Overcoming Darkness

“…the morning with the whole day waiting, full of promise, the night of quiet, of no expectations, of rest. And the certainty of home, the one I live in, and the one that lives in me.”

~Karen Hesse

I have been afraid to run since the early morning hours have become filled with darkness. I’ve felt unsettle, unsure, and scared. Running in the dark isn’t new to me. I’ve spent many seasons logging most of my miles before sunrise or after sunset, but this season has felt different.

I am certain my new found fear has nothing to do with the dark. I am certain it’s a reflection of my uncertainty in my ability to race. It’s a lack of confidence to take ownership of my goals.

Last weekend I turned a corner. When my heart finally committed to racing, to going for it, my head followed. It was time to silence my fears, and the obvious place to start was running before sunrise.

Last Wednesday I was determined to run my tempo run before work. I woke up. I got ready. I stood at the door paralyzed. I didn’t feel confident in my route or the darkness. Mind over matter wasn’t working. I was scared. I abandoned my running plans.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”

~Cheryl Strayed

I had to rewrite my story.

Rewriting isn’t always an easy process. I had to start with the basics. I found two team members and neighbors who run routes near me in the early morning hours. I asked where they ran. I asked if they feel safe. They both reassured me that the main roads are well-lit and safe.

Obstacle #1 conquered. A new-to-me route was found.

This morning I was ready to test out the new route, but I had to commit. I had to not hit snooze. I had to get out of bed. I told anyone who would listen. I was getting up, and I was conquering speedwork. My cousin became my sounding board. He was also waking up early to tackle his day. We raced to see who could be the first one to text when we woke up.

Obstacle #2 conquered. I was out of bed ready to run.

As I left my neighborhood, I was focused. I had a mission. Fear was still there, but it wasn’t driving my morning. It took a backseat to all the other narratives I had created for the morning.

This morning I conquered my workout. I took a while to relax. It took a while to wake up my body.  It took a while to find ease in my running, but I got there. I beat the voice that said the dark was scary. I beat the voice that told me it was impossible to run six more intervals when the first two felt nearly impossible.  Half way through the workout, I turned off the voice that was tired, hungry and thirsty. I focused on what felt good. I found beauty in the stars and the moon. The streets came to life with people starting their day, and I let it fuel me. I finished my run with my fastest split wishing there was more time before work to keep going. I finished the workout finding beauty in the darkness.

“I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And I gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang.”

~Mary Oliver

I’ve been chasing the finish line and the race clock for so long that I forgot. I forgot about all the beauty that happens when you conquer something. There are no more “new distances” for me to achieve. I’ve run as far as I want to run, but there are still so many successes along the path to race day. I forgot. I forgot that it’s very rarely the finish line that brings the satisfaction. It’s the successes leading up to race day that fuel the race.

If I’m not committed to racing, if I’m not actively making fear ride in the backseat, I’m cheating myself out of the fulfillment I get from running (and life). I need to risk failing in order to succeed. I needed to be all in before I could whole heartedly love this journey.

Enjoy the Ride


Enough is Enough

On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. ~History.com

Nearly 100 years later the fight continues. You don’t have to look far for an example of women being treated as less than. The news and our everyday lives are riddled with examples of women being viewed and treated as less than human. I wonder how many women can say they have never experienced being made to feel unequal? I wonder how many women can say they have never felt violated?

Because activists and reformers fought for 100 years to declare that all women deserve the rights and responsibilities of citizenship like men, I believed in my voice when I was eighteen years old. Even when my pleas to stop weren’t heard, I believed my voice mattered. I believed in my right to protection when I was raped. I called the police. I filled charges. When the court system failed me, I fought hard to hold on to my voice. It slipped away.

Year after year my voice slipped away. I wanted to bury my past. I wanted to pretend it never happened. I was silenced.

This summer a very brave girl came forward and shared her voice with the world when her rapist was sent to prison for three months in order to protect his future. Her words cracked me wide open, and my story of rape came spilling out. Because of her strength, I found my strength. Her voice gave me my  voice back. I will never be silent again.

On Election Day in 2016, we have a choice to make. We aren’t voting for the constitution to be ratified. We are voting to continue the movement. We are voting for forward progress for humanity. We are voting for the millions of American women who showed up in 1920 to exercise their right to vote for the first time. We are voting for every girl who has been made to feel less than and whose body has been abused. We are voting for every boy who has been raised to be good and honest.

Hearts of Gold


Finding our voice as women and as Americans gave a voice to every other minority group in American. This led to equal rights for even more Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In 1965, African Americans were legally granted the right to vote. In June 2015, same sex marriages were legalized. Our country is better because of it. We are gaining momentum. We are one day and one step closer to living in a world where every single person is valued.

But we are being challenged.

It’s time we use our voice. There is no better way to silence the Donald Trumps of the world than by putting a woman into the position of power that they seek.

Never again will my voice not matter


For one hundred years, activists and reformers fought for equal rights for women. They were met with disagreements over the strategy to make this possible that nearly crippled the movement. One hundred years later, we are faced with another choice. We can be crippled by disagreements over the strategy on how to continue to grow our country into a place where everyone’s voice matters and every person has value, or we can use our voice to say no.

No, I will not let a system silence my voice.

No, I will not someone represent my country that doesn’t believe that others have basic fundamental human rights.

No, I will not let our country slip backwards.

We have everything we need to stop this madness. You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today, we as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election.

We have knowledge. We have a voice. We have a vote. And on November the 8th, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in this country. ~Michelle Obama

Our system may be flawed, but our roots are strong. At our root, we are country that believes in freedom for all individuals. On November 8, 2016, I will be using my voice in the hope that it does what our country does best. It gives strength to others.

There is no better lesson to teach our youth than to learn from our mistakes


If you haven’t heard or read Michelle Obama’s words, please read them all here.


Thursday afternoon I had coffee with my friend from Roc Solid Foundation. It was the first time sitting down with him since I turned down his job offer earlier this year. I was nervous and excited, but I knew it was long over due.

After we talked and caught up, he asked me a question in the way that only he can. He asked me if I needed anything. He asked me my goals for moving forward. He asked me what if – what if my life could look like anything.

Long story short, I walked out of the coffee shop inspired and little sad. Had I lost some of my passion along the way over the past few months?

I found myself asking myself the same question I keep asking myself about my running but this time in the context of my life. Do I play it safe or do I fight for myself? (I still don’t know if I should thank him or kick him.)

getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

This morning I woke up with one thought. I miss being stirred and inspired. Now this sounds crazy coming off the best race weekend of my life that left me with an emotional hangover for days. I thought on my way to work. I thought some more. When I strip away all the layers, the thing that I miss the most is being inspired by myself.

I love giving myself to others. I love sharing. Maybe too much. I love thinking and analyzing. So how does this fit into this new life I’ve just created? I’ve created a life that provides the perfect foundation for living. But what do I want this life to look like?

I think it’s time to see what I’m made of. And there is only one place I always find my best self. Racing.

I’ve gone back and forth. Do I want to race? Do I want to race shorter distance? Do I want to stick with carefree?

Processed with Snapseed.
getting comfortable with being uncomfortable


The truth is I’m afraid to race because for three years I’ve come up short. It’s easy to hide in pacing and carefeee running. I have nothing to lose.

As I’m writing this I’m laughing. All last season my biggest struggle was that I couldn’t hide in pacing. Every run was on display for the entire team. Every thought. Every emotion. Every struggle. Belonged to the team. Now this season, pacing has become my hiding spot.

Do you know what this tells me? It tells me I’ve grown. It tells me I’ve found new strength. It also tells me it is time to build.

I NEED to race this fall. I need to risk it. I need to keep myself exposed. That is what inspires me. That is what drives me. That is what fulfills me.

I’m terrified I’ll fail again. So scared that I’m willing to use pacing as an excuse not to race.

But if the thing I love most in life is to give, is to help people see their potential, is to catch people when they fall, then don’t I have an obligation to them and to ME to stay exposed.

As my other great friend said to me, it’s time to Jump! I took one leap of faith earlier this year. I caught myself. I found my wings. I flew and landed exactly where I belong.

46 days until the Norfolk harbor half marathon. It’s time to leap again. It’s time to strengthen my wings.

Processed with Snapseed.
getting comfortable with being uncomfortable


(Blog Post originally appeared as an email to my running coach!)

The Promise of a Rainbow

“Love was a feeling completely bound up with color, like thousands of rainbows superimposed one on top of the other.” ~Paulo Coehlo

I’ve always believed in the promise of a rainbow.

As a high schooler, I learned that the world was filled with answers to our deepest questions if we kept our eyes open. My family was visiting home in Wisconsin. A huge part of our heart will always be there. My parents lost their first baby. Three months after she was born, they were faced with the unimaginable. She quit breathing. On the day that I learned about the magic of our world, we were leaving the cemetery. My little brother asked how we knew Jennifer was okay, and a rainbow appeared. In that moment, no one needed to answer my brother. We just knew.

Every time I see a rainbow I think of her. I think of the sister I’ve never met but have always loved. I think of the grace, strength and courage of my parents who plowed forward with life.

Last night after work I drove towards the oceanfront like I do every Thursday. I was headed to meet my training team for a fun spin on our Thursday night run. Instead of conquering tempo miles, we split in to teams to race. The inaugural 4×400 was launched. Before heat 1 kicked off the event, a rainbow appeared from behind the cloudy skies. I smiled.



Grace. Strength. Courage.

My team, team #17 (#teamjeck), was in the final heat. I was the final leg. As my teammate made her way towards me for the symbolic passing of the baton, my stomach was filled with nerves. I had 400 meters to fly.

My legs moved faster than they have ever moved since high school, and I think I had a permanent smile on my face as I approached the finish line. I had the honor of being the last runner for all 19 teams to cross the finish line, and all 19 teams greeted me (me! seriously it was a pinch me moment!) with a celebration tunnel.

The Magic of Team

This is why I run. In the moments when I get frustrated with myself for not performing at the level I know I can preform at, when I beat myself up for missing a run, or when I think it’s just not possible to balance it all, this is what keeps me coming back. The team mates. The cheers. The celebration of being our very best – not tomorrow – but right now. It’s meeting myself exactly where I am at and knowing that it is okay.

Every single teammate tackled that 400 with grace, strength and courage. The finish line was the promise that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

It’s race weekend, and for the first time (possibly ever) I’m taking a very different approach to this race. I’m not aiming for a goal time. I’m not aiming for effort. My goal for this race is friendship. When one of your dearest friends is diagnosed with cancer and is fighting her way through treatment with nothing but grace, strength, and courage, you make life a celebration. My only goal is to keep up with her for 13.1 miles.

“Shine your soul with the same
egoless humility as the rainbow
and no matter where you go
in this world or the next,
love will find you, attend you, and bless you.” ~Aberjhani

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. To get to do what I love every single day and to get to do it with people who genuinely care about the person standing next to them, love has most certainly found me. It attends to me. It has blessed me.

Every time I see a rainbow, I will smile. I will think of my sister, but I will also think of my family: my parents, my boys, and this wonderful community that has given me a home: a promise that is fulfilled through grace, strength and courage. 

Strength. Grace. and Courage.

Slow Down

“Life itself is the best (and the only) timekeeper.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru

The fall equinox is not only a welcome sign that cooler temperatures are ahead of us along the coast of Virginia, but it also marks an astronomical turning point of the seasons. Fall is here. Scientifically speaking, on the equinox, the orbital plane of the equator is geometrically aligned with the center of the sun. Neither the north or south hemisphere is tilted away from or towards the sun. On the equinox our world is perfectly balanced. 

As we move forward, we will experience more darkness than daylight. Our days will get cooler. While our days are rapidly losing light, my body is begging for a slow down. I’ve resisted it, I’ve ignored it, but it keeps finding me. My heart is whispering slow down.

Fall Equinox Sunset
By nature I am someone who tends to trip over my own feet. I have an idea or a thought, and I plow forwarded before I can complete my own sentence. I’m half way out the door before plans are ever finalized. I have a goal, and I’ve created a plan of attack before I can digest what it means. I figure things out as I go.

When I started my new job at Eastern Virginia Medical School, everyone asked how it was going. The only response I could give was Good. It’s really making me slow down. And that is exactly what this job has done. It has slowed down my brain. It’s made me more intentional. It has made me find satisfaction in small details. It has provided a perfect balance for my natural tendencies to move fast. It has provided me a natural equinox

As my brain has started to slow down, it has also started to unwind. I’ve felt myself become more relax, less stressed, and less overwhelmed.

While my heart has been whispering slow down, my desire to run faster has been fueling me. I’ve kept running a priority as work and school began. I’ve run sub 7 pace on speed workouts, tempo runs are getting faster, but I haven’t been satisfied. I’ve wanted more. My long runs have suffered, and they haven’t been as fulfilling. I’ve analyzed it from every perspective. Is it summer? Is it ego? Is it the running plateau I’ve been on for months (maybe years)? Is it not running PRs? Why don’t my speeds workouts translate to race day or distance?

For all the time I’ve spent thinking about and analyzing my long runs, my heart keeps whispering slow down. Maybe this isn’t my season to race. Maybe this isn’t my season for distance. I don’t know the answer to why I’m not satisfied, but I do know I won’t find the answer until I listen.

I don’t run to set personal bests. I don’t run to be fast. I don’t run to win. I run to be my personal best and that has nothing to do with pace or speed. I run to win at life and that has nothing to do with distance.

Yesterday, on the day our world was geometrically aligned with sun, I headed to a group tempo run, and I took a detour. I headed to the gym first because in that moment that is where I wanted to be. I rowed and threw slam balls and did pull ups instead of starting a tempo run with my team. When I finished my work out, I chased the team down the boardwalk. I ran some easy solo miles while the sunset. I stopped half way to stand along the shoreline. After days of rain and flooding, the sun peaked out before it set as a reminder that nothing ever remains the same.

Hitting Pause
There is a season for everything in life. Right now my season is about slowing down, unwinding, and enjoying the small details. I’m not sure how that translates to running, but I do know the only way to find out is to listen to the whispers of my heart that have never steered me wrong. I’m slowing down and that isn’t defined by pace or distance in the exact same way that personal satisfaction and personal bests are not defined by pace or distance. Life itself is the best timekeeper, and my bests are defined by living. Right now my living exists in the quiet, simple details that can only be enjoyed by slowing down.

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” ~Sylvia Plath


The Magic of 9

This morning as I got dressed for work, I placed something new around my neck for the first time in years. Today I am wearing a new mala. I knew when the timing was right, I’d hit the purchase button on the Tiny Devotions website.

My current mala is meant for rooting. Every day when I wear that necklace around my neck, I set my intention. I set the intention that I will root myself so deeply in my life that nothing can knock me off my feet. I’ll root myself in my family, my friends, and my community. As a girl whose heart loves to wander, my roots have become my stability. They’ve kept me nourished. They’ve been my breath.

This year has been a year of transformation for me. It all started with my leap of faith. It continue through my hot, heavy and stuck summer. It’s delivered me here to this place of peace and possibility.

From my roots, I’m learning to rise and release. A mala for both was delivered to my doorstep last night.

Rise – Imagine your potential is a seed, you would plant that seed in well nourished soil, you would water it daily, you would make sure it faces the sun, you would keep it away from the elements, you would give that seed every possible opportunity to grow strong roots.

From root to rise, feel strong, remember you are capable and let your potential shine.

My leap of faith showed me just how capable I am of rising.

Release – Breathe. Soften. Open. Release your worries. Stimulate your inner desire for knowledge, create space for what inspires you, let go of fear + connect with your higher self to gain a clear vision of your true path. Look to the moon’s phases as your guide, trust in your spirit to let go of what no longer serves you.

My downward spiral this summer has showed me how much I have to learn about releasing.

Today I placed the rise mala around my neck, and I set a brand new intention. Today I’d stand taller. I’d have confidence in my roots. I’d remain aware of my strength. In celebration of my new mala, I sent a photo to the friends who have showed me my strength through the entire year.

And then the magic unfolded. Again I am reminded of the magic of connection – connections that were made possible because of the roots I’ve created.

Today is September 9, 2016.  9/9/2016. 9-9-9.

My mala is 108 beads. 9.

Tomorrow I am the 9 minute mile pacer for a 9 mile run. 9. 9.

From a numerology perspective, the number 9 is the most humanitarian number. It has its place in both history and religion. It’s a number of patience and mediation. It represents the inspiration and perfection of ideas. It’s a symbol of the creation and the life as a rhythm and development. The number nine is found hidden in so much of life: nine lives, nine months of gestation.

The 9 is like the 6 upside down, a symbol of her offering sympathy and compassion to everyone; a reservoir of giving with a generous downward spout.

Where have I been all summer? Stuck in my own downward spiral doing all the work I need to do to walk into this new chapter of my life.

The number 9 is a symbol of birth and new life. Today on 9.9.2016(9), I have 108(9) new beads around my neck. Tonight I plan on drinking a Magic Hat #9 with my husband. Tomorrow I will run 9 miles with my 9 minute group and the best community I’ve ever know.

My roots are nourished. It’s time to rise and release.


Chasing the 5k: Virginia Beach Rock n Roll 5k

“When there is nothing left to lose, we find the true self—the self that is whole, the self that is enough, the self that no longer looks to others for definition, or completion, or anything but companionship on the journey.” ~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

My 5k personal best was set in November of 2013. I ran a 24:50 in the middle of marathon training. I fought hard for every second on the race clock. This summer I wanted a new PR. I wanted to prove I had become stronger than I was three years ago. 

My quest started in May. All summer I chased the clock. 

Official Results:

ODU Big Blue – 26:44

CXB Lowrent – 25:56

Corporate 5k – 26:52

Summer Series (pushing Chet) – 33:22

Allen Stone – 27:01

Rock n Roll 5k – 26:24

Along the way, I realized how subjective the race clock can be. Some courses are short (CXB Lowrent). Some courses are long (Corporate 5k). Some races are hot and humid. Others are windy. Some days my legs feel great. Other days they feel like cement. 

Chasing the race clock is a gamble. It’s a roll of the dice. What will be delivered on race day? 

I can tell you the details of every race above. I can tell you what races felt amazing and which races felt heavy. I can tell you what races I loved and which ones I survived, and none of that has anything to do with the race clock. 

Two years ago I sat across from the coach of my training team at a coffee shop. I was debating if I should join the team again. I was a little burnt out. I was a little guarded. I was a little deflated by running. I was cautious. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be surrounded by a team. In that conversation I referenced an article I had read that resonate with me. In that article Elite Runner Lauren Kleppin commented on her performance at the New York City Marathon. 

I was hoping to be an inspiration! I definitely survived, but I wanted to thrive.” ~Lauren Kleppin

I was stuck in survival mode, and I wanted to thrive on the race course and in life. He promised to change that. 

Two years later that coach and my training team flooded both the course and the sidelines of today’s race. At mile two I was greeted by a sea of cheers. I was reminded of how much I love this journey. 

I thrived on the race course today. I found my sweet spot. I pushed hard.  I silenced the doubts in my head. I ran harder when I wanted to quit. And I smiled the entire way. 

The journey hasn’t been easy. I’ve made progress and I’ve had setbacks. I’ve doubt myself and I’ve had runs that feel like anything is possible. It’s a constant tug of war between surviving and thriving. My 5k PR is still three years old, but I know that I’m stronger today than I was then. 

Today thriving is winning. 

I started the summer chasing the race clock, and I’m ending the summer feeling alive. There isn’t a time on a clock that can measure that feeling.

Today’s race:

Mile 1 – 8:09

Mile 2 – 8:20

Mile 3 – 8:41

Final push – 8:22

Age group – 5/199

Female – 23/961

Overall – 112/1520

While I’m incredibly proud of these numbers, I’m most proud of the road I’m on. I’m proud of my progress, and I’m excited about my potential. I’m proud of the team I call family. 

I’m proud I didn’t give up. 

Today thriving is winning. Thriving is winning because I quit trying to prove that I’m faster or stronger. Thriving is winning because friendship and team mean more than PRs. 

I can’t think of a better way to end summer!

Living the Layers: Opening

In the moments when I felt myself sliding downward this summer, I continuously asked myself over and over again: What do you need? 

What do you need to get out of bed?

What do you need to engage with your family?

What do YOU need? 

Some days the answer was simple. I needed to live my layers. I needed to run. I needed the gym. I needed to move or make a healthy dinner.

Other days the simple answer was complicated. I need to feel alive.

In my downward spiral of hot, heavy and stuck, I felt every ounce of the self imposed armor I have built around my self. I was trapped within myself.

When do you feel free? 

One moment always comes rushing back. It’s not my wedding day or the day I gave birth to my children. It isn’t traveling through the Sacred Valley in Peru or floating down the river in Thailand. It is one very small moment. The moment that always floods my memory is more a feeling than a memory.

In the middle of the night in the middle of the streets of Austin, Texas in the middle of a music festival surrounded by my Nashville family, I ran. For whatever reason, we all collectively decided to race to the stop sign. It was a full out sprint to see who would win. When we had all completely the task at hand, I remember laughter filling my body. I felt free.

There are very few moments in my life when I haven’t been aware of myself. There are very few moments where I’ve trusted, where I’ve let go, where I released my control and my fears. I’ve been collecting these moments my whole life: the trail run with the gentle breeze when I opened my arms up to connect with the trees, submerging my body in the cold waters of a waterfall in Utah after fear kept me paralyzed on the side of the cliff, swing competitions with Cole in the neighborhood park. I remember every single one of the moments, but I remember the feeling the most.

I share so much of myself freely with those around me and yet I guard myself from myself. I hold myself back. Within me is a hand that is always resisting.

This summer I gave in.

“But the soul wants you to go beneath. It leads downward. It says, ‘Don’t ignore the signs. Follow your longing down. Go beneath the surface of your troubled mind, your bad moods, your repetitive mistakes. Go beneath the surface questions to even deeper questions.’ The soul asks questions like these: ‘What is that weight that holds you back? What inside of you is saying no! Are you willing to look at yourself? To take responsibility for your own life? Are you willing to let something die, in order for something new to arise? What must die! What wants to live?’ The soul tells you to root around in the dark stuff for the deeper questions, and to let those questions lead you from darkness to the light.” ~ Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

This morning I woke up to grey skies, the promise of a restorative run on Saturday through tropical storm rain and winds, and one lingering question.

Why don’t I allow myself to be enough?

I know the answer is deeply rooted in my past, in my personality, and in fear I carry with me. I know why. This summer I allowed myself to stay in that space to feel all that I had been avoiding.



“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ~Rumi

Perhaps for the very first time I am not trying to fill the void left behind by the absence of the hot, heavy and stuck summer. I’m leaving myself open. As a breath I’ve been holding on to for my entire life takes form and gains strength within my own body, I’m consciously avoiding old habits and behaviors. This time I don’t want to hold myself back. I want to stand in my own skin and know that today I am enough. I’m done collecting moments of being alive. I am ready to live alive.

Those moments of feeling alive, they all have something in common. Movement and Nature. They are my secret ingredients for living my life.

I’m figuring this out the only way I know how – by racing to the stop sign.

Thank you Josh for the weekly motivation

New Breath

“What lesson did my soul want to learn? I liked this question. It was new. Right then and there I felt it pointing me in a different direction. I felt it leading me up toward the light.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

A few weeks ago, in the middle of my hot, heavy and stuck season, I was supposed to go for a long run. I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee and the farmers market. When my alarm went off, I felt stuck in bed. I cancelled my plans. Later that day, I was supposed to go to a family pool party. I sent the boys ahead without me. I simply couldn’t process any more that day.

Not everyone can understand what it feels like to feel every emotion so intensely. Not everyone feels every nerve ending in their body when life becomes too much. Everyone doesn’t feel hot, heavy and stuck, but some people do. Scattered through my life and around the world are people who have also felt like I have felt all summer.

At first I thought it was just me. Something must be wrong with me. My entire life I’ve struggle to avoid feeling this. Then I’ve struggled to identify this. If I could label it, I could overcome it. Am I depressed? Do I have anxiety? Am I crazy? I’ve googled “seasonal depression in summer” a million times.

My entire life I’ve bottled it up, and I held on to it. I let myself venture through this space alone.

During this season of hot, heavy and stuck, my body finally resisted. I was done fighting it. Maybe I needed to finally feel it. Maybe I needed to spend a day in bed when feeling became too much. Maybe I need to finally be okay with feeling it. Because words are how I process life, I need to share it.

That day I cancelled plans with my friend, I also told her the truth. I wasn’t cancelling because my alarm didn’t go off or because Chet wasn’t behaving. I was cancelling because I’ve hit a rough patch. I was cancelling because lately I’ve been so stuck in my own head that I’m physically stuck in bed. This was the moment the world started to feel less heavy. Her response back to me took weight off my paralyzed body. She said the magical words we all need to hear. She said Oh I so understand. I’ve been there too. And then she talked to me. She showed me that no matter how we or the world defines this feeling, scattered throughout my world and the entire world, others have also felt hot, heavy, and stuck.

In that same conversation, my friend recommended a book: Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser.

Every day this week, I’ve spent my lunch break sitting outside by the river reading this book. I’ve kept my highlighter close as the words on the page having me nodding along in agreement.


“It’s time for you to answer the call of your soul…It’s calling, but you’re too scared to listen. You think you know what’s important, but you don’t. You think it’s important to keep things safe; but that’s neither here or there. What’s important in this life is to learn the soul lessons.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

This week I’ve felt a new breath forming inside of me. I’ve physically felt it pushing against my chest as it takes form and grows into what it needs to become. Feeling once again calm, light and free, I took a step backwards. I started looking for a reason for this new feeling. I tried to define it. Was it the cooler temperatures? Was it the book? Maybe it was empathy from a friend. And then I stopped.

If I’ve learned something in this season, I’ve learned that life isn’t meant to be defined or understood. It’s meant to be lived. It’s meant to be felt. This is the lesson my soul is trying to learn.


“Rumi tells us that that moment when we accept what troubles we’ve been given, the door will open. Sounds easy, sounds attractive, but it is difficult, and most of us pound on the door to freedom and happiness with every manipulative play save the one that actually works. If you’re interested in opening the door to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self. See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you really are. Start slowly. Without getting dramatic, share the simple dignity of yourself in each moment – your triumphs and your failures, your satisfaction and your sorrows. Face your embarrassment at being human, and you’ll uncover a deep well of passion and compassion. It’s a great power, your Open Secret. When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you can both walk through the open door.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

This summer I’ve felt hot, heavy and stuck. I feel this way nearly every summer, but this summer I gave myself permission to feel it. This summer I shared it.

Summer is my season of hibernation. It is my season to sink and restore. It’s my season to allow myself the space to feel so growth can happen. I can’t tell you what is on the other side. I’m not there yet. Right now I’m in a moment of new breath forming. Right now I’m going to enjoy this moment of possibility.