Heart break and healing

This blog originally started as a dating blog. It morphed into a relationship blog and is now mostly a blog on my personal life and my adventures in sports psychology.

I haven’t spoken of the relationship I was in, in some shape or form, for eight years in a long time. I’ve kept that part of my life private after exposing some of it here with not so great results.

I’m choosing to talk about it today because it’s been affecting me and has caused my silence here. We are no longer together, nor do we have any contact anymore, however, the night before Valentine’s Day a call from him sent me into a tail spin that lasted for two weeks.

I made the decision back in November that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I wasn’t strong enough not to be affected by him or to slide right back into a relationship and lose myself again as I’ve done time and again over the years.

I grew up in alcoholism and one of the side effects resulted in me being a very good codependent. I’m in recovery now and am learning to be my own person through program.

It’s easy for me to turn myself inside out to please a man. I’m a great chameleon, I’ll be whatever you want or need me to be. I’ll throw myself under the bus to make you happy. Whatever activities I enjoy will slowly disappear and I’ll stop seeing my friends. It’ll be all about you and I to the exclusion of everything else. I’ll look to you to make me happy. Not very healthy is it? Well that was me.

I’m happy to say I’ve changed but it’s still very easy for me to slip into old ways of thinking and behaving. I’ll be in program for the rest of my life as a result. It’s the only way for me to be the best version of myself.

Eight years. Eight. Years.

It’s a long time to be with someone as a partner or friend. We raised his daughter together. Being her step mom is the single best thing I’ve ever done with my life and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity.

I tell a brief version of our story in the rooms of my program when I am asked to speak. It goes something like this. We were both adult children of alcoholics and neither one of us were in program at the time. We both had trust and commitment issues and it was drama all the time. We tried so hard to make it work. I grew up with a mom who stood by my dad no matter what so that’s what I did.

So many people tried to reason with us, including our families, to try and make us see the light but we were stubbornly trying to make something work that just couldn’t.

I was watching a series on Netflix last night. One of the characters said something about a love so intense yet bringing out the worse in each other. I teared up because that was us. Love was never the issue between us, we were.

I thought I had grieved when things ended between us in November. I went around in an unconscious miserable coma for weeks. I’d go to work. Come home, cry, go to bed and start all over the next day. Then all of a sudden the fog lifted and I started feeling moments of happiness and peace.

Then after three months of silence, I got a three minute phone call from him inviting me on a ski trip. As soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and called my sponsor. I cried for three days. The depth of my emotion scared me. I had no idea where all this sadness was coming from. Turns out I wasn’t done grieving.

I turned to old coping mechanisms and became a little hermit. I hid in bed and did what I needed to get by. I did make it out to program meetings but I was a shell of my former self. It took time but I’m happy to say I’m back.

I’ve come to realize an eight year relationship isn’t something I’m going to get over quickly. It’s going to take time to heal and that’s alright. Program has taught me I am right where I need to be. Dating other men in the interim isn’t the solution either. It’s a good codependent idea but not a very viable one. Besides which, until I’ve sorted myself out, what good am I to anyone else?

So I sit here with a smile on my face, knowing I’m doing better emotionally and that lightness always comes after darkness.

 

 

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What does a Christmas craft market have to do with sports psychology?

So what does a Christmas craft show have to do with sports psychology exactly?

I love watching human behavior. I was at a Christmas craft show this week. Being a social creature, I interacted with a lot of the vendors. What was interesting was watching different vendors interact with the public.

There were those who were gregarious and welcoming. Others who were quieter and more self-effacing.

Furniture has a huge impact on social interactions. Think about it. If ┬ásomeone is sitting behind a counter, there is an automatic barrier between that person and potential customers. I saw all kinds of interactions while at the craft show and one thing is for sure, it’s really important to engage with your customers.

If you are selling anything other than food, which seems to produce easy sales once you have samples. How else are you going to engage that potential customer?

I noticed the crowd effect happen many times. At any booth where there were lots of people, sales were brisk. Why? Because people are social animals. If a booth is busy, people are curious as to what is being sold and want in on the action.

I had a positive sales experience with a booth whose owner was one of the most outgoing and chatty people at the show. Some would say pushy. But you know what? He was selling. He rarely stopped talking about his products and I was charmed by his gregariousness. The result: brisk sales.

I went to another booth and the owner was demure, self-effacing and not very present. She was a paper artist. I was interested in some of her pieces and asked whether she had a promotion if I was to buy more than one piece. She seemed taken aback by the question and quickly said no. My response? I walked away. She lost a sale.

As an artist myself and someone who often has to educate and persuade clients of the value of my services, I would not let a client walk away.

It’s really that simple: do you want to sell? Then let’s make a deal.

As humans we connect and buy from people we like, know and trust. As a vendor at a craft show, you don’t have very long to engage with a customer and make a sale. You have to capitalize on every opportunity to interact with people, to establish rapport and to educate them on your product. It really is that simple.

I had a great time at the craft show, as a matter of fact, I went back a second day for more.

How does this relate to sports psychology?

Simple. It’s about mindset. As an athlete do you have growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Are you open to learning, engaging and being successful? Are you willing to build on success?

Sales and athletic performances are not so different are they?

 

 

Recovery

Where to begin?

This is the most honest, soul bearing post I have yet to write.

My parents have come and gone on their annual visit. For most, this is likely a happy event. Not so much for me.

You see I grew up in alcoholism.

In a high functioning family, very driven and accomplished. From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, not so much.

I knew from a very young age that something was very wrong.

I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say that it’s a miracle I’m still here. What I have been through and then later in life, done to myself is horrific, painful and sad.

I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon. It’s a 12 step program for families and friends of alcoholics. I’ll be in recovery for the rest of my life because I know how dangerous it is to stray away from the fold, my program and my sponsor.

I had a slip this winter. I went back to old coping mechanisms and come spring realized the power of my self-destruction. I rarely do things in half measures. It’s a hallmark of this dis-ease.

I’m picking up the pieces now yet again.

I thought when I had walked through the doors of Al-Anon three years ago that I had hit rock bottom. Little did I know that I would be hitting several more rock bottoms. The fellowship and my program saw me through all these moments.

I’m there once again. I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m heading off to a treatment program for codependency and family of origin issues. I’ve been in therapy in some shape or form for a large part of my life and from a very young age.

I believe in the healing power of therapy and especially group therapy. There’s something magical that happens when strangers come together and listen to each other’s stories and pain. There’s validation that I’m not crazy. That I’m simply a spiritual being living a human existence. As we all are.

There’s a letting go. A normalization happens. Secrets come out. Monsters fade away. Light is shed on the most painful topics of this very human existence we all share.

There is laughter and tears. Joy and pain. Exhilaration and suffering.

This is a great big gift and a reminder to place the focus on me and my healing.

I’d like to say that the visit I had with my parents was a good one. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There were a lot of good parts, however, there were some truly awful pieces that have left me gutted and gasping for air.

The level of denial, manipulation, control and abuse in my family is staggering.

I feel like a martian because I’m the only one in recovery.

I have yet to find the gratitude that others in the fellowship have for the disease of alcoholism because all I can see is what it’s taken from my family and my life.

I hate the disease. I’ve been ripped open again by it and I despise it. I hate the toll it’s taken on my parents, my brother and our estranged family.

My friends see courage and strength when they look at me. Right now I’m a mess as I type these words. All I can do is breathe.

All I can do is go back to basics and practice self-care. Sleep has been elusive again and I know that doesn’t help whatsoever. It makes things so much worse.

I’m trying really hard not to isolate and hide. I’m bumping up my meetings, making sure I get exercise, eat well and get out. I connect with my sponsors and touch stones and I am working the snot out of my program right now.

It’s all I can do until this heaviness lifts and lightness comes back.

I was reminded in readings today to act as if, to stick to a routine until it becomes more comfortable and normal again. Whatever normal is.

It’s huge to share this piece of me so publicly. This dis-ease has impacted every facet of my life and my business.

It is my greatest hope that as I progress through the step work that things somehow become easier. That there are less roller coaster rides, huge highs and devastating lows. Less darkness and much, much more light.

In sharing this story, I hope to impact others’ lives in some small way.

I hesitate to push the publish button.

Please be kind.

Thank you.

 

 

Grounding

How do you stay grounded when everything is swirling around you?

Lately it feels as though my life has been upended.

Everything I know has shifted. It’s a time of huge transformation in all facets of my life.

Of letting go of the old and having faith that what is coming will be amazing. It so will. I can feel it.

Where is the safest spot in a tornado? At its very center, that is where the calm lies.

It takes courage, strength and faith to believe that I will come through this completely transformed. I KNOW I will.

It’s MY time. To live the life I have always wanted. To be of service to as many as I can through my gifts in sports psychology.

No more hiding. No more playing small. No more dimming my light. NO MORE.

I have a vision. I have peeps who love me, keep me grounded and cheer me on. I have faith in a force greater than me that will manifest all my heart’s desires. I believe.

I have manifested plenty in my life. The power of intention is huge. Where your breath goes, your focus goes. What you focus on expands. Make it intentional, amazing and big.

I am so mindful of my word lately. Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements have come back into my life at the right time.

The first agreement is to be impeccable with your Word. “Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.”

I have been challenged by that agreement repeatedly lately about the words I say to myself. The itty bitty shitty committee is fierce lately. Shut up ego. Enough.

When this happens, I return to breath and breathe. Deep belly breaths and as many as it takes to come back to center and to me.

My return to a stronger yoga practice helps, meditation helps, walks help. Returning to breath in the midst of a tornado helps. Repeating to myself I am safe, I am love and I am peace.

It’s a challenge to stay grounded amidst whirling dervishes and transformation. Self-care is key.

Step by step, moment to moment and breath to breath.

Breathe. All will be well.

 

 

 

Rest

Rest.

I’ve written of rest here before.

A client has come back to work with me. Her results are just not there.

This ski racer does well in training but can’t pull it together on race day. The good news story is this is a common occurrence.

As I spoke to her, the true story came out. I attract clients who often mirror what is going on in my own life or past life.

Turns out this kid is tired.

Her story is very similar to mine. Lots of pressure to succeed and a ticking time bomb.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever spoken of my story here. Well here it is:

I grew up in the Gatineau hills near a ski resort. My dad was a ski instructor, so my mum would bring the kids to the hill to spend time together as a family.

My mum taught us how to ski. I remember falling over so many times with her on the t bar. Getting my tongue stuck on the chairlift going up the hill. So many happy memories.

Once we were big enough, my dad took over. I was enrolled in the Nancy Greene program and started racing. I was a sociable kid stopping to say hi to people who were cheering me on.

I have spoken of my father and his influence on my ski racing career on this blog before. I was coached by my dad. He was the technical delegate at most of my races as I got older. He was the force behind me. Analyzing results and coaching me into the space I needed to deliver top performances.

Dad would tell me to back off and finish my second run when I had a commanding lead. I was a consistent podium finisher with my talent, drive and his support.

My father worked for the public service and passed up promotions so he could move us to Quebec City to access better coaching and a bigger pool.

The first year I arrived, I was on fire. I had finished in the top three in my region and had won a conditioning camp and a ski camp because of my results. After those camps, I headed to another ski camp with my new team.

I had the best coach of my life that year. Thank you Michel Paquette for your unwavering support and understanding. Things started to shift for me that year. I asked my coach to tell my parents not to watch my training runs. The pressure was building.

I used to race and beat Melanie Turgeon who went on to make the National Ski team. That was the talent I had. I worked tirelessly. We built a start gate in the back yard so I could practice my starts because I was still in the gate when I kicked back and the timer started.

I would come home after school, put my ski gear on and practice my starts in the dark back light from the light coming from the house. Driven? Yes. Determined? Yes. Hungry? Yes.

I did very well that year, podium finishing again. Then I shifted age categories and ended up with a punitive coach I could not relate to.

Things began to unravel quickly. Negative reinforcement was used by my parents to get me to work out. The sport that was my whole life began to shift.

It unraveled further when one day in economics class I burst into tears. I was a pressure cooker. Fortunately, my school had a psychologist but she wasn’t me. There were two options: to keep racing or to quit.

I chose to quit. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I packed up my trophies and medals on the shelf my father had built and stored them in the basement.

I do what I do today because of that story. Ski racing was my life. It was my passion but it became too much for one kid to handle.

Now I help amateur athletes like the ski racer I mentioned because I don’t want them to go through the pain, heartache and suffering I did.

My ski racer is at this choice point. All the resources money can buy. She is US Ski Team material the day she decides she wants it.

Coaches have said she is done. Her coach is very emotional and puts pressure on her. Her mom is advocating for her. It is HER talent.

She’s tired and needs a break from skiing while staying strong this summer with a conditioning plan.

I’ll be her vault, her safe space, a person to talk to who fully understands what she is going through.

I’ve got you kid.

It is YOUR talent. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Either way, I will support you.

 

 

Gratitude

I woke up feeling grateful Easter Sunday.

Despite having a cold, I’m still healthy.

I have a roof over my head, running water, food. The basics are covered.

I looked a little deeper and realized my heart was full.

I had done sports psychology sessions with ski clubs again this winter and continued on with my private clients.

I also worked at the ski hill doing something I love. I met some great people at the shop and I had fun. Being a social animal I enjoy interacting with customers and am good at it. I became shop mom to the kids working at the shop, plying them with muffins and other baked goods.

It’s a rare occurrence for me to find work I truly enjoy outside of sports psychology but I was in my happy place at the hill with all the skiing I could manage. A blessing.

As I looked out the window at the blue sky and the sun shining, I had this profound sense of contentment and peace. Life is good.

Even though my beloved ski season is drawing to a close in a few short weeks and I have to seek employment elsewhere, I’m happy with a job well done. Truly.

A former client has just come back to work with me which makes my heart sing.

Spring is unfolding and with it the promise of growth, renewal and change.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes.

Happy Easter with your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

Rest

Rest.

An important factor in any athlete’s life.

One of my clients was disagnosed with mono earlier this winter. His family is very A type, no rest for the weary. He’s still playing tennis and wondering why he’s not getting better.

There is no remedy for mono except rest. I know, I’ve been there.

I sometimes wonder what it’s going to take for this athlete to slow down because the Universe sure is giving him a message.

Unfortunately there is very little I can do when it comes to situations like this. I can speak to the athlete and his parents but ultimately the decision to stop is up to them.

This client has played through injury and now this.

Rest is part an athlete’s life. It’s just as important as training.

Please make it a priority before it forces you to.