I came home from my mom’s funeral with my 5-week-old baby and my 3-year-old daughter, in such a daze that it took a few moments to register that the shiny-new Honda Pilot Bill (my husband) had steered us toward in the airport parking lot was for me. I guess we had talked about getting a new car (I don’t remember) but in the chaos of a new baby and rushing down to Charlotte, NC (from CT) so William could meet his grandmother before she succumbed to the cancer she had so valiantly fought, it was not exactly the main topic on my exhausted, devastated brain. This was January, 2004. Today, that baby is just shy of 13 years old, and the Honda Pilot that Bill had so thoughtfully surprised me with that day, is no longer in our garage.
I am not a car person. I have always said, I don’t care what car I drive as long as it is reliable (taking the car to the shop is one of my least favorite tasks) and not too expensive, because I don’t want my day to be ruined because someone in the parking lot dinged it. And I guess because of my love of mindful living, I try to practice non-attachment, trying to see objects as things we use and enjoy, but do not cling to or depend on too much. So, when my Pilot malfunctioned this week and I finally realized, it’s time to get a new car, I was surprised by how sad I felt. When I mentioned it to Bill he said it felt like we were putting down a pet. It made me think of Rob Bell’s brilliant podcast on seasons. How change in our life is like the seasons, and when one season ends (e.g. we leave a job, a marriage, our kid goes to college), a new season will slowly step in, but first there is grief. Yesterday, before heading to the dealership, I went for a run and as I noticed the changing colors in the trees and the leaves already scattering lawns and roads, I thought about all of the adventures my family and I have had with this solid, reliable, convenient car, and I actually cried as I ran.
From that first trip home from the airport, the Pilot logged just over 229,000 miles, with no issues other than regular maintenance and wear-and-tear. A baby in an infant seat, a toddler in a car seat, all the way to today, where my oldest is months away from her learner’s permit, and the baby is now taller than me when he stands up straight. The Pilot has driven my kids to their nursery schools, preschools, one private school, public schools, another private school. It has driven my family and our bikes to dozens of running races and triathlons as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Washington DC. It has taken us to Myrtle Beach to visit my dad and my stepmom, with surfboards tied to the roof. To Canada, with skis and snowboards on the roof. The last 7 summers, it has ferried up to 7 kids every day for 6 weeks every summer, for the kids’ triathlon camp I coach. It has been my rolling university as I have listened to hundreds of hours of motivational, spiritual, and informational audiobooks and podcasts. I was in the Pilot - parked, thankfully - when I received the news that my beloved cousin had died by suicide. The Pilot has reeked of boys and their hockey equipment, and Penny’s (our dog) farts. It has kept us safe during white-knuckled drives during blizzards.
Most people recognized my car, since what started off as a couple of stickers on the back turned into a ridiculous display that caused a few of my friends to refer to it as the “hippie van.” A few times, I came out of the local library or a restaurant only to find someone had added a magnet to the collection (thank you! That was cool!). Bill has a German car and I guess it demands minimalist accessorizing, so he expressed his bumper sticker love on my Pilot and sometimes I would come out to my car and find a new sticker on it. It became a family joke – let’s see if Mami notices the new sticker?
Yesterday we drove my Pilot to a dealership to take a look at a replacement. Thankfully, this car was exactly what we wanted, so after the laborious process of paperwork and credit checks and all that other stuff takes hours (I do look forward to when Amazon Prime delivers cars!), we put my plates on our new Pilot and piled into it. I was still sad, but the kids were so excited that they could now listen to the music on their iGods through the car speakers, that the sadness was replaced with relief. We have a new home on wheels and I pray that like its predecessor it keeps us safe, helps us accumulate many more exciting adventures, and is sturdy during life’s inevitable challenges. As for bumper stickers - this car’s policy is still TBD.
A new season begins.
Two days ago I posted a blog entry which basically said, quit making excuses and show up. It was read and Liked and even shared by a few people. Unfortunately, none of those people are local or have a free hour on Thursday morning because they didn’t show up to my brand new offering, a Poga class in Newtown, CT. In fact, nobody showed up.
I know, awkward. Hmmm, do I just wait another 10 mins? Embarrassing. Gosh, how embarrassing that no one is here, I feel so stupid! Annoying. Dammit, I just wasted the 20 minutes back-and-forth and the time waiting – I could have knocked out my 8 mile run by now! Blaming. I need to be better about advertising. I need to be more focused. I need to be more assertive as a business person. Insecure. What’s wrong with me? How come other people have a mass following who will pay massive amounts of money to take their classes, while my class is so cheap and you get everything your body and soul needs in an hour flat? I’m a loser, a fraud. Angry. I bet everyone is doing stupid laundry or getting a $4 coffee or getting their stupid nails or hair done. They just don’t get it. Self-pity. Yep, it’s just me here. As always. Just like when I started my whole mindfulness study several years ago, I was the only one around me doing it, now mindfulness is the new orange. Just like how I started getting healthier with supplements only available through network marketing, then started selling them, way before anyone I knew was even on Facebook, and now MLM is the key to financial success for so many. Just like now I am thriving in sobriety while most people are devouring any study that will support their daily cocktails. Yep, that’s me, always in a different time zone – a lonely place to be.
So, the above mental acrobatics took place for a few minutes and then suddenly I thought, I am going to take a selfie right now and send it to my Tribe (8 of us spread out all over the country who have never met but are so close that when Bill and I rewrite our will I am putting them in there).
Next, I recorded a 4 minute video for them with some moves I thought they should be doing today, spiced up with some salty language and self-deprecating humor (generally the way my Poga classes go). I sent it and left the studio, to do my 8 mile run. Before I started running, one of the warriors from my Tribe texted back that she was really impressed. She said that if the No Show had happened to her, she would have left in tears and vowed to never teach that class again. I replied to her that I really appreciated her saying that – and that she is comparing her chapter 2 to my chapter 10.
I am lucky enough to have dealt with plenty of rejection. As a serial entrepreneur, a network marketer, a writer, a wife, a mom, and as someone with an insatiable curiosity and a stubborn desire to share what I have learned with anyone who will listen, I am rejected pretty much every day. Usually it’s not in as tangible and public (though today’s scenario is only public because I have chosen to talk about it here) a way as today’s empty classroom was. Usually it’s in the form of knowing of an event I wasn’t invited to; people not showing up to a party or meeting I have organized; friends arriving habitually late to something I organized or helped organize; friends/family rejecting what I have to offer, which I know will help them. Friends not replying to texts, or saying No to every invitation I offer (at which point I stop inviting, out of self-protection). There are big rejections, like when a book I wrote a few years ago was never published because every agent I went to said No Thanks (if they said anything at all) - that book is tabled as I am now writing another one. Of course, I have a whole list of job rejections. Going back even further, I was rejected from every single sorority I rushed. As a kid, I was rejected by pretty much every boy I had a crush on (OK in all fairness, I don’t think they knew I had a crush on them, but still - they wanted the popular girls and that was not me).
Parenting has its own big chapter on rejection. My Rejection Resilience Muscle has gotten so much stronger thanks to my children. Unless there is mac n cheese somewhere on the menu, there will be a rejection notice from at least one kid, about at least one item on the plate. Then there are all those annoying things that we are supposed to say and do if we want to raise our wee beasties to be decent human beings, like teaching them to use silverware and actually chew their food, or use their words instead of shoving their sibling to get what they want. It would be so nice if for once they replied, “Gee, Mami, thank you so much for that advice – I totally get why you’re saying it and I accept your wisdom.” (Actually, if any of my kids said that I would suspect a robot had replaced them so that would not be a good thing).
My kids each experienced hurt in the form of rejection this week. This is another way parenting is a great part of the Rejection Resilience Curriculum. I won’t go into any specifics because I don’t like to tell their stories for them – but the rejection was big enough that each of them went through some version of the thought process I went through this morning with my empty class. Going through it with my kids is harder for me than when I am the one suffering from rejection, because well, if you’re a mom you know – there is nothing worse than knowing someone has caused your child pain. I have to rein in the mama bear that wants to seek revenge and build something up into a much bigger drama than it was. I have to tell the mama bear who wants to fix everything and clear the path for her cubs, to take a seat and just hug and listen. I know, harder than doing an Ironman.
So this morning, feeling like the Big Reject, I mama beared myself. I did one of the things I love the most and I went for a run – my version of a big hug. And as I ran, I thought about rejection. I thought about writing about it – how awkward and shameful that would be. I mean, don’t we all want to look really popular and successful, and like we’ve totally got our shit together? Isn’t that what Fakebook is for? Dare I share with the world at large that hey, I have parties (class, my version of a party) and no one shows up, and here’s the proof? I get scared, and insecure, and angry. I am also a coach, a mentor, I practice mindfulness, I start and lead personal development programs. I speak openly about my family’s experience with suicide and my own decision to get off the boozy elevator and live alcohol free. It is not an OR world, it is an AND world. I can be happy and healthy and well-adjusted AND be insecure, scared, angry. It is not a BEFORE and AFTER, it is a Now AND Now.
So, here you are. I am showing up for you today, by sharing a glimpse into part of my day, which involves rejection. In fact, if you really want to watch the Rejection Parade, check out how many Likes this blog entry gets. (I guarantee you the latest article praising a presidential candidate or, rather, destroying the other one, will get a lot more social media activity because it’s much easier to engage in that sport – Reject the Public Loser – than to tell people how we really feel, or read someone else’s truth and hold up that mirror).
You may not have been in Poga today but I really appreciate your reading this. Thanks for showing up for me. And, more importantly, for you.
Yesterday I showed up at the start line of the Labor Day half marathon (which they added this year, in addition to the famous 20k race) in New Haven. This may seem like an unremarkable way to start out a blogpost – ‘so, she showed up to a race, BFD.’ Actually, that’s the punch line – I showed up. One of the things I tell my kids so annoyingly frequently that I almost feel bad reiterating it (but I still do), is that the hardest part is showing up. I don’t care who you are, if you’re super motivated, or competitive, or wealthy, or smart, or gifted or famous or whatever – showing up is never a given - and it's the first and key part of succeeding.
I registered for yesterday’s race a few days before we went to Europe for a 2 week adventure through 4 countries. Loathe to impose on my family during vacation by sticking to training plans, I figured that if I signed up for this race, it would justify my running habit while we were away, and I could squeeze in runs in exotic locales – and force myself to do so in spite of the hesitation I always feel when venturing in new territory (not just in running).
So, basically, I was pretty under-trained for this race. I hadn’t followed a training plan at all, had run a few 5 milers while away and hadn’t had a long run in a few months other than a 9 miler at some point. On top of it, I had been really tired for a couple days as a week of inadequate sleep caught up with me (this week’s goal: in bed by 9:45pm, lights out by 10:30pm!). I felt like I was fighting a bug. I had a toothache – or was it my gum? Sunday, the day before the race, I stayed in PJ’s until 2pm and chugged my immunity-boosting supplements.
I had really valid excuses now to not show up: “I haven’t adequately trained for this” and “If I was a guy I’d be a step ahead of a Man Cold.”
And then I thought, I think this falls into my category of Limiting Beliefs. See, when I find myself engaging in the national sport of Making Excuses, I usually try to stop in my tracks and ask myself this question: IS IT TRUE?
So, I looked at my first excuse: I haven’t adequately trained for this. Is this true? Well, it is true that I haven’t followed any kind of running plan. But if I really think about it, do I need to follow one? At this point, I have run I don’t know how many half marathons. So then, my Cautious Part says, yeah, but your last one was in the spring. That was a long time ago. So, the Jillian Michaels Part says, yeah, but you’re an experienced runner, you are always maintaining your conditioning, and you’re not aiming for any particular time, so you can totally do this – quit making excuses!
So then, I looked at my second excuse: I’m not feeling great. Is this true? Well, yeah, I don’t feel that great. But I bet if I run for a bit, with the flow of adrenaline and the detoxing through sweat, I’ll feel better. I’ll just take some more supplements before I run, and make sure I drink lots of water during and after. I bet I can convince my body that it’s not under the weather, especially if I focus on how great it feels to run and to be cheered on by strangers.
So, I decided that it wasn’t true that I needed to stay in bed and spend the day wondering what the race would have been like. I wasn’t even meeting anyone at the race, I was running alone. But I knew that if I let myself be convinced by limiting beliefs, I would regret my choices. After all, my nickname in high school was Tortuga (Turtle) because I was so incredibly slow on the track team. At some point I revisited the sport of running, proving that “I am turtle-slow” was a lie, as substantiated by my dozens of medals and trophies. I got every single one of those because I showed up. I don’t get medals for believing lies. I get medals for questioning and challenging my limiting beliefs, and showing up to create my own truth.
Yesterday, I showed up. I ran. And, I finished 7th in my age group.
So now it’s your turn. What are your limiting beliefs? What lies are you telling yourself that are cheating you out of what you really are capable of doing and being? Here are some examples:
Make your own list. And then for each item, ask yourself – Is it true? And really dig deep – pretend you’re a kid and ask follow-up questions – says who? Prove it! Because I, for one, think it's a crock of sh*t and you need to let it go. If you don't believe me, scroll back up to that picture of my bling. It's not even all of it - I have glasses and towels and more plaques. Turtles do not win bling.
And then, if you decide to change your story and live your truth – just show up. Let the magic happen.
Motivational coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.