Blue's UnBashful Blog

Blue's UnBashful Blog

Monday, March 19, 2018

Winter? What Winter?

This winter has been moving quickly, even though I'm not moving quickly.  It's still cold and dreary but I cannot believe it is already March!  Eeek! 

I've kept myself busy with yoga teacher training, six sigma training,  yoga practices, circuit/HIIT training, working on my Reiki level 1 attunement and practicing, and doing a lot of personal and intuitive development.  My busy schedule has helped pass the dreaded winter.  

I decided to pass on the Malachi 5miler this year.  My hip is still super cranky from January and I didn't want to push it and make things worse.  I got back on the indoor bike and checked out Harness Cycle in Ohio City.  I've been enjoying time exploring Cleveland on the weekends from spinning at Harness, breakfast at Townhall, goodies at the West Side Market, and yoga downtown at Inner Bliss.   It's a nice change of pace and scenery. 

I'm looking forward to heading back to Miami, FL in April! I may run a 10k while I am in there; though, I won't know until it gets closer.  A 10k used to be easy peasy for me, too bad our bodies don't pick up where we left off! 

What's new? 
I am part of the NOOMA sweat squad!  If you have never tried NOOMA and are interested, send me an

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Time to be Still

I've been feeling all sorts of feelings lately.  Eager, lost, lonely, sad, anxious, excited, ready, stagnant, uncertain, awake, ready for what's next, longing for more, desperate for connection and for name a few.  I've been embracing the concept that answers come in stillness, when the mind is quiet.  The challenge is to quiet the mind and to just be still, to be like water, to be. 

I came home, thought about going to yoga but needed something more.  I ate, turned on the news and felt kind of gross listening to the news.  I tried to find some mindless tv show that would allow me to escape reality but was turned off but everything.   I decided to turn everything off, head to my spare room (my meditation/yoga/reading room), and turned on some guided meditation via the app, insight timer.  I listened to a few guided meditations and let myself just be...for an hour. 

When we feel the need to escape via tv, running, socializing, addictions, quick fixes, or to feel numb...our body, mind, and soul are hungry for stillness.  These are the times when we should seriously take the time to just be.  Turn everything off and tune into oneself, to connect with oneself. 

We are so overloaded and overstimulated by tv, social media, constant distraction and noise that we lose track and lose sight of what's important and we lose ourselves.  I'm loving my meditation practice and am listening closely to what my mind, body, and soul are saying.   Today they were screaming for me to be still. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tropical 5k Miami, Florida

I thought 2017 would be a great come back year for my racing.  Alas, I was wrong.  I didn't realize how difficult starting over would be.  I ran only 2 races and though I did well, I injured my hips on the last race.  I wrapped up 2017 continuing HIIT and circuit training with my trainer (Jake from Cleveland FitShop).  I stepped back on my mat and into my yoga practice.

The cold weather and snow have been less than motivating thus far in 2018.  I'm keeping up with my HIIT and circuit training and yoga.  I also began Yoga Teacher Training last weekend.  YTT (Yoga Teacher Training is amazing, I'm learning so much about myself and finding connection with others).  If I'm not learning something new, not growing personally and professionally, and staying stagnant in life, I'm miserable.  I'm not meant for a repetitive desk job all day with no growth and so I continuously look for ways to challenge myself mentally, physically, and spiritually.  The YTT is the perfect challenge for me right now and I'm loving every minute.

A few months ago, I jumped the gun (again) and thought I would be half marathon ready by January 2018 so I signed up for the Miami Half Marathon.  Weather got cold, holidays came, and I just did not work on my endurance.  January arrived and I panicked.  Flights were booked, hotels booked, and I was feeling like a failure again.  I came across the Tropical 5k in Miami on Saturday (the prelude to the Half and Full Marathon).   So, I signed up!  I am so glad that I did.

Miami is full of energy and fresh, ocean air.   We arrived Thursday morning and I headed to the beach after checking into the hotel.  There were gayle winds and I was getting pelted with sand but I didn't care, it was the beach and it was still warm!  Friday, I picked up my packet and again headed back to soak up the sunshine.  After some day drinking, relaxing, yoga, reiki, a nap, and a massage I headed to bed early.   

 Saturday morning was perfect running weather (some weirdos may have said it was too warm, not me!).  I did not PR my time but my pace was about 30 seconds faster than the 2 races in 2017, so that works for me!  We ran across the bridge next to the ocean and finished at Nikki Beach.  Rather than take a cab back to the hotel I walked the 2 miles on the beach back to the hotel.  I relaxed by the pool the rest of the day, soaking up the sun!  The remaining time was spent exploring Miami Beach and the surrounding area with amazing cocktails and food, time in the sun, time by the ocean, and also a trip to Lock and Load Miami (   Miami was a success and I still started my race season earlier than usual! 

I am not only super pumped for 2018 in general, I am so excited to be an ambassador for the 2018 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. My discount code is MFCLE10. Recieve a 10% off discount at registration for any distance!

Believe Love Understand Empower!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

To my younger self...

  • I wish I could go back in time and give this innocent girl a big hug.  I'd wrap her in my arms and  repeat, "believe, love, understand, empower".  I'd tell her, "you are going to go through some tough times, your heart will break and it will feel like it gets ripped out of you, more times than you can count.   You are going to feel things that most don't understand because you feel and understand so deeply.  You will be misunderstood but it's ok, you're different.  Go to nature when you need to feel alive and take time to reflect and meditate because rest, nature, and silence heals you, strengthens you, and makes you better and stronger.  You will know things, feel things, and be driven by things out of the blue, trust your intuition for it will guide you.  You will want to work and give so much that it consumes you, be sure to take care of yourself because always giving to others without giving to yourself will drain you. Speak your truth and be true to yourself, always. You will absorb others emotional pains and feelings and will want to please everyone and you will lose yourself trying to understand and trying to please others.  You will lose yourself, many times.    It's going to take so much pain and negative experiences but you will eventually find your voice and you will find yourself. When you find you and your voice, let it be heard loud and clear. Help others find their voice and find themselves.    Learn and grow from the pain, that is why there is pain.  Megan, whatever you do in life just believe, love, understand, and empower....You got this and I love you absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt because you are badass."  Then I would give her a big hug and a kiss on the forehead and say, "You don't quit, you endure, and you grow.  When your lonliness feels overwhelming, and it will feel so overwhelming and so common, just look within and give yourself a big hug and repeat, believe, love, understand, empower.  When you feel like quitting, you brace yourself, and breathe, and hold on even tighter because it will be ok. " If you could go back in time and talk to your younger you, what would you say?  Why not look in the mirror now and say it now, YOU need to hear it.  Find a pic of your younger self and talk to it, talk to your younger self, and then follow through.  It's never too late. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October getaway to the mountains!

I love the water.  Like all humans I cannot breathe underwater (it would be so rad if I could!).  Life for me feels like I’m underwater.  Sometimes I’m in murky water with unknown threats, sometimes it’s clear water with fascinating scenery and I move through in awe.  Sometimes it feels like an unknown sea creature is pulling me down as I struggle to reach the surface for air….to take a breath.  When I start to feel like the latter, I retreat to nature.  Sometimes in a walk, sometimes for several days away secluded from others.  When I am in nature it feels like I broke free from the sea creature pulling me down, reached the surface, and took a huge breath of fresh air.  It's like when you hold your breath for as long as you can but you reach the point where you are struggling and need to breathe in…. stepping into nature reminds me of that feeling, I can take a deep breath when I’m in nature.  
For as long as I can remember I have been alone, awkward, desperate to be understood.  For years these feelings led me to seek approval, false friendships, and attention from anyone willing to give it.  This led to heartbreaks, painful violations and traumas, and disappointment after disappointment.   I thought that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t good enough, and that I didn’t deserve anything good.   I reached a point where I needed to change.  Through self-driven explorations, desperation, and curiosity, I began to look within.  I reached a point where I realized that I cannot rely on anyone else for anything and I needed to take matters into my own hands.  I started working out with a trainer, running, triathlon, then yoga.  Through these activities I was learning how to breathe, how to reach goals, rely on myself, conquer personal challenges, and gain self-confidence.  I learned how to be self-sufficient.
I quickly realized that I am worthy, nothing is wrong with me, and I deserve all the good and happiness that comes my way and most importantly…I learned I have total control over my life and my future.  Instead of dwelling on the bad and having regrets I changed my internal dialogue from “Why is this happening to me”, “What is wrong with me”, etc. to “How can I learn from this”, “How can I change?”, “How can I grow mentally, physically, spiritually”.  My life has always been spent asking, "why?".  I want to know causes.  Why do people behave the way they do? Why do people do the things they do,? Why do people get sick?  Why do we do this that, that, or the other in manufacturing? Why can't we do this and why can't we do that?  I want to know how people work, how machines work, and how most importantly I want to know how I work. 
Alas, time spent in nature continues to heal me, comfort me, and provide me with inspirations and insights that are life changing.  Nature is a warm, sincere hug, a shoulder to cry on, an impeccable listener, and a guide in life.  Nature provides depth in an often shallow world.  Nature is a big breath of fresh air after being under water for too long. 

Over the summer, I was finally able to get away and disconnect for the first time since before taking office as Mayor.  I documented my experience at the time; but, it is stuck on my Microsoft Surface ...damn technology.    Hopefully I can figure out how to transfer it and post it.  During that time I gave my explanation and need for getting away and disconnecting as well as kept a journal of my activities. 
In short, it is crucial for me to get away in nature and to completely disconnect from all social media, tv, radio, phone, etc.  I stay in a condo at a ski resort and then drive 30minutes to Ohiopyle or other various parks, such as Laurel Highlands, Forbes State park, and others for some hardcore physical activity and connection.   I continuously strive to be a better person mentally, physically, and spiritually and disconnecting helps me be that person.   I can easily stay connected and be distracted 100% of the time, with my phone in front of my face,  and still perform average and complete all tasks, easy peasy: But, that is not and has never been my goal.  I also feel that being connected all the time is inefficient on all levels.  My goal is to go above and beyond, to surpass average and above average.  My goal is to be the BEST that I can be mentally, physically, spiritually, and in career, life, relationships, etc. and then to keep striving and improving.    In my opinion it’s easy to be connected to email, social media, blah blah blah…but it’s neither efficient nor effective to the degree that I strive for, in my opinion.   
So, I am here for my 2nd time this year.  The first time (over the summer) my goal was to not think of work, life, goals, etc, it was to just be and to heal…  This time around I am disconnecting and exploring nature in order to define goals and create plans.  After all, vision is just a dream without details. Vision cannot be effective nor efficient without the details and planning.  In order to make a dream or vision come true, details and planning must occur.  People say, “you are either a visionary or a detailed person”.  I feel that I have become both.  I’m not sure how it started.  As a reflect back, I believe it developed with my physical training for triathlons, half marathons, a full marathon and a half ironman triathlon.   

During my college years my dream was to graduate on time with my bachelor’s degree.  Then, it was my master’s degree.   I don’t remember my plans back then…I think I shot from the hip and just made it happen, mostly on lots of coffee and all nighters writing last minute papers.  My 2nd master’s degree took much longer to earn due to my work schedule at the time as well as the class schedule, but I still feel that I was shooting from the hip.   After I began training for my first half marathon I realized that I couldn’t train last minute with lots of coffee.  I couldn’t pull an all nighter and complete a long distance endurance event.  I had to train over a period of time.  I trained with a detailed plan.  And so forth with my first half ironman in 2011.  During this time I began to understand that dreams and visions don’t happen by shooting from the hip, they take planning, short term goals, and execution.  In 2011 I decided to run for the office of Mayor.  Looking back I can say without a doubt after having that vision and wanting to make it a reality I knew that I needed to pay attention to details and achieve short term goals.  As a result, I won by a landslide. 

With that said,  I think that I started with having vision.  The physical feats illustrated the need for attention to details and planning in order to be successful.  I now treat my life and my goals like I’m training for a big race.  I come up with a vision and then I lay out small goals, I lay out the details and planning to reach those small goals, then I accomplish the big goal.  I take time away, without distraction, to think about goals and layout the plans for reaching those goals.  And so here I am. 
Day 1 Wednesday
I deactivated my facebook after obsessively checking it first thing in the morning per usual while rolling my eyes and shaking my head at my newsfeed.  I love being able to connect with great people; but, good grief everything has become so negative and self-righteous.  Anyway…I had to make a trip to the dentist this morning before heading out, not only was I overdue for a cleaning but I was having issues.  Long story short because of my long term teeth grinding (mostly when I sleep, ugh) my teeth/enamels are super thin.  Over the last few days (not sure when) my front teeth enamel “burst” …I can’t remember how my dentist explained it.   At any rate, the issue can be solved and it’s ok to go away for a few days, I will live.  
I finally got packed up, thankfully I got groceries the night before per my brilliant mother’s suggestion.  I loaded up the car and headed for the mountains.  With no stops, beautiful weather, and 3 hours later I arrived to my special place.  I unpacked the necessities, texted and phoned my parents to let them know all was well and I made it, walked Bruiser, put my phone on airplane mode, turned off my phone, and walked across the road to grab a bite to eat and some drinks.  I hung out on the patio by myself, with no phone, and an amazing view.  It was so great and refreshing.
I recognized the view from the patio.  Throw back to the mid 90's....this hill used to be for snow tubing. Back in the day Mom, Bro, Sis, and I went tubing and decided to connect our tubes to go was lots of fun! So, when dad joined us the next time, he played along. Apparently adding that additional person to our snow tubing train wrecked havoc. We snow tubed out of control, gaining so much speed that we hit the creek.... Katie landed unharmed on a flat rock, mom, bro and I tipped over into the creek, and dad hit a rock to his side. He broke ribs and punctured a lung and did some other damage. It was chaotic, I remember reacting without hesitation or fear and ran up that big ass hill screaming for help and 911....I think this is where my dislike for hills began. People didn't realize what had happened and looked at me funny. I think that was the 1st time I dropped "f bombs" towards adults, to get their attention. Dad was life-flighted. I remember waiting for my grandparents at the hospital to take us kids home and my dad's doctor being extremely gorgeous. I also remember my dad finally coming home and I remember not being allowed near him because I laugh when I get nervous.... and then he would laugh, and it would hurt him. He healed and we all survived. I often wonder what that doctor is doing these he single? Does he remember me? Sigh. I still hate hills.  The tubing area has since moved....and is much more safe.

I wrote a bit, outlined my goals and “to do” for my trip, sipped some vodka with soda and ate a delish burger with no bun.  It was relaxing! When was the last time you just sat and ate in peace in quiet?   On the first day of disconnecting, it doesn’t really sink in that I’m disconnected.  I find myself checking my phone then remembering it is off and being relieved. Upon returning from dinner I finished unpacking, walked Bruiser, and soaked in the Jacuzzi with Epsom salts and essential oils.  Ahhhh, relief.  My tub at home is standard and doesn’t cover all my parts.  I may or may not have stripped down naked and danced around the porch before soaking in the Jacuzzi.  When you’re alone on the mountain, in total darkness, with one else get the urge to dance around naked, outside.  It's totally normal……. And I'm sure it was more satisfying than sliding around the kitchen floor in a button down and tighty whiteys like Tom Cruise. 

I don't understand why my family thinks I over-pack.  Better to be prepared! I'm super picky and need my own stuff from blankets to my own organic food when I travel, plus security, and supplies in case I get lost on the woods or if there is a zombie apocalypse. 

Since I'm super organic and like my own products, I brought all the necessities from Sage and Spice botanical tea (I love her teas <3) to my CBD oil, adrenal tonic, mushroom drinks, Ghee butter, spirilina energy tablets, NUUN hydration and more.   

Day 1 complete.

Day 2 Thursday
After the usual meditation, Bruiser walk, and yoga, I headed out.  Today’s mission was Mount Davis.  I printed out maps ahead of time so that I wouldn’t  have to “connect” and rely on my phone.  Traveling to this location was stunning.  Radio off, jaw dropped, and curiosity heightened.  I traveled back country roads and was stunned to see so many beautiful houses as well as decrepit houses in the middle of nowhere.  There were private drives marked as such by signs and the houses were not in sight.  There were a lot of farm houses and land as well as Amish.  I was excitedly curious.  It was illustrative of a self-reliant, self-sustainable lifestyle that I see in my dreams.  It must be so quiet and peaceful, especially at night. As an empath I pick up on the energy from everyone around me and it gets overwhelming.  I often can't differentiate from my own feelings to those around me; therefore it's a huge relief when I'm not around people.  I can feel how I feel and not pick up on the anxiety, stresses, and negative energy that others  posses.   

However, when I visit the mountains, I don’t dare drive at night.  I think I would get lost or drive off a cliff.  I’m always in well before the sun goes down.  There was a small detour that I didn’t plan for on my printed map but I adjusted and figured it out, no need for siri and the internet…..I was old school, like the days before cell phones, we just figured it out, used our brains.  I finally found Mount Davis.  I parked at the picnic area and checked out the map.  No one was in sight, it was awesome.  I headed out for the hike to the fire tower.  It started out easy but then the trail became incredibly rocky.  I ended up getting a little bit lost and had a full blown panic attack for some reason. But no worries and certainly no need to turn on the phone and do a “search” or to call for help.  I can get through it and figure it out.   I’m not sure what triggered the panic attack.  I’ve been having panic attacks sporadically since high school as a result of a trauma.  I’ve had them so much that over time and experience I’ve been able to develop my own plan of what to do when it occurs.  I followed my plan and was able to “talk” myself down.  Nothing worse than having a panic attack in the middle of nowhere in unknown territory.  I love a challenge!  Alas,  I ended up making it to the fire tower.  My plan was to go up the fire tower and check out the view.  I made it up 2 levels and chickened out.  I am terrified of heights.  No one was around and I thought of my mother.  I didn’t want to push through only to get to the top and then not be able to make it down.  So, I bailed.  Ah well.  It happens.  I hiked back and recognized how I got lost.  I headed back “home” but decided to take a little detour through Rockport, PA, a stop along the Great Allegheny Passage.  It’s a quaint town. I stopped for a bite to eat and enjoyed people watching.  I headed back “home” but took several unnecessary detours to check out Forbes State Forest, a dirt road near where I was staying, and other areas.  I was curious where this road led and where that road led.  There are so many parks and back roads here, it’s overwhelming.  I was sure to make mental note of road names and direction so I didn’t get lost.  I finally got home and took the bruiser for a walk and enjoyed a refreshing shower, reading, and early bed. 

Day 3 Friday

I didn’t sleep well at all.  It’s not as cold as I planned.  I need outside temps to be below 55 degrees to sleep.  Though I had the windows open, there was no air flow/ ceiling fan, and I just couldn’t get comfy.  I was also getting a sore throat.  I kept trying to sleep it off.  In a moment of panic I did a full body search for signs of tick bites- from what I could see I was in the clear.  I felt like the sore throat was from the nasal congestion so I stopped worrying an applied my  essential oils for relief.  I slept until afternoon and felt bummed on missing out on a days worth of hiking and outdoors!  I sucked it up and decided to head out for some easy stuff.  I checked out Laurel Hill State Park Scenic Overlook (which is not in the park but rather off back roads).  I parked my car at the gate and hiked the short distance to what looks like a little hut on stairs.  Fortunately it was a height that was manageable.  The views were breathtaking and human pollution was nowhere to be seen or heard, it was perfect. 

I left the overlook and headed to Confluence, PA.  The first full weekend in October is Pumpkinfest in Confluence.  It’s a festival that benefits their volunteer fire and ems department.  Before stopping at the festival I drove around in search of Youghigheny River Lake.  I’ve been on the river several times kayaking and white water rafting but never knew where the lake was located.  I wanted to find it because it's on Flanigan Road and because I want to explore it next summer via kayak and SUP.  After driving around I found, Flanigan Road!  I drove up the short road where a park office was located.  Looking like a tourist, I got out, looked around, checked out the road that went across the dam.  I didn’t get very far due to the height and turned around and stopped to talk to a ranger.  He informed me that you drive across the dam to get to the beach and then explained the dimensions and provided helpful information about the lake.  I took mental note of the details and grabbed brochures for next summer’s trip!    I headed back into the town and walked around Pumpkinfest, picked up some BBQ from a place in Farmington, and some hot chocolate.  It’s nice to walk around a town and have conversations with people that do not know you, pre-judge you based on biased news reportings, or that only talk to you because they are looking for a donation from your family.  It’s nice to be unknown and not used.  Before heading home I drove to a local grocer and picked up some Epsom salts, cough drops, and Tylenol.  Next mission…..sweat and soak this bug out.  Upon returning,  I took Bruiser for a pleasant walk around our area then soaked away my crud. 

Day 4 Saturday

Still not feeling 100% and still not sleeping well (I’m such a picky sleeper), I woke up determined to carry out my next mission…Ohiopyle and hiking the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.  After the usual morning routine, I headed out fairly early.  The weekends in Ohiopyle are incredibly busy, I wanted to beat the rush.   I got there in time and checked out Cucumber falls (again), walked around but noticed most of the shops were still closed.  I parked at the LHHT parking lot, checked out the posted map, finally figured out where the trail was located and starting hiking up, up, up, and up.  I headed out planning to do an hour out and then back.  It was beautiful.  I started to get to some serious incline.  The incline became super narrow and on the edge of the mountain, I later found out that this is one of the most difficult sections of the 70mile long LHHT.  I kept going thinking "I want to see what is at the top of this thing".  I came to a scenic overlook that was breath taking and incredibly frightening for my height fearing senses.  But, I kept wanting to see what was next.  This is what makes out and backs in new areas so challenging for me, I want to keep going to see what is next but often forget that however far I go out, I have to come back.  I made it past the scary part, kept going, and just soaked in the scenery like a bonafide tourist but also like a bonafide explorer.  It felt like Christmas and I was a young kid unwrapping present after present with excitement and anticipation.  I kept going, crossed some dirt road, hiked down the mountain (Shit, I know that I’m going to have to hike that up on the way back), heard water, and decided to keep hiking.  I reached the water source, a small, flowing creek, and I crossed it for a short time then looked at the time and my water supply and reluctantly but intelligently decided to turn back.  

I wish that I had a computer connected to my brain when hiking, I create amazing poems, stories, and reach epiphanies, and discover insights that need to be recorded.   I hiked back, saw a few other hikers, passed the scenic overlook which is a flat rock over looking death’s drop and there are 5 hikers just chillin’ on the very edge, snacking away on their snacks, and having non nonchalant conversation as I quietly hug the mountain side and waddle by while breathing heavily and sweating profusely.   Just looking at them out there on the edge made my woozy.  Crazy people! I continued my descent and notice a black furry creature within the trees. Me to me, “shit, a fucking bear.  Do I play dead or act like a big threat and makes lots of noise?” Me to me, "Oh, it’s a cute, black dog with a male companion…..and a female companion following close behind."  For fuck’s sake, what are you people doing out here with a black dog that resembles a black bear from a distance while dehydrated?!  I called out in relief, “Oh, that’s a dog, I thought it was a black bear”.  He laughed, she laughed,  I laughed with giddiness and goofiness from exhaustion and relief.  I continue to truck on down the mountain and then stop in horror as I see a long black slithery devil’s creation…a snake!  Shit!  I do what anyone would do in this day and age and drop my backpack, grab the camera (my phone is in airplane mode but the camera still works) and take a quick picture.  The creepy freak looked back at me.  I snapped the pic and darted off as fast as I could.  Today I was faster than a snake.  I finished the dart off with a little “oh my god, a snake, I’m so creeped out” dance.  Shake it off.  I continue on. I met a couple on my final descent that was from the Akron area.  I was wearing my Akron ½ mary long sleeve shirt and they were like, “Oh, hey are you from Akron?”  Me, “Nope, the Cleveland area”, insert small talk that I cannot remember because I just defied death by snake.  I eventually made it back to Ohiopyle and searched for a diet coke like I imagine Lewis and Clark searched for water.  I do not condone drinking pop of any kind but when faced with death several times by heights, snakes, and lack of water, I deserve that freaking diet coke. 

By this time Ohiopyle was packed with people coming to see nature through the lens of their phone cameras.  (People in parks should be ticketed for walking/ hiking while staring at their phone).  WTF people!  (I’m all for the Instagram pics but not obsessively face deep in your phone while walking/ hiking…you’re going to miss the good stuff.  Stop and take a pic once in a while, the views are amazing I understand but for fucks sake be in the present).  I managed to make it to a local store for some pop and then got an amazing buffalo chicken wrap with hot sauce.  It was the best wrap ever.  I sat at a picnic table and stuffed my face while people walked by with their phones in front of their faces.  The "always connected, snap chat,  and Instagram every step you take" culture isn’t my thing.  I don’t get it.  One of the many reasons I disconnect is to not become like them.  Honestly, I think a lot of our problems as a society are a  result of this always connected, instant gratification culture. 
cucumber falls!

The overlook from LHHT at Ohiopyle.......breath taking and side of the mountain grabbing! 

I headed back to the condo and took in the scenic drive.  I am a pro at downshifting now.  I honestly didn’t know what it was until after my 2nd white water rafting trip.  We were on the bus and the raft leaders were talking about downshifting and making jokes about vehicles from out of state piling up at the end of the mountain because brakes went out.  That made me think and look at my car differently.  Then I noticed the different gears and was like, “oh shit, duh!” .  
Here I am, wrapping up another disconnected trip to the mountains.  Next time I make it here the ski resort will be open and there will be skiers and snow!  I’m so thankful to have a home away from home.  I’m especially thankful to have the ability and courage to get away.  I’m such a homebody and when I’m stressed I retreat to the confines of my home which isn’t always healthy.  A change of pace, scenery, and connection is refreshing, inspiring, and good for the mind, body, and soul!  I learned a lot this trip.  Though I disconnected, I spent a lot of time planning and strategizing.  I learned that I can still be self- reliant when it comes to panic attacks, getting lost, and getting sick.  I feel that as a single 36 year old woman I need to be more self reliant and putting myself in situations that are outside my comfort zone will only help me grow and be more self-reliant. I learned that I love nature even more, Bruiser is my best friend, and I’m lucky enough to get away to discover these things!   

Another successful trip to the mountains! 


Friday, September 22, 2017

Believe Love Understand's a way of life

B.L.U.E. (Believe Love Understand Empower) is a way of life.  It's something I thought of back in 2010 and something that came to fruition and evolved in 2017 through my holistic health coaching education and certification.

I implement these principles at work, in my relationships, and my own continuous self improvement.
 I strive to always look at the causes of issues, whether it be with difficult people, facing obstacles and challenges, or in working on my own health issues, personal development, and spiritual wellness.  Knowing and understanding the cause of any issue is crucial to treating it.

Recently I saw a dermatologist for a skin rash I have had all summer.  I was concerned that it was serious and wanted to rule out skin cancer and such.  I also wanted to know if it was viral or bacterial.  Turns out it is eczema. I asked the Nurse Practitioner, "What is the cause of eczema?".  She stated that it is unknown but she has free samples of creams and lotions that she can give me as well as a prescribed topical ointment containing steroids that would help.  I declined all of the above because I want to work on resolving the issue holistically and figuring out the cause.  I have found that diet and environmental factors, and stress can be a factor.

recently I was presented with an opportunity.  Without going into details, I went into a situation with a perceived difficult person thinking I would be stern and direct and end the issue.  At first I was frustrated and wanted to execute a black and white one-sided resolution.  After listening to this person speak, I began to think to myself, "What is causing this person to act this way?" I continued to listen and I asked some questions.  Over a period of listening and trying to understand this person, I realized there was an underlying issue that was causing this person to act out and behave in this reactive manner.  I began to understand this person's behavior and decided to not go through with the reaction that I had initially planned. Together we discussed how to move forward in a productive manner, I provided this person with a couple of tools and we agree upon a plan on how to resolve the issue.

The above may sound (read) vaguely but the point is this...Everyone is fighting a battle that we don't know about.  There is always a cause for someone's behavior.  A lot of time it's easier to just dismiss someone's feelings and to act in the best interest of yourself.  Listening with an open and curious mind is the best way to finding resolution for both sides.    I have a better understanding of this person and have a better understanding with how to move forward in a way that is beneficial to us both.  Listening is so important.  So often we react and we are quick to judge.

Now, I know 100% that this doesn't always work.  There are people that you cannot and will never be able to reason with, regardless of how much compassion and patience you show.   And in those cases, it's best to just not engage with these types of people and to walk away.  I think that in most cases, listening and understanding with compassion will work.

Believing, loving, understanding, and empowering is a way of life for me.  It's also a continuous improvement, cyclical, process.  Listening is a crucial tool to utilize when navigating difficult situations and difficult people.

Believe Love Understand Empower

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy Earth Day!

What do you get the most amazing thing on its birthday?  

I love nature.  I long for periods of time spent immersed in the wilderness.  I'm overwhelmingly sensitive to human sounds and energy.  I desperately need time spent away with no sounds of cars, horns, people chatting, notifications beeping....I need time away in places that are not polluted by human noise.  Spending time in nature unplugged, disconnected from social media, texting, calls, emails, and distractions is what keeps me grounded.  Time in nature makes me feel alive, silences my mind, allows me to be present, and makes me feel more connected to living than anything or anyone else. 

Solitude in nature is heaven on earth.  As soon as I reach a trail-head a long, loud sigh of relief escapes from my often clenched mouth.  A genuine smile appears as feelings of relief, peace, and joy overwhelm me. I feel giddy and childlike.  The brain fog lifts, the heaviness is gone, and the happiness returns.   Running, hiking, and exploring the woods reconnects me to life, earth, and the universe.  I am replenished.  

Time in nature is what I imagine it feels like to fall in love, to receive an embrace from a loved one that has passed on.  Though I am single and often alone, I can always connect with nature. It's been painfully difficult for me to connect with people.  The few times in the past when I thought I had been blessed with a connection it always turned out to be a cruel duping. I took a detour on my way to grocery shop and stopped by Rocky River Nature Center.   Ironically, as I walked from parking lot to trail, up the stairs,  around the trail and back not one person made eye contact.  It feels like people are so desperate for connection yet so closed off to notice the possibilities for connection all around, like self absorbed zombies.   Loneliness is like a gnawing hunger and nature is an endless and bountiful garden. When humans fail, seek nature.