As 2017 comes to an end, one thing has become crystal clear. If you want magic in your life, you have to create it. Magic doesn’t find you. You have to bring it to your life.
Living life awake doesn’t just happen. Every day you have to deliberately make the choice to wake up.
It’s risky. Sometimes it hurts. It leaves you exposed. And it’s magical.
Maybe that’s what makes New Year’ Eve and the New Year so appealing. It’s an ending and a beginning all within one second of each other. The ball drops, and you get a brand new year.
That’s the magic. That’s being awake.
Within one second of everything in life is being alive. You never know when your one breath away from your best or your worst. When the ball drops or things fall apart, you get to start again. If we never let the ball drop, we never get a new beginning.
As 2018 approaches, I have one goal. It’s to observe life without judgement. It’s to allow myself (and others) to exist as I am.
I belong awake.
We belong awake.
The only way to live is to allow ourselves to be one second and one breath away from our best or maybe our worst.
Cheers to a life of magic. Cheers to being awake.
“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
Cheers to 2018, a year to let go of judgement, to observe, and to participate relentlessly in living life awake!
I wish I could bundle it up. I wish I could gift the entire world the words I heard last night. I wish I could take all the words I heard last night as I sat in the auditorium at George Washington University listening to Brene Brown speak about belonging and sprinkle them on every single person. We need her work and her words. I need her work and her words.
It all made sense. As she spoke, I understood the sadness, the fear, the loneliness that has manifested itself into hatred in our world. It doesn’t matter who you voted for or what religion you practice (or don’t) when we look at this humanitarian crisis we are facing.
We’ve forgot we are human. We’ve forgot we are all connected. We’ve forgot that degrading one woman, dehumanizes them all. We’ve forgot hundreds of years of history where we dehumanized people because of the color of their skin. We have to rehumanize ourselves. We have to rehumanize each other.
For 90 minutes Brene spoke about her work, her new book, and the current climate of our country. It all made sense. We have forgotten we are all human.
The evening ended with an auditorium filled with 1500 people and not one single empty seat joining together in a moment of collective happiness. Through music we united. We sang. It was silly and awkward and joyful. Together we shared joy. Music and Brene’s brilliant work gave us this.
This morning after getting home sometime in the early morning hours, my 13 year old woke me up to tell me there had been another shooting at a concert. 50 were dead. Hundreds were hurt. They came together for collective happiness, and this happened. I asked him to turn off the tv.
I feel asleep filled with hope. I feel asleep understanding how we got here, and a small glimmer of hope of how to move closer to being human again. Waking up to another attack of terror (because that’s exactly what this is) made it all confusing once again. How did we get here?
I haven’t turned the news back on. I don’t need to. I can feel it. I can feel the sadness in my heart and in my head. It’s lingering in all the spaces that surround me. We’ve forgotten we are all connected. A mother grieving for her child is felt by every mother. It’s up to us to acknowledge it.
In those 90 minutes that Brene spoke last night, I heard clarity in so many of our issues. My brain is scrambling to piece them all together so I can logically take the next step forward. While my head scrambles to find facts and reason, my heart aches for no reason other than there is a lot of sadness around us. There is a lot of hate. There is a lot of fear.
As I walked to my car last night, I said to my friend I wish I could ask Brene one question. I wanted to ask her what do I do now. As a member in the audience who sought out her research, what do I do now? How do I move it forward?
Today I saw her answer as I opened my eyes. It’s my children. It’s the people I touch. It’s my reach. Tonight, instead of watching the nightly news, I asked Cole how he felt about the shooting. I asked him how he felt about kneeling during the national anthem. I asked him if he had friends at school who were transgendered or gay. He awkwardly answered while I patiently waited. The more he talked the more his awkwardness disappeared. I listened until he asked me what I thought too.
Thanks to last night and the amazing research of Brene Brown, I could easily articulate my answer. I believe we all want to talk long enough until our awkwardness disappears. We want to protest or fight back until we are rehumanized. We want to be seen.
I kissed my boys good night a few extra times this evening. Maybe just maybe raising them will help bring humanity back to our planet.
We have to talk about these things. We have to talk about the hard painful things in life. We have to talk about the things that feel awkward to us because it’s not our normal. We have to reconnect ourselves. We have to share our ugly truth.
We have to be human. We have to remember we are all human.
“& often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little fatigue.” ~Brene Brown
It’s been a month sense I’ve felt the pull to write words of my own for myself. My brain has been full. My heart has been full. My mind has wander down endless roads of possibilities. My head has been creating structure and order as I’ve attempted to wrap my thoughts around this brand new job of mind.
It’s invigorating. It’s inspiring. It’s fun and challenging. It feeds my creative heart and my logical mind. It feels like home.
Like all new things, it’s consumed me. My sleep has been restless. My alarm clock is a new idea that pulls me from my sleep at 2am. Like all new things, I’m settling in. One moment I feel like I have everything under control. The next moment I realize I’ve forgotten to do at least a dozen things.
Yesterday on the day that our country celebrates it’s freedom, I crashed hard. The day started early with a sunrise run followed by yoga. Both fueled my spirit and brought me back to myself. The moment I got home and settled, my exhaustion came spilling out. I slept the day away. This morning I woke up ready. Tired but ready. Tired but free.
Something happens when life falls into place. It doesn’t happen all at once. Very rarely does every piece lay perfectly at the same time. But sometimes it does.
For a brief moment my life feels like an sunrise. The early wake up is exhausting, but it is always worth it to see the world come to life. Watching the dark sky turn to fire before the sun takes it’s position in the sky always leave me in awe. It’s a new beginning every single day.
This is where I’m at right now. The dark is turning to fire. I’m waking up. While words have been hard to find and my energy hasn’t been flowing towards this place of mine, I know my words are always here to guide. They are my true home. Sometimes words need quiet as much as I do. Sometimes they need fire. No matter their form or their volume, I know I’m exactly where I belong. I always have been. I always will be. The brilliance of each sunrise last for only moments. It happens every day, but the fire quickly fades to day.
“And Martha said, ‘Honey. It’s true that God teaches us through pain. But it is also true that God tries to teach us through joy first. You can keep choosing heartbreak and pain, Glennon. But you can also choose joy. God can use that choice too. And I actually believe that God prefers to use joy to teach us.’ And so, for once, I’m choosing joy.
I have lived a long while learning from pain and God, it’s been a good teacher. I’m forty one, now. And I’m graduating to joy.
I choose joy. You can too. First the pain. Then the rising. Your courage is bigger than your fear.” ~Glennon Doyle
The God that Glennon believes in exists in the trees for me. It exists in the dirt, the sky, and the sun. For me it is the beautiful ebb and flow of our planet. Nature is my teacher.
On Sunday I found myself immersed in conversation on my favorite trails with three of my favorite friends. The trails are my church, so it’s fitting that awareness to my growth was presented to me while trail running. As we were making our way up one of my favorite climbs in the park, Tasha, my high school friend and now team mate and great friend, called me out for hiding.
“I read your blog post. I thought to myself here it comes. Kristy’s big announcement. And then I read, and I read. It was buried! You barely announced it.”
On Saturday morning I ran with Team in Training teammates. As we finished up a run, my new running partner asked me what I do for a living. I stumbled over my words. It was hard for me to say out loud I work for J&A Racing. My neighbor stopped me on Saturday after she read my blog, and she shared the same thing that Tasha shared. She read it several times making sure she was reading what she thought I was saying.
Buried in my blog post about overcoming heartache and unfilled goals, I announced very quietly that I am the Director of Communications for J&A Racing.
Joy is hard for me. I try to live in a constant state of gratitude but somehow along the way, I’ve come to expect not quite hitting my goal or getting what I want. I take pride in rolling with the punches and making the best of all my scenarios. I am proud of the fact that I can find a silver lining in everything I do.
But joy – choosing joy, welcoming joy, this is where I get stuck. This is when I can’t find words to announce my excitement properly.
I’m walking into this next chapter confident. I feel like I did on the day Christian and I drove through Utah heading to our honeymoon destination. I see the mountains and their greatness for the first time. The air is clean. The world is vast. There is a magnitude to this adventure. And I’m speechless. Based on portion and perspective, I’m small in this big world, but I know that I’m meant to be here.
This time I’m not standing back admiring the mountains from afar. I’m on the mountain. In order to feel all my joy and excitement, I have to release it. I have to allow it to echo off the world around me, so it can come back to me and flood me with joy.
This journey chose me. I choose this journey.
I choose joy.
Next Monday I will proudly join the J&A Racing team as the Director of Communications.
Earlier this week I found myself scrolling facebook. I was full of energy, nerves, anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. Unsure what to do with this overwhelming energy, I stared blindly at my phone. My own name jumped off the screen.
“I can be a mother and a wife. I can be a dreamer” ~Kristy at Breath of Sunshine.
Three years ago Nicole from My Fit Family, a woman whose words and running I admire whole heartedly, quoted my blog. Every now and then she reshares her post with my words attached. This week she unknowingly reminded me of how grateful I am for my journey.
If you’ve been following along, you know my story. Three years ago I found myself sad and heartbroken over an unexpected “No” in my life. I was rejected from my dream job. Words are how I process life. They are how I think and feel. They are my logic. When big things happen, I use my words to navigate the space. The blog that Nicole quoted was my way of healing.
If you would have told me on February 24, 2014, the day I wrote that blog post, I’d ended up getting that job 3 months later, I would have never believed you.
If you would have told me one year later, I’d find myself in Peru living out a lifelong dream, I would have never believed you.
If you would have told me another year later, I’d have my heart broken again by that dream job, I would have never believed you.
I would have never believed you. None of it felt possible on that day when I questioned all of my dreams because I received a “no”. I didn’t believe any of this would be part of my story.
I also would have never believed that next Friday, June 9th I’d walk away from a job I truly enjoy to explore a new dream. I would have never believed I’d be starting a new chapter with the two people I found on top of Machu Picchu Mountain in that life changing trip in Peru. I would have never believed that my passions would collide, and I’d be given the opportunity to combine words with running. I would have never believed I’d be joining a team that already feels like family.
I promised myself on February 24, 2014 that I’d never stop dreaming. I promised myself I’d embrace every “no” as a “yes” to something unexpected.
If my journey has taught me anything, it’s that the only way to live my life is to commit with my heart and trust the outcome. It’s okay to feel unprotected. It’s okay to leap. It’s okay to fall. It’s okay to fail. And now I’m learning it is also okay to succeed.
You have to be willing to let go of the expected to make room in your life in the unexpected. I shared my news with a sweet friend this week, and her response sent a shiver down my spine.
“Keep dreaming big. Life is even bigger than our dreaming.” ~Lucia Claire
Dream big. It’s words we hear all the time. It’s easy to dream big. It’s hard to let go of expectations of what those dreams should look like.
A piece of advice to myself when I find myself on the receiving end of a heartbreaking “no”:
It’s okay to aim for the top of the mountain. It’s okay to set out alone with nothing but a backpack and too much water. In fact, the only way to get to where I’m meant to be is to climb my own mountain.
Don’t be afraid to climb the mountain by yourself. Keep pushing. Keep going. You have no idea what you’ll find at the top. If you hear someone calling your name at 12,000 feet above sea level in a forgeign country, turn around. Change your plans. Accept their invitation.
If you hear someone calling your name while running down your favorite trail in your hometown, turn around. Change your plans. Accept their invitation.
Say yes! Embrace every no!
I am still having a hard time believing that on June 12th, I will start a new adventure with J&A Racing. I’m having a hard time absorbing my happiness and gratitude. Over the years I’ve become really good at finding my silver lining. This new chapter of life is already pushing me to welcome and trust that dreams come true.
As I step into this next chapter, I have to take everything I’ve learned from hearing “no” and apply it to hearing “yes”. It’s time to welcome living in a place of dreaming.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Ronald Dahl
Five years ago I sat in my prenatal class with my (still) favorite yoga instructor Katie. Every year as the season shifts from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I hear her words. Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. From gratitude we shift to the magic of the Christmas season.
Gratitude creates magic.
When the world starts spinning fast, like it seems to do every year when the calendar approaches the end of the year, it is gratitude that roots us. It is gratitude that brings magic to our world.
Today my world started spinning. It was a domino effect. The morning started off on a high. Great news from friends. A exciting conversation with my running coach. I hit reply to his last email and said “this season is going to be magical.” Then the dominos started to fall. Heartbreaking news. Domino falls. Facebook status. Domino falls. More updates. Domino falls. I felt myself getting emotional and overwhelmed. I took a break.
Fresh air is always my cure. I took my lunch break outside, and in route to get a coffee I saw a man running down the street. He attacked another man. Punches were thrown. They continued to fight while I called 9-1-1. Another domino fell.
The dominos kept falling. One after the other today, I couldn’t stop the process. How had a morning that started off magical unraveled so quickly.
The dominos fell for the rest of the day. A temper tantrum in the middle of the store, a car accident beside us, the dominos fell.
As I safely pulled into my driveway twelve hours after I left this morning, I let out another audible exhale. Today was a lot. How do I get the magic back in my day?
My boys bounced towards the front door past the dozen illuminated snowman faces, the blow up Christmas tree and penguins. My dog greeted us with kisses. My husband is on his way home from Arizona.
For a moment I paused. This time I inhaled. I inhaled the life that is mine. I was flooded with gratitude.
While my heart aches for people I’ve never met and a few I love dearly, today I’m reminded how magical the world can be, how magical the world is. I’m reminded that the best intentions are rooted in gratitude. When the dominos start to fall, the only way to stop them is by giving thanks.
“The more I pushed myself in running, the more I discovered the weaknesses of my mind. These were the same dragons lurking in my life. To compete is to voluntarily come into contact with your dragons so you can learn to slay them.” ~Lauren Fleshman
After watching my husband, my parents, and my son compete in the Norfolk Harbor 5k and 1 mile race on Saturday, I felt completely overwhelmed. All the race nerves I didn’t feel the entire week flooded my body.
Watching my husband set another new PR (and inching closer and closer to my very own5k PR) filled me with motivation. Nearly a year ago, he was overjoyed by 10+ minute miles. On Saturday he ran in the low 8s. Seeing my dad smile as he crossed the finish line for the very first time in a sport he taught me to love validated everything I’ve been chasing. Seeing my moms joy as she ran reminded me why I love this sport. Witnessing the fight in Cole as he out kicked another boy for 2nd place fueled my competitive fire.
As we left the race on Saturday morning, the motivation and surge of joy was quickly replaced by nerves. On Saturday I was a spectator. On Sunday it was my turn to compete. Having committed to competing (against myself) early this season, I knew there was only one goal to chase. Would Sunday be the day that I finally broke 2 hours in the half marathon distance?
I wanted it.
I was confident.
And when the nerves settled, I was ready.
I read Lauren Fleshman’s quote later in the afternoon on Saturday, and I wanted to shout out “Yes!”. I am competing (against myself) because this is how I always become a better version of myself. It was time to line up beside myself to see what work needed to be done.
There is no point in rehashing all my failed attempts at breaking the 2 hour mark on race day. I can tell you about every race. I can tell you when I fell apart. I can tell you what was going on in my life that left a void in my race day strategy. I can tell you what work I needed to do, and I can tell you what work I’ve done since each of those races. But none of that matters. Not really.
All that mattered was Sunday and the two hours and three minutes and ten seconds it took to get from the start line to the finish line.
I didn’t break two hours, but I won this race. In those 123minutes and nine seconds, I realized I’ve made it. I never let the dragons join me on the race course. When my ankle started hurting during the first mile, I thought “not today”. Today my ankle will not hurt. When my hip buckled at mile 10, I thought “not today”. My hip will not hurt today. When a doubt about my ability crept in, I thought “not today”.
I ran strong.
I felt in control.
I fought back when the wind knocked me over.
When the miles got tough, I kept going.
I finally didn’t fall apart in a half marathon.
I finally fought for my race regardless of time.
Crossing the finish line was the exact opposite of what it’s intended to be. I am no where near finished. The finish line was my welcome home mat. The finish line delivered so much more than a finish time. I finished with the same group of friends I’ve been running with all season. Our team (J&A Racing and #team9ja) ran strong because we ran together. I finished fully aware that I gave my all to race day. I finished with a renewed sense of confidence in my own ability. I finished eager for so much more.
“A glimpse is enough to initiate the awakening process, which is irreversible.” ~Eckhart Tolle
And if you’re curious, here is what my race looked like according to numbers:
Final push 9:01 pace (.4 miles according to my garmin)
I woke up this morning after very little sleep way before my alarm went off to the news that Donald Trump was elected. I cried. I cried not because Hillary lost, but because a campaign that we built on fear, hate, and prejudice won. I cried because the man who was elected has a court date set for December for raping a child. I cried because I couldn’t find any words to tell my boys when they woke up.
I sat on Cole’s bed for a long time before he woke up. What was I going to say? As the sun started to peak above the horizon and into his bedroom windows, he spoke before his eyes opened. Who won? Trump did. Trump won. We are all going to die.
As I told him we would be okay, that we would rally, that we would take care of our community and our world, I realized something. I was afraid. Not for me, but for this little boy tiptoeing into puberty because a man who isn’t respected by the world was just elected President, and my little boy’s (who is almost 13) dad is flying a helicopter in a warzone in a location we can’t know because he has dedicated his life to protect our country. My fear became real, and I could see on his face he was worried about his dad.
In the midst of my tears and heartbreak, I needed comfort. I needed something to believe in about the man who was just elected President. I reached out to my cousin Mike who is as opposite as it comes to me in his political views, but is someone I love and respect. I knew we could have a honest dialogue. I knew we could talk without judgment of emotion, without taking personal each others opinions, and I knew he could tell me why he voted for Trump. I love and respect his family. I trust his family. We’ve had so many healthy conversations about life, politics, and raising our families that I know he wants what I want in life. He welcomed my questions. He took time to explain his perspective. I found comfort in his words.
I would describe Mike as a conservative Christian.
Mike would describe me as a liberal hippie.
But for the past few months we engaged in so many healthy conversation about how to raise our families and how to shape our country. Our approach may be different, but our outcome is always the same. We’ve never offended. We’ve never insulted. We’ve never defended. We’ve discussed. Although my heart is sad today and my mind is in disbelief, I am choosing to trust that the rest of this country voted for Donald Trump for the same reason as my cousin. I’m choosing to trust that it is because they want change in politics and not because they believe in the fear and hate based rhetoric of the Trump campaign.
As I was getting ready to walk out the door to work this morning, my husband said to me You look pretty today.
Do you know how I responded? I said Great because that’s all I’ll amount to in this country.
And for a moment I believed it. Shame on me. We didn’t elect our first female president yesterday. We didn’t support a campaign that is based on human rights for all humans, but no one will ever determine my value. Only I can decide if I’m worthy, and I know I’m more than just a pretty face.
With my Rise mala around my neck, I drove to work today and one thought kept echoing in my heart. Now is not the time to sit pretty and be quiet. Now is the time to rise. Now is the time to feed my passion, to use my voice, and to push so generations after me don’t have to push so hard. Change never starts at the top. Change starts at the bottom. It starts in our communities and with our families. It starts with the individual.
When every single person in this country knows that they have value, we will have succeeded. When we all feel safe, we will have won. When we all know our voices are heard (even if it’s just healthy dialogue with the cousin who appears to be nothing like you), we won’t be threatened by the voice of an other. We will celebrate our diversity. We will change the world.
I’m starting small. I’m starting with my boys, and I’m starting with the girls who are just like me. I reached out to our local YWCA on my lunch break to inquire about working with their Sexual Assault Support Service group (Find your local group through the RAINN website). I found my voice, my courage, and my strength after I was raped. Maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else find their voice too. This year and this election have left my scars and my wounds feeling raw, but I know how to rise above it. I can share that gift.
Changing the energy of our world with one confident worthy individual at a time. I can’t control the next four years, but I can continue the campaign of human rights and equality. I can share my voice.
A rising is coming regardless of if we support today’s outcome or not. Let this election mobilize us. Let it stun us into action. Let us begin. We all have a lot of work to do.
When I signed up for my first race as an adult, my Why for running was an easy one (if you haven’t watch Simon Sinek’s TEDtalk yet, do it!). With every single run I was proving to myself that I could run further than I thought I could. With every run I proved to myself just how capable I was becoming. My self doubt started slipping away.
Then I started running faster.
And I ran further.
My heart became the heart of a runner.
Race days were filled with personal bests. I was fulfilled. Over and over again, I was proving to myself and reminded myself that I was capable.
And then I plateaued as a runner. My times evened out. I conquered the marathon distance. I no longer had to prove to myself I was capable, because I grew to believe I could do hard things.
My Why shifted at the exact same time my life shifted. Nearly four years ago Christian and I walked through some tough times as we said goodbye to his dad and my aunt. Running became my healer. I ran to heal my heart. I ran to put myself back together.
And then I healed as much as one can heal after loss. I became inspired. I ran not to prove I was capable and not to heal a broken heart, but to become the best version of myself. I ran to polish my spirit.
Before I headed off to the Chicago Marathon last fall, I sat across from my running coach Jerry, and he gave me the best advice I could receive for that race. I was a little lost and a little defeated by life, and he knew it. He knew my goal for the race was to fall in love with running and life, and he provided me the advice to do it.
Kristy the person has to show up to Chicago. Kristy the person has to run this race. Kristy the athlete isn’t invited to Chicago. I need to run light hearted. I need run for fun. I need to fall in love with the marathon all over again. One day Kristy the person and Kristy the athlete can run a race together. Chicago is not that race.
I took his advice to heart, I ran Chicago, and I returned home with a renewed love of running and a renewed love of myself. I was back on track.
After the Chicago Marathon, I was asked to be a pacer for the J&A Racing Training Team. My running focus shifted. I ran for my team. They became my why. Their goals became my motivation.
One year after Chicago, I’ve been looking at my race calendar, and I questioned my Why. Why did I want to run? Did I want to race?
When the J&A Racing Training Team kicked off in August of this year, our coach Ryan kicked off the season with one thought: Why do you run? Cards were distributed. We all listed our motivation to run except for me. I didn’t write anything on the card. It was intentional. I no longer knew my WHY.
To prove I was capable no longer fit me as a runner. I am capable.
To heal a broken heart no longer applied. I am whole.
To find joy in my spirit didn’t motivated me. My life is filled with joy.
To run for my pace group was a shortcut. I was cheated them if I didn’t challenge myself.
WHY do I run today?
My card was left blank.
I didn’t have my answer when the season started, but when the jar full of cards resurfaced at our last training run on Saturday my heart finally knew my answer. I found it this season through my running coach Ryan, through pacing, and by racing the Wicked 10k. Before the Wicked 10k, I sat down with my journal and I created my vision for race day. I found the words that spoke to me the most, and I made them my own.
I ran my way to my Why at the Wicked 10k. That finish line was the start line of this new chapter.
Why do I run? I run to share my spirit, to share my story, and to share my passion. This is what inspires me to be my best. This is what keeps me fighting when my mind wants to quit. I am alive when I run and when I race. I am capable when I run. I am whole when I run. I am filled with joy when I run. I’m inspired when I pace. Now is my season to share my spirit.
Running always deliveries me to where I belong. With every race that I have on my calendar over the next year, I have one goal: to run exposed, to let myself be seen, and to share my spirit. It’s what I have always done, but never before have I had a platform for which to share it like I do now. I can use my running to tell my story.
It’s time to enjoy letting my spirit shine!!!!
Running is a gift. Tonight as I ran 3 easy miles after work, I realized just how much I love running. Life is a continuous flow between moments of doubt our capabilities, heartbreak, and joy. Running is my thread that weaves it all together. Running allows me to live my life. Running allows me to share my story.