Live

It’s again been a while since I’ve written.

It’s fair to say I’ve been grieving. I burnt down a job and a work family I loved. I have an incredible capacity for success as well as strong self sabotaging mechanisms.

It’s been a little over three months. I’m on the other side now: happy, joyous and free. It’s looking back now that I see that there was a bigger plan all along. That the Universe had a lesson I needed to learn.

I’m in a better place now because of it all.

I had to go through the shit storm of sadness, anger at myself and anxiety to get to this place of feeling grounded, happy and alive.

One of the slogans of my 12 step program is Live and let live. Growing up with active addiction there’s very little you can control as you are a kid affected by the disease. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty and so control and structure become ways of coping.

I was powerless over the drinking, although I was unaware it was an issue until much later in life, so I channeled all my energy and efforts into what I could focus on: ski racing and school. I had a lot of natural talent, was highly disciplined and a hard worker. It proved to be a winning combination.

My dad was actively involved in my ski racing career. First as a coach, despite my having a coach most of the time. He lived his dreams vicariously through me I believe. I may be wrong, however, he was also the master strategist behind me.

Ski racing is a big investment and commitment for families in terms of money and time. You live at the hill on weekends. He became a technical delegate so he could be present for me. Since I was a consistent podium finisher, he would coach me and tell me for example, to ease off on my second run because I had a lead and all I needed to do was finish. Or the reverse, that I was close behind the person who had finished first, and I was to watch for these tricky sections. He was so involved and I love him for it.

I would not have gone as far as I had without my dad. Someone challenged that thinking with the possibility that I may have gone even further had I been fueled by my own steam. It was what it was and I’m a sport psychology coach now because of it. Again the Universe had a bigger plan for me.

I’ve been through these patterns of hiding and living vicariously for most of my life. Before recovery, I would hit the wall after what I affectionately call my power phase, unable to sustain the candle burning so brightly. The longest I’ve gone is six weeks of pure drive, creativity and action with very little sleep. Fully standing in my power only to crash and hide in bed, not want to shower or eat much.

Can you see the addiction pattern? It’s alive and well in me. Shake my family tree and a bunch of people with substance abuse problems fall out. It’s in my DNA as well.

Relationships, spending and food are the big three.

I sat in my counselor’s office this week and said I was done with being a victim and sitting on my pity potty as my sponsor affectionately calls it.

I have all these gifts, skills and talents. Enough time has been spent in the dark place. It’s time to stay in the light. It’s unrealistic to think I’d be able to stay in that place all the time, however, I fully intend to do the work required in my recovery to unearth and turn into smoke these self sabotaging patterns born of self hate. Enough.

I sit here with a smile on my face and a deep sense of knowing that good things are coming my way. I’m in a job I love. This opportunity would not be possible had the door on my previous job closed.

I have hope again. I’m dreaming about the future I want and I believe with all that I am that it is possible and that I do deserve happiness, stability and peace.

Live. I’m now living the first part of the slogan Live and let live and it feels so freaking good.

 

 

 

 

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Gratitude

I have just wrapped up two sessions locally with the ski racing club at Camp Fortune. It’s the fourth winter I’ve worked with them which is pretty great.

The first session with the kids is always an information dump. I share all the tools of my trade and get the kids to think about how they will apply them.

The second session has me evaluating their implementation. I was so proud of the kids. They were each using between three to five tools in their pre-race programs such as breathing, happy place, imagery and hero pose.

I got to see the rituals they have with their parents, the words they say to themselves to get into the zone and find out the music they listen to before their races.

All in all, the sessions have been a success from my perspective. Hopefully their new tools result in good things on their end.

I truly believe in the value of what I do, not just in sport but the greater positive impact on the lives of the kids too.

 

 

New beginnings

I met a great guy yesterday.

After a year of not dating, which was a self imposed choice, I got really clear on what I was looking for in a relationship.

The man I met yesterday fits the criteria. We had a great time together. Time flew by and I didn’t want things to end.

It got intense pretty fast which seems to be par for the course with me.

I went to bed last night happy with butterflies at the thought of seeing him again.

Unfortunately, I had a horrible nightmare which is most likely related to having met him. I woke up and burst into tears.

This morning I still felt haunted, like the nightmare still had its wispy fingers around me. I was teary for most of the day and upset.

I told the guy I met about what happened and it has caused all kinds of crappy blow back.

My first thought upon waking this morning is we need to slow things down. Take our time getting to know each other. You know, the normal process that most people seem to be able to do but I seem to whiz right through.

We’re seeing each other tomorrow night. I’m really looking forward to seeing him again, I can’t wait.

I’m sitting here feeling uneasy with things. We texted back and forth today about it all which sucks. I really would have preferred to have the conversation in person or over the phone.

Given my history, this stuff is to be expected. I do have abandonment and worth issues which I’m really working hard on in counselling. Relationships trigger our stuff like nothing else. It’s where my recovery program hits the road and is put to the test.

I know I have a tendency to overthink. I just need to relax, go with the flow and enjoy myself. Easier said than done sometimes.

I really should have gone skiing and been in my happy place today.

 

 

 

Intention for the year

I’ve been remiss in writing lately but have been meaning to get this post out.

Every year I choose a word to set an intention for the year.

This year a friend suggested my theme. It’s all about letting go for me this year.

This piece which I love describes my intentions well, it was written by Rev. Safire Rose

She Let Go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of fear. She let go of the judgements.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all theĀ ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go. She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go….She didn’t research the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all the memories that held her back.

She let go of all the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five step spiritual mind treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and moon shone forevermore.

Here’s to giving ourselves the gift of letting go.

I intend to reread this as much as I need to this year and apply it to my life.

Thanks Wayne xo

 

Discipline

Discipline. What does that word mean to you?

It’s been over nine months since I went to a yoga class. My beloved teacher of many years moved on and I stayed home on Tuesday nights because I didn’t know the new teacher, because it was winter and therefore cold and dark. Winter went and spring came and still no Tuesday night yin class. Spring turned into summer, still no class.

I do have a home practice and a dedicated space for yoga and meditation. Does that mean I sit my butt down on my mat every morning? Um no.

Last week I made a commitment to myself to show up every morning on my mat. Yoga has saved my life over and over again. I’m not being dramatic here. I know it’s what I need to be a better version of myself, to be more grounded, peaceful and present.

Fall is like a New Year’s for me. It’s back to school, a start of new endeavors, the beginning of the last quarter and a time to hustle. A re commitment to discipline.

I started my business seven years ago after my best friend died suddenly. His death was a giant celestial kick in the pants for me. As I grieved for him, I realized life is short. Too short to not be doing what I love and is my calling. Thanks James.

I had done everything else but sports psychology since I had graduated seven years before he passed and I was miserable. The expression trying to fit a square peg in a round hole comes to mind.

It’s been a roller coaster in my business since then unfortunately. I’m not a systems person, I’m a creative so I sought out thought leaders who could teach me what I needed to know. Christine Kane was a creative who put systems into place to develop a very successful business. I read her weekly blog posts and resonated with everything she said.

Then I crossed paths with Lisa Larter at a women’s networking event. At the time, she ran a cell phone shop and was pretty savvy when it came to business and those hand held devices.

It took me three years to fully engage with her. I was so ready to grow and change.

The year I started following her systems I made the most money I ever made in my business.

I believe a great part of that success was intention. I remember sitting on the beach in the Bahamas and thinking about how many clients I wanted to work with over the winter. I felt good about ten. I thought maybe 15 but that didn’t feel right. That winter I ended up with 12 clients. That’s the power of intention setting.

I did fully commit to my passion that winter and didn’t realize till sometime later that the Universe delivered exactly what I asked for.

Discipline means showing up every week and writing a blog post because that’s what I’ve committed myself to.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write this morning. Lisa’s newsletter on the topic of resistance came in and I was inspired. I am the poster child for resistance. I procrastinate starting and finishing projects. Systems are my saving grace.

In my first blog post of the year I said I wanted to write a book. Has the book been written? No. Why? Because I didn’t set up a system to write it nor did I have the discipline to follow through on it. I’ve always known I’ve had a book in me. Just do it were my words for this year. Did I do it? No. Will I? Yes.

The same can be said for a website. Do I have one? No. Do I have the resources to create one? My dad, who is my biggest supporter, has graciously offered to pay, however, I’d have to put in the sweat equity. Has it been done? No. Why? Again because I don’t have a system or the discipline to sit down and create one.

Clearly I am truly my own worst enemy.

When I spoke to my dad a few weeks ago about contacting ski racing clubs this winter, I actually said: “what do I have to offer?” Woo. Really Natalie?

There’s a reason I teach what I most need to learn. What kid would not benefit from my knowledge and tools to help them build better confidence in sport and life?

Sometimes I need to give myself a shake and be my own best friend. I’m pretty awesome and I love helping kids be better people. Period. If they get better results in sport as a result? Great. If they become better humans because I had an impact. Holy.

That’s my sweet spot.

I’m sitting here smiling because I know I will yet again have an impact on young lives on a larger scale this winter and I truly cannot wait.

Here’s to intention, systems and the discipline to follow through. Just do it.

 

 

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.

 

Parents and their role in supporting their athletes

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents whose kids ski race.

They had a half hour to ask me questions on sports psychology. I found the questions that came up to be good ones so I’m sharing the highlights here.

Athletes your parents love you. They want to see you do well and are concerned about the best way of doing just that. I had question after question on the subject.

How do I best support my kid? How do I help my kid recover from a not so great performance? How do I help my kid deal with their emotions? How do I help my kid prepare for race day? And on it went.

From my perspective, it was really nice to see.

I felt a lot of pressure from my parents, it would have been nice to have better communication with them. Had that been present, my demise might have been mitigated.

My answers to their questions were about being present. Helping their kid re frame their results. Letting their kids come to them and how best to support them.

I spent some time educating them on some of the tools I teach to the athletes I work with.

I spoke at length about the importance and value of the mental game. If sports programs gave as much weight and importance to the mental aspects as they did the physical and technical ones, things would change for the better.

Athletes would be better equipped to deal with wins, setbacks, and injury. They would come back stronger and faster after an injury. They would be able to quickly recover from a less than desired performance. They’d handle their emotions better and not get swept up in the roller coaster of moods. They would cope with life better.

I love what I do. Helping parents be better supports for their athletes is just part of the work I do. It brings me great joy to see the kind of interaction I saw last night.