This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A blogathon update

For this group of speakers listed below, the Blogathon has officially ended. If you're visiting me today and would like to check out what the group as a whole as been up to, then the final list of participants is here along with blog addresses. We're all from the Greater Phoenix area. We all signed up to agree to try blogging once a day for the month of July.

While we may not have hit that number exactly (31), all of us gained a greater understanding of what the blogging experience and blogging world is all about. We learned new skills, such as how to Stumble--even if we all aren't doing it yet (including me). We saw benefits we didn't know exisited (We could be asked to contribute to a book. We could find new places to publish our posts. We could explore information we never knew existed.) And we've grown as friends, which I like to think is the better part of the whole experience.

As for me, personally, I gained insight into what works and what might not. I think that'll be an on-going lesson. And I've continued to see the benefit of regular posting and finding new blogs that touch on my themes: travel and self-help. There's a larger world out there that I intend to exlpore further as I move my two blogs forward.

I hope you'll continue to visit mine and my friends' blogs. If we have something to say that really resonates with you, I hope you'll post a comment and let us know how to find you. Together, we can build a stronger community of people who want to help others. I know that's the key component of all the members on this team listed below. We're coaches, motivational speakers, business developers, team leaders, healthy living advisors, designers, authors, movers, shakers and so much more.

Even if you just happened to "stumble upon" my blog today, take a look at the list below. There might be something here that interests you. If so, let us know:

Jackie Dishner

Susan Ratliff

Andrea Beaulieu

Mimi Meredith

Suzy Graven

Beth Terry

Vickie Mullins

Michelle May

Arlene Rosenberg

Stanley Bronstein

Stephanie Angelo

Quinn McDonald

Barbara McNichol

Suzanne Holman

Jean McFarland

Bonnie Mattick

Monday, July 28, 2008

Replace the "yes, but..." with a "yes, and..."

I've had my moments where I've felt stuck.

I've had piles on my desk, for instance, and didn't get any work done because they were there. So I'd clean off my desk, the piles would no longer be present, but still I'd not accomplish what I thought I should be getting done. I was kidding myself.

I felt stuck. But I wasn't recognizing that it wasn't the piles that kept me stuck, it was me. Just me. I was convincing myself that it was the piles--or something else altogether--but I wasn't being honest with myself.

Now, whenever I find myself not accomplishing what I've set out to do, I've learned to pay attention to what I'm saying to other people. What am I telling them about my progress, or lack thereof.

If I hear myself saying, "Yes, BUT...," or any variation of those words, I know I'm making excuses. For example, people often ask me, "Are you still writing?" I've often heard myself say something like, "Yes, but no one's buying, so I'm not selling much." Or perhaps they've asked me, "Are you still working on that book?" And I've responded, "Yes, but I've still got so much to do, so I'm not really getting anywhere." Whenever I've responded with a "Yes, but (fill-in-the-blank)," I know I'm just making excuses. Most people I know have "so much to do," so what's so different about that for me? Why do I even need to announce that? It doesn't really make me feel better that I'm not accomplishing what I set out to do. I'm just making excuses. I'm limiting myself by not doing all I possibly can. I'm devaluing what I have to offer.

So I've had to train myself to instead say, "Yes, AND..." phrases. That way, I know I'm looking for a solution, instead of looking to stay stuck. So, yes, maybe I am working hard, and maybe I'm not selling enough. Maybe all of that's true. With the "AND" connector, I'm giving myself the right to find the solution, instead of the right to stay stuck. Who wants to stay stuck, anyway?

So, yes, I'm still writing, and yes, I'm still working on the book, AND I'm also looking at ways to increase my sales, pitching ideas to more and more publications that ever, AND I'm feeling very productive these days. That's the difference between those two three-letter words. One is empowering. The other is deflating.

The next time you hear yourself make excuses for what you're not accomplishing, give yourself permission to listen to what you're really saying behind the words. Are you looking for the solution, or are you just looking to stay stuck? Don't let the piles make up your mind. You make up your mind.

This week, if there's something you've been meaning to get done, if there's something you want to accomplish but haven't, I encourage you to listen to what you're saying to yourself and others. Become aware of the words you're using. You'll accomplish so much more if you remind yourself to use language that empowers you. That's the best path to progress. Even if you're not where you want to be right now, if you empower yourself with the right to find solutions, you'll get there.

All my best,

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A neighbor's wildflowers

Two years ago during the spring, I took these photos of my neighbor's garden. She plants wildflowers every year, and I love to go see what's growing in her backyard. It's always different; it's always beautiful. So I wanted to capture it on film.

These photos remind me to take time to pause and reflect.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The power of change

My daughter got married this year. She and her husband moved in with me just before the wedding occurred and stayed with me for a few months after. They brought their dog with them; he didn't get along well with mine. They learned to tolerate each other. The three of them just moved out last month. My son, I just found out, is going to have a baby. I'm going to be a grandparent. My book deadline got pushed back to a different date. I'm constantly working on a different assignment with a different publication with a different editor. I just accepted a last minute offer to present a speech I didn't have, so I had to create it.

And the list goes on.

I encounter change in my life almost daily. I do not have a single boss. In fact, technically, though I am self-employed, I work for many people; therefore, I suppose you could say I have many bosses. So work is never static. There are always different contracts to read and review, different copyrights to consider, different ways to format a story. I juggle a lot of balls.

I'm not so different than most people I know.

A press representative that I work with at The Phoenician resort told me last month she had gotten married. This month, she told me she'll be leaving her job. Her husband got transferred, and she's moving with him to Colorado. She'll need to find a new job, a new house, new friends. She's ready to embrace the change, though she's slightly concerned. Her concern won't hold her back. It's just her humanity speaking. She'll miss her family and friends that she's leaving behind, especially her 13-year-old brother. She told me he's playing tennis now, and loving it, and competing. She's sorry she'll miss his games. I found that touching to hear her say this. But she's accepting the move.

My daughter--the one who just got married--told me their house may need new duct work for the air conditioning to work properly. She and her husband need to decide how they'll manage to make the repairs on their tight budget. They are working on a plan to make the important necessary repairs and save for the major and more costly one later.

Change. It's constant. We all experience it. We all live it. We all need to know how to manage it.

Some of us do it well. Some of us not so much. And some of us do it well some of the time, but not always.

Do you have a process in place that you use to manage the change in your life? Have you learned to do what my neighbor said to me recently, "Go with the flow"? Is that always the appropriate response?

I don't always accept change gracefully or openly. There are times when I reject it outright. My daughter says I need about four days to deal with really dramatic change, the kind that is so unexpected. She may be right. I do seem to have a time-frame, but I'm not sure if it can be measured in days.

Generally, I like to think I go with the flow, but I know that's not always the case. Certain kinds of change are easier to accept than others.

My process is altered, I think, according to what the change involves. Is is going to cost me a lot of money? Do I have the money it's going to cost? Is it going to cost me time--where am I going to get the extra hours I may need? How is the change going to affect me? What will I need to do to adapt?

I think I go quickly through a check-list of questions and considerations, sometimes without even knowing it, before I come to accept the change, depending on its severity.

The power of change involves lesson-building and learning. Change may hold the key to your self-confidence. You don't have to always be great at adapting to change. You just have to believe in yourself enough to know that you will.

So, if my daughter's right, and I do take around four days to adapt to big changes in my life. I'm okay with that. It means I will adapt. It means I will find the solution to acceptance. It means I will continue moving forward.

What are your thoughts about the change that occurs in your life? If chaos were to knock on your door today, would you be able to answer? Would you ignore the knock, hoping it would go away? How prepared are you to handle whatever comes next?

Not even counting this year, I've experienced a lot of change in my life. With each new experience, I've gained greater confidence in knowing I can adapt, I can create solutions, I can accept the inevitable.

Can you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Transforming a life

"I used to be a hardcore, hardhearted guy. Once you make the decision to change, all kinds of things happen...When I was out there on stage and the guys were laughing, I could see I had them in the palm of my hand. I thought, 'I just discovered what I was born to do.' It was an enormous kind of power."

These are the words of award-winning actor Charles Dutton. He spent seven and 1/2 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man in a street fight. In prison, he found his passion in theater and went on to study at Yale. He just sold his memoir to Crown. In it, he writes about growing up in the East Baltimore projects, where he spent much of his young life incarcerated. Theater did for him what my bike did for me; it transformed his life. Itseems to have had a lot to do with awareness.

His has to be a powerful story. I'll be interested in reading this book when it is published. Would you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moving in the right direction

Can't you just feel it when things are going your way? Everything seems to fall into place without much more effort. Challenges seem to dissipate. You catch yourself walking around with a smile on your face. Life is good.

When you're in those moments, try not to question them.

Don't ask: why does this feel so right? Instead, say: thank goodness everything feels right.

Accept the blessing and go with it.

That's what I've been feeling all this week. Things do seem to be falling into place. It's taken a lot of work to get here. And I'm tired. But it's a good tired. It's a hard-earned kind of tired. My list isn't shrinking, but I'm checking things off.

It feels good. I accept that. I want that. I deserve that.

If you're feeling especially good right now about where you're at, know that you've earned it. Embrace that goodness and spread it around.

One of my fellow bloggers recently posted about paying it forward. She purchased a Starbucks coffee for the person behind her. It made her feel good. I've done something similar many times. And it does feel good. That good feeling stays with you. Your mind takes you back there sometimes, when you need to be reminded of your goodness. And sometimes we do need that reminder. Whatever it takes.

Just let yourself move in that direction. Let your Killer instincts take you where your heart needs to go. Trust your judgment. The minute we question ourselves is the minute we're probably starting to move off track. Off track is exactly what it says it is. And that's why I ask you to embrace the goodness and spread it around. That's moving in the right direction.

And if you have time, if the weather calls for it, if you're so moved, hop on a bike and ride. As with mine, it could be the ride of your life.

All my best,

Monday, July 21, 2008

My first BIKE coaching client

I'm in my third week of coaching my first client (though this one's pro bono) on finding her own BIKE. It's going well. I'm amazed at the ease with with our conversation flows. She's in the Pacific Coast, and I'm here in Arizona, so this is all being done by phone.

But since we've been meeting like this, she's really moving along. And what's even better? She really is coming into her own solutions. No matter how stuck you might feel at any given moment, you really do know your own answers. It's just a matter of learning how to pay attention to your needs, your wants, your desires--and then defining your goals to fit your true self. When your goals match your values, you're going to have an easier time of getting there, because you'll use the systems and processes that work best for you or that you automatically find yourself moving toward. It's that awareness I've been talking about.

It's so important to know how your values play into your vision. When we forget that, or don't even bother to consider that, it becomes so easy to get lost. We might not even know where we're going. We just know to get up and do things. But we're doing it without awareness, or a sense of purpose.

Like makes so much more sense when you live it with purpose.

Your own special brand of BIKE, like mine, will help lead the way, if you let it. That doesn't mean you won't get lost, ever, or take detours. You probably will. That's what those pesky little challenges sometimes do to us. They get in the way, and we get sidetracked. But with BIKE, you'll find your way back to the path that's going to take you forward.

That path can be defined only by you. But I can help. If you'd like to talk to me about that, shoot me an e-mail.

All my best,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bikes that are newsworthy

I read articles weekly about the benefits of riding a bike: it's a good form of exercise; it's fun; it's a good way to raise funds for a non-profit event; it can help save the environment. The list goes on. Here are two that came across my desk yesterday:

Just thought you might like to know...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Keep it simple you-know-who

Diana Burrell, a writer I know (who has co-authored a few books with another writer I know) recently shared this about what inspires her:

"I have this written on the white board hanging in my office:

1. Do something.
2. Do more.
3. Keep doing it."

I kinda like that.


Friday, July 18, 2008

New participant added to the Blogathon

Jean McFarland is now joining us in this crazy effort to blog once a day during the month of July. That's 31 posts altogether, or more, if possible. I'm hitting the mark here, but over at The Phoenix Traveler, I'm not quite there. I might be missing a few. Yikes!

So far, it sure has been a lot of work, but it's so much fun to read about all this great work speakers are in involved in on a daily basis.

Check out Jean's blog--it's new--at Bullies Among Us and help her build an audience.

Oh, and by the way, if you stopped in yesterday, you may have seen a poll on the left-hand side of this screen. It didn't appear to be working properly, so I pulled it down. I'll try again at a later date.

All my best,

Favorite books for personal growth

This list represents books I've read once or twice, sometimes more. They helped me tremendously during my early mental--and physical--rides. They still do. And it's a lengthy list. Of course, it took me several years to read them and do the work that some require. But these are my favorites. I've read many, many more. But these, for me, touch on the important points of emotional, physical, spiritual, and even sexual growth. We're aiming for balance in all four areas of life.

Pick and choose what works for you. Create your own list. Add to this one. Substract from it. Let your Killer instincts--your most honest and tuned-in gut reaction--lead the way. But if you don't know where to start, here are several good bets:

A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps (for all people in the process of recovery) by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson

Believe in the God Who Believes in You by Robert H. Schuller

Boundaries and Relationships by Charles L. Whitfield, M.D.

Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy

Choices by Shad Helmstetter

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Feel the Fear And Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Life Application Study Bible: New Living Translation

Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Power of Focus for Women by Fran Hewitt & Les Hewitt

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A look back in time

With the spring cleaning going on around here, I thought I'd go back and review some of my old posts. I went right to the beginning. I began this blog in May 2007, so it's been a little more than a year since my first post. It's been a fun ride, and I enjoy connecting with you, my readers.

I also realize that, for those of you who didn't begin with me, you might be missing something. And, for you, it might not be meaningful for you to go back and read every single post I've ever jotted down here; however, it might be meaningful for you to understand the path I've taken to get here.

So I've collected a few posts from the past--the first three, actually. I think they might explain a few things. If you'd like, click away:

All my best,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Notice the change?

Maybe not. It's like getting your hair done. You come home. No one notices. So you announce it to the first person who walks in the door, "Did you see my new hair-do?"

If you didn't notice the subtle changes I've made around here, no worries. I'm just cleaning up the place and clarifying a few things. I wrote a better description in my blog title and changed a few fonts and colors around.

Hopefully, the changes will bring a few more people inside. And maybe it won't make a difference at all. But it's fun to change things up every now and then. Makes like a little more interesting.

It's all about forward movement.

Keep riding!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The blogathon continues

The July Blogathon has been a great way to get to know my fellow speaker friends. As we reach mid-mark, I realize I'm learning more about who these folks are at their core.

We've added a few new participants since the event began, so I'm posting an updated list today. If you have a few minutes, consider visiting their sites. I promise you, you'll read some very inspiring stories. There's 15 of us, including Stanley, the lone guy on the team:

Jackie Dishner

Susan Ratliff

Andrea Beaulieu

Mimi Meredith

Suzy Graven

Beth Terry

Vickie Mullins

Michelle May

Arlene Rosenberg

Stanley Bronstein

Stephanie Angelo

Quinn McDonald

Barbara McNichol

Suzanne Holman

Maggie Hunts
She's on hold for the time being...

Monday, July 14, 2008

When you need to ask for support

A few days ago, I posted about the importance of jumping right in there with your ideas. Well, I did it! I just volunteered to present to a group of pre-retired folks. The opportunity presented itself, and I thought, Why not? So I came up with a speech topic, a title, and I know exactly what I'll say. Most of it will come from a story I wrote for Arizona Highways more than a year ago that just appeared in print this past May. I'll use that as the basis and incorporate additional stories that I have on file. I'll use what I learned in Improv class to add a touch of humor and expect the presentation to be light-hearted, yet educational. Plus, I think it'll fun to hear.

Please wish me luck in getting the job!

Whenever you find yourself doing something unexpected that you'd really like to do, be sure to ask the universe for support.

I think it helps. And since I only have a week to prepare, I think I'm going to need it.

All my best,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is it time to learn a new skill?

One thing you may notice during times of recovery is that you gain a sudden new interest in learning something new. In fact, you may almost crave it.

Whether it's how to dance the latest moves, how to paint or draw, or even how to ride a unicycle (I'm a long way from mastering that art, but I have a one-wheeler waiting for me to try again and again...and again.), I think this sudden yearning comes from the need to rebuild a lost sense of self-esteem.

As long as it's healthy in all respects, of course, consider exploring any ideas that come to mind. It's probably necessary for your growth. It's that mind-body connection telling you this will be good for you. Listen to it.

Try to avoid second-guessing yourself about cost or time or whatever hinderances might sneak in to sabotage your growth. If it costs too much, you may be able to find a less expensive alternative, for example a city-run program as opposed to a private one. It you don't think you have the time, look for a weekend retreat or a monthly event, rather than a longer-term commitment. Think of and investigate alternative ways to create this new fun in your life. If it's something worth exploring, you'll find a way that works for you.

Learning and developing new skills allows you to realize new opportunities, develop a much-needed confidence, and...Why not? off! It's good to be the star of the show sometimes. There are times when we may need to be recognized, if only to prove to ourselves we're alive.

Here are three interests that I had the courage recently to explore:

~Comedy writing: I attended a convention in Los Angeles several years ago where I learned this new skill then was able to apply it and win first place awards. I still get a kick out of that when I think of it. And I'm sure I use the skills I learned that long weekend today.

~Fiction writing: I attended a week-long writers' workshop where, in a small-class setting, I did nothing but learn about writing short stories, talk about writing short stories, and write them. I flew back home from that workshop with seven well-developed short stories to work on. I have them stored on a flash disc to develop further. That was great fun, and I was amazed I could accomplish so much.

~Running a 5k: In fact, I've run five or more of them in the last few years. I keep my jersey numbers tacked on my office wall as a reminder of an accomplishment I once thought I'd never have. In college, I could barely run a mile, and I hated doing it. It probably took me 20 minutes, and I couldn't see the end in sight. Now, some 20 years later, I can run up to four miles, not easily and still not very fast (but not that slow, either), and I don't even hate it, anymore. In fact, running gives me the space to push myself when I need pushing. I don't run long-distance very often, but I gained the endurance to do it at all from riding my bike. One skill can lead to another, it seems.

Do you have a list of interests or hobbies you've been wanting to explore but haven't? What are they? What are some steps you can take today to make at least one of them a priority? Even if it's something as simple as scrapbooking, allowing yourself the opportunity to grow in new and creative ways helps rebuild a broken spirit. By doing something you love or think you might love, you give yourself the gift of self-love. Creative outlets feed the soul in ways your normal, everyday life does not.

So, isn't it time?

All my best,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Laugh at yourself often

If you can't remember the last time you smiled, then forget the smile and laugh out loud.

That's right. Laugh out loud. To yourself.

Right now.

Just reach deep from within your belly, pull a laugh up and out from the back of your throat, and burst out a hearty Ha-ha-ha!

Now do it again.

Just do it. Really. No one's looking. And if they are, ask them to join you.

It'll release any pent-up energy you might be feeling.

Belly laughs are good for that.

As a matter of fact, I had a few the night before. I was out to dinner with a girlfriend, and we got caught in the rain. We were sitting at the outdoor patio of this Italian bistro, when all of a sudden, the misters sounded a lot louder than they had before. Well, wouldn't you know it? It wasn't the misters that was making that whooshing sound. It was rain. The desert got its first shower, or at least the first one I can recall this monsoon season. And there we were, right in the middle of it, finishing up our dinner. Luckily, the table's umbrella was extended. We didn't get too wet. Our backs took most of the hit. But it was funny, and we laughed out loud. It felt good. The company. The rain. The laughs. Perfect!

But then the rain started coming down a bit harder, and we had to run for cover at the bar which had an awning overhead. We asked an older couple sitting at the table next to us if they were going to get out of the rain as well, and the woman replied for no particular reason, "This, on our first date!" And she laughed. Then her dinner mate laughed. And my friend and I got a good laugh all over again. What a memory for them, I think, if they continue seeing each other. I thought it was sweet. We don't get rain in the Valley of the Sun that often, so it's kind of a treat when it happens. But to be on a first date, sitting outside, only to get soaked by the rain? How funny!

I'm glad they thought it was.

There have been times in my life where the laughter was missing, where life seemed too serious and ceased to be fun. That's not a place I like to stay for long. So I once bought a shirt to remind me of that. It's a pink tank top that says at the top, "Laugh at yourself often." I did before I bought the shirt, and I do now. But sometimes I forget. Sometimes I get caught up in the exterior stuff that goes on, and I let it get to my head. I get too serious. Argh! Who needs that?

Going through my closet, looking for a shirt to wear today, I pulled out that pink shirt. I've been wearing it all day. It's a good reminder.

I'm going to dinner tonight with another friend. Besides eating a great meal and drinking some fine wine, I know what else we're going to do.

We're going to laugh.

All my best,

How to look within

When we're in the midst of healing a broken past, we'll begin to look for answers by looking inward. It's a struggle, I know, to face what we might judge as our failures, our mistakes, our losses. But it's the only way to learn from the lessons our past can gift to us.

Choosing to look inward will give you the insights you need to see what changes might need to take place so that you don't go on repeating behaviors that haven't worked for you before now.

But how is that done, exactly?

Just take the first step, which is to begin spending time with yourself, alone. Make it a daily practice. If it means you leave the dog inside and take your walk alone, then do that. If it means you must dine alone, then do that. If it means you hop on a bike and ride, then, by all means, do that. Do whatever feels right to you.

It was when I rode my bike that I first began observing the pedal power. That's what had the most affect on me. That was where I started to see the growth that I needed to see in order to believe I was going somewhere. Your space might be different than mine was. There is no right or wrong space. It's what works for you. Your BIKE journey will not be the same as mine. It may be similar but it won't be the same. That's a benefit of this spiritual navigation tool--it's uniquely yours, to be created, developed and polished by you and you alone.

In the beginning of my BIKE journey, I had to have that time alone. I felt like I was suffocating, if I didn't get it. But there are others of you out there who may resist alone time. You may resist looking inward. It might not feel "normal." I understand. Later in my healing, I found resistance, too. Don't fear the resistance. It's natural. When change occurs, it feels uncomfortable. It feels unfamiliar. It feels like you're losing control. When you sense that resistance, as I have been lately, you'll begin to recognize that this is your ego getting in the way of your progress. It'll slip in there every now and then. Even years from now when you think you've long since been recovered, resistance may return in some form.

Be patient with yourself.

Go back to making space just for you. Make it more special this time, if that will help. Do what an interior designer suggested to me once when I was interviewing her for a story: "Create an afternoon tea party with just yourself." Take it one step further and turn on music in the background, something relaxing. Light a scented candle or incense. Breathe deeply. The breathing is especially important. It's one of the first things I forget to do when I'm in crisis mode. But the second I remember to focus on breathing, my personal space becomes calm again, and I can start to see clearly again. The experts don't tell us to count to ten when we're upset for nothing. It gives us time to check in with reality. You know that nothing is ever as bad as it seems. This is a reminder I've needed myself this past week or so. BIKE is my reminder.

Remember, BIKE includes the four elements of who you really are when you're being your Best self, accessing your Inner strength, paying attention to that Killer instinct, and using your Expressive voice. When you're not doing or being or achieving one or more of them, the mental aspect of BIKE reminds you of that as well. It works along side of your spiritual guide; it's always there. Waiting patiently, if necessary.

Your alone time gives you that time you need to reconnect with what it feels like to just be you. Doing it daily gives you the constant reminder you might need to stay sane. My BIKE saved me; yours will, too, if you're open to its power. When you begin to get comfortable defining it on your terms, you'll see exactly how you can use this mental BIKE to help push or pull you through even the most difficult days. You will not always have big burdensome challenges like you may be experiencing now, but you'll always have challenges to overcome, little ones, like an overcharge on the phone bill or a minor accident while on the way to work. It's okay. Your mental BIKE will help you deal, even if the dealing part occurs after the panic. With BIKE, there's always room for do-overs. As you continue to read this blog, you'll learn to trust your intuition. To do that, you'll need to look within. To look within takes time. And that time is better spent alone.

All my best,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something on your mind?

Get it out of there.

Journal about it. Share your thoughts or concerns with a friend. Get some outside input. I think one of the worst things we can do is keep our troubles, our concerns, our uncertainties to ourselves. And when we're about to make a major life decision, it's helpful to get some outside input as well. In fact, I think it's necessary.

Perhaps not everyone benefits from this, but I'm of the mind that it helps to sort out the pros and cons about something that's troubling you with other people. Outside opinion can count. It could also just help reinforce your train of thought. But without it, I think you lose out on considering what could be valuable perspective that you may not already have.

Major life decisions are not meant to made impulsively. They are not meant to be made without careful consideration. But they could very well be judged.

Should you care? I think so.

When we live our lives in a bubble, we forget that there are other people involved in our lives. We forget there are other people who care about us and our future, and these other people might be affected by the major life decisions about to be made. Take, for instance, moving to a new city.

You wouldn't just want to leave town and not tell anyone. It would signal something is wrong. Then you'd be leaving behind people who might be worried about you. And why do that if there isn't something wrong? Perhaps had you consulted with your family and friends or colleagues, you could have considered a different plan of action. Perhaps this new plan was something you'd never have thought about without that additional input.

I'm wrestling with the fact that someone I love made a major life decision without telling me. And it's going to change the rest of his life. It's going to change mine as well. I'm sad to think he couldn't tell me his plan. It's more than worrisome to me, really. Not because of the eventual outcome but because of the process he's taking to get there. It's going to be a harder road for him to travel on than he could have ever imagined. It may not even be the best road for the special person involved. And the steps he's taking are not the ones you would expect. Though, I knew to expect something unexpected from him. Just not this. While I know this doesn't have to be a bad thing, the way he's handling it even now seems only to be making things worse. There is an extreme lack of communication that is putting a wedge where it doesn't belong, and I'm really sad about that. Dealing with the situation is an obstacle I'm not yet sure how to overcome.

I'll get there, but it's going to be a road I hadn't envisioned taking.

To help, I'm just getting this off my mind.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time-out isn't just for kids

Yesterday, I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for my lunch and overheard a conversation at the next table over.

A man was telling the woman seated next to him that it was hard for him to remember to take time out during the day.

"You really need to take at least an hour a day to do nothing," he was telling her. And then he proceeded to mention that because of that he'd started to watch a sitcom that he remembered he used to like. The shows, he said, come on back-to-back, so he could watch two episodes in an hour. He got his hour. He seemed pleased.

I think it's a good idea to take that hour off during the day. And maybe, once in a while, watching sitcoms is a good use of that time. But I'd also consider using that time for meditation. I'll sometimes get my meditation while riding my bike. I can let my mind wander as I follow the path, wherever it takes me. Sometimes, I get that meditation in the car. I turn off the radio and just focus on the task at hand. I also use cooler mornings to chill out on my back porch, focusing on the birds singing in the trees in my backyard. Sometimes, I can solve a problem this way. Other times, it's the only time of day I can relax and let go the worry of the day.

The importance of the time-out is that it gives you the opportunity to hear your thoughts, to listen to that still quiet voice you may have been ignoring through deadlines, appointments and traffic. It gives you time to consider the meaning of life, whatever that means to you. It lets you connect with your spiritual side, if that's where you need to go in that moment.

This man had it right when he said you really need to do that.

Today, I encourage you to remember to make time for your time-out. I think it's best taken when all is quiet. But if a sitcom encourages you to do nothing, then that's a good idea, too!

All my best,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just jump in

In May, during the first blogathon, I announced a contest where I decided to give away four months of free BIKE coaching. A few of you took me up on it, and I began work with my first coaching client yesterday. I'll start with another two in August. There's a fourth client out there that I have yet to reconnect with, but I know where she is and plan to follow up shortly.

Till then, I'm excited about starting this new career move and being able to help someone else overcome the obstacles that seem to be holding her back. Over the course of the next few months, hopefully, she'll be able to look closely at the deterrants in her life so she can make more conscious-living choices. That's what BIKE is about--making conscious choices, taking responsibility, eliminating the excuses, and living the life that you deserve.

We can live a life without all of this, but I don't think it's going to be your best. I think you're more apt to settle for less than you deserve if you decide to just get by. And it's so easy to do that. Without even realizing it, we do that. Just get by. There's just no fun in that. There's little forward movement involved in that. And it's not going to be very exciting, either. Today, it's time for you to decide what you want out of life. Pick up the phone and call someone you know to help you reach your goals. If you're not sure who to call, hire a coach.

Some of the conscious-living choices I've made in the last few years:

_To focus my writing work on at least two areas: self-help and travel. I am doing that successfully now, not only with my two blogs but also with the assignments that I'm pitching and selling.

_To write and/or sell three books in three years. I've sold one. I have another in consideration. And the third is still in the planning stages. I'm on my way.

_To teach my BIKE Lessons. I am doing that also. I taught one four-week course at a homeless shelter this year and hope to return again in the fall. And now I've just begun the coaching sessions. I am working next to better promote my keynote BIKE presentations and look into coaching certification and thank Debra Exner--a certified coach--for her referrals and loaning me a book that is helping me understand the industry and do the best job as I begin this new phase in my career.

I have learned that when I want to do something, that when it's my passion, it's a lot easier to just jump in.

So that's what I'm doing. That's the reason for this July blogathon. When you really want to do something that you know might make a difference, don't sit on it. Just jump right in and begin the process.

For your conscious-living choice today, I hope you decide to make it a great day!

All my best,

Monday, July 7, 2008

What's holding you back?

Do you have a goal in mind but keep putting off the steps you need to take to reach it?

Start paying attention to that procrastination. Is it because of:

_the work involved?
_you don't know where to start?
_it's not something you're really passionate about, but you thought you were at one time?
_you want to be in control but someone else is?
_you just don't want to do it anymore?
_you're afraid you'll fail?
_some other excuse?

Re-read that last word: EXCUSE. We tend to use them a lot. If you're hearing yourself making up reasons in your head why you're going to be late to that meeting, why you failed to turn in that assignment on time, why you're not as organized as you'd like to be, you're making up excuses. You're trying to justify behavior that needs to be improved. Ouch!

It doesn't matter why you're going to be late. If you're going to be late to the meeting or miss turning in that assignment on time, just let the waiting party know and leave it at that. Plan better next time. It doesn't even matter why you're not organized. It's not the why that's so important. What matters most is what you're going to do about it now. Now that you've recognized there is a problem, how are you going to eliminate it? More than likely, there's a deeper meaning behind the reasons you're hiding behind. The next time you find yourself making excuses--and you know when it happens; you can hear yourself planning the reasons in your head--just be honest with yourself. Just stop yourself and say, instead, "I'm making up an excuse for not doing what I know I needed to do." Be honest with yourself. That's the first step in being able to eliminate excuses out of your life. That's the first step toward becoming the responsible, mature adult you're meant to be.

I know that may sound harsh, but it's these simple, little excuses that hold us back. They give us the "right" to be late, the "right" to procrastinate, the "right" to hold other people back from doing their jobs or moving their lives forward. Our excuses get in their way, just as much as they get in ours.

Don't worry, though. You're not alone. We've all made excuses at least once in our lifetimes. And sometimes we do it for good reasons (insert yours here). I know I have. But when I'm being honest with myself, then I am made to pay attention to the real reason behind my tardiness, my procrastination, my lack of interest, or whatever the case may be. But if there's something more, I am then free to figure that out. And I realize I don't need the excuse. No one really cares or needs to know. They just need me to get the job done, whatever it is. When I realize that, then that's when I begin to focus on the solution, which might be something as simple as better planning.

So, what's holding you back? Can you make a promise to yourself today to consider the excuses you've been using and decide to let them go? Can you promise yourself that you'll take the steps today to do what it takes to move forward? Can you give yourself that gift?


Speaking of moving forward and gifts, we have a new member who has officially joined the July Blogathon I've planned with a few professional speakers. Welcome Suzy Graven to the group, Her blog is called Secrets of the Savvy Woman. If you're curious to know what they are, Suzy might share them with you if you visit her blog.

All my best,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Inspirational moments occur when you let them

I write about divorce a lot here. It happened to be a major obstacle that threatened to change my life for the worst. At least, that's what it does for a lot of people. With conscious and continued effort, I managed and am managing not to let that happen. I'm very thankful, and that's one reason why I share my message here and elsewhere. I know mine was an obstacle that, unfortunately, 50 percent of married couples face today.

It's all too common, but I know it's also just one obstacle out of millions that people deal with daily. So that's why I'm posting this link today about Daryn Kagan. When the former CNN anchor was faced with the loss of a job--CNN chose not to renew her contract after 12 years of service--she didn't let the "rejection" ruin her. She let it take her on a new path--the path of telling inspiring stories, including her own. She has a new book out called What's Possible! that I intend to buy. In it, she tells the stories of people who have overcome impossible odds. What could be more inspiring?!

As I think about my friend who recently committed suicide, I am also thinking: why couldn't she overcome what was disturbing her? Perhaps it was the bi-polar. But when I look back at her life and the 20+ years I knew her, I can see that she had so many other things that didn't go right, including her health. Near the end, she'd just lost her mother to pancreatic cancer and was dealing with a legal issue as well. Perhaps she just gave up. But she left behind a beautiful daughter who now has her own "rejection" to deal with. Luckily, she knows she is not alone. Because of tragedies like these, I look for inspiring moments. I want to see how other people like the Daryn Kagan's of the world overcome their odds. I'm not judging my friend. Not at all. Not ever. I can see that her pain was too deep for her to handle any more. But I do wish, for her daughter's sake, at least, that she could have seen the light. Despite the spiritual nature she believed she had--She left affirmation notes all over her home--she somehow she missed that.

If you're dealing with troubling times, I ask you to look for the light. And realize that there have been difficult days in your life before. We all experience them on various levels. Think of them now. What obstacles have you overcome lately? What was the worst thus far? How did you come out of it? Did you always know you would?

Share your stories here with others so we can benefit from your lesson learned. That's the purpose of sharing. We can all learn from each other.

All my best,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

When was the last time you rode your bike?

My friends know all about me and my bike riding. They know I'm all about the BIKE. They know it's my passion. So it was with great pleasure when I read that a writer friend of mine started riding her bike today.

I mean, I was absolutely thrilled for her.

It sounds crazy, I know, to care that much. And I know I say this mental BIKE isn't about a bicycle or exercise, for that matter. But that's where my work with BIKE originated. I'll continue to be a true believer for as long as I live in the healing qualities of bike-riding and the importance of giving yourself the time it allows for meditation and introspection--even if I'm not riding myself. I know that there is power in the pedaling. I know there is power in the rides. I know there is much to be discovered about oneself when given the time and opportunity to do that. I know there is growth waiting for my friend from the seat of her bike. So, yes, I'm thrilled.

I may have mentioned this before, but I remember some of my earlier rides, about a year into it. I'd lost something like 40 pounds (probably more) and had gone from a size 12 to a size 2 because of my rides. I was in the best shape of my life in all aspects: physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually. I had never felt better about who I am as a woman. And there I was riding around this loop in a city park at the end of the path I rode daily. I always added a few extra miles there. And as I rode, I'd watch other women walk around the loop. At one point, I remember literally stopping to chat with one of them.

"You should try bike riding," I told her, sharing with her my weight loss success.
"Yeah, yeah, I've done that before," she said, and kept on walking.

I think she may have been bothered that I disturbed her, but I wanted to spread the word. I wanted other women to feel how I felt. I still do. I had never been more comfortable inside of my body than at that time. I was at the beginning stages of learning to love myself. And like any love affair, it was hot and heavy in the beginning. It's that feeling that keeps me motivated to continue with some form of exercise program still today, whether it's bike-riding, jogging, walking, or anything else. I know what it feels like to feel my best. And I never want to lose that for long.

Oh, I have had my moments where I've lost that good feeling for a while. You know, the challenges of the day affect me just like anyone else. I get caught up with work and off-balance from time to time. Life happens. But I never stray too far from those good feelings about myself, even though sometimes I may have to fight for it. But part of the reason that I can stay focused like that is the exercise. Part of it is the bike-riding or whatever other physical activity I can fit into my day. I remember all too well how good I felt, and I just won't allow myself to get too far from that. It would be a real shame if I did.

Yes, I am thrilled for my friend who, today, just got on her bike for the first time in a long time. She reported she only rode a little more than 10 mintues. But I could tell she was proud of herself. I told her that's exactly how I started. And those first ten minutes or so changed my life.

So...when was the last time you rode your bike?
(I took the photo above of that painting I mentioned a few posts back. It now hangs in my office. Painted by an artist who goes by the name of JoJo, you can find more of his work at his gallery called Lola in Jerome, Ariz.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

How Brinkley can avoid the "victim" role

Christie Brinkley, who is divorcing her husband of 10 years because of his affair with a teenager, is in for a long healing process.

She's been criticized, I've read in the news, by her husband Peter Cook's attorney for being angry and perhaps using that anger to get back at Cook. But it's good to see that she can respond to that criticism fairly. Of course, she's angry. She has a right to be angry. Her husband cheated on her. It's a classic case. There's nothing new here. And it's typical that her husband and his lawyer are trying to paint her as somehow wrong for feeling that anger, that it's a detriment to her children.

I'm sure she's handling this in the best way she can, given the circumstances. And I hope she stands her ground. No, she doesn't want to stay in a place of anger for long. Of course not. But she's still right in the middle of a really devastating experience. If you haven't been the "woman scorned," if you don't know what it's like to feel so discarded, then you probably won't understand her anger. But I know from my own similar experience that she has to allow herself to feel that anger. For too long now, I bet she's felt nothing but numb. There was testimony that after she learned of her husband's affair that she felt sick to her stomach, that she couldn't eat for days, that her friend found her on the street, hunched over--almost in a catatonic state.

I felt that exact same way. You can't believe what you're hearing, you don't want to believe it, but you know it's true. How are you suppposed to deal with this kind of betrayal. We don't get involved in long-term relationships, bringing with us our manuals that describe what to do in circumstances like this. We don't do that. We don't expect we'll ever need to know how to deal with this ultimate betrayal.

It makes sense then, that when it occurs, it's difficult to absorb such a difficult truth.

Oh, Brinkley will want to temper her anger as best she can, but it's ridiculous to think she shouldn't be feeling it. To deny her true feelings would be like pretending that what happened was simply a mistake. Adultery is not a mistake. It's a choice. Cook made that choice, and he may, in fact, be sorry about it. But it's not something that you can just apologize for, as his lawyer is insinuating, and move on.

The betrayal, the many lies it takes to continue living an affair, the person you become when you're in the middle of it, how you treat the woman you're supposed to love, honor and cherish, the guilt that you block out--all of that has an effect on the spouse who's being cheated on...and on the children as well. Brinkley's just now learning and realizing all of this. When you have to come to terms that your whole life with a spouse who cheated on you repeatedly is lie, you question everything you've ever said, thought or believed about him--and yourself as well. Your whole mindset is one big chaotic mess, and you don't know for sure if you'll ever survive it and be whole again. You don't know what you know anymore. It takes more than a few years to absorb that, understand that, get to the point where you can move past it--To even start, you have to have the whole experience behind you first. These people are not there yet.

There is no way to fully understand the depth of the pain this kind of situation can cause. Her husband really did, as it's been reported she said, destroy her life as she knew it. And maybe that life wasn't as perfect as she thought it was, maybe it wasn't as perfect as she wanted to believe it was. Remember what I posted about yesterday, that sometimes we aren't well trained to pay attention to our gut instincts. Maybe this is true in Brinkley's case. I don't know. But for whatever reason, she was drawn to a man who felt less than he is. That could be why he cheated. That could be why he turned to pornography. That could be why he led the secret life he did. My guess is that he had a history of some of this even before meeting Brinkley. Maybe he thought with her things would be different. We do that sometimes, don't we? We do that when we're not being honest with ourselves.

But now she's facing the deeper truth, and it's just not going to be that easy to overcome. She will overcome it, I'm sure of that, but it won't be when someone else expects it of her. If we can learn anything from spectacles like these, it's that. You can't push someone into "getting over it." Some may never do that. Some may not want to. But most of us, I'd like to think, will get there when we get there. If we can learn to have that kind of undertanding about human behavior, we'd be so much better off.

Whatever decision the court comes up with as to the custody issue of their children, well, that's not going to end the pain, either. No matter if she gets full custody, or if they share custody, it doesn't end the pain. In some cases, it could be the beginning of a whole new kind of pain.

I feel for her. It's hard for me to feel for Cook, of course. But I do feel for her. She's being criticized for causing this trial to be made public. But I don't know if that's the entire story. Of course her husband would want it kept private. He's admitted to behavior no father should want his children to know about, and certainly not his mother to read about in the papers or see on TV. For Brinkley's sake, I hope she's not involved in a public trial to get back at her husband. That won't serve her well in the long run. I doubt that she is; I think she's doing exactly what she feels is best for her children. It just may not look that way to outsiders who don't have access to all the information and may not be able to understand what this family is going through.

What will serve her well in the long run, however, is if she can come to terms with what he did, realize it was his issue and not hers. And it will take daily, conscious effort to let go of what he did and just focus on what she needs to do to move forward. That takes a really strong sense of self, courage, trust and faith. In my life, that's called BIKE.

I'd love to teach her how to ride.

All my best,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Speak now...or forever hold your peace

My former pastor used this line the day I married the man I'd divorce ten years later.

"Speak now...," he told our family and friends sitting in the wooden pew of our church. But to whom was he really saying those words, do you think? Was he really saying them to the audience, or was he giving the couple before him one last chance to be honest before making what is expected to be a lifelong commitment. Wasn't he really making the point hit home that wedding vows are more than just words and signatures on a piece of linen paper? Wedding vows involve trust and faith and honesty--to yourself and others. Wasn't he really talking to me and my former spouse?

On that day, I married a man I had an inkling I shouldn't. I'd even postponed the wedding once. But I eventually married him, anyway. I was committed. How was I supposed to know he really wasn't? I had an "inkling," that's why. I recently had a conversation with a girlfriend who'd once done the same thing. And I even have a male friend who'd done this also. Not surprisingly, not one of us are still married to those spouses.

We did a few things wrong when we said our "I do's." For one thing, we didn't listen to our gut. Each of us had more than just the pre-wedding jitters. We were each having conversations in our heads about the mates we were about to marry. Maybe those inner thoughts came early on in the relationship--most do--or maybe they came later. Maybe they even occured at the time of engagement, when I said "yes" but meant to say, "No, it's too soon. I'm not sure." No matter. Whenever that internal dialogue arrived, we chose not to listen to it. The words were the warnings that could have kept us from making a mistake, but we chose to ignore them, to push them away, to believe they involved false fear. We chose not to listen to them. I say chose with good reason. Hopefully, all three of us can look back on the decision made on our wedding days and realize the choice really was ours to make, mistake or not. We did it. We have to own it.

The second thing we did wrong was refuse to "speak now." Not only did we not listen to our gut (our natural and internal security system), but we refused to talk about it out loud. Once again, we chose not to speak out, speak up, or "speak now." We forever held our peace, as the phrase goes.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Ignoring gut instinct, not speaking out loud to someone about our fears or concerns, it's not something that only happens at weddings. It happens daily. It happens to many of us. It gets us in trouble. So, why do we do it?

We do it for several reasons, one of which involves the family of origin. We learn early in our lifetimes whether or not to pay attention to those warning signals. If you grew up in an openly peaceful atmosphere, where you were listened to and loved unconditionally, where you could express yourself without fear of being reprimanded, you probably learned to pay attention to your gut. You learned to trust what your body was telling you. You learned how to be honest with yourself and others. If, on the other hand, you grew up in a household of uncertainty and insecurity, where there was addiction, where the authority figures in your life were unhappy. If you worried about making too much noise as a child, or, worse, if you took on the job as people pleaser because you just wanted everyone to be happy, you probably learned to ignore what you really felt. You probably learned to turn off the gut instinct. You learned that you couldn't trust your feelings. They might reveal too much, and then you'd have to deal.

As a child, you don't know any of this. You don't understand it. It's not until you begin making mistakes as an adult, and the mistakes start adding up, that you have to finally begin paying attention. If you don't, you're doomed to continue failing or not living up to your potential.

As I've said many times here, it was the wake-up call that tuned me in to my gut instinct.

If I hadn't had that, if my then-husband hadn't come home to tell me about his sexual addiction, I might not ever have known I even had a tune-in problem. I would have gone on ignoring my feelings. After all, I didn't have anything to go on other than "feelings," and what are they?! So what if he wasn't a very emotional guy, if he kept his feelings to himself, if he couldn't seem to relate to me on an emotional level? So what if I felt alone when I was with him? He was still here, wasn't he? Wasn't he? I didn't understand the full significance of what I was even thinking back then, let alone the feelings. But his revelation woke something up in me that forced me to pay closer attention. It was his truth. He finally chose to be honest with me, and I could finally admit there was a problem. He stopped hiding behind his, and I could stop hiding behind mine.

To this day, I don't know why he did that. But I'm grateful. It forced me to see the error of my ways, that I'd known something was wrong all along, that I'd been right to question myself.

If you are experiencing internal dialogue that you've chosen thus far to ignore--because, maybe, you don't like the message it's suggesting--my challenge to you today is to chose to listen to it. I've said this before, but I'll say it again (because some messages are worth repeating), your gut instinct is sometimes the only way you have to know if you're on the right track...or not. If you've been questioning a decision you need to make, if you've been stalling, if you're unsure, then I urge you to pay attention to that uncertainty, especially if this uncertainty comes with headaches or muscle spasms or a skin rash. Journal about it. It could be that your mind-body connection is trying to tell you something.

Then, when you can muster up the courage, decide to be vulnerable enough to have the conversation with the person your uncertainty involves. I call this your Expressive voice--it's the E in BIKE--and the voice needs to be expressed.

Speak now. There's no better time.

All my best,

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

An unexpected memorial

I just received one of those calls you just never want to recieve. It's one where you know immediately the news is not going to be good. You can hear it in the tone of voice. Sadness cannot shield itself from the ears, if you're listening, if you're aware. If I were present with this person, I would have seen it in her eyes. I wish it were not so.

This person was the daughter of a good friend of mine from when I first moved to Phoenix back in 1987, as a college student, finishing up my last semester with an internship. This woman was one of the first neighbors I met at our apartment complex. We quickly grew close, as close as a person will let you. Her daughter played with my daughter. We became companions and friends who kept in contact with each other off an on throughout these past years--except for in the last three or four. We lost touch, as friends sometimes do. I never stopped thinking about her, but I lost touch. And I never reconnected, even though I thought about it many times.

Now I won't have the opportunity. That opportunity is lost. My friend's daughter called to tell me her mom had committed suicide. She'd been hurting, she'd been in pain, she was bi-polar, my friend's daughter said. After all these years, I never knew that. I knew she'd lived with an illness for many years that kept her with very little energy. I knew she was in pain most of the time. And I knew she'd survived breast cancer. I knew all of that. But I never knew she was bi-polar. It wouldn't have made a difference. She was a woman with a big heart, just not big enough for herself. She is the woman I'll remember as being there for me as best she could. I knew that. She is the woman I'll remember as being the person who always was the first to send out her holiday greeting cards. For nearly 20 years, hers was always the first to arrive in my mailbox. Believe me, I noticed when they stopped. But, you know, I didn't call. I just accepted that she needed a break. She's also the woman I knew couldn't accept what she gave. There was a hesitancy when you reached out to hug her, and she didn't know how to ask you for anything. Maybe she thought you'd say no, but you wouldn't have, if given the chance.

There are a lot of should'ves I could be reciting right now. Her daughter and I spoke on the phone for as long as she could. It was hard. I'm numb. My friend kept a lot to herself. She revealed things that were painful, but only on the surface. She couldn't go deep enough. I know now that's because she didn't know herself well enough. She didn't trust herself well enough. She didn't have the strength, at least she wasn't aware that she did. Because she had all of what I speak about here at the BIKE blog. She was capable. She just didn't know. My friend is a good example of what happens when we're not aware of our gifts. We get lost. We get lost in the pain.

I've missed my friend these past years. But more importantly, like her daughter, I'm sorry I didn't know she needed more than just to be missed. A hug wouldn't have cured her depression, I know. Letting her talk wouldn't have been enough. She had issues with her parents that were never resolved. I couldn't have helped her with that. How do you reach a person to help them find a way to help themselves, to become whole, to fill the soul with the inner peace and love we all deserve. My BIKE helped me, of course, but I wasn't lost in the sense that I could never be found.

I feel like that's exactly what my friend was. She was lost and never had the chance to find herself. She never knew she could have found herself. If you know what it's like to feel like that even for an instant--and I do--but then to think what it would be like to feel this way all the time, with no end in sight, because you can't see it, that's the kind of pain I now realize my friend suffered daily.

If you believe in heaven, as I do, then you know that's where my friend is now, getting that love she never quite felt here. Not because the people around her were incapable of giving it, but because she was incapable of receiving it. Not because she didn't want to, but just because she didn't know how. Now, I can understand why she was so free to give me advice and to praise me. She did that all the time. I didn't need the praise, but she was free to give it. What she really needed, though, was to turn that praise around and bestow it on herself. I'd like to believe she's doing that now, that she's getting the love she's always deserved.

For us here on earth, that's something we'll have to believe. I don't want to think anything else.

So this is for you, Micki. I'm proud to have been your friend. I wish I could have been more.

There is love,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blogathon: Take 2

Thanks to Michelle Rafter and her idea for the Blogathon I participated in May with a group of writer friends from Freelance Success, Michelle included, I decided to approach the idea with a group of speaker friends from NSA Arizona. They thought it would be a great idea, so here we are. For the month of July, we plan to post at least once a day on our individual blogs. Take a few minutes to see who we all are and what we're all about:

Jackie Dishner, that's me. I have this blog, BIKE WITH JACKIE. And I'm just this week launching my new travel blog, The Phoenix Traveler.

Susan Ratliff is a trade show expert and a great motivator to others. She's got great ideas for increasing your visibility at Bling My Booth.

Andrea Beaulieu is a highly creative woman who teaches you how to find your authentic voice. She also encourages you to live your life at its best at Conspiracy of Love.

Mimi Meredith inspires you to create better lives, workplaces and communities. The Blooming Blog helps spread her message.

Beth Terry shares her commonsense solutions to everyday work and life issues at Corporate Cowgirl. She's also an inspiration to her fellow friends and colleagues.

Vickie Mullins creates things: your office collateral, your newsletters, and really special books. She talks about it all at her two blogs: Mullins Creative and Vickie Mullins.

Michelle May, a physician and author helps you eat for the right reason--because you're hungry. She talks about diet and food and how consumed we are about all it at at her blog in the East Valley Tribune newspaper.

Arlene Rosenberg helps her clients achieve personal and professional rewards. Her blog, Leading Achievers, shares inspirational stories behind her work.

Stanley Bronstein is a motivational speaker who helps businesses perform at their best. Click on his name to check out his words of wisdom.

Suzanne Holman is the million dollar productive coach. She helps you achieve the millions that you deserve. Learn more at Lessons for Your Million Dollar Life.

And these other four individuals from Arizona will join us shortly:

Suzy Allegra
Suzy Graven
Maggie Hunts
Barbara Kaplan

Be sure to visit regularly. I'll keep you updated on what my friends are doing with their blogs. We'll work at scheduling interviews and guest blogs, and we'll try to keep it interesting for you.

Till tomorrow,