The Hurting Place

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In Elaine Marshall’s talk Learning The Healer’s Art, she shares this story:

“My mother once told me of an experience she had one winter morning as she drove down to check the cattle in the lower pasture. She noticed a car off the side of the road. Inside she recognized a young mother and three children. When my mother asked if they needed help, the woman tearfully reminded her that this was the place of the accident two weeks earlier that had killed her husband. She answered, ‘We are just here to feel the hurt.'”

This story has always stuck with me and so a few months ago I chose a place to go to “feel the hurt.”

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This is it. It is a lovely little memorial near my home to honor veterans of all the branches of the military. I come here often. I pray and I ponder. I sit and I cry. A few times the hurt was so overwhelming that I have fallen to my knees and weeped that loud, painful cry that comes from the center of the soul. I like it here. To me it is peaceful. It is safe.

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“Healing is active—you have to be there. Your friend or your husband or wife or your mother cannot do it for you. You have to face the problem and the pain. To begin healing, you must acknowledge and feel the hurt. Only those who don’t feel, those without conscience, cannot heal.”

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“I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. The antibiotic kills the pathogen; the scalpel cuts out the malignancy; the medication resolves the distorted chemistry. Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. We may pray for cure when we really need healing. Whether for cell reconstruction, for nerve and muscle rehabilitation, for emotional recovery, or for spiritual forgiveness, healing needs work and time and energy. Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.”

Dear Veterans, thank you. I cannot even begin to understand the many sacrifices you have made to serve our country. I respect you. I honor you. I love you. Thank you. I want to be here for you. I will be your Brotherhood.

Below is a great video about the importance of and how to ask Veterans about their service. Please take the time to watch. And more importantly, take the time to be there. Keep kind and carry on. xoxo

If you struggle with PTSD please scroll up to the top of the page and click “Find Help Here.”

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It Can Happen

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“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” –Steel Magnolias

Some moments my healing comes through tears and others through my laughter. Some moments my healing comes through cursing. Healing is hardly ever pretty. Healing is messy and often unpredictable. But healing is also divine. And in its own way, a precious miracle. Heavenly Healing provides restoration and a renewal of the heart, a lifting of the soul. Heavenly healing is a gift through the grace of God and a fruit of the Atonement of Christ. I cannot tell you how long your healing will take or what it will look like. What I can tell you is that it can happen. Healing happens. Healing is real because Christ is real. Because He lives. And not only does He live but He loves. The love of Christ is big. It is perfect and perfecting. Christ’s love offers restoration, redemption and renewal to the wounded soul.

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Have you seen the preview for that movie Wild? Based off the book based off that woman’s true life story. Anyway, it got me thinking. Why?

Why, when we go through break-ups, heartaches, when we experience great loss do we do “crazy” things? Big things, extreme things…different things?

For me, it is to feel alive. Again. I want to feel alive again because the last time I felt alive was with him. That is why I jumped out of an airplane. That is why I went platinum blonde. It’s why I run races now. And 20 to 30 miles a week. It is why I dyed my hair back to deep red and then chopped it all off. Why I got a dog. Why I want to move to Iceland. Why I want blue hair and a tattoo. Why I want to quit every thing and drive away. Why I want to stay right where I am at. Why I let myself cry that big, full, deep cry every. day. every day. Why I choose healing.

I don’t need My Guy On A Buffalo to feel alive. I can feel alive on my own. But, oh, what a beautiful alive we were together.

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Truth Telling: Should I and How much?

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Halloween a year ago. My Guy on a Buffalo and I were still together. I never felt more beautiful than when we were together. Even with no make-up and messy hair and chapped lips.

Halloween a year ago. My Guy on a Buffalo and I were still together. I never felt more beautiful than when we were together. Even with no make-up and messy hair and chapped lips.

Truth telling is hard. Oh so hard. I feel such a pull to share my experiences with My Guy on a Buffalo but at the same time I do not want to throw him under the bus. I love this man. He is a good man. His behavior towards me was abusive. I believe in using the correct terms. There is power in them. There is freedom. There is truth. But I hate to think of or refer to My Guy on a Buffalo as my “abuser.” Correct term. Doesn’t sit well. Why? Because that is not who. he. is. “Abuser” is not CORE Guy on a Buffalo. I do not want to label him as that. That is not who he is and he can be helped, healed. He can change.

I have this fear. My fear is that if I tell the truth, if I share my experiences (which I feel so pulled to do) that one day he might read them. That it will cause him shame that he might not escape from. That he will not feel worthy of healing or goodness. And he is worthy! Of healing, restoration, redemption! Being honest here: that it might impede any future relationship we might have together.

I recently wrote a POST about listening to those who share stories of abuse because it can save a life. But the abused are not the only ones worthy of being saved. The “abusers” are too. Granted, I am sure there are people out there who are just mean. But I am gonna go out on a limb and also say that most abusers abuse because of addiction or mental illness. We must help them too (Doesn’t mean we should stay in a bad/unsafe situation EVER). We cannot force any one to change, to seek help or be saved. But we can be aware. We can educate ourselves with knowledge and resources. We can also listen… to them.

I dont’t know. I just don’t know.

Listen to Save a Life

A few months ago the opportunity came to me to share the truth about my experience with the one person, in my mind, who would want to know because it has a direct impact on their life.  I was completely surprised when this person told me they did not have the time to listen, they were too busy.  This person wanted nothing to do with me. I could not believe it. I still do not believe it. I am sure they have their reasons (I can guess and empathize). And I am sure those reasons are completely valid. So making this about me and not about them, this is what I learned…

I did not know how important it was for me to be heard by this person until that moment. I was not aware that need existed. I don’t need this person to hear me out in order to heal or to move on with my life — but, oh– how it would help.

That same day I came across this video. I sat at my kitchen table and watched over and over just sobbing. After what I had just experienced, in watching this video I felt heard – by someone. These brave women are telling a story that some times I cannot tell, even to myself. Please don’t think that my situation was extreme as any of these because IT WAS NOT. Having that said, there are a lot of things, feelings and experiences that we do share.

Friends, Readers, please, PLEASE- if any person comes to you and is trying to share – LISTEN. Put your own crap aside for a minute and listen. Even if you don’t know what to say or what to do. Even if you feel uncomfortable or frustrated, maybe even defensive. PLEASE LISTEN. Providing a listening ear could #savealife.

To watch the video please CLICK HERE. It is the first video in the article. Thank you for taking the time to watch. xoxo

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7 Days That Changed Me

Earlier this month I participated in a free 7 Day Wake-Up challenge group on Facebook. IT. WAS. AMAZING. No kidding. This is how it worked: I was added to a private FB group where every morning I had to be up by 7am and prove it with a selfie. Haha! Those early morning selfies were pretty hot! But it was great! There were daily assignments such as making your bed, drinking warm water with lemon, starting your day with a positive up-beat tune. It was a lot of fun! Everyone in the group was posting encouraging thoughts throughout the day.  We were sharing our struggles and cheering each other on. As participants, we lived all over the country. Along the way we earned points for the positive habits we were creating. At the end of the week there was a winner and I WON! Hot Dog! I actually won something! How about that:) Being a part of this group was uplifting.  It changed my life. I needed this group. Thanks goes out to my friend, Shante’ for coaching us through those rough mornings! You are excellent!

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Many of you know that for the past couple of years I have been hosting Biggest Losers contests via email. Some tanked but others were CRAZY successful. All together over 300 pounds were lost! You did that! Amazing! Because I have loved hosting the Biggest Loser contests and because I loved the set-up of the 7 Day Wake-Up challenge I have decided to combine the two and become a Beachbody Coach! Do What??? I AM A BEACHBODY COACH! Raise the Roof!

What is Beachbody? P90X. Insanity. Brazilian Butt Lift. ChaLean. These are all Beachbody workouts and there are many more! As a Beachbody coach I will be running 30 day, 60 day, 90 day challenges.  These will be private accountability groups on FB (like the 7 Day Wake-Up challenge). There will be daily check-ins and assignments. Major accountability and encouraging support. But here is the thing… Yes I believe in being fit physically but I also strongly believe in being fit mentally, spiritually and emotionally. That is why I will also be coaching FREE 7 day, 10 day, whatever day challenges. These will be Clean-Eating challenges, Training-Yourself-To-Drink-a-Gallon-O-Water a day challenges (needs a better name), Positive Self-Talk challenges – Whatever you need, let me know and I will coach an accountability group for it! We are in this together!! We need each other. We can support each other in making positive changes in our lives. That is what I will be organizing and facilitating as a Beachbody coach.

One of my first free challenge groups is going to be a Preparing for Change group. A 12 day class where we will be making small changes in our lives to prepare us for making the big changes! Remember this BLOG POST? Yeah, along those lines. I am so excited about it!

I am hosting these challenges, I am a Beachbody coach #1: For me. Hosting challenges keeps me accountable for my own change, my own growth. #2: I am a Beachbody coach for the same reason I hosted the Biggest Loser contests: For You! Who ever YOU are. I love you. I love helping you reach your goals.

I am channeling my inner Chris Powell. My inner Jillian Michaels. My inner Bob Greene. My inner Oprah Whinfrey. I am Channeling Diana. I am channeling me. The little girl inside of me trying desperately to heal. The girl who is learning to accept her flawed, imperfect, lovely self. Who is learning to love herself and set herself free. I am channeling Nicole.

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Channeling Demi

Music is powerful.  It has the power to bring me low or bring me high.  It can validate the way I am feeling when I am feeling like no one understands.  It touches the soul.  It makes me sing.  It tells the truth and very often- it tells my truth.  Listening to Demi has been healing for me in my recovery.  One song that describes how I feel about My Buffalo Guy is “In Case.”  One that describes how I am trying to feel about myself is “Warrior.”

This morning I saw this Clean and Clear add featuring Demi.  I loved it.  I loved how she talked about being a real person who doesn’t always have it together.  I am not famous but I know what she is talking about and I am sure you do too.  Sometimes I feel like others view me as having it all together.  Whether that is true or not, I feel the pressure of that way of thinking.  I also loved how Demi talked about therapy.  I go to therapy every week.  Therapy is hard work.  Really. Hard. Work.  But worth it.  It has made a difference in my life.  It has saved my life.  Read more about my therapy experience HERE.

So thank you Demi.  Thank you for being brave.  For being honest.  In word and song. You sharing your truth has helped make me feel more the warrior I am.  Your music has played on repeat many of times as I have broken down and cried in the shower.  They have played so loud in my car , drowning out my own voice as I sang along.  They have pushed my feet to move one step after another on my daily runs.  Your music has not only validated but made me strong.  Thank you.

A Change Will Do You Good/A Lesson In Gratitude

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Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life but just couldn’t seem to follow through? Whether it be diet, exercise, not being “lazy”, ect…  Maybe you started off strong and with excitement but couldn’t keep the momentum going. You became overcome with failure and/or fatigue.

First off, let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

We tell ourselves a thousand excuses.  We are too busy, tired, other obligations and responsibilities get in the way.  All the while knowing these. are. excuses.  Shame builds.  Our desires to change are deep, true and real so why can’t we change!! Why are we not disciplined enough, engaged enough, whatever enough to actually create change in our lives??!!

We have all been there and are maybe there right now.  I know I have and I am. It is frustrating to say the least. But please, cut yourself some slack.  Right now, give yourself permission to practice self love. We have to be READY to change.  Having a firm desire to change is not the same as being READY to change. You cannot force yourself to change any more than you can force a paper-cut to heal.  The wound heals in its own time.  Having that said, there are things you can do to help it heal.  You can treat it, clean it, take care of it.  The same with change.  There are things you can do to ready yourself for it, to prepare for it.

I am working on a series of posts about Change.  About PREPARING for making change happen in our lives.

The first thought I offer you — is to think.  Recall times in your life where you have successfully made positive changes.  What led you there? For me, looking back, I can now clearly identify preparation that I wasn’t even aware I was making.  God was preparing me.  He was using people and cicumstance. He was using experience and creating opportunity.   Heavenly Father was putting everything thing in place for me to change- even when I was working against Him.

I believe we have the ability to see God’s preparation in our lives in real-time.  While it is happening. We can do this through gratitude.  Being grateful opens our eyes to truth. If you desire to make a change, if you can feel in the marrow of your bones that change is coming… practice gratitude.

Whether you keep a journal or a list on your phone.  Maybe you document it with pictures you share on Instagram or Facebook.  However you choose to express your gratitude, Make it happen.  By being grateful you will begin to open your mind for the changes you want to make.

My Enemy/My Friend

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Yesterday while siting in a cozy room, my therapist expressed his empathy with me over my heartache.  He acknowledged that many will not try to understand why I choose not to go into Boulder anymore or have to turn the radio off when a certain song begins to play or a hundred million other things.  That no one , if any, will fully understand my heartache.  And he is right.  But what he was describing was not my heartache.  He was describing what others see as my response to heartache.

You see, Heartache is alive inside of me.  It is a living creature that breathes and moves. Heartache has its own heartbeat that beats wild and slow.  I will never fully understand my own Heartache. In many ways Heartache is lovely. It leads to beautiful words on the page and melodies that float in the air. It prompts strength to be born where it was once barren. Heartache’s counterparts are Grace and Resilience. But Heartache and I are not friends. It is not responsible for the Lovely. The loveliness of Bereavity and my friend, Grief, do not come because of Heartache but in spite of it. The Lovely is what I decide to bring to the table. The Lovely is when I show up.

My Heartache is constantly hurting me, causing me pain. It squeezes my throat tight, choking me so my cry cannot escape. Heartache runs fast in my blood. It scratches at the walls of my veins as if trying to get out. Heartache plays cruel games in my brain, having me think one thing in this moment and something completely different in the next. It spins circles in my stomach making it impossible to keep anything down. And my Heartache sits so heavy in my lungs that it hurts to breathe.

And it’s heart beats inside the center of my heart. In every quiet moment, Heartache is there, resting, burrowing and settling deep into the ever disappearing soft parts of my heart.

Heartache is not a sickness that needs hospitalized or medicated. It is not a ghost in the night that calls for exorcism. No, Heartache is a soul. Attached to this soul is every memory, good and bad. Every touch, every fear, every hope and dream. A life with My Guy on a Buffalo. I am not sure how to make peace with Heartache.  Intuitively, it feels that is something I should do. All I know is it needs to be loved, this Heartache of mine. Because it lives inside of me. It goes with me everyday and lies down with me at night. It whispers painful truths to me even when I rather be told lies. Heartache forces me to find a new way to live, to adapt to my love and my loss. It inspires me to hold out my hand to my sister and to my brother whom she lives with too. To keep them company in its presence. That my sisters and my brothers might know that they are not on their own. That although experience is different, often times emotions are the same.

Heartache, I did not invite you and do not wish your company upon anyone. And I really, really hate you right now.  But I really, really need you right now too. I beg you, stay with me. Don’t leave. For when you leave…he does too.

In the Pit of My Stomach

In the pit of my stomach, in the center of my heart.  In every thought in my mind.  It makes my brain come alive.

You know that feeling.  It courses all through your body.

Triggered.  A mix of scary, excitement, feeling.

A reminder of loss.  Reliving the hurt.  All the things he said.  But also all the good. There is still hope inside of me.

It is as if I am slowly dying.

Everyone tells me it gets better.  But in moments like these there is no better.  Only love with no place to go. Except to the pit of my stomach, to the center of my heart.  To every thought in my mind making my brain come alive.

I will probably be out of commission for a few days.  Breathing.  Taking my time.  Grieving.  Passing through every stage.  Again.

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This is my favorite necklace.  My mom bought it for me when we were in Park City this past April.  I always think how My guy on a buffalo could probably tell me what kind of rock it is,