Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

— Ann Landers

I’ve noticed recently that I can be stubborn.

(Anyone who knows me understands that this is both a blessing and a curse and in no way a “new” realization, but purely a statement of fact.)

When carrying something heavy (physically, emotionally, etc), it is impossible to realize just how much strain is being placed upon me. It’s only after I set it down for a break or finally make it to my destination that I feel the toll it’s taken. It’s only after some time that I regain feeling, where my blood starts pumping again, filling me up, reminding me that those parts that fought through the pain are still there, still working, ready for the next task.

In those moments, rather than strain and fight through the unnecessary pain, I could just as easily ask for help or allow myself to be helped by those around me. It would be the best thing to do, right? Then why do I insist on doing it all by myself? Why won’t I just let it go?

Why do any of us when faced with something that burdens us, that weighs us down, that hurts us, resist the urge to simply let it go?

We’ve all got something of which we are afraid to let go.

We struggle to decide if, in that moment, letting it be is better than letting it go.

Open your hands, your head, and your heart to something that will better serve you. That will bring you closer to where you really want to be and what you really want to feel. If it helps and if you can, let others ease the burden, lift the weight, and support you in the process.

Remind yourself that if you have the strength to “hang on” and “hang in” that you also possess the immense and incomparable strength that is regained when you loosen your grip. 

2 Comments »

“We don’t live in our fears, we live in our hopes.”

Mike Tomlin

miketomlin8

I like Mike Tomlin as a coach.  The guy is 41 years old and has coached in two Superbowls, including a victory.  When Tomlin is on the sideline, he’s intensely focused;  another quote attributed to him is “Be where you’re at.”  Live in your moment.

Coach Tomlin can be tough on guys who make mistakes and can flash a healthy smile when things are going his way.  But what I really like about him is that he isn’t afraid to shake things up if the Steelers’ performance is less than stellar.  Playing .500 football isn’t the Steelers’ way, and some stars were held accountable and let go after last season’s lackluster finish and replaced by some young talent.  There are a lot of teams (including one across the state) where that kind of objective first attitude wouldn’t fly.

I like the quote for this post, because Tomlin isn’t afraid to do what it takes.  He is talking about the way that life manifests itself around what it is that we focus upon.  Are you focused on what could go wrong?  What you don’t know?  A risk? A challenge?  Are are you focused on the end?  That goal? A dream?  Your hopes?  Put yourself there, and live in it.

1 Comment »

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

— John F. Kennedy

While we may not control everything, but when we can take charge, we need to have the energy and the passion to go our there and get what we want.

Make it happen. Go out there and get what you want.

Leave a comment »

Life Lessons One Year Later

I read this and thought I should share with everyone.  Have a great weekend, all!

BY GRETCHEN BLEILER

A year ago, I was working on double backflips with my coach and I had a very bad accident. While getting ready for the double, I threw my warm-up trick too hard and made a split decision in the air to keep rotating into the double, even though I hadn’t thrown for it. When I landed back onto the trampoline, my knees were still tightly tucked and the force and angle of my body caused my knee to come crushing into my face, shattering my eye socket, breaking my nose, splitting open my eyebrow and giving myself the worst concussion that I’ve ever experienced.

I’ll spare you the complicated and gruesome details of the next week leading up to my surgery, but it was hell. For anyone that’s ever had surgery, you know that everyone heals at a different pace and in different ways depending on who they are and what happened to them. Based on my competitive and pinpoint nature, I expected the fast track to recovery after surgery and it turned out to be a very humbling experience.

After a few post-op visits and debates with different care providers, the prognosis was that I had come a long way since my accident and the quality of my vision was good. It was possible and likely that my vision would continue to get better, but at the same time it was insinuated that if it didn’t, I was in a pretty good place. Thinking back on where my vision actually was at that point now is disturbing because I remember having an extremely short range of motion in almost every direction. Meaning that if I just looked up slightly, I would have double vision. And this was good? They did know that I was a professional snowboarder and that because of this I would need more range than the “average” person…right? In my opinion, though, the “average” person probably wants to look up at the stars at night just as much as I want to look up at that lip that is 22 feet above me and see one lip not two! So, as you can see, not having tangible solutions just didn’t work for me. And after a period of being extremely pissed, frustrated, angry and scared, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and work with my “A” team (the people who have helped me accomplish my goals in snowboarding and life) to collaborate on a plan to find some solutions and recover.

If I had learned nothing else from this entire experience, then just understanding that doctors are human and most of them are very specialized in very specific areas would have been enough. That’s something a lot of us fail to remember; for some reason we all grow up thinking that doctors know the answers to EVERYTHING in all subjects because they are doctors. Let me tell you my doctor was a super hero in what he did for me. He saved my eye, my appearance and my vision. People tell me all the time that I must have had a really good doctor because they would never have known what had happened to me based on aesthetics. But when the super hero has rescued you, and you’re ready to continue on with your life, you don’t turn around and ask the super hero what you should do with your life now!

And that’s why it’s important for YOU (or someone you trust) to take control over the entire big picture plan of your recovery, no matter how big or small your injury may be. Because at the end of the day this is your life and you get to live it to the best of your abilities. That means if you hear a comment directed towards you like: “this is the best it’s gonna get, so start getting used to it,” then you respond in one way or another with: “I understand that is what you believe based on your experiences and knowledge, and I respect you and your belief, but I’m going to choose to disagree and find someone who believes that they can help me.” It’s taking the initiative and finding a solution. It’s the hard road; it’s the road less traveled. And you may spend a lot of time looking and never find what you’re looking for, but I know that I would sure as hell rather try!

My one-year anniversary of this day has just recently passed and now that I’ve almost recovered, and am back on my snowboard and almost back to my full potential, it seems like this experience is almost behind me and I’m in a place where I can reflect and share the valuable things that I’ve learned. So here goes:

-Don’t let anyone tell you “this is the best it’s going to get” and put limitations on you, whether it’s an injury or life in general.

-S*!t happens. I had just come off a breakthrough season where I truly felt I was on the verge of grasping my full potential, and then I was knocked down to zero. I’ve asked the question, “why?” and tried to look for hidden or not so hidden meanings, but sometimes in life it’s as easy as “stuff just happens.”

-You can’t always muscle through challenges, obstacles and life. Once I got back on snow, I figured that because my vision was back that the level of riding I had been at before the accident would come right back. That just wasn’t the case, and the harder I tried on snow to get back to where I was, the worse it got. Only when I let go of the past and rode just purely for the enjoyment of what it was, without expectations or ulterior motives, did I begin to soften and naturally fall back into stride … which leads me to the next lesson:

-Let go of expectations because they will only hold you back. Being gently and easy on yourself may seem like taking the scenic route when you’re in a hurry, but it’s the only way to truly process and move forward in a true and healthy way.

-Do live in this moment. Comparing yourself to where you were is living in the past. You are a different version of yourself now than you were and living for then will surely rob you of who and what you are now.

-Be grateful for where you are right now. For me, having my vision back was the biggest victory that I could have escaped this experience with, but it took a long time for me to truly understand that concept. In the beginning I could only see what I wasn’t doing and where I was lacking. I just wanted to be back at my highest level of snowboarding. Then I found that beating myself up was actually draining my passion and love for what I was actually doing, which directly affected the way I would perform. Gratitude brings you back to being that witnessing awareness that is whole and unwavering.

-Don’t focus on time or a cookie cutter schedule.  Focus on what your body is telling you.  Your body knows best and intuitively knows how to heal, if you listen and are presently aware.

-Do the rehab every day; even a year after surgery you have the potential to break through any scar tissue or limitations. Just as in life, once you have found what is working for you, you want to apply that routine every day to break through old habits and patterns that are holding you back.

A lot of these lessons are similar concepts but just said or experienced in different ways. But what I’ve found is that we learn the same lessons in different ways throughout life based on where we are in our process. And where I am in my process is heading into summertime riding with a lot of goals that I’m eager to accomplish. And if I’ve learned anything at all from my own experiences, I’m going to go up to Mount Hood and, while I will be aware of those goals, I’m going to detach from their end results and enjoy sliding around on the snow in warm weather and that beautiful environment. I’m going to be grateful for my healthy body that lets me push myself physically and mentally to ride with style and meaning every day because that’s why I love to snowboard, but at the same time being presently aware and listening to my body as I do, and I’m going to laugh and I’m going to soak in being with some of my best friends and husband and dog all the while!

Leave a comment »

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

 

teddy_roosevelt

1 Comment »

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.”

Napoleon Hill

When you read about successful people, you’ll likely read about many devastating failures leading up to and intermixed with their wild successes.  And when you meet successful people, you start to learn that the reason they were successful in the first place is because they have a lot of practice failing and have matured and learn from their failures.   If you want to learn to be successful, you’ve got to put yourself out there and take chances.  You’ve go to apply for jobs you might not ever get and audition for parts you might not fit the role for exactly.  You’ll be disappointed and frustrated and angry, but keep pushing.  Then, you will find yourself with great responsibilities, great successes, and a heaping sense of fulfillment.

Napoleon_Hill_seated_in_chair

Leave a comment »

Kulia i ka nu’u

“Strive for the summit.”

–Hawaiian proverb

To visit Haleakala, a dormant volcano designated national park in 1961, for the magnificent sunrise is a Maui tradition.  The journey to the summit is a perfect parable for this blog.  Yesterday we arose at 2am to travel in the dark to the lookout before sunrise.  Driving up the twisting switchbacks (and down again, later) proved a challenge for some of our travelers’ inner-ears and stomaches.  10,000 feet above sea-level in the dark and wind was surprisingly and uncharacteristically cold for our group that packed for Maui beaches and left its Northface gear at home.  Needless to say, by 5:30 stomaches and tempers were growling fiercely.

But when dawn broke and the sun peaked over the fluffy clouds and filled the crater with glowing light, radiant heat warmed our goosebumps and our attitudes.  Standing in the middle of the south-pacific and observing a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise in full panoramic, the memory of the dark morning seemed distant and making the trip was worth it.

Legend of Haleakala (link also includes time-lapse video of the sunrise)

There is a legend that tells the origin of Haleakala’s spectacular sunrise.

The demi-god Maui and his mother, Hina, lived near Rainbow Falls in Hilo on the island of Hawaii. Hina would make kapa from the bark of the wauke and mamaki tree, and the strips would be dyed with magnificent designs to form cloth. The kapa, however, would still be damp when night fell, and Hina would lament how the sun moved too quickly across the sky to dry the cloth.

Upon hearing this, the demi-god traveled to the island of Maui and climbed to the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakala, where the sun was asleep in the giant crater. Maui hid until morning and watched the sun begin his daily journey. As the first ray of sunshine appeared, Maui snared it with his lasso of twisted coconut fiber.

The sun demanded to be released, but Maui would not let go. “Promise me that you will move more slowly across the sky,” he told the sun. Left with no choice, the sun struck a bargain with the daring demi-god. He would move slowly for six months out of the year, and then move at his preferred pace for the other six months. Agreeing to the terms, Maui hurried home and told his mother the good news. As a reward, Hina made her son a new cape, and sure enough, it dried in one afternoon.

Haleakala-Crater-Maui1

Leave a comment »

“I’d like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve.”

–John Mayer

The best is yet to come because the past is just for learning from.

John-Mayer-in-Concert-with-guitar1

Leave a comment »

The sky is not the limit.

footprint

1 Comment »

“Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

–Steve Jobs

 

Congrats grads!  I’m a sucker for commencement speeches, and Steve Jobs delivered one of the best in 2005 at Stanford.  If you’ve got 15 minutes, take a listen.

 

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: