Indicators of Purpose

I was
Never a
Believer in
positive thinking,
Fate, etc.

Self-help
“Crap” I
called it.

Until I
started to
use it,
adapt it,
and
Practice it.

And I was
dumbfounded
that it
Works.

As a
Scientist,

I
Adapt
to

Information

and
Evidence.

A few seconds
sooner,
the
Outcome
would have
Been much
Different.

It is clear
the Universe,
God, or
whichever your
Diety is,
has a bigger
Plan for
Me.

Fate.

Another
line I
Never
thought I’d
believe in.

It is
not
These
moments
that
Define

Us.

It is
What
we
Do
in the

Moments

After
Impact
that

are
Indicators of
Purpose.

It is
Continued
Consistency

after
Impact
that

Reveals
one’s
True

Intentions.

The Shift

Every
Life
Shift

is a
Call

for a

Mental
Reset.

a
Sign of
personal
Progress

Towards
being
the
Best

You.

You’ve
got to
Build

towards
the

Shift.

this isn’t
Magic,
it’s
Work.

My life
and
Mind
has been
Preparing
me

for This

Shift
Moment.

It is a
Break.

signifying
Rebirth
from the
Ashes
of

Poverty.

of
Spirit
and
Mind.

It is
Time
to

Break
the

Cycle of

Doubt.

to
Severe
Limiting
Ties

And
live a
Brave
new
Life
of
Expectation

and
Decided
Determination.

Hitting Your Lines and Missing Them

The Tohickon Creek release was this past weekend, and it is my favorite creek.  It is challenging without being terrifying (most of the time), easily accessible, and a solid class three creek.  Yesterday I hit most of my lines that I wanted to, and when I didn’t I was able to avoid the obstacles I didn’t see coming.  I even hit my line perfectly at the notorious Second Ledge, which is in my opinion is one of the hardest rapids on the whole river because it’s pretty manky and technically challenging.  It is such an amazing feeling when you hit a challenging line just right.  This is true in life as well as paddling.  You feel like you can conquer anything.

Photograph taken by Brent Burke. Hitting my line at 2nd Ledge on the Tohickon Creek in spring of 2014.

The Lead-In

The rapid after Second Ledge is called Race Course, which is tied for first and second place in my opinion with Second Ledge in terms of technically challenging.  It is also significantly longer than Second Ledge.  I was doing really well, hitting the lines, and cutting when I needed to to make the necessary moves.  This was until there was an unexpected obstacle in my normal line.  A kayaker who had come out of their boat, which is called swimming.  It is not usually a favorable situation to be in, and I have swam Race Course.  It is not a fun swim.  So I dodged the kayaker, and thought I was good to go.  However, I did not see the rather large hole in front of me when I turned.  Luckily I was going mostly straight, but did not have enough momentum to push through.  And in I went.  I learned two things, my drysuit is not dry and I deserve to work on my brace this boating season.

lower yough oh shit moment

Lower Yough oh crap moment (I did not swim there, but thought it illustrated the moment)

The Lesson

Life is going throw obstacles at you, and some of them pop up like Whac-a-Mole.  Unexpected and random.  Three things to do in that moment:  identify the problem, set-up a solution, and execute.  Sometimes those three things need to happen very quickly, like in a rapid or while driving.  Other times, you can take a little time setting those things up.  You will either come out victorious or you will come out wet (meaning you failed).  Crucial part of this:  both of those outcomes are perfectly fine.  Feeling on top of the world is the best high ever, and instead of living in that moment build on the momentum.  Don’t stop for anything.  Failure only becomes a mistake when you fail to learn from it.  Meaning if I don’t work on my brace when the weather gets warmer, because I will be getting wet from practicing that, than when I flip next time due to no brace, than that becomes a mistake.  Choose your poison and evict the word mistake from your vocabulary.

Life and Love

I figured out what love is.  It’s taken me 36 years to figure it out, and I’m not letting it go.  It is loving yourself enough to own your identity, and it is the scariest thing I have ever done.  The handful who know me really well and who I’ve confided in know what I am talking about.

personal style

I’ve hidden myself in one form of another since I was around 10.  It was first because being weird in middle and high school is quite honestly just plain brutal, as some people know.  It was much easier to be quiet and meek than smart and bold.  In college, I found myself and surrounded myself with like-minded weird people of the best variety.  It was rare when I was unapologetically me, though.

white party pic

These are some of my favorite people on the planet.  Who helped show me that I was enough.

I reached a point last year where I was on top of the world, so to speak.  There was something missing that I couldn’t quite identify.  I finally figured it out and told my best friend.  She said literally, “thank God.”  It’s the final piece of accepting me.  The final piece of accepting who I am, and loving myself for everything that is me.  It is scary and amazing.  I am ready to do this.  To own myself, and more importantly to love myself on an entirely new level of acceptance.  This is not the forum to announce such things.  If you’ve read through the lines, great.   Just know that I am ready, I am coming, and most importantly, I AM ME.  If you don’t like it, I honestly pity you.  Acceptance is a human trait, and also the cause of the worst travesties of human history have occurred when not allowed.

The Break

Breaks
are

Painful

Necessary

and often

Severe.

this was
No
Different.

The severity of
it
cuts like

a Dull
Knife

lined with
tiny

Shards of

glass.

Each
cut

draws
into the
jagged
Edge into

Flesh

leaving a
Scar

and a
Tale.

the
Tale

however,
is

One of

Rebirth

Opportunity

and
the

Knowledge
that

You
Begin

Anew.

and
at

Peace

with the

Sorrow.

of the
Moment.

Invisibility, Choice, and Discovery

I have written about my entire life being spent trying to be invisible, and it worked. Then I started to be become noticed and recognized for what I was. A caring, compassionate human being who longed to serve others before myself. This is not meant to aggrandize, this is actually who I am. Those who know me can attest to that.

I think I have finally figured out why the past six to eight months have been so odd for me. People started to recognize me and outside my immediate circle. For a person who until a year ago, at most two, wanted to blend in the with the crowd this took some time to adjust to. I didn’t recognize it. I thought it had something to do with my move into my place, which was a factor but not the ultimate reason of my weirdness. It might have been the reason why I was like, “shit this is real.”

white party pic

Out of Integrity
I am going to be totally vulnerable here. Which I really despise doing, by the way.  Writing is the place where I become most vulnerable because I can take the time to express it. Up until the point where I actually did get a place on my own, I felt almost like a fraud. I confided this to a dear friend of mine and asked for her advice. She said, “because you are living out of integrity with your true self.” If there is one thing in my life I really have a profound and utterly disdain for is dishonesty and not being integrity. If I tell someone I am going to do something, I damn well am going to do it. It may take awhile, sometimes much longer than I anticipated. But it gets done.

So I got to work. It was a slow process, but I eventually got my life together and moved on my own. This was a month after the phenomenal Arbonne area manager retreat, and for whatever reason things became very real and very scary in terms of accountability and recognition. I froze. I was in activity, but without intention. I did all of this without realizing WHY. I truly didn’t realize it until now.

I never wanted to be an inspirational figure, leader, or role model but I became that in the past two and half years. I have written about it before, and truly thought I had come to terms with it. Except I clearly hadn’t. For all of you who have stuck with you and supported me, it means more than you know. For those that wondered wtf happened to her (with good reason)?  HERE I AM.

Standard cargo pants and fleece at Island Beach State park in New Jersey. Photo taken by Looie Voorhees

Slayer My Smaller Self

I am ready the slay the dragon. The dragon is myself. It is my own crippling fear in something bigger, and becoming something bigger and very public. It is the belief that I AM the leader that so many in Arbonne think I am. I AM COMING. It is one of the most terrifying and inspiring moments in my life.   I am finally seeing myself as so many of you do. I am the badass leader who has transformed from a treehugging hippie and into a shimmery water ninja.

This is not about what I want. It is about what I deserve, and how many other people deserve to be inspired by my story. I have grown into my creative self who actually loves to doodle, and perhaps even draw.  I have always loved photography, and this year will be the year to blossom into that.  I am becoming my true self.  It is amazing, terrifying, and realizing it is one of the most understated but determined moments in my life.

I will be a regional vice president and a national vice president with Arbonne THIS YEAR. It’s all revolved around this fraking moment of discovery. In this journey there have been so many moments, but to this point this is the biggest. I am growing into myself and being a whole person, an adult. A woman who up until quite recently didn’t believe I had any artistic talent or even a desire to be an artistic in the traditional term. I am growing into me, and I am a powerful freaking being. Watch me roar, because I am coming like never before. BOOM.

The Crippling Pursuit of Perfection

What is perfection really?  It is a stubborn mistress that we court, but are never quite found good enough for the Ball.  Perfectionism is different from striving to be better, because that is a competition with ourselves.  Perfectionism is more about proving/convincing to yourself and others that you are good enough. It’s a stifling and oppressive way to live life.  It is often much safer to not go for it, and say I am not going to even bother because it won’t be good enough for insert here (usually yourself when you really dissect the reason).  The threat of rejection and disappointment are far greater than the reward of showing the progress of discovery.  This is some of the most self-destructive things people can do to themselves, not including bodily harm.  The void of rejection catapulted my self-esteems issues even further because I didn’t think I was even worthy of presenting my skills if it wasn’t perfect.

barriers-to-love

Self-Pressure
Perfectionism is like having to pee in the middle of the night.  Stay with me here, I agree it’s an odd analogy.  You are slightly uncomfortable with the pressure, but you are so warm and cozy in your bed you hate to get up.  You’d much rather stay under the safety of the blanket until it becomes too much and you give in.  Except there is no safety blanket, and eventually you choose to show yourself and your talents to the terrifying world.  Or you pee in the bed, and shrink into self-loathing.

Take this entry for example, I had so many good ideas and lines when I started the concept, but I can’t think of a single one.  And they were good. You know what happened to those ideas I had five minutes before writing this?  I said to myself, “ooo, I like where this is going.  Let me get downstairs and get settled into writing mode before starting to write this entry.” POOF, gone.  I could have written them down where I was, but I didn’t.  I am going to publish this anyway to prove a point because this is an important topic for me.

Judgment
Perfectionism isn’t really about presenting your perfect work.  It is using it to hide behind your excuses, self-doubt, and flaws so people don’t know your vulnerabilities and insecurities.  To have your “best” self always on display, scared of being judged of not being good enough is a crippling mindset that weighs heavily on every decision one makes.  Every decision leads back to “am I good enough to reveal this?”  It’s much easier to show something that you believe is your best effect and have them bring judgment, than it is to show a work in progress and have it ripped to shreds (e.g. first draft of a paper).  It’s the same with my Arbonne business, photography, writing, paddling, and now art.   I used to get ashamed if I swam (it’s where you fall out of your boat in a rapid) while paddling, but it has a become a source of pride because it means I tried something and pushed myself.  Fail your way forward.

Roy and I hitting a rock - hard - in the rapid. Good times. Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Roy and I hitting a rock – hard – in the Cucumber Rapid on Yough River.  Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Self-Validation
The projects don’t have to be physical in nature; they can be emotional as well.  Or the most vulnerable of all, when it is the combination of both.  The vulnerability of art for the world to see, which is always an express of an emotion of some kind, oftentimes gives me the most pause in sharing it.  And being completely vulnerable with all of you, my latest self-discovery is how much I like to doodle.  I like drawing the lines, the shapes, and all of it coming together to make something kind of beautiful in its own unique way.  Art is terrifying to me, so this is a huge discovery.

doodle

One of the hardest things I have worked on in the last 4.5 years is to make an effort to kick my self-judgment to the curb.  It means you have to confront yourself, which is another entry altogether and discover some of your inner demons.   Be real with those closest to you, and I was surprised by the outcome of this.  In my experience, I discovered those who truly love me for who I am becoming and embracing my true self.  I also discovered those who will always see the old me, and who have a hard time accepting the self-confident version of myself.  It can be a brutal wake up call. Give perfectionism an eviction notice from your mind and soul, and be a vigilante when it comes to visit.

Be the Catalyst

Get Dirty with Change
People say that is change is hard, and it can be. It is also inevitable, and it can be beautiful. It is important to embrace the changes happening in your life because they are coming either way so you might as well embrace it. If the change is unpleasant, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner it will change into something tolerable. If the change is good or long-term beneficial, then embrace the journey to get to the beautiful place on the other side. While paddling I came up with an expression, “on the other side of the mud is often a beauty hidden by the effort to get there.” It is the same with change.

courage-fear-do-it-anyway

The Push
Quite honestly, the catalyst in my growth in the stages of my business has come from outside sources. I do much better historically when helping other people. I am more focused, more determined, and it’s because I genuinely enjoy being a part of helping other people achieving their dream. It’s the part I play, and I play it well. However, it is time to grow out of that. I have written how that is really not enough, but for me it is how I have measured my worth by adding to a cause. As if I am not enough just being me. It’s not true. There are things I am privately passionate about and very important to me that deserves to be heard, known, and acknowledged. These are the ones that only a select few know about, and that scare me for people to know.beat-her

Sparking Your Catalyst
All of it is coming to a climax. Tony Robbins says “change happens when the pain of staying the same is bigger than the pain of change.”  Everyone has demons, and every person has at least one that likes to linger. A lingering whisper is the fear of not being worthy of the amazing friendships I have built in the last 4 and half years. Which is completely ridiculous, and thankfully doesn’t surface often anymore. It’s the old me popping up like a prairie dog, and the part of myself I deserve to beat whac-a-mole style. Its presence has lessened since I am coming out of a transition period that seems to be inevitably messy. The result is a new level of leadership being born. One that I am ready to take on because staying hidden behind some type of misplaced pride is becoming too uncomfortable to stay idle. It’s like a bug molting into a new shell because it’s outgrown its old one. It’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, and as it happens you are incredibly vulnerable while growing into a new stage of development and waiting for it to harden.   It is time to be the catalyst for change and become the adult we are all destined to be.

2016 Year in Review-it was interesting

2016 was a rollercoaster of the highest highs, and the one of the oddest periods of my adult life. I experienced the amazing achievement of Area Manager in my Arbonne business, and it is a day that I will never, ever forget. The reason for that is because of the sheer inspiration it created in other people. There will be people who become nation before I do because of my journey, and I’m completely okay with that.   I also experienced one of the most profound and amazing experiences I have ever had at the area manager retreat. My face hurt from smiling so much, and I was inspired but also aimless. I understand it doesn’t make sense. It didn’t to me, either.

reflect-and-learn-fave

The Transition
August saw me move into my own place, and that’s where the weirdness started. I was inspired, in activity, but going nowhere. I didn’t believe it. I finally was growing to be an adult, and the comfy backup living plan I had was gone. I fought in my head to figure out why I was struggling so much with this. This should be the pinnacle of my year. The catalyst to growing into my greatness, but it wasn’t. I am growing into that role on a daily basis, but it took some time.

The codependency relationship I had, which I have written about a few times was the culprit. When you are in a codependent relationship of any kind and you get out of it, you start to realize how fucked up your life was. If not, then at least unhealthy.

It is only within the last couple of weeks where I have started to feel like myself again. I am in activity, but it is not only inspired but intentional. Everything in my life has come down to self-worth. I honestly think most people’s issues come down to that issue if you really break it down.

not-what-i-happened

The Break

The codependency break quite frankly sucks, especially when you don’t see it coming. I had no warning; I just expected to keep rocking it. The universe had other plans. The punch you in the face truth from two sides that came to a glaring forefront of change and challenge. It made me face the reality of myself and of my family dynamic. It forced me to realize that I’ve got to get growing to not only be the leaders I know myself to be, but also to lead my family in ways I never wanted to but became necessary.

The Future

The future is always messy. You just have to choose which mess to wade through. Regret or awesomeness are your main choices. Either way, you are going to have to go through your own shit, so it might as well be as short as possible. It will suck. It will be painful. But the pain is short-term, in comparison to the life long pain of what ifs.

Be the Dragon

The Moment

There comes a time in every milestone, progressive moment, and breakthrough where your fear of staying the same outweighs your fear of the unknown. In addition, there is also the moment when you realize that you have to get out of your own way, your own head, and just freaking do it already.  You reach the tipping point of your mediocrity.

I just had the moment that has been building for a while. The catalyst was unexpected. A friend posted a picture of her mom walking six weeks after a stroke. This woman defied odds and doctors by walking, and one of my relatives is an amazing survivor of three strokes in a two month period. In my head I thought, “and what limitation are you suffering from to limit my potential?” Nothing except the most important one of all: my old story that I am not good enough.

Photograph taken by Pete Kreiger. A moment of quiet reflection.

Photograph taken by Pete Kreiger. A moment of quiet reflection in Florida.

Reflection

Last year at this time I was pushed to my brink by forces outside my control, and it got my ass in gear big time. Crisis equals problem to solve, which for me is something I can and do tackle with gusto. I sit here with tears in my eyes, and reflecting on the year that was 2016. Amazing, powerful, emotionally one of the hardest of my life in very different ways than last year.

I am changing and growing. I am getting past the obstacles of the past few months. I am moving towards OWNING my breakthroughs and break them down brick by brick with a sledgehammer. Fear the dragon or be the dragon.

The Demon and Choice

The little things I have been ignoring in my life are like a pile of brush near an ember  on the edge of a forest waiting to be lit. Those little things that I KNEW deep down I had to and deserved change in order to be my best self rose up to become big fiery ball to slay me. The choice becomes yours. Let it slay you, and cower in the fear of your own demons forever in its shadow. Or you rise up and slay your fear with a fury you didn’t know you had. Fear does not like to be challenged, and it will wither like a brushfire with no fuel. It is just waiting on you to grow a set, and slug it like Muhammad Ali on fight night. To take no prisoners. To be the dragon that slays the crouching demon within.