The Silent Warrior – Learning the true meaning of faith on a trail run

This is my personal truth.

It’s been a while since I’ve come here to run.  The terrain is truly beautiful, but challenging both mentally and physically.  The early morning sun is beating down on my face and I’m loving the clean air that is filling my lungs as I start out on the trail.

With only eight weeks to go until the SkyRun, and my lower back telling me that I’m getting old, I have to start training harder but smarter.  That is why I drove out to Kloofendal Nature Reserve this morning for a three hour training session.  It is quiet here.  I’ve only seen one person so far which means nobody to encourage me to keep pushing – it is all up to me.

The beauty of the land keeps me captivated and I eagerly climb up as I know the view from the top is going to be spectacular!!  I love climbing up.  Yes it is hard on the legs, on the glutes, on the lungs.  And at times I wonder how much further until I reach some flat land just to catch my breath.  But I can always see the next step, I can always look ahead to pick out the best route.  And I love the view from the top!  Who doesn’t?

Not so on the downhills.  In fact, this is where my greatest challenge lies.  I’m shit scared of heights and rocky descends.  And going downhill my mind starts playing sneaky games with me.  Showing me landslides about to explode the moment I step on the wrong stone.  Making my body tense which I know is more likely to lead to an accident, but I simply can’t help myself.  I try to focus on my breathing, to get out of my head.  Change the voices that tell me devastation lies ahead to ones that are more empowering,  telling me I can do this, just keep going.

As I approach a particularly steep drop, my steps falter and I slow down.  It seems that the path completely disappears!  I can see a trail on the other side going up, but I cannot see a humanly possible way to get there.  What the hell????

kids downhillThat is when it dawns on me – THIS is faith.  The knowing that even though I can’t see the ‘how’, the Universe has already laid the trail.  It is easy to have faith when you can see the next step.  But when the path disappears, you have to have the faith of a child, throw caution and fear to the wind and run like a complete maniac, trusting.   All I have to do is to trust and keep moving forward.  And like magic, the next step appears.  It is the most astonishing thing!  Every time I take a step forward, the view changes, and the next step appears as if out of thin air!!!

I start thinking of my life.  Of how I have set goals which seemed impossible at the outset, and quite frankly most of the way as well.  But I could see the desired end.  I knew that someone else has already accomplished this goal, somewhere, at some time.  Which means that it is possible.  And then all I do is commit and keep taking one step forward every single day, keeping the faith.  I don’t always understand the steps that I take.  And sometimes I slip and fall.  But I get back up, look around, and find a better path.

I have a deep faith in the Universe.  I believe that I am fully supported on my path and that even though things look like a mess from where I stand at times, God has a perfect view from above and he knows where I should turn next.  I guess that is why I can do the crazy shit I do…

He also knows me well – and understands that I’m not the most patient person.  I like shit to happen now!  So at times, he simply provides me the people who will give me a different perspective, a different view:  my husband, my mom, my dad, a mastermind partner, my boys, a coach, whoever is most suited for the specific part of my journey.  And by giving me this view, I can make better choices and get faster results.

Where in your life have you stopped because you cannot see the next step?  Where in your life is faith the missing link to getting to your desired finish line?

If you are feeling completely stuck, just take one step!  Just one!  I dare you!  Because as long as you stand still your view doesn’t change.  It is only by moving that you can get a different perspective.  And it is only through movement that we demonstrate faith and give the Universe an opportunity to do some magic.

Take that step!

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – The most powerful question a mother can ask

This is my personal truth

Today I am speaking directly to all the mothers out there. Although this question can be just as powerful for any woman who does not have children of her own, or for any father.

I don’t have many childhood memories – probably because most of them were really shit so I have blocked out a lot. My early childhood was in a home with an abusive father who passed on his behaviors to his son, which resulted in a very unhappy and submissive mother, and me, the rebel, who got punished on a regular basis. Oh don’t feel sorry for me, I was born to be a warrior! This was simply my training ground.

But as a little girl I could never understand why my mom would possibly tolerate this life for seventeen years!! Which is how long it took her to finally leave my sperm donor. When I asked her, she would always say she stayed for us, for her children. She thought it was the best thing she could do for us, because how could she possibly make it on her own? How could she take our father away from us?

2015-08-30 11.49.01I love my mother. God knows I would give my life for this woman who has served as my pillar of strength and who continues to be my inspiration every single day. Unfortunately what I didn’t realize for many years, is that because of this love for her, I made a soul contract which stated that I would suffer for her in return, so that she could live in the knowledge that she made the right decision in staying for so long in a nightmare of a marriage. And so I manifested really painful relationships which I suffered for the sake of others.

The Universe, in its compassion and love, finally released me from this soul contract by giving me the mentors, coaches and tools that would reveal this contract to me and give me the opportunity to start making better decisions. The question I started asking myself is: Would I want this life for my children one day?

Breathe in the power of this question: Would I want this life for my children one day?

This question has changed my entire world for me! Because the moment I ‘got it’, the moment that I started looking at my life and my decisions from my children’s perspective, I stopped being a martyr!

I stopped tolerating destructive and abusive relationships. I stopped staying in jobs that made me miserable so that I could be the ‘responsible’ adult who pays the bills. I stopped sitting on the carpet with my children feeling fat and miserable so instead I got on my bike and rode away my stress. I stopped looking like shit because I first had to take care of everyone else which meant there was never any money or energy left for me.

I started making the life choices that I would want my children to make one day.

I also finally started having real conversations with my mom. And I started asking her for help when I needed it. Because as a mom, I would be devastated if my kids didn’t have the freedom and courage to ask me for help one day or to have the open and honest conversations with me.

This blog needs to come with a bit of a warning though: when you start making more empowered decisions like this, people are going to judge! There will always be those mothers and fathers who call you selfish, irresponsible, crazy even. Let them. Because unless they wake up really happy each morning, unless they are making decisions that they would want their kids to make one day, they are simply stuck in soul contracts which they are not even aware of!

I cannot tell you how often I meet people with un-lived dreams ‘because of their children’. They can’t possibly take the chance now ‘because of their children’. They can’t possibly have a happy relationship now ‘because of their children’. But what are you modelling to your children? That misery and suffering awaits them when they are adults because having children is like a prison sentence for the next twenty years?? That they will go from free-spirited brave souls to whipped, groveling, suffering martyrs? Geez and we wonder why the next generation don’t want to have kids…

I am not saying you must quit your job today, get a divorce or start living like a bum. I am inviting you to have an honest look at your life and see where you are using your children as an excuse to live small, or for being miserable. To set better, more empowering goals and to start working towards them immediately! To start asking for help where you need it. If your marriage is unhappy, then either leave or turn it around to the best relationship in the world!!! Yes darling, it is possible. If you are unhappy in your job then sit down and figure out what does your dream job look like and either create it in your current place of employment or go out and find it or create it in your own company. Whatever you do, for the love of humanity, stop suffering for the little children!!!

I am inviting you to ask the question: Would you want this life for your children one day?

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – The storm is building

This is my personal truth.

If there is one thing I have learned by now, it is that nothing ever goes the way you planned.  This is one of the key reasons why my Inspired Action Plans are not written in stone.  And I most certainly do not write them down once and then never revisit them!  In fact, I have a look at them on a daily basis and ask myself, what is working?  what is not working anymore?  what do I need to do more of?  what do I need to change?

With the SkyRun less than 3 months away, shit is happening and it is happening at the speed of light!  Our anticipated move to New Zealand has manifested way sooner than what we had originally thought it would leaving me alone with the boys for the remainder of the year which means getting through exams and race day on my own.  I also need to make some choices with regards to training as I know the 6 hour runs are coming soon and I don’t want to leave my boys for such extended periods of time on their own.  On top of all this, my lower back has decided she ain’t playing this game anymore resulting in excruciating pain from about 1 kilometer in a run.

I found myself sitting down and asking if it would not make more sense to walk away from the SkyRun?  Don’t worry, this was a very fleeting thought.  Remember that by the time that I write down a goal, it is a non-negotiable for me, come hell or high water!!!

I remembered the time I won my first silver medal at a provincial level race.  I didn’t win my medal because I was the fastest – shit I was competing against some professional cyclists!  I definitely didn’t win my medal because I was the strongest – back then my hip had already shown warning signs of what was yet to come.  I won my medal because nobody else finished the race!!!

Waking up to the sound of strong wind and relentless rain against my window had me lying in bed debating the wisdom of going out to race in the storm.  I had been training with my coach for months with the goal of getting podium position at my first provincial level race.  Truth be told, I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this!  But I had done every training session, listened to everything my coach told me to do, damn I had even cleaned up my eating and weighed less than I had in school!!  So I dragged my body out of bed, loaded my bike and headed off to the race.

Standing at the start line, it was clear that most of the field had the same thoughts as I had in the early hours.  Except they decided to stay in bed (hint:  you have zero chance of winning if you don’t even show up!).  We set off for the first lap and it didn’t take too long for me to lose sight of the women in the front.  A couple of times I was nearly blown off my bike, the rain hitting exposed skin like needles!  I could hardly see 5 feet in front of me with water and tears constantly blurring my vision.  Then came the thunder and lightning.  Hot damn that was scary as hell.  And this was followed by hail leaving bruises on legs, arms and back.

storm3As I came around to the end of the first round I was thinking how much easier it would be to just get off my bike.  But then I saw my amazing husband standing in the storm screaming his heart out to encourage me so I dug a little deeper and kept going for round number two.

After another 10 kilometers I started losing my sense of humor completely.  By now I was freely cursing the wind, the rain, the hail, the potholes, the bloody baboons that I had to dodge in the road.  I was not a pretty sight!  But I kept going.  The main thought in my head was “I’ve worked too fucking hard to give up now!”  So I kept going.

By the time I had crossed the finish line I was exhausted, both mentally and physically.  I was hurting, I was angry, I was disappointed in my finish time which meant no possibility of a podium finish.

Except I did get podium!  In fact, I received the silver medal because NOBODY ELSE HAD FINISHED!  That’s right, only two riders continued after round number one to cross the finish line.  The winner (who was a professional cyclist) and little old me who was too stubborn to give up!  That was the birth of my indestructible mind-set.

So back to the drawing board and revision of my action plan for the SkyRun.  I’ve arranged my support structure aka WonderMom and SuperDad to help out with the kids whilst I go on the training camp and race week-end.  I’ve moved my schedule around to facilitate my long runs whilst the kids are in school (the beauty of being an entrepreneur).  I’ve changed up my training to include more cross training in the form of riding my bike (woooohoooooo!) and strength and mobility training to support my lower back.

storm1Lesson:  when the storms come up, and believe me they always will, you have one of two choices.  You can decide to stay in bed and have no chance of finishing the race.  Or you can adjust your sails, let out an almighty war cry, and ride that baby all the way to the end.

You know what I’m going to do!  What about you?

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – The mountain, the devil and a bottle of whiskey

I’ve had tons of requests to re-post my blog on Sky Run 2014 to understand what this goal is all about.  So here it is…

This is my personal truth.

Finally the alarm goes off.  2 AM.  I have not slept for a single minute.  Am I going to die today?

I can quite honestly say I have never been this terrified in my life – and I’ve had some hair-raising moments.  But as I listen to Adriaan moving around in the room packing up and getting ready I’m convinced that this will be my final day.  Not only will I be running further than I ever have before, but I will be conquering my fears of height, extreme weather conditions, being completely isolated – and how the hell am I going to get over the Dragon’s Ridge???

This is the Sky Run Lite.  65 kms of complete isolation in the Drakensburg.  Self supporting, self navigating, self care.

Why am I here?

To inspire.  To live my life purpose.  To show my boys what can be done.  To give others hope that anything is possible.

Fast forward 16 hours.  Night is starting to fall.  It’s been 14 hours of absolute bliss and horror in the Burg.  After a mere 11 kms I stepped into a hole and twisted my knee.  At 20 kms I had to make the call – this is the last turn-around point.  After this nobody can get to me until I reach Balloch Caves at the 60 km mark.  The remaining back-markers of the Lite have all packed it in and gone home.  But I was determined to conquer the Dragon’s Ridge as I’ve been having nightmares about this bloody piece of mountain for a month!  knee

I strapped up my knee and continued.

The next 35 kms has been a haze of pain, wanting to vomit, strapping my knee tighter and tighter, and watching the last people getting further and further away.  I’m the last soul in the field.  Despair starts creeping into my heart like tentacles of ice.  I can no longer see where I’m going.  The spotlight on my head providing a small patch of hope in front of me in a marshland of mud and tall grasses.  My knee has finally given in from the pounding on the down-hills and I’ve only reached this far by alternating between hobbling and crawling on my ass.

And that’s how I find myself sitting here in the mud.  Pain screaming through my every fiber as my ankle twisted and collapsed.  There is nobody to hear me scream.  Nobody to see the tears freely running down my face.  Nobody to keep me strong.

devil whiskey2‘Poor Anel.  So cold.  Here, have a sip of whiskey – it will warm up your limbs’

Poor me.  I’m so cold.  I should have a sip of whiskey – it will warm up my limbs.

‘Poor Anel.  So tired.  Here, have a sip of whiskey – it will revive you’

Poor me.  I’m so tired.  I should have a sip of whiskey – it will revive me.  But I just want to lie down and sleep.  Just give up and go to sleep forever and make the pain stop.

‘Poor Anel.  Hurting so much.  Here, have a sip of whiskey – it will make it all better’

Poor me.

What the hell??????  These can’t be MY thoughts.  This is NOT who I am!!

The Devil is a clever piece of work.  Waiting patiently in the shadows for years.  Waiting for a moment of weakness to strip away your power.

Dig Anel Dig!!!  Why the hell are you here?????

To inspire.  To live my life purpose.  To show my boys what can be done.  To give others hope that anything is possible.

SO GET UP!  GET UP AND GET MOVING!

So I get up.  I wipe snot, tears and mud from my face and put one foot in front of the other.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Finally the marshals come across me.  They don’t help.  They don’t even talk.  Leaving me in my own private hell to find the inner strength to keep going.  Just staying close enough to ensure I don’t kill myself.

The last 3 kms takes me 2 hours to complete!  PURE F*CKING HELL!  I stumble, I crawl, I walk.  Inside I’m screaming and crying but on the outside I’m quiet.  Don’t show the Devil your weakness.  Don’t take a sip of whiskey.

And then I see his face.  My guardian angel.  My best friend.  My husband.  The worry is etched on his face.  I can see that he has been through his own private hell waiting for me.  Seeing everyone coming into Balloch.  ‘She’s just behind us’ they told him.  That was an hour ago.

He silently walks up to me, falling in beside me.

‘I’m hurting so much Babes’.  Tears now freely flowing.

‘I know.  Just keep going.  You’re almost there.  Just around the next corner.’

My husband is an amazing person.  Just like the marshals, he understood that this was my journey.  Helping me would have taken every small victory of the day away from me.  And there were many.

With a sprained ankle and a twisted knee I was unable to cross The Wall to the finish line.  5 kilometers.  So near and yet so far.

But I had achieved more in one day than I had in 42 years.  I had found my personal darkness.  I had sat down with the Devil and a bottle of whiskey and told him to go to hell.

2015 will see me entering the SkyRun again.

Why?

To inspire.  To live my life purpose.  To show my boys what can be done.  To give others hope that anything is possible.

 

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – Fairy Tales Are True!

This is my personal truth.

Do you ever wonder where fairy tales come from?  I believe they come from wisdom.  From ancient truths which find their way into our hearts without us knowing.

I love fairy tales.  Always have.  In fact, I still have some of my favorite fairy tale books which my mom bought me when I was a little girl.  Of course my collection has grown considerably to include themes like The Hobbit. Shannarah and Belgarath the Sorcerer among others.  But they all include magic, wizards, witches, trolls and dragons.

Yes, I do believe in magic.  It might not come to us from a wand or a spell book, but in the never ending energies flowing through creation bringing about change or making our dreams come true in the most amazing ways.

RosesTake these roses for instance.  I woke up Saturday morning with a deep craving in my heart for something beautiful.  I wanted something unique that would touch all my senses and make me feel alive (the dream). I decided that before the end of the day something beautiful would come into my life (casting the spell).  Adriaan and I went out on a tedious errand to apply for an unabridged birth certificate at the Department of Home Affairs, but after driving to 3 locations, we decided to rather stop to buy croissants for breakfast.  The moment I walked into the store and saw this bunch of roses, I knew that they were what I wanted!  Now, if you look really closely at the perfection of each of these flowers, you will understand the level of magic that went into creating them!  Absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!

 

Let’s take it further!  Do you remember the story of the Frog Prince?  What this story is really about is the power of our perceptions and transformation that occurs through the act of love.  The sad truth is, I’m finding more andFrog princess more people are expecting the worst of others.  And what we believe, we perceive.  I had this conversation with my son whilst we were out walking the dogs.  He told me how rude people are in general and that only one out of ten people ever greet him back when he walks to school in the morning.  I said to him: ‘I’m sorry that is your belief about people.  I believe that people are really friendly and always waiting for an opportunity to connect with me.  That is why I find every person I greet on my runs in the morning not only greets me back with a smile, but they take it a step further to ask me how I’m doing’.  Your beliefs create your thoughts create your perceptions create your reality.  I bet you will find that when you change your negative beliefs about certain people, you will find some love in your heart for them and that will change the way you see them.  The frog truly does turn into the prince.

hyenaNOOOOOOO I don’t live with my head in the sand! I know that no matter how positive our belief systems, there will always be those who choose the dark side.  Just yesterday I decided to try my hand at Periscope.  It took all of 30 seconds for the first pervert to find my broadcast and start making really inappropriate remarks.  Hiding behind their faceless internet identities of @20brightspark (oh wait, that would be too long a word for them to spell!), they go around circling the internet like a pack of hyenas so they can disrupt learning for others.  I was quickly reminded why we live in a society filled with mediocrity!  Because instead of making the most of the opportunities that the Universe is providing them to learn and better their lives, they turn it into a game on insults, edging each other on.  Yip – I now know you can block them.  But how sad that the developers even had to create such a function.

Just remember that they exist, be valiant and don’t back down.  They have chosen to disrupt and hang onto their identities of victims with all their might.  It doesn’t mean you have to live your life according to their rules.  We all know the story ends where the lions kicked their asses!

evil queen

 

From the Wicked Queen (mother-in-law:  I’m just kidding!!), to the troll under the bridge (the fear that keeps us from achieving our biggest dreams), to dragons (the average masses that swoop down on you the moment you stand out in a crowd), fairy tales probably have more wisdom hidden in them than all the psychology books in the world.

 

 

It is about really seeing the princess within you that deserves living in a beautiful castle with the prince of your dreams.  It is about having the knight in shining armor fighting next to you for your cause because your purpose is brilliant.  It is about following your dreams and knowing that magic exists to make them come true.  It is about realizing that you don’t have to be the biggest or the smartest or the scariest to come out tops – hey, look at what those dwarfs did!!!

I invite you to go read some of your favorite fairy tales again and to find the wisdom hidden deep within them.  And start sharing them with your kids!  Not to teach them that magic only happens in fairy tales, but to show them that magic truly does exist in their lives and the power that they have in co-creating their reality.

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – Meet The Incredible Miss C

This is my personal truth.

When Adriaan told me that he would not be able to do the Sky Run with me this year, I was more than just a little disappointed.  Not only did I lose my training partner 3 weeks before the event last year, which means I know how tough those long hours of running is on your own, but I had set a goal to finish this year in a Sub 15 hours.  For most seasoned trail runners this seems a walk in the park.  For an old lady with many injuries, a fear of heights, and no sense of direction, it is a challenge.  Plus you all know by now how very loud those voices in my head can get when I’m out there on my own!

So once again I started asking around for anyone who is up for a magnificent adventure.  For some strange reason though, there appears to be very few people who, like myself, commit to seemingly out of reach goals before figuring out the how.  Personally I find this to be half the fun.

Eventually I decided to ask the Universe.  I drew up a list of requirements of my perfect racing partner.  This is a powerful tool that I use consistently in my life and I have seen the amazing results my clients get through this as well.  From business associates, to perfect clients, to your soul mate – simply draw up a list of the characteristics that you want in this person and let the Universe work its magic.

But back to my perfect racing partner – she would have to be a woman who can talk a lot without needing any responses (I am normally too busy trying my utmost to breathe and not pass out to even attempt answering).  She would have to be new to trail running as well so we could learn and explore together.  She needs to be an endurance athlete who has the fitness needed for this event.  She would definitely require a magnificent sense of humor!  A lady who is focused and committed.  And one with a sprinkle of nuts to say !  Sounds like a tall order and even I was wondering about the likelihood of this happening.

And the Universe delivered the Incredible Miss C!!Miss c5

Well I didn’t really ask for a woman who looks like a model at 6 am for a run, but then again the Universe loves over-delivering!

The Incredible Miss C is the perfect partner for me.  Not only is she more than a decade younger than me, but she is fast as hell and honestly one of the gentlest souls I have ever met.  She is the ice to my fire, but with a core of steel and some glutes to match!  If we were a Caramelo Bear, I would be the chocolate and she the caramel.

The Incredible Miss C completed her first Comrades this year in a time which put a lot of veterans to shame.  She has also turned into the most relentless voice in my head every time I go out training, with or without her.  Talk about having to up my game!!  I have to train harder, run faster, and become a little more fearless on the rocks.

In return, I keep her grounded, bring my determination and enthusiasm to the table, as well as the emotional support which I know will be crucial on the day.

Did I mention she is a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with??

No longer can I miss a training session, or cut short on the intervals, or eat that extra slab of chocolate.  Because the Sky Run is no longer just about my personal goal.  By teaming up with an awesome runner, I not only have the support that I was seeking, but an accountability partner of note!

Miss c4

But that is exactly what is needed when we set incredible goals.  The people we surround ourselves with is crucial to our success.  You become like those who you associate yourself with which means that if you want to be a winner, you better make damn sure you have winners on your team!!

 

 

It might be time to look at those you have chosen to surround yourself with and ask yourself if they are lifting you up or pulling you down in the pursuit of your goals.  I know we sometimes really struggle to let go of those people who have been in our lives for a very long time, but if you are keeping them in your life out of guilt, or even worse to subconsciously blame them for playing small, you are not doing anyone any favors.  Love them enough to let them walk their own journey instead of continuously using them as an excuse to hold yourself back.

And when you decide to love yourself enough to seek out those who will let you live your dreams, the Universe will always bring an Incredible Miss C who will celebrate your victories with you!

Walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – Moving Into The Pain

This is my personal truth.

I hold her soft warm body gently in my arms.  Cleo looks up at me with her piercing emerald green eyes, filled with love, filled with trust.  Not understanding why the tears are silently running down my cheeks.  Not understanding why we are in this strange place and why they had put this piece of plastic into her leg.  Not understanding why I keep whispering “I’m so sorry” over and over again.

But I know.  I know and my heart is shattering into a million pieces.

I was expecting her to fight.  She was always fighting.  There were always claws and hissing and loud war cries involved.  But not in this moment.  She is so still.  She doesn’t move.  Just keeps looking into my eyes.

“Are you ready?” the vet asks in a quiet voice.  I nod and watch as he inserts the needle into the drip and slowly pushes the liquid into her body.  Instantly her body goes limp in my arms.  Not the type of limp that we are familiar with.  It is as if her insides have turned into pure liquid and only her skin is holding her together.

Never before have I understood at this level that it is not our bones or muscles that give us solidity.  It is only our souls.  The moment the soul leaves the body, nothing solid stays behind.  I have never understood at this level.  And I don’t understand in this moment because my mind is going numb with pain.  I will only understand in a few days from now when I ask a different question on my run.

The vet leaves the room.  I look at her little body in my arms.

I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to put her on the cold metal table so instead I take her blanket out of the carrier and gently wrap her in it.

I don’t know what to do.  So I move into the pain.

My knees give and as I sink to the floor I hear all the heartbreak being torn from my body. And I cry.

I cry because for the past 11 years this furry little cat has been my ‘beautiful monster in the cupboard’.  She has been my husband’s little princes.

I cry because Cleopatra was probably one of the most beautiful cats who have ever lived, but the world never got to see her beauty because she was terrified of life and so she lived in my bathroom cupboard.  The only people who were ever allowed to touch her were myself and my husband.

I cry because she was my daughter.  I have seen her grow from a tiny little bundle of fur into a beautiful young woman.  I held her when she was pregnant and stayed by her side when she gave birth.  I saw her sadness when her kittens found new homes.  I saw her fear growing as she got older and her world became smaller and smaller until all that was left was the bathroom cupboard.

I cry because I love her.

Eventually the vet comes back.  I don’t know what to do so I say “Can we leave her in the blanket?  I don’t want her to get cold.”  He nods his head and says “Few have the courage to do the right thing.”

Few have the courage to do the right thing.  But I have to be courageous.  Because I am a warrior.

The path of the warrior is not an easy one.  And sometimes it means following the pain so that we can understand the lessons that lies hidden underneath.

As I look around the world I see so many people hurting.  But they don’t have the courage to go into the pain and so instead they try to numb it with alcohol or drugs or food or sex or over work.  Society is teaching us that pain is a bad thing to be avoided at all cost!  Yet I have learned in my life that pain, both physical and emotional, is a master teacher who provides me the opportunity to become stronger.  And that strength is needed to have the courage to stand up in this world and speak our truth with honor.

One of the most profound lessons I’ve ever learned is that our outer world is a reflection of our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious.  The reason why most people refuse to embrace this truth is because of the power that it places in our hands!  Indeed, we are the co-creators of our lives.

While life is wonderful and things go our way this power is easy to embrace.  Yet when times get tough we stubbornly refuse to find the truth in this because it hurts like hell!  Instead we blame the world at large, the government, the economy, our family, the availability of drugs, war, poverty, the list is endless.

As entrepreneurs we experience pain on a  regular basis.  After all, when starting a company, we are birthing a dream, and we raise that dream as if it is a child.  And that child needs to learn how to walk, and fall, and get scraped knees, and get criticized by others – and that hurts.  Sometimes we close that big deal and we are euphoric in our power.  Other times the deals go sour, the bank accounts run on empty and the pain is immense.  We lie awake at night wondering how we are going to turn this around.  Sometimes we have to let our employees go – and that hurts!!  As entrepreneurs we have got to learn to move into the pain, to learn the lessons hidden underneath so that we can heal the negative beliefs and move forward to prosper!

I don’t mean to make this sound like an easy process.  It’s not.  For one thing I know I first have to experience the pain.  I have to allow my body to feel it.  I have to allow my body and my mind to go down into the dark and to be immersed in this.  There always comes a time when I simply can’t bare the pain anymore and that is when I reach out to the Universe for strength.  This is when I hand over to God and ask for the lessons that I need to learn in order for me to move back into the light.  I ask, I trust, I let go.

And the answers always find me.  Not immediately, but when I’m ready.  Sometimes it takes days.  Sometimes it takes months.  Some of my greatest answers have taken years to find me.  But they always do.  In all honesty, most of my insights have always happened whilst I was training.  It still does.  Ask, trust, let go.

I believe that as entrepreneurs we have chosen to be warriors!  We have chosen to walk a path filled with challenges that can make us stronger, so that we can lead the way for others.

I’m sharing this experience of my personal loss with you today to encourage you to move into the pain and uncover the learning so that you can become stronger and walk in this world the proud warrior that you were born to be.  Warriors cry because they are brave enough to feel pain.  Warriors don’t try to numb the pain with external drugs which will eventually lead to nothing but death.

warrior_cat-HDThe loss of Cleo still sits heavy in my heart.  But she has reminded me to follow the pain.  She has reminded me to never waste my life and my message by hiding in the cupboard.  To rather take the punches along with the hugs because that is how I know I am alive!  She has given me the beautiful insight that it is my soul that holds my body upright, and that my soul is more powerful than any bone or muscle.  My soul burns with passion and that passion is what drives me forward every single day.  My body is simply the vehicle that takes me around.  She has reminded me that at the end of the day, my soul is energy and energy is eternal.  Therefor Cleo is eternal.

Walk proud in the halls of Valhalla my brave cat warrior.  For you have brought so much goodness to my life and I am eternally grateful to you.  And in celebration of your spirit, today I will walk with honor.

Viking prayer

The Silent Warrior – Finding Inspired Action

This is my personal truth.

The cursed hows

When embarking on the journey of any goal, the first thing people tend to ask me, is how?  What do they need to do in order to achieve the goal?  In fact, it has been my experience that the majority of people will stop right here if they don’t find the answers immediately.

I have learned that in order for me to set those really amazing goals, I don’t need to know how.  In fact, when I set them I don’t have a freaking clue of how I am going to achieve them.  But isn’t that part of the purpose of setting a goal?  To grow beyond your current experience and knowledge?  Because for me if the person in the mirror has all the answers at the outset, it really is a mediocre goal…

Plus let’s face it, things generally don’t tend to go the way we envisaged it at the outset.  That is probably one of the things I love about this great big adventure called life.  The unpredictability of it.  The waking up in the morning wondering what exactly the universe is going to throw my way, and how I am going to incorporate it into my life to still get to my desired outcome.

Have I mentioned that my goals are non-negotiable?

There is a very good reason why I put my Inspired Action Plan in the last column.  That is because I first want to commit and get super excited about my goals, thereby raising my energy and tap into my creativity.  Then I stop, I meditate, and start from where I’m at.  Here is what my inspired action plan looked like when I set my goal for the SkyRun:

SkyRun Goal2

Most people start looking at what to do from the outside.  The easy stuff.  BUT, the magic truly does lie inside you.  If you want to achieve what you have not done before, start by working on yourself.  Your thoughts, your beliefs, what you think is possible and not possible, and what has stopped you from achieving this before now.

As I’m sure you can see, I’ve taken some lessons from my previous SkyRun attempt and built that in as my base.   For instance, I know by now that this type of event is 20 % physical, 80 % mental.  This is why daily meditations are crucial for me personally.  Having a kick-ass mantra and a master spiritual mentor definitely helps.  And when I get tired I chant “I’m a lean mean endurance machine!!”  I’m not even joking – the further the run, the louder the chant.  Luckily peoples’ amazed reactions no longer bother me, and if I can make a stranger laugh at this crazy old ducky, all the better!

Reading is to my mind what squats are for my glutes.  When all else fail I return to read Relentless by Tim Grover.  Haven’t read it yet?  Get a copy!  This book is real, inspirational and very honest!  It is the typical TTFU attitude that I embrace and absolutely thrive on.

Fred2And TTFU is exactly what it takes.  See the very last teeny weeny little line that says Saturday morning group runs?  It took a very long time for me to put this on the list as the runs are with some kick-my-ass veterans, on very technical terrain which has me crawling in the back, not to mention the fact that it is normally still dark and bloody cold when they start.

 Comfort zone?  What comfort zone????  But I know this is exactly what I need to get stronger and faster so I will continue to be the little old lady in the back for another month or two, and then I will be with the kick-ass leaders in the front!  Pretty cool prospect 🙂

To up my game even further, God has provided me with an inspiring race partner!  The Incredible Miss C, who is more than a decade younger than me and who just completed the Comrades in an amazing time, is this continuous voice in my head that pushes me harder every training session.  Never letting me stop a meter before the indicated distance, never letting me run a second slower than the indicated pace, this woman has got me working harder than ever before, and she doesn’t even know it!

And of course I would not go on this journey without some really remarkable coaches who not only know their stuff, but who understand me and how to get the best out of me.  Between Fred Richardson who works my body and Alex Nagy who works my soul, I am being stretched and supported on all fronts.

Fred

There are 2 really important things to remember when starting out on your inspired action plan:

1.  I have no intention to work myself to death!!  There is a reason I called it inspired action and that is because each action needs to have a purpose and will make sense in my journey towards the end goal;

2.  It is NOT written in stone!!  Life happens, circumstances change, obstacles are put in our way to show us how much we want something.  My list gets revisited every week.  I have a look at what works really well and do more of that.  I look at what is not working well and either drop it or change it.

chipmunkFor instance, my body seems to have gone into complete shock after my operation and started piling on the weight as if winter was coming and the world is running out of nuts!

You get the picture right?  So I entered the WellIAm challenge thinking that this will help me to shake the extra pounds.  Result?  My body goes into a horrendous 2 year old tantrum and accelerates my weight gain!!

Lesson learned – I stop the challenge, do some meditations around my body, relax, return to my normal eating and continue training.  Sigh, the weight is finally coming off little by little.  On the positive side I did find out I have extremely high cholesterol by going for the entrance tests, so have started taking medication to rectify the situation.  Everything comes across our path for a reason – trust the Universe.

I also find that when I relax a little bit into the process and seek the flow, things happen easier for me.  It is all about learning – about being willing to try, screw up, try something different, and finding success.

It has been a tough week so far.  As I sit here writing, my legs are killing me, my eyes are burning a little as I’ve been up since 3 am due to my soul being super excited about the day ahead.  But I love tough because I’m a warrior!  I am working towards some truly inspiring goals – in my personal life, my professional life, my family life, and my physical life.   I have more than enough fire in my belly because I know when to push, and when to recover.  And right now, it is time to put my head down and go to the next level!

What are you working towards?

Until next time, walk with honor.

The Silent Warrior – Out of the mouths of babes

This is my personal truth.

When we learn to stay open to the input of the Universe, whilst staying focused on our goals, some pretty amazing things come our way.  This is how I found myself at the Suits and Sneakers event last Thursday night to be inspired to a new level of learning.

As most people were sitting in the audience intently listening to the words, I was listening to what was not being said.  In fact, I was observing mastery in action from some pretty young people who challenged me to raise my game!  I must be honest, before this event I had never heard of Mark Sham or Brent Lindeque and as I sat studying them I was truly touched by Mark’s passion and Brent’s compassion (he is like the male alter-ego of Mother Theresa), which combined was moving in excess of a thousand people within 40 minutes.  Brilliant!!

Brent Lindeque

As a large portion of my client base consists of entrepreneurs who focus on wealth creation, some of my favorite books are Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, as well as Leveraging the Universe by Mike Dooley (I highly recommend you read them).  And here on stage, was the theory in action!

Both these guys have a very clear purpose and a burning desire for a specific outcome.  Both of them know the impact they wish to create, they take massive amounts of action, and then they trust the Universe to come to the party and create some magic!  And believe me, it is some pretty impressive magic.

But it goes further than this!

As I was leaving I had the opportunity to shake Brent’s hand and I thought to myself, how can such a young person be so brave and be so visible in the world to make a change, when most of my generation seems to be hiding?  And by default, why am I not making the impact he is?  This stayed with me all night.  Truth be told I didn’t sleep much after the event and when I heard an owl at 2 am, I knew that something had shifted for me.  I understood that wisdom is knowledge in action, and that our youth was teaching us this valuable lesson.  I need to use my knowledge and take more action to add more value to your life!!

As I went out for my run Saturday morning, I noticed how clean the gutters were from all the rain the night before.  It felt amazing to see the beauty in my neighborhood again.  As I carried on though, I could see the individual bottles and pieces of paper lying next to the walls and on the pavements.  I think what really hit me was the fact that I know our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.  And for the first time I understood that a lot of my stress, and the tension, disease, irritation and general feeling of discontent which I am experiencing from people in general, stems from our dirty suburbs.   The question popped into my head – what would Brent do?  And so the One Bag Nominations were born!

 

Let’s be honest, picking up rubbish is NOT the most glamorous way to spend the cool-down session of my run.  And I won’t gross you out with the details of what I picked up.  But every item which I picked up and threw into a bin, left me with a tremendous sense of achievement and contribution.  Because I know countless people will be driving to work feeling a little lighter, even if they don’t know why.  I will never again go on a run without picking up some of the litter and cleaning up my world!

Once again I was able to align my life purpose with my goal of completing the Sky Run which in turn increases my dedication.  I hope you are starting to see the bigger picture…

spider webLife is like a huge spider web.  When we are busy weaving it we tend to only see what is right in front of us.  But God, the Universe, your Higher Power, whatever you believe in, sees the bigger picture and how it is all interconnected.  My purpose, my goal, my learning, the people I get to meet on my journey, the people I get to inspire along the way, and in my own little way, I am leaving the world a better place.

 

You were born to be a warrior.  To live in purpose and honor.  To contribute to the world in your unique way.

Join me in making our world a cleaner place, because God has made it breath-takingly beautiful!

Walk with honor.

 

The Silent Warrior – A letter of gratitude to you

This is my personal truth

Dear Fellow Traveler

I see you and I am in awe of you.

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I see you wake up some mornings, still exhausted.  Finding it so hard to remember your purpose, your drive.  Yet you keep going.  Your feet hit the floor, your legs carry you to the kitchen, you make a cup of coffee.  Your will-power to keep going is astounding.  Thank you for showing me perseverance.

 

 

 

Isn’t it crazy how we have created a society where happiness seems almost elusive for most people?  And yet, you find moments of laughter and pure joy no matter where you are.  You still remember how to smile, and when you do so, you brighten up the day for everyone around you.  You make me smile.  You show me how to sing and dance with abandon!  The twinkle in your eyes light up my existence.  Thank you for showing me joy.most7

 

Some days you look in the mirror and you cringe.  You judge the extra weight that you carry around your belly or the over-sized clothes that you use to hide your beautiful curves.  Be gentle with yourself today.  Instead of judging the weight, try to understand the purpose of it.  What is the story it is telling you?  About the pain that it is trying to protect you from.  About the danger that it tries to hide you from.   Be gentle.  Understand.  Forgive.  I do.  Thank you for showing me vulnerability.

You deal with so much stress on a continuous basis.  You carry so much responsibility, not just for yourself, but for those who choose to be in your life in whatever role or duration of time.  You carry this in silence.  Not wanting to share your burden.  Not wanting to make it harder for those around you.  You are strong beyond even your own imagination.  You just don’t see it the way I do.  Thank you for showing me courage.

 

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There are times when I know you have come to the end of the line and you are completely at a loss of where to from here.  In a world that demands perfection you reach a point whereby you acknowledge to yourself that you are not the Superman of your childhood and that sometimes so much shit hits the fan that all you can do is crouch down and cover your head.  Thank you for showing me humbleness.

 

 

At times the pain becomes almost unbearable and your body seeks release through the out-pour of tears and you scream your torment to the Universe!  Yet you never throw that excruciating pain my way.  Instead you wait for the storm to pass, you find strength through a higher power and you show me the stars shine even in the darkest night.  Even in your time of hurt, you find ways to support others.  Thank you for showing me compassion.

 

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My Dear Fellow Traveler, I see you and I am in awe of you.  You are the reason I get up every day.  You are the reason I continue to grow as a person, as a coach, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, as a human.  You are the inspiration in my darkest hours.  You are the reason I continue to seek out my fears.  You are the reason I keep believing in the good of humanity.  Because no matter how bad things look, there is always a magnificent light within you which I see.  And I am in awe of that light.

My Dear Fellow Traveler – Thank you.most1