Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Sometimes a journey begins by letting go.

I had a conversation with my mother the other night about letting go; specifically about how she had to let go of her three children as we grew up. She felt great pains leading into this Mother's Day as she was acutely aware of how long it had been since she had us all under one roof.  I am not a mother myself, but I can only begin to imagine what it feels like to create, foster, support and spend nearly every day with a child and then, eventually, to let them live their own lives.

My first real departure from home was when I was only 14 years old when I went to boarding school. This was a decision I had made and, despite what I imagine was a good amount of fear and reservation of letting me go away, my parents did just that, they let me go.  They knew it was something that could better my education and that I WANTED to go. And that was enough.

Over the next 13 years I attended prep school in New Jersey, college in Chicago and veterinary school in London. Following that, I spent 5 years working near home and, then again, I set out for Denver where I have lived for the past two years. 

Today is a hard day not to be with my mother, my creator, as well as the rest of my family who are celebrating in New York. But it's a good time for me to reflect on the notion of letting go and what it has meant for me in my own personal life.

The most intimate and best example of letting go I can give you is that which revolves around letting go of my eating disorder (bulimia). Even after I began my initial stages of recovery, I still held onto it and used it as a "crutch". I would resort to vomiting usually when I was overwhelmed.  When the physical act of vomiting stopped, the eating disorder voices in my head still lingered. Those witches happily chimed in whenever they damn well pleased.  I realized by allowing these voices in, I still had not escaped from the prison of my eating disorder. It took a LOT to quiet these voices and, to this day, they still rear their ugly heads, especially when I'm tired or stressed. The increase in the volume and intensity of my ironman training, as such, has led to more physical stress, and again these evil voices, like a chorus, seep into my thoughts. I have to work hard to fight them back and allow myself to reach out and gain reassurance from friends and colleagues.  Most importantly,  I have to remind myself that there is a reason I consciously let them go; they are a waste of my precious time.

One of my favorite blog posts I wrote this year was about throwing away my scales (I did this in January). Throwing Away The Scales post For the first time in my recovery, I let go of a very powerful crutch. I knew I was using the scales as a means by which I dictated my daily self worth. (There is a quote I have saved as my background picture on my iphone that says: "Detecto: This scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's It. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, strength, love or character.")  I knew that I had allowed weight to inappropriately filter into so much of my life, yet, for some reason, I wanted to have a scale around; like some sort of twisted and cryptic security blanket.

By throwing away my scales, I let go of the notion that my body weight should and could control who I was as a woman, a friend, an athlete and a mentor. Around the same time, I mustered up an immense amount of courage and took a leap of faith in the way I ate. Instead of constantly being aware of when I ate or what I ate, I just decided to eat whatever I wanted (I usually eat healthy anyway), but more importantly, whenever my body told me she was hungry. I let go of the idea that food consumption needed to be controlled in such a militant and what was, to me, detrimental way.

Just the other day I took a major time out. I literally pulled into my garage, turned the car off, and sat there for 45 minutes sifting through why I had been feeling so anxious lately. I knew I was still exhausted from last week's race but there was something else on which I couldn't quite get my finger. And then, with the rain falling softly outside, like music to my ears, I figured it out. My disappointment in last week's race had much less to do with loss of pride and the failure I felt as an athlete (not just because I thought I failed myself but because I thought I had failed others as well, including my sponsors) but rather, it had much, much more to do with the pressure I put on my new found belief in eating and the HUGE leap of faith I had taken with thinking of food as fuel, not an enemy.  For the first time in my racing career, I had spent months not only training hard but eating properly and without calculating or over-thinking food. For me, this race was a chance to finally come full circle and complete one of my most important and powerful hero's journey. Hero's Journey post I wanted to race like a rockstar and finally be able to tell my brain "see, I told you so!!!"

For decades, I was deathly afraid to overeat for fear of both triggering a bulimic episode and gaining weight. Even when I tried to eat well during ironman training last year,  I still under-ate simply because I didn't know how to eat. Today, I have let go of the fear of eating and finally am beginning to understand how to eat.  Last weekend's race was spectacularly hard on so many levels and I'm lucky to have completed it. I wouldn't have been able to do so if I hadn't been OK with fueling before and during the race. (And my body wouldn't have recovered if I hadn't fed it properly afterwards.)

Letting go can be very difficult but perhaps we should see them as a path to new beginnings and hope for a future we could never have imagined.

Mom, in letting me go, you let me live, to learn and to grow. For that, I love you infinitely. Thank you from the depths of my soul.

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1 comment:

  1. Really hard letting go .All the trash that we bundle ourselves in as protection mostly deaden our feel for the life we live around us.
    You are gonna be fine my dear friend just fine.