Gazing at the Underbelly of a Life of Passion

I’m coming back to this blog after a long pause. During that time, I kept intending to redesign and repurpose it, until I realized:

a) that would take too long, and
b) I’d rather not let an outdated design stop me from writing.

Going forward, I plan to write less from the standpoint of a coach, and more about my own personal journey towards unconditional love.  I hope that openly sharing my authentic journey and my learnings along the way will help others as much as it will help me. xo

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I didn’t sleep well last night.

Awaking in the wee hours of the morning, I became caught in a storm of worries about my business, CrossFit Kindred. Little nagging what-ifs and gotta-dos, insignificant specks filling up my mind until I was drowning in quicksand.

It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way since becoming an entrepreneur–leaving my very cushy tech job to become a life coach, and then, to my surprise, finding myself pulled into this CrossFit venture with my now-husband Jeff. After 7 years (12, if you count school) in a software career that I just could not “get it up” for, I left my autopiloted life with a big, scary, exhilarating leap of faith. All I knew was that I wanted to live a passionate, meaningful, vibrant life, and to help others do the same.

As romantic a moment as that was, it was only the beginning of a long hero’s journey that I’m still in the midst of. It’s easy for me to hide behind that perfect fairy tale of sticking it to The Man and frolicking in the happy hills of freedom, replete with inspiring montages of laughter, joyful tears, breakthrough moments, and nature hikes. (Don’tcha love Facebook?)

But while I truly have lived moments like those after The Big Leap–more such moments than I had before it–I’ve also had many sleepless nights, arguments, existential crises, and long stretches of deep denial, self-doubt, despair, panic, and just plain hating everything and everyone.

After ruminating some time in bed, I remembered something I keep rediscovering through my ongoing meditation practice, and one of my heroes, Pema Chodron: Whenever I’m tense, angry, irritable, or otherwise constricted, there’s always a soft spot underneath. If I look under the shell of whatever judgement or resentment I’m presenting, I inevitably find the underbelly: fear, shame, hurt, tenderness, hope…in a word, vulnerability.

Sure enough, there it was this morning: underneath my mind on overdrive, was my tender, excruciating heart wondering, What if it all doesn’t work out? What if this dream dies? I was grasping for a foothold of certainty, looking at a future filled with the unknown and unknowable.

How ironic that this phrase is also used by CrossFit headquarters all the time–that CrossFit “prepares you for the unknown and the unknowable.” Because in that moment, as the earliest rays of morning light began to fill my bedroom, my CrossFit training kicked in.

I thought, Strange…this feels familiar. It was just like that moment during an intense workout that I’ll call “the decision point.” When I feel overwhelmed, when everything hurts, and when part of me wants to back away. My training has taught me that I can take that feeling in, and then make a decision to go all in. Because every time I make that decision, I become stronger, more courageous. I do what I didn’t think I could.

Immediately, still lying in my pajamas, I felt my fear turn into motivation. I actually felt my entire physiology shift from panic to power, from flight to fight, reframing my stress and connecting with my purpose. Am I going to let this beat me? HELL NO! What I’m going after matters too much.

And then I realized something else: This is what I signed up for. This is my passionate, meaningful life, baby. It’s not all roses and candles and Facebook montages, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s being willing to love what I’m doing so much that it feels excruciating some (or on some days, most) of the time.

I’ve heard parents say that once your baby is born, you never stop worrying about him, for the rest of his life. While I don’t yet know firsthand what being a parent is like, I imagine it’s similarly filled with a deep, wide range of experiences both joyful and painful.

Before I made The Big Leap, I felt numb. Secure and in control, but numb. Now that narrow space has opened to a vast adventure, full of failures, false starts, miracles, plot twists, and gifts big and small.

Sometimes, I just need a little reminder.

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4 Comments

  1. I love this BOX! You guys are so family orneetid and really love to help and see your members achieve their goals! You guys make it soo much fun to WOD! It feels like home away from home. Super great vibe and can’t forget to mention I’ve lost 17 pounds!! Thanks IC Proud of you guys!

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