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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

F.E.A.R.

I’ve spoken on this topic on this blog before.

This blog post has been percolating in my mind for some time and today I came face to face with a very sad human fear response.

I have my blood taken on a regular basis for health reasons. Today as I was chatting with the person behind the counter at the clinic a mother and young daughter came in. The daughter was crying. It was their second attempt today to get her blood taken.

I immediately went into coach mode, explained what I did and told the mom that I had tools that could help. They were ushered quickly into the room were blood samples are taken. I asked the mom to tell her daughter to take deep breaths. She said if she needed my help she’d come get me and left it at that.

I chatted some more with the person behind the desk and finally went into the treatment room because a colleague came to get her. They were having problems with the girl.

I again went into coaching mode and got down in front of the girl who was very upset and crying sitting on her grandfather in the chair to give blood. I explained what I did and introduced myself. I normalized the situation by explaining that it was okay for her to be afraid.

I got her to calm down somewhat by closing her eyes and breathing. Big deep belly breaths through her nose with her hand on her belly. Then I asked her to go to her happy place in her mind.

It turned out it was Dairy Queen which was awesome. I asked her what her favorite flavor of ice cream was. She said chocolate, “good choice” I said. I asked her to think about going there with the people she loved in her family. She was almost there, she lifted up her sleeve and as the technician got ready she went back into her head and panicked.

Poor kid. No amount of cajoling, rationalizing or threatening from staff or her mom would help.

One of the staff suggested I go ahead and get my blood taken and the girl could watch. I asked her what her biggest fear was. Was it the needle? The blood? I encouraged her and told her she was almost there when I had coached her. She couldn’t give me an answer.

I said I didn’t like needles either and was in often to get my blood taken and looked away.

We tried using music and a phone to distract her, she would have none of it.

Poor peanut. She had bad stomach cramping and was getting a battery of blood tests done to determine what was going on. The technician asked if the pain of her cramps was bad. The girl replied in the affirmative and the technician tried to explain that it would be like a pin prick and she would feel very little in comparison.

I felt sorry for the family. They would have to try again and it would get worse in the girl’s mind.

I did what I could, but unfortunately I was not able to get her to calm down enough to have her blood taken. A lot of mental training is required to get to that chair, there is just so much that can be done in a crisis. The poor mom had no idea as this was the first time they were getting her blood taken.

I spelled fear intentionally in the title. I have spoken about the acronyms here before. False evidence appearing real or face everything and rise. I wish I had more time with the girl to get her through this experience.

There is nothing I can do now to help but send that family love and light.

Take care sweet Laurie.

 

 

 

 

Accidents are indeed, no accident

The Universe has checked me twice in the span of a month. Two separate incidents have resulted in injury.

The first happened over a month ago when my rented hot water heater gave up the ghost. The plumbers arrived unexpectedly, I was hustling to get dressed and put my glasses on and missed the top step of the stairs and hit the landing hard.

I still can’t sit without pain. A little research online has told me it’s no longer a bruise at this point but a fracture. I’m looking at a two to three month recovery period. Sometimes ignorance and denial are truly bliss.

The second incident happened on my very first run on my first day skiing this season. I wasn’t solid on my edges, went over a pitch and found myself in the backseat. A 360 degree turn on snow ensued while still attached to skis. It is to be noted here that I skied for six hours after this happened with no pain. Got to love adrenaline right?

My knee is not happy with me. I decided to test it further, went skiing a week later despite pain and am now dealing with the fallout of that less than wise decision.

So here I sit, literally in pain, pondering the messages the Universe is trying to get through my obviously thick skull.

As a firm believer in the law of attraction, I went to my trusty Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life and did some research. It was a humbling moment let me tell you.

In Hay’s words:”Accidents are no accident. Like everything else in our lives, we create them. It’s not that we necessarily say, “I want to have an accident,” but we do have the mental thought patterns that can attract an accident to us.”

“Accidents are expressions of anger. They indicate built up frustration resulting from not feeling the freedom to speak up for one’s self. Accidents also indicate rebellion against authority. We get so mad we want to hit people, instead, we get hit.”

“When we are angry at ourselves, when we feel guilty, when we feel the need for punishment, an accident is a marvelous way of taking care of that.”

“It seems as though an accident is not our fault, that we are helpless victims of a quirk of fate. An accident allows us to turn to others for sympathy and attention. We get our wounds bathed and attended to. We often get bed rest and we get pain.”

“Where this pain occurs in the body gives us a clue as to which area of life we feel guilty about. The degree of physical damage lets us know how severely we felt we needed to be punished and how long the sentence should be.”

Well that’s a lot to swallow isn’t it?

As I thought back to what I was thinking before I fell when the plumbers arrived, I realized I was angry that the gas company hadn’t given me a heads up as to when they would arrive. The buttocks represent power or in this case, a loss of power. A fracture represents rebelling against authority. Makes perfect sense now doesn’t it?

The knees represent bending and pride, ego and stubbornness. According to Hay: “Often when moving forward, we are fearful of bending, and we become inflexible. This stiffens the joints. We want to move forward, but we do not want to change our ways. This is why knees take so long to heal; our ego is involved. The knees take a long time because we get our pride and our self-righteousness involved.”

“The next time you have a knee problem, ask yourself where you are being self-righteous, where you are refusing to bend. Drop the stubbornness and let go. Life is flow, life is movement; and to be comfortable, we must be flexible and move with it. A willow tree bends and sways and flows with the wind and is always graceful and at ease with life.”

I love that metaphor of the willow tree, funnily enough it’s always been my favorite tree.

Again looking back to my first run of my first day skiing, I was rushing to get to the hill. I was supposed to be meeting a friend and wanted to get there for first tracks because that’s when the best skiing happens on freshly groomed runs.

I was frustrated because I made a stop at the garage on my way up to the hill to get my car checked. That proved to be a waste of time. I was already running late so my stop compounded things. I texted my friend and because signal at the hill is dubious at the best of times and let’s face it, we are busy skiing, there was no response.

The result? Frustration at not getting the outcome I wanted. I certainly was refusing to bend and flow with life wasn’t I? I wanted things on my terms. What happens? Poof! The Universe checks me.

I sit here with a smile on my face because it all makes perfect sense now. I’m not looking forward to the recovery time of both injuries and I’m crawling out of my skin not being able to ski and be in my happy place but I get it. I am right where I am meant to be, whether I like it or not.

It’s a good thing Louise Hay gives affirmations for all these happenings. I can focus on those and move myself forward one breath and one ice pack at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

From darkness to light

It’s the end of the year, winter solstice has passed. We are moving from darkness to light.

This period of time for me is always a reflective one.

As I look back on this year in my life I see a lot of ups and downs. Challenges, lessons learned and success too. So it is on this journey of life.

My challenges this year on a personal level were great. Through them I grew by leaps and bounds. I did the work I needed to do on me and continue to do so. The silver lining is growth. I may not always see it but I can tell in the way I approach situations and respond differently.

I’ve learned that feelings are just that: feelings. I don’t have to lose myself in them. I can feel the feeling and let it go. I’m learning to honor myself and where I’m at. I’m going to be alright no matter what happens. I’ve got this. I trust myself.

As someone who grew up in a high functioning and performing family I’m learning to be comfortable with where I’m at because I know I am right where I am meant to be. It can be challenging at times but the gap between where I am and what I want needs to be manageable. Baby steps.

I’m learning to be mindful of the committee in my head. I teach positive psychology and when I take a moment to notice what’s going on in there it can be alarming at times. I go back to breath. I breathe and slow things down. Breath is connected to thought, thought is connected to feeling and feeling is connected to action. Awareness, acceptance and action. That’s the key to positive change for me.

What you focus on expands. I’m reminding myself that I need to make sure I am focusing on the positive. Life is easier then. Thoughts become things, choose the good ones.

I’m learning to be mindful and to stay in the present. How often am I in the past or flying forward into the future? A lot. Present. Moment by moment, breath by breath. Live and let live. Enjoy this life. Live it fully. Soak in its juices. Be.

I tend to be fairly serious by nature. A thinker. Learning to lighten up, laugh and have fun and surround myself with positive people helps. A lot.

I’m learning to go with the flow. That’s a big one. Control has been a big part of my family of origin. Planning, taking action and moving forward. I know how to do that. Going with the flow is whole other kettle of fish. Again it comes back to breathing, relaxing and trusting that I am right where I need to be even though I may think otherwise.

Thanks for the fruitful year Universe. It’s been challenging at times, however, the growth has been extraordinary. There are many blessings to be grateful for.

I’m reflecting on what my word for 2017 will be. Stay tuned.