amiss; dying means- transitioning; and cancer is not to be fought it is to be worked with. I may be naive and so I apologize to anyone if they think differently. I am willing to learn.
As I re-read what I have written I see I am rambling and that is exactly how I feel. I can’t make sense to what has just happened and if all I hear is correct, death is something we can’t make sense of. So on to my story….
I was called and informed my friend was agitated and didn’t seem to be doing very well. I asked if they wanted another friend to be there. My friend said yes and so I went. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know I could ask so I sat holding her hand. Thank goodness another friend came soon after me and started doing Bowenwork moves. Our friend seemed to settle enough to ask for the moves she wanted and tell us to hurry. Within a couple of hours she was starting to shift consciousness, she could no longer ask for what she needed/wanted, she could only shake her head. I knew it may be a late night and so I left to take care of myself. I don’t even know if that is possible, what I did was find some nourishing food, went to a gathering of friends and listen for guidance and then returned to my friend’s side. There was a small gathering of family and friends watching over our loved one and waiting.
I have never attended a birth but what I know of birth I wonder if death is very similar. A lot of sitting, waiting, checking, and praying. As I sat near my friend and listened to her rasping breath I was very aware of my own life energies pulsating and humming. I don’t know if I have ever been so aware of my own energies in a group of people. I think I was trained to listen to others’ and feel if there was a way to be of some type of help. In massage school I think those skills were honed just a little sharper so that I could be a better massage therapist. But sitting with my friend who’s life energy was almost nil I could hear my own humming away. What a beautiful sound.
As the evening shifted into night and night shifted into early morning we started telling our friend she could go home. She didn’t need to be here anymore, the worst was over, she could go, she would never be forgotten and she would always be loved. As those things were being said it was neat to feel the shifting in the room. We all started to shift in and out of our own consciousness, sleep kept creeping in and nestling us into comfort. At one point in time of dream or meditation, I had a vision of my friend standing in a dark hallway, in front of her was a door with light pouring around it and through the key hole. I heard the words, “You can go through this door, you have the key. All you have to do is leave this body behind. Inside your body is the key, you are the key. Leave your body behind and you can walk through this door. The only thing holding you back is your body, leave it behind.” I shook to full conciousness and knew that it was time for me to go home. The others that had stayed behind started to get ready for sleep, pulling out beds, moving to the couch in the hallway, and asking for assistance in getting our friend in a more “comfortable position”.
Driving away from my friend my car clock read 1:43am, I was tired and beat. I got home, crawled into bed and at 2:13am I received the text that she had passed. When I spoke to everyone the next day they informed me her official time of death was 2:05am. She was already gone when I left. I was hearing her last instructions in this form. She is now in the light of the sun, the breath of the wind, the scent of a rose. She is now part of One, Always, and Forever. I am so grateful to have such a graceful teacher, mentor, and friend. I know I will never forget her, and my love for her will continue to grow each breath I take.
And just like life 3 days later another friend welcomed her second child into this world. What a blessing to be part of such a great working cycle.
I just had another great experience of challenging myself to fly to a different level. This last weekend we traveled up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to participate in the Grand Canyon Rim Marathon. Talk about flying to a different level!
When I ran the 1/2 marathon in May I felt tired, but my body was still energized, I felt as if I could run at least a few more miles. With that last thought I started looking at up coming marathons. I heard if you can run a 1/2 you can run a full so go for it! The list of marathons was long of all sorts of beautiful places but the one that stuck out was the Grand Canyon Rim. To run so close to “home” would be such a gift and what a beautiful place to spend hours exhausting my body. Since May my running buddy, Sean and I have been preparing and training our bodies to endure this adventure. A few weeks ago I felt little “twinges” in my body. Uhoh was this the end or was my body willing and able to heal? The last couple of weeks I stretched, walked, prayed, meditated, and kept feeling the feelings I had. I felt as if I was a wounded puppy, I got snappy and easily frustrated. My nerves were “shot”. Thankfully the people in my life just held space and reminded me I had time, and I knew what to do.
When I first felt the “twinges” I called up a professional peer and set up an appointment to have some bodywork done. We came up with a plan and started to implement it. I went out on faith that my body was going to be okay to endure the stress it was about to face. And it did!
Saturday morning was beautiful! The sunrise was gentle as it revealed the curves of the Canyon.
The breeze kept us cool and the clouds would help to mute the suns forceful rays. It was the perfect fall morning to be on the Rim. The start of the race we headed up hill and my body was jazzed to be running again. I had made it!! We kept a good pace each of us checking in with our bodies, listening for little tattle tail signs we may need to check out at the 1/2. Working with the Healing Arts and having a tool chest to pull ideas from is priceless. Anytime my body would talk I would listen and then offer a solution. I was able to use Psych-K to remind myself I was in perfect alignment, my muscles ran in perfect harmony, my lungs were open and receptive, I even did a balance for my pace. Looking back I think I should have done a balance for perfect toxin elimination, but I will get to that. I was doing Bowenwork moves to help release muscle spasms and tightness. It was great to have these tools to pull out and use all along enjoying the beauty around me and feeling my body so acutely.
There is a marathon tale that says you hit a wall around mile 20, I felt that wall. I hit it hard and knew my humanness could no longer carry me. My bodywork tool box had no tool to fix this doom I felt. I surrendered to the fact I needed to fly on the wings of my faith. I had a lot of practice with falling onto those wings- Thailand, Nepal, coming back to Prescott to start anew, loving, and many other experiences in the last year and a half. Surrendering is a exercise in grace for me, I get to see how quickly, quietly, and how gracefully I can surrender. Being physically exhausted, in the middle of “nowhere”, alone (there were many times, I would look ahead and behind to see only the road and the trees, no other runner in site), I surrendered a lot more gracefully then previous times. I don’t remember all of the miles, I don’t remember all of the steps I took to the finish line; this is what I remember- leaves falling from the oak trees that reminded me of butterflies, the orange light of the sun warming my skin, the changes in the dirt on the road from red to orange to grey, seeing someone I recognized from the first 1/2 of the run and coming so close to them I could hear their breathe, then passing them, hearing the sounds of joy from the next aid station- wooden train whistles, banging of pans, laughter, cheering. I felt pain throughout all of these memories but our bodies are beautiful in this way, they only whisper those painful thoughts. I was able to pass a couple more people before crossing the finish line reminding me I am a competitive woman, I want to succeed and also proving to myself, I did not do this with my own will, my will ran out at mile 20, I needed wings and those wings carried me the remainder of the race.
When I finished my body screamed as loudly as my spirit I DID IT!
Once I came off the wings I had a hard time keeping upright, I couldn’t put words together, I wanted to hide, I wanted to sit, I wanted to sleep. All I could do was listen, gently stretch, eat a bite or two, drink water, and slowly come back. Saturday night was a hard night to sleep, anytime I would move my body would remind me, I had hurt it and it could not do what I had asked. I continued to pull out tools to help it recover, Bowenwork, Psych-K, muscle easing massage oil, Reiki, recovery drinks and aids. When I woke on Sunday I was about 45% better, I could sort of make it down stairs, I could get in the car a little easier. I was able to take a walk around the neighborhood I grew up in with a little healthier stride. When I woke on Monday I was about 80% better, I was still feeling twinges in my hips, I was still looking a little funny getting into Miss Daisy- kind of felt like the human character Miss Daisy. After a scheduled post race Bowenwork session, I noticed the spring in my step was coming back, I got in Miss Daisy more like myself all within a couple of hours. Last night I was able to walk about a mile with very little pain and the pain felt was in my heels not in my legs.
Writing this on Tuesday morning I am feeling 95% better, I still have pain in my heel and I am willing to listen. The tools I have learned in the last 8 years have given me proof that our bodies will recover if we ask them gently and surrender to their strengths. The stress of preparing for a marathon has melted away, the pain of running a marathon is slipping away and what is left is a deeper understanding of being human, asking for help, having faith, and trusting. I am already looking to see where there is another marathon in a couple of months…maybe this time I will run at sea level. I am grateful for Sean, his love and support and encouragement is irreplaceable. I am grateful to my parents for coming to cheer us on and feed our starving bodies. I am also grateful to all the wonderful people in my life who told me I could do it and gave me the little pats on the back my “little girl” needed. Now off to love my feet a little more and enjoy the beauty all around us!
This word “home” is such a powerful word. Where is it? What is there? People say, “I am going home” aren’t they starting off at home? Isn’t where you are home? So many questions about this little four letter word. What I realized, for myself, is how loaded this word was. I was born in Williams, Arizona so that is my birth home, I have heart-strings to a little island out in the middle of the Pacific ocean where I consciously started the process of becoming who I am, I choose to live in Prescott, Arizona and call this home. I guess you could say I am homeful.
My dad’s work gave the family the chance to have “summer homes”. He was stationed on top of Bill Williams for a few years, at a homestead called J.D. cabin for a few years and most recently at Tusayan Ranger Station. The first 5 summers of my life were spent exploring the treasures of Bill Williams, hiking, making friends with chipmunks and squirrels, learning about butterflies, and seeing Arizona from the top of a mountain. Soon after the stint on Bill Williams, Dad was stationed at J.D. cabin and so we started the joyful adventure of learning the treasures of this homestead. There were dry creek beds, cattle, horses, and miles of wilderness we were able to explore. Up in Tusayan I had the privilege to stay with Dad in his “home” and work at Airstar Helicopters. Living so close to the Grand Canyon I was able to visit the Canyon during its famous sunsets, explore the wilderness around the park, and working for the helicopter company see the Canyon’s glorious aerial views.
A couple of weeks ago I went up to Williams to visit with my parents. Since it was raining and we don’t do well sitting still we decided to take a drive and soak in the beauty around Williams. We headed out to Sycamore Canyon knowing that even in the rain we could jump out of the Jeep hustle to the rim, see it, and hustle back without too much effort. Once we started out the rain let up and so our minds traveled back in time to those summers at J.D. cabin. We decided to take that winding road down memory lane. J.D. cabin is now abandoned, a tree had fallen years ago and nicked the corner of the roof, the doors had been torn off, the barn looked as if it was on its way down. And yet the little things were still there, a small shelf on the wall, the plastic plates we used to have our meals on, an arm-chair we took great pride in sitting on, a fire pit in the back, the outhouse we all hated in the heat, chin up bars the guys used to keep in shape, and of course the flood of memories.
Once the trickle of memories starts, it seems as if the dam breaks and ALL the memories come back. Things I hadn’t thought of in years made their way in. Some very fond and some equally as frightening. Having a little time to be washed by these memories had a warm healing effect, yet there were a couple of memories that lingered to fester.
We left J.D. cabin and made our way to Sycamore Canyon, each of us a little quieter reflecting on those memories. When we reached the canyon we heard the roar of running water. Where we were is also called Paradise Forks by the locals because it two seasonal streams meet at the canyon looking like a fork. The walls are tall and paradise for rock climbers in the local area and the views are gorgeous. Arriving at the first fork there was a river flowing off the edge, I have never seen this before and neither had my parents. The fall was so beautiful and powerful, it took my breath away. We headed to Sycamore Fall to see what it looked like. At the middle of the fork we stopped to breathe in the beauty of the sights. There were small waterfalls cascading the canyon walls, there were rainbows from the mist of the falls, the canyon walls were being climbed by vegetation, and the sounds were music. Unable to contain ourselves we headed to Sycamore Fall and it was also quite impressive. I have a memory of seeing this fall in the winter with icicles cascading down the face and here I was witnessing the fall at its fullest! The magic of this place on a normal visit is palpable and yet this day it was truly tangible. Seeing what time it was and knowing we had a drive ahead we continued on our journey. We all made a remark of how we would be back to visit soon.
Back in Prescott my mind would flit back to those memories that flooded me in Williams. I couldn’t shake a couple of them, they seemed to lodge in the forefront of my mind. Of course these were the memories I had tried decades to forget about and was pretty successful at most of the time. Thankfully this last weekend I attended a workshop were I was finally able to release the emotional charge I felt confined by. The work I was learning about is a profound work helping to align the subconscious and the conscious to heal belief patterns no longer useful. It was amazing, after a practicing with a couple of classmates for about 20 minutes, I was able to look at a name that held a huge amount of emotional charge for over 20 years and question whose name that was. There were other experiences during the workshop but that made it so I feel as if I can go “home” in my memories without the fear I held before.
What gifts life bring to us as we learn and keep an inquisitive mind. I look forward to the next possible adventure and today I know, no matter what comes up, I can make it a joy and for that I am grateful!
Last year as I was saying good-bye to my twenties I came up with this idea to have a 30 year bucket list, a list of all the things I wanted to do before I turned 30. Some of the things on the list were to dive in the Carribean Sea, dance on a bar, sing karaoke , shave my head (that was actually an amendment), hike the Grand Canyon, and some others. I was able to do most of the things on the list but there were a few things still lingering. I wanted to hike the San Francisco Peaks, pierce my nose, and travel the world. I figured I would have to wait for my 40 year bucket list to travel the world, and I thought maybe I could hike the peaks this last fall. Piercing my nose is still on that list and I still have a few more days as a 30-year-old so we will see. So back to these other lingering things, I have done them! I was able to travel the world in my 30th year and as of Wednesday I made it to the summit of Humphrey’s Peak!
I ended up deciding that if I was going to hike the Peaks this summer, I better do it soon especially with the weather the way it has been. I am so glad I decided to go with my gut because the weather was perfect! I am not a great planner and so the invitation to join me was so last-minute no one was able to join. I headed to Flagstaff with butterflies in my stomach. I have had some memorable times on these mountains, snowboarding, hiking (never to the summits), riding the Skyride, attending weddings, and having them as the backdrop to my childhood.
On of the more memorable hiking experiences I have is when I was a new teenager. My loving parents took my brother and I out to Locket Meadow for a hike on a beautiful afternoon and I decided I was done hiking. They tried to coax me into going further but because I was a new teenager I was testing my strength and told them in no way was I taking another step forward and Andrew, my favorite cohort followed suit. Our parents decided since I was a teenager and we promised to stay together they would hike on ahead and let us be. We had a blast drawing in the dirt, telling stories, making each other laugh. We weren’t left very long but it was the first time that we did something different than our parents and it felt good. Now years later I realize I could have been up at the summit a long time ago had I gone up that day or maybe not. Today I cherish both hike equally for each have their own gifts.
This year has been one of testing my body and my mind. Starting with the trip overseas and then running the 1/2 marathon. This hike was another challenge, I wanted to see if I really had the nerve to hike the mountain by myself, the strength to get to the top, and the willingness to be with myself in such a familiar surrounding. It was fantastic! I got out of Miss Daisy with my backpack full of water, a hat, sunscreen, a long sleeve shirt, and some snacks and off I went across Hart Prairie and into the woods. At first I was aware of every creek a tree would make, or rustle a leaf would make in the breeze. I was on alert for the “boogie man”. I felt 4 again and afraid that I would go out and never come back. I had the same sensation when I boarded the plane to leave for California Christmas night, I didn’t know if I would “come back”. Would I change so much you wouldn’t know who I was??? Would I change so much I wouldn’t know who I was???
Once I got in the rhythm of one foot in front of the other, the “boogie man” disappeared and I realized how free I felt and how good my body felt to move it. Up and up and deeper and deeper into the trees I went. There were patches of snow to scramble up and over, fallen trees to maneuver around and people to pass. I liked that part, passing people, that meant I was fast :) Once a 4-year-old it is hard to get back to 30 years old. After a couple of hours I got to a sign informing me the elevation was 11,400, I was feeling the elevation a little tightening in the chest, a little loopy, a little bit of a headache. My legs were still feeling strong, so after a couple of Respiratory Bowen moves I was ready to volcano chunk hike. Once you get up above tree line the trail becomes a rock scramble, there are posts with “Trail” and an arrow carved in the direction the trail is going. There was a peak right there and I was so excited to get to it thinking that was the summit, ah no. The trail curved and twisted, went over another ridge to the Other peak and then that was Humphrey’s summit. What a great feeling to get to the top of Arizona, my home and feel at home!
On the top of the mountain the wind was howling! There are little wind shelters so I crouched down and had my lunch celebrating the fact that I made it! Once again, I went out to see if I could prove myself wrong that I didn’t have the heart, the strength, the ambition to meet my goal and I was proven wrong! I am capable in achieving anything I put my mind to, I have the strength to meet my goals, and I have a lot of heart especially if I get a kick out of passing people. Maybe I am a bully. What I know today is that hiking up the San Francisco Peaks gave me A LOT of joy! As I say good-bye to 30 and hello to 31, I realize I am living today with no regrets. I get to live the rest of my life from a place of gratitude and joy AND I get to continue to find new challenges.
I woke up early on Saturday morning, geared up to run the Whiskey Row 1/2 marathon and said my prayers. I arrived at the Start line and started to feel the jitters of excitement brewing in my belly. I saw people stretching, jogging, chatting, just warming up the best they could, because it was cold at 6:45am in Prescott, Arizona. I saw a couple of familiar faces and felt the panicky feeling subside with the warmth of excitement taking over. A friend was willing to be my pacer and so we got in the line up of the runners jiggling hands and feet waiting for the sound of the air horn. Alas at 7:00am sharp the horn blew and off we went. I have noticed the first few miles I am adjusting my stride, figuring out how to shush my mind, and feel my feet. In no time we were up by my old office and my body was loosing up. I was able to look up and see the clouds shifting their shape, letting me realize I was shifting my own shape, I was getting ready to climb “the mountain”. The Whiskey Row Marathon is one of the toughest in the country because you start up in elevation and then you continue to climb, then you have to run down the same way you came. The half is pretty wild too because you are climbing up as well, you just don’t climb as high and it is 1/2 the distance.
The last couple of months I have been very aware of Mountain Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Bobcats and how they run. If you ever watch them their muscles are loose, the animal has a grace about them that is magnificent and I wanted to emulate that. Climbing the mountain I could feel my body shift into a comfortable crawl and up I went. It is such a great feeling to know didn’t have to walk up the mountain, I followed my feet and again said my prayers. After about a 1/4 mile on the dirt I realized we had made it up the mountain, what a great feeling! After we turned around I could feel the speed kicking in, it was time to open my stride and let my body move forward. I could tell I was dropping into my groove, I knew the course, I knew what to expect where, all I had to do was to breathe and follow my feet. I have this theory that when we get close to “home” we speed up, if it is in a car or running. There is something about going home that speeds us up. I could tell the runners around me were feeling that way too, we were all speeding up a bit. I had to tie my shoes a couple of times but was able to slide right back into my groove.We turned our last corner and I had this thought that I had a lot of energy left so I started to kick in a bit. It was amazing to feel as if I had wings and my feet were barely touching the ground and my wings were carrying me to the Finish line.
When I got to the crowd I was able to see some familiar, loving faces and knew I was home. I just had to get across that imaginary “home line” then I could be safe. When I saw the clock running my old track instincts jumped in and by darn I was going to beat the clock, I didn’t beat the 30 second mark. I didn’t beat the 2 hour mark, but I did beat the 4 minute mark. I ran my first 1/2 marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and 31 seconds. AND I ran the whole thing. Here is the learning part for me…I woke up Sunday morning with the thought, “I could have done better.” I forgot to say thank you to my body for getting me across the finish line, I forgot that for my first marathon just over 2 hours is pretty darn cool, I ignored the fact that there are people out there who can’t run. I forgot how selfish my ego can be and I forgot why I was really running the race anyway. Today I know I can celebrate and I know I can run another 1/2 marathon. I know I challenged my mind and my body training , I remembered the joy of running and I had fun! In my moment of silly thoughts this morning I thought maybe I should do a marathon, maybe that would better, but really, now that I am awake and sane, I think running a marathon is still silly. I want to find out when the next 1/2 is and sign up to run that one. When my body has recovered I will return to the mountain and continue to shape shift and say my prayers!
In early December I went to Las Vegas to watch a friend run a marathon. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know that watching so many willing souls would stir something in my soul. When I got back to Prescott I decided I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. I heard about the Whiskey Row Marathon here in Prescott the first of May and so I started to “train”. It is hard to run in Prescott when there is snow and sleet so I hiked a little bit and when I got to California I started to run. It is interesting to see the way I trained, I didn’t start running and stay with it, I hiked a little here, then ran in California, surfed and ran in Hawaii, walked miles and miles in Thailand, and then did the 3 day trek in Nepal.
When I got back to Prescott I started to put all the pieces together and started running. I remember the first run I did around Willow Lake and how much I enjoyed connecting to the Earth and nature. Then I started figuring out how longer distances felt. I ran out on the Brownlow trails and could barely make it up the steep inclines but I was running and I was reconnecting to my roots. When I was in 8th grade I decided to play basketball, I was not a great player, but I enjoyed being with a team and running the ball up and down the court. Actually I got into a little bit of a testy mood one day (I know, me in a testy mood, hard to believe but it happens) and got the team in trouble so the whole team had to run laps around the gym. I loved it! I wasn’t the most popular person on the team that day but I was in bliss! My coach saw something in my love for running and talked me into trying track. I ran the 800 meter run and did okay, I struggled getting warmed up. The last track meet of the season was at Mile High Middle School and I remember coming in dead last BUT running my best time. I was so bummed and yet I was so proud because I had beat my time. That run started a love affair for me, I realized no matter what place I came in, I wanted to always run a better time then the last race. I ran track all through high school and actually went to State a couple of times and placed at the District level almost, if not every year.
I didn’t realize at the time how important those track practices and those meets were for me, in keeping me sane, healthy, and connected. Only now after not doing it for years and then coming back to it do I realize the gifts I was given. When I ran I was able to take any problem I was having and just let run its course. I had to go to practice just as I had to do my homework, it was part of my day. Now looking back I realize those hours of practice were just for me, I couldn’t do anything for anyone else during that time, I got to concentrate on how I could beat my last running time.
When I got out of high school and started college I gave up running. I got busy with college classes and social agendas and forgot to put running as part of my day. I look back and I see the start of my shutting down, I started to put my “Fix-it Sue” hat on, and try to help others with their problems, forgetting I had my own. I started to make life more important forgetting that I was not living fully without moving my body. I didn’t connect with the Earth in the same way, now I was driving on the Earth, not participating with the Earth. Somewhere in college I realized I missed running and attempted to start running again but it hurt my body, I was too closed down. I figured all the running I had done in high school had permanently injured my body, I didn’t realize that I had to start with baby steps and open myself back up.
On Maui when I was going to massage school I started to open and in doing so found the craving to run again. The Maui beaches are perfect to run on and there is one I lived just blocks from where I could run about 2 miles and then swim for a bit to cool off. It was such a good feeling to move my body, but again, I moved back to Arizona and shut myself down again, I forgot to put time into my day to move my body. I was more worried about keeping relationships working and making a living, then actually taking time to live fully myself. I had to start with learning how to live in a space by myself, I had never lived by myself. I got to learn how to pay attention to myself. I had to ask the questions of how I was, what was I needing in that moment, how could I take care of myself. When I asked those questions I realized I wanted to travel, I needed to travel, I needed to heal, to open up, to receive.
Taking the time to travel, to learn about myself in other countries, and how to take care of myself when I am “alone” all helped open me back up. Now when I run I feel free again, I can let my problems run their course, I am conscious about the time I am taking for myself. When I am running I am not available to help others when they call, I don’t have the energy to wonder how so-and-so is doing, I am listening to my own heart beat, my own tight spots, my own breath and I get to heal those tensions. I got to go through a few moments this last month where I thought of myself as being very selfish for taking the time to go run and train and blah, blah, blah. What I realize today is that I am learning how to be an adult. I am learning how to take care of myself, to put myself first, then I can be of service to others. I know I preach that and so today I get to say, I am a work in progress, I can take the advice I have so freely doled out. Tomorrow I get to run, I get to see what time I want to beat next race, I get to start another era of receiving from the Earth and I get to be one of those willing souls.
This weekend was such an amazing lesson for me in letting go of how I think things should go and accepting things just as they are. A week ago, I went through my roller coaster ride of “do I get a car looking like I am driving Miss Daisy or do I not?” I decided after thinking it over, writing about it, and asking for a little guidance that all signs pointed to get “Miss Daisy”, a 2002 Buick Century. Now that I have had her for a week she has shrunk in size about 10 feet, she has got some classy curves, almost sexy, and after this weekend, she has a strength I will not question!
I was invited to spend the weekend in Rocky Point with some friends. I decided this would be a perfect trip to get to know Miss Daisy and start to nurture our new owner/car relationship. Her trunk is huge and easily carried all the luggage we packed into her, her gas mileage is astonishing, her power great and the ride smooth.
When we got to the Mexican border we had to wait to get across and for some reason the engine stalled, the warning lights didn’t go on but the engine wasn’t running. We got across the border and all of a sudden the AC wasn’t working. We decided when I got back to Prescott I would just have to get a mechanic to recharge my AC and we rolled down the windows. When we got to Rocky Point we decided to stop at a Pharmacy to get a prescription before we headed out to the house we were staying at, when I got back in to start Miss Daisy the battery light went on, weird, then when I went to turn the steering wheel it didn’t want to turn, uh oh! So I pulled back into the parking spot, popped the hood and saw my serpentine belt had snapped. What a feeling of helplessness when I realized I know very little Spanish, I know a little about cars, I have 3 other people counting on me to get them to the house we are staying at, and I have a broken serpentine belt in my hand. After a couple of attempts we found a gentleman who told us about Baja 1000, just around the corner. The mechanic there was great and had another mechanic follow us back to Miss Daisy he put the serpentine belt, on then we found out the reason the serpentine belt broke, the AC compressor had seized…OH CRAP! So we did a quick shuffle, got most everyone and everything in the other car, sent them off to the house about 7 miles away to unload and come back to grab myself and the friend who stayed behind.
I was so sad and my ego was bruised, it isn’t easy for me to experience that much helplessness in one day but what’s nice about being with 8 women friends is that they helped me to see the gifts in what had transpired. The compressor had a hiccup at the border, but we made it across the Sonoran desert to town, we stopped in town instead of going the 7 miles out to the house first, at a pharmacy just down the road from a mechanic, who spoke some English, and fixed Miss Daisy for less than $200 in less than 24 hours. We definitely were on the wings of grace and Miss Daisy has one heck of a strong disposition if she could make it that far limping, without really showing how bad it was!
I think Miss Daisy and I will get along just fine and I know I gained a lot of respect for her this weekend. I look forward to many more road trips, after I have about 4 mechanics, suggested by the 8 friends, check her completely out. I also got to see once more I was proven wrong, we were totally taken care of and all that was needed was given easily. I am actually starting to enjoy the ways I am proven false, I guess I will continue to see what comes up.
I have been back in Prescott for a month now, I have been in my apartment for a month now, and I have been working for a month now. But I have not yet purchased a vehicle. Until today I wondered what the heck?! Why is it that I can have everything fall into place so easily except 4 wheels and an engine. What I realized today is that I was looking for the “perfect” 4 wheels and engine. I had paralyzed myself with the idea that the vehicle I was going to purchase would make me or break me. I know, I know, silly and yet it was so real. I had some wonderful advice, write down what I wanted in a vehicle and what I was willing to pay. I did that, then I was given the advice to write down all my fears around buying a vehicle, I did that. All the while I have been looking on the internet at AutoTrader, newspapers, Craigslist, auto dealerships here in Prescott and up in Flagstaff, test drove 6 cars and all the while I couldn’t find my perfect car for my perfect price.
Today I got a call that a friend of a friend was willing and ready to pick me up from my apartment and take me to his car lot to show me cars for sale for very inexpensive. What an offer! This afternoon a white boat pulled up to pick me up. I shuttered at the thought of this car, it is an old” person’s car. My mind right away went to this space that there is no way I could look cool in this car. This car would be one to break me for sure! The thing saving me was that it is too nice to be in my price range and it is in too good of shape. We went to the car lot and looked at another dozen cars most out of my price range or just too small (my massage table won’t fit in the trunk). To my horror the salesman told me this boat that we were in WAS in my price range and actually I would have money to SAVE. I got to ask a certified mechanic about the car and what it’s Achilles Tendon is and found out the issue had been fixed so this car is a reliable car, it gets about 25-27 miles to the gallon, it is front wheel drive, it has a trunk that can hold my massage table and 6 small children. It is exactly what I wanted, just not this car please?!!!! I test drove it and the whole time I was driving it I thought of the movie “Driving Miss Daisy” and thinking, “there is no way in HECK I am going to be a Miss Daisy!” I was driven home in the big white boat with a heavy heart and empty-handed. When I got home I realized I had been duped by my ego. I can’t imagine owning a big white Buick because I thought a vehicle defines someone. Thank goodness, once again, I am proven wrong!!!! I did some writing about this big white Buick and you know what? I might just enjoy having a car I can put 5 grown adults in, feel like I am on a magic carpet ride with all of our luggage in the trunk, and know this beast will take me anywhere. Huh, what a concept! I haven’t purchased the car, I don’t know if I will but if you see a bleached blonde in a white Buick Century with a great big grin on her face, honk I may wave.