Through Amber Colored Glasses

write, teach, volunteer, lead, serve, skate, eat

  • 18th July
    2014
  • 18

Climbing out of the rabbit hole

For the past few months, I’ve been incredibly sad. Maybe you noticed all the emo Tweets or Facebook posts. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you did and didn’t care. Maybe you’ve seen me out and wondered what’s wrong. More than a few people have said “You’re like Amber with the volume turned down.” And that’s exactly how I’ve felt.

The thing is, yeah, I’ve been sad, and I’ve convinced myself that I am sad because this or that has happened to me, but in all honesty, nothing has happened to me. Wait, that’s not quite right—I’ve happened to me. I’ve made choices that even in the midst of the moment I knew were dumbass choices, and I still made them, and then I wake up and wonder why I feel so hopeless.  And I wallow. And I relive each soul-crushing decision or fixate on each toxic person I let poison my well.

There’s the key folks—I let these things happen. But for the past few months I’ve been blaming others. I gave up my control and I traveled so far down the rabbit hole that I couldn’t see my way out. And on the way down I grabbed onto anything and anyone who might be able to slow the free fall.

And when it felt like rock bottom—an omnipresent gloom and doom—a few people came in and gave me a healthy dose of tough love. They reminded me that I am strong and smart and better than the choices I’m making. And it kicked me in the ass and I wanted to say “yeah, but this person hurt me or that thing happened…” And they didn’t let me off the hook. I have a lot of those people in my life. I am lucky. I know this.

For months, I haven’t been honest with myself. I haven’t been honest with the people in my life. Here’s the great thing about being honest with yourself and those you love—when you finally are, you find your way out of the rabbit hole. You regain hope. You start moving in the direction of your truest and happiest self. I deserve that. The people I love deserve that.

Just when I think I have it figured all out, I find out I haven’t figured out much. And that’s life. The point is, I can choose. I can choose in each moment whether I will be happy or not. I keep forgetting this, but the universe keeps reminding me.

And then there’s Cheryl Strayed, whose Tiny Beautiful Things has given me so many reminders, but this one seems most appropriate for today: I’m not suggesting that one deny negative emotions, but rather that you accept them and move through them by embracing the power we have to keep from wallowing in emotions that don’t serve us well. It’s hard work. It’s important work. I believe something like forgiveness is on the other side. You’ll get there. Just try.

Here’s to trying.

  • 20th January
    2014
  • 20
  • 1st January
    2014
  • 01

Cancer is an asshole.

From spring 2010 through fall of this year, I worked at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana (CSNI), a local nonprofit that provides support to people with cancer in our community. 

While with CSNI, I met so many brave men, women, and children battling the disease, and often, they talked about the gifts that cancer brought them in the midst of all the pain and suffering. Gifts like learning to live in every moment, which sounds so cliche until it’s your reality. Gifts like discovering you are more than what you do from 9 to 5 each day. Gifts like love and friendship and dedication. Gifts like a new awareness of the value and fragility of life. Not one of them ever thought they’d get cancer. Not one. 

For many of these brave people, it look a life-threatening disease to open their eyes. For brief moments throughout the past 3 years, I got to walk with them on their journey and they helped open my eyes to the true gifts in life. For the first time the idea that we shouldn’t take a single moment for granted became more than something you said, or something you pinned, or something you shared on Twitter.

Cancer is an asshole. Working at CSNI provided a front row seat to just what an asshole it can be. I hate to celebrate anything about it, but it taught me not to wait. Don’t wait. Do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of doing now. Tell those you love that you do now. Don’t wait… for anything.

  • 30th December
    2013
  • 30

2014 Resolutions

Oh hi, Tumblr. I kind of forgot about you. It’s been a busy few months. But, I am never too busy to make some resolutions for the New Year.

2013 was a pretty stellar year. As far as resolutions go, I went 4 for 6. I never learned to knit and I fell short of my reading goal. There are simply too many other things that held my interest. It was a good year for running though. I surpassed my 430 mile goal, logging 467 miles this year. And it was a good year for personal development and strengthening of my marriage. I can’t wait for 2014. It’s going to be even better, as long as I have Jon by my side.

1- Read. Goal: 50 books

2- Run. Goal: 500 miles

3- Be more aware… of myself and of others. I’m keeping this one on the list because it needs constant attention.  

4- Focus on my priorities. This one stays too. I am doing a lot less than I was a year ago, but it’s still too much. This year the lesson that I’d rather do a few things really well than many things just so-so hit home. 

6- Be a better wife. I am still too defensive. I am still too selfish. I have more work to do on communication. Each day we get closer.

 

  • 1st October
    2013
  • 01
Today’s inspiration. I need to get back in the habit of posting these. 

Today’s inspiration. I need to get back in the habit of posting these. 

  • 19th August
    2013
  • 19
So thankful for my bubble of dreamers, doers, believers and thinkers. 

So thankful for my bubble of dreamers, doers, believers and thinkers. 

  • 11th July
    2013
  • 11

Discovering my purpose, facing fear, and going for it

Starting a business is scary. I have been more scared over the past 9 months than I have ever been in my entire life. But Jon and I took a risk and launched our gourmet ice cream business. 

I had lunch with a friend today and talked to her about the fears we’ve faced and continue to face on a constant basis and she sent me a clipping from an article that appeared in the July issue of Success magazine. It was exactly what I needed to read today. 

Beating the Bear

Sometimes, even taking the time to look within can be scary. And ultimately, doing something, as she say, “that feels really delicious,” and making a decision to change our life in a way that fulfills our purpose, arouses a good deal of fear.

"Fear actually is not an emotion to which you should pay a lot of attention," Beck says. "Fear is an automatic response of a very basic part of the brain, and in most people, it’s highly active, even when we’re sitting in a completely peaceful spot. We scare ourselves with stories like ‘I’ll never be able to make it in this rarefied field,’ ‘I can’t quit a steady job; it’s irresponsible for me to give up this paycheck and health benefits.’"

Then Beck quotes Buddha: “Just as we can know the ocean because it always tastes of salt, we can recognize enlightenment because it always tastes of freedom.”

She relates this idea to the effort we make at discovering our purpose and then finding the courage to see it through. 

"The question is not, ‘Am I afraid to do this?’" she says. "The questions is, ‘Does the thought of doing this bring me more freedom?’" Freedom is often frightening. But it’s not suffocating and soul-killing.

  • 3rd July
    2013
  • 03

Life-changing Books

I am currently reading "You’ve Got to Read This Book! 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life," which was recommended by John and Ryan of the Miles2Give crew that I met last week.

I simply can’t put it down. Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and Gay Hendricks, a self-actualization pioneer, invited notable people to share personal stories of books that changed their lives. Each chapter highlights a new story and a new book.

I read a lot, so it’s hard to pinpoint one book that has changed my life. I think collectively books have shaped who I am. If I had to choose one, I’d choose "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed, a collection of her Dear Sugar columns. Within this work, there are so many moments of raw truth. It pierced me through the heart on several occasions and changed the way I view myself and relationships. 

Reading "You’ve Got to Read This Book!" has provided me with a new list of must-reads that will have an impact on me. It has also made me curious about people I know and the books that have impacted them. Here’s what some of my friends had to say:

Andie- "The Power of Self Coaching: The 5 Essential Steps to Creating the Life you Want"

Traci- "Still Life with Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins- changed how I looked at life and love.

Monica- "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" taught me a lot about discrimination and human nature when i read it at 9 years old; "A Wrinkle in Time" made science magical to me and yet strangely applicable; and "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin taught me some things about being an independent-minded woman when I was in high school.  

Michelle- "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi changed how I did business and taught me the importance of building a strong professional network.

Theresa- "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach is a collection of 1-2 page essays, one for each day of the year. Each lesson is to help you live more authentically and learn to appreciate the life you have.

Heather J- "Advanced Basic." I got it in 7th grade, and it made me want to work with computers. 

Derek- Vocational books temporarily change my life. After "Airport" by Arthur Hailey, I wanted to be an airport administrator. After "All the President’s Men" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, I wanted to be a journalist. Oddly enough, taking time to read "HTML for Dummies" in 1996 probably opened more doors for me than any other book I’ve read.

Erin- "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Brian Weiss, MD. I read it just over a year ago and have since examined every single event in my life- big or small- as an opportunity to learn, grow and love more deeply. It has made me realize there are lessons in everything. 

John K- "Information Anxiety" by Richard Saul Wurman completely upended the way I look at organizing and presenting just about everything. Completely rocked my communication world.

Randy R- "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions," and "Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose"

Randy C- "Stroke of Insight" by Jill Botle Taylor gave me a better understanding of how the mind works and how to work the mind. "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande helped me improve efficiency through checklists and I ask if checklists are used before agreeing to medical procedures. 

Kari- "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. It even moved my husband.

Stacey- "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Brian Weiss, MD. I am reading it now and it has had my brain swirling with thoughts, questions, ideas and insight. 

Scott- "Dragons of Eden" by Carl Sagan. I read this book in high school just for kicks and the connections it made between human mythologies, sociology, and the science of the brain blew my adolescent mind. This whetted my appetite for discovering more in these fields outside of what I was getting in my regular coursework. 

John S- "The 5000 Year Leap: The 28 Great Ideas That Are Changing the World" by W. Cleon Skousen must be understood and perpetuated by every person who desires peace, prosperity, and freedom. The American Revolution was different from any other in the world and this book helps to describe why. 

Robert- "How to be Rich" by JP Getty. The book describes his values and approach to problem solving. He was so different and so far ahead of the curve. He would be considered an innovative and progressive leader in today’s society. He also spoke about his concerns for our future. The one that stands out to me is every few years, there are more and more “educated barbarians.” They only care about basics like reading, writing, math, etc, but have not appreciate for culture and no imagination or sense of wonder.

Jessica- "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau. I read it every couple of years. As for how, that would be a laundry list, but in general it helps me to unload baggage.

Heather S- "Journey of Souls" by Dr. Michael Newton. Absolutely changed the way I view the world, my role on the blue marble, and how I conduct my life.

Lindsey- "Diet for a New America" by John Robbins was the final straw to changing what I eat, and I’ve never felt better about it. It also made me take a second look at my career and decide it wasn’t the right path for me anymore.

Tessa- "The Women’s Room" by Marilyn French fueled my early feminism.

Joe- "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown. It was very eye opening to learn about the destructive influence of shame. A must read. 

Alec- "Baron of the Trees" by Italo Calvine helped me realize there is no such thing as normal. 

Rochele- "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. I read it at 16 and it showed me that the world changes and always stays the same. 

Steve- "The Bible," specifically the books of John and Romans

Drew- "Crush It" by Gary Vaynerchuk got my passion for social media started. 

Ken- "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" by Tom Stoppard is about fate, free will, how we know things and the limits of knowledge. Big abstract ideas. "I Heard the Owl Call My Name" by Margaret Craven is super short and simple but so full of thoughts on life, death, love, and kindness. 

Kristin- "Ender’s Game" by Orson Scott introduced me to science fiction, a prevalent love in my life.

Carrie- "Time Enough for Drums" by Ann Rinaldi is a book I read in 4th grade and it got me interested in reading at a time of transition when I had no friends. It helped me create a world for myself as well as develop a love of history, as well as for reading and life-long learning. 

Mike- "Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All" by Russell Simmons. Spoiler Alert- It’s not about money. 

Beth Ann- "The Bible" drastically changed my life. When I was a kid my mom made me start reading The Babysitters Club books. Those hooked me into reading. Then I read "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that book and have read it many many times. 

Looks like I have a lot of books to add to my list. I’d love to hear your life-changing book. 

  • 12th June
    2013
  • 12
  • 16th April
    2013
  • 16
Whatever.: Boston

kevinerb:


Ezra Klein gets at the heart of what running means to people, and, as a consequence, why what happened yesterday in Boston was particularly difficult for those who consider themselves runners.

We don’t train countless hours and log countless miles for any awards or titles or huge paydays. We…

Thank you. You summed up exactly what’s been on my heart that I’ve been unable to articulate since I saw the first tweet about the bombings.