Days 1 & 2 — Denver to Munich to Barcelona to Girona

Six days ago my twelve-year old mutt Banjo, who I adore in the slightly excessive my-children-have-fur kind of way, got into my cycling supply bag and ate twelve Chocolate Outrage Gu gels, packaging and all—one for each year of his divine little life, I suppose. Here’s a visual for your gastrointestinal imagination.

After a call to the animal poison control hotline and a few hours in the emergency room, complete with X-rays and induced vomiting, only four little pieces came out. Then, sometime around 11:00 pm, while I was waiting for results from radiology, the on-call doctor kindly informed me that I should also really get the rash on Banjo’s back re-checked because, to her, it looked like cancer.

Four little pieces from twelve full packets–the rest of the mess still lodged in his body somewhere, which at any moment could cause a blockage requiring surgery. Also maybe cancer, but we won’t know about that until sometime on Saturday, you know, after I’ve boarded a plane to Barcelona.

So now it’s Saturday and I am scared and stressed and sad because my favorite being on the planet is in such distress, and yet I’m scared and stressed and excited because I have an incredible adventure ahead of me in Spain. My sister is patient and kind as I wring my hands all the way to the airport. We have a good plan in place with my sister, a midwife, and my mom, a vet tech, taking care of Banjo in my absence. I couldn’t ask for a better combo but I’m still feeling conflicted as I board my Lufthansa flight.

The one good thing about all the focus on my dog this week is that I haven’t had anytime whatsoever to worry about the more than 500 miles and 43,000’ of climbing waiting for me in the Spanish Pyrenees. As I settle into my seat it starts to dawn on me where I’m going and what I’ll be attempting when I get there. I post a picture to Instagram captioned, “Nervous and excited on my way to Barcelona! What have I done?”

I won’t sleep a wink on the red eye–nine hours to Munich followed by a quick layover and two more hours to Barcelona. A severe rainstorm will greet me at my final destination but so will our group’s bright and friendly Spanish translator and fellow cyclist. She’ll drive us an hour and a half to Girona where I will try to make up for the eight hour time difference with a power nap before meeting the rest for dinner—a blur of tapas devoured alongside a batch of salty Brits, Northern Irish and even a few Scotsmen.

I’ll crash early to take in nine full hours of sleep and then . . . well you know what’ll happen next . . . I’ll get on my bike and cycle my fool little heart out.

Sending love and light from Catalonia ❤ ❤ ❤

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I’m in Best Self Magazine!

Hi friends! Today I’m celebrating my latest publication. Please check out this essay from my book that was just published in Best Self Magazine!

Thanks, as always, for the continued love and support! Sending love & light

Word of the Day: Excite-o-tired

Excite-o-tired.

Oxymoron

That feeling of being so incredibly excited about the possibilities of the near future and the new life path, yet overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and the complete lack of money coming in versus the huge rush of money going out, and so very tired of planning and setting out on all of the adventures without a travel partner. Ultimately a beautiful state I covet and welcome, yet also a stressful predicament to find oneself in so often.

Excite-o-tired.
😁😬😳🤪😴💤

T-minus four weeks ’til Spain.

7 days ~ 522 miles ~ 43,500′

I’m going to take the month of March off from blogging so I can turn forty and concentrate on training for this trip to Spain that’s only six weeks away. I am so wildly unprepared for the physical challenge in front of me. It’s intimidating to say the least.

Day 1 alone equals 90 miles and over 9,000′ in elevation gain. I’ve never climbed 9,000′ on a bicycle before. In fact the most I’ve done is 6,000′ in  a day and I was wiped clean after that. On this trip I won’t have days off between rides and I’ll be surrounded by very strong riders. Well, surrounded until they leave me in the dust, that is.

Here’s to turning forty in style! I hope you can join me for the ride!

Sending love and light from my new home at the gym

Girona to Bilbao by bicycle. Seven days. 522 miles. 43,500′ in elevation gain–yikes!

What’s Next?

Initially I was nervous about reading Women Who Run With the Wolves because I expected it to cover concepts I didn’t understand. But really what it is, is a beautiful exploration of the general awesomeness of women. I dig that. It felt super nice to be recognized and appreciated for my natural tendencies, and reminded that my instincts are gold and all I need to do is follow them. So for that I say, Thank you very much Dr. Estes!

In the end you’re supposed to walk away with a reclamation of your wild feminine soul. What I’m walking away with is more like confirmation that I don’t need to be so hard on myself, because I’m actually pretty wild as it is and I’m probably not as masculine as I’m afraid I am.

I wish I had this book in my twenties when I was going off track by trading my soul for safety because it makes more sense to me in hindsight than it does for my current situation. And of course the answers will be different for each of us. Whatever myths hold true on a broad spectrum won’t always add up to the details and path that get us to where we’re going. Each of us is on our own path. That’s the beauty of life. It comes down to this—get out there and experience it all.

I will say that I believe this book is outdated.  The constant focus on powerless pixie dust encrusted maidens clawing their way towards empowerment while willfully accepting the dominance of men was difficult for me to swallow or relate to. Reclaim some buried goodies, sure! But give up everything I’ve worked my ass off for? Ain’t no fucking way. And at times it seems to be luring us back to a matriarchal way of life, but that can’t be what’s supposed to happen.

By definition the matriarchy was led by women and clearly for the long-term existence of the human race that did not work. I’m guessing the men felt . . . ummm like, under-represented or something. So now we have the patriarchy and we all know that’s not working either. The question is what’s next? What’s the new name for the middle ground of masculine/feminine equality? What does the world look like when we work together and all feel heard and seen? That’s what I want to know.

The short answer to What’s Next? for me is Wild & Wise by Amy Bammel Wilding. Released just last fall, I’m excited to study and mull over her sacred feminine meditations with my own quick daily responses. Feeling confidently empowered, I’m excited to more fully define my strengths and dominant feminine characteristics.

This should take about a month and then—big news!—I’m off to Spain to cycle the Pyrenees with a bunch of folks I met in Ireland. Should all be fantastic and I can’t wait to share it with you! Thanks as always for sticking along for the ride. And remember:

“If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.”
–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD.

Sending love & light

A Famine of the Soul

He who cannot howl, will not find his pack.
Charles Simic

Chapter 8 of WWRWTW dives into the traps that cause women to fall into a famine of the soul. Suffice it to say, the famine of my soul lasted from 2001-2009 during my mid-late twenties. At that time everyone thought I was on top of the world. Not only was I in a relationship with a talented, handsome, popular man; I had an exciting job, made good money, and traveled for work. Yet I was stressed out, bitter and drinking way too much alcohol. On the outside my life looked great. On the inside my soul felt flattened and dead.

I never understood how people could lie about the status of their happiness until I let fear coax me into clinging to a relationship I was completely unfit for.

We’re all very good at projecting to the world only what we want it to see. Most people won’t cut through the façade of those projections. They take us at face value. That’s not their fault. It’s ours for not being more honest. 100% responsibility.

That’s not to suggest that being honest is easy, far from it. The result of me being vulnerable is that it tends to make people close to me uncomfortable. I was a brutally honest kid and teenager. I saw the toll that took on people so in my twenties I tried lying for a while. Suddenly everyone thought I was happy and after a while I had to keep up the lie. If I was honest all of a sudden everyone would ask why in the world I stayed in a relationship I hated. I didn’t know the answer myself so how could I give it to anyone else?

In 2009 when I left New York, dejected and depressed, it probably seemed like that was the famine. But it wasn’t. That was the rebirth. The thing is I started being openly sad when appropriate. Since then, coincidentally when I started writing, I haven’t lied about how I am—high or low; good, bad, boring or otherwise.

Some areas of re-birth can take a long time. So since 2009 I’ve been in a famine of trust and commitment. I can admit to very slowly licking the wounds from the particular experience that hurt me the most, but by no stretch of the imagination has this last decade been a famine of my entire soul.

In fact, being single throughout my thirties is what allowed the rest of my life to explode in very beautiful ways. My soul is exactly what has been expanding through adventure and experience; through life choices that have brought me to start my own business, travel, compete in races, live in Hawaii, help a friend, write a book.

Yes, I want a boyfriend. And, yes, I also freaking love my life. I love my life so much I’ve been protecting it from insurgents for years!

Life and sacrifice go together.
Dr. Estés

What wounds have you licked slowly—disappointment in your career, a let down in friendship, a missed opportunity, an adventure not taken? We all have these areas of our lives. Maybe it’s that we squandered money or trusted a devious business partner or fell off a bicycle and were too afraid to get back on.

Dr. Estés says make your way back already. “Cut through the tangle now and get on with it . . . on the other side are new feet.”

We can trust ourselves to stay safe this time around. We’ve memorized the traps and recognize them quickly. That is the way we remain free.

So much of this book is about women who were trapped becoming free. For me it’s often the opposite. I recovered from the majority of my trappings years ago. I’ve been completely free for so long that now I long to be deeply connected (not trapped) to my match.

“If you want to re-summon Wild Woman, refuse to be captured.” Check!

“With instincts sharpened for balance—jump anywhere you like, howl at will, take where there is, find out all about it, let your eyes show your feelings, look into everything, see what you can see.” Done!

“Dance in red shoes, but make sure they’re the ones you’ve made by hand. I can promise that you will become one vital woman.” Amen!

Today I am that vital woman howling for my match to come find me. I want to welcome him in and love him to my fullest capacity. I long to take everything I’ve learned, every experience I’ve had and put it to good use; to be the best version of me for the best version of him.

Joy is the kind of feeling a woman has when she lays the words down on the paper just so . . . Whew. Unbelievable . . . It is the kind of joy a woman feels when she has done something she feels intense about, something that took risk, something that made her stretch.

Releasing this famine of trust and commitment feels like spring. It’s a revelation to be actively looking for someone I want to spend an extended period of time with and really get to know.

Tell me, what will bring you that joy?

Even Though

Today a guy in the sauna at the rec center said to me, “Putting a tattoo on a good-looking girl is like putting an Obama sticker on a Porsche. It just ain’t right!” This was after he asked if I got my tattoo in prison and if I was part of a motorcycle gang. Here’s a visual of the offending artwork.

Beautiful really, and quite well done by a talented artist named Karen Glass. I love it.

Some very nice people will insist he was comparing me to a Porsche (while wearing a bathing suit no less!). Others will say he must not like Obama or that some people are just assholes. I take it to be this: “You would be pretty if . . .”

That’s something I’ve heard a lot in my life, even from my closest girlfriends. You would pretty if . . . you wore a little make-up . . . if you put on a dress . . . if you smiled more . . . etc. etc.

Over the years I’ve changed exactly one of these things. I smile a lot more. Because I’m happy though, not because I’m interested in making you think I’m pretty. However, if I’m truly going to unearth my Wild Woman, that defensiveness and aggression need to go.

So I’m giving myself a pat on the back for approaching this sauna situation differently than I would have in the past. I didn’t bitch him out for calling me a girl (one of my biggest pet peeves). I didn’t voice my opinion about doing whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want (masculine). Instead I laughed gently at his first two questions (feminine) and let the final comment go as soon as he said it.

We all reach a point where we have to move forward on something even though it’s not panning out exactly as we’d hoped or planned. I have to continue to repress my masculine instincts even though that sometimes makes me feel needlessly abused and sad. I have to arrive on time with a smile on my face for yet another OKCupid coffee/tea date, even though most of them are duds. I have to hold back my deeply ingrained need to stick up for myself even though the feminine approach doesn’t usually feel comfortable to me.

Thankfully Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD. chimes in to prod me forward.

There is usually no sense waiting till we feel strong enough to trust because that day will never come.”

I do trust this process but there are days when it’s really hard. I thought this was supposed to feel like “I’m going to take a leap of faith even though I’m scared,” which I’m totally fine with. That’s actually my comfort zone. But on the difficult days it feels more like “I have to settle for something mediocre even though that crushes my heart and soul.”

Estés is right there to push me further.

“To find this eminent life and love adviser, one only need to stop running, do some untangling, face the wound and one’s own yearning with compassion, give one’s entire heart to the process.”

OK then. I will go on my OKCupid dates. I will enjoy the good ones (scratch cooked dinner, salsa dancing, hiking) and I will make great conversation through the bad ones even though I’d rather be anywhere else in the world. I will constantly remind myself that my mission has changed. It’s no longer imperative that I prove to the world I can do anything I put my mind to. I’ve done that. That case is closed. My mission now is to find a relationship with an amazing man, one that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

I have two dates lined up for this weekend with two men who I expect to be lovely and . . . that’s it. That’s all I expect from them. There is no sense that either of them is going to knock my socks off in anyway but I will still show up and make the best of it, even though.

The point is not to settle, but to just get out there and make the search public. My king is searching for me (his queen) too, so what use would it be to stay hidden and make it harder on him?

Rather than ruminate on the drama, I will focus on tiny progressions and seek gratitude. So thank you to the idiot in the sauna for spurring my creative juices! I haven’t written a blog in over a week and you got me back to the page. Thank you also for the opportunity to showcase Karen Glass’ immeasurable talent.

Seriously, if you’re in the market for a tattoo do yourself a favor and check out her work. Then wait six months for an appointment and say Hello to all my friends in New York City while you’re there!

Love and light! ❤