Friday, October 21, 2011

There Are No Excuses avoid life. To wallow in self pity. To say, "But I can't!" To abuse your fully-functioning, able/Abel body.


Live your life. Love, laugh, celebrate, SERVE! There are no excuses to do otherwise.
I read the story, below, and was touched. Then I watched the video to which I've linked, and I am sitting here barely able to see from weeping so hard.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back Mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes Taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life. This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was Anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the School organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want To do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he Tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore For two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a Single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then They found a way to get into the race Officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the Qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he Was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick Tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud Getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you Think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with A cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best Time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world Record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to Be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the Time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a Mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass. , always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Book on Metabolic Damage

I recently put this book together in electronic format:

Part of the aim with this book was to get all the information in one place. And because we've pulled all of these articles together, one of the things that struck me was just how quickly Scott got a handle on this phenomenon and started to make relevant connections between symptom and cause (backed up by research) as his understanding of metabolic damage grew. You can see his evolving thinking and his efforts to find solutions to the problem. Pretty amazing stuff, actually.

NOT ONCE do you get the sense that he's going to use this knowledge to milk more money out of competitors/dieters as is so often the primary aim of most "experts" shilling advice in the fitness industry. From day one, it's been about fixing the problem at its source and preventing it from ever happening in the first place.

If you want to understand what the hell is happening to your body if you have experienced any kind of metabolic slowdown, burnout, or complete stall after an extreme diet, read these articles as they're laid out in this new ebook.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Coach's Latest Project

from Facebook:

Food Issues and You - Finally Facing the Phantom Menace

by Coach Scott Abel on Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 3:28pm
Well this project is FINALLY complete. And I think I'd like to share some insights with you. After 2 years and too many hours to count I completed this project last week. As I piled up my reference materials to finish the reference section - I even surprised myself at how much research was actually on my desk. Tens of thousands of pages and 100-200 pages of notes only represent the beginning point - before the writing began.

The project consists of 2 books, one main book, a book supplement, and a workbook, which by itself, I think can change people's lives. Why am I telling you all this?

Cause it changed my life as well. I took on a lot before with Metabolic Damage and with the Body Image book I wrote, "The Other Side of the Mirror." But I was always able to maintain a level of professional detachment. At the completion of this project, I am spent. I didn't realize till the mission was accomplished just how much of other people's suffering I had absorbed and used to motivate me to keep going on this project. And that is a lot of suffering for one person to absorb, believe me.
Not since my days in social work some 25 years ago or more do i remember being left so empty from something. I thought I would share this with you all - or those who are interested. I need time to recharge, regenerate and recuperate. This project has sucked a lot out of me to be sure
It will be a couple to a few weeks now to get it to market, as it now goes into the hands of my web-peeps. But "Food Issues and You-Finally Facing Your Phantom Menace" - a project begun over 2 years ago - is now complete - is now done - and for the interim - I am done as well - exhausted from an effort- I hope you all find as worthy as I hope it to be.

Look for it soon, and I wil of course announce more about it. I am also releasing another diet-related product just before this as well. But I'm mum on that for right now

Thanks for reading this - I just felt maybe you should know what a 2 years long project does to someone - someone invested in it that is

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Something has Happened: My Skin is Starting to Fit...

So, I got on the scale this past weekend. You must understand, I've only "used" the scale in the past few years to mark progress during contest prep. Then it gathers dust (and other things...) on the floor of the bathroom.

But I just decided the other morning to "woman up" and climb aboard.

Let me explain a bit about the lead up to all of this.

I'm not that hungry lately. Really. I mean, yeah, my appetite seems a little increased on leg day, but c'mon! We're talking about Abel leg training here. But whatever. This whole food thing both has and hasn't been my focus of late. I haven't "binged" since I can't remember when. I've eaten stuff that is not "food;" treats, sweets, junk out of boxes and bags, etc. But what's missing is the eyes-rolling-back-in-the-head, eat 'til it HURTS kind of thing like you do post-contest (and sometimes well beyond) when it feels like you can never get enough.

So why am I not very hungry? Well, for one thing, there's some emotional baggage gone out the cargo hold. Bye-bye. Adios. It's the kind of baggage that can pile up again if you let it; that's hot happening.

Why else? Well, I'm eating and paying attention. For the first time ever that I can remember. I sit, fork or spoon in hand, bowl or plate or plastic container in front of me, and focus on what's going into my mouth. Sounds simple doesn't it? It isn't. The first time I decided to make this change (no eating in front of the computer; no eating and reading; no eating in front of the TV; no eating while using the iPhone; no eating while driving), I actually forgot to do it. First thing in the morning after deciding to try this tactic, I nuked my oatmeal, sat down, and immediately cracked open a book on my Kindle. After a few bites, I went, "Holy crap. I can't believe how automatic it is to eat and zone out. Wow."

So what does the above have to do with not being hungry? Well, I can actually "hear" my body tell me when I'm full now. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all and I'm still hungry after my meal. And that's fine. I don't need to feel full after every meal. But sometimes I literally don't want to finish what I'm eating. And I don't. If I'm done, I'll put the rest away for later.

So what about those indulgent meals (the ones we choose, not the compulsions; those just don't happen anymore) and treats? Well, there's a different mindset with those now. Like when we went to the Stampede Grounds. The last few years, this annual outing has fallen very shortly after a contest for me, during my scheduled break, so touring the grounds is about eating as much of the crazy midway food as you can get in while you're there. I ate plenty, but I also did a lot of "tasting:" a bite of this, a taste of that, instead of one for David, one for me, repeat, repeat, repeat.

So what do weekends look like? Well, not a free for all. Sometimes hotdogs cooked over our firepit followed up by S'mores; sometimes steak and salad and a couple of brew; sometimes not crazy different from during the week.

So back to the scale thing. Well, as I said, I just decided that I was going to hop aboard. No emotion; no dread. Mid morning. Not "dry" like we love to do before sending pics to Scott. I'd had some coffee and my normal liter or so of water. And I was dressed. Yes, fully dressed!

So why is this a big deal for me? Because I was kind of shocked by what the dial said. It was a lot lower than I was expecting. And what made it even more surprising was that the weekend before we were at the Stampede Grounds, the week following was not entirely "clean" in terms of how I normally eat (and included a goodbye meal for one of my work team who is going on mat leave, which I didn't finish but thoroughly enjoyed), and I weighed myself on a Sunday after the aforesaid night of hotdogs and S'mores with the kids, of which I enjoyed plenty.

So what's going on here? Well, food is losing its emotional hook for me. I am tuning into my body and its biological/metabolic needs. I'm "hearing" its messages for the first time ever. And while it may not seem like it, I'm hardly thinking of food at all if I'm not actually eating it or preparing it, and when that's happening, I'm focused on just being present.

I guess this is working for me.

So what's next? I don't know. If I tighten things up a bit, those quad blasts and pullups will feel a whole lot different. That could be fun.

But for now, I'm fine with putting the scale back to use, paying attention to my life, and just letting things happen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

October Workshop on Food Issues

I'll be attending a workshop put on by Scott Abel in Kelowna, BC, in October. The topic is pretty interesting to me. Here's an excerpt from the workbook Scott's preparing for the workshop (

I’ve seen competitors/extreme dieters who are thin or lean only a few weeks per year, and then they torture themselves mentally and emotionally by believing their starved selves are their real selves. For many of these types of individuals, food becomes the enemy because it is now directly tied to body image and nothing else. Food becomes a right/wrong, or good/bad- absolute. Therefore so does the way the person feels about herself. Food is the enemy that becomes this thing to fight against, rail against, fear, and understand and conquer. And yet it’s this exact mentality that only further feeds and fuels the food/eating issues. And food instruments, weight scales, food scales etc. now are part of the ammunition used on the self-judgment of good or bad, in the war being waged against yourself in the feeling brain – sometimes described aptly as “the battlefield of the mind” in regards to food issues. But common sense tells anyone that you don’t really need to weigh yourself to know if you are sticking to your healthy eating regimen or not. This process becomes a vicious emotional battle where what you eat, eats you up as well. And as I have said often, even if you are not acting on your food impulses behaviourally - if food and eating and resisting both occupy your mind constantly, then you still have food/eating issues. The act of eating or not eating just separates the type of the food/eating disorder is all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Physical Symptoms, Emotional Causes

I've been feeling tired. I mean really tired. Ass-dragging, don't-wanna-get-out-of-bed tired. This from someone who has proven again and again she can give 'er when there's very little gas in the tank. You don't get contest ready otherwise.
For me, it was when I experienced some down time that the physical symptoms really started to manifest. And it's taken me about a year to figure out how to appropriately feel the emotions associated with the life-stuff going on. I'm getting a lot of this emotional work done right now, but it's through opening myself up to the process and through coaching. I have the keys, but unlocking the answers is not an overnight thing. I don't think the average GP is really equipped to help with this sort of physical stuff. It's labelled "stress" and you're often given a prescription to alleviate symptoms. Not good. But if you're focusing on the symptoms, you're looking in the wrong place for the answers. They might be right in front of you; you just may not be ready or don't want to see them. Yet.
So my eyes are open now, and I feel a tremendous weight has been lifted. Does this mean everything is sunshine and roses? No, but it means I'm not stuffing my feelings around the issues anymore. What I'm experiencing must be felt in order to be released. If I bottle it up, one or more things happen: I become irritable; I eat to numb myself; I get sick; I feel so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. And no drug is ever going to relieve these symptoms.
Now it's up to me to keep an eye on myself. And when these symptoms come up again, if they do, I need to stop. Look inside. Figure out what it is I'm ignoring. Feel it. Let it go. Then it won't hurt me anymore.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Food Issues and Emotions

This is not from me, but from my Coach's Facebook page concerning an upcoming blog:

Even excesses themsevles can take on drug-like intensity. 'feeling bad' can become a mode of comfort, simply because it has become familiar, and it is less scary than feeling vulnerable (binge eating nervosa) Using food can at the same time serve as a means to self-induglence, self-nurturing, and self-pinushment with the emotional familiarity to want to feel bad - all at the same time. And yet what is actually real in all of this is the desire to 'feel'.This is why these issues can be so difficult to treat. Thet are multifaceted. So often, the food/eating issue confuses all of these emotional needs into one single mood state that requires relief (usually numbing pain) What is required from a treatment standpoint is separating all these feelings from each other and then addressing them. This is the true emotional housecleaning that must be done. It's about removing emotional clutter. Then labeling and feeling emotions becomes easier, with no guilt and shame attachment. At this point -only then are the perceived food/eating issues weakened substantially.

This is EXACTLY where I am when it comes to "emotional eating." It's not about lackof willpower, lack of focus, or not "wanting it bad enough." All of those things are symptoms of what's going on emotionally/psychologically.

I can't believe what a difference it is making in my life being able to see things differently instead of just pinballing from one life event to the next with no insight whatsoever.

Good stuff.
More at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On leadership

It's a bit of an oversimplification, but there's a lot of perception out there concerning leadership that is very old school "us/them," union vs. management type stuff that perpetuates DUALITIES in thinking, struggles, battles, and opposition. It seems like the goal is compliance, not empowerment. Yet there is also stuff coming from smart people examining very successful companies that recognize the most successful employees in knowledge worker positions are most productive when they work for companies who facilitate autonomy, permit mastery, and clearly communicate an understanding of the bigger purpose behind the work being done.

As leaders, we are not so much here to be "The Boss" as we are to Coach/facilitate. The lessons and the messages I've been exposed to in pursuit of my fitness and physique competition goals (the good and, yes, the bad) and through working with Scott Abel as my Coach is applicable to my new role in my business life. I didn't expect to become a Coach in the fitness industry, and I'm not, but here I am, an emerging Coach nonetheless.

You gotta love it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

On Words

There's so, so much that could be said about this short film. Words can change the world, lie, reveal, help, hinder, and the list goes on...

It's good for me, someone from whom words often flow fast and furious in written and spoken form, to be reminded how much power there is in the endless combinations that can be made from 26 little letters.

I hope you guys enjoy this short but powerful film:

Monday, April 11, 2011

On Happiness

"I am responsible for this day. Let it begin with me."

Thursday, February 17, 2011


A question on my Coach's forum got me thinking today about communication.

One thing that really improved my communication skills was silence. I know, that sounds weird, right? But I am a talker, and a conversation dominator (at least I used to be). If you find yourself only half listening to others because you are busy formulating your reply, CHANGE this way of being. Make eye contact. LISTEN. Before you reply or add to the conversation, paraphrase back to the other person what they just said to you and ASK for their confirmation that you've understood them correctly. Ask more open-ended questions (not yes/no questions); make fewer statements (although be careful that you don't phrase everything as a question, which makes you look indecisive and weak). And remember that communication sometimes happens very quickly (or at least breakdowns in communication certainly do), but speed is not always a good thing unless we're talking telecommunications! It's not a race. Understanding takes patience. "Think before you speak," sounds cliched but it is good advice. Don't be afraid of silence. Don't feel the need to fill dead air with "uhms" and "ahs." Pregnant pauses, like an actual pregnancy, can mean something very good is about to happen.

Learn to analyze your audience and understand how to mix up "feelings" language with more assertive, decisive language. "I think, I feel" statements are sometimes appropriate, sometimes not. Depends on the audience and whether you're in the position where you might intimidate (supervisor/manager) your audience or be perceived as being intimidated (junior team member). The fact is, you want to avoid intimidating others AND being intimidated BY others.

If you're concerned about your ability to speak publicly and be understood and recognized for your intelligence and assertiveness, join Toastmasters. I've seen people really blossom by working on and improving their public speaking skills.

I work with many brilliant people who excel at what they do (analysis, design, technical problem solving) but who sometimes have a great deal of difficulty communicating effectively, especially verbally. If you are one of these people, I recommend learning how to read non-verbal communication (body language, facial expressions, etc.). You CAN teach yourself this stuff; it's a skill that can be learned just like any other. But don't get mired down in the theory; much of this reading of non-verbal communication cues has to be visceral, so learn to trust your instincts as well. Once I learned to shut my mouth and open my eyes more, a ton was revealed to me; and this knowledge has served me well.

And finally, observe women (how they interact socially and in the workplace, that is) versus men. There's lots to be learned there, good and bad!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Physique Competition: Proceed With Caution

I USED to think that if I could do this (get lean, compete), anyone could. Well, maybe that is true, but the bigger question really is SHOULD anyone? If you're going to do something that can only be called extreme, do you know WHY? What's driving you? And it's obvious that resilient metabolisms are far less common among the general population than the fitness gurus and figure mill svengalis would like us paying customers to believe.

Scott Abel said, "The cognitive association of connecting food-reward as part of the celebration of the contest date becomes more intertwined." That spoke to me. I instinctively felt that a heightened focus on the post-contest glut, the food porn on TV, the anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness induced by acute hunger, were things that I had to be wary of, manage, and recognize for what they were (I won't go into details, but let's just say that Scott knows what the hell he's doing and Coaches appropriately at these times and, of course, beyond). I remember making a very conscious observation in 2008 that this hyper-focus on food was NOT GOOD. I didn't understand why nor did I know the science behind what was happening to me, but instinctively I knew I was in dangerous territory. I decided, again very consciously, that this hyper-focus was not something to glory in and indulge but rather something that had to be managed. Carefully and mindfully. Did I make mistakes? Yes, of course. Did I learn from those mistakes? Hell, yeah!

Your body is designed to protect itself from harm. So is your psyche. The problem with extreme dieting is that everything about it involves a retardation of your body's natural protective mechanisms, especially for women who are biologically designed to store more fat for reproductive purposes. Some (I'd go so far as to say most) people take it even further and use drugs to aid in that retardation (appetite suppressants, stimulants, sleep aids, and that's just a start) and force their bodies to go where they never naturally would or could. Does this sound even remotely healthy or safe? It's really laughable that we call the "fitness" industry by that name. The result of the pursuit of "fitness" is in reality so often its polar opposite: people who are severely UNfit physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

But there's a neverending string of females lined up with stars in their eyes and dreams of being the next big thing or simply fitting into a size 2. Yes, I feel a sense of outrage at this exploitation, and that's exactly what it is. There's no shortage of trainers out there who'll do "whatever it takes" and there's no shortage of customers out there willing to get stage ready no matter the cost. So there's really no incentive in terms of money to change the status quo. But just because this is the way things are doesn't mean those of us who envision something different and are behind those who are DOING something different should just shut up and accept things.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. The least we can do is NOT stay silent. So keep talking, keep sharing, keep DEMANDING help. Accept nothing less than exactly what you deserve: understanding, compassion, expertise, and recognition that you are a person first and a client second.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The "Glory" that Is Not

Why do people glorify the neurosis that is the physique competitor mindset in so many cases, ad nauseam, but so often turn inward and clam up when they figure out what they've been doing to themselves is harmful, unhealthy, and possibly irreversable. Is it shame? Embarrassment? What? Why not speak out against this insanity and help people?

To me, it's more shameful to glorify the martyrdom and suffering (and, let's face it, sheer recklessness and irresponsibility) of absolute calories deprivation, mindless hours of cardio, foggy thinking and mental/emotional impairment, exhaustion, social withdrawal, alienation of loved ones, drug abuse, all on top of a blossoming eating disorder and unhealthy obsession with food. Yet that's what so often gets glorified in the name of support and sisterhood. And even when things aren't as extreme as all that, but the marks of the screwed up relationship to food are there post-competition, people still line up to say, "It's okay. I'm okay! You're okay! As long as we're damaging our wellbeing together, we're okay. It will all be fine when you start your next contest prep."

You know, I love competing. It's been an empowering, fun, challenging, rewarding experience for me. Probably for me what mountain climbing or triathlons are for other people. By choosing the experience from a place of curiousity with an attitude of "why not?" I've grown; mentally, emotionally, and physically. The experience has given back and made me stronger.

In the past when women would come up to me to ask about competing, I know my enthusiasm and excitement would come across to them. But now? Gawd. I have a really tough time recommending this pursuit to anyone who approaches me in person because I'm too fearful for them, especially since these are people that I maybe know casually at best. Usually all I say is don't even attempt to do this without a Coach who knows what the hell he/she is doing. Otherwise, it's too dangerous. Yes, I use the word dangerous. People don't seem to want to talk much after that!

The unhealthy mindset I see all over the place among competitors isn't, unfortunately, the exception. Rather, it seems to be the rule. It's the subculture, and people embrace it and validate themselves through membership within it. Those who exhibit a healthy approach to the lifestyle (NOT the subculture) are the exception.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


  • grandstandingpresent participle of grand·stand

    Verb: Seek to attract applause or favorable attention from spectators or the media.

  • It's true, there's nothing inherently wrong with grandstanding. But what if the only reason you reach out to help someone (a charity, someone who is ill, etc.) is to attract attention to your business and drum up more? True, I know this is "how it's done," in our society, but what happened to giving for its own sake, with no thunder and no applause?

    Whenever I see the words "anonymous donor," I send as much positive, grateful energy and love to that person or persons as I can. I know it is difficult to give completely altruistically, but at least if that is from where your energy and desire to give comes, the spirit behind your actions has integrity. Otherwise, your act of charity seems self-serving and not really about the person or persons in need at all. Especially when you announce that act of charity before the fact so that you can get all sorts of attention for your good deed before you've even done anything!

    But I guess that is the way of things when you live in a dog-eat-dog society built on capitalism. We capitalize, seizing every opportunity to benefit ourselves, even opportunities to be altruistic. Oh the hypocrisy! Everything is about the almighty dollar. Everything is a marketing opportunity. Everything... even giving.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Sacrifice and Work Ethic

    There's no denying the work ethic of those dieting/training to the point that they're "able" to compete; however, there's a huge difference between the character of those who "suffer" and those who "sacrifice."

    Among those in the physique world are those who don't seem to enjoy anything. Not dieting. Not training. All you hear is the endless complaining of how tired, hungry, bitchy, anti-social, blah blah they've become. They're imprisoned by what the pursuit is doing TO them. And you'll also witness the sour grapes of those who don't place well when they feel that because they "worked their asses off" the hardest and suffered the most, they should be getting the trophy.

    The mindset my Coach has dealt with among physique competitors (and yo-yo dieters, anorexics, bigorexics I'm assuming) is bizarre, and I'm guessing it's not as common among the general population or even among other athletes as it is in the bodybuilding/fitness world.

    The self-discipline you see among those who rise above matyr status is something I used to refer to as "having one foot in Heaven." I know that's a bit too religious for some, but this was an observation I made in childhood, and I didn't know any other way to describe what I could sense in these people. They just seemed above the pettiness and struggles in which so many of us spend our lives.

    I don't need to examine my work ethic. I need to examine my character. I am always watching, and I've too long been cheating myself, half-assing the self-discipline I've sought for so long.

    There's more to the equation than work. There's the whole notion of sacrifice. Sacrifice, willingly and joyfully made--not choosing to suffer--is where I need to change my attitude. For me it goes back to the infantile ego. Children need rules, boundaries, limitations to keep their infantile egos in check. Many adults never get beyond needing these external limitations.

    The sacrifice needs to be made for its own sake. Nothing more, nothing less. Why? Not to impress some panel of judges or win a trophy or get a contract, but because it is right and true to master the infantile ego and allow your true Self to transcend.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    The Perils of Figure Competition

    Somtimes it's good to take stock of where we're going and where we've been. As I approach another contest season, I'm ready to avoid fixing what ain't broke and improve, improve, improve. Not only physically, but most importantly mentally and spiritually.

    Thank God I have a Coach who understands this game so well. Here's a quote from a forum thread I've been reviewing (these words are mine):

    You've got to KNOW, before you even weigh in or step on stage, that you are bringing your best, satisfied with the integrity of your journey THUS FAR.
    A show is not the END, it's just another stepping stone on the path.

    It's crucial if you want to grow from the experience to accept the judges' decisions for what they are, an external assessment of who has "the look" at a very precise moment in time. Judges decisions have NOTHING to do with who worked the hardest, who suffered the most, who is the most "together" on game day. It's just feedback and subjective opinion. Sometimes it's favorable to you, sometimes it's favorable to someone else. Put too much stock into it, and you risk horrible post-contest blues and depression, even if you win the damn trophy!

    Sure it's easier said than done. But life is so much better when it's about the journey, that everyday pounding of pavement like Paula says, rather than about some fleeting moment of victory on stage. Then there are no failures, only experiences.

    I've already won or lost the day before the show. I know what I've done to get there, and the rest is icing. I haven't been first place at every show I've competed at, but I've never lost.

    Read the complete thread here:

    I've been accused of making fun of the female subject of the above thread by some severely fearful competitors suffering from their own form of figurematyritis, as well as varying degrees of metabolic damage.

    Well, if you're a competitor (and you don't have to be a figure gal), read the thread and judge for yourself.

    And please accept my blessings for a safe, fun, and empowering competitive season!!