Rescue You, Rescue All

Your Hero’s Journey: Rescue from Without


How often do we secretly – or not so secretly – wish that someone or something would rescue us?


When I was in preschool, I remember playing this imaginary game with another little boy I had a crush on. Granted, I was in preschool, so I didn’t know what a “crush” was. I did know a lot about Disney princesses though. So I decided this dark haired boy was my prince.


We were out on the playground and I pretended that I was tied to a tree. I decided I was “Minnie Mouse” and he would be “Mickey Mouse.” I was yelling, “Mickey! Mickey! Save me! Save me! The train is coming and it’s going to run me over!”


Let’s just say Mickey got tired of this game pretty quickly and went to go play on the swings.


How often do we keep ourselves tied up so that someone else can save us?


But maybe a better question is…why?


As humans, one of our basic needs is for connection. Yes we need shelter, food, and basic necessities to physically survive. But as emotional beings we also require psychological support as well. We crave true, authentic connection.


Throughout our life, we may learn things that make us believe we are not capable. That we cannot trust ourselves. That life is scary and we are not enough.


Couple this with our basic need for connection and you’ve got a “Rescue Me” paradigm.


Sometimes though, in our effort to balance this, we can swing far into the opposite extreme. We can take independence to the max. We believe that we MUST do everything all by ourselves, in order to be “worthy.” This is just another way of seeking that authentic connection.


In the Hero’s Journey, there comes a time when the Hero truly does need a powerful guide, friend, or supportive helpers to bring her back to everyday life.


Think Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when Glenda the Good Witch instructs her to tap her ruby red slippers three times and say “There’s no place like home.”


The Hero needs encouragement, but not because she is broken. She needs it because she has embarked on something major. And although she has realized the boon within herself, it does not mean she no longer needs support.


Where do you need support in your life?


And where are you (or are you not) asking for it?


The thing with support is that most people do not know 1) that you need help, 2) how to give you the help you need, or 3) believe that they are the ones that can help you.


You need to be clear with the Universe (aka ask the people around you) on the kind of assistance you need. Not everyone will want or be able to hold the space that you desire in order to heal and bring this gift into the world.


But it just takes one.


Find that one person who sees you as an empowered Soul, who believes in you, and who is willing to listen and love you unconditionally as you go through this journey. Be that person for others.


Like a chain of Light, we are linking to each others Power in an authentic way, a way that enhances our connection, rather than drowns it. A way that helps us realize we are our own rescuers. A way that helps us rise out of co-dependence and even independence into a state of interdependence.


In this way, when we rescue ourselves, we rescue the world.


Love Always,


Your Magic to Fly

Your Hero’s Journey: Magic Flight


The reason we resonate so much with the Hero’s Journey is that we inherently recognize it as the path we are always on during our life.


This journey transcends time, place, culture, and religious upbringing.


In fact, I learned a great deal from the story of Moses. A great teacher of mine told one version of this story to me.


In this story, Moses is fleeing with his people from the Egyptians. He knows he needs to get to the Red Sea.


But he takes the wrong path.


He does get to the Red Sea…but it is not parted.


His people are behind him, depending on him, and the Egyptians are bearing down.


What would you do?


Moses tunes into himself. “I had this vision that we are supposed to cross here. This must be the way to go.”


Moses trusts that although he took the “wrong” path, that he is here and so it must be the right path.


So he walks into the sea, up to his ankles. Nothing happens. His people wonder what he is doing.


Then he walks in to his knees. Still nothing happens. His people are growing more concerned by the moment.


He walks into his waist. His people start yelling, “Hey Moses! What the F*** are you doing?!”


Moses remains calm and walks in up to his chin, still the sea remains. His people can literally see the Egyptians over the crest of the hill. The fear is palpable.


Then Moses walks all the way in, fully submerged. Even his staff is under water. He takes his last breath…


…and the sea parts.


He and his people run through the parted sea, just as the Egyptians approach. The sea closes like a curtain behind them, blocking the Egyptians from reaching them.


Moses had to go all in and trust.


If Moses had taken that “right” path and reach the Red Sea when he could have crosses, the Egyptians would have been able to cross as well, follow them, and kill them.


If you want the Universe to go all in with you, a toe in the water is not going to do it.


It’s OK to step fully forward into the unknown and trust yourself.


This story represents the stage in the Hero’s Journey where the hero must escape with the boon. It’s called “Magic Flight.” This magic flight can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as to go on it.


Taking flight is the hero completely believing in herself. Literally taking a leap of faith. Because with the boon of the journey, she has also realized that the boon lies within herself.


She knows she must share this boon, her Real Self, with the world. So she is willing to take the risk, take flight, and see where the magic takes her.


Love Always,


Sharing Your Gift

Your Hero’s Journey: Refusal of Return


A bodhisattva is a person, who with great compassion, achieves nirvana to benefit all sentient beings.


Legend goes that the bodhisattva leaves the village, goes to the mountaintop, attains enlightenment, and then goes back down to the village to bring others to this same mountaintop of nirvana.


The story of the Buddha is an example of such a legend.


One thing that many do not know though, is that in this story, the Buddha initially is hesitant to teach. Not because he did not want to help. But because what he wanted to teach could not be communicated with merely words.


In the Hero’s Journey, the hero may refuse to return after she has achieved her ultimate boon. Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto her fellow beings.


Have you ever experienced this, my dear?


Whether it be not wanting to “go home” after a relaxing vacation or retreat, or feeling that words lack the depth you want in order to describe your vision, many Hero’s refuse to share our gift with the world.


But in this refusal, we can choke off our bliss.


We are constantly evolving, constantly growing.


So although it may feel like we are “going back” by engaging with the “real world,” what we are really doing is bringing this peace, bringing the “real world” to others.


One of my clients, after experiencing such radical healing in her body and life, was hesitant to return to seeing her family after months of being away. It was the holidays, and even though she was very happy where she was, she was dreading the interaction with her parents. Not because she didn’t love them. Because she felt they wouldn’t get her anymore.


With courage, she decided to step into that world. Because when we engage with others, we truly are allowing ourselves to step into their world as well. What she experienced amazed her. Although she didn’t have the same conversations as she may have with her Soul Family, her tribe she has met along the way, she was able to have deeper level conversations about life with her family. She actually saw, heard, and felt that they were opening up to her new lifestyle. She even felt like she “got” where they were coming from too. Through the whole interaction, she didn’t feel like she needed to explain herself at all.


That’s because she wasn’t explaining her vision. She was living it.


We can truly never walk back through the same door ever again. We are always evolving into more of who we are. We can experience similar lessons along the way, but we are experiencing them at a higher level than before, for a deeper learning.


As we learn more, as we experience more peace with and within ourselves, it is part of our Hero’s Journey to share this gift with others. It’s not an obligation, you can and may indeed initially refuse.


But when we see how much the world needs our help, needs our presence, how can we not step forward as our best selves? How can we not feel gratitude for our own healing and want to share that with others?


How can we not ask, "How may I serve?"


Love Always,


Reaching Your Destiny(ation)

Your Hero’s Journey: The Ultimate Boon


What is the thing, that once you attain it, you feel you will have fulfilled a major piece of your destiny?


I believe that even though we all intuitively know that “having” something outside of us will not make us happy in and of itself, that as humans we all still deeply crave to engage with our dreams as a process of discovering what we truly desire.


I dream of creating a home for authentic living and leadership, call The Haven. It is a physical space for healing and change, where you come to BE. It’s a sustainable farm, retreat center, and school. It’s a family, a community, a tribe. It’s a way of life.


Even though I want this very much, whenever I find myself feeling any “lack” for not having it, I remind myself that this place, this Haven, is inside of me. It’s inside of you too.


It’s Your Haven Within.


The external goal is there to help me reach inside myself, day after day, to find my internal soul that can bring it into being.


The thing with healing anything, with achieving anything, is that we ARE that thing, first, before we recognize it’s physical representation in our reality.


On the Hero’s Journey, this achievement is called the "Ultimate Boon." Note that this happens AFTER the shamanistic death, or apostasis. The Hero lets go of who she thinks she is in order to be who she really is.


The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the Hero for this step.


One client I worked with was driven to help women empower themselves. She was drawn to faith healing, to showing up fully, to teaching others to be their best selves by practicing this in her own life. As she went through her journey, she experienced all of the stages.


She heard the call. She refused it. She had supernatural aide coming at her from all directions. She decided to cross the threshold and undergo an utter inner and outer transformation in the “belly of the whale.” She experienced more than her fair share of trials – trials I was awed by how she handled with grace and strength, even as she struggled. She was tempted to go back, to give up on this mission and go lead a “normal” life, but she knew she couldn’t. She had come too far. She atoned with the authority figure in her life, and integrated that power in her own authentic leadership. She even experienced the apostasies, the representation of death by completely letting go of the outcome. And through this process, she realized the ultimate boon – she was able to heal herself, be a space for other women to heal, and the true gift – be her complete self in the process.


I believe that’s all we all really want – to just be our damn selves. No restrictions. No judgments. Just complete acceptance of who we really are.


Just be you, and all that you desire finds you.


After all, it is your Destiny(ation).


Love Always,


Letting Go of Who You Think You Are

Your Hero’s Journey: Apostasis


When you pass on, what words would you want on your gravestone?


Thinking or talking about death in our society can be seen as morbid. It is, and it isn’t. The power is the way we decide to converse about this. Because it is something all living creatures have in common.


A powerful exercise is to float out into the future, to the end of your life, and look back towards now. What do you want to have experienced? Contributed? Received? Connected with?


Who do you want to be?


The biggest challenge with stepping into the creation of what we want to experience is the underlying knowing that we must give up who we think we are.


There is a stage on the Hero’s Journey called Apostasis. It is also referred to in different cultures as shamanistic death.


This is when the hero dies a physical death or dies to the self to live in spirit. In this death, she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion, and bliss.


The death is of the attachment and identification with the ego. As long as we live, we will always have a personality. It’s like our heart or our lungs – it was given to us for a soul to experience life. But when we let go of the attachment to the personality – to the limits we place on who we believe we are, we can experience true peace.


We can do this in seemingly small and big ways. For example, someone deciding to be sober and no longer consume drugs or alcohol is not only letting go of a way of living, they are letting go of an old way of being. Similarly, someone who thinks of themselves as “always anxious” can choose – maybe a little or a lot at a time – to let go of this identity and live as the calm and strong being they truly are.


Apostasis is a letting go, a surrender, and a choice to see the union among duality. To be able to sink into that larger perspective that we have both “good” and “evil” inside of us, but we also have the ultimate power to choose which of those to feed.


This is the kind of death that frees you, the death of fear.


I will leave you with a poem I wrote one day, inspired by life itself.


Dear God.

Thank God I am dying.

For it means I know how to truly live.

To be ripped open by Passion

And devoured. Whole.

Into the abyss of Eternity

And all that lies within

To breath in


And transmute it to Life.

In this Death, there is Joy.

Dear God, thank God

I am dying.


Love Always,


Becoming the Teacher

Your Hero’s Journey: Atonement with the Father


I was crouched down outside of the Forest Hall, with my hands clutching my heart.


I could not stop uncontrollably crying.


Rewind just ten minutes before. I was laughing and playing with my group at the Thailand mindfulness center called The New Life Foundation. I had stumbled upon this miraculous healing place from a fortuitous and serendipitous chain of events – aka met someone who told me to go somewhere where I met someone else who told me to come here.


We were engaged in an improv workshop. The goal of the workshop was to simply be completely present in any activity or role you were playing. The facilitator was moving from one act or scene to the next, so we never knew what to expect.


I was exhausted from staying up late the night before and being awakened by the regular roosters and dogs that call Thailand home. So exhausted I couldn’t think anymore, I simply was following the crowd.


Suddenly, the facilitator grabbed his chest, and fell.


As if he was having a heart attack.


No thoughts went through my mind. It was simply raw unfiltered energy.




I ran out the door.


And let the sob rip through me.


Gasping for air, my mind could not understand at that moment why on earth I was reacting so viscerally to what was obviously a play-act of death. My mind could only watch as it stood aside and allow myself to sob out every tear in my body.


I was lucky to have good friends nearby. A few came out and simply held me, not needing any explanation to why I was reacting this way.


After what felt like an eternity, I had the strength to walk upright. We walked up the hill.


I told my friend, “My dad. He died of a heart attack.”


It was as if all those years of grief culminated in my soul finally, and viscerally, watching him die. And in that moment, I felt fully free.

I would never be the same again.




In this stage of the Hero’s Journey, the Hero must confront and be initiated by whatever or whoever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. In many myths and stories, this is the father, or a father-figure who has life and death power. The is the center point of the journey.


In Star Wars, Darth Vader represents this for Luke Skywalker. In Harry Potter, it’s Dumbledore. For me, it was my dad. For you it may be someone totally different, even a woman.


This is the initiation stage, where the Hero steps fully into the role of the leader.


Facing authority can be intimidating for many. Some of us avoid it by rebelling against it, some of us by placating to it. When we truly face authority, we do so on equal ground.


Even if externally we feel like we are David in David and Goliath, when we face authority with courage, we are choosing to see ourselves as equal. When we believe this, our outer world mirrors our inner, and that authority recognizes our own authority within us.


You write your own rules.


You become the teacher.


Love Always,


Keeping to Your Own Path

Your Hero’s Journey: Distraction and Temptation


I was on my fourth chocolate-chip peanut butter cookie. And I was rationalizing to myself that at least they were homemade “healthy” cookies, made with almond flour, honey, and organic peanut butter.


But something inside of me was telling me otherwise.


I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew I had a great job. I loved the people I worked with. I even felt that the work was important. The income and benefits were great. But I couldn’t help asking myself…why do I feel so lost?


The question behind it all was really, “What is my purpose?”


We’ve all experienced and even caved to distraction and temptation. We are human beings after all. It might not be cookies for everyone, but getting on social media when we feel depressed (does that work for ANYONE by the way???), or “taking the edge off” with a glass of wine (or whiskey in my case), or even signing up for another training can all be forms of distraction, comfort, and numbing.


Please don’t get me wrong. I think enjoying life, including cookies, the occasional hot toddy, smiling at baby pics on Instagram, and enhancing your own personal growth and development are all good things.


Really, it’s the motivation behind WHY we are doing them.


We can take the exact same action, but come at it from two different places.




Or Love.


Fear is what I see creating more scattered, controlling, or attached energy. Fear is what leads to what I lovingly refer to as SOS.


Shiny Object Syndrome.


Oh, I’ve had it. And still to this day must be aware of it. I think any multipassionate, creative person who wants to heal the world can easily get bogged down in SOS.


SOS, temptation, distraction all represent the stage in the Hero’s Journey when the hero feels tempted by material things that may lead the hero to abandon or stray from her quest.


This can also take the form of being tempted to “go back” to a more “comfortable” way of life, and give up on your quest.


The thing is, there is a difference between giving up, and taking a rest.


The way you know is by looking at your motivation.


Is taking the rest – by going to that training, taking some time off, stepping back to look at the bigger picture, enjoying a cookie – allowing you to love yourself MORE?


Or is the temptation, the distraction, merely feeding self-deprecation, discouragement, and burnout?


These are questions only YOU will be able to answer for yourself. Our Hero’s Journey is not easy. There will be times when we want to look back over our shoulder, or to the left and right, and see if there is a way off this ding-dang path we chose.


But what I’ve found is that even when we “fall off the wagon,” or veer off course, we always seem to find out way back to our path.


Because our path is our true life.


After all, it’s the only one we’ve got.


Love Always,


Returning to Love

Your Hero’s Journey: Meeting with Love


Ugh, I’m running late again! I think to myself as I scurry around my apartment, getting my things together. I hurriedly throw on a tank top and shimmy on my slightly worn but oh so favorite Prana pants. They make my butt look nice. Quickly, I dart into the bathroom to grab a hairband for my short, dark blonde hair. In a moment of pause, I remind myself to breathe. I am going to yoga after all.


My blue eyes gaze intently at myself in the mirror. I look OK for having no makeup on and being in a total rush, just slightly flushed. I don’t usually care too much what I look like for yoga, since I’m gonna get all sweaty anyways. After hastily shoving on my Smart Wool socks and my hiking boots, I grab my winter coat and my yoga mat and run out the door.


I walk briskly down the street, careful not to trip over the uneven bricks in the quaint Shepherdstown sidewalks. Although it’s a cold December Saturday in West Virginia, there are still people walking along the main drag of German Street doing holiday shopping. I bustle the block and a half to Jala Yoga, and shove the old door open with a creak.


Good, I’m not late. There are still a few people sitting and standing in the little lobby. Ruth, a sweet, middle-aged woman, gives me a hug as I enter. My friend and yoga teacher, Soozie, is sitting at the little desk writing down people’s names to check them in. But although I love them, these wonderful friends are not what catches my attention.


But the guy sitting on the stairs has.


At first, I thought it was just because he was a guy, and not a lot of guys came to Jala. But in the back of my mind, I was rapidly and semiconsciously deciding if I thought he was cute or not. He had long brown hair in a ponytail and dark eyes. His face was cleanly shaved, but still had a rugged look. He looked to be young, about the same age as me, and looked fit, in a lean way – neither super built nor scrawny.


Hot hippie flashed through my mind.


Followed shortly thereafter by Jesus.


As in the guy looks like Jesus.


As fast as I measure him up, I brush it aside. Play it cool, D. Thank God I wore my Prana pants.


Both he and Soozie look my way as I walk inside and set my things down.


“Hi, Danie!” Soozie smiles warmly as she stands up to give me a hug. When Soozie hugs you, man, it always feels like she really means it. She never rushes away or gives you that half-hearted awkward one-armed hug. She’d hold you and rub your back a little, like she hadn’t seen you in ages. I saw her yesterday.


Soozie continues to stand after our embrace. Almost like she knows my curiosity is brimming over, she nods towards the stairs at her left.


“This is Jonny, remember, the one who gave us directions to the hiking trail in Maryland?”


Recognition hit me. So this is Jesus. Shit… I mean Jonathan.


Upon hearing his name, Jonny stood up to greet me. He had a handsome face to begin with, but his wide grin totally transformed it.


“Hi, I’m Danielle.” I said. I felt quite outgoing and myself at that moment, even though I often felt a little awkward meeting guys for the first time.


“Do you want to be called Danie or Danielle?” Soozie asked. “I keep introducing you as Danie since that’s what I call you.”


“Well, I’ve usually introduce myself as Danielle, since that’s what I call myself in my head,” I answered.


Oh great, I immediately think. Now you’ve just told people you’ve got voices in your head.


I turn to the cute new yogi. “And do you like to go by Johnny or Jonathan? I’ve heard Soozie call you both.”


He paused as he thought about it, gazing upward.


Then his gentle gaze shifted back to me and he replies, “Jonathan, I call myself Jonathan in my head.”


He smiled, like we had a sort of inside joke about introducing yourself what you called yourself in your head. Which could be funny, depending on what you call yourself in your head.


“Jonathan it is then!”


“Well, I guess we should go upstairs and start,” Soozie said, and we walked up the rickety stairs to the yoga room on the second floor.


We roll out our mats, and I lay mine next to Jonathan’s. Not too close…but not too far either. We chat for a bit as other students filter into the room. When Soozie enters we all quiet down.


“So this month I want to focus on the Bhagavad Gita. Specifically, on this idea of dharma—or purpose. The Gita is a story of the warrior Arjuna, and his spiritual guide, Krishna. The story is about this battle, and as Arjuna goes to the battlefield, he looks across at who are supposed to be his enemies and sees his friends, family members, and people he respects. He lays down his bow and says he’d rather die than kill these people. Krishna then explains that it is Arjuna’s duty, his dharma, as a warrior to fight.”


She pauses and takes a breath. I always love Soozie’s classes because she brings these metaphors into them.


“So what do you all feel is your dharma?” She asks the class.


I always want to jump up and answer the questions Soozie asks. Usually I have to restrain myself so that I don’t feel like I am dominating the class. But this time, I really don’t have an immediate answer.


Jonathan answers, “This, the practice, the yoga.”


Hmm, that sounds like a nice answer. Given what is going on in my life currently, I answer as honestly as possible, “Being myself and helping others with that too.”


Soozie smiles and nods her head to both of us, acknowledging our answers. And with that we begin the breathing that will lead us through the asanas, or postures.


Depending on the class and how I am feeling, sometimes I just get right into the zone and focus on my yoga. But today, my mind is a bit distracted and curious about the guy next to me.


During a vinyassa, I surreptitiously peek over and see that he has jumped lightly into a full handstand. His gaze is focused and forward, his arms strong, his shirt is off. All very distracting and nice things to look at.


But I can’t help but stare at the black boxy ankle bracelet on his left leg…




This is the point in the Hero’s Journey where the hero experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all-encompassing, unconditional love.


Sometimes this love is in the form of a God or Goddess, sometimes it is in a romantic partner or a deeply trusted friend.


The stage of falling in love is like none other. It’s vulnerable, it’s inspiring, it’s confusing, it’s mesmerizing.


What if meeting this love isn’t so much about someone else though?


What if this is about falling in love… with yourself?


When we love ourselves, we are able to give so much more of ourselves to the world. When we berate or neglect or criticize ourselves, we cut ourselves off from our own source of love, our own source of power.


The Hero’s Journey is about finding our way back to ourselves.


It’s about returning to love.


Love Always,


What to Do when You're Falling Apart

Your Hero’s Journey: Road of Trials (Part 2)


On the Hero’s Journey, we all encounter our own Road of Trials. The funniest thing is, for some odd reason, we all seem to believe something is fatally wrong with us for experiencing these trials in the first place.


Not so, my dear!


If you feel like you are falling apart, you are not alone. The completion of a relationship, the sudden end to a job, the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies any sort of loss could all be a part of your Road of Trials.


What I’ve found with the empaths I work with is that they are highly sensitive to other people’s suffering… and can be quite unaccepting of their own. We can be very hard on ourselves. Which, added on top of already challenging situations, makes life feel damn near impossible.


When it feels like you can hold it together the answer is not to beat yourself up more for not being perfect. Yes, I know you are aware enough to recognize patterns you may be running that you no longer want to run. But criticizing yourself for not being “perfect” only takes you further along the roller coaster of fear and inadequacy.


There is something simple and powerful that CAN help you when you feel like you are falling apart – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.




Complete acceptance does not mean you need to “like” what’s happening or your behavior. It is simply observing what is happening without judgment. I say that like it’s the easiest thing in the world. We all know it’s not.


That’s why I believe it is important to fully allow ourselves to feel that our feeling are valid.


I was working with a client who experienced a huge personal breakthrough when she realized that her feelings – all of them – including the “ugly” ones – were totally valid!


She was able to use this mantra “My feelings are valid” in every scenario that had caused her suffering and unravel it from the root.


One practice I employ when I feel myself caught up in a shitstorm is the one below. It’s call “Experiencing Your Experience.”


1.     Experience Your Experience

Give yourself permission and space to fully feel your entire experience. This means emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations. If you can take space by yourself or express this aloud to someone who can hold space for you, this is ideal.


State aloud: “I am experiencing… (emotion, body sensation –aka breathing, hunger, etc. -, and/or thought)”


Ex: “I am experiencing Anger. I am experiencing wanting to cry. I am experiencing the thought that I don’t get why this happened to me. I am experiencing taking a breath. I am experiencing…”


2.     Clarify that You are Empowered


Once you feel the intense energy dropping and are experience more space and calm, State aloud: “I am the creator of my reality. I am the chooser. I am empowered to do what is best.”


3.     Take whole-hearted action


From this point of clarity, peace, and empowerment, you can then decide what is the best next step to take.


This process does require a few things. It requires your awareness that you are in the middle of the fire. It requires that you make a choice to give yourself some time and space to process and feel this. It requires bravery to be completely honest with yourself and others. And it requires that you be compassionate and courageous as you move forward in learning from this.


Although it is not easy, I find this process to be comforting every time I use it with myself or with a client. It’s amazing how something so seemingly small as really listening and giving permission to ourselves can create such massive healing and transformation.


Just know, if you are going through some major shit, you are not broken. You never were and you never will be.


You are whole.


Love Always,

The Road of Trials

Your Hero’s Journey: The Road of Trials


Have you ever gone gung ho into something, only to hit an obstacle (or several) when the rubber meets the road?


I ran my first ever marathon October 1, 2016.


I was super excited. I had trained for months. I had bought a new sports bra. I had fancy energy gel packs. I was READY.


And then the rubber hit the road. Or whatever material my New Balance minimalist shoes were made out of.


At mile 0.1, I encountered my first challenge. My running belt was bouncing around, since I wasn’t running with the water bottles I had been during my months of training. “This is gonna get old over 26 miles, but it’s really just annoying, nothing more,” I thought. “Just get in the zone and remember for next time,” I told myself. I trotted along with a great pace, according to my Nike+ Run app.


At mile 2, it started to downpour. Like not just a little sprinkle. A heavy torrent of rain that made me wish that I was wearing goggles with little windshield wipers. Every inch of me was soaked. On the plus side, it made everything stick to me, including the dang running belt, so it was suctioned in place. OK, it’s fine, I’ll dry out.


At mile 4, the possibility of dry seems like a distant memory. We were entering the section of the race that spans the historic C&O canal trail. And rain means, puddles. Lots of them. Funny enough, we were all trying to “avoid” them. I hear someone behind me say “This is going to be a long 11 miles.” That’s when I was like “Fuck it, I’m just gonna run down the middle of every single one.”


At mile 7 my left hip was starting to bother me again. Despite a regular regimen of chiropractic and massage appointments, the week before it had started to feel inflamed. I was hoping that resting would allow it to be back in tiptop shape, but I could feel that aching coming into my gait. “I can keep going though. It’s quite flat on the trail. And by the time I get to the hilly section, I’ll be totally in my groove,” I reassured myself.


Then, I devised a great plan! Normally, I run with music. Music seems to anchor me to really positive states and heightens my running experience. So I decided I would take a break from the music and listen to the rain and the forest for a bit, and at mile 13, the half way point, I would turn my music back on and Presto! It’d be like starting the race all over again. A perfect reset button for my energy.


Except the Universe had other plans for me.


My phone died.


Yep, the piece of equipment that I had been using to pace myself, keep me energized, and know how far I had come up and went kaput on me in the eleventh hour. Or mile 7.5.


OK, now I’ve had it.


This isn’t the fun time I thought it was going to be.


My inner privileged-white girl just wanted to go drink a pumpkin spice latte and be done with this.


Because of the rain, a lot of the mile markers hadn’t been put out. And because this was a grassroots, local race, there were water stations every three miles or so. And there ain’t a whole lot of smart people who decide they want to run a 26 mile race in West-by-God Virginia in an October rainstorm. So there weren’t many people around.


It was just me… and me.


The ultimate test. I knew this was more than just physical endurance. It was even more than mental endurance.


I had to remember and connect with WHY the flip I decided to do this...




The "Road of Trials" is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals, that the hero must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the hero fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.


Think of the stories A Christmas Carol and the visits to Past, Present, and Future. The Triwizard Cup in Harry Potter. Aladdin’s three wishes.


The Road of Trials can feel like you are undergoing torture…I mean, transformation. It’s where you have to rely on your inner strength to keep you going, because all outer reserves have failed. It’s where you have to pick yourself up out of the dirt, again and again.


The good thing about being face down in the dirt is you don’t have anywhere further to fall.


Falling isn’t failing. Not getting back up is.


So when you find yourself hoofing it on the Road of Trials, take a deep breath. You are exactly where you need to be. You are strong enough.


And you will make it through.


Love Always,