Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stand or Lean: taking your own crisis on.

Its been an interesting couple of weeks. I had surgery on my spine a few weeks ago, which was kind of tough enough. During that time, I had another unrelated traumatic event happen, which was really frightening. It put me on precarious footing while I was trying to heal. I wasn't really sure which way was up, and I found myself confused and isolated, longing for the reality of the situation to be different.

I didn't want to be in this situation, I feel like I've worked hard to get to a place where my life is relatively calm and drama free. I'm finally more financially stable, my kids are for the most part happy and comfortable, and their dad has settled into his new life well. We are all sort of trundling along, and I had found myself thinking, great! We did it!

And then the shit hit the fan. This isn't a post about the particulars of that situation, but what followed; how to wander back out of the wilderness of unexpected trauma or crisis without getting swamped. Or,  if you are swamped, (I did at one point say "I'm out of my depth. This is too much."), how to find the help you need to get back on your own two feet and start walking again.

The Oogie Boogie Man - he's BACK!

There is a fine line between being needy and asking for what you need, between being held captive and defined by the crisis and facing and processing it.

I think so often when something happens, we bury it down deep, knowing that we don't want to send other people into crisis, or upset those around us that we love. Sometimes we get concerned about how our story will impact others, and so we hide it.

There are other impetus for hiding or boxing up something that happens, sometimes we think if we ignore it, it will go away, its impact, its importance, and then we can just get back to normalcy.

But that's not really how it works.

I know that looking right at the thing that happens is terrifying. I also know that its the only way to push through and heal.

When I was younger, I had PTSD from some childhood trauma. As a result, I used to see bogeymen. I was afraid of the dark. Most kids are afraid of the dark, so even if you didn't have PTSD, you can probably relate. Every once in a while our imagination gets away from us, and our anxiety about what MIGHT be, even if its terribly impractical, gets the better of us.

That's called surrendering to the contingency. Fear of what might be takes over and paralysis ensues.

This is where you stare down the thing that scares you.

And sometimes, you have to do that with some help. Sometimes the thing that scares you is just too big to be tackled alone. And I guess the next question would be, can you look for support without dragging others down with you? Can you reach out for contact and connection but still look for your own feet?

Can you own your piece of this, knowing that ultimately, the responsibility for healing is yours alone?

Can you do that without alienating and martyring yourself?

Can you find the friend that can listen and allow yourself space to process what you need to trusting that they are holding space for you? Yes, I'm talking about crying, snotting into your hankie, and making some tea. Can you let a sympathetic ear be an ear and a hug, and move forward from there?

Crisis is like a whirlpool, it wants to drag you in to the bottom, and when you are there, the weight of it can be oppressive. We often want to lay in the bottom of it and have company down there.

I guess I've been working on accepting that its okay to be in the bottom of the whirlpool, sometimes things happen in life that create crisis like that. But can I be there without letting it define me?
Ask for help. Then, try it on your own.

Can I look around and say, well, its appropriate that I'm upset and in a hard place, because I just went through something that was scary, out of the norm, something that shook me. But I don't have to live here. I need to see, with open eyes, that which is real, look right at what happened, and at the same time, let go of my personal indignation, my fear, my pain. I can take this time as an opportunity to practice acceptance instead of another obstacle placed in front of me.

When the bogeymen of my past presented themselves, I had to learn that, in the end, it was my job to dispel the myth of them. They existed because of something real and frightening, but ultimately, I had to decide if I wanted to be stuck in the box of the fact of them, or let go and move on. If I'm not willing to own my own fears and try it on my own, I'm choosing to stay right where I am.

It took a while, but I decided that when I found a place that was full of fear, my job was not to hide, turn on the light, or have someone look behind the shower curtain for me. My job was to take a deep breath, breathe out slowly, look right at the thing that scared me, and walk toward it. Into it. Through it. Out of it.

I took to walking around the house in the pitch dark on purpose, finding the longest, scariest, most circuitous route I could to wherever I was headed in order to prove to myself that my fear, no matter how real it was, no matter how honestly it was come by, should not own me.

One day, I walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night and didn't realize until I was tucking back into bed that it hadn't occurred to me to be scared. Something had shifted.

I didn't do it all alone, I had to lean, but in order to conquer it, ultimately, I had to stand alone and face the demon all by myself. I had to want to heal enough to find courage.

One of the best parts of that adventure was realizing that people who care for us don't always know how to help us best. We often impose on them the idea that they should know what we need, isn't it obvious? Something terrible happened. You should feel and act this way automatically.

I think we often forget that everyone has their own triggers and fears, their own construct defined by the life that they lived. And whatever situation we find ourselves in may very well trigger the fears and concerns of those who care for us.

It takes time, but eventually, you can walk on your own.
And they can't give you what you need unless you ask for it clearly. This is asking for what you need rather than being needy. I think neediness comes when we need help, and impose on those around us some sort of fantastic idea of how people should give to us or support us. Now you are just compounding your issue, you've been through something tough, and you are now looking for your family and friends to come to your aid in the way you most need them, but you aren't asking for what you need. You are choosing to stay in the bottom of the whirlpool, hoping someone will lay down there with you.

What a wonderful opportunity this has been to learn once again to stand on my feet and walk through the dark. Thanks to those who stood on the other side, encouraging me.

There's a way to go, but I can see you, and I'm grateful.

PS Thanks to Russ for jump starting the writing again. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Its a helluva day at sea, sir!

Its been an eventful week!
Bodhi off the couch after 8 days with the croup and right back at it.

level 3 drop in "mom, I want to be a pro skateboarder"

I turned 40

Feeling a bit rebellious and bad ass I took myself and my girl Amy out sans any boys of any sort to listen to country punk rock, the "supersuckers" at the Belly Up Aspen.

Third week in Karate, learning to take em and given.

Hiking in to town, my 3rd 5 mile walk, found out that I can't handle an 8lb backpack, whoops, back on the couch watching movies. Dangit.

Buy your DH bike NOW!

Winter Park is selling their old fleet, if you want to get into DH mountain biking, this is the bike to buy. These guys take METICULOUS care of their fleet, and we rode these bikes while we visited WP: sick. Just awesome.

COMES WITH a season pass for summer and you can get full body armor thrown in (including helmet)

If you just need the armor, its $100 for the full kit.

2010 - Kona Stab Deluxe Downhill Mountain Bikes For Sale: 2 meduim and 3 large, excellent condition with all new parts and pieces including – new tires, brake pads, grips , cables, seats & freshly serviced forks, new fork seals, fork fluid, brake fluid, chain and derailer adjustments! These were used by the Trestle Bike Park School Coaches / Guides and were very maintained on a weekly basis.

·       $1,400 or $1,500 with a 2012 Trestle Bike Park Season Pass!
·       Contact – Bob Barnes at X1561 or      

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Buy your copy of Ron Kipp's Alpine Skiing here!

So, this is a wild feeling. What an wonderful three days skiing with Ron Kipp and Ron LeMaster, and Michael Rogan. I got schooled every day ,and it was too much fun and such a huge learning experience!

Thanks, you guys!

Buy your copy here, and my thanks to Tecnica/Blizzard, POC, Leki, Kjus and Icebreaker!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Desire to Win means the Desire to Work. Thoughts on Healing and the Future.

Hardware. Feels good!

Hi, guys! Its been a bit since I've written, there's been lots of drooling and lots of sleeping. I've had a couple of long walks and hikes and my first post op exam.

The surgery was really succesful, as far as we can tell. My motor nerve seems to have come back 100%, but until I regain hand strength, we won't be able to tell. I can't start doing massage until after November 1, when I'm fully fused, and it will take about 6 weeks of massage to get my hand strength back, so by mid December, we'll know if I got my whole motor nerve back or not.

In the meantime, the headache that I've had for the last three years is GONE. WHAT? Yup. Gone. Wow. That is an unreal and awesome sensation.

Most of the time, the pain I've been living with in my neck, spine, back, shoulder and left arm is gone, but I'm still taking a lot of muscle relaxants and pain killers, so again, we'll have to wait and see. But it feels really promising.

I also am not having Fibro symptoms right now, but Fibro can by knocked out by narcotic drugs, so again, as we wean off the drugs, we'll see.

Woke up on night 2 in the hospital to this beautiful gift sleeping
in the Lazy Boy next to me.
I'm weaning off the collar now since the xrays look so good, I'm trying to be patient, but wow it is hard because I feel strong and I want to get after it.

I'm very lucky to have some folks in my life who have been through this themselves and who remind me to take it slow. The most important thing right now is that in the next four weeks, the fusion happens completely. As soon as I am fused, I  can start getting strong.

So I have this mantra running through my head right now, fuse first strong after, fuse first strong after... can't be strong if you aren't fused.

I'm sleeping as much as I can to aid healing, walking twice a day when I feel strong and resting a lot. I'm trying hard to get off the pain killers, but not so hard that I'm suffering.

Today, I realized that to some extent I've been repressing my stoke for skiing this winter, and toning down my internal hope that I will get invited to tryouts and my internal hope that I'll be able to get my feet where they need to be.

I felt as my condition worsened over the summer that this probably meant that it just wasn't meant to be for me. That the journey had been about the journey and that to some extent the surgery meant the end.

All done, and glad for it!
I felt as I was preparing for surgery like I was preparing to give up on this dream, like I was preparing for the end of my life as I knew it. It had never been about "making" the team, although of course that would be lovely, but just about going to tryouts.

Tryouts became an invitation event, making it one step harder to get to (although I think it will get them a nice field of candidates to chose from). But the consiquence of that change is I can't just go and ski my best.

I was pretty sure that I'd end up going through the motions this fall, getting rejected because I would be weak and have missed summer training, and that would be the sort of anti climactic end to this very educational journey.

Well, let the lessons continue.

I came out of surgery feeling so good! State Farm ponied up some money for a down payment on the surgery, and with that cash, I was able to hire my friend Janice to make nutrient dense vegitarian food that I've been living on.

As a result, I haven't gained weight, I haven't lost THAT much muscle, and I feel really healthy and strong. It occurred to me as I walked into town from the ranch last week, about 7 days out of surgery, that I was way stronger than I had expected.

I relized that my friend Andy had been right, I had been wearing fear for a long time about the unknown of the surgery, and it had been slowly pushing me into the ground.

Now that the surgery was over, no one was going to come and get me and say, "okay, we are ready to take you back" and wheel me into the operating room, I was free.

Free to wake back up, to look up at the mountains, and to remove the restrictions of fear. Free to dream again.

 So I'm applying .There's a piece of me that feels like this may be the most fun year I've had training and playing so far. I'm excited to be a trainer for the ski school. I looked up at Aspen Mountain today at the snow on the top and was thrilled to my toes. I could feel the turns coming on, feel the comeraderie of the locker room, of my skiing family, of all the folks who help each other learn and grow every day.

Unexpected family. The best win so far.
Its such an amazing family to be a part of. A big part of me feels like I've let out a huge breath, like I get to let go and just play and ski and the training will be the result. I feel like I've found my home, found my voice, and that it doesn't want or need to be a loud voice.

I feel like I've found a way to help, and that feels good. I feel like my body didn't let me down, and that feels good. I feel like I get to slow down in intensity and focus hard in work, which I love.

I am so grateful for this process, for the path that's taken me through all of these lessons, some of them over and over and over.

Today, I turned 40.

That seems unreal and ridiculous, but appropriate. I'm not worried or concerned about it, the last 10 years were way more fun than the 10 before it, so I'm expecting things to become more interesting, and I'm excited for the lessons that are on the way for me. I like the process of becoming, even though sometimes in the midst of it I really wish I was done.

Today, I spent the day with Tom, my ex, who is now living in Aspen, and who is now my housemate, and our two boys. We had a birthday breakfast, went to the bookstore, walked to the movies and saw Real Steele, an awesomely cheezy underdog movie that the boys loved.

Aspen Mountain promising fun this year!
I looked at how far we had come, Tom and I, to become good friends again, good enough to live together and be supportive of eachother as we hit bumps and dificulties in our other relationships, and I was just, once again, grateful and amazed that life works this way.

We've talked a lot on this blog about the fact that success is often about the wanting. To want it bad, the will to win, and also that wanting is the easy part.

Tonight, I realized, looking at the success of Tom and I, working through divorce, financial hardship and fear, and being able to beceome close, trusting, respectful friends who share a home, that the Will to Win means the will to work hard enough to win. The desire to win means the desire to fight, to train, to learn, to listen, to put in the hours and hours of hard work in order to acomplish something. You have to have the desire. Not for the prize, but for the work that manifests the prize.

Guess what? I have the will to tryout. I really hope I get invited, I'm excited to share that experience. And if I don't, man, the desire to work hard enough to get there will have been worth it.

Thanks for sharing my birthday with me!!