Fear again

I’ve written on this topic many times here.

I was chatting with a new client this weekend and fear came up yet again.

It wasn’t till after the call was done and I had time to think, that I realized how applicable to my own life the words I imparted to her were.

This young client had an exceptional ski racing season two years ago. Last winter she felt the pressure of her own expectations take over and became focused on results instead of trusting herself to ski the way she can.

That’s a big statement coming from a 14 year old.

Great insight isn’t it? She did well in training but come race day she couldn’t seem to put things together. The good news is this is a common challenge and the tools I gave her will help her tremendously this winter.

Her being scared came up at least three times during our conversation. She wasn’t comfortable with speed and going fast. Gates coming at her rapidly in slalom unnerved her as did laying down solid slalom runs.

We talked about fear. She expressed how irrational it was to be afraid of gates coming at her face. I normalized her experience and said all humans have that natural reaction and that her confidence will come with mileage in the gates. Exposure to gates coming at your face is the only way she’s going to move through this fear.

Speed and going fast is a fear that presents itself naturally. I freaking loved speed but I’m sure my first few runs on those big fast skis were unsettling. Again, I normalized things for her and encouraged her to use her body as a tool to combat her fear. Instead of getting in the back seat and being hesitant, to charge and throw her body forward.

Our bodies can alter our feelings. Taking an athletic stance and what I like to call a hero pose of hands on hips, breathing and really feeling that confidence flow are so empowering. It’s another tool I gave her to use, one I think will have a big impact on her.

We talked about the importance of positive thinking. It’s impossible to be all rainbows, puppy dogs and unicorns all the time but instead being aware of your mindset. What are you saying to yourself?

When I do group workshops I poll the kids about their mindset. Is it 50-50 positive and negative, 70% positive, 30% negative or the reverse? It’s fascinating to see where kids lie in the spectrum and it gives me an indication of where they need to focus.

The first step in shifting mindset is awareness of what you’re actually saying to yourself. Questioning the veracity of your perception and then shifting it towards a more positive outcome.

When a negative mindset pattern has been operating for a while, it’ll take a tremendous amount of attention, energy and work to affect change. Like I tell my clients, it’s taken you a while to walk into the woods, it’ll take a while for you to walk out. Patience and gentleness are key.

What struck me afterwards was how this call applies to my own life.

I just recently started a new job and I love it. I get to write and help people with my words. I feel part of a family in the team I work with.

You’d think I’d be happy right? I was, briefly. Then self-protective, survival mechanisms took over and I drove myself into a state of anxiety so bad I could barely breathe. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is that productive thinking? Hell no.

Did I go there? Me? Someone who teaches positive psychology for a living? Yup.

Fortunately my people are close by. It only takes a phone call or a text and I’ve got someone telling me what I need to hear and bringing me back to the here and now. Reminding me to breathe, to slow my thoughts down and to question the veracity of what I’m feeling.

Feelings are not facts my friends.

I love what I do. I’m good at it and I’ve had messages from the people I work with of just that, yet I don’t trust myself to shine.

In times like these, it helps me to look at things from another perspective. What would I say to one of my clients if they were feeling this way?

I’d remind them to breathe. I’d tell them they are safe and okay. I’d ask them to list the things they like about themselves and focus on their strengths. I’d ask them to draw the lessons they needed from their past experiences and not let their past dictate their present.

Those are exactly the words I’ve been saying to myself when that four letter word called fear crawls into my brain space.

Fear means false evidence appearing real or face everything and rise.

It goes to show how powerful our minds are. It’s so important to guard our mindsets. They create the world we live in.

 

 

 

 

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Truth

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

This blog is where I come to reflect, where I am fully myself and share my life experiences in the hopes of helping others whether it be at a personal, spiritual or professional level.

My silence here has been a product of going inward. I started seeing a counselor in June at a friend’s gentle suggestion. I was in a self sabotaging pattern again and my friend was able to see that I needed help. There’s a reason I do sports psychology, I often teach what I most need to learn.

In speaking with my counselor about my pattern of self sabotaging at a personal and professional level, a bigger issue emerged. Something that happened a very long time ago. It’s a part of my history, I had no idea how much it was influencing my present and robbing me of my future. My counselor believes it’s the linchpin to the pattern.

It’s not something I speak of. Unless I’m in the safety of the rooms of my program. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for me to speak of it here, however, I am on a path of truth, of bringing to light what happened and taking a stand.

Twenty two years ago I was raped while I was in the military.

He was a sexual predator who stalked me for two years before it happened. He would knock on my door at night when he knew I was alone. That feeling of fear, of holding my breath and going still, of freezing and wanting to disappear has stayed with me since. I can never forget it.

One night he came and knocked, I was in a deep sleep and woke up and opened the door. I don’t remember much of what happened. He didn’t physically overpower me because I would have fought back but the next thing I knew I was floating above my body. I remember crying in the shower afterwards. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember what he said to me or what happened.

I know there’s a reason why I don’t remember. Possibly because I don’t want to. I’ve thought about doing regression therapy and going back. I know my mind is strong and is obviously protecting me.

In the military the culture is one of silence. As a woman in the military, you had to be so careful. I protected my reputation fiercely. Had I said something, I would have been labelled. So I stayed quiet.

I remember going to the base hospital to get the morning after pill and being sick afterwards in my room alone. I remember telling the doctor what happened and being shuffled off to therapy where I was told that I was indeed raped.

Then I buried it. Because I couldn’t do anything about it. The worse part is he still came knocking. I had to go a trusted mentor and ask him to make it stop repeatedly. I never spoke of what happened. The reason it stopped is because he graduated and moved on.

So here I sit twenty two years later. A fresh diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder because of what happened and a life that has definitely been a struggle. The event ended my career in the military before it even really began.

He’s still in the military. He’s also a published author. I can’t imagine how many other women he’s done this to because that’s his nature.

This is no longer about him. It’s about me.

I’m a runner, I’ve run from most things in my life. It was and still is my coping mechanism of choice. I learned to take a stand in my last relationship. That was the gift my former partner gave me.

I am going to take a stand now and report what happened all those years ago.

I want my side of the street to be clean. I want to take my power back. I lost something that night that I will never be able to get back. It has affected my whole life. My relationships with men, my personal and professional lives. Everything has been tainted by this incident.

I will find my voice and speak my truth.

I have an amazing support team around me. I know I’m going to be alright. I also know it’s going to be a long drawn out process. I have no expectations of what will happen. The most important part is telling my story. I will let the Universe take care of the rest so I can finally let it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day.

A happy day for many. A day fraught with tension for some.

A reminder for me of what I don’t have: children.

At my age, with no significant other in sight, it’s pretty safe to say it most likely won’t happen. That doesn’t make it easy to see the bombardment on social media of happy Mother’s Day pictures of my friends with their children.

I didn’t have a sad day. On the contrary, I kept myself busy putting my garden in.

I’m grateful for all that I have in my life: my family, my friends, my home and my sweet fur baby. Focusing on what I can be grateful for helps.

Sending love and light to all those who had a challenging Mother’s Day for all sorts of reasons. This too shall pass.

Shock

An acquaintance of mine has died. I met her through an online business group organized by my business coach. She was my age.

Her death has shocked me. She leaves a family and young children behind. A life taken too soon. My heart goes out to all who loved her. I wish I had met her.

Her death is a reminder. A reminder for me to live.

I don’t feel I do a very good job at living. I’m trapped in fear and not doing what I love full time unfortunately. What’s worse is I’m not sure how to change that fact.

So I sit here thinking of her. She apparently left a sparkle wherever she went. I’m sure she’s sparkling brightly in another realm. I wish her and her family peace.

 

 

Silence

Silence.

How does silence sit with you? Are you comfortable with it or in need of noise?

I use silence in my sports psychology practice intentionally. Silence tells me a lot.

It is said that non verbal communication accounts for 80% of communication between people. Watching people’s body language is therefore rich in information. Does the person fidget or do they stay still? Is their body language open or closed? Do their eyes wander or stay fixed on mine? What eye patterns are happening? All this information is feedback for me and helps me get a clearer picture of my client.

A lot of the work I do is done remotely. I then have to pay attention and really listen well. What words are they using? Are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners? Is their language pattern a positive or negative one? All this information gives me feedback to do my job well.

Silence.

On a personal level, I have become comfortable with silence. I never used to be.

I always had music going, singing and engaged in whatever task I was doing. Even in college I used classical music as a backdrop to help me focus while doing homework.

I processed emotions through music, I still do. I will listen to a song on repeat, over and over and sing till whatever is in me has worked itself out. Music is my therapy in a lot of ways.

Yesterday I had planned to participate in a day of silence at my yoga studio, however, the Universe had other plans for me in the form of unexpected car repairs this week. Instead, I spent a day of silence inside my home. I didn’t do yoga or meditate all day but I did practice a lot of much needed self care.

The energy in the universe right now is calling us to go inside and reflect. To be still, present to ourselves and align with Source and our core. A lot of past emotions are bubbling up to the surface. They require our attention and loving care. Processing of them needs to happen to release them and allow wisdom to come in and guide us.

So yesterday I sat with my emotions swirling around me. In the past, I would have done anything to avoid them, afraid of their intensity and of getting lost in them. For years growing up I was given the message that it wasn’t ok to feel. You can imagine what that looked like when the damn finally burst.

It took many more years for me to come to terms with being a big feeler. I’m a sensitive. I sense energy and have become somewhat adept at managing my own. When I’m not doing well, tired or run down I become a bubble girl. Safely enclosed in my own little orb. I won’t put myself in situations where I have to deal with the outside world and I carefully curate what I allow in.

That’s exactly where I was yesterday. I sat with myself and allowed whatever memory and its attached emotion to come. It’s not easy let me tell you. I went for a long walk in the woods and processed some more. At times the emotion brought me to my knees. I honored whatever feelings came up, allowed myself to process them and release them. It was good for my soul. I came back feeling better than when I went in.

I skied with a friend last night. Night skiing is not my thing. It’s dark and cold. For someone who has a hard time warming up it’s not pleasant but because my motto for this year is just do it, I went anyway.

Skiing has always been one of my happy places. I’ve processed a lot on the hill throughout my life. Last night was no exception. I live alone, tend to over think things and rattle around in my big brain. Being around someone safe whose company I enjoy was just what I needed last night. Thank you.

Silence.

I’m now going to practice what I preach and sit on my mat.

 

 

 

 

 

My words for 2017

It’s a brand new sparkly year. Every year I pick a word to live my year by thus setting an intention. This year was no exception, as I reflected on the past year, three little words popped into my head.

Just do it.

Props to Nike for coming up with such a great branding motto. These words came into my life in mid June last year.

2016 has been one hell of a year from a personal perspective. I believe through the toughest challenges, there is always growth. If I look for the silver linings, I see tremendous personal growth. A shedding of a skin of sorts and a stepping into power. A shiny new me.

For many years, this former high performance athlete who used to fly down hills clad in nothing but a lycra suit at speeds most cars travel on highways was fearless.

As life went on, fear or as I like to call it, false evidence appearing real or if you prefer face everything and rise started creeping in. Now healthy fear is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, it keeps us safe, however, I’m talking about the itty bitty shitty committee taking over and ruling my life.

For someone who does positive psychology my head is not a safe neighborhood to walk alone in at times. It is said that we teach what we most need to learn. That’s proven to be accurate time and time again. I’ll be speaking with a client and this nugget of wisdom will pop out of my mouth and it’ll resonate with me as something I need to apply to my own life.

I’ll laugh and thank the Universe for the gift.

Just do it.

What does that mean for me?

It means to hustle in my business. To consistently take steps to move the needle forward. It means playing a bigger game. To pick up where I left off writing the book I have in me. It means allowing my light to shine consistently. To stay present and not hide. To live the dream that chose me.

I am a sports psychology coach who works with amateur athletes to build confidence for life through sport. It’s an incredible gift and honor to walk the path with my clients. I’m grateful that this dream chose me.  I intend to honor the gift and the light that I bring to this world.

In the words of Prince Ea: “You cannot go back and make a brand new beginning but you can start now and make a brand new ending.”

Bring on 2017. It’s going to be amazing.

 

 

 

Fear of failure

This topic is a big one for me.

Fear of failure can easily rule me. It prevents me from beginning and finishing projects. It’s a great tool for self-sabotage. It can keep me stuck. It has many times.

Are fear of failure and perfectionism the same thing? I’m not sure but I do believe they are on the same spectrum.

They can be different responses to the same internal struggle.The worst thing about fear of failure is that it keeps us from trying.From chasing dreams and taking risks.From being vulnerable. From living. It shrinks the world we live in to a comfortable, predictable, fearful experience.

My business coach always says to take imperfect action. Done is better than perfect. Words of wisdom.

I think it all comes down to baby steps. It’s hard to break the bonds of the fear of failure but I believe in action. Keep going even when you don’t want to. Action helps get us unstuck. It keeps us moving forward.

Babe Ruth once said: “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” It’s a powerful metaphor for life. Fear of failure will keep you from experiencing life to the fullest. Don’t let it.