“The Full Catastrophe.”

“When they ask you about me. Tell them I felt all the things that weren’t being said and wrote about them.”

Brooke Hampton

I don’t want to be sad, but there is sadness here.

I don’t want to be mad, but there is anger here.

I don’t want to be frustrated, but there are so many things I need to say – and the people I need to say them to are no longer here.

The weight I carry is heavy but, with no way to make things right, where exactly do I go to set this burden down?

When my body is feeling all of these things and my mind insists upon processing it all – everything, and all at once – the only thing I can think to do that makes any sense at all is RUN.

But what do you do with all this energetic turbulence when you are physically unable to purge it?

I don’t want to feel any of these things, but they are with me, nonetheless. They are a part of me.

“The full catastrophe”, as my therapist calls it – and this analogy hits a whole lot deeper when the wisest man I know marvels at what a strong being it takes to contain these multitudes of emotions and, in this moment, I realize that he’s talking about me. And when the tears begin to fall, rather than expressing pity, he offers me grace.

In times like these it helps to remember that I am bigger than this – I am bigger than all of the things that sometimes threaten to overwhelm me. And the simple fact that I can feel them all is actually more of a blessing than a curse.

Catastrophe here does not mean disaster. Rather it means the poignant enormity of our life experience. It includes crises and disaster but also all the little things that go wrong and that add up. The phrase reminds us that life is always in flux, that everything we think is permanent is actually only temporary and constantly changing. This includes our ideas, our opinions, our relationships, our jobs, our possessions, our creations, our bodies, everything.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Full Catastrophe Living”

Ever since I heard it, I have felt that the phrase ‘the full catastrophe’ captures something positive about the human spirit’s ability to come to grips with what is most difficult in life – and then to find within it room to grow in strength and wisdom. For me, facing the full catastrophe means finding and coming to terms with what is most human within myself. All the times I fell, but got back up – and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. All the times I doubted myself, all the hurt that I chose to turn into healing, and how I used these moments to build myself back up, becoming the most certain thing that I have ever known. It’s the future version of myself that I have yet to meet, as well as all the past versions that helped to get me where I needed to be. It’s the ugly parts of my story that made my life more beautiful, and how these moments taught me grace.

It’s how I’ve come to know the depths of chaos, unafraid to dive right in. It’s courage, it’s strength, it’s resilience, and an unbreakable faith. It’s believing that everything will always work itself out in time, even if all we can do is wait. It’s looking back at how far I’ve come and realizing, without a doubt, that my comeback game is strong! I am still here, I am still standing and, no matter what this life throws at me, I can still go on.


“Forever, For Always, and No Matter What!”

“When you find beautiful depth with someone, nothing else will ever do. Nothing else will ever be good enough. Because you have been awakened to the fact that mere moments in the abyss holds more intimacy than years on the surface. And once you become conscious to that, there is no going back to sleep. Once you have experienced the deep, shallow will no longer be good enough.”

“We come from humble families, old houses, and small towns with sad stories. We are not hustling to impress or be in any competition with anyone, we just want to change the storyline and fight battles our parents never won.”

In a world full of maybes, there are very few people who you can count on to be your always. Once in a lifetime friendships that journey with you to the end. Those rare souls who never quiet your wild or run from your storms. Those constant companions through the peaks and the valleys, the highs and lows.

The ones who see your valleys and not only choose to stay, but choose to walk the paths of uncertainty beside you. The ones who laugh with you under the sun and love you through the darkness.

The ones who see the best within you and help lift you to new heights because they know that there are mountains inside of you, just waiting to arise. The hearts that remind you that you’ll never be alone. The kind of friendships that lead you home.

To my forever kind of friends, THANK YOU for making every moment worth remembering – the laughs, the cries, and everything in between. Life is full of ups and downs, but you will never stop being my forever, for always, and no matter what!


“Space for the Sadness.”

“The girl I used to be needed the sadness, because she didn’t know who she was without it. She needed to rip open old wounds to feel like she was saving herself, while she was really only making sure she would have new wounds to pick tomorrow. I’m not that girl anymore. I know who I am now without that sadness, but every once in a while, I run my fingers across those scars to remember who I used to be, and I smile. Breaking that cycle was me, saving myself.”

Stephanie Bennett-Henry

I think that, as we get older, we grow quieter about our struggles. We hold space for the sadness within our hearts, but we don’t often share these feelings with the people around us. Perhaps for any number of reasons, but mostly because we don’t want to feed energy into the things that create great sadness within us. We don’t want these things to consume our days or the relationships we have with the people around us. We need the distractions – the things that help us get out of our own heads. We need the mental shift – of working, of playing, of laughing for no reason, or listening to others and helping them find their own way through, towards their own silver lining.

It’s been 5 years since I lost my parents. Perhaps I should be a little more sad today? Truth is, I simply don’t want to be. This past year has been monumental for me in regards to healing – processing through a plethora of emotions, unspoken words and unresolved issues. For the most part, I’m doing just fine. There are still days when things feel anything but “fine” – but they are growing fewer and farther in between.

There was a time when I was so sad, so angry, and so indifferent towards this world and the injustices that it holds, that even I would have admitted to maybe having had a death wish. But actually wanting to die is a very different thing than being compelled to simply take a look over that edge. Sometimes you need to take that look, to lean into and over the ledge, in order to realize that you do not, in fact, want to jump.

I recall a conversation I had with our attorney as my sister and I were attempting to seek justice on behalf of our parents lives. This man had suffered a similar loss just one year prior when his own son, heartbreakingly, staged himself in a scenario to commit suicide through the forced hands of a Police Officer. He told me, in brutal honesty and from his own personal experience, that “those who really want to heal and get better, do. They find a way – and you will too.”

Sometimes you have to make this decision for yourself, ready or not, because you begin to realize that time keeps moving on, no matter how stuck you stay in your own emotions. Life as you know it is collectively passing you by as you linger in this limbo, paralyzed by the thoughts holding you captive within your own mind.

Sometimes you have to simply stop thinking about it. Stop recreating it. You have to let go of the idea that things could have happened differently and accept them exactly as they are. Even if it hurts. Even if it’s hard. Even when it’s not fair.

And this is where the magic happens – in regaining control of a situation or scenario that once made you feel so powerless. It’s realizing that things are not completely out of your control, and you can, in fact, actually do something. You can take back your power by refusing to stay down, by choosing to be resilient and determined to heal.

For me, the biggest hindrance to my own healing was believing that I needed to hear an apology or actually see remorse on the part of the man responsible for taking my parents lives in order for me to forgive him, in order for me to have closure. My own misconceptions about forgiveness have stunted my progress for so long because, in my mind, how could I possibly forgive this man and begin to move on if he was not willing to step up and take responsibility for his actions? Herein lies the most difficult lesson that I have ever had to learn: Forgiveness is not actually for the offender. Forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself, relieving yourself from the burden of holding the offender responsible for their actions – something which is not even your job in the first place. That burden belongs to God, or the Universe, or Karama – or whatever energetic force or divine being you so choose to believe in.

Forgiveness is also a gateway through which emotions are activated – and this has been the most transformative experience for me, because I have come to realize that forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. In fact, being able to forgive someone actually requires you to acknowledge that you have been wronged. It requires you to remember the wrong that was done to you, and it requires you to blame your offender for this injustice. In doing so, I have found myself face to face with my own anger about what has happened – and anger, as it turns out, is one of the most difficult emotions for me to process through. But I’m doing it. Not all at once. Not once and for all. But repeatedly, each and every time these feelings arise. And I think that’s an important point – that it’s not a “one and done” kind of deal. Healing is a process. Letting go is a process. Forgiveness is a process. Very much like the grief process itself. These feelings come and go – sometimes in ripples, sometimes in waves. You’ve just got to find a way to keep your head above these waters.

This is not to say that I’m no longer sad, or angry, or hurt – because I am. It’s that I am now able to hold space for the sadness. I honor it for what it is – the residual remnants of love left to give that now have nowhere to go. But I refuse to let that anger steal my joy or rob my life of the peace that I deserve.

It’s been 5 years since I lost my parents. Perhaps I should be a little more sad today? The truth is, I simply don’t want to be. I am determined to heal.


“Quint Douglass.”

October 2022

My name is Quint – but you can call me Q.

I’m a big, fluffy English Lab with bright eyes and a gentle heart. My tail wags like the wand of death, and I can clear a room with just one fart.

I like going for walks, swimming in creeks, fetching my BOB, and smelling (and peeing!) on all the things.

I like getting hugs and giving kisses. I love drinking lots of water and getting butt “scritches”!

I like watching squirrels jump through the trees and chasing stray cats away from our yard. I can sleep anywhere, on any floor – it doesn’t matter how hard!

I like long car rides and sunny days when we take the top off the Jeep. I like crinkle toys and bright colored fluffy ones – especially the ones that squeak!

Nubz are my favorite treat, so I get them every day… because Mama says I’m “such a good boy” and she can’t say “No” when I look at her “that way”.

I like staying up late on Saturday nights, then sleeping in and snuggling on Sunday mornings.

I like laying on the porch while Mama sips her coffee – or stretching out in the grass, with the sun shining down upon me.

My body may be 11 years old, but my mind believes I’m only 5! Each day is filled with excitement and adventure. I’m so happy to be alive!

I like wrestling with Rick and going “to see Daisy”. I look forward to each summer, ‘cuz that’s when I get to see Amy!

Sometimes I won’t eat my food, unless you hand feed me. And the sounds of fireworks, gun shots, or the smoke detector going off really scares me!

The hard truth is, I’m getting really old. I struggle to get up from bed, and sometimes my hips just won’t hold.

When life becomes too painful for me, I am confident that my humans will know what to do. We’ve all been through it before… and I sat with RunRun too.

I know it won’t be easy for them and I know that I’ll be missed – but I know that Matt is waiting for me, on the other side of that rainbow bridge.

“The Bigger Picture.”

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer

I had the honor of watching the sunrise this morning, while standing next to another woman in comfortable silence. Neither one of us knew, at the time, that the other has been going through some difficult times. It led to an intersting conversation a short time later, and this is when it hit me – it’s when we reflect upon our moments of difficulty, pity, and despair that we tend to amplify the darkness in the world around us, as well as, within ourselves. But when we choose to take a step back and open up our minds to look at the bigger picture, things begin to change.

Yes, my body aches today. Yes, my muscles are a little sore. But I got to do something amazing yesterday and the scenes that my husband and I took in while hiking at Letchworth State Park, literally, took my breath away. Was it easy to do? Absolutely not. Was it worth it to try? Without a doubt! And, when looking at the bigger picture of life, HOW LUCKY AM I TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO WHAT WE DID AND EXPERIENCE THOSE MOMENTS OF ETHEREAL BLISS???

A friend said something to me the other day about how “everything happens for a reason” and, even though he doesn’t understand the reason why all these things had to happen to me, he didn’t believe I should waste my time trying to figure it all out. But I do. In fact, I already did – because, in my mind, the Universe will continue to send the same message your way, over and over, until you finally learn the lesson beneath.

My lesson is really quite simple, as most lessons probably are – STOP TAKING LIFE FOR GRANTED.

My ability to run is another big part of that. Which is why I am working so hard to heal, in order to try and get that part of my life back.

Regardless of whether that actually happens for me or not (because there’s still so much that we cannot yet foresee) I am grateful to be alive, and have the ability to walk alongside my husband and my friends.

I love the quote by Alan Watts:

“It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

Now, whether we live a long time or have our time cut short is not really for any of us to say – but we have the power to choose how we spend our time each and every day. And, regardless of when we die or even how long we get to live, our time on this earth is way too short to spend any of it living in a miserable way. And while these lessons in gratitude have definitely been learned the hard way, I can now so clearly see, how lucky I really am to be standing here – how lucky I am to still be ME!


“Mid-Week Adventures.”

“You can recover from loss, from heartache, from anything that squeezes your soul with iron fists. Find the softer things. Things like plants and sweet people and slow burning candles and long walks and moving water. Wrap them around you. Repeat as necessary.”

Victoria Erickson, “Rhythms & Roads”
Sunrise at Archery Field Overlook –
Letchworth State Park, New York

Taking the time for a mid-week adventure feels a lot like playing hooky from school when we were kids. I think that’s why I like it so much.

In times like these, when stress is not just mental, but physical and emotional as well, I need these adventures and experiences to break up my spiraling thoughts. I need beauty and light and the peace and quiet that nature brings.

We all seem small when we stand beside an ocean. And everything seems less significant when you’re looking at the world from the top of a mountain. None of us ever have total control. I like to be reminded of that. It takes a lot of the pressure off – to be anything bigger, better, different, or more than simply ME.

As my recovery process continues, I’m still riding the waves of good days and bad – but it’s finally looking like there may be more mountaintops than valleys just ahead. And that’s enough to keep me going, keep me inspired, and keep me moving right along!


“Adjust Accordingly.”

“Until I Am Strong Again” – Tony Garcia

Call me naive, hopeful, excessively optimistic – or whatever other adjective you can think of to describe the fact that I refuse to believe my marathon running days are over.

If you so choose to limit yourself and your abilities based on the opinions of others, you go right ahead. But I am not one of those people who will limit my own potential based on the narrow viewpoints and doubtful expectations of others, no matter how high ranking they may be in their professional field.

Yesterday, I may have finally gotten through. I had a progress exam with one particular Doctor and, at this appointment, he “cleared me to start walking”. Funny, right? I interrupted him with: “Doc, I’ve been walking this whole time!”

HIM: “Yes, but now I want you to walk daily, for 20 minutes, twice a day.”

ME: “I’m way beyond that already.”

The conversation continued, and I think he finally chose to see ME for exactly who I am – someone who may have been knocked down, but who refuses to stay down!

Now, I’m not saying that he is going to fast track my recovery plan, because these injuries are certainly nothing to downplay. They demand the time, attention and current treatments prescribed in order to truly heal. But with my current collaboration of care providers, each playing a vital role in my recovery process, I am confident that we can adapt and overcome whatever obstacles remain in my way.

Things may need to be adjusted a bit, but that’s the point I’m trying to make.

In so much of life, running included, just because you get things “under control” doesn’t mean you are good to go indefinitely. As your situation changes, for better or for worse, you may need to change things up a bit – but you don’t ever have to quit entirely.

The change could be a subtle, easy switch – or perhaps it needs to be a major overhaul?

Maybe you need to add something new to the mix – like more core strength, balance, flexibility, and stability? These may seem like “little” things, but I can assure you, from my current and very personal experience, they are not. They are key elements to successful longterm running.

On the other hand, maybe you find that the best means of addition is actually subtraction?

Perhaps you find that you need to adjust your training a bit to allow for more recovery time? Maybe that means doing a hard workout every two or three weeks, rather than weekly? Or maybe you swap out a run day in exchange for some cross-training? Or decrease your weekly volume entirely?

None of these answers are inherently “right”, but they’re all viable options. And having options is way better than having no hope.

The point is, as things in your life change, you are going to need to adjust accordingly. The key is to figure out what’s best for your situation. Because Life happens. Injuries happen. Situations change. Don’t quit – simply adjust accordingly.

Admittedly, it’s not always that simple. But if you’re committed to figuring out a solution as your situation changes, I bet you’ll find your way.

As will I.

At least, that’s what I’m counting on… when I am finally able to run again.


“A Fresh Perspective.”

“Yesterday ate me alive, or maybe I ate myself. Bad attitudes are like oil in a hot pan. Everything spits fire. Everything burns. But who’s to blame? The pan? The oil? My hands that are now blistering and painful? My mouth that is now breathing flames? Was the day already burning, or did I set it on fire?”

– L.E. Bowman

It’s no secret that October is a difficult month for me. I tend to withdraw from people, and places where I might accidentally cross paths with people, whom I may know. In times like this, I tend to crave solitude more than ever. I need the distance, I need the space, and I need the silence more than anything in the world right now – because, only in the silence, can I truly hear the sound of my own voice, calling out to me through the plethora of memories, life lessons, unspoken words and occasional regrets.

It occurred to me recently that a big part of growing up and into our own adult lives requires UNLEARNING a lot of the shit we were taught as children – by people who didn’t exactly know what they were doing either.

Take, for instance, the concept of forgiveness. For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that forgiving someone must first require them to be sorry for what they’d done. So, in my mind, due to my own religious upbringing, how could I possibly reach a place of forgiveness with a person who would never say that they’re sorry or admit that they were wrong?

In the case of my parents untimely deaths, if no one actually cared enough to review all the evidence of the case, and let the jury hear ALL of the details, how could they possibly make an open and honest decision on the case in the first place? And, while I was never trying to seek revenge and really didn’t want the man’s FAMILY to be impacted by a guilty verdict, it still really hurts to know that justice was not actually served that day. I mean, if there’s never any consequence for the severity of his actions, what is there to stop him from repeating the same kind of behavior again? And, in the grand scheme of things, did the lives of my parents – and the fact that they died that day as a direct result of this man’s reckless behavior, even matter to anyone else but me? These are just a few of the thoughts that keep me awake at night, even after all these years.

I do not have all the answers, but I do need to find my way through this. Because it still burns, because it still bleeds, and because no amount of time is going to change that. I need a fresh perspective, one that sits well with my soul. I have got to change the way I think about it, or the way I feel about it will never change.

“They” say that the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do is forgive a person who isn’t sorry. I now know, in this particular scenario, that “they” are very right. I wish I could say that I am there – but, the truth is, I’m still so far away from it. What matters most, though, is that I am still trying.


“Progress is not Linear.”

Progress is not linear. You have got to remain patient and stay the course, no matter the time it takes to get back all that you have lost.

As of today, I am officially halfway through my disc regeneration treatments. From this point forward, the majority of patients begin to report the most significant improvements.

I have already begun to notice that the highs are continually climbing higher, while the lows are not nearly as low anymore. If I had to guess, I’d rate my healing somewhere between 50-75% at this point. On my best days, I’m tempted to challenge my Doctors regarding their restriction upon me starting to run. On my worst days, I am gripped with pain, and forced to forego my home PT program in exchange for laying supine on ice packs extending all the way from my neck down to my hips. But, even on days like this, I am optimistic that it will get better. Afterall, I’ve already begun to bounce back much quicker than before – even after 6+ hours of hiking rocky mountain terrain that results in 1200’ of elevation gain!

I still have several more months of physical therapy ahead and, after one exquisitely bad day recently (when my physical therapist was successfully able to release the facet joints in my lumbar spine, as they had locked me into one very unbalanced position, gripping me with pain) I now understand, more than ever, the value and importance of these appointments. Many times over he has astounded me with his knowledge and level of professionalism and skill. He is able to read my body and my movements in ways that I can not even begin to explain. I openly admit to being a poor patient and one not likely to complain, which actually makes his job much more challenging.

Integrating care and acquiring the cooperation between neurosurgeons, chiropractors, and physical therapists is no easy feat. I am incredibly grateful for the few that I have found, who have been willing to work with me to restore my health and physical abilities. I never really could understand why such interconnected professional fields consistently reject the potential benefits of each other’s therapies? I mean, it only makes sense to incorporate them all.

It isn’t always easy. In fact, I spend the majority of most days managing my own frustration, immersing myself in the treatments, therapies, and exercises prescribed to me, while feeling so eager to just simply return to running. But I know that my body is still healing, and to return so prematurely would be another very big mistake. So I am, instead, choosing to remain positive, and am learning to be patient – because that very moment will most certainly be worth the wait.

My heart aches for those people who can not or choose not to run, or at least move their body vigorously on a very regular basis. They have no idea how good it feels to have those endorphins pumping through their veins. When they wake up in the morning and begin to move about, that is likely the best that they will physically feel throughout the day. Most of them don’t even realize how much more there is to feel and experience – or how much more life there is to live!

Progress is not linear. No matter how many more highs I may reach, followed by however many lows, I am determined to stay the course. I refuse to settle for anything less than the best of whatever is yet to come.