"Write what you need to read." ~Brene Brown

Friday, January 11, 2019


Imagine calculating how many steps you have taken in your life so far...

Math is hard, but if we take the 12,000 per day average according to fitbit expectations, at my age, that's somewhere over a quarter of a BILLION steps. Each one of the steps we take are leading us somewhere. 

Maybe lots of circles, but still, somewhere.

For me, that puts things into perspective when I think about taking one small step in the direction of my goals. It makes it seem simpler and less daunting.

Going to the beach or walking in the snow is fun because the sand and the snow record all the footprints. When it snows here in Bend and I go out into the yard, it's a delight to find records of all the footprints left by people, dogs, ducks, wild birds, cotton-tail bunnies, deer, and a host of other four-legged whose footprints I can't (or should I say daren't) discern. We all were going somewhere in pursuit of something. It's interesting to guess what those pursuits might have been.

This morning, as I got out to my studio at 5am to do a livestream workout, I heard Patricia Moreno say that there’s nothing in your future except what you are thinking about.

That's a good piece of advice for those of us who still have goals eleven days into the new year. How are we doing?  We start out feeling bold and courageous, sure of success. About now, life has happened. Many goals may have been abandoned, and left for dead. Maybe to be picked up again when the Chinese New Year gets recognized.  I laugh at myself that I've chosen to improve my healthy eating habits in the year of the Pig. (If not now, when)?

In her book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown shares the idea that we should write what we need to read.  Right now,  really I need to read about keeping dedicated to a practice.

Somewhere in the last three or four years, I abandoned my early morning practice. I can't tell you exactly when or why. All I know is that it eroded, and all kinds of old, familiar, sleeping late and comfort food eating practices quickly filled the void.  In November, I got the flu. It knocked me off my feet for about two weeks, and then the coughing commenced. Racking, relentless coughs that I had gotten all the time before April 22, 2012.

For me, it was the wake up call that got my attention. I needed to do something about my health. I scheduled an appointment with a primary care physician, and finally got to see them last week (I'll save you my opinion about what health care has become in this country, and where I fear it's going. Suffice it to say I'm choosing to take responsibility for my own health by getting back on track with a healthy lifestyle.

The lab results came in the mail today. They tell a story of the consequences of poor dietary choices. My cholesterol level is off the charts, and the letter I received informed me that the physician was wanting to put me on a cholesterol reducing medication because I'm at risk for coronary artery disease.  I met with her yesterday and told her I had actively changed my diet. I have been drinking vegetable smoothies, and on Monday, I plan to start the Whole30 diet which is useful for reducing inflammation. She agreed to meet with me again in three months, get lab work, and see how I'm doing. 

So far, I've resumed my old healthy practice for 11 days. The practice is to do the following every day:
1. Get up at 5am
2. At 5, do an hourlong intenSati workout
3.write out my top three goals.
4. Drink at least one vegetable smoothie each day and eat whole foods, no ruffles potato chips which are my number one trigger food.
5. Write a love note to my mom and leave it on her chair in a book we got for that purpose.
6. Learn something.

What I learned most recently from Brene Brown's book Dare to Lead, is that I should write what I need to read. Since one of my top goals is to publish one blog a day, that is what I plan to do, as it will support this goal, and my other two (restoring my health, and creating a vibrant intenSati community here in Bend.

Today, I want to read everything I can about how to stay in the game and stay motivated to keep going. 

I'm speaking directly now to anyone reading this who set some goals a week and a half or so ago:  It’s about now that we’ve been gobsmacked by life challenges that have us questioning our goals.. One thing or a mother (sic) can lead to some dark thoughts. Anger. Frustration. The desire to just give it all up and binge watch an entire Netflix series and eat an extra large pizza,  solo. Forget the book, the play, the painting, the health program. Just wallow.

But here’s the thing. Life is about how we meet these roadblocks. If you really, really want that thing, you have to be willing to deal effectively the setbacks and stay in the game.  

Good knitters come to know their craft so well that they can pick up dropped stitches without having to give up, rip out everything, and start all over. Sometimes they do, but they understand it’s all a part of the process of making that sweater. 

Part of my practice will be about picking up stitches. 

I have committed  to publish a blog entry at least once a week this year. In order to do this, I have to be willing to make mistakes. Oh yes, there will be grammatical errors. It’s all part of the process of practicing. Oh yes, I will be judgmental about what I write. I will fear offending, or being ridiculous, confusing, or ignored. 

I’m cultivating my practice of writing. That means I must be purposeful and be willing to show up consistently. I need to practice the art of putting it out there. I need to want to do it badly enough that I'm willing to be ignored, laughed at, or judged harshly.

Since I made the decision to do what Elizabeth Gilbert advised, I'm writing for myself. 

Last week, I mentioned that in order to get good at something, we have to be willing to perform badly at it and over time, with hope, we improve.

Steven Gilligan really emphasizes the importance of having a practice.  Having had a practice regularly, then having abandoned it, and now resuming that practice, I understand that he really means it when he says that you are only as good as your practice.  What we do every day is practice at who we want to be. 

It’s very much a theme in the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell's work refers to how we hear the call, then ignore the call, or run from the call, or reject the call. Or try and get someone else to do it. In folk tales, the hero/heroine typically makes a mistake or several mistakes before the foe is vanquished, the heart is won, Rumplestiltskin explodes in a fiery orange flame, or the farm flourishes with bountiful crops.  Prior to the ultimate achievement, the stars of these fables must face their fears, outsmart monsters, and endure hardships. They do so in order to return home victorious with their gifts.

Carlsbad Caverns. It's a long way down and contains a vast array of extaordinary treasures..

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." - Joseph Campbell.

Think about your goal. What calls for you’re attention so powerfully that you’re willing to swim the shark infested moat of old fears and habits? What are you wanting so badly that you're willing to screw up big time? Imagine it with rich, full sensory details. What do you see, what do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? How does it feel in your body? The more fully embodied your imagination becomes, the more compelling the goal becomes. If we start each day reminding ourselves of this, we're more likely to go on to live our days in a manner that is congruent with what we want to achieve.

It’s the first step that seems the most daunting. The step you take that seems to have led us nowhere. It's too soon to expect progress, and the goal seems daunting.

The poet, David Whyte wrote a poem about this first step.  He describes it as your step. The one you don’t want to take.

Wait, what?? 

How is it that we get so freaked out about getting started? Quite often it's our crushing fear that we will fail.

There are the things that have kept us from having the goal already. Fears, doubts, old coping strategies, old messages. Stress. Sick kids. Critics. Exhaustions. Accidents. Injuries. They show up and warn us off from starting. It is inevitable. How we approach these first steps is crucial. Do we approach them from our present self state of mind, or from our future self state of mind? Can we decide that it's all working out and we can handle the challenge
The only thing between us and our goals is our unwillingness to deal with the discomfort of doing the work to get there. On the other hand, if we decide that we fear the pain and sorrow of never getting there... Maybe that will have us willing to keep skin in the game.

This takes me back to what Patricia Moreno said to us all this morning who were there at 5am Pacific Time to do her live workout:  "There's nothing in your future except what you're thinking."  If you're interested in Patricia Moreno and what she has to teach, I highly encourage you to visit her website,

May we all think well of our collective future, and may our authentic future selves be there to walk alongside each of us to point out the way and encourage us when it gets a little scary. May those footsteps lead us in the direction of health, success, and connection.

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