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Archive for June, 2014

Have I ever told you about the time I almost died listening to Kelly Clarkson? No? Well, it’s true. I was running this morning and ‘Since U Been Gone’ came on my iPod and I vividly remembered a different time running, years ago, in a place far away. I was in Moab, Utah at an overnight management retreat for the store that I worked at in Aspen. I made the trip with a co-worker and we had a few hours to kill before the meetings began. He had his road bike and I had my running shoes. So he dropped me off at a trailhead and we agreed to meet back in the parking lot in an hour.

I took off on a packed dirt trail that undulated between canyon walls. There was a steady incline that kept my legs and breathing both working on overtime. I had my music turned down low so that I could hear the sounds of the creek that rushed below me. After about 30 minutes, I reached the destination of the trail—an amazing vista of canyon walls and spires. It was off season in Moab so I was the only person on the trail that day. I hiked around on the boulders for a while, turning off my music, simply taking in the view that was all mine, a silly little grin on my face. I could’ve stayed there for much longer drinking in the beauty, basking in the solitude but I knew that I had to get back.
I turned my music back on and started off down the trail at a bit of a quicker pace. I was filled with energy and now I had gravity to help my speed as the trail descended gradually back towards the parking lot. I felt amazing. And then ‘Since U Been Gone’ came on my iPod. I jacked up the volume and started singing along as I bounded down the trail. There might or might not have been some fist pumping involved. It was then that I reached a part of the path that had been washed out. The trail dropped steeply down to the creek so a tree had been placed there for crossing. Well, since I was feeling so stellar I decided to run across the tree. I was almost there when I slipped. I fell forward and my chin hit a large boulder on the far end of the tree. When I came to, probably just a second or two later, I was sliding down the steep embankment towards the creek. I reached out, grabbed some roots and clawed myself back up to the trail. I stood there, shaking for a minute or two and then half-ran, half-hobbled back to the trailhead.

The look on my co-workers face was pretty priceless as I stumbled into the parking lot, dirty and bleeding. I spent the evening hobnobbing with the CEO and CFO of the company, holding an ice pack on each jaw and both eyes starting to turn black. I will never be able to hear that song again without thinking of that story. Sometimes, if I’m with friends when it comes on, I laugh and tell them the short version. But there’s something else that comes up.

When I got to my feet after climbing back onto the trail, I was scared. I was hyperventilating, surging with adrenaline, bleeding and crying. I wanted someone to help me. I had a mile that separated me from safety and all I wanted to do was sit on that trail and wait for rescue. And then this realization settled over me—I was on my own and I had to help myself. At first this felt scary and then it got calm and then it grew very powerful and I started running again.

I have a friend that always tells me “It’s all within you.” That can be a little frustrating to hear when you’re searching and searching for answers. But in the end, you are the only one in the movie of your life. You are the star, you are the director; you are the one writing the script. There’s times when we have to really call our power back into our lives and change the scene of what’s happening. Though I haven’t fallen down a ravine since then, there’s been plenty of times when I’ve found myself on a ledge, wondering how I’m going to get back to someplace safe. When I was on that trail in Moab, in a precarious situation, that cycle of fear, calm and then power happened very quickly. But in regular life, it happens in a much slower fashion when I am faced with a difficult situation. First the fear–that I alone am the only one capable of changing the story line—that’s a huge scary thought. Then comes the calm, the acceptance that it must be done. Then finally, with the realization of the fact that it is, indeed, all within me; a very powerful feeling arises. I’m back in that parking lot, a little shaken, possibly a little bruised….but carried by my own two feet to safety with a great story to tell.

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