Tag Archives: motivation

Wild Goose Chase

A wild goose chase is defined as a “foolish and hopeless pursuit of something unattainable”.

This is not the path I’ve chosen.

If you follow my channels at all, you’ll likely have noticed I am all over the map lately (lol, lately..). It’s been fascinating to me to observe people’s reaction to this gypsy lifestyle I appear to have adopted.

Many don’t question it at all.. having experienced who I am and seen the unshakeable faith I have in where I’m headed. Others approach it cautiously, seeming to wonder if I’ve A) lost my mind or B) become addicted to the not so wild goose chase that can be self discovery and/or C) am running from something. The latter usually seem to come from a place of fear.. “how are you going to put down roots?” “are you making any money?” “how can you be effective if you’re so busy all the time?”.

Within this year I’ve ventured across western Canada numerous times. At first for seemingly standard board meetings, then back for a cautious venture into possibility, then more dedicated efforts into what could be, and now well within the realm of “shit, this is happening”.

Somewhere along the way I have lost the thought process of “this is for the next five years, but not right now”- and gained the sense for when and what fits, and when something does not or isn’t timed right. This, while seemingly a developed skill, is simplified when you permit connection to that inexplainable voice/sense/instinct inside.

Through these ventures I’ve gained roots not to physical places or things, but deep into my own being. Through travels all over the world I’ve been able to observe my self, and now I can grow from roots being put down deep within. I’ve been able to see and understand where I’ve been, why I do what I do on whole new levels, and walk with an even more steadfast purpose towards where I’m going no matter what the physical location or “practicalities” are.

The beauty of this is learning the absolute power of synchronicity. What I used to contempt-fully view as having patience, I now know is just the art of letting things unfold as they always will. The secret to this art is truly understanding and valuing the gut instinct that resides in each of us. The trust and conversation that is necessary for one’s path to unfold gloriously is not a natural skill for many, unfortunately, but luckily an available skill for all to develop.

In this existence I find it next to impossible to ignore the voice and nudges from within. Some view this as a impulsivity and a immaturity. Some understand to some level. Some admire. Some live vicariously through it. This isn’t meant to be written as a lecture- just an observation on what I’m observing through this phase of growth and personal study. I know I’m on my right path, and part of that path is sharing the information I experience.

It’s not rocket science at this point in time to note that many of the aches, pains, and complaints I deal with in my line of work with clients stem from voices not heard within over time. Part of the reason I’ve taken the steps to grow a national client base is that the more I consult all kinds of people, the more I see a deficit in who we allow ourselves to be.

Take a recent conversation for example. This past week I spent at the Ag in Motion event just outside of Saskatoon, as a consultant and columnist for GrainNews on the topic of Fit to Farm. At this large scale event my job was to hang out at the publication’s booth and chat with readers of my columns. On the last day, a kind and lovely farmer approached me regarding a new symptom of not being able to lift his foot properly. Long story short we deduced the problem to a longstanding issue in his back, which was highly correctable with some effort (as most things are).

After chatting for quite a while and consulting with him – he commented “well, I’m just an all over mess anyway- there’s probably no way I’ll ever be completely well again!”. (this isn’t an unusual comment for me to hear). I found myself calmly yet sternly affirming to him that there was no doubt in my mind, as a health professional, that he had a high potential of being exactly as functional as he wanted to be.. and that that was up to him.

I was a little shocked at the bluntness of my external reaction- yet I’m also kind of over sugar coating people’s opinions of themselves.

Thankfully- his reaction made it worth it. It was something he clearly did not expect to hear, yet was clearly extremely thankful to hear. “Thank you for telling me that.. I DO want to be healthy and it means SO much to me that you think it is possible”.

How often do we downplay our possibility? How often do the words in our heads or those coming out of our mouths affirm our possibility of success/happiness/health/ambition (or the opposite?).

What I’ve noticed in these few months of testing the possibility of what I want, can, and will do… is how powerful intention is. We design our realities, and the framework we have to work with is the thoughts and awareness we hold for ourselves in each moment. If you look at the authentic leaders and success stories of our day and age, you will see a trend. Purpose, self-discovery within that purpose, self-worth cultivated through faith and lessons directly from attempt and failure on repeat.

Through a constant examination of fears, negative thoughts, how my expression (words that exit my mouth and float through my brain) directly (seriously) impact my reality I’ve begun noticing the constant signage and suggestion from within and all around us. As I pay attention there synchronicity that fills my life with the “right” people, opportunity, and the precisely correct tests and challenges for me to go through.

Replace the worry that comes with the unknowns with faith that if you listen, observe, and choose your intentions for yourself wisely that the lesson and subsequent next steps do indeed become quite obvious. You can’t escape your pain? What are you holding onto that’s chaining you to the chronic message from your body? Stuck in the negative? What are you saying and thinking that puts your energy in the deficit? Wondering why things never work out? Is there a voice asking you, begging you to listen.. trying to remind you of something you authentically wanted but haven’t pursued? Every. Damn. Interaction. Has. A. Question. And. A. Answer. If. You. Listen. And. Observe.

 

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Believe Your Own BullShit

We humans are experts at perpetuating our own patterns. For better or for worse. Usually against our own benefit…

So much so that often we don’t even believe ourselves when our true selves are trying to lead us onto a better path.

Unsurprisingly, only two lessons back into riding on a more dedicated level then I have in years and I’m finding philosophical life lessons being thrown at me left and right.

Coming back into the game after a few years off, riding a much different style of horse then what I’ve worked with before, I’m being confronted with all my old baggage.

While I’m not covered in as much rust as I thought I would be, old habits are dying hard. It’s like a Pandora’s box of baggage has been opened and needs to be organized and hung out to dry.

Warming up today the words that floated to me from the eyes on the ground suggested that I am riding like I’m riding a young horse. Supportive, encouraging, trying to lead the way and being overly accommodating. I was presented with an amazing analogy for my go to leadership style. Teacher all the way- lead by example and empower. This style works sometimes for me- but not all the time, and actually as of late- rarely. The words that followed next smacked me in the head with another relatable flow of logic. You need to tell and direct, not suggest and expect.

I’ve seen in the last while that my greatest strength and weakness is seeing the absolute best in those around me. Empath to the core- I can see you’re greatest potential before I even know you’re last name… and that often gets in the way of really being helpful in leadership/teaching/management.

I’m now riding a horse that has the power and ability to do whatever I ask. Tell him the plan and he will get it done. However, suggest an idea and expect him to collaborate on a plan? Not very effective with his archetype. He really is a mirror for many of the other situations I’ve approached with my habitual way of wanting others to empower themselves through situations (be them personal, relationship, or professional).

When I was directed to quit letting him decide where we were going and tell him what we were doing and how we were doing, something clicked.

Through all my confidence and leadership ability- I do indeed have a tendency to defer decision making. I personally learn through experience, and want every else to learn about themselves in a similar way. In a past relationship I did exactly what I was doing during this ride.. deferred direction to the other, assuming growth would occur from them having to figure things out and allowing myself to follow in their process. While growth certainly did happen, a lot of unnecessary time was spent being “dragged around” so to speak.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of power has come up frequently in meditations lately. It seems that a voice within me and situations around me keep telling me that I have some work to do around believing in my power, speaking that power, and becoming that power. Power– so many of us attribute it negatively. Is it though? When used towards our higher purpose and used to navigate ourselves and others towards a fulfilling destination?

I’ve sacrificed the idea of power and replaced it with the ideal of service in many contexts, especially in close personal relationships. I learned a lot. And I’m grateful for those lessons. Yet, I also experienced so much anger and frustration at that sacrifice. Was I truly serving anyone for the greater good? Or just playing nice and hoping.. hoping for the ‘right’ outcome, not even truly knowing what outcome that should be. I needed to experience that anger and frustration to learn what standing my ground meant. Where I thought it might mean losing something I valued, it really only demonstrates what is actually of value. Speaking from a place of inner power/value/purpose takes out the unnecessary and clears the path for the next step. What gets lost becomes less valuable and powerful then you once thought it was, and what remains is what is worth cultivating.

In my businesses- I can forge ahead and get so far ahead of myself and the team that I come off as intimidating, and I’ve often slowed my own process by getting caught up in wondering why nobody else sees my vision– instead of just directing and explaining the steps to accomplish that vision to the others involved. As I get more clear in my direction and communication- I’m seeing what I want to see happen in those around me. They become empowered, they communicate, they inspire and push harder towards the direction I lay out. There’s no equality, only motivated collaboration and new growth as a result.

I can motivate, inspire, and direct others… but if I take my leg off right at the moment where the next navigation is needed, less then optimal results come through. In reality it’s just miscommunication, confusion, and stutter steps.

Similarly, if I am too accommodating in my direction and collaboration, we don’t get anywhere. One party is happy to plod along and the other is aimlessly encouraging. There’s no connection.

My favourite line from this morning’s philosophical ride through a jump course/life was “believe your own bullshit”.

When you think you’re right, but doubt your correctness and don’t follow through with a direction/intention/cue.. it creates the same results as above. You’re bullshit, or your gut, or your inner thought- is almost ALWAYS right. Believe it. Even if you think it’s bullshit. Ride through it. Don’t play nice and let him (the horse)/life/another person lead.. you’re right. Direct the situation, even if it feels like you’re full of it.

Riding has always been a mirror for me. Just as yoga, meditation, and other things are as well. Riding doubles as having a physical, 1300lb, living breathing mirror to nail home it’s point. Returning now has unveiled many insecurities, blocks, and patterns in my psyche for review.

As I drove out to the barn this morning I was washed over with gratitude. For my mother who always sacrificed where she could to make my riding dreams a reality. The coaches I’ve been blessed with all the way through, all with their own philosophical roles in my growth and development in the saddle, and out. My high school principle who allowed me to use my spares in senior year to go to the barn and train. The profs who let me persist in being the “horse girl” and do any project possible focused to the equestrian. The opportunity to ride this horse I’m on now. The riders who participated in my early projects and those who came on as clients as I grew my understanding of changing how we develop athletes in this sport so many of us are addicted to.

Leaving the barn after the lesson I was blasted with reflections on situations gone by. How I played nice and hoped that the person or group involved would learn, choose themselves and see the collective vision– usually sacrificing myself in the process– where I could have stood my ground and navigated with some gumption instead. Sure, maybe the outcomes wouldn’t have changed. I obviously needed to experience all these events in the sequence they’ve occurred to get to where I am now… and boy, am I soaking up each and every experience.

We have the amazing ability to create our own realities. In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible. How many of us actually take initiative and choose to navigate towards the reality we want? How many of us can sit with our own bullshit and see the possibilities that lie within it?

Put your leg on, sit tall, and ride on through. The power is there, you just have to direct it.

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Eyes Up, Shoulders Back

“You must not fail to explore anything that interests you. Any skill you want to master should be learned. Any subject that arouses curiousity should be examined. Every insecurity should be overcome. Every question should be answered. If you do not do this, then you cannot freely experience life. Every one of your uncertainties will be an obstacle.. Initially it will seem as if there is no connection between your time meditating and the outer things in your life. After all, the masters themselves constantly stress the difference between the spiritual and the social. But eventually, you will reach a point where the quiescence of contemplation and the active ness of living are integrated..” — The Daily Tao, “Integration”

I’ve circled around to some old insecurities lately.

Since I wrote last so much as happened, and yet I feel like it’s all circled back to where it started a few months ago, a few years ago.

If you look closely you can notice themes in your life. They all revolve around similar bread crumb trails- which lead back to insecurities, questions, uncertainties we had at one point. You continue being faced with the same problem, question or archetype- even after you thought you’ve clarified it ten times over.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately meditating on how much a small business, or any business at its roots, depends on the development of it’s proprietor. As my ventures grow and opportunities come and are unpacked- I routinely have to go within and unpack different layers of myself, and experiences that I once thought had nothing to do with running a business.

It’s true, though. You listen to the successes of the day and they all say the same things. Once, not that long ago, they were living off ramen, broke, unsure of where to turn, with nothing but raw passion and a vision for some form of creation. Usually with the greater good in mind, and nothing else to back them up, they went for it. Lack of money be damned. Money flows where intention goes, similar to energy goes where intention flows- or whatever. Money is energy and energy follows thoughts. Along the way they were forced to work on themselves, face doubts and crippling fear, build authenticity, and as their business grew so did they as individuals. The collective effort of experiencing life and developing a vision formed mad success in wherever they chose to have success.

You hear a lot of the opposite too, sure. Those who gave into the doubt, got sucked into profit over passion and lost their way, etc.. those who return to something more stable, safer- and pay for their security with regret, sickness, chronic stress or mild resentment ongoing.

I was smacked in the face with some of my own insecurities recently. I spent weeks debating the decision to send out a status asking about availability of horses for part board. WEEKS. My hesitation came from the fact that every single year around this time of year I feel the need to be riding again. The last couple years I’ve pursued that feeling lightly and found those in need of someone to spend extra time on their horses. It lasts a few months and then I get distracted with the rest of my life and feign phrases like “it’s just not a priority right now” and move on.

I finally just made myself put the post up, and within an hour had at least ten offers from fellow riders offering connections with horses or horses close to them for part board. The difference this time is that I chose a route that required commitment in the form of money and time with coaches. I know this works for me as its exactly the same thing I did a year ago when I hired a personal trainer for myself. I also know what a game changer last years self enforced commitment has turned out to be.

I rode for the first time on Saturday and I am still depressingly sore in places any rider who has taken time off knows. Muscles groups that seem to come alive only in the saddle were re-engaged and.. yes, I am horrifically out of shape compared to where I used to be. A strong foundation exists, currently covered in a few years of silt.

You know what came up during my brief trial ride this weekend? The same damn things that have come up over and over again in the last few months as a manager and business owner/entrepreneur. Fear. Anger at the fear. Loneliness.

The same things I left the sport with a few years back. Fear of falling. More than that. Fear of letting go. I was asked if I wanted to pop over a couple jumps on this horse, who in all honesty was already the most advanced and well-trained/anatomically gifted horse I’d ridden to date (and who frankly was already babysitting my rusty ass)- the first voice in my head was “don’t do that, you’re not ready.. you haven’t jumped in years and what if you mess up and get hurt”. That voice was immediately followed by a sickening frustration, and then shortly after followed by a second long panic attack- THEN finally resulted in resolve. A voice calmly stating “If you don’t jump over that tiny ass jump today, you’ll never commit to this long term.”. So I rode over a few jumps, until I literally couldn’t control the muscles in my legs anymore, and jelly-fished myself off the horse afterwards feeling like I’d just made it to Base Camp again.

There’s never going to be an end to the mountains in your life. The discomfort. The emotions. The insecurities. The horse. The jump. The fear of the first fence. There’s always going to be an equivalent. The panic arising when things aren’t what they appear or don’t progress how you predict. The exhaustion and the solitude. The fear that doesn’t go away after the first fence- the fear that just gets stifled eventually by resolve.

I realized in that second that my goals, especially in the equestrian parts of my business, but also in all my other ventures, were riding (pun not intended)- to a certain extent- on this moment. Just as they were riding on my completion of the trek to Base Camp. There’s nobody holding me accountable, but my choices around how to confront (or how to avoid) the insecurities within myself do unequivocally impact where I go next. When I really sit with myself and ask if there is a right or wrong direction to go, I know the answer is simultaneously that there isn’t a right or wrong direction, but there is always a direction that feels true.

I rebranded/launched the equestrian specific portion of my business this winter as RideWell Performance, and I set lofty goals for RideWell/myself. Which I know I’ll accomplish.  Integrative Movement is growing and opportunities continue to find me. They find me because I am open for them. What I’ve realized in the last year is that not all opportunities are as shiny and necessary as they initially seem. Where last year was a year of saying yes to everything, this year’s theme has become negotiating, sitting, waiting, and examining all sides. This is most definitely why I am so tired mentally, emotionally, and spiritually lately.

From where I sit today, and in the last few months.. I am exhausted.

I’m exhausted in new ways- ways that are similar to how I often felt in University. New experiences, shifts in relationships, people coming and going from my life- people taking on new roles in my life, people taking up mental energy even when they don’t physically hold presence anymore- ghosts that reside in my head and still offer valuable advice and words of affirmation (Read: I’m losing it but in a good way, it’s fine). None of it is ever negative, and everything continues to align just as it needs to for whatever comes next. My faith and resolve has never been stronger, and I’m.. exhausted, often lonely, yet always grateful.

I know that many people, especially those working hard to be true to what they know inside themselves, feel these things. If someone like me who has been blessed enough to have more support, opportunity, and resources then many could even imagine can feel lost, exhausted, beaten down, lonely- alongside the inspiration, resolve, and gratitude- then I know without a doubt others are experiencing the same thing in all different walks of life. And so it seems pithy to remark on how exhausted I am while sitting in the apartment I can afford, eating the meals I have the resources to create, sore from being lucky enough to ride a large expensive animal for recreation, mulling over parts of the businesses I brought to life… but I am remarking on it because I know I need to read, hear and see other’s stories- and wish more people would openly speak of this part of figuring it all out and pushing for more.

It’s human, and it’s universal- with varying contexts.

As usual I’ve rambled onwards over the thousand word mark- but I think what I am trying to get across is that through all the exhaustion I am tied even more signifcantly to the (often blind) faith that pulls me onwards. What other choice is there? Once you follow your heart, mind, soul towards a vision that clarifies why you’re really here (even if you haven’t reached the clarity part)- there isn’t another choice but carrying on. Life just keeps coming at you anyway. Wherever at in your experience, keep experiencing it (note the change in this blog’s domain name ;)).

I’ve seen enough proof in the power of having faith in one’s own power, vision, and path (or direct faith in the Universe, or God, etc etc). You’re where you are for a reason. The fears and insecurities that keep popping up for you are valid in their own way, and they have something for you to reflect on every time they do come up. Give them a voice, recognize them, but don’t surrender all your power to them. Let them help you realize your own power in new ways.

That turned cheesier then I wanted to.. but here’s to getting back on the literal horse again!

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Powerful

“You don’t even know how powerful you are yet”

A friend told me that, earlier this year.

They were right.

This whole year I’ve been in a power struggle with my own being.

I started the year on the fumes of a year full of a “let go” theme. I rolled into the New Year set on shedding and grooming my self care. And in that new routine practice I found a voice that had been waiting.. waiting for a chance to speak.

That voice came out with friends, in self talk, with clients, in my business, and in networking.

It scared me. Often.

Then I noticed.. it only was scary when I tried to hold it in, or didn’t trust it.

The more I got comfortable with speaking the truth pouring out from within- the less terrifying it became. As I learned how to express tact with honesty I saw how my words created power for others.. empowered their own inner dialogue to shift.

In that process I began sensing efficacy in that inner fire. The inner power.

I realized that for so long I associated power with ego, and ego was something I’d worked so hard on releasing attachements to.

But.. are power and ego the same thing?

Not essentially, no.

“You haven’t realized how powerful you are”.. no.. I haven’t. But- I’m learning to experience power and not judge it for inspiring ego. Ego comes with being human- but observing it as part of our being enables it to let go of it’s hold on us.

So I continued to let go, to allow a flow to occur. Things, people, places- they come, they go, they call, they don’t call. It all ebbs and flows.

The pace of our lives sometimes carries us and sometimes we have to exercise control to gain perspective.

Where I sit now I sit in extreme accord with the voice that resides within and the fire that creates action. However I also am at peace with sometimes sitting and letting that voice mature.

My recent trip to Spain was the first travel experience where I honestly didn’t feel the need to reflect, examine, or exercise personal growth tactics.

I just was.

I came home with ideas and thoughts and progressions that I”ve been able to enact with new energy and a stronger voice then before.

I’ve had meetings and experiences since that have caused me to question everything about my experience so far, and how I want to use that experience to create new endeavours and what my purpose is.

I’ve seen love change forms in my life only to strengthen in it’s diversity. Expectations shift from set in stone to malleable elements serving equally those involved. Realities shift from what and who we are taught to be to understanding who we truly are, deep down, and exploring the purpose we all arrive with. Allowing that purpose to take on varying forms.

My life as it stands is wonderful and I look on it every day with newfound gratitude. For the opportunities and the power that resides within me- to give back, to create change, to build the reality I want to exist within.

True unhappiness or unsettledness stems in ignorance of self, distrust in the inner voice.

We learn to listen to that voice through experiencing the smallest moments life brings to us. A client planking for the first time in their two year history with you- and rocking it. A group fitness class that shows enthusiasm for the changes they are ready to make. Listening to an inspiring person in your life speak and feeling blessed to have them in your life. Seeing a friend break through their own internal struggles and let light into their being again.

All these small things are why we are here, and they are only found once we let go enough to let them shine through.

 

(Thank you to Jenaya Larisse Photography for the wonderful portrait 💖)  

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The Dogma of Progress

For a while now I’ve been feeling “blah” about the idea of progress. 
^ that’s not usually me. 
I go to talks, workshops, read books, travel- and feel as though I am on a plateau. Quite content to be where I was and not too interested (nor feeling the need to) push, dig, or unpack anything in my being. 
With my business consistently moving forwards, my thoughts evened out and a steady feeling of who I am in this moment.. developmental work has just seemed redundant. 
I noted quite a few times on my recent trip to Spain, mostly during the cycling up the northern coast past, that normally trips like this where I’m pushed physically open the door for me to do some emotional nd mental processing- but- there was nothing there to sift thru. 
I was hit over the head with the realization about a week into this three week excursion that I felt through some of the heartbreak the past two years sneezed into my life and had reached an equilibrium of love and gratitude for those who have remained, exited, and entered my life to varying degrees. The things that had happened to spur so much growth and reflection weren’t actually still happening to me at any level. I was.. I am free of those patterns and lessons right now. 

It hasn’t been until now- near the end of my time in Spain that I feel the drive for the next coming back. The drive to go to go a bit deeper and sit with what I find, to write, to delve into ideas as they race past, to write things down so I can organize the myriad of thoughts and ideas happening all at once, the inquisitiveness that’s being spurred by being in a part of the world that is passionate in their culture and steadfast in their ways (the Basque people and culture literally are so old in terms of history their exact roots cannot be traced… and as I write this the Catalan culture here is rallying for and against seperation from Spain and the rest of Spain is putting a stern foot on that idea- a argument that is decades long and not leaving soon, but reaching a boiling point not miles from where I sit). 

I spent a few days really looking at what motivates me- and how my motivations have shifted lately. I’ve gone from intrinsically driven for some reasons, to extrinsically in other ways. As I get more comfortable not relying on that motivation to define who I am- I see the subtle shifts and flows it takes on.  

The way we are as humans is so drastically different and similar across all cultures. 
How we express our fears and our ideas, how we learn and view history. What a time to live in- and what a time to reflect on what history has to teach us. 
I’ve developed an openness in the last couple years. Openness to myself, with others, and to everything offered. That adopted way of life has forced me to look at the most human flaws each of us have and accept what those flaws and fears mean to me as I am in this moment. It’s a constant look in the reflection coming back at me from my relationships, interactions, and situations I enter into consciously and unconsciously. 
It’s changed how I speak, how I advise, and how I observe. 
It allowed me to accept the plateau I stood on as a time to just be, and to let go of the need for more. 
Life, the people in it, and our stories innately have to have a push pull nature. Situations, people, and thoughts come in and out to pull us, push us, and boomerang us forwards or backwards depending on where we need to look. But even in a momentum based path there are moments of still and moments of pause. Even in our natural breathing process there is a slight pause between inhaling and exhaling. Nature itself creates necessary still points. 
It was my time to allow for pause. For stillness. For the reflection to remain constant for a bit. For the view from the plateau to be a constant sound of crashing waves in the fog- knowing the ebb and flow exists but unable to see past the condensation. To find comfort in the blindness.
I recognize the privileged lifestyle I lead to be able to explore the world, build my dream job, and divert such energy to reflections and pursuits of progress. The more I sit with the things that occur around me and within me the more I see the importance of seeing this world we live in and the cultures we all are apart of as one United experience.  
The fears we all have are the same. 
The insecurities we share are human nature. 
The reactions we emote are choices but human choices we all make. 
The exits stage left and the emergence of new people to experience are imperative to our growth as individuals, communities, and humanity. 
Open curiosity and knowing the time for passive observations are what allow us to see eye to eye, even if we don’t agree. 
No matter what you believe guides us, or doesn’t guide us- the themes in our perceived realities remain. 
Long before we were here and long after the same trends will occur, and I believe that we all will repeat lessons over and over until we get them on local and global levels- only to receive more lessons to piece through. 
The lesson lately has been accept every moment as it is and shed what no longer serves you. For me lately that has been the need to always find more in the darkness. It was important for me to dive into some dark places within for a long time- but I’ve served that purpose for now. I had to become okay with shades of grey again, and now I am beginning to see another sunrise on the horizon. The weather moves onwards no matter how we choose to prepare for it. 
Love, from Spain! 

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My reset button is dysfunctional

My how the time is flying.

It’s been a while since I wrote last, and while things have been moving along quick as can be- not much has really changed. I’m still pretty worn out from the past few months, and the last few weeks have been a mad balance between trying to hit reset, and keeping up with myself. I know, contradicting pattern.

Shortly after I wrote last I took an entire three days off of EVERYTHING school related and headed out to Brandon for the Royal Fair. This annual trip is always something I look forward to, and this year I had a teammate and a client competing and got to see them both excel in their respective classes! It was such a nice feeling to physically drive away from the nagging study notes, exam and work schedules for a weekend- sleeping boyfriend in the passenger seat, and passes for the fair ready to go. A big part of me needed the break, and the rejuvenation of seeing a sport I love at a high level.  Some highlights included the numerous visits to the petting zoo and barns with my RMWF rookie beau, spending some quality time with my teammates and friends Lauren and Megg, dancing at the barn bar (leg for sure did not appreciate this, but my head sure did), and eating some disgustingly classic fair food!

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Go Megg Go!

Go Megg Go!

After that weekend I felt a little less burnt out and a little more motivated to keep up with life in general. I came home from the weekend and had to stop at the barn on the way home to get on my horse for the first ride of the year (and my first ride on him since my accident). I can’t begin to tell you how fun that little hack was! Will felt like he’d never been put out to the snow banks for 6 months, and I felt like a new rider. Fair always does this for me, it revives my passion for the sport and reminds me of how deeply rooted my goals are as an athlete. In the week that followed some of that motivation remained, thankfully- as I needed it!

Monday began with a 5:30am shift at MORfit, followed by my first shift returning to Horse Connection as a instructor, and a job interview right after that- then riding both Will and Felix in the evening. I was full of energy, and ready to pick up my study routine (with two exams at the end of the week) for Tuesday, but the Universe intervened and after waking up Tuesday morning with the worst version of the Keystone Centre Cold I’ve ever had. I made it through marking practical exams that morning for the class I was TA-ing for this term (being on that side of the marking table is super fun!) just fine, but by the time I got to MORfit for my evening shift I had also developed food poisoning and ended up both having to leave work (and experience downtown intersection hurling into a plastic bag) to curl up into a ball of discomfort for the rest of the evening. My personal paramedic came to my rescue once again that night and showed up on my door step (with ambulance and partner in tow) to drop off some ginger ale and gravol for me (which wouldn’t stay down anyway). This left me with a day to study for Thursday’s final, and then part of a day to study for Friday’s. Thankfully I still had some motivation in the tank.

Wednesday was all speed studying (and work), and Thursday morning gave me some time to review before my exam. Although I usually avoid cramming as a strategy, this time it worked out great for me with Thursdays exam going by with no hiccups. Other then being that one student in the room who had constant sniffles and sneezes (sorry everybody…). By this point I was running low on energy and motivation, but kept it together for the remainder of the week and got to end off with a lovely ride outside in the crisp air and chat with teammate Megg, who was fresh off a competition week at fair.

While I was supposed to cover football camps this weekend (5:30am-9am), I called in sick as I was legitimately still pretty ill and wanted to catch up on some sleep. Since then I’ve really lost my motivation again for anything involving school work, and been trying to do my best to revive my brain again- to little success. I took today off of next to everything, except for a quick ride on my horse and my regular evening shift.

My leg progress has not really changed too much in the past weeks. Somedays it feels great, other days it feels not so great. I may have a mild case of recovery blues. It really is a day to day thing, but riding doesn’t seem to bug it too much and for that I am grateful. My fear around riding has began to decrease, and I have to give credit to all those around me supporting me every step of the way with this. My teammates Lauren and Megg are the first to 1) relate to everything I’m going through, 2) listen to my ranting and 3) do everything they can to help me out. I’m sure my horse sensed a little bit of hesitation in me and has yet to throw anything my way that would push me over the edge. Many of the conversations had in the barn with Lauren and Megg have solidified that we’re all working towards a common goal and often feel exactly the same way about where we’re at. The frustrations that come with the sport are not ones that are easy to handle alone, so it’s nice to have that network.

With 4 more exams looming, I seem to have taken a very.. uh.. relaxed (I just don’t care anymore) approach. I have little desire to keep up to my schedule at the moment, and have been attempting to scale back on less important commitments so that I can maintain the more important ones with some energy. It does seem at this point that whatever I do to try and “reset” myself, I only end up right back where I was within a few days. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m doing all these things because I love what I do, even when I’d much rather be at home sleeping or reading a book that doesn’t involve too much science. I’m very ready for exams to be done, and to enjoy a week of no thinking before my spring semester starts.

The realisation that I am pretty much done the second last year of my undergrad is quite motivating. I’m accomplishing long term goals I set years ago left right a centre, and setting new ones that seemed so distant not that long ago. It’s a cool feeling, but also a little bit scary. There’s days where I feel very grown up and ready to take on new things, and even more days where I’m a little bit intimidated by the chunk of life I’m biting off. For right now my focus is getting through the next couple weeks, and maybe even setting up a jumping lesson to push my riding confidence to the next level- and rewarding myself for finishing up a long semester and year.

Here’s hoping the burn out feeling eases off soon!

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Walk before you run, breathe before you freak out, and when in doubt-write it out!

New WCB caseworker: “So, I was only informed of your job with Horse Connection and your job at the U of W.. what else do you do? Are you a student?”

Me: “I am a full time student, as well as I have another job at MORfit…”
WCB: “What? You have 3 jobs and you’re in school.. full time?”
Me: “Yes..?”
WCB: “Oh.. my god. Sorry.. but how do you do that?”
Me: “Well, it’s safe to say I’m pretty burnt out at the moment..”
WCB: “I can only imagine.. you’re officially the busiest person I’ve ever talked to…”
My week has been filled with classmates, coworkers, and friends telling me I look tired, and asking what’s wrong. So, I guess it’s been a long week? It’s only Wednesday? This post may be a bit of a frustration rant- bear with me.
With the end of term fast approaching, a bum leg, and a million things on the go- I guess this burnt out feeling was inevitable. Today I took a me day, after struggling through the morning rehab/training session and class- and being questioned a billion times as to what was wrong and why I wasn’t my usual motivated self- I went home and crashed into a nap (still in my jacket and shoes..). I’m starting to feel more refreshed now, and am actually accomplishing some school work for once.
This injury is starting to catch up to me, all that optimism I had early on is fading as rehab seems endless and my burnt out brain loses motivation for pretty much everything. Having experienced burn out before, I can at least deal with it somewhat productively- however this time I do have the extra challenge of physical hinderance as well and dealing with fear and anxiety as they come up in relation to the gradual return to my sport. Because my chosen sport is a little less familiar with my ATs and doctors- I am somewhat lonely on that front. I am lucky to have great supports from my teammates Megg and Lauren, as well as from others in my life- but the only person who can really get me over this hump is me.
A few weeks of an average of 14hr days has definitely left me ready for a break. Normally that break for me would come in the form of going for a run on my favourite route, or taking my horse out for a long hack. Two things that I can’t really do. Once because physically I won’t be there for a while yet, and the other because mentally I am far from that point as well- also, the weather sucks. My subconscious is really just doing it’s job; after all- why would my brain want me to step back into a situation that recently damaged significant aspects of my body? I’ve talked to many other athletes who have gone through the same experiences, and it’s nice to know I’m not losing it. Also interesting to learn first hand about yet another aspect of athletic therapy, a side of it we don’t often hear too much about. It’s not easy to deal with fear of something that is a major part of your life. 
In baby step form, I have been on a horse twice this week- with the help of some awesome people. Shakka sported me around on the weekend, and recreated many fearful situations for me as he was a tad fresh (thankfully his fresh is slow motion compared to most horses). I was on for about half an hour, 15 minutes of which I felt great for before anxiety started in, and when M came to watch, leaving the arena door open behind him- I was at the point where I had to stop. That was too much of a recreation of my accident for my head to handle at this point. I got on again Monday night, and Shakka was much less spunky and we had a great hack for another half an hour. This time I was only mildly anxious the entire time. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe, and that the saddle was once a safe place for me. Nervousness is a very unfamiliar feeling for me in the saddle. One that I hope doesn’t become familiar.
While this year has brought many lessons in patience, and prioritising- right now both those things are difficult. I am very frustrated and impatient with my recovery at this point, which isn’t horribly positive. To be in the tack, looking a small jumps set up around the arena and imagining myself schooling over them in the future is terrifying. Yes, I know that won’t last forever- but it certainly makes the next few months seem very daunting. I have never experienced a level of demotivation I’ve felt towards pre-season conditioning and rehab like this before- which in itself is interesting and provides me with a challenge. Often the only thing that gets me to a rehab session is pure obstinance towards the parts of me that are saying “why bother” or “this is going to suck, and be exhausting, and might make you hurt more.. maybe you should just take another day off”. I’m thinking those things all the time- and they are feeding into the fear of riding. Right now, before I get in the tack, and while I”m in the tack- there is a voice telling me that at any moment I could be thrown, be injured longer, be in more pain.  The same voice is telling me to walk away from this danger- wait longer before trying- avoid the risk. Take it easy in rehab, don’t push yourself to stay fit as much as possible, take it easy.
That voice isn’t me, really..  And unfortunately arguing with that voice is only adding to my already hectic schedule.
No wonder I zombie napped for an hour and a half today!
What I do know is that if I listened to that voice’s suggestions and took more time, stopped pushing myself to do things that seem hard or horribly intimidating, is that I honestly don’t know if I could get myself back into it after more time. If after 7 weeks the fear built to this level, what would 14 wks be like to deal with? What about a whole season? Yes, I did consider just taking a season off. However, I quickly realised that in all honesty I couldn’t afford to. Even though I do always stress about being able to financially afford to compete and train like I do.. in this sense I mean afford in a long term sense. My passion within the sport of riding has roots in almost every aspect of my life. Educationally, riding has driven me to pursue extra research, ask deeper questions, and set higher goals. Career wise, it’s given me an arena to voice my ideas and put them into action, building my own client base and giving me a chance to develop long term goals. My involvement, and all the ups and downs I’ve had within riding has given me so many skills and set me up for many opportunities that otherwise I may not have been privy to. To say that after 15 years of hard work, sweat, blood, and so many tears that I’m done because of one scary injury? That isn’t okay with me, and it’s that thought process that is keeping my inner argument going.
Fear is a two sided coin for me right now. There is the fear of returning, but also the fear of never going back. Would my life be easier if I took out the expensive hobby and time commitment riding is? Probably, yes. However, easier is almost never better. I would be taking out a piece of who I am, and losing a piece of who I want to be. Riding may take a back seat in the future due to other life goals, as it has and does already during the school year, that is a decision to make if and when. I’ve always been open to the idea of letting goals evolve and change- but letting a decision like that be made because of fear isn’t okay with me, and it doesn’t represent who I am. I also truly believe that if it was something I truly wanted to take a break from, I wouldn’t be having as much of a inner struggle with it. I am so grateful for that struggle, and for the people in my life who aren’t afraid to push me and question me when they see me working through this.
Today I got on a treadmill for the first time and was told to walk- I was immediately frustrated because all I wanted to do was run. A few days ago I got on a horse and was terrified I would never shake this uneasy feeling in future rides.
I am happy for that frustration, it means that I WANTED to run. I’m thankful for that terror- as it means I was thinking of FUTURE rides. As tired as I am- I’m tired because I’m trying.
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Water into wine, and vice versa

I had to put vice versa up there, because some people will argue to the grave that a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away. Right, mom?

I’ve found myself the past few days in a very motivated state- which I am taking full advantage of. Midterms are over, and although I am very satisfied with some of the results- others I was a little disappointed in. However, after a few days (a week) of being kind of down about it, I’ve found myself now using it as a little extra push to focus some time (haha, whatta concept) on prepping for finals. Already? They’re a month away! No, but seriously… they’re ONLY a month away.. Yeah, I know. When you have approximately 8 final exams, practical and writtens combined to total approx 50% of your courses- I’m feeling like getting a jump start on that is a good idea.

This week my schedule has been running pretty tight, as usual, but also much more focused- as per the above paragraph. The past three days have been running quite smoothly- but I know the latter part of the week is going to get a little bit more hectic (as it usually does). I’m actually quite glad, as much as I love my evening shifts at the gym, that I booked both nights off this week. This morning I got to campus bright and early (7:45AM, haven’t been there that early since first year…) to practice with my football supervisor, Nikki, as she preps for her national certification. Again, so glad I have the opportunity to study with a grad of the program! I ended up just staying on campus all day and doing more studying, because, hey- gotta take it as it comes right?Tonight, instead of working, I attended an awesome presentation by Dr. Peter Jensen, a sport psychologist, which was super interesting on both the athlete, coach, AT, and student point of view. On Thursday, which I had already booked off in advance on the chance that I had football, I so far have no plans as our semi-final game is now on Friday night. I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do yet with that extra time. Perhaps start the next 10 page paper I have due. Perhaps see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. Who knows!

What I do know, is that Friday is the day I have ended up being triple booked all over the map. Before I found out our game was on Friday, I was planning on attending another guest lecturer at school, this time the topic being “too much sitting”, then heading to the a AT student association function, and then seeing some friends. While I still think I”ll be able to attend the lecture, everything else got kiboshed by football- another late game (8:30 PM), which means by the time I get out of the cold around 11:30 PM, I’ll be way to wiped to do much else except warm up and try to sleep. While I was really looking forward to the other things I had originally planned for Friday, I’m equally as happy to spend the time at football with the team. The experience I’ve gained there so far has been so worth it, I wouldn’t want to cut my season short! Even if it means freezing for a few hours.

Right now I’m very glad that my schedule is full of so many wonderful things. If you remember my post a couple weeks ago, the one where I was a little bit over the whole school thing (written during midterms), and really just wanted to be riding. And as much as I do really miss riding, the things that have filled my schedule lately (running KSA, research, classes, so much studying, work, football) are have begun to seem like less of a chore (ask me again during finals), and more like something that’s getting me to a higher place.

One thing that has been helping me motivate myself a little more (besides midterms roughing me up a little) is exactly what I was missing a few weeks ago. Riding. I haven’t forgotten about the goals I have there, and while before I was getting frustrated about having to put them on hold each time I head back into a school year- I’ve started getting a bit more proactive about it. I’m really working at finding a balance between all my different goals and pursuits in both aspects of my life, and I’ve started working on some very rough drafts of a functional training class for riders. I hope to keep putting some work into that in between reading my massive text books. Coaching on the weekends has really been a great excursion too for me. This past week my student and her horse started showing some awesome progression in many of the things we’ve been working on, and I love getting the feedback from her as she rediscovers herself as a rider and bonds with her horse. I’m glad I have little opportunities between extra projects at school, coaching, and Horse Connection to give me a break from everything else.

Those goals I wrote about at the beginning of the school year are being achieved, day by day. I’m 100% sure this attitude will flip on me again soon, and I’ll being dragging my ass around campus not wanting to do anything. Which is why I’m taking full advantage of it now. Turning that water into wine.. or the “whine” into water? Because water is the healthier option there.

Speaking of healthy, that’s another goal I’ve been working hard on. After gaining 6lbs in one meal (I was serious when I said I loved Thanksgiving the most), I’ve been putting some serious effort into eating right. Gluten and most grains are out, dairy is occasional, and consistent eating throughout the day is for sure in. I know the reason I’ve been able to keep up with myself on not a tonne of sleep is because I’ve been eating right.

Speaking of sleep, I should really get at that for tonight. Tomorrow is another early morning and a long day. Until next time!

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Holla at me, I could totes make the team…

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I’m not me

Okay, so last week was one thing. I described it as topsy turvy. This week was just hard to handle.

I’ll start off by reiterating that concussions suck. Also that I am the worst at taking time off. Like, officially the worst.

When I wrote last week it was pretty close to when I started noticing initial symptoms of a concussion. Loss of concentration, sleeping more than usual, fatigue, headaches, etc etc. I had been to a doctor, who gave me not much instruction or useful advice. He suggested I maybe take some time off and then re-assess. Standard procedure for a concussive event is to take at least 7 days off (no work, no school, no exercise, nothing. Off off.). I know this. So my brilliant self decided to sort of take the weekend off (I saw the doctor on Thursday night) and then try and do half-work days throughout the week, as well as classes and practical exams. I managed to keep myself away from the barn, though, so high five for me? No. No high fives. Throughout the week, I noticed many new symptoms. The most predominant being going from sleeping WAY more than usual to not sleeping at all. 18hrs down to 3hrs. Not okay. Mood swings. Oh my goodness mood swings. Losing my patience with everything much more quickly then regular me would. Feeling sad. Feeling anxious. Feeling great. Feeling awful- in a time frame of under an hour. My concentration and focus has yet to return.

Trying to work was the worst idea, as my job is all computer focused and requires a high-degree of concentration. I can’t read for more than 5 minutes without getting distracted, dizzy, or having to look away. Class is the other thing that was an awful idea this week. Tuesday was the worst, coming back after missing the previous lecture. I absorbed approximately nothing from Tuesday’s class. I sat there in a fog for the entire time, and skipped the lab because I just couldn’t handle being there any longer. Physically and emotionally. Thursday’s class was better. My focus still wasn’t good, but the class was a little more engaging and less reading focused. Thursday I was also required to do two practical exams (one make-up and one new), both which required me to understand, teach, and guide a “client” through two different types of workouts while being video-taped. Anyone want to wager a guess at how well those went? Understanding what I was teaching wasn’t there, and I couldn’t concentrate long enough to really remember what I was doing through the tests. So not expecting good things on those reviews. Friday I saw another doctor. A much better doctor this time. One who has a concussion specialization, not one who was working a walk-in. I knew she was good, because she gave me news I didn’t want to hear- even if I knew it was coming. At least another 7 days off of my life. Serves me right, I guess, didn’t reeeeaaaaally take the first 7 days off.

I know, guys, it’ll end up being 14 days. Why am I getting all weird about it? Who wouldn’t want a break?

If you’ve had a concussion, or know someone who has- you know how important it is to rest. You’ll also know how hard that can be sometimes. With other injuries there is usually a physical, visible disability that comes a long with it. It’s quite obvious why you are taking time off. To you, and to those around you. This is a very invisible and mysterious injury. You can’t see it. You can’t predict it’s healing process. You can’t push it.

The perspective of taking time off now, so you don’t have lingering symptoms for months down the line that interfere with your life further, makes a lot of sense. So what is it that makes it so hard?

Part of it, I think, is that this sort of injury tricks you into viewing yourself as fine, and thinking others will view you as fine too- and by taking time off when you’re “fine” people might think you’re just being lazy. This isn’t true, of course, but it’s really hard not to see it that way. Concussions come with messed up self-perceptions. Those who know me know that I would never just take time off unless it was well-deserved. I like to be busy. I take on as much as I can because I love to. When time off is necessary, I try every trick in the book to convince myself that I don’t need time off. I know, ridiculous. I know other athletes to this too. That attitude towards life is what makes what we do possible. Never stop. But when it comes to flipping that determination around to successful recovery.. sometimes we get a little mixed up.

I’m blessed with being surrounded by people that constantly remind me to slow down when I’m doing too much. Rather then support my irrational decisions to push myself harder when I need to be taking pressure off the gas they constantly put things into perspective for me, or attempt to anyway. Do I listen all the time? No. Should I? Probably, yes. Do I try to? Yes. Always. There is no way that I would be as far and as successful in my endeavours if I hadn’t listened to the advice and wisdom coming from these people at least most of the time. When I have thoughts like “people will think less of me if I don’t do this…” or “my life is falling apart because I can’t do all this at once..” (that one was an exaggeration.. I don’t ever think that… do I??)- I am only met with acceptance of who I am, and reassurance that I am doing just fine. Usually I am given exactly what I need for that moment. What more could you as for in friends and family? 

Another difficult side to this, that I’m noticing, is that I don’t feel like myself. Partially because I’m not able to do many of the things that make up who I am. My normal motivation for everything is feeling a little tired (that is probably a good thing- a little easier to take a break with this mentality) and my frustration levels are much higher then they normally are (probably not a good thing). Also because the symptoms of this concussion like to play around with my emotions, making it hard to handle things I would normally not even blink at. It’s comforting to know that these are just symptoms, and they will pass. However, it’s also scary to not have control over my own head- and not knowing what is coming next a lot of the time. This feeds into the challenge of being able to perceive how those around me are viewing me. It’s a little confidence shaking.

On the plus side, I have a fantastic excuse for pretty much any stupid thing I say– Nobody can argue “concussion” as reason for not knowing something or those everyday face-palm moments!

What are your concussion experiences (personal, or someone you know)? How did you handle them?

I am hoping that next time I write I’ll be a little more “me” and a little less “concussion”! Until then, wish me luck at not concentrating (hopefully the only time I’ll be asking for luck in this) and “staying zen”.

 

 

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Carrot at the end of the stick

“You’ve got that ‘march glaze’ about your eyes.. its that time of year for you students”

Yep.

Talk to any student right now and they’ll either give you a zombie-like reply and/or mumble something about “only 3 weeks left.. so close”. I know pretty much all my peers, as well as myself, are pretty much over the whole classes, assignment, school idea.

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Totally burned more calories on my run then are in this dish…. Totally.

It carries over to other things as well- like running. Tonight, for instance, the only reason I convinced myself that doing my run was a good idea was by bribing myself with cake and ice cream. Productive? No, not really. But, hey, it worked. And it was better than sitting on the couch and eating cake anyway. Right?

But in all seriousness- I’ve been working really hard at keeping my motivation levels up. 2 weeks ago now I started a self-designed “pre-show season bootcamp”, which I have been sticking to as best I can. I’ve been putting all the fitness programming knowledge I’ve learnt this year into action (anybody want a trainer?), and feeling the results. In a good way! Since I’ve made so much progress with my back and hip issues- much thanks to the great AT/Chiro that helped me get on this track, Dr. Notley – I want to go into this season as best prepared as I can to not back track. There is definitely some fear there that it will all kick up again as soon as I start riding full time- but I’m trying to keep my thoughts trained on the fact that I’m in great shape and stronger then I’ve ever been. And if it does, then I know how to work through it. Anybody who has had a lingering injury will know how tough that can be sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing some of my workout plans, I post them all on my Fitness Log, so feel free to take a look!

It’s been a pretty quiet few weeks for me, school wise. Well. Relatively speaking of course. It’s kind of the quiet before the storm. The storm being finals. The quiet being me still running around 6 days a week not knowing what I’m doing half the time. But hey, I’ll take it. The last big project I worked on and finished (B), was a group presentation on “Norms in Athletic Therapy” for psych skills in sport and life. Past being frustrated with my fellow group members for most of it (apparently none of them had really done a presentation or public speaking before…(thank you 4H)), it was a pretty fun project. Instead of sticking to boring classic research for our references- we decided to interview two practicing ATs from the community and use their answers to support our points. Norms was a pretty tough concept for us to present- and there were definitely aspects we lost marks on because of that. Norms are the things you do in life, but don’t think about really.. ever. For an AT it would be something like showing up before a practice, having a certain set of personality characteristics (naturally or taught), or being the type of person people are comfortable talking to. Its things that aren’t in the code of conduct, but things that are often past down through peers or teachers you have along the way. What norms do you have in your career, or daily life? In groups/organizations you are a part of?

The next big paper I’m writing is on (hopefully anyway, proposing the idea to my prof tomorrow) the Canadian Eq. Team and the Tiffany Foster situation at the olympics- mainly on how Eric Lamaze and the other members of the team reacted relating to the topic of “leadership” in sport. Should be a pretty interesting topic, I think!

In health news I’ve finally got a date with a specialist… unfortunately not for another month or so- which I guess isn’t bad for wait time. I’ve also started looking into seeing a naturopathic doctor- so here’s where I ask you lovely readers- does anyone know of good names in Winnipeg?

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs- I’m in the homestretch for the semester. What’s my “carrot at the end of the stick”? Besides cake.. it’s getting on my horse and starting spring training! Everyday I get through is one day close to riding season. Assuming I can get my saddle on the white buffalo…

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Do what you love. Find it. Do it well. If you don’t know how to do it, learn. Know that it will rough you up a few times, and occasionally bring you to tears. Do it anyway, to the best of your ability. You’ll have no other choice. There is no end- only the journey. It will be a long one- but know this: You will be forever changed.

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