joyful hikers facing the sun with arms up "rise strong thrive"

Are you sighing with relief to be closing this year too? This year had with more highs and lows than I can remember of any single year before, and happily, it’s time to bring it to a close and say “thank you, and goodbye” or perhaps even in the words of beautiful step-sister who recently passed, “thank you, and f*ck you very much”.

You know “that” moment: the moment where you’re just a hair away from epic meltdown?

This past summer, I was driving down Memorial Dr. when a driver pulled an inconsiderate move on another. The act wasn’t a big deal, and had nothing to do with me, but was so disrespectful it triggered a torrent of rage in me.

Enter “that” moment…

Not only did my inner rage scream to pull over and break this woman’s window, but to drag her out through the broken glass, and beat the sh*t out of her.

(Yes, a little excessive and perhaps even crazy, but that’s the nature of “those” moments.)

And I wasn’t just pissed. I was completely, totally outside of myself. I was vibrating with anger and nearly in tears – all for something that was rude and possibly dangerous, but not disastrous, and which had no direct impact on me.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and brought me crashing down. Very rarely is someone’s response to something about the other person. It is always about them, and I was on verge of internal combustion.

For someone who’s normally a steady rock for others, and a kind, loving, compassionate person, the degree of intensity with which these emotions of anger and violence hit me really shook me up. Luckily they also served as a waving red flag that I needed to get help and put some support in place – which thanks to a great team, friends and family, I did.

A bit of background, is that I was handling a lot without the needed support in place. Three close family members were all dealing with aggressive forms of cancer at once, with my step-sister near the end of her life after four years of serious illness, suffering and pain.

Throughout all of this, I was a main support for both my family and clients, doing speaking engagements (ironically at Wellspring with cancer survivors), hosting webinars, trying to keep my business afloat in an economic crisis, managing my own personal medical appointments, and trying to show up as wife, sister, aunt, coach, trainer, and friend.

I thought I was doing ok.

But then I wasn’t.

And in a completely disconnected moment, despite my best efforts at staying grounded, loving and kind, this woman’s careless, selfish, disrespectful actions triggered the internal release of a built up dam of anger, rage, and powerlessness.

In that moment, I wanted to crush something.

Instead, I crumbled. 

Tears flowed easily, and I felt really alone. I realized I needed support outside of my personal circle of family and friends.

Once I accepted this, it didn’t take long to re-correct course, but despite my knowledge, expertise and skills I still fell – and pretty hard.

So why am I sharing this?  

Because stress builds, and we often think we’re getting away with things, until we get a wake up call that isn’t always so easy to answer.

This year has been an incomparable year of emotional highs, lows, twists and turns, and despite wonderful experiences and silver linings, the sadness, sorrow and grief in my family eventually knocked me down.

And it felt like the hits just kept coming…

And coming.

And I struggled.

Some days I really, really struggled.

The thing with being a rock for others, is that the stronger you are the more load you carry, and it’s easy to topple unless you also have firm support in place too.

We can NOT get through this wonderful, busy, messy, slightly chaotic life alone, and still be our BEST.

Yet many of us try.

So today I’m reaching out, because YOU are also a rock and support system for many people.

The work you do in this world matters, and who you do it for matters. 

You, your passions, your goals, your dreams are important, and it’s easy to let ourselves slide to the bottom, despite our intention, skills and know-how.

Add a couple stressors, and all of a sudden rock bottom isn’t so far away.

There’s a LOT going on in the world right now – enough to bring any one of us to our knees, and I’m betting that YOU haven’t had an easy 2016 either.

As a capable, caring person, it’s easy to give and support, and give and support until you’re scraping the bottom of your well wondering how you got there, why you’re alone, where the light went, and how you finished the entire tub of double chocolate fudge ice-cream in one sitting.

Been there, done that?

There now?

It happens to the best of us on occasion; however, although falling hurts, it’s not what’s MOST important…

What’s most important and what truly matters, as Muhammed Ali put it, is whether you get back up.

So I have a question for you:

How do you fall, and rise back up?

Whether you had a rockin’ year, or are just surviving your days right now, I’m shining a light – a glowing, warm light of strength, resilience and hope.

If you’re just surviving right now and not able to even think about rising yet, that’s okay. We all have our time on the mat, and sometimes we need to be there for a little while before we can harness the will to rise. However, if you could be surviving just a bit better though, this is for you.
If you want to rise, but not sure how, this is for you.
If you’re in the process of rising and want some extra support, this is for you.
If you’ve risen, and are ready to process what you’ve gone through, harness the wisdom of it, and rock this next chapter, this is for you.
If you’re on fire and feeling awesome, rock on! AND this may also be for you too…
I’m reminding you that you’re not alone (or don’t have to be), and that there is still beauty, sunshine, and life to be taken in.

You’re not here to simply survive (although some days will feel that way), and you’re certainly not here to suffer (although suffering is a part of the story).

You are here to live and love fully – which includes the whole rainbow of experiences and human emotions.

You are here to grow, push your limits, fall, AND get back up.

You are here to rise.

You are here to shine.

And you are here to THRIVE.

When stress hits, and overwhelm, inner chaos and anxiety builds, it’s natural to let go of self-care habits that keep you grounded, healthy and happy.

It’s natural to start feeling more and more unhappy, and more and more alone; to start eating poorly or to drop your exercise routine. It’s natural to feel disappointed by and impatient with others (especially those closest to you); it’s easy to get pulled into a downward cycle of pessimism, negativity, loneliness and despair.

But you don’t have to.

It’s possible to honor and give voice to your genuine emotions, and to have your authentic feelings without drowning in them.

It’s possible to heal and be REAL without putting on a false facade of positivity that only makes you feel more alone.

No matter how many knocks you’ve taken, how far you’ve fallen, or how long you’ve been down for, you are not here to suffer.

You are here to learn from those hits and become stronger, sharpen your edge, and master yourSELF.

You are here to rise – resilient, compassionate and powerful.

This is your life, your story, and you get a say.

No matter what kind of 2016 you’ve had, the year is only a number and the experiences don’t define your life – or your future, although they DO add to your wisdom.

So Beautiful, it ain’t over.

If you’re still reading this, congratulations. You’re here, you’re curious about something more – something better – for yourself, and that means you’ve got grit.

And THAT means YOU get to choose how this year closes, and how 2017 begins.

SO, I’m leaving you with a powerful reflection: HOW DO YOU FALL AND RISE BACK UP?

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