Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Language of Tears

Last night we watched, "Land Before Time" with my sweet seven and a half year old, Cate.  While at Target picking up a birthday gift, we saw the movie on sale for $5 and bought it immediately. It is a favorite childhood movie of mine that reminds me of collecting the hand puppets from Pizza Hut of the characters and quoted the lines of the adorable rag tag dinosaurs who ended up unlikely friends.  "Yep, yep, yep!" I couldn't wait for Cate to see it.
Normally, Cate spends part of her evening watching her iPad or playing games on my phone but tonight I convinced her to watch the movie with us, and as she snuggled in my lap I was excited to spend quality time with her.  Like many movies of its kind, there is always an event that propels the protagonist to an early self-actualization, generally in the form of the mother being killed off in some horrible fashion. In my excitement to watch it, I nearly forgot that part of the story.  So... as the harrowing battle between sharp tooth and Little Foot's mother unfolded, Cate grabbed me tightly and her eyes were wide with fear.  Then something incredible happened...  As the mother lay dying on the rocks sacrificing herself to save her young son saying her good-bye's and comforting him as she knew she was going to die, Cate began to openly weep.
It got me thinking...

Tears are the language of the soul.  The expression of something do deeply felt we can only weep at the thought. How often do we actually look at one another and feel something so completely soul crushingly strong that we are reminded of the fragility of humanity or see something so beautiful it renders us speechless? It seems so rare these days... especially for our children being raised in the information dynasty where communication is choreographed 160 characters at a time.
As human beings, we are becoming conditioned to retract when things become unbearable and even just mildly uncomfortable these days.  We don't want to face the things that are hard.  But you can't have the good without the bad.  The bad is what makes the good so good. You can't have one without the other.  You can't have the love without the loss, or the light without the darkness that overtakes it each night - the burnt ends of a sunrise holding on as long as it can before relinquishing the color to the night... it is why we love to see the sunrise, when the light returns to our eyes.   Things are only beautiful because they are not permanent.  You can't appreciate your life without knowing that one day it will end.  You can't love deeply without the knowledge that it won't always be there so it must be treasured.

In a scene that lasted less than two minutes, Cate experienced something deeply stirring that made her own life seem more precious.  The lesson was a brutal one - administered with a sharp, sad, sting. That night, she clung more tightly to me her small hands holding my hands and her head nuzzled into my neck.  She craved being close after being exposed to her own precious and fragile humanity... a humanity that can sometimes only be recognized through tears.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I'm Baaaaack!

After a long hiatus I am back in the blogosphere and have been quite busy over the last several months.  Since my exit from Spartan Race, I've been working with a company in my hometown that was formerly OFFWIRE which was acquired by a MNC Brightstar Corp and we've been Brightstars every since.  While I still love my muddy roots with Spartan and maintain close relationships with many individuals with whom I worked, I've settled in quite nicely in this role and am enjoying the ride.

I did re-launch an online community Chicked Nation, a community formerly known as Spartan Chicked.  And with the help and oversight of some good friends it is still a place where women can come and get healthy living advice, motivation, and support.  There are even a few merchandise options courtesy of our friends at OCR Gear.  Huge congratulations to Adrian and his team as well for the launch of the wildly acclaimed OCRWC last year.  I was so pleased to see that event soar and the direction of the sport move to a more unified front.  When I think back to the origins of OCR it is thrilling to think that it is moving back to where it belongs, as a sport for the people it was built for!

Now what?

To recap some of the down time, I've maintained my teaching position at Creighton University teaching Entrepreneurial Finance.  I still spend a great deal of time explaining why a finance teacher is a Vice President of Marketing and Training, but when all the pieces are put together it makes a lot of sense.  I suppose that's a pretty good analogy for my life in general.  I love teaching and each semester I find out something new about myself and about how to improve my approach.  I've also traveled pretty widely in 2014 across 16 states in the US and racked up quite a few frequent flyer as well as road miles in the process.  I'm thrilled to be settling into 2015 and have some big plans ahead for what I'm thinking will be a big year for me.  I plan on blogging about some of my favorite things - my family, my work, what motivates me, and maybe even a few things I've learned along the way that may be useful.  We'll see.

It's wonderful to be back, I'm thrilled to be writing again, and I can't wait to share more of the coming chapters of what is yet to come.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Love Letter to Sparta: You'll Know at the Finish Line

On a cold, dark, wet morning in February of 2011, over a thousand miles from home, while horribly under-dressed and with a fractured foot in the mountain trails of Southern California, I raced my first Spartan Race. It became part of an experience that would ultimately change the course of my life dramatically.

I didn’t know the significance of that when I boarded the plane in Nebraska the night before or even that morning when the gun went off. Eight miles in the mountains and I was a Spartan, it was even captured on film. I was the "Single mom from Omaha, Nebraska." When I finished, I was exhilarated with the course and I didn't know in that moment that I was also about to take on the role of a lifetime as a Spartan Race employee. Call me Crazy
When I took the job at Spartan, everyone said I was crazy. It was crazy to join a new company with this "obstacle racing" events that were still considered "mud runs" for "weekend warriors." There couldn't possibly be a future in that. Spartan HQ was so unlike anything I had known - we were, and still are, a small shop with limited resources. Most of us are athletes, all of us are hard workers that believed in this idea that Spartan could change lives. And it does. I've seen it. It's undeniable.

Vermont Ultra Beast, 2013
After accepting Joe D's offer of branding and content in early 2011, my life became about plane rides and finish lines. But in between the frequent flier miles I racked up and the medals I put around the necks of those who crossed a Spartan finish line, I've made a lifetime of memories I'll never forget.

I’ve done Bikram yoga in a California and almost missed a flight out of Vermont after getting into a fender bender blocks from the airport. I got stuck in a blizzard in Massachusetts, navigated up a double black diamond slope in Pennsylvania, crawled through culverts in Staten Island, and climbed trees in Texas. I took on a Beast in Killington. I spent six hours stranded at a Park and Ride in Red Hooks, NY with two of my best friends.