Friday, May 4, 2012


Exactly. This.

It's so easy to settle into a pattern of doing what we know we're good at, pushing ourselves to what  at first seems like a limit, but really... is it? Not often. Training to bike 100 miles is not pushing through a boundary for me. That's not meant to sound smug, but I've done it before. Yes, I'm older now, but I still know I can ride that distance with a bit of training & have confidence in that. It's trending toward the outer reaches of my comfort zone from the aspect that it's not *easy*. But I'd still consider it entirely within the zone.

So what's out?

Those things that cause me a rush of anxiety. That I think, "No, not me. I'm not capable of that because --insert laundry list of excuses here." But how do you grow, expand, find what you're made of, if you never try things that seem beyond your capabilities? Furthermore, who cares? Why not just stay in a comfy place and know that you've set goals you're likely to achieve? That's positive reinforcement, right? It feels good to go for something and get it. So why try for something you aren't certain you can attain?

It's all about the journey. And what you learn along the way. About yourself and how you tackle challenges. About what makes you nervous, anxious, want to run and hide. About facing.your.fears.


So I'm learning to swim, finally, after 42 years of not knowing how to do the freestyle in preparation for the Danksin. (that I'm not a runner either is a bit of a problem, but I'm confident I can walk it if I'm *that* tired) So one could say I'm anxious about learning to swim the freestyle. And I think there is absolutely truth in that statement. But the bigger fear is that of failure. And I think that's what often holds people back from attempting feats such as this. There's the time component - I have only a few weeks to learn to swim before I have to do a darn 1/2 mile, so yeah... there's that. But by and large it's a fear of failure, of not being coordinated enough to learn, or not being fit enough to complete it, of others realizing I'm not as strong, fit, athletic as they think, to be seen as a fraud. Those are the real fears. It's amazing how sometimes we hold ourselves accountable to some high level of competence that no one else does. If I sidestroke the entire swim portion, no one else is really going to care. Except me. But in the end, THAT makes all the difference. If I can even freestyle a small portion of the swim, that'll be a gigantic accomplishment and I'll be proud of myself. If I freestyle none of it, yet still finish doing some other stroke... well.. that's a failure in my book. I think I'm better than that. And challenging myself to prove it is sure as $hit making me feel vulnerable and raw. Am I capable? Dunno... but I'm making the effort to find out. The fear of not being able to do a portion using the freestyle stroke is not something I want to hold me back in learning to try it, and so I try to get my booty in the water and splash around, taking in gallons of water every single time, yet still going back for more. Am I out of my comfort zone? Hells yeah. And it's amazing how even the smallest improvements of form and smallest increased ease in my drills makes me feel proud. Time will tell if this work will support me when I'm stressed in the open water, surrounded by tons of other women attempting to find their way through the first tri phase.

But I'm out of my comfort zone. I'm learning about myself. And those around me, too. I have some fabulous friends in my life and one helluva boyfriend cheering me on. They're carrying my confidence right now, and I'll let them. But on race day, I'll gather it into a little package and take it with me into the uncharted territory that is triathlon. My goal will be to smile at the end, knowing at the very least, I entered an event I've thought of doing for years, but scoffed at thinking I wasn't capable of participating in. There's magic going on in the process of learning. That I do know. I hope to walk away June 3rd feeling the true magic of having set a goal that was so far out of my comfort zone I'd never seriously considered it. And use it, whether it's hard or not, fun or not, as a catalyst to continue to strive to face whatever fears might present themselves. Making oneself vulnerable in any way is hard, but the beauty that can be found in doing so....completely worth it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Agni Revisited

"Start a fire in your heart and surround yourself with those who fan the flame."

I don't know from where this quote originates, but I loved it immediately. I've written previously about the idea of that internal flame. protecting it. keeping it lit. But to surround oneself with those who fuel it? Oh mmm hmmm. yes.

My internal flame has continued to burn. At times dim. So dim I wasn't sure it was still alive. But just as a fire dies down, the remaining embers contain incredible energy that are just waiting for a little breathing space to glow again brightly. I'm sure we've all had people in our lives who have threatened to diminish who we are, our hopes, our dreams, and those things that make us unique. I used to think love would be found by meeting someone who could accept who I was and choose to *deal with* certain pieces of me. That might be ok. That can keep the flame burning reasonably well. But would it fan it? Not really. Finding a partner and friends who truly embrace and cherish who I am turns out to be not only possible, but really what's deserved. For me, for you, for all of us. So I'm a bit emotional at times. Don't tell me be tough & not let my feelings show. There are times for that, but in moreso than not... F that. I'm strong because I feel. Emotions are part of me and I'm proud to finally let feelings in, even when they emit a strong response. I've been told I think about many things more in-depth than *most people*, and at times that I'm over-analyzing or not letting something go. Again, too bad. It means I haven't come to terms, haven't been able to fully make sense, or there's something in there that I haven't discovered yet. Curiosity comes out in all kinds of ways, including this, and I'll be damned if I'll curtail that.

So who are these people who fan our flame? They're the ones who love us because of who we are, not in spite of. They know the little quirks that make us unique. They find us beautiful so very far beyond the physical realm and know what we're made of inside. And they find us imperfectly perfect. They're our cheerleaders, our shoulders to cry on, the bearers of our strength when we think we can't go on. They look into us, not at us. There's a special connection that exists whether you speak every day, every year, or never again. You know when they've entered your space. That warm place in my heart? It's there because of who I am, but also because of those I love and cherish and hold close. My flame has been fanned & continues to be fanned. I'm honored, grateful, humbled, and burning strongly.