#metoo

For many women, and me  #metoo brought up memories we thought we had successfully pushed away or had finally healed. Only to discover that all of us (with the exception of Mayim Bialik and maybe a few others) have suffered.  So many women. Not only do we have our own stories but also we relive ours with each telling and cringe anew that these men are not held accountable.  In fact, we cringe to realize a certain demographic elected a predator as the leader of our country. 

I’m from rural Texas where patriarchy has reigned for decades. I see this demographic in every day life.  Patriarchy is marked by the idea that men have the power by virtue of their gender and that women are passive breeders.  Property.

Then there is also a passive voice about the predation.  “She was raped” instead of, “He raped her.”

As a result, many rural women tend to overly apologize for anything that's not perfect, as if it’s their fault.  It’s our "go to" reaction.  We want to be unthreatening.  It’s part of how we keep ourselves safe.

I’m very attracted to masculine men and still catch my breath when a hardworking cowboy tips his hat at me, or waves as he drives by with a trailer full of cattle.  Cowboys were supposed to be the “prince charmings” of the world where I grew up.  I was meant to grow up and marry one.  I dreamt of the safety provided by a man. It must have been something I did wrong that I didn't have that life.  I'm sorry.

It took me lots of experiences to discover that I didn't "belong" in my small town and to be okay with that.    I learned to apologize only for things that were my fault. But the old attraction is still there, even though, now I know better than to act on it.

My dad was a cowboy and my mom came from a century old Texas ranching family.  A babysitter used to come out to the ranch to watch my brother and me.  He wasn't a cowboy but (to not use the passive voice here) he molested us.  Not "we were molested".  He molested us.  He did this to us.  Sexualized us as children.  That is where is began.

As I got older I realized my grandfather was also a predator.  I saw him corner women at parties and heard people talk about his “girlfriends”. Once when I was a teenager and going fishing with him, I put on a bathing suit to get some sun.  We were fishing at a round pond and I remember many slow laps made around that tank, trying to stay one step ahead of him as he casually advanced on me, telling me how pretty I looked and what a good figure I had, trying to hug me.

When my mom found out about the babysitter, she got rid of him but never had a conversation about what he did to me.  I was molested (passive voice) I carried that. I identified with it.  At 5 I didn't have the emotional maturity to know I wasn't to blame and to use the active voice,  “he molested me”.   I didn’t know I was a victim or how to come back from that.  I told myself it didn't affect me.  I was strong.  I moved forward.

We joked about my grandfather.  Once at a wedding, I walked into the bathroom to find my older cousin at the mirror, reapplying lipstick.  "What are you doing?”  "Putting more lipstick on.  Papa sucked it off."  And we laughed.  But not really.

My parents both starting working long hours during my pre-teen and teenage years.  My job was to do all of the housework but I was an efficient worker and often finished in time to sneak off with friends while my parents were still at work. 

I started skipping school with a senior girl who had a Trans Am and one day she took me to the oilrig where her boyfriend worked.  We rode around, me in the backseat with a much older, bigger guy who kissed me and tried to feel me up, telling me I "sure was well developed for a sixteen year old".   It was exciting, I guess.  He was a bad boy in a black cowboy hat. And my rebel game was strong.  I did't identify as being a victim because that was weak.  Rebels are strong, so I chose that, instead.

The first clue I had for what I was in for was when I grabbed the steering wheel one day and pulled it a little as a joke about his reflexes.  He slapped me so hard on the leg that his hand left a red imprint.

Because my rebel game is strong, and my early abuse was never healed by being valued and taught proper boundaries, I dated him anyway. I was strong.  I could take it. 

The whole thing was illicit.  I snuck around to see him for six months and my parents were too busy to notice.  I was the last girl in my circle to lose my virginity.  A month later I was pregnant. 

The well-pressed cowboys may not hit their wives but they're probably much like my sons' father who thinks if a woman isn't attractive and obedient, she has no value.

I was attractive enough to draw serious jealousy, but I never was obedient. I didn’t see myself as a battered wife.  I saw myself as very strong woman married to a deeply insecure man.

My rebellion against being obedient got me slapped, knocked out, dragged and raped.  Even after I escaped and divorced him he still stalked and hurt me.

The abuse was decades ago and I had a lot of therapy and have since built my confidence by making better decisions and finding out just how capable I am on my own, but it feels like the abuse took up more of my life than it did.  Because it still takes up time in my head and this abuser is still the father of my children.

And because my rebel game is strong, I learned to fight back.  In two separate work situations, one in Austin with my boss and one with a co-worker in Alaska, men grabbed my ass at the office.  In both cases I turned around, reflexively, without thinking and punched the predators.  I'd become a truer version of myself.  More strong, less victim...but it had made me a little hard.

I look at my attraction to the clean-cut cowboys with amusement now.  Although sometimes I’m tempted to date them, they come from the same culture as my grandfather, who was a clean cut cowboy (and a predator) and my father who after I was almost beaten to death said, "her rosebud must have gotten warm" as an excuse to my husband; meaning I was attracted to the wedding party partner I was asked to dance with (for which I was beaten and knocked unconscious). 

More recently a horse trainer I dated posted "funny" memes on social media making fun of women’s appearance.  I broke up with him because of that but also because I recognized other patriarchal themes to our relationship.  I tried dating a younger cowboy, thinking he might be more evolved, but instead of being curious about the world and thinking about new ideas, he swallowed the culture he grew up with.  It may take me a while to create a boundary (which is the outcome of early victimization/sexualization of young girls) but I’m getting better. 

My litmus test finally had to be whether potential male friends and lovers are feminists.  It’s not enough to not beat their wives or corner women sexually and grab them, but they have to be colleagues in this fight against patriarchy and fear we suffer.  Just like the acts of predators can't be in the passive voice, neither can the acts of evolved men who strive to live in a place of healthy masculinity.  We need the active voice of support.

What does that look like?  I was Danny Glover's massage therapist on two movies.  I would sometimes take a massage chair to set and work on other cast and crew members while he was working.  One day a grip asked loudly in front of a group of people that if he got a massage would I rub my tits on him.  My #metoo sisters know the mortification I felt and the familiar lump in my throat and tight chest.  I angrily said, "No, of course not."  I locked eyes with an angel of a man named Tony Brubaker who was Danny's stunt double.  He quietly walked the predator away.  Soon a ripple went through the crew.  The grip was escorted off set and fired.  Tony had gone to the producers and I don't know what he said but the reaction was swift.  I still cried later when I was alone, but also felt that I was valued and that my comfort and safety were important.

There is a movement of #ihave and #itwasme from evolved men.  If I choose to be with a man, that he have this self awareness is my dream of a TRUE cowboy in a white hat.  Despite my experiences at the hands of some men, there’s still softness in me. I lost it for a while but I am still finding my way forward, and that lets me know that I have retained some innocence and vulnerability.  I don't have to be strong enough to survive the abuse.  I don't have to take any abuse. As long as I am able to connect with that and not get hard about all men, I know my feminine side has survived. What I realize now is that I don’t need for a man to save me, but if men want healthy feminine energy in their lives it’s up to them to change the culture that puts us at risk. We want to be strong women with our softer sides intact. Protecting us in THAT way is masculine and very attractive, whether you're a cowboy or not.

My Medical Tourism Adventure to Mexico

Recently I broke my collarbone on a biking trip in the Big Bend desert region of Texas.  I lived in the desert for 13 years and had ridden that section of the trail hundreds of times.  This time the rain had rutted the trail and I fell hard on a fast downhill section.  I flipped three times, broke my collarbone, bruised some ribs, had multiple lacerations and a concussion.

 

I texted friends and started walking out.  I was by myself.  My friends found me after about 2 1/2 miles  hiking back to the car and took me to the emergency room 90 miles away.  My accident happened at around 10am.  I got to the emergency room around 2pm.  The X-ray showed a 100% displaced fracture with 3 fragments.  The ER doctor told me I would need an orthopedic follow-up and probably surgery to put in a plate and screws.  Friends who've also broken collarbones told me that it would heal on its own and since I didn't have health insurance I chose to believe that.  After five weeks I had a follow up X-ray that showed the fracture was more displaced than ever and one end of the bone was poking me in the ribs and caused concern that when (for me it's not IF) I had another accident, the fractured bone could puncture my lung.  So, I started thinking creatively about how I could get it fixed.

 

I had just been rafting in Mexico 2 months before and had made some friends there.  I sent messages to ask if they knew an orthopedic surgeon who I could see.  One friend, Enrique responded.  He got an appointment for me with an ortho that had treated one of his family members.

 

I got hurt in August and had another rafting trip to Jalapa in September scheduled, which I had to cancel due to my injury.  I changed my flight to September 19, a day before my scheduled appointment.  This time I didn’t get to pack river gear, but nightgowns and pajamas that buttoned in front; nothing that had to be pulled over my head.

 

On the 19th while sitting in the Austin airport playing on my phone I saw that there was an earthquake in Puebla, Mexico where I was scheduled to land.  I asked the desk workers if the flight would be cancelled.  They couldn't tell me.  I called my friend Marie who is a pilot for United and flies to Puebla and asked her if she knew anyone we could call to find out if the airport was damaged.  She said she didn't know of any way to find out and encouraged me to continue on.

 

When my flight got to Houston for a short layover, I saw immediately that the connecting flight had been rescheduled for 7:00 the next morning.  Sitting in the airport for 15 hours with a fractured collarbone was one of my worst fears for the trip.  The airline's policy was to not provide housing in the instance the delay was related to natural disasters and anyway, there was not one hotel room in Houston available due to the population being displaced because of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Enrique and I had been communicating on What Sapp and I quickly told him about my flight.  He was already on the bus from Jalapa to Puebla to get me but I caught him at a bus stop a short distance from Jalapa and he was able to jump off and catch a bus back home.

 

I was starving so I got some food and starting brainstorming.  I put out a Face book plea to any Houston friends who might have an extra bed or couch and used ride share to get to my friend Victoria's house.  She made me dinner and we drank wine and it turned into a lovely evening.  I went back to the airport at 4:30am to make my flight.

 

The flight was smooth; I got a taxi at the airport to take me to the bus station, bought a ticket and headed to Jalapa where Enrique met me at the bus station.

 

My appointment with the doctor was that afternoon but due to the language difference I didn't fully understand if I was just going in for a consult or if I was going into the hospital for surgery that day. 

 

The hospital was a beautiful stark white surrounded by palm trees.  It's privately owned by a group of doctors and really clean and lovely.  The rooms are like a luxury hotel and a creative luxury car dealership has cars for sale in the parking lot.  The doctor looked at the X-rays I bought and said he wanted to monitor the injury for 2 weeks and then make a decision about surgery.  Since it had been six weeks since the injury, he wasn't sure he would be able to do the repair.  The bones may have calcified too much.

 

I was deflated as I took the elevator down to have a new X-ray done.  I didn't want to have wasted the time and expense of traveling with an earthquake delay only to be turned away.

 

I took the X-ray back up to the doctor.  He slid the film onto the viewer and the light came on to expose the break I was now really familiar with.  It looked the same.  He turned back to me and said, "Podemos hacer el cirugia Viernes" (we can do the surgery Friday). 

 

The next day I had my blood work done and returned to the doctor's office for him to review it.  Everything looked good and we were ON.  I was scheduled to check into the hospital at 6pm the next day and surgery was scheduled for 7pm.

 

Enrique and I were out running errands in his sister's vintage VW Bug and at 10:30 I told him to pull over so I could eat.  I had a window of 8 hours before surgery where I couldn't have any food or drink.  At the last minute I got a cheese quesadilla a calabacita taco and a big glass of hibiscus tea.

 

At time to check in, we arrived at the hospital.  San Francisco hospital is a private hospital run by a Catholic charity.  I'd chosen it because to have the surgery in the doctor's private hospital would have cost $1,000 more.  It was clean and the people were very nice.  There is an armed guard posted at the door and the hospital is on a busy street near downtown.  I filled out basic paperwork, paid a $280 (by credit card) deposit for the media controls for the room and headed up the elevator.

 

I changed into my hospital gown and had my legs wrapped to prevent thrombosis.  My vitals were checked.  The nurse had placed a tourniquet on my left arm and was tapping the top of my hand trying to get a vein to rise.  She asked, "Estas nerviosa?" (Are you nervous)?  I said, "Si, como no!" (Yes, of course).  "Relajando", she said.  "Right" I thought.  "Facil a decir." (easy to say).  She finally got what she needed and started the IV.  I received pain meds, antibiotics and something for stomach upset. 

 

When the anesthesiologist came in, he offered me "dos opciones" (two options), I could receive a cervical nerve block to deaden my shoulder for the surgery and remain awake for the procedure or receive general anesthesia.  I asked what the pros and cons were and was told that the block was safer as there are always risks with general anesthesia.  He went on to say that I was healthy and there was no reason to believe that i would have any problems with general anesthesia.  As I couldn't imagine anyone staying awake for a surgery where your shoulder would be cut open, pried apart and screws and a plate drilled in, I chose the general anesthesia.

 

I was surprised that the surgery was scheduled for 7:00pm.  I know the culture there is different with siesta in the afternoon and staying up later but the evening surgery was a novel idea, which really made a lot of sense.  After my surgery I could just go to sleep.

 

As the nurses were prepping me for surgery, I heard a choir start to sing in the hallway.  Of course I was scared a) I've never had surgery other than dental extractions b) I was in a 3rd world country seeking medical care.  I was with my friend Enrique who I'd known for four months but was otherwise alone.  It was a little scary.  I'm a massage therapist, yoga teacher and life coach.  I used all of the tools in my arsenal to calm myself; deep breathing, wounded child archetype work and meditation.  My eyes filled with tears but I was proud of my ability to remain calm.

 

As I listened to the choir singing and with thoughts of my mortality, I was reminded of a conversation I'd had with my best school friend shortly after we got out of high school.  We were raised in a small town with a strong Christian base.  I moved to Austin and she was living in the Dallas area.  We'd recently learned that some very normal people didn't necessarily believe in Christ.  I remember our conversation was something to the effect of, "Who do the talk to when they get scared?"  "Who do they ask for help?"  And let's not be mistaken.  I was scared but I took a minute to reflect.  As an adult I consider myself to be a seeker but don't identify with any religion.  We've all heard of people finding God on their deathbeds.  Curious about my own fear because, to tell the truth, I had had a big glass of ice water in the middle of the afternoon and lied to the anesthesiologist when he asked me if I'd had anything to eat or drink in 8 hours.  When I said, "no", he asked, "Not even water?”  "No."  I'd read online that you could have water up to 2 hours before general anesthesia but...hey, I was still a bit nervous.

 

Pema Chodron taught me that enlightenment by definition is the absence of fear.  As they came to move me out of my bed and onto the gurney and rolled me down the hallway under dim lights to the sound of choir music, I was peaceful.  Not scared.  I've lived my life as close to my true nature as I possibly could.  I've traveled to the places I've been curious about and introduced and empowered other women to try things that scared them.  I decided that even if I died because of a glass of ice water, I'd be okay with that.  I felt well loved by my friends and wrapped in pink cloud, rolling down the hall to what could have been the soundtrack of my funeral.

 

The anesthesiologist talked to me as he stuck monitors to my body as we waited for the doctor to arrive.  When the orthopedic surgeon started to wash his hands, the anesthesiologist told me that I was going to relax as he put something into my IV.  It was a great, happy feeling.  As the doctor came close and asked me if I was ready, the anesthesiologist said, "Vas a dormir ahora." (You're going to sleep now). 

 

The next thing I knew, they were moving me off the surgery table onto a gurney and I was mad because I didn't think they'd done the surgery yet.  Time went by in a blip.  I'm sure they're accustomed to patients who are out of it so they just ignored me.  They couldn't understand what I was saying anyway.  I finally understood that the surgery was over.

 

The doctor came by my room after I was settled and showed me photos he'd apparently taken of the surgery on his phone.  They even already had filters on them so I'm pretty sure I'm on Instagram somewhere.  I saw how the bones were glued back together and the plate attached.  There was also an X-ray of the plate in position after the surgery.

 

A couple of differences between surgery in Mexico and surgery in the United States (besides the huge price difference and live Instagram pics) is that they don't use as much anesthesia during surgery so it's safer.  I didn't spend time in a recovery room taking hours to wake up.  I was awake before I was even off the operating table.  Also, Mexicans must be a lot tougher than we are.  Even though I have a pretty high pain tolerance, I was uncomfortable through the night and kept asking for more pain meds.  They gave me a bit more but then told me I had had all the pain meds I could get.

 

In the morning, the nurse who came on staff asked me if I was uncomfortable all night.  When I told her "yes", she left the room and came back with a bottle she attached to my IV.  I finally felt relief.  After she left my bed started moving.  I looked over at Enrique and asked him if he felt anything (thinking maybe the drugs were messing with me).  He said,” No," but then he pointed to my IV bag which was swaying on the stand.  Another earthquake had hit nearby.

 

I got to go home the next evening.  Worthy of mention are the bad streets in Mexico when you're going home from surgery in an old car with no suspension.  But otherwise, I felt well taken care of and professionally treated.

 

I was on oral antibiotics for ten days.  The pain meds they prescribed were pretty innocuous, but thankfully in Mexico you don't really need a prescription, even for narcotics.  I coordinated with my US pharmacist friend who helped me get the right combination of pain relievers and muscle relaxers so I could be comfortable for the week of recovery.

 

I returned to the States a week later, had a friend remove my stitches after two weeks and started the PT exercises my friend had prescribed for me.  I can't move my arm for another five weeks and will then need an X-ray to make sure the bone is healing with the support of the plate.  If so, I can start strengthening exercises.  I can't return to high impact activities like mountain biking for four months.

 

The breakdown?  The surgery in Mexico, including the surgeon, hospital, anesthesiologist, hardware and diagnostic testing was somewhere really close to $3,000.00 US.  I was able to pay the hospital with an American debit card, the doctor I paid cash in dollars and the hardware had to be paid for in pesos.  My emergency room visit alone was $2500.00 in the States.

 

I feel really lucky to have a Mexican friend who was willing to guide me through this experience and take care of me and give me a place to stay during recovery. I'm also grateful that my US friends respected my decision for the most part and didn't add to my apprehension with the apprehension that they were feeling for my Medical Tourism Adventure. My shoulder is healing nicely and I don't anticipate any problems. 

Oxcarts and Airplanes

I am an efficiency freak.  People who know me know that I can be very assertive and impatient in traffic.  It’s not that I want to go faster and get mad at slow people, but the roads were designed where the slow people drive in the right hand lane and the left is open for passing only.  Slow drivers in the left lane is one of my huge pet peeves.

 

This concept also applies to communication.  Rather than asking 14 questions via text, please propose a solution, a meeting place or a plan so I have somewhere to start with my response.  In Chinese medicine my type is known as metal.  We get in our heads and like it there.  We plan things out.  Even when I unlock a combination lock, I consider which direction is the most efficient one to turn the tumblers to reach the combination most efficiently.   I told you.  Freak.  At least to those Chinese medicine Wood and Water energy people. 

 

Recently I was reading a book that I’m pretty sure was written by a Metal person like me.  Even though we Metal people are too pragmatic to fall into blind faith and belief of religion and spirituality, if you describe a challenge or solution to us in scientific or efficiency terms, we can totally get on board.

 

This Aha! Moment came when I read the authors description of travelling across the country.  People used to do it in an oxcart.  It took years to get from one coast to another.  So long that people were even born and died on the journey… the population of the travel party actually changed it took so long.

 

So Wood people (Water people don’t leave the place where they start) would focus on enjoying the journey and wouldn’t get too wound up about when they got there.  They may even settle somewhere for a few years before starting on again.  I do cultivate my “living in the moment” energy.  That’s my work in this life.  Wood people have the challenge of being more efficient.  For Water people, sometimes their challenge is to leave the house.

 

So back to the oxcart.  I could still travel from New York to LA in an oxcart.  I could.  But we have airplanes now.  I can hop on a flight and be in California in a matter of hours and even be fed and cared for while en route.  Maybe even get a nap or watch a movie.

 

So why would anyone choose to take an oxcart?

 

My Aha! Moment came when I realized that when I follow my standard way of believing the stories I tell myself about what I am capable of, how loveable or attractive I am… I’m taking an oxcart to success. 

 

My clients hear me talk about static choices.  Static choices are those that say, “I’ve always done it this way and I will continue.”  Dynamic choices, which are those we have to make to live a bigger, more fulfilling life, circumvent that computer chip in our brains that say, “Why don’t I choose something else this time?” 

 

The author was talking about beliefs and stories… and changing them.  I can change any negative belief by choosing something else.  That is the airplane to success.  When we continually complain and tell stories about how we are the victims and talk about our challenges and why we can’t have what we want (but are still saying we want to get there) is like taking the oxcart.

 

Voila!  The efficiency freak in me totally got this.  I’m going to reprogram the negativity by complaining less and believing in magic and love more.  Not because I love woo woo stuff but because it just makes sense. 

 

Consider this your boarding pass if you want to ditch the oxcart and take the airplane to the destination in your life you want to reach.

The willingness to show up

Okay, so I don’t just live this carefree life and support other women while they try to have freedom and happiness like I do. I know that’s what it looks like sometimes, so I’m here to set you straight. I’m uncomfortable much of the time.

 

Since being settled back in Austin and really focusing on my transition and creating the country escape environment at the ranch near Brady that I want, by paring WAY down, I finally feel like I can create the energetic life I enjoy. I’ve been in a season of transition for long enough. Austin, old friend, I'm back.

 

So, I have started riding my mountain bike again and bought a road bike. I’ve been joining different groups and meeting a lot of people with an interest in cycling regularly for fun and fitness, like me. I’m not interested in racing like I used to but I am enjoying healthy people and the infectious enthusiasm from a shared passion. It’s been an easy re-entry. An effortless community. I’m having fun and enjoying my extroverted energy.

 

I went to my first salsa dance in many years. I used to love to dance to Latin music. I love the culture and the exotic people and immersed myself while I was learning Spanish in college! I kind of forgot how to salsa dance. I was a little embarrassed when I was asked to dance and fumbled a bit. My handsome Latin partner was very nice but I kinda felt like going home after. You know that voice? The negative self talk? I have that. It was telling me I wasn’t young and attractive anymore and that no one wanted to dance with me. If I didn’t know how to dance to meet other people’s expectations, I should just go home. I recognized that bitch and let her know that I wasn’t going to be talked to like that, but I still had that heavy feeling in my gut. Uncomfortable. Not willing to be imperfect.

 

More movement also came in the form of booking travel that is a dream trip on my bucket list. My destination is not popular with Americans. Its native language is Spanish and I’m going alone.

 

As soon as I purchased the ticket I started having anxiety and insomnia. It’s pretty normal for me or anyone else for that matter to feel a little nervous when we book travel. And especially when we’re going alone to a place we’ve never been and don’t know anyone.

 

Yah, so what did I do? I tried to “think” my way out of it of course. How do I stop the anxiety? With that as my goal I started madly meditating, extending my usual time from 20 minutes to, maybe 90 minutes. I wrote madly in my journal, trying to unload the fear. I was reading my favorite authors, especially Elizabeth Gilbert who is herself a solo female traveler. I talked to friends, trying to vent and thereby release the charge the trip had for me. I still wasn’t sleeping and I was still anxious about some unknown thing.

 

After a full-on week of angst, I went to my old friend the Serenity Prayer. Was I going to cancel my trip and not go? No. So “the courage to change the things I can” didn’t play here. I was going. I was excited about going. I just didn’t want to feel anxious. But I was. I hadn’t been able to change that, so I just decided to accept it. My intuition tells me that there is a possibility that a long layover I have could be problematic. I don’t know what it is, but something could get bogged down there. And yes, I’m a little anxious about that. That something is going to go wrong with the logistics. Something I can’t control. For me, the worst-case scenario I can live with is that I will not make my flight but have to stay in the country where my layover is. And guess what? I know I can navigate that. It won’t be my dream destination but it’s a cool place and I know I will figure out how to make it amazing. Yes, I’m still nervous, but since I’ve accepted that I’m nervous and that maybe my nervousness could be rooted in a possible hiccup in my plans, I’m sleeping a lot better knowing I'll be able to handle it.

 

Feelings aren’t meant to be pushed aside or swallowed or meditated away. They are meant to be honored for what they have to offer. I ended up listening to that voice with respect and accepted that I may just have a bit of anxiety until I get through the travel transition I know I have to make. But I have confidence that I can do it. I don’t trust all travel, all people, all circumstances, but I do trust myself. I’m tenacious and intelligent and brave. I think well on my feet. Brene Brown says, “The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” Because I’ve been willing to be uncomfortable before, I can do this now. And the next time I will be will just a little braver.

 

So, this week I am going back to salsa dancing. I’m taking a lesson before the band starts so that I feel more confident on the dance floor. I’m practicing the willingness to show up. It’s taken me to some really cool places.

 

If it looks effortless, that’s not really what’s going on. It’s not comfortable for me but I’m willing to be uncomfortable because my dreams are BIG and I want to show up for them. I encourage you to do the same.

 

I’m in the business of taking women from fear and feelings of unworthiness to a place of courage and excitement about their big dreams. I’d better practice what I preach!

Life Changing Magic

I went to see a new doctor yesterday.  Listing my medical history always takes me down memory lane and not all of the memories are happy ones.  My list of traumas include 4 concussions, a broken hip, many broken ribs from falling and being crushed, a broken left arm, and eight bones in my right foot (three separate injuries).  I also got Scarlet Fever when I was a child.  And I was pregnant at 16. The physical list doesn't include other abuses my little Sally suffered. But that's what it looks like when you were a feral tomboy living on a ranch.  Some of my injuries were from taking risks and having fun.  Others were from trusting people to take care of me who didn't.

My childhood hurts were in part the results of a very curious girl who loved to explore the world and wasn't much guarded from the dangers.  I so love that little Sally who is still inside me.  I still love to explore the world and my curiosity hasn't waned a bit.  I was drawn to adventure and have traveled the West, Alaska and some Latin American countries guiding horse trips in the mountains and white water rafting on big rivers. But when I continued to suffer serious injuries well into my adult life, many of them in remote locations, I had to take inventory.  I didn't have to ride the horses that no one else wanted to ride or love the men who really had only their own interests at heart.

At first, I thought everyone was like me; with a long list of crash and recovery.  But the friends I raced bikes with told me their backs didn't hurt when they rode like mine did.  That was my first dawning of awareness.  There were others.  Maybe my history wasn't completely normal.

Learning to play in the world more safely was something I wasn't taught.  I decided I had to learn it for myself, only a few years ago, actually.  Riding a scooter in Roatan, Honduras on my way to a job interview to write for a magazine, I crashed when I took my hand off the handlebars for a moment to push the skirt down which had blown up into my face.  The scooter landed with all its weight on my foot that wore only a flip flop.  Some of that  was risky behavior (the flip flop) and maybe (riding a scooter in a skirt) but mostly that accident was something that could happen to other people.  What probably wasn't normal was that I was on an island in the Caribbean with a very high crime rate, living alone far off the beaten path where I knew almost no one.  I had to get on a Yahoo chat group to find a nice ex-pat woman to take me to the hospital.  I suffered alone with 6 broken bones for 18 hours before I was able to find a ride.

Traveling alone isn't something I'm willing to change.  That curious child still lives within me and has from the moment in this life when I was created.  I can't live an authentic life and not travel and play.

Occasionally, someone comes up to me and says, "I want to live the life you live!"  "You're so adventurous!"  It's true.  I'm proud of the courage I mustered to go from the small town girl to being someone who travels to the places I've gone and done the things I do.  But it's not without sacrifice.  I am alone a lot.  I'm scared sometimes and sometimes I get hurt, but aren't we all?  Sometimes?
 
I love a quote by Mark Manson I read recently, "What's your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?".  What that means to me as that everything sucks some of the time.  And I'm willing to suffer a bit for a life of adventure and creativity.  But how much?

To balance out the more reckless side, I've found yoga, meditation and I read a lot.  I found the shit sandwich quote and I am reading the life-changing magic of tidying up.  I had heard about the concept of clearing your life to make room for new things from other coaches I know and did a lot of that work before I actually picked up the book.  But I've had the chance to read more and it's brilliant!  Start with your closet with the focus not on what you don't like but what really sparks joy in you.  Keep those things and release the others into the world.  I have seen amazing movement and growth in my life by doing this simple thing and have expanded the concept in my quest to take better care of myself.  Now, when I choose a doctor, a massage therapist, a friend, I ask myself if they make me feel really good and are a good fit for that curious little girl inside.  If the answer is "no", I keep looking.

Turns out, my new doctor is into energy healing and supportive of holistic and functional medicine.  She made eye contact with me during our visit and was genuinely interested in my life.  I felt joyful and heard when I left her office.  I'm going to keep her.  And that is one way I'm learning to take better care of myself.  There will be others.  Stay tuned.

When You Start, Look Back

Today I woke up and knew during my meditation that it was time to take a big step.  I have a shoulder injury from which I need time to recover and I need to create more solid income streams to support me during my recovery.  I knew intuitively that I need to call my coach and get started with helping MORE women live their most authentic lives.

I don't require a lot.  I live relatively inexpensively and sustainably but I don't like to feel that knot in the pit of my stomach when I see money floating out while less comes in.  I need to get my creative juices flowing so my nest is still feathered (in iridescent peacock feathers) while I'm recovering and am unable to help my massage clients.

My meditation practice has helped me a lot.  If I get still and quiet and listen, I can better hear my inner guide.  I started a cleanse 3 days ago and the clarity from eating clean is amazing, in only three days!  So, I am going to call my coach this morning and get ON it!

It's been almost a year since I worked with this coach.  She helped me so much last year when I was in transition, which I almost always am because I'm a transformation junkie.  I knew I needed to update her on where I was in my life.  When I started looking back, instead of seeing lack and all of the things I WASN'T doing, I saw a lot of progress.

I actually sold the HOUSE at the ranch and it was moved away.  I didn't love it.  It felt like an obligation rather than an asset.  I did a huge house cleaning when I moved and took 3 trailer loads of trash to the dump, donated stuff to thrift stores and consigned some furniture that didn't spark joy for me.  I closed a business that wasn't serving me and the vision with which I created it.  I have found the perfect place to land in Austin, my favorite city that is close to my ranch.  I manifested this place with Cristel's help last year.  It's affordable and I didn't have to sign a lease, which is an amazing feat in Austin, let me tell you!

I have created a website for my coaching business, maintained a growing Facebook following who I update frequently, created events of adventure for women. I am constantly working on my life coaching curriculum to best serve my clients.  I have an office now and have chipped away at the list of self care items I knew needed to be in place.  I get massage regularly, get a B12 shot every week, go to the chiropractor every week, get acupuncture when I need it and I have started riding my bike again, which I love.  I can't do yoga right now, but rather than getting tweaked out about it (I still have my meditation practice after all) I started going to Pilates and Barr classes occasionally.

I've helped clients start businesses, leave dead end relationships and dead end jobs, reinvent their living spaces and in general, live a life that is more in line with their own light; the purpose that they came to the planet with.  That is my most astounding accomplishment in my opinion and the one that lights ME up the most.  What I need now is to know HOW I can help more people?!  Every woman can benefit from coaching.  How do I reach the ones who are ready?

I'm excited to talk to Cristel today and find out what I can create next.  I'm very good at helping women transform.  I'm very skilled at honoring my inner wild woman and getting outside to play and at sharing that with others.  What I need is more structure.  Playful kids like me (and maybe you) need accountability and a system in place so we don't feel so adrift.  I am great at helping others with this.  I'm not so great at setting it in place for myself.  

Knowing you need help to grow and asking for it is a huge leap of courage.  I'm going to give myself credit for that today.  I also see that looking back for a moment and seeing where we are from where we've been is also a huge boost.  I'm excited and looking forward.  In addition to my cleanse, ongoing meditation practice, renewed commitment to exercise that I think is FUN, I started this writing challenge today.  It's called my500words.com #my500words.  You are enjoying the fruits of my first day!  

Happy International Women's Day!

Anna Mebus Martin was my great-great grandmother, a Texas pioneer, cattlewoman and the first female banker in the United States. I never have to look far back into my ancestors to find permission to be GREAT. Even if your parents watched television and waited for stuff to happen to them, if you feel drawn to live a larger life, look a bit farther back in your family history. You will discover ancestors who were not consumers, who didn't sit around waiting for life to happen to them. People who crossed the ocean, taught settlers how to live on this continent or bravely created a home for future generations. They give you permission to to live a creative life. Now, go do something.

Read more about Anna HERE:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Mebus_Martin

Receive a FREE meditation and my Big Dream worksheet to get started. Email me! I will give you permission to live a bigger life and send you tools to do it!  adventurecoachsally@gmail.com

Packing Lighter

Packing Lighter

As I head out for my season in Alaska, I notice a change from last season.  I have good old friends but also lots of new ones who examine and live life with a zeal that I feel mirrors my own.  I was reluctant to leave. 

 

Last year I was in the throes of costuming the play “Lysistrata” when I got the job in Alaska.  I stayed up all night sewing and spent my time attending dress rehearsals right up until I left.  When it was time to get on the plane, I was simply carried there by the momentum my busyness had created.  My life as I had known it had just experienced a major shift and I didn’t have a lot tethering me to my life in Austin.  To get away was completely a "win" situation.

 

Last season I was hired as an adventure guide/massage therapist/yoga teacher.  I drug the bag out of storage that my mother used to pack when she went to Africa and proceeded to fill it with biking gear, kayaking equipment and yoga books.  I had to pay a hefty overweight bag charge at the airport.

 

Both my nature and experience as a guide taught me it was my job to be fully prepared.  That role was comfortable for me.  I had everything anyone could need and the capability to handle any situation I found myself in.  I had rowed big rivers, survived serious horse accidents and led novices through wilderness settings.  My most dreaded client was the “needy” one.  Nothing irritated me more than the energy suck of the insecure and incapable.  My reaction wasn’t the least bit balanced.  Of all personality characteristics, I most fervently avoided neediness in anyone and most especially in myself.

 

Soon it became apparent that I had over packed.  The lodge had all the gear and after guiding one day, we all decided that it was physically too much for me to paddle clients around the bay or take them on mountain bike rides and then do massage in the evenings.

 

I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and started writing.  I wanted to record the family stories I had heard from my grandmother and mom.  With free time during the day, I finally sat down to the blinking cursor and began, sometimes writing until the early morning hours.

 

I wanted my story to defend and explain parts of my life.  By the time I was finished, I realized that the parts that I wanted to explain were a very small period of time in my life that I had let flavor all the rest.  The people who judged me for that time were never going to approve of me no matter what I did, so I let that attachment go and started feeling content with where I had gone from there.

 

I felt complete with my writing about the time the summer season was over.  I signed up for yoga training in Baja and flew home.

 

There, in addition to practicing yoga ten hours a day and eating nothing but vegetables, rice and fish, yoga school was a lot of self examination.  The summer had gotten me to a place where I was ready to delve more deeply.  I cried a lot, grieving my parents’ early deaths and my feeling of aloneness in the world.  But I also cut myself some slack in life.  I allowed myself to be less rigid with plans and other peoples’ expectations of me.  I could be flaky and, yes, even needy sometimes.

 

This season I amazed myself with my packing prowess.  Both my checked bag and my carry on were smaller and still had room to spare.  My mother’s Africa bag is back in storage where it belongs.  My life story takes up exactly the memory today that it should; 500 KB on my laptop’s hard drive.

 

Because I am more clear, people are more clear with me.  Even in LAX people looked me in the eye and smiled.  The tall exotic stranger behind me in the TSA line told me in halting English that he loved my “fashion”. I was wearing Converse tennis, jeans and a t-shirt, but I knew what he meant.  On the flight from Seattle to Ketchikan I shared a seat row with a Tklinket man who quietly and respectfully hovered over me and made sure I had everything I needed; took my trash, made room and even anticipated when I needed him to let me pass to go to the bathroom.  Allowing people to appreciate and help me doesn’t feel like being needy.  It feels like the warmth of human kindness.

 

When I arrived at the Lodge, the owners were welcoming and happy to see me but pulled me aside to tell me that I was different.  My energy was stronger and clearer than last year.  I know that more of my radiant self shines through now.  She has always been bright.  She was just weighed down by too much baggage. Flying over the ocean surrounded by mountains and forests, my heart swells with gratitude. I’m traveling a lot lighter these days, which leaves more space to bring in more of the things I love.  They continue to show up every day.

An Examined Life

How can knowing our unique personality portrait create more happiness in our lives?  Because the thinking that we are all the same and need to fit into a “box” creates limitation and disconnect from what we know our gifts are.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

 

1. Do you sense that you have a bigger contribution to make than you’re making right now, but that there’s some internal barrier in your way that you haven’t been able to release, in spite of being smart, creative and talented?

2. Do you feel a burning desire to express your gifts and talents in ways that will make a difference, but don’t know what it would look like to make your contribution and have no idea where to get started?

3. Are you successful already and have access to resources, and yet you feel dissatisfied and unexpressed?

4. Do you find yourself over-giving and over-doing, feeling frequently depleted by the myriad of demands upon you, in spite of your best efforts to create a balanced life?

5. Do you feel alone and under-supported to bring forth the fullness of the contribution you know you have to make, in spite of having good friends in your life?

 

To create a life that reflects these deeper potentials you sense, you need to be discovering your Authentic Self, who is who you were put on this earth to be. It takes some work and the willingness to suspend limiting beliefs.  It takes courage.  But as Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” 

 

I, personally, am a transformation junkie.  Exploring and recalibrating is constant in my life.  I’ve found that, yes, following rules and letting other people feed me their beliefs would make decisions much easier.  But the examined life is much more fulfilling.   I believe that living to my full potential so I attract more joy into my life is my most important work.

 

Sally Martin is a licensed massage therapist, yoga teacher and life coach.  To join upcoming events in Mason and Austin, go to: http://www.panaceamason.com/event-calendar/

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