“The Longest Distance.”

“Deliberation”, by Mario Sanchez Nevado

“When we realize that we don’t need to ask anyone any questions, we discover that we needn’t look outside ourselves for the answers.”

Stephen Levine, “A Gradual Awakening”

Lao Tzu said that the first step on the path to wisdom is the ability to say, “I don’t know.”

We like to believe that we know a great many things – but, the truth is, we understand far fewer of those things than we care to admit. Knowing a thing and owning it – being truly invested in the actions and the outcomes – are two completely different things. True wisdom then is not in the knowing – but in the actual doing.

That being said, the only thing worse than being on a sinking ship, is staying on board until it’s completely sunk. Which leads me to my current conundrum: how do I make a rational decision if all I can think about is the overwhelming desire emanating from my heart?

I remember reading somewhere that “the longest distance in the world is the eighteen inches from the HEAD to the HEART”… and now I know this statement to be true.

Taking what we know and turning it into a demonstrable action, something that will elicit change in our lives or the lives of those around us, is true wisdom. For some people, the ability to transform knowledge into action is quite the hurdle.

The willingness to change is driven by investment and emotion. No emotion, means no investment – no investment, means no movement. As long as we maintain a rational perspective on our personal condition, we will remain stuck.

However, for me, the exact opposite has been the issue. Because I am emotional. I am invested. And I am moving forward… yet, still, I remain quite stuck. My injury recovery progress has been quite remarkable – yet, the rational perspective of my PHYSICAL condition pales greatly in comparison to the size of the goals which I have set before myself.

I’d be lying if I said I have all the answers. The truth is, I’m still asking myself a plethora of practically unanswerable questions. Therefore, I am simply choosing to put the weight of this mental burden down. Let it be, whatever it may be – my (current) rationalization being this:

It’s okay to change your mind. To change direction. To change the plan. To admit that something is no longer right for you – to accept that it never really was.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable. To be completely unsure. To sit comfortably in the uncertainty of it all, not knowing which path you’re, ultimately, going to take.

It’s okay to change your mind – but also to stay the course. Sometimes, simply choosing to move forward, content with not knowing, is the only way to truly discover exactly how far you can go.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“The Most Powerful Thing.”

“Sometimes the changes you fear the most and the losses that hit you the hardest help you find peace, strength, and joy like you’ve never imagined possible.”

Lori Deschene
“My peace is the most powerful thing I own.”
– Stacie Martin

I used to be my own drug dealer – of misery. My brain produced a cocktail of chemistry every time I felt shitty and I became hooked on it, an addict for years.

Self awareness really is the key to unlocking so much and, once I became aware of this, I began the work of switching out my debilitating dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and actions, for new ones. Ones that would eventually, over time, produce a cocktail of chemistry in my brain that would serve the greater good of my being better. It’s taken years of practice, but now my body feels peacefully worn out by the end of the day, rather than stressfully exhausted. My thoughts don’t race back and forth between the past and the future anymore, but rather, keep pace, steadily walking in the present moment. My feelings are no longer live wires ready to spark the moment I become triggered, but are now connected, grounded, and peaceful.

The universe is constantly asking us if we’re ready to stop engaging with our old habits and enter into a parallel life – one where we begin to fill in the gaps between the things that happen and how we choose to respond to them. Each time we are faced with such a scenario, we are being called upon to ask ourselves: “How can I react differently this time?”. The answer (which WE get to decide) could change absolutely everything!

My will to change became stronger than my fear of change, and that’s what led me to the healing power of giving up the things that kept me the same, in exchange for the things that have ultimately made me so much better.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“UNBECOMING.”

Every part of her that changed,

every layer she peeled off.

Because of playground laughter

or her parents’ beliefs.

Every chiding voice and disapproving glance

long since gone.

All the painful memories,

the bitter taste of regret.

Faces of old friends

and those already dead.

She collected those things,

picked them up off the floor.

She turned them into fuel,

lit them all on fire.

Used the brightness of their light

to pursue her true heart’s desire.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“We All Want Impossible Things.”

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”

Tom Hiddleston

We all want impossible things.

Even as I write this, the ego in me stutter steps its way through my fingertips, prompting me to delete it, to rephrase it, to take the insinuation back – that anything is “impossible”.

But it’s true.

As it seems to me, at some point in time and in one way or another, we all want impossible things.

From the perfect body, to the perfect relationship, friendships that never end, and dogs that never die – we all tend to wish for things that simply can not always be.

Recently, I’ve been doing a fair amount of philosophizing. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis? Or a mild case of imposter syndrome? Or maybe it just has to do with this new year and more of a restart than usual, thanks to the level of progress I’ve made in my injury recovery plan these past few months?

Whatever it is, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the future – which, of course, is foolish because there’s no way of knowing what the future holds. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about it – and the monstrous sized goals that I’ve set for myself, looming there, in the not so far off distance.

Whether or not I will actually be capable of achieving those goals is, obviously, yet to be determined. But, as I’ve been thinking more and more, I’ve found myself asking “what if” quite a lot.

One thing I’ve noticed, in all of my what if-ing these past few weeks, is that I’ve begun to question everything, including some things that I thought were etched in stone.

What if I do “X”?

What if I don’t?

What if I keep doing what I’ve been doing?

What if I change the plan?

The point of all this thinking is not to make any rash decisions or, prematurely, cancel any plans – but rather, to open myself up to the many possibilities that currently lie ahead of me. It has allowed me to think about things from a different perspective which will, hopefully, enable me to make the best decisions for myself, moving forward.

I think a lot of us runners see ourselves a certain way – a sort of running identity, so to speak. A “trail runner”, for instance, or a “road runner”. The “front runner”, “middle of the pack runner”, or even “the caboose”. But what would happen if you were forced to question all aspects of your running? Would you make a major change, moving forward? Or would you throw in the towel, refusing to see yourself as any runner other than that which you have always been?

As far as I can tell, the biggest road block throughout my journey thus far has been the fact that I refuse to acknowledge limitations. I simply cannot bring myself to say that “I can’t”.

I know that I am different now. I feel it every day. Even so, I have the most difficult time accepting this reality. So, rather than focus on all the things that I can no longer do, I am choosing to focus on that which I can.

In a perfect world, we could make some major changes to what we’re doing that would help me to dramatically improve overnight. But, in the real world, it’s wiser for us to play to my strengths with the goal of making marginal improvements over time, rather than risk further injury or some massive regression – especially when what we’re doing seems to be helping. So we’ve made some subtle tweaks. We’ve doubled up on the number of strength training sessions we do per week, yet dialed back on a day or two of my running. I’ve recalculated and completely readjusted my future running plan. I’ve acknowledged the fact that I need to change my focus – because taking one small step forward is way better than taking two huge steps back.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, and are unsure of what to do – keep moving forward, no matter how slowly the process may be. Because when it comes to major overhauls, especially when recovering from significant injury, it’s a whole lot easier to get worse than it is to get better. And being hard on yourself and pushing for more before your body is ready will rarely ever help you or get you to where it is you want to go.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“Memories, Moments, and Music.”

“When you’re happy, you enjoy the music; when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.”

Frank Ocean

I once read a quote by artist Jean Michel-Basquiat that “music is how we decorate time”, and I often think about that when I listen to my favorite songs. I’m often surprised by how the memories flood into my mind and I feel like I am right back where I was the very first time the lyrics or melody impressed upon me. Like when I hear Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, I feel my mind transport me back to the 1980’s. I can clearly see the sunlight streaming through the windows of the bedroom my sister and I used to share; the way it glistened off the pale yellow painted walls, and the way the gold butterflies on our cream colored curtains shimmered, reflecting the natural highlights shining through my sister’s hair as she danced around in front of our dresser mirror. She was singing into her hairbrush, the haze and fumes from the AquaNet hairspray can infiltrating my airway and stinging inside my nostrils. I was listening to her voice, watching her every move, and just taking it all in. “She’s just so cool.” I thought, “How lucky am I that she is my sister?”

But when I hear “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, I am taken back to one of the saddest of times – just one day after being notified of the deaths of our parents. I feel the pain rise up in my chest as I remember waking up beneath the heaviest cover of grief. Feeling completely powerless, beat down by the sadness. I could barely bring myself to get up out of bed… even just breathing felt as if it required Herculean type strength.

I remember putting that song on repeat, listening to it over and over again as I cried. Some might consider this a form of self-induced torture and perhaps they would have urged me to turn it off. But I found it to be 3 minutes and 20 seconds of comfort – an emotional release that needed to be repeated again and again until now, nearly 5 years later, when my tears have almost completely dried.

Perhaps the reason why we find ourselves listening to the same songs, over and over again, is because they are bookmarks for feelings that we’re still processing through? It’s such a small detail and yet, for me, it’s a window into something I am still learning how to do: to slow down and allow whatever discomfort, ambition, or rambling thoughts I have to unravel and rest. This is personal for me. For whatever reason, my brain collects more information than I want it to and it can get tangled very quickly.

It doesn’t always have to be about the past either. My heart is always open as new songs play out on the radio, especially while I’m driving. I listen closely, searching the lyrics for deeper meaning and personal application into my present or future life – especially in regards to the athletic goals that I have set for myself. The music helps to motivate me, reminds me never to lose sight of my goals, and elevates my mindset away from the mundane, day to day struggles, helping me to envision the overall journey, as well as, eventual success.

I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m probably always going to be one who places millions of “bookmarks” on songs, creating playlists for every mood and memorable moment in my life.

This doesn’t mean that I am fragmented as a human being. There is a sense of wholeness here that is taking a lifetime for me to unpack, and that’s okay. I’ll keep placing little “bookmarks” for myself, all along the way, and I’ll keep trying to see how it all connects in real-time. Maybe I’ll never be able to figure it all out and maybe that’s just fine – because maybe this life really isn’t meant to be figured out afterall? Perhaps it is simply meant to be felt?

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“Some Days Will Be Good.”

20” Box Jumps @ Fit Body Bootcamp, Cranberry
with trainer, Nick Alouise. 12/20/2022

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year, especially since having my spine surgery, is that not every day will be the same.

Some days will be good days. Some days will be bad. Yesterday was a bit of both.

I crushed the strength workout with my personal trainer, impressing myself with the ability to comfortably (and correctly!) perform 3 sets of 20” box jumps – something I have been too physically injured to even attempt for the past TWO YEARS! But, when it came to doing a 4-mile run, it took me 28 minutes to run/walk the first two miles and I was forced to completely walk the final two miles. Frustrating, to say the least – especially when I had been doing so well, steadily improving with each and every run for the past two weeks.

That’s just the way it is though… and, really, that’s okay. I’m learning a lot about myself now – things I never even realized before. Like how there really is no honor in pushing your body to the point of pain, simply so you can prove to yourself that you can endure it. And pushing your body to the point of injury is neither noble, nor respectable, but rather stupid and self-deprecating.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t challenge ourselves, because there really is no better way to grow. But challenging yourself within your current abilities and then raising the bar each and every time you safely reach them is the surest way to succeed in achieving your goals. There’s so much to be said for the story of the tortoise and the hare – whose story is depicted by statues strategically placed in Copley Square, just steps away from the finish line of the iconic Boston Marathon. A visually artistic tribute to the fact that slow and steady progress really does win the race.

Copley Square,
Boston, Massachusetts

So WHY was yesterday’s run so difficult? Because, on the previous run, I pushed too hard, too fast, and for much too long. I was too much in my own head, comparing my current run to where I used to be before I injured my spine. I let the slower pace, the walk breaks, and overall time degrade me into ignoring my body’s signals and, instead of listening, I continued to push for more. Was I proud of the end result? Initially, yes. I told my husband with a big smile upon my face. I even bragged about it to a friend who understands that shaving 4 minutes off my overall run time is no small feat! But then my body reminded me, in no uncertain terms, that I am not fully healed yet and, even when I am, I will still just never be the same as I was before that skydiving crash. This really is “just the way it is” now. This is my “new normal”. If I want to continue doing all the things I love so much, I must remain vigilant in listening to my body’s signals, adjusting accordingly, forever conscious of the fact that we are on the same team, we should never be waging war with ourselves.

As the new year begins, and the goals I’ve set for myself inch ever closer, I will continually be reminding myself that some days will be good days, and some days will be bad. I can be determined about my goals, but I must remain flexible with my methods.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“Make it Count.”

New Year’s Day is almost upon us. The classic “fresh start” to a brand new year that seems to inspire people everywhere to “begin again” – to initiate change and implement improvements.

I’ve never really been one to jump on this bandwagon. I believe that EVERY DAY is a “fresh start”, and that you can choose to improve yourself at any time. That being said, I also believe that the scariest place to be is the exact same place as last year – so, if a few New Year’s resolutions are what motivates you to hold yourself accountable and do better, then by all means, resolve away! Show up for yourself, day after day, and grow. You deserve it.

I assure you, the only steps to take, and in whatever order you wish to take them, are your own. Only you can figure out what works best for you. Only you can evaporate the things that hold you back. And only you can set yourself free. The process is specific to you, alone, so the only progress you need to live up to is your own.

I, myself, have learned through my own life’s experiences that the deepest form of self-care is building a life that you are in love with – which, in the beginning, is a very unbeautiful thing. It requires making a list of all your debt and holding yourself accountable for eliminating it. It’s enforcing a morning routine, choosing discipline over motivation, and refusing to satiate your most immediate desires. It’s cooking healthy meals and drinking water rather than eating out and self-medicating with alcohol. It’s refusing to run from your problems while claiming that the distractions are the solution. It’s looking your disappointments and failures squarely in the eye and restrategizing, understanding that the will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

It’s letting go, and choosing new. It’s disappointing some people, while making sacrifices for others. It’s living in a way that most people won’t, so that you may someday live in a way that most people can’t. It’s becoming the person you know you are capable of being – someone who understands that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy this life, not escape from it.

I am writing this today to simply remind you that THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Do what makes you happy. Change the things you can and let go of the things you can’t.

If there is something that you want, go out there and get it. If you have a dream, follow it. Do not let fear hold you back. Trust your gut and always believe in yourself – you are capable of so much more than you think. When people tell you that you can’t, show them that you can – but only if the thing you’re doing is something that YOU truly want.

There will, inevitably, be times when you fall – but you will stand back up again. Protect your heart, but recognize when to let it go. Reminisce on the good times, and take a lesson from the bad. Learn from your mistakes, but do not dwell upon them. Be confident in who you are, keep your head held high, and remember that you are beautiful.

Do not be afraid to express how you feel. Cry hard, laugh harder, and when you love – love with all your heart.

Never settle. Find your passion and embrace its magic. You can be whoever you want to be. There are no set rules, there is only now – and this is your now. This is your time, this is your life, and you only have one. Make it count.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“Things We Don’t Often Speak About.”

It’s quite an intricate process, indeed.

There are things we don’t often speak openly about. Our darkest times. Times when we are not beautiful or lovable. The mistakes that we’ve made, the times when we’ve lost our way, forgotten our true selves, and the moments we most certainly are not proud of ourselves for.

There comes a point in every person’s journey where, if you truly want to grow into a better, stronger version of yourself, you have got to stop lying and denying. You have got to be completely open and honest with yourself. You have got to acknowledge the role you’ve played in your own suffering – and you have got to get out of your own way.

I finally reached this point for myself a little over a year ago, and I’m finally ready to share a few of those details with you now.

You see, the past five years of my life have been tumultuous, to say the least. Losing both of my parents so suddenly and unexpectedly threw me into a loop unlike any I’d ever experienced before. For three straight weeks, I consumed little more than coffee, whiskey, and water. I was shaken to my very core, but I refused to adequately acknowledge it.

A few weeks later, we received the news that the man driving the commercial vehicle that struck and killed our parents had tested positive for cocaine at the time of the incident. He was subsequently charged with D.W.I. and was set to appear before the judge six months later. The news of this finding struck a nerve with me. You see, in all the chaos of that very first day, when we received notification of the accident and our parents deaths, my first instinct was to reach out to the other driver and to make sure that he was okay. I was advised by the Ohio State Trooper not to do so, and it haunted me that I had listened. As if losing my own family wasn’t enough, I was also self-inflicting guilt upon myself for not checking in on the wellbeing of the other person involved. Yet, in this moment, as the proverbial smoke was clearing and the details of the actual incident were being made known, the burning flames of anger and indignation began to take hold inside my heart. To think that I had ever felt sorry for this man! From this moment forward, I became more and more invested in the case. I began to stalk this man, his family, and his business through social media accounts and pubic records.

I have never felt so invisible, or completely disregarded, as I did that day in court, as my sister and I sat quietly, unable to speak. The Assistant District Attorney not only arrived late, but also, disheveled, wearing sunglasses, and slurping on a Starbucks iced coffee. Our case was the first to be called, and this A.D.A. immediately moved to dismiss the case of the man who drove the truck that collided with and killed our parents, despite the discovery of that perfectly acquired positive drug test.

“Your Honor, the Hudson’s vehicle made a left turn, across traffic, directly into the path of the defendant’s truck.”, he said. “The defendant has subsequently provided his own negative drug test to counteract the initial drug panel that was taken. It is not worth the court’s time or money to pursue this case any further.”

Whose side was he on??? Was it not his job to defend the truth, on behalf of our deceased parents, and the by-the-book operational procedures of his very own Ohio State Troopers at the scene of this accident?

We had entered the courtroom at 9am. We were walking out and getting in our personal vehicles at 9:09am. I was heartbroken… and livid – hot tears stinging my eyes, threatening to pour down my face. I tried to remain calm when speaking with our attorney. I told him that this wasn’t right. I asked him what more could we do? My sister and I made the decision that day to open up a civil case in order to preserve the drug tests and freeze all evidence involved in the case. We issued a subpoena and obtained all of the details regarding both drug tests, chain of command, as well as, every minute detail of the vehicles and the collision itself. Unbeknownst to us, the defendant and his family’s business were in the process of making large monetary donations to the emergency and public service agencies involved in this case, as well as, the general area.

Over the course of the next year and a half, the symptoms of PTSD stemming from my life’s personal and professional experiences, as well as this ongoing investigation and pending civil trial began to intensify, forcing me to make a conscious life change. I “retired” from my E.M.S. career just shy of 20 years working in the field. I chose to walk away from my professional passion as a Paramedic and opted to begin a new career in a stable environment with a group of spiritually enlightened individuals focused on higher levels of consciousness and individual personal growth. From that point on, things began to get better… but I was still far from living “happily ever after”.

I not only found myself adapting to a major professional transition, but also a drastic personal shift in my social circle as well. I began to drift away from the people and friends that I’d spent my E.M.S. years with and, in turn, began to develop new and meaningful relationships with an entirely different group of individuals. It was, equal parts, exciting and overwhelming – and, in times when I needed deep emotional support, incredibly lonely. No longer comfortable turning back to the familiarity of my former friends, I found that I was also not comfortable enough to lean upon my newfound friends in such a vulnerable way. For a time, I didn’t feel safe in anyone’s company. I felt stuck, isolated, and very alone.

Meetings and phone calls with our attorneys continued every week for the next three years. We were all in on this case, reliving and re-enacting every second of every minute, leading up to and including the moment of impact, as well as, tracing the steps of the defendant and the Ohio State Police in the hours after.

The defense tried, multiple times, to have the drug test evidence withheld from the case. Time and time again, the judge overruled their motion, stating that “the jury has the right to decide”, which gave me great confidence that the truth would finally be heard in its entirety.

Nearly three years after the actual incident, in August of 2020, the case finally went to trial. We had a difficult time selecting the jury – too many people knew this man, his family, and his company. A few of them had actually worked for him. Once the jury was secured, we spent nearly two weeks in that courtroom, as expert after expert testified to the details with which we had discovered. When we arrived at the point of addressing the results and details of each drug sample, the defense (again) moved to have the information withheld. This time, the Judge called for a recess. He dismissed the jury and, now, decided to withhold this evidence from the court. My heart sank. We’d come so far, had discovered so much, and were still being silenced and told that “it didn’t matter.”

On the final day of prosecution, I took the stand. My voice was shaking and it felt so hard to breathe. I answered the questions prepared by my attorneys, but my heart was screaming inside. I wanted so badly to get off of this grid – to skip the script and speak freely instead. I wanted to look at that jury and tell them the truth. That we did not come here in search of a million dollar settlement, nor did we wish any ill will for the defendant or his family. We simply wanted the truth to be heard. More than anything, I wanted this man to simply acknowledge his own mistake – but, time and time again, in the pre-trial interviews, he refused to ever do so. Therefore, we went to trial. Because right is right and wrong is wrong, and what point is there in having laws if we are not going to hold people accountable for obeying them? The incident on trial was, indeed, an accident. The man on trial did not personally know my parents. He did not intend to hurt them, or kill them, that day. But he did test positive for cocaine. He was driving that commercial vehicle way too fast. The antilock brake system had not been maintained and was not operational at the time of the accident. Had he actually performed a pre-shift truck check before starting his shift that morning, as he is required to, he would have realized that this particular vehicle should not have even been out on the road that day. And, while under the influence of drugs, his response time was most certainly impaired. He did not apply those brakes until the exact moment of impact, and he made no attempt to swerve.

The defendant, himself, took the stand. He refused to make eye contact with me or even look in my direction. When our attorney presented a photo of my parents and the wreckage which used to be their car, he squeezed his eyes shut like a child and refused to acknowledge either image.

It’s one thing to come to terms with such a tragic incident… it’s a completely different ball game when you’re trying to forgive a man who very publicly behaves like this, and refuses to simply admit that he was wrong.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours. Without the critical drug evidence being revealed to them, what more did they have to go on than that it was simply a tragic accident, and that we were picking apart details in an attempt to create a case? I can not blame them. But I do blame the Judge, and the court system, as a whole, for standing in the way of actual JUSTICE that day.

Once again, I found myself getting into my car for the 2-hour drive back home, feeling like the truth just doesn’t even matter – like my parents lives just don’t even matter, and I had wasted the past three years of my own life fighting for a truth that was never going to be heard or allowed to be seen. It’s a whole new level of low that I wouldn’t wish upon the devil himself to ever have to feel.

A few weeks after the case was decided, we received a phone call from our attorneys. The review of the case revealed that the Judge’s decision to withhold the drug evidence was confirmed to be “unlawful”. We now had to decide whether we wished to appeal the case for further review, and begin the entire process again? We had two weeks to decide.

In the time since the trial, my sister and I had the opportunity to allow the failure of the court to sink in. We were no longer writhing in pain over this loss. In fact, we were already beginning to heal. There’s a gentle sense of calm that envelops you when the heat of the battle is no longer bearing down upon you. When you’re no longer forced to look at the photos, or replay the videos, or re-hash every play by play detail of an incident that took a piece of your soul right along with it, you slowly, almost imperceptibly, begin to heal.

We did notice more money being “donated” by this particular person, his family and his business, as such donations are recorded on public record. And, while we can not prove that any illegal deals had been made, these repeated monetary transactions have made me even more suspicious of the probable corruption to be found in this particular political court system. We decided that any additional time taken from our own lives was no longer worth the sacrifice, considering the odds which we would be facing. We decided to nurture our own inner peace, rather than continuing to fight this seemingly never ending external war. We made the difficult decision not to pursue the case any further.

In the months and years leading up to the trial, I had been drinking quite a bit. Not every day, not always in excess, and never when I was alone – but often enough for me to know that it had become a crutch. It was the only way that I could find to relax enough to allow my emotions to show. It was the only way, outside of a few personal one-on-one conversations with a close friend, my husband, or my private, in-person sessions with my therapist, that I could allow my tears of sadness and grief to flow. But now there was anger too – anger and regret, over the opportunity I’d had inside that courtroom. The opportunity to say everything I ever really wanted to say. The opportunity that I’d had, but was too afraid to take advantage of.

That particular courtroom scene is one that has played over and over again inside my mind, disrupting my thoughts on many nights, as I have tried to fall asleep. If I could go back in time and change just one moment, this (most likely) would be it. Probably, it doesn’t even matter. It, most likely, would not change a thing. It wouldn’t, miraculously, alter the opinion of the jury or change the outcome of the case. But it would help my heart to heal, knowing that I had fully spoken my truth and had done my absolute best to make them understand.

Throughout this entire ordeal, and especially in the months that followed, I did my best to return to “normal” life. I ran marathons and PR’d several races. I planned “adventures”, immersing myself in experience after experience with my friends, as well as, my husband – none, of which, are bad per se… but all of these things were simply distractions that I was using in order to avoid facing the actual depths of my own depression.

I had lost faith in our world and the “powers that be”. I lost hope that things would always work out, that justice would prevail, and that life would always be fair. I lost touch with what was real, and meaningful, and right here in front of me, as I stared into the proverbial abyss and wondered what it’s all even for?

I began to distract myself with adrenaline inducing activities and fill my time with alcohol based adventures. By the spring of 2021, I was enrolled in the Advanced Free Fall program, learning to skydive solo and attempting to earn my license. I put myself out there under the preface of wanting to learn how to fly… when, in reality, I was preparing to (someday) let myself fall.

It’s funny how the Universe just sits back and patiently allows things to play out. I was up there jumping, recklessly testing fate with my own inexperience and conscious incompetence, while using the enormity of the experience to process through a plethora of pent up emotions. Sometimes, I believe, it takes facing death to make you realize how much you really want to live. By the time I realized this, it was all over for me. My moment of clarity came just moments before the crash.

It’s actually quite funny, when you think about it. Human beings are the only species that knows of its own mortality and, I’ve got to say, we do a pretty good job of dealing with this fact – or at least distracting ourselves from ever actually thinking about it. When time or unforeseen occurrence forces us to face this harsh reality, we use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, gambling, exercise, extreme sports, or whatever else we care enough to obsess about in order to distract us from our own existential dread. But overcompensating for the fragility of our lives in any manner is like placing a bandaid on a bullet hole. It might, for the time being, and to the naked eye, cover the issue, temporarily distracting us from the damage – but it simply doesn’t fix the underlying problem. The gaping wound beneath the bandaid is still there. It’s real, it’s raw, and, without the proper attention being given, it’s steadily going to worsen over time.

The truth is, I was out of control. But, through the chaos of jumping out of an airplane at 14,000’ with gravity rapidly pulling my body back to this Earth at 100+ mph, I was learning to control the one and only thing that we ever really can in this Life – I was learning to control myself.

After just 15 solo jumps, my time in the sky was, most certainly, cut way too short. I’d be lying if I said the thought of never jumping out into that big blue sky again doesn’t make me sad, but it is now a necessary fact – one that forces me to channel my energy and focus on all the people and all the things that matter most in my life, right here, right now, on this great, green Earth.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

“Divinely Inspired to A Hellish Extent.”

It seems to me, as another year quickly comes to a close, that we tend to spend a few moments looking back – reflecting on all the things that have occurred, all the people whose paths we’ve crossed, and all the memories that are beginning to fade with time.

Sometimes I find myself thinking back even further – upon all of the people that I have opened my heart up to through the years, all of the ones I’ve tried to pull closer, hoping they’ll somehow connect with me better if they feel my pulse and realize that we’re both human. But, for the most part, the eyes I’ve found myself staring into are lost – most often closed, or empty, or just… weird. Like they’re viewing a different world than mine and so the connection has been lost completely. A few have actually connected though, and I’ve come to call these few my friends. I’m not one to chase, however, and I do have a tendency to go my own way… but, yes – if our paths have ever crossed, I do remember you. Whether it was just a few moments here and there, or whether we spent an entire season of our lives together, I am not one who easily forgets. Even if we don’t talk anymore. Even if we’re no longer “friends”. Even if none of that makes any sense at all.

It feels better when it’s warm outside, when the sun is shining on my face and the wind is blowing through my hair, making everything seem so much lighter. When we forget all about this game that we’re playing in – this thing we call “Life”. Maybe it’s my upbringing or recent life events but, sometimes I feel like this might be the last night for all of us… like no one really wants to keep doing this. Not badly enough, anyway. Whatever “God” is up there must be bored out of his mind. We’re all idiots, down here. And sometimes I imagine “the big guy up there” deciding to just turn it all off, like a TV, sighing as he walks away shaking his head. What a shit show.

A good storyline, one that we find worth watching, most often involves some major transformation within the main character. We start by presenting him in a good light – so that we like him and we’re all on his side. Then he makes some big mistakes, which many of us can relate to, and which ultimately leads him to the point of no return. And this is when he needs to make a change, or learn something new and transform himself into a better human being. That’s when we follow this hero’s journey full circle, all the way back home.

But sometimes I imagine “the man up there” watching what we’re doing down here and just shaking his head because there is no hero – and the journey that each of us are on seems to not be going anywhere. There are seldom any real life transformations outside of the movies, and the majority of people act like privileged mother f*ckers, creating meaningless drama to fill the void in their otherwise empty lives. They shed a few tears, admit to a few triggers, and think that means they’re healing – but very few actually do the work to truly heal. They complain about working too much and not earning enough money – or they earn a lot of money, but then complain because it doesn’t make them happy.

We travel the world believing that we’ll be happy if we learn how to surf, or party with the stars in New York or L.A., or drink the expensive wine in France. We run ultramarathons to feel like we’re alive, climb mountains, or walk some “spiritual” road that was really just created by some marketing genius who saw a window of opportunity in the marketplace. “People are lost and need to be saved” – so he capitalized on it and started selling “spiritual retreats” in Sedona and “enlightening pilgrimages” to Nepal.

And what about me? I haven’t written a decent blog in over a week because I’m all healed up and recovered now? No – I’m still healing, I’m still recovering, and I’m still just as lost and in a hurry, living day to day, as you. But you know what? At least I can say that I love it. At least I can say that I’m happy, and I’m doing everything I can to better myself – my body, my soul, and my mind. I love my simple, yet sometimes chaotic, life because I created it. I dance in the kitchen with my dog as we cook our dinner. I no longer need to drink in order to relax or connect with someone, to process through my emotions, or even just to have a good time. I’ve self-inflicted so much unnecessary stress, pain, and angst upon myself in the past that, at one point, I had even begun executing my own “exit plan”. The Universe has a funny way of opening and closing doors upon us, however, and I have never been so grateful for that particular one having been slammed shut, right in my face. It has taken a long time for me to realize this. I didn’t get away completely unscathed, but now I see things in a different light. I have a renewed sense of appreciation for this life, and I certainly don’t want the god up there to turn us all off yet just because so many others are wasting their god given time or are running around in circles in his eyes.

I have no ulterior motive, no higher purpose calling my name. I have no further goal which I strive to achieve or any “bucket list item” I feel I need to experience before it all just goes away… well, actually, there is still ONE but, generally speaking, perhaps I’ve finally done it all? Maybe I’ve finally gotten everything I’ve ever asked for? Or maybe I just finally value the simplicity of life more than I desire to unravel the complexity of it all? I’m not really sure. But I am now so calm and safe, peaceful and stable, that I literally have to conjure up a reason to write.

Just “put the pen to the paper”, the experts say – but who are they to tell me what to do? I feel too much like a robot when I get stuck inside a routine. I am already the most disciplined person I have ever known. I do what I say I will do – not for you, but for me. It’s how I was raised. I don’t let myself down and I don’t need (or want) anyone else to hold me accountable for anything. I used to, for a while, back when I cared more about other people and the importance of their own endeavors than I cared about myself. But I refuse to do that anymore. It’s myself that I refuse to let down.

Anyway… those people that I’ve opened my heart up to – so many of them never felt it. My pulse. Or maybe they just refused to let it reach them? I pressed and pressed, and tried to pull them closer – but their eyes were empty, or their hearts were closed, or they were too busy staring into an abyss of their own somewhere else. Whatever. I don’t really know.

What I do know is this – there once was day, so many years ago now, that I took a chance and opened my heart up to a man. He locked his eyes on mine and pulled me closer. In that very moment, we both knew. I saw my future in his eyes. He saw his in mine. That is the day that my life truly began and, even though we’ve been together for nearly two decades now, and married for more than half of those years, our journey to the end of time is far from over. There is still so much more for us to experience, as our story continues to unfold.

Maybe life really was meant to be lived forever? Energetically speaking, of course. Physically speaking “all good things must come to an end” – but I, for one, am not ready for this experience to be over anytime soon. So let’s not screw this up so much that the god up there decides to turn us all off before the very moment when the credits begin to roll, ok?

Maybe that moment is the one will change everything? Or perhaps it will simply be the end of it all? Either way, I’m in no hurry to know just yet.

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine

 

 

 

 

“Everyday Excellence.”

“Strive for excellence, not perfection, because we do not live in a perfect world.”

Joyce Meyer

I left the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes this morning… and the hamper full of dirty laundry.

This was the first day, since my spine surgery in August, that I have had no appointments, no therapies, and no professional work to attend to. I was completely free to do anything I wanted to do, rather than all the things I “have” to do.

I consider myself lucky that I have a husband who doesn’t b*tch at me for leaving that sink full of dirty dishes – and for not tending to that pile of laundry when I obviously had the time to. He doesn’t look down on me for sleeping in, allowing myself to wake up naturally, and then stretching out upon our couch with a cup of coffee in my hand, as I began to write down some ideas for a potential future blog post.

And, hours later, when I finally felt the need to move my body, I have never been more grateful for my dog, whose eyes have never judged me – not even when I took him for our walk with no makeup on, wearing yesterday’s Santa Claus sweater and an old pair of ratty sweatpants. He walks happily beside me, no matter what.

I did, eventually, wash those dirty dishes – and that load of laundry is currently in the dryer. The point I’m trying to make, is that the truest happiness that life has to offer can only be found when we finally learn to relax.

You don’t always have to be busy in order to be productive, and you don’t have to be in a hurry to get everything done. Simply aiming for “excellence”, each and every day, will almost always trump the rarely attainable level of “perfection” that so many people waste their energy striving for.

…but back to my husband and my dog. These two familial beings in my life are the ever-present nonjudgmental, supportive force behind my internal drive to always find a way do it all – even if, just like today, it is in my own way and on my own time. And I have never been more grateful for this life that we have built together!

#BeyondTheBoylstonLine