A few years ago, I went on a hike and was crying by the end of it – disappointed that I wasn’t in a place physically that I could get up and go for a hike whenever I wanted. So –  I decided, I could keep complaining about not feeling fit, healthy, good about my body, or I could change it. I could wake up in three years saying, I need to exercise or I could wake up in three years and say – I’ve done it!

I’ve been exercising  pretty consistently, but always half-heartedly, getting on a treadmill doesn’t fill me up, but I like to eat, drink wine, feel healthy, fit, go for a hike whenever I want, run, ride, jog, with ease. So that’s what I was doing, walking, running, ellipticalling, strength training my way to fitness.

After I lost my job, I had a lot of time on my hands and some days just wanted to turn my brain off.

I decided to start a six week fitness challenge to try to change things up and get more fit faster.

In these exercise classes, you have to turn off your brain, your body demands it and so does the instructor – eek.

I tried body pump, athletic training, spin, power sculpt, muscle blast, and finally step – which i don’t recommend for anyone who does not know or want to know what the word CHASSE is – I’m also not coordinated enough to GET the moves – it was miserable and a little to perky.

I like most classes I’ve tried, but athletic training at 24 Hour Fitness gives you the most bang for your buck. It’s pure insanity, burpees, baby burps, squats, jump squats, sprinter abs, planks, push ups, and 100% PURE sweat, drive, and determination.

The six week challenge has now turned into a lifetime challenge, because I’ve fallen in love with exercising HARD CORE! 

So, in the last 8 weeks, I’ve taken 26 exercise classes and run 42 miles, sometimes I’ve tried two classes in one day. To me, that doesn’t sound like I’ve done enough now, but it’s a start. I found what works for me, FINALLY!

I’ve haven’t lost a ton of weight, but my body looks different, feels different, is different. My double chin that sometimes hung around is nearly gone. I’m different too. Different – because again I’m realizing over and over that life is about choice, you choose how you are in the world and how you operate, all excuses dissolve into choices. Little by little, you can change your life.

I know that soon, I’ll be working again and I’ll have to choose to keep this in my life, but I’m certain I’m going to DO IT! 

What is it you want? In three years what is IT that you want to wake up and say – I DID IT!




One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious ~ Carl Jung

The shadow – according to Jung – is the repressed part of the unconscious.  The shadow is everything you don’t want to admit about yourself, or to be, but are usually quite clear when you see it in someone else.

You know that guy at work that makes you so mad when he does that one thing – if you aren’t trying to bring the dark parts of you into the light – you might be seeing in him – the repressed part of yourself – that you find annoying – the shadow.

It’s easy to project our shadow onto everyone other than ourselves. We all do it and it’s a normal thing. So what’s the big deal?

If we take the time to recognize the shadow in ourselves, we find that we can move forward in life and the parts we like about ourselves get better too.  We become less fearful of being found out, of our shadow taking over.

I was afraid of becoming THE FAT GIRL and when I looked in the mirror and was starting to see THAT FAT GIRL, I knew the shadow part of me, that is afraid, was taking over and making me bigger than I needed to be. It’s how I was coping with some things I didn’t want to change, but were making me miserable.  I decided to get to know that fat girl and ask her to exercise with me.  Instead of beating her up, I invited her in.

While running on a sunny day I noticed that my shadow, which I seldom see in rainy Portland, was large – I didn’t recognize myself. It became a metaphor for me – an indicator for change.  As I began to deal with my shadow and uncover and admit my dark and scary places, by exercising, by asking myself the question – what do you really want?, by working on my “issues”.  I saw my shadow shrink.

When I invited my shadow in, it stopped holding me back. Instead of being in the shadow, I could step into the sun. When I was in doubt that I was on the right path – I took a look at my shadow. Big or small?

If you are willing to accept yourself with all of the dark and scary things as well as the good things, you can speak from a new place – without fear of the dark parts of you being discovered and uncovered by someone else. It’s kind of like not keeping secrets from yourself anymore.  Recognizing who you are and being okay with it.

Ignoring your shadow doesn’t make life easier, it forces us to be critical of other people.

Who looks outside, dreams… who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung

When I bump up against someone who rubs me the wrong way, I’ve started to ask this question and begin an inner dialogue with myself, what part of me do I see in them?  

Why do I hate that guy so much?
Oh, well I think he’s a fraud and not living up to what he’s been asked.
BAM – there it is, it’s something I’m afraid for myself.  Afraid to be a fraud?
I proclaim to be authentic, but what if I’m not?  The opposite of authentic to me is disingenuous, which also means – FRAUD.
So, how can I accept that at times I might be a fraud or afraid of being a fraud.


Be ME. Truly me. That is not fraud, don’t fake it. Be ME. Ask yourself what you really want, have a dialogue with the part of you that you don’t like, INVITE HER IN.

Celebrate who you are in all your goodness and all your terribleness, we’re all broken bits. We can all change, but we shouldn’t be so critical of the bad parts of ourselves, we can’t always be good.

The more you honor your shadow, the better you are going to feel. I got your number shadow, I’m going to get to know you.

How is your shadow holding you back? What are you afraid of? 


When I was 40 pounds heavier,
I always thought,
I need to lose weight.  What I realized after I started losing weight was that I didn’t need to lose weight. I needed to gain COURAGE and the weight would take care of itself, or not.  The weight wasn’t the problem, it was the courage to commit to myself that was the problem.

Courage was lacking when I wanted to go out and run.  The I can’t, I won’t, I’m too fat, I jiggle when I run voice was all over my mind.  Instead – out loud I would say, “I don’t have time”, knowing full well, I lacked the courage to stick with it.

You might choose to use your courage for something other than getting out and exercising, but courage is what it takes to take care of yourself and not feel bad about it.

Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain…without fear.

WITHOUT FEAR! Imagine that.  What if I ran and nothing happened? What if I ran and didn’t lose weight?  What if?

With courage you don’t worry about such things, you do them! Without fear!

It doesn’t take courage to be who you are, you already are. What takes courage is not being perfect – letting go of fear.  You do not HAVE to lose weight, you do not HAVE to be authentic, you do not HAVE to be true to yourself, but to do these things, you do have to have COURAGE.

Having courage can feel like you are speaking for the first time. Letting your own voice and beliefs out into the world.  It can be scary, but with courage, you won’t fear it.

Once you let it out in the open – courage is contagious. If you can find a little courage everyday, you’ll see in time that courage multiplies and AMPLIFIES.  The root word of courage is cor, latin for heart.  You have heart! Courage is in you! FEAR NOT.

I’m still not at the weight that I want to be, but I have the courage to keep trying, the courage to put fitness as a priority in my life, and the courage to stop berating myself for not being where I want to be.

Be courageous –  be you, be awesome. Take the first step. What do you want to gain the courage to do/say/be?


Written in 2011

For a long time I believed I hated you. Hated the feeling, hated the boredom of the slap, slap, slap of my feet on the pavement or trail. I hated you being something other people really loved and I just couldn’t understand. “Running, I don’t get you.” “Exercise is a social event for me” I’d profess, as if running – just didn’t get me either – lie, lie, lie. Secretly – I don’t even like most people, so why the hell would I want to exercise with them?

Running – I’d shrug you off and choose some other exercise. I’d choose a treadmill with a TV in front of it any day, over a treadmill without. I’d go to the gym over running. Hell, I’d rather engage the rower, elliptical or stair machine than deal with you – running.

But – the evil of it all, I realized – my hatred of you wasn’t about you, running. It’s about me. Oh – relationships are so one-sided, I know, it’s always about me. I hated myself – running. Not you. I hated the time alone in my head, all the menacing thoughts coming through. I could sit for hours and write about what I feel, but that’s easy for me. I put the words on the page and then close the book, it’s a gentler way for me to get things out and over with, knowing full well that nothing is every really “dealt with” or “over with”, it always come back, but I can just write it down again and then for me – poof, gone.

But running – you challenge me to stay with the thoughts and mull them around. I try to cover them with music but they come through anyway, every song – a new lyric, a new note, sends my mind off onto something else. “Why do we all have to keep thinking all the time, can’t we just be?” I’d include the entire world in my agony to defend my loathing, and shrug you off again.

And then, the absolute reality of it all, it’s not just about the thoughts. I hated you because I felt terrible about myself whenever I ran, too heavy, sluggish, and not able to move my body. “I used to be an athlete for god’s sake. I used to do this in my sleep and even win races.” Again, justifying my hatred of you. “I once owned you running.”

Running – you were and are reality. You were the constant reminder of what I couldn’t do. I’d look in the mirror and see my swollen up face and large back and shoulders, my jiggling belly and think – there you are, look what you’ve done to yourself. I’d hear that voice every day I tried to run. My boobs bigger than they’ve ever been, the heavy stomach, flopping around, my arms rubbing against parts of my body that I hadn’t realized had grown large. Even my lower back would not only jiggle, but also flop. You’re disgusting I’d think for the entire run.

Running – you’re the reminder that I’m not who I thought I’d be. But there was a bit of good news – something changed as I began to run more, something shifted. I realized, I don’t need to own you running, I can be with you or not. It’s my choice. Who knew we had choices about such things?

Running – I’m glad to say I didn’t give up on you or me. I keep trying to be who I am in this moment and not so worried about who I thought I was going to be. “I can either run today or complain that I can’t run.”

The new mantra in hand, I’d get on the treadmill, I’d run a bit outside, I’d be forced to deal with the menacing thoughts and doubts and I’d curse the entire way, but only because I felt bad about myself. I’d stop, cry a little, be pissed off at myself, but still, I’d run. It wasn’t a lot – running, I know, you’d prefer more, but I’m doing what I can.

Running – this relationship has been hard, but it’s been honest.

Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, a long time runner said “There has got to be a still place in there and the movement has to take place around it.”

“A still place while running? I don’t believe it.” is what I say.

The loathe of running hasn’t shifted to a love of running, and I’m still not who I want to be physically or emotionally, but I’m me and I’m closer to the authentic me than I’ve been in my life. Running – I get you now. I’m still jiggly and I still don’t love you. But I can be with you now. I can run!

I’m smaller than I used to be 18 months ago when I started back with you – running – and this is no longer about the weight on me, but the entire weight inside of me.

I know you are good for me, because I hated you so much. Your dark and shadowy face always looking at me, judging me. My aversion to you is one more sign that you have some good lessons to teach me. You challenge me to be better all around from my jiggly bits, to dealing with my menacing thoughts.

Running – I won’t give up on you, if you don’t give up on me and I’ll keep trying to understand that my hatred of you is a hatred of me.