Each time the calendar turns around to January there is so much talk of new beginnings. It is like the change of the number on the year allows people to give themselves permission to do more, be more — or at least entertain the thoughts of such.

I suppose I am no different in a lot of ways. Thoughts parade through my head singing that there are things that I need to improve. I no longer look at it in terms of improving, I decided to just be me to the fullest. As often with any choice or revelation of this kind, it took the sickness and death of my husband. The challenge of a husband with cancer, and four children (two of which at the time were only barely 2 and 3 years old, one in college and one in high school), and a full time teaching job many things had my attention, all but what was happening to myself. A couple months after his death and the mental fog started to lift, I found myself looking in the mirror at someone I did not recognize: a 185lb woman on a barely 5 ft frame.

I have never been what anyone would call thin. Never … well, I may have found a picture when I was three that would match a thin description, but over all — I am just not built that way. I remember going to a family reunion when I was little and noticing that my grandmother and all her sisters were all built short, with round hips and a full chest. They were all a little on the plump side … and I realized that some things are just inherited. Match a round physique with glasses that had to be shaded slightly to ward against headaches triggered by the florescent lights found at school and it doesn’t take much to imagine the fatty/four eyed jokes that were delivered my way while growing up. As with many things, perception did not fit the package.

I managed to stay fit, even through fit never meant thin … until those years of cancer. And the cancer was not even mine. I reflect often how more really needs to be done for the caretakers in any type of situation (not just cancer) … that is another blog.

The realization of how I looked was one thing, the realization that I had to somehow get a life for me and the children back was wrapped up in that mirrored image. I had already went back to my routine of walking, of QiGong, of meditation … but I knew I needed something more. Like so many, it was the turn of the calendar that led me to a friend who is a physical trainer. She talked me into working towards an event called the Warrior Dash in order to retrieve some sense of personal power in my life. She explained that there would be obstacles, mud, 10 foot walls to climb over on an approximately 5K course. What she did not know, is the one we were signing up for was also on a ski slope, giving the change in elevations a whole challenge in itself. I told her no way, not gonna happen. This was not in my makeup to do such a thing. Then she told me we would be joining a group and raising money for charity as part of the group, but the pledges were contingent on us doing the event. How could I say no to charity? I talked my older two sons into signing up with me and the training began.

The race was in August of 2013. I was down to 150 lbs at the time. I finished the race, only modified one obstacle. (The 10 foot wall I went up and back down the same side instead of flipping over to the other side) My knee gave out 1/3 into the race so that it was only possible to ‘fast walk” instead of run between the obstacles. I had a brace on for almost 2 months after that, especially while I was teaching QiGong class. I finished, though, all of it. And my friend, the physical trainer, even though she could have received a very good time for herself, stayed at my pace throughout the course . That tiny gesture and that my sons were all there, two of them also racing were in many ways more powerful to me in the self worth compartment than actually being able to complete such an out of character activity. The other boost to ego came when I saw the results and realized that for my age group I was in the middle of the competitors for completion time.

Fast forward to January 2017. Thinking once again, like so many about what it is I need to do to make a more complete me. What is it that pushes the boundaries just enough to allow a part of self to emerge in ways in which enriches not only day to day life, but allows for the soul to flourish. I thought about my physical goals. I have been hovering around 140 for the last year, which is 15 pounds over where I would like to be; perhaps that is just who I am. I am stronger, and also have more drive and stamina that I have ever had. Physically I walk (the knee never bounced back enough after the Warrior Dash to allow for running), I practice QiGong and I have recently added Yoga to my routine.

This year I have been asked to facilitate three burning bowl ceremonies. This tradition stems from the want of new beginnings. The ceremony can be done many different ways, but the essence of the ceremony is to allow for anything that is unwanted from the past to go…to be burned up, to allow for the new. Those in attendance are asked to write down their intentions for the new year, and then placed into a flame that represents the Light of the Universe. This, symbolically, releases the intention an allows the Universe, allows God and our connection to Divine to take it from there. This is not the first year I have facilitated, or even been a part of such New Year ceremonies. What I find at these ceremonies, is that those in attendance sometimes place intentions similar to resolutions into the mix: I will get fit, I will be nice …. and others burn up what it is they no longer want to deal with: a break up, a loss of a job, an argument, grieving. All of these are perfect for the individual at the time. All of these intentions are worthy of redirection. What I found for myself when I have been reflecting on how best to lead this time of renewal this year, is that walk I had from not being me to being more me. The walk changed me physically. I definitely learned how to do things, or that I could do things I never thought possible. The thing was, it was just not my physical self that was being transformed. I took the time for studies, for meditation, for prayer. Although it was a goal to find myself in the mirror, we each are so much more than we see in the mirror. We each have some type of yuck  –  and sometimes little yucks daily, that challenge our own core of self. This year I bought candles to give each and every person who comes to the ceremony. The symbolism to burn bright. To allow the unique light that is within to shine without diminish. Sure, there are yucks. For me, to burn up the yuck on a piece of parchment is to burn up a piece of what my experience has been to this point. Don’t get me wrong, some experiences I really have to wonder about. Some experiences kept me struggling emotionally until I found a balance and some I am still trying to find a balance for. What I have learned, however, is that it is not necessary to be driven and ruled by the emotions. The emotions are part of the experience. The emotions allow us to actually delve into the nature of who we are and who we would like to be. Allowing the connection to the Light, and shining that Light makes all the difference. It is where the truth of healing lies, it is in shining our light, in whatever brightness, color or wavy pattern it may be in that we allow others around us to know it is alright to work on the fuel that allows their own light to shine. For me this is so much more powerful than the standard resolution.

This year I am furthering my QiGong training with Master Robert Peng. It is the one ‘physical’ activity that I have found for me that combines the energy, meditation and physical training into one package. It is time for me to further my own understanding of how I fit into that and how I may grow within the practice. Interestingly enough, my first certifications to teach QiGong my husband and I completed together, I would like to think he is proud that I am continuing. I am also more dedicated than ever to the growing of Bolts of Love, the School Keys to the Universe and my own connection with Spirit. I never would have imagined that being talked into a Warrior Dash a few years back would translate into Lighting my personal Warrior Light … championing all that is uniquely me.

Many Blessings for each and every one of you finding your own version of the Warrior Dash this year and allowing your LIGHT TO SHINE.

New Beginnings
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