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I let go of anger and shame bit by bit, sometimes it rises up in my day and I have to figure out why and what to do with it.  At least I notice now.  It shows up in my volleyball game when I can’t stop saying “i’m sorry” for my play when it’s less than what I think it should be.  It shows up in my hips which are locked so tight that they prevent fluid movement and hinder my performance and enjoyment of exercise and life. These days though, the deep stuff is coming closer to the surface because I started dealing with the surface level a while back. I’m able to clear it faster because of the time I spend seeking and being blessed by connections that seem to just appear in my path. Like Neda, the energy healer I wrote about in this post,

and my friend Teal, the water PT, that I wrote about here:

Over the last few months, I have been putting together a specific healing path which could be baffling to many who haven’t felt physical and emotional trauma show up in big ways in their body. I consider myself to be pretty tough, I have a high pain tolerance and can grin and bear it, or even laugh through my tears, so I hadn’t realized that I had gotten to a point that the tension I was holding in my nervous system were really taking a toll on me.  My sleep was off, my hormones were out of whack, I was basically feeling like a pretty big mess on the inside and still pushing through my day.  This violates one of my basic tenants of happiness because  my insides were not matching my outsides…and when this is out of whack for too long, it sets me down a less than desirable path.

On top of the body and energy work I have been focusing on, I have been putting the finishing touches on my book, 365 Days of Optimism, and listening to some amazing podcasts that are furthering my growth and blowing my mind, like this one…it’s an absolute must listen!

With seeking and exposure comes wrestling with the big issues, so here are a few of the concepts that have reared their head in the past week or so based on my experiences:

It takes a great deal of self awareness to tackle the problem of unworthiness and the ego at the same time. 

As I walk the path of creating The Optimists Journal and 365 Days of Optimism, I confront some of my biggest insecurities.  So much doubt can creep in when we are vulnerable and put ourselves out there with the stories of our lives.  I realize that I struggle to accept the truth that I am enough on my own, that I don’t need a bigger platform or other people to help define me…I have been out there doing some significant living and I take this student of life thing pretty seriously.   I believe so deeply in generational learning and healing and the stories that have to be told to achieve that level of understanding for relationships and families to heal, that I am willing to go farther on my own than I ever have before.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not scared sometimes, but my core belief is making me braver than I have ever felt and giving me more confidence and a relaxed security comes with that…man, what a great feeling.  Here’s the catch though, I am still trying to figure out the prescription of knowing my value and using that value to help others, while letting go of my ego.  My ego can get offended so easily when it’s met by someone who doesn’t trust my intention or value my time the way I think they should. There’s some more work for my soul in that equation that I haven’t completely figured out the answer to yet.  For now, I will keep working and trust that the big picture, with due diligence, is going to come out right. 

Learning to judge what’s good from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, is hard. 

I am a rule follower and for all of my life have had a very rigid sense of being “good”, something that I realize was a judgment that I would let other people make for me and then apply their assessment to my own life.  Basically, if you watched me and based on the actions that you perceived of how I was living my life, you decided I was “good”, I thought I was winning when really what I was doing was giving up my power and identity. Other people don’t know the circumstances of our lives, how would they know what is innately good for us and by us. As my confidence rises, I am able, more and more, to trust my own instincts on what is “good” in my life rather than let someone else define that for me, and then try to feel satisfied with that approval. 

Letting our goodness shine is what the world needs. isn’t it cool that we each have our own brand of goodness that will attract what we are meant to find in this life? I am more and more ok with other people’s judgment…I trust the goodness that is coming from inside me and the choices that it helps to create. Beyond that, the calm is coming from a deeper place and, for me, calm is the root of real goodness and prosperity will come from that newly found safe and stable place in my heart.

I write often about my life being a work in progress, being a late bloomer, an optimist, and framing the less the favorable situations in life in a way that allows for the greatest amount of growth and learning so that we can continue to become better versions of ourselves every day.  I feel like I have a good hold on the concept of resiliency, I have come through some pretty tough times and not only am I still standing, I am stronger and understand myself better than ever. Now that I have a grasp on resilience though, this healing process continues to teach me what I need to work on next, like not second guessing myself, trusting my intuition and, for lack of a better phrase, staying in my own lane and not taking away other people in my life’s chances to learn by trying to “fix” the issues that come their way. I notice almost daily that healers seem to show up along the way to aid this process.  They come in the form of friends, family,  and mind, body and spirit guides.  They have shown up at yoga, and daily on my Spotify account…music is healing as they say.  

Last Thursday, I played five games of volleyball and every single step hurt.  I have been on a somewhat scary path since last year when I hurt my knee and my lower half just hasn’t recovered the way that I would hope it would.  I’ve done PT, soft tissue work, consulted Youtube on how to get better…pretty much anything to keep me playing but my mobility just hasn’t come back as strong as I would hope…I’m not giving up of course.  

As my good fortune would have it, my friend happens to be a water PT (which means she works out of the pool, one of my favorite places) and she reached out last week to see if she could try working with me.  Friday morning, she strapped some flotation devices around my neck and legs and I sank into that blissful chlorine heaven of my childhood ready for her to do her work.  As a kid, the swimming pool was always one of my favorite places to be, under the water looking up and wishing I could breathe under there so I could stay down, is still one of my most vivid memories.  I turned that feeling into a love of racing and some of my happiest adult memories are swimming with the Fig Garden Masters in Fresno before I moved south.  Clearly, I’m not one to have trouble relaxing in the water. As Teal pulled me around in the pool, and my weightlessness allowed my nervous system to enter a more parasympathetic state, I was overcome because I could feel my younger body making its way back through the haze of trauma and trigger points.  I’ve written before about how much we store physically in our bodies, and, I believe that in some part, is why I struggle in my recovery (and yes, I have a copy of Paulo Coelho’s new book “Hippie” sitting right here). After that zen-like hour, I came completely above the surface. Teal was smiling and the words she spoke added her to my list of healers. As I told her how amazing the experience was and how I felt better already she said…

“You knew what your body needs on your own, I just supported you. For you, it’s more about letting go, than strengthening.”  

Uh…not sure truer words have ever been spoken. Once again, the message I’m learning to relax, have fun, worry less and let the pain go. Just because you are strong enough to shoulder it, doesn’t mean you should. This is what real healers do… they heal themselves first, then they can support and empower others to do the same. Thanks Teal for helping me learn to stop second guessing myself because I intimately understand how to heal, I just have to trust my voice and relax into it. I can’t make things perfect for my kids but at least I can show them how to heal. Once again, my body is teaching me about my mind and spirit…another reason to get out and get moving today.  Hope you do to!

Almost 30 years ago, the AVP traveled to Lost Lake in Fresno, where I grew up, and my non-beach community had access to amazing beach volleyball…the crowds for the final were upwards of 25,000 and it was easily over 90 degrees.

I came away from those days in the sun with such excitement for the sport which, except for that weekend, I didn’t have much access to.

Fast forward to this amazing inaugural weekend for p1440, a soon to be legendary beach volleyball festival that includes not only world class volley, but access to the pros health and wellness gurus, and concerts by night, and volleyball continues to offer me a purpose and a place to connect to higher thought. I pushed the boundaries of my confidence in search of stories and generational knowledge and came away with gold…not surprising for any of you who know how Kerri Walsh Jennings does anything and everything she puts her heart into. 

This weekend I was able to observe, connect and challenge my own self imposed limits that have held me back from pursuing my bigger dreams.  As I push the boundaries of my confidence in search of like minds that are interested in the bigger questions and connecting the universal truths with each of our specific life experiences, what I desired out of these interviews became more clear.  I stopped worrying (for the most part) about my fear of self promotion and committed myself to the why of my message. When I did that, I received an incredible reception from anyone that I asked to share their story.  To be able to talk mental game, resilience, female leadership and the game of life with some of the greats of the sport, producers of the event, and grass roots volleyball fans who are out living with passion across the entire country, was completely invigorating.

I know that through my own knowledge quest and game of life experience I am able to draw on, I have the ability to create content for younger generations of players, (like the ones I am raising) to learn from when they are ready for it. I tell my kids all the time that what they learn on the court is a warm up for life.  Acceptance, confidence, leadership, even the neuroscience of how we challenge our limits physically and mentally is all there for the taking, if we have the courage to ask the right questions and allow ourselves to sink deep enough into our experience to let the answers become part of our consciousness. Obviously, I think a little deeper today than I did when I was 13, but the feeling of being that same passionate kid who got to run drills with Smith and Stoklos and then told her mom she could die happy now (yes, I remember the quote verbatim) was reignited as I interviewed Sinjin, Kerri, Reid, Z, Brooke and other great players, historians and minds of the game.  

Thanks for the energy, grace and visionary leadership Kerri. As I left last night, I watched from a distance as a young player took pictures with Heather Bansley, one of the female champions, and saw the circle connecting again. Generational learning and inspiration…only when we tell our stories, both the good and the challenging, can we learn from them…and this was one of the good ones for sure.  

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