My Personal Journey

“…I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” – a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

You may recognize this as the last line from the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Although I would find it hard to pick up and leave everything behind like that, I see the appeal and I definitely related to her personal journey in a profound way.

Over the last several years I have stripped myself down to the core and taken a long and arduous journey. I have learned so much about myself and those that I love and love me back. Every stop, every person along the way revealing more than the last. I am so grateful for the truths that have presented themselves and very much look forward to all the exciting thing coming in the future.

I have been rather absent this year, but I am excited about what is coming next. Check back soon to see what happens next…

Because I am one of the bare all – no holds barred bloggers who believes that sharing my life honestly is the right thing to do for both me and my readers, I feel it is very important to applaud others who do the same.

Not only is Tasha a brave and amazing blogger, she speaks to a topic that is close to my heart and a message that I think it is important for you, my readers, to hear as well. She learned to listen to her body and do what was best for her, even when it bumped up against everything she believed in and thought was right and true in the world.

Read Her Story

Life is not black and white and you can not and should not believe everything you read and hear. I am always amazed how we can suspend the use of our perfectly healthy and functioning brains to feed our belief systems. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years of struggling with my own battle with depression, anxiety and a bunch of familial bullshit is that no matter how much you believe something to be true that is not always the case.

It is so important that we learn to trust ourselves. Our minds and bodies yearn to speak to us, to tell us what is right and true for us, but so often we ignore them. We ignore that we are tired or sad or not feeling well and all the little ailments that we attribute to our lives or getting older or whatever our excuses might be.  We push aside our uneasy feelings and that little nagging tug that something here is hinky.  In reality all these little things are our bodies ways of speaking to us, of telling us that something isn’t right and that we should take a good look at how we are living and what changes our hearts know we need to make.

Instead of listening to these warnings, more times than not we ignore them until they turn into monsters that come back and bite us, sometimes with devastating consequences.  My mind and body were screaming and I just blatently ignored it, shoved it down until my whole world exploded.  Not necessarly the best way to go about it.

Read how Tasha learned this very same lesson

Learning this important lesson comes to each of us in it’s own way.  For Tasha it was her Vegan-ism, as much a doctrine as a lifestyle choice in her mind.  For each of us it will always be something personal and most likely painful.  Facing our personal truth is certainly not an easy task, but one that faced with bravery and an open heart will forever make us and everyone we touch better for it.

There are many things that I could say about being vegan or how I feel about the importance of quality natural animal protein sources, but I think the bigger lesson here is that if you listen, your mind and body will tell you what you need.  And if you refuse to listen, it will just yell louder, believe me.

And just one more little rant.  Be very careful how you judge others and what you believe from so-called experts.  We each have our own beliefs and our own reasons for them.  Do your own research, and I mean real research – not just asking your friend or your favorite talk show host, and listen to your gut.  If someone seems all over the top about stuff, there is probably a reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you.   And if you disagree about something with someone, no matter how vehemently, remember to have some respect.  Being an asshole only hurts you in the long run.

Training for this triathlon has been a labor of discovery for me.

First of all, I’m not very organized.  I even had the date wrong.  It is a whole week earlier than I thought.  Gheesh!

But, you know what?  I am really proud of myself.

I started small and worked at it piece by piece and now I am five weeks out and I really think I am going to make it.

I had such a powerful week last week.  I ran my first 5k without walking and swam just under a mile without stopping.   It was such a huge confidence boost for me that I laid down the money for the rest of the equipment I needed.

My bike arrived yesterday (I had to order it as every REI in the area was out of my bike in my size – of course) and I felt like a little kid on Christmas walking out of there with my new bike, my helmet under my arm and a bag full of biking goodies.   I swear the smile on my face must have been a mile wide.  Some young cute guy even commented on how nice my bike was as I was walking it to my car.  Hee Hee!

I even splurged on a swim suit and a brand new nuu-muu.

In buying all this gear I have been surprised at how girly I am.  Anyone who knows me knows that girly is not a word that describes me.  Even my daughter told me the helmet with the flowers on it was too girly for me —  she later changed her mind and we agreed that it was the cutest one and in the bag it went.  I also got a purple bell and will be completing my tri in a bubbly dress.   Wow, how far I have come.

My biggest surprise is how much I am enjoying it all.  I look forward to going out for a run and can’t wait to jump in the pool.  I am making progress and reaching my goals.  Two days ago I only had a few minutes so squeezed in a short jog to the park and back.  I was barely winded and when I mapped it on google maps it was two miles.  Two miles.  I couldn’t believe it.  a few months ago I couldn’t run a few hundred yards without keeling over.  And last night I took my new bike out for a spin and went 8 miles without even blinking.

I can do this.  I have been procrastinating and giving myself outs and making excuses for months because I was terrified of failing at this and now I know I can do this.

“We believe in strong girls and women. We believe in real people, real bodies and real friends. We believe in trying really hard. We believe that moments of truth can be extended to lifetimes of truth. We believe in having fun along the way. We believe that you can too.”  — Nuu-Muu’s Girl Power Philosophy

Thanks for the inspiration ladies!

With all the research and methodologies I have tried over the last year I have become quite the nutrition aficionado and although my style of eating has changed dramatically, I still have not made the true lifestyle changes that will support real and lasting weight loss.  I do find it frustrating though that even when I am really strict about what I eat and exercise regularly I have trouble losing more than a few pounds and the minute I let up in the least it pops right back up again, like overnight.

Something is amiss, but I also accept that finding out what that is may be nearly impossible and that my only option is to buckle down and do what it takes, but that all seems so overwhelming.  So,   I am currently taking a break from trying to solve the weight loss problem and am just concentrating on one thing at a time.  See, I have a tendency to look too far into the future or see the picture as too big.  Then I get overwhelmed and end up saying “fuck it” and giving up on the whole thing.

So, for now I am concentrating on the triathlon that I am running on September 25th.  One step at a time.  I started with the swimming by taking swim lessons two nights a week.  When I was pretty sure that I could swim the half mile I needed to and had built some swimming confidence I added the running piece and last night I ran a full 5k without stopping.  I’m not setting any records but I didn’t stop or feel that I needed to.

Now, onto the bike.  This weekend I will be purchasing my first bike and adding that into the mix.  One small step at a time.

I am trying to take this approach with more things in my life as this state of ineffectiveness infects almost everything I do.

Set small attainable goals and accomplish the task.

Today I am writing this blog post.   I am not transferring this into expectations that I will write a post every day or any time in the future.  Right now I am writing this and that is good enough for now.

Never in my life did I think that I would become so paralyzed in my own skin, but I am working on it (and working on it and working on it).  I was expressing my frustration at my continuing struggles at therapy the other day.  I have licked the depression and anxiety, poof… gone.   I have battled old demons, healed old wounds and gained unforeseen perspective.  I have finally grown up and faced the real world.  So why is everything still so hard?

She had a couple of words of wisdom.  First, I need to acknowledge how far I have come and accept that change is hard and doesn’t take place over night.  She also explained that not being depressed is different from being happy and not being anxious is different than being calm and centered.  These things take work too and small steps is the only way to get there.  There is always more work to do.

So, I take small steps and am thankful each day for those that love me and allow me to love them back.

Now if only I could get Ian to stop shitting his pants.  ;)

Well, here it is.  Today I begin a 25 day plan that is supposed to burn an extreme amount of fat in an extreme way.

At this point I am hopeful and skeptical at the same time.  Although this is a 25 day fast fat loss program, it is no magic pill.  This program is on the extreme end of the spectrum and will take some serious dedication to make happen.  But, it’s only 25 days and I am in dire need of a metabolic shake up so I’m giving it a fully dedicated go.

One of the things I have struggled with while trying to lose weight is fully committing to a program.  It has taken me a long time to nail down why that is and I think this program is the perfect end and in turn beginning for me.

This program is very structured.  It runs in five day cycles and you complete the cycle 5 times.  Each day uses a different eating style and has complimentary workouts that are all optimized to maximize and improve your metabolism.

The days include a full on cheat day where you are encouraged to load up on whatever your little heart desires including pastries, pizza, burgers, lasagna, cake..  whatever you feel like eating whenever you feel like eating it.  The one rule, don’t overeat or manipulate your day in a way to maximize the amount of food you can eat.  But this is a great day to go out to eat and order whatever you want off the menu or splurge on that coffee cake or doughnut at your favorite coffee shop.

The flip side of this is that there is also a fast day, where you eat very little.  Each day has it’s own thing.

The combination of the cheat day and the fast day are put together to maximize leptin levels and take full advantage of those raised levels.

I will let the author explain all the details, but I can tell you that I have done a ton of reading about nutrition and metabolism over the last several months and everything that he is speaking about is completely in line with the current research in the field.  He has simply combined and tweaked methods which maximize the manipulation of your metabolism.  Although they throw around the word extreme a lot and this is definitely not a long term plan but a short term jump start, nutritional fundamentals are followed and I don’t think that there is anything dangerous about this.

So, I started today and Day 1 is the cheat day.  This was actually good timing for me because my husband is out of town on business and for some weird reason I get immense pleasure from eating all kinds of things that he doesn’t like or are just really bad for you and not generally part of our every day diet while he is gone.  So today I ate whatever I wanted.

It seemed a little lackluster as I haven’t been on any sort of super restrictive diet, but I definitely feel a  little sluggish as this is not typically the type of food I eat.  I ingested more carbs today than I have in quite a while.  But tomorrow I fast, so today I eat.

I also completed my first workout today, especially tailored to the cheat day.  There is more weight lifting in this program than I am used to but all the exercises can be done with dumbbells so I bought a medicine ball and a set of dumbbells to fill a gap I had in my home weights and am good to go.  I will do my cardio at the gym as usual and walks and swimming as supplemental.  I think it will work out nicely.  I actually enjoyed the exercises and felt good afterward.

I got in on a pre-sale deal and saved $30.  This runs for another day or two I think, so if you are interested you should definitely check it out right away.

Learn More Now!

I plan on writing about my experiences daily (well hopefully daily, but at least every couple of days) during these 25 days and I have created a special page where you can always find the latest updates.

Although the Gabriel Method didn’t “work” for me, the underlying principles are very sound and I don’t think it had anything to do with The Gabriel Method itself.  It was all me.  I had some serious emotional issues to deal with and large mental blocks standing in my way.  I couldn’t even see that it was possible for me, let alone dedicate myself to the process of actually losing the weight.

Jon taught me to look at more than just the food an exercise and I understand more clearly the mental sides of things.  It also led me in the right direction to find the information I needed.

I also learned that I need more structure.  At least when starting out, I need to be told what to do and when.   I need a plan that I can look at and see what is coming next and not think too many steps ahead.  I get overwhelmed by the big picture and then give up because it looks too daunting.

With that bit of knowledge I went to work on that stuff and just kept improving my diet and reading and reading about metabolism and the mind body connection.  I also concentrated on working out to feel good and improve my fitness level for my triathlon this summer.  I have been running (something I swore I would never be able to do again), biking and have just started swim classes.   The swim classes rock and I would totally recommend taking an adult swim class for anyone who is looking to get into swimming for fitness.  I have only been to two classes and my crawl and back stroke are already completely transformed.

I have also made major breakthroughs on the psychological side and am glad to say that I have finally made the mental shift.  I can see the thin and fit me and can’t wait to get there.  And let me just tell you, what I thought was standing in my way had nothing to do with it.  I dug deep and with the help of my therapist have cleared away some serious stuff.

I found this picture of myself from when I was 21.  I had just met my husband and was in the best shape of my life.  I had just come off of a summer as the horseback riding director at a girl scout camp where I had hiked about 8 miles a day and spent the majority of my day on horseback or running around an arena teaching others on there horses.  I lifted saddles and hay bales and swam across the lake and back twice a week.  I had never been so active, or so confident.  This is an image of myself that I can get behind.

That image is now taped to my head board so that I see her/me right before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up.

I am very excited about this mental shift and what it means for me finally getting some results.  With that in mind, I am starting a brand new program next week that is going to really give my body an Xtreme shake up.  I think this is just what my body needs right now.  I have also chosen a long-term program that I am really happy with that I will continue with once the shake up is complete.

I look forward to sharing more information about both these programs with you.

After several people have left very nice comments, but are also wondering what has happened to me and why I haven’t written anything in a while, I decided it is time for an update.

To be perfectly honest, I have been in a bit of a creative slump lately and also busier than usual. But even more than that, a little discouraged and embarrassed that I don’t have amazing transformative weight loss results to share. I never set out to blog about weight loss, it was just one of the many things in my life I was working on and therefore writing about. It kinda took off though and LOTS of people started coming to read about my journey.

Although I was excited that my blog was getting readership and it felt good that people were interested in what I had to say, exposing your insecurities and weaknesses is a vulnerable place to be and when the results didn’t come, the urge to belittle myself became really strong and the fear of failure took over. Then, when I took on some new business and became a founder in a technology startup, the time just seemed to pass and it was easier to ignore.  Work provided the perfect excuse not only to stop sharing, but also to be wishy washy about my commitment.

With all this said, I have actually made quite a bit of progress on the weight loss front even if it doesn’t include those fantastic “after” pictures. I have come to terms with the fact that it isn’t going to be easy for me to lose the weight this time and that there isn’t going to be a secret that fixes everything.

I have learned so much about nutrition and am reading some great materials, of which I will go into detail about later. I am reading about nutrition and metabolism and most importantly for me is the emotional part. Not only do I have pretty significant body image issues to get over but I have come to a place where I no longer believe I can do it and unfortunately that is rearing it’s head not only in my health but other parts of my life as well.  I am finding it very difficult to summon the emotional commitment to make changes in my life and this is my number one issue to address at this point.

I have a nutrition and meal plan that I am very happy with and that is working well for me. In the last few weeks, I have lost a net of 4 pounds, but more importantly I have lost 2 inches off my waist and I know some off my hips and thighs as well because my pants are all looser.

I signed up for the Trek Women’s Triathlon in Seattle in September as a goal for my workouts. I have discovered that I need quite a bit of structure in order to feel comfortable and that a big goal is a good motivator for me. I am enjoying running and am excited to purchase a bike in a few weeks.

Although I am a strong swimmer and so don’t have the typical fears of the swimming portion, the thought of going to the pool and swimming in a lane with other people is very scary for me (not really sure why), and so I haven’t been there yet.   Our local pool offers a masters swim/triathlon training class, so I really don’t have any excuse other than the fear block is kicking in big time.

I am still using many of the principles of The Gabriel Method as the advice is very sound, I just needed a little more structure and as Jon suggests some help with the emotional pieces. I still highly recommend this book and the information it contains. I still follow the basic principles, I just didn’t find enough structure for my personal needs and so have combined it with other information in the hopes of landing on something that works and is sustainable.

This is still a work in progress for me and now that I have broken the seal, so to speak, I hope to be able to share with you some of the materials and information I am learning as well as continued updates on my personal progress.

Stay tuned and good luck on your own journeys.

Before I get started there are a couple of things I need to say about Landmark for preface and transparency.

  1. I have taken the first two Landmark curriculum classes.  The Forum and The Advanced Course.  I also signed up for and completed the first work day of the third and final course (Self Expression and Leadership Program – SELP) before ending my relationship with Landmark.
  2. I got it.  Landmark transformed me just as promised.
  3. I think that Landmark has a lot to offer just about everyone.

Ok, now that that is out of the way I also have to say that I strongly disagree with many of their practices.

The teachings are incredible and if you can give yourself over to the process then amazing things can happen in your life.

  • I have found and asked for forgiveness
  • I have released a ton of my baggage and see my past for what it was and not what I made it into.
  • I have new clarity on why I have acted the way I have, chosen the relationships I have chosen and made the choices I have made.
  • I can see what is holding me back and where my failures have come from.
  • I have learned how to express gratitude and ask for help.
  • I am more comfortable with discomfort.
  • My fear is subsiding.
  • I have joy in my life.
  • I have a new level of confidence  and know that I am fully prepared for whatever lies ahead and that what lies ahead is whatever I dream it could be.
  • So so much more.

You would think with all that and more I would be shouting from the rooftops that everyone should absolutely stop whatever they are doing right now and sign up to take these courses.  Unfortunately every time I speak of Landmark I have to add a ton of caveats about the downsides of this company.

Along side a very good curriculum is a very poor marketing plan.  They are constantly pushing you to bring people to the program.   And the further you get in the better the curriculum gets and the more they push bringing people in.   It is distracting and unnecessary and I have told them so.

I spent a lot of time during the Advanced course being angry about this, but I also try to remind myself that everything they do is orchestrated to bring up certain emotions and help you face your fears.  And the expectation of bringing people to the program definitely did that for me, ultimately helping me break my cycle with expectation and failure.  So, it’s not all bad.

But, I think all that could be accomplished without pressuring me to market the program for them.  I had serious work to do and all that bullshit was distracting from that.

The thing I don’t think they realize is that our stories are their best marketing tool and if they just gave us room to tell our stories to those we think might benefit from their program without any pressure or deception they might open up new space for themselves and be able to take their company to the next level.  Seems like they need to take some of their own advice.

If you are considering taking these classes please be aware of these tactics and just put them aside.  If you just let it go, give yourself over to the process and don’t take it too seriously there are tremendous benefits to be gained from taking this challenge on.

Always best to know what your getting into, I think.

If your interested…

The last set of cards to discover are the latter half of the Major Arcana Cards. These cards include…

Tarot Reading

XX Judgement
XIX Sun
XVIII Moon
XVII Star
XVI Tower
XV Devil
XIV Temperance
XIII Death
XII Hanged Man
VIII or XI Strength (this card is swapped with Justice in some decks – for me it is VIII)

These cards deal with the inner workings of our hearts and souls and help us to discover and expand our spiritual and psychological breadth. While looking at my cards I find them especially beautiful — Alluring and dark, mysterious and light filled. Very cool.

The Setup

The Spirit card corresponds to the Key card discovered in Reading 1.

Key Card: IX The Hermit
Spirit Card: XII The Hanged Man

The Card

XII Hanged Man

You are driven. Outwardly the hermit and internally the hanging man, you are and independent spirit. You are self-motivated and directed and sometimes a little self-centered. You are you biggest ally and your worst enemy. You battle yourself, finding the slightest failure unforgivable and always striving to become better – a perfectionist to the core. You are consumed by your truth, always reinventing yourself. You just get how things work which enable you to think out of the box and have people hear you.

Analysis

This is actually pretty accurate, although I think that these tendencies work against me more often than for me. These traits, mixed with my upbringing have created many many problems in my life. I just need to learn how to use these skills for my benefit and learn to give myself a break now and then.

In the last reading the Pages and Knights warned me what to look out for, but they are also very good at delivering news about messages that may be coming.   This reading will examine what those messages might be and from whom?

The Layout

This card uses the Page and Knight of each suit, the Fool 0 and the World X

Shuffle the cards, concentrating on the question.  When you feel the cards are done, deal them out one at a time until you turn over the Fool or the World then stop.

The Question: What message will I receive?

The Spread

  1. Page Swords
  2. Knight Swords
  3. XXI World

The Answer

A clear and definitive message is being sent right now that will renew your enthusiasm and motivation.

Wow, that would be nice!

The Cards

Page of Swords

My Take*: Young woman, strong eyes, fancy hat.  armored yet beautiful, hard yet refined.

The Card: Curious and fervently seeking knowledge yet scattered and unfocused.  An idea in its infancy.  Focus your energy on gaining knowledge about the situation through messages containing information.

Knight of Swords

My Take*: The knights horse is a pegasus taking flight.  This is echoed through the wings on his helmet.  This card is swift and a little reckless.

The Card: The winged horse represents the flight of the mind and the potential of the minds capabilities.   Intensely focused on the goal, so much so that tolerance and patience go out the window.  This is a card of action.  Patience and determined focus are needed for success.

XXI World

My Take: The coming together of all the elements to bring about the conclusion of something.  The culmination of lessons learned leading to a new cycle.

The Card: The end and the beginning.  We see things as they are.  Enlightenment.   Transformation. Wholeness.  Being aware of your limitations.

Analysis

This book is fun and silly and sometimes enlightening in its reading, but lets not kid ourselves that it is the most serious or thorough of interpretations.

I do find these cards very interesting though.  If you look at them as a classic three card spread with past present and future represented then they are very encouraging.    I have always know there was great potential for me, but have never been able to focus enough to fully explore it.  I have been scattered and distracted.

All the work I have been doing has seemed to come together around this ability to focus and the meaning behind why I can’t and what I can do to reprogram my way of thinking about my goals and success and/or failure.  The combination of my work at therapy and the upcoming Forum Advanced Course give me ample opportunity to improve this situation dramatically.

The goal is wholeness and transformation.  The presence of the World card leads me to believe that this goal is a real possibility.

* When I am first learning a card, the my take section is only based on what I can see in the card and not based in any foundation or previous knowledge.  Do not use these descriptions as being anywhere near the truth.