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Declaration Beats Achievement

As a country, we celebrate our independence on the day we DECLARED it and not on the day we ACHIEVED it. I find our history intriguing and very telling of the power of unified commitment and uncompromised conviction. It says a lot to me about the spirit of our ancestors and what lies in our own DNA.

The background story is on July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence and the historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson was adopted on July 4th. It wasn’t until seven, hard, cold, costly years later, on September 3, 1783, that we signed the Treaty that gave us our independence from Britain. We were clearly the underdogs and absolutely inferior from a military perspective but there was a driving force uniting individuals, leaders and communities to band together to face their adversity and stand up for what they believed was right.

With every written word in the Declaration of Independence, they let the world know…freedom is our united truth. With every action they took, they demonstrated they would face any risk, overcome any fear and get around any obstacle, in order to achieve their vision of freedom.

Maybe the key to obtaining Authentic Health is backwards to how we normally approach problems. What if we STARTED with celebrating a shared declaration that each person deserves to be healthy and happy. Then with insights and support of our families, communities and co-workers, we buckle down and do the hard, often scary and challenging work it takes to remove the unhealthy words, actions and behaviors so we all can reach our best-self vision.

When we claim our independence from unhealthy and toxic people, we are no longer inter-dependent on them and we are free to have power and control of our lives.

When you make a declaration of freedom from abusive, traumatic, harassing, bullying and other unhealthy behaviors in yourself and others, like our ancestors, you change not only your life but the lives of generations to come…and that’s something to celebrate!

Happy 4th!

Enlighten. Empower. End.

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Hurdling Through Life

True personal story. When I was in 5th grade, I found sheer joy running hurdles in track and field. Hurdles came to me naturally by combining the leaping grace from ballet and the sheer power of gymnastics, two sports I did since basically birth. The gym teacher watched me and could see I was unaware of my talent so she took extra time to encourage and coach me. On the 6th graders’ Field Day, she had me run in the hurdle races against those big, scary, older kids. I won. She then signed me up to run at a 7th and 8th grade track meet, being held at the local high school. I was excited to have my eldest sister drive me and off we went in our family’s white, all metal, no seat-belts, station wagon…Ol’ Betsy the Tank. As we walked closer to the track, the hurdles grew and grew and grew. They were not grade school size but high school size which appeared almost double in height over anything I had ever jumped. As I walked to the start line to do a warm-up, I looked down a long row of what appeared to be solid brick walls that felt almost as tall as me.

It’s times like this experience, you have several options. First option, claim stomach problems and run to the bathroom where you hide until the race is over. Second option, let the fear psych you out. You don’t believe in yourself, so you half-heartedly run the race and crash into every hurdle. You limp away with bruised shins and ego…and never try again. Third option, tell that negative-nelly-voice in your head to go back to the station wagon. Then with an ounce of courage, just start running. Remembering the hard work during the hours you committed to training, you trust your body will take you where the mind can’t believe. Like most of my life, I did the last option. In a storage box in my garage, I still have the first place, blue ribbons from that day.

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Insights to Life: Sequoia Style

3183 miles by car. 1661 miles by airplane. 100 or so miles by horse, bike, run and hike. 6 National Parks. 2 Large Cities. 1 amazing cross country adventure from the east coast to the west coast. For the first time in over 25 years, I took a three week break from responsibility. No work. No computer. No email. No social media. No phone call or text from anyone other than those in my Sacred Circle (what I call my family and closest of friends.) I experienced deep meaningful, life changing talks. Belly aching laughs. Amateur photographer’s delight in trying to capture the natural wonders. I find Mother Earth hides the awe of her majestic beauty from the limiting camera lens, which is her way of encouraging us to get out and see it with our own eyes.

Life is that way. We can read about something and learn from it but until we really experience it firsthand…see it, taste it, smell it and touch it so deeply you get dirt under your fingernails from it….it’s hard to really understand it and see how it can have a personal impact on you. I learn the best when I’m in the middle of it. If I close my mouth and open my eyes, ears and mind…that’s when real insights and understanding occur. Once I learn something, I like sharing it with my family, friends, clients and for that matter, anyone who’s interested. I’m a helper, not a hurter…so I’m in the process of writing a book to help others recognize and understand abuse and then ultimately how to end abuse in their lives once and for all. Kinda heavy stuff for me personally as I experienced childhood abuse by both of my parents and domestic violence as an adult. As I write about the really hard stuff, it’s easy to be triggered by memories. I can feel hurt over the verbal and emotional abusive “limiting statements” including my mother’s top three most consistently used on me: my unattractive physical appearance, who are you to shine and my lacking intellectual capacity. For example, since early grade school until just this past Christmas I have been told by her “You are stupid…you NEVER could spell…it’s a miracle you passed Spanish, you just couldn’t get it….it’s shocking you’ve been able to run a company all these years…” etc. These were told to me over and over and over again until I absolutely believed the statements to be truth. I deeply believed I wasn’t very smart or overly capable in this world or would ever be good enough. My skin often became thin over the topic of feeling stupid or fear of being exposed as dumb. I would hold a stiff-upper-lip, and later cry when I was alone. I also experienced a lifetime of physical intimidation and abuse by my parents, an unrelenting furnace fueled by their anger, hurt and hate. I had emotional wounds that ran so deep the scars were noticeable, if you know where to look. From an outside perspective, I was doing well in life but internally, I was daily fighting off the heaviness of overwhelm, fear and doubt that was ingrained from the abuse.

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