if your world should fall apart

Say your goodbyes, they told my family. She is not expected to live. Just days before, I had been the picture of health sprinting up stadium stairs with my bootcamp clients in preparation for an upcoming fitness competition and half marathon. Now here I lay, on the brink of death. I came into the hospital with severe low back and hip pain barely able to walk from the pain. I had been crawling around the house and it was only getting worse. The pain became unbearable. On my first visit to the ER, I was originally diagnosed with sciatica, given morphine to manage the pain and discharged. A day later, I was in and out of consciousness, sweating profusely, and I told my family that I was dying. They rushed me back into the ER. My system was crashing and I was almost immediately placed on life support and in a medically induced coma. I was experiencing multi system organ failure due to MSSA and rhabdo. My kidneys were failing, I suffered a heart attack, and my blood pressure was crashing. The medications they pumped me full of to keep the blood flow concentrated in my brain and vital organs to keep me alive made me lose blood flow to my hands and feet. Again, I was not expected to live. Of all the people in the ICU, I was the most grave. I vaguely recall people dying around me. It was an eerie feeling. 

While in a coma, I was experiencing the fight of my life both physically and spiritually. I was in a coma for approximately two weeks, and during that entire time, I was experiencing my murder, death and torture on a loop. It was as real as if it was actually happening. As soon as one scene would end, another would begin, on a loop nonstop for the full time I was under. There is a picture of me looking like a Disney Princess, or Sleeping Beauty, all while experiencing severe mental trauma. I was trapped in a nightmare, and I couldn’t get out, let alone ask for help or comfort. 

When I woke up, I didn’t trust anyone or anything. I did not speak and barely moved and they feared I suffered severe brain damage. Until one day, I answered a complicated question and they knew I was me. I had just gone through hell alone and didn’t know how to communicate it to anyone. I didn’t have words for it. Nor did I understand what had happened and what would happen next. 

Basically overnight, I went from a trophy body to what felt like a creature from Lord of the Rings. I was unrecognizable to myself. Anything and everything that could possibly happen to my body happened. I went in show ready around 120lbs with minimal body fat and ballooned up to 160lbs with liquids oozing out of my skin and my eyes turned inside out and then down to 80lbs looking like a ghost or death camp prisoner. When I finally saw my reflection, it sent chills through my fragile bones. My kneecaps were larger than my legs and my eyes were huge compared to my sunken face. I once had strong quads that could leg press 900lbs and now I couldn’t hold my frail frame up. Its incredible what the mind, body and soul can endure. 

I kept thinking I would leave the hospital at any moment to teach bootcamp until a surgeon came in to tell me they would have to amputate both of my legs below the knees. I told him to get lost and couldn’t understand what the hell was going on. It wouldn’t be until I left the hospital when things would begin to sink in. I was fairly contained and well cared for in the hospital so it didn’t fully settle in until I would go home. I was in an extremely toxic relationship and would have to leave with him. To put things in perspective, what happened in my body was an adequate depiction of what happened to my spirit by remaining in this soul killing relationship. High pain tolerance in my body translated to a high pain tolerance in my life. Pain is a messenger and when we ignore it, we are missing vital feedback. We need to stop wearing badges of honor for the level of pain we are able to endure. 

I had a lot of shame about this relationship that I had gotten myself into and backed myself into a corner. I needed help getting out, but the embarrassment kept me fenced in. I knew better and it caused great shame that I found myself in this situation. It is a lot like a frog in a pot. If the water was scalding hot initially, the frog would jump out and only suffer a burn. Because it is luke warm and turned up slowly, the frog is boiled alive. That was this relationship. The light went out of my eyes and the fire inside me died a little each day. In a lot of ways, I feel that nearly dying saved my life, if only to get me out of this relationship and set me on a path of healing, reclamation and right relationship with myself. 

I ended up moving out one day while he was at work in my wheelchair with only the essential items. I left my life and most of my possessions to regain my freedom and wellbeing. I found the courage to do at rockbottom what I could not find the courage to do standing on my own two feet. I wheeled out, when I could have walked out. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I would be where I am today if I had left sooner. Stress manifests in our body and creates disease and illness. It was like a full blown war in my body, and it was like that in my life until I could no longer go on as I was. Until all of the suppressed pain, emotion and stress hit a critical tipping point. While I of course wish I had done it differently, I have compassion for myself and know I did the best I could with what I had and where I was at at the time. It was a high price to pay to learn valuable lessons about life, but the lessons are priceless. I truly believe that life happens for us even when it doesn’t always look or feel like it. That is usually because we are in the middle, or we need to take a higher perspective to have a better vantage point. When we have nothing else, we have the power to choose and that is our most undervalued super power. It is a choice that can make or break our lives. And a choice only we can make. Too often we outsource our choices to others, we give our power away for one reason or another. Most often, we do not even recognize it. They don’t feel like red flags when red flags feel like home. 

After leaving the relationship and undergoing limb salvage in an attempt to keep my feet, I would go on to tackle the next challenge of having both of my legs amputated below the knees along with having my right hip replaced. It wasn’t until I went to have my hip replaced that they found what they believe to be where the infection started. My right hip was annihilated. Looking back, I had had pain in my right hip, but it had barely registered at the time. As I said, I was in the habit of silencing or ignoring pain in all areas of my life until it hit critical levels. Perhaps if I had gotten it looked at sooner, I could have avoided all of this loss and devastation. Just like perhaps if I had left the relationship sooner, this all could have been avoided. However, the only power in looking back is in reflection and learning the lessons of our past so we do not have to repeat them in the future. I knew there were powerful lessons along my journey and I did the work of looking deep within and healing from the inside out. Its a messy journey, but absolutely worth it. When we take radical responsibility for all of it, we are ultimately set free. 

It took some time for my body to heal, but it was really my mind and soul that took the longest. 

Somewhere along the line of being a competitive athlete and fitness model, body image became a large part of my identity. It became the thing that made me feel safe and significant. When I lost it, I had to reckon with the part of me that didn’t feel whole in and of myself and rebuild a solid foundation from rock bottom. It’s funny…people seek these external sources for their self worth, when they in fact can become a prison, they are anything but a solid foundation. Anything outside of us can be lost or destroyed and we will feel left with nothing. It is always about placing our worth and finding our wholeness inside of ourselves…in who God created us to be.

When I was at rockbottom, unrecognizable to myself, I stood outside of myself. It was almost as if there were two of me…the me who needed holding and the me who held myself.  I had these moments, where I was able to take myself out of it. I saw myself as vulnerable as I was, having endured hell and survived actual death, covered in battle wounds, and I didn’t dare disrespect myself one more time. I honored and respected myself for all that I endured. For the first time in life, I held myself with reverence. What I couldn’t find a way to do at my highest, I decided to do at my lowest. The girl who couldn’t love herself without a six pack found a way to love herself without her feet. 

I realized that the job to love, honor and accept myself was my own. The love, respect and acceptance of others will always be the icing on top of the cake we are responsible for making. We teach others how to treat us. I had this understanding that even if I gained the love and acceptance of everyone else, but lacked it within myself, I would not be able to really receive it externally. Self love and acceptance is an inside job.I could no longer avoid the inner “work” by striving to earn it in the mirror. I literally had to sit with myself and face the work I had spent my life trying to avoid. When I first lost my legs, all I wanted was to be able to hide it. I was used to people admiring my physique, and to be viewed  in the opposite light would be extremely painful. For a long time, I kind of hid myself, I kept to myself while I allowed myself to heal. I kind of cocooned while I gave my mind and soul time to catch up with my body. It is not in seeking or “achieving” perfection that we come to accept ourselves, but in reckoning with and honoring our imperfections. 

It is now my honor to advocate for loving, honoring and respecting ourselves at the highest level. When we know better, we do better. If my journey and my story can serve to help others not fall into similar circumstances, it will have been worth it. If it can serve as a wake up call to those who need it, it will have been worth it. If it can serve as a roadmap of self love, forgiveness, resilience and healing, it will be worth it. If it can serve as a testimony of overcoming to those who may one day need it, it will have been worth it. At the end of the day, it has already been worth it. In losing part of me, I found all of me. If the girl who couldn’t love herself with a six pack and bikini model body can love, honor and respect herself without her feet, you can conquer whatever mountain or demon you may be facing. I am truly better for the journey. It doesn’t happen by accident. It is a conscious choice, and one only we can make and show up for every step of the way. I believe with all of my being that He who is in us is greater than anything or anyone against us. We are capable of rising up and thriving through and beyond any seemingly insurmountable challenge that may come our way. 

If you would like to listen to my personal account along with the full interview from the This Is A True Story Podcast, find on all major podcast platforms or go to: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0y7xeQG01L5lgeIZC1Qq8S

only love, always love.

With every word you speak, you are voting for peace and love or fear and hate. When you speak about the problem, you are feeding the dysfunction. You can just as easily shift your words to speak about the solution, and that choice moves the mark. We are residents of the universe, and there are certain universal laws that exist whether you choose to recognize them or not. When you try to work outside of these laws, it is more difficult than swimming upstream. When you choose to work with these laws, everything that you do becomes imbued with power, it becomes potent and effective. Love is a higher vibration than fear and hate and therefore can transmute it. Peace will always trump violence. To many, this seems idealistic and naive, but that is simply because it is misunderstood. Just as the dark is merely an absence of light, and one must only light a candle or flick a switch and the dark isn’t simply obscured, it is eliminated. The dark stands in the way of the light, but the light is ever present. It is merely a choice, an action.

This can seem like a losing battle, but that is simply because more light is being called for. This world is calling for more love, more peace, more light, more hope, more unity, more healing. It is no longer okay for those who know better to do nothing. We cannot be lazy about our convictions, about our truths. We cannot love with half of our hearts. We cannot love conditionally. Our love must encompass all BEINGS. Our love must not be dependent on the actions of others. Our love must go first, second and always. We must always meet hate with love, hurt with love, rudeness with love, sadness with love, misunderstanding with love, fear with love, judgement with love. There is a tipping point. If you take a large container of black paint and begin pouring white in, it will seem for quite a while as if nothing is happening, but the tipping point comes where the paint is now light. It is just a matter of the amount and the time. More LOVERS must rise up, and must stay the course. A war against anything is always a losing battle. But a fight FOR something will always find a way. It is always a matter of our perspective. It is time to rally for peace, for love, for equality across the board, unity, etc.

The world is in such disarray at the moment, but there is so much grace in that. It is holding up a mirror for us to look at. It may not be pretty or comfortable. There are certain uncomfortable truths which must be seen, acknowledged and accepted. We must take a look at the dysfunction in order to allow it to permeate our beings in a way which will drive us to change things finally. We have tried to turn a blind eye, wear rose colored glasses, deny, rationalize, water down and change the story to fit our levels of comfort. That is no longer an option here. This chaos is here to shake us and wake us! Let it! Take a look at it, sit with how it makes you feel, process it and then shrink it down to a micro scale. In all things….take it down to a cellular level, a self level.

This world needs more love. Where are you withholding love from yourself? And then how do you withhold it from others in your daily interactions? It starts with you, then extends from you and then extends from there. The denial of this is what leads to terrorism and war. The adoption of this is the beginning of wisdom and the path of the solution. Open your eyes, open your hearts, open your minds. Where are you denying yourself peace? Where do you fail to extend peace to others? Start there. The world is unjust. Where are you unfair with yourself? How are you unjust in your actions and interactions? How can you increase your justice in the words you speak with yourself and others? How can you raise your level of justice in every discourse you have?

You have no idea what someone is dealing with in their life. It is almost always if not always those who are the most unloveable who need love the most. And their interaction with you has nothing to do with you. Rather it is a reflection of their relationship with themselves. If we only love when it is easy and love those who are easy to love, we do not move the mark. We do not increase the vibration, increase the love, increase the peace. We keep things the same. At least you are not meeting love with hate, but you do not heal yourself, others, the planet or the collective in any meaningful way. It may be tiny and imperceptible, or it may be life altering. Either way, it is powerful and necessary.

It is great to recognize someone’s light, love, effort, etc. We have begun to believe as a society that we shouldn’t reach out, connect, compliment, exercise kindness, etc. I cannot tell you how often I exercise a compliment to a stranger and someone with me says that they were thinking the same thing but didn’t want to make the receiver of the gesture uncomfortable, or were afraid they would seem weird, or a million other things. Every time, I am shocked. How did we get to a point in society where we are afraid or hesitant to express love and kindness? I noticed that I would often think it but didn’t express it. Now compliments fly out of my mouth as soon as I think them. I have trained myself to do this, and sometimes forget, but it is such a simple way to stand for love, to exercise peace, to shift the vibration of the planet. While simple, don’t underestimate how powerful. Rather than coming from “what is the least I can give,” lets consciously move the mark and give more always in all ways.

Go the extra mile. Go first. Go further. Go again and again. Meet resistance with acceptance. Meet unkindness with understanding. Don’t just embrace differences, celebrate them. What a boring world this would be if all there were were red roses. A red rose would have zero value if a sunflower did not exist, if we knew not weeds. We need the totality of existence to have the experience of beauty.  A world without beauty would be pointless, lifeless, soulless. We would not know joy without pain, ecstasy without suffering, gain without loss. We need our differences, but our differences do not make us different. They make us unique. Each is equally valuable. Each is sacred. It is time for us to band together and love that which differs from us as much as we love that which is like us.

Rather than get sucked in to the temptation to speak about all that is wrong with the world and humanity, lets come together and speak of all that is right, in all of the incredible ways that we can make this journey we are all traveling together better. Peace which excludes some, excludes all. Love which limits, lessens. Justice for a few is justice for no one. Use your voice. Use it for love. Use it for peace. Use it relentlessly. All my love. One love.





five percent more….

What would you do with just five percent more courage? More anything? This has become one of my most powerful and game changing mantras. When we ask powerful questions, we get powerful answers. It doesn’t even matter if we currently have five percent more of the thing we are asking for. By asking for it, the action is revealed. All we have to do is follow it. And always follow first thought and follow it immediately. The sooner we can come to recognize and heed that quiet and gentle first voice and thought, the more dramatically our lives begin to change. The truth whispers and needs no defense, nor makes demands…it simply present the way. If you want to wake up with drastically different circumstances, then ask this question often and heed it instantly every time. Make it a practice, a way of life. Ride it like a wave to your potential, your calling, your truth. The noise of the world can make it difficult to do so, but with practice and consistency, it will become second nature. And one day it will appear as if you are King Midas, instantly manifesting the things in life that you desire.

The funny thing about heeding first thought and acting on our five percent more, or even the potential of five percent more is that it will actually require less faith and effort. When we simply act without giving ourselves time to talk, think or rationalize ourselves out of it, we allow ourselves to be carried by the natural flow and current of life and the universe. We no longer are insisting on swimming upstream which is essentially what we do when we are in our heads, when we “TRY.” We simply do, we allow. The five percent more is not necessary, what is necessary is just acting without hesitation on the picture that comes up when we ask the question.

This works in every situation in every aspect of life. In a disagreement with a spouse? What would I say with just five percent more love? Dealing with a difficult customer? What would I do with just five percent more patience? Up against a seemingly impossible problem? What would I know with just five percent more wisdom? Struggling with yourself and your direction in life? What would I do with just five percent more belief? If there is one thing I would recommend to dramatically alter the course of your life, it would be this. Ask the question…what would I do/know/be/say with just five percent more……then get quiet, meditate, shut it all out and allow it to present itself to you and then drop everything and do it. Do not hesitate, do not doubt, do not think about it. Act as if you had five percent more, and you will have all that you need. Love and light and all my belief in each and every one of you! Be 100 proof today and everyday homies.

authenticity is the way.

More collaboration, less comparison, less competition. We have become so ingrained in our society to buy into the competition lie. We believe that for us to win, someone else must lose. That when someone else gains, there is somehow less available for us. That also leads to comparison. We look to those who achieve, win, etc and begin to believe that we must somehow be like them to also win. We slowly begin to chip away at our uniqueness, at our perfect and valid and necessary expression of life and become a ghost of ourselves, a shadow, an eclipse. We begin feeling less, thinking less. We become programmed and hollow. We put on masks, try on other’s clothes, thoughts and beliefs. We no longer differentiate between our own unique thoughts and feelings and those put on us by our peers or by society. We become sheep. We no longer live and act from a place of masterpiece. We were created. Specially. Specifically and Uniquely. We were painted, sculpted, written and photographed. We are art.

The more you shed the inauthentic and claim your authenticity, the more resistance you may begin to encounter. Claim it anyway. Make authenticity the path, the way. Be authenticity. Breathe authenticity. Speak it. There is no need to fight against the resistance. Make space for it. Smile at it. Breathe through it. Direct love to it. Your conviction to live from that space quietly gives permission for others to do the same. And whether you ever directly get to experience the currents of that particular wave, it happens anyway. It is a great gift to give the world.

You cannot be successful living in someone else’s skin, beliefs or convictions. You cannot be whole, you cannot be effective. Begin to create rather than to consume. To be a force, you must stand silently, peacefully and powerfully in your own truth and let the truth make the noise. Let that truth set the world ablaze. Let that truth heal those with ears to hear. You have a specific, special and unique impact to make. Make your tracks. Let others follow those tracks until they find their own. Light the way. Love and light.

Lay Your Burdens Down…

I had a very big day yesterday. I have been “broken” for a long time now. Although I have been committed to choosing my mindset, overcoming and rising up, my mind and spirit still carried the residue of what my body had been through over the last few years. While I had chosen my perspective rather than wearing the one given to me by others or by my unconscious self, I was still haunted by the events. It is not far fetched or unreasonable that when you go from “wonder woman” to near death in an instant that it would affect you in more ways than one. It is not shocking that the time spent running from annihilation during my coma would leave a trace of darkness somewhere in my psyche. It makes sense that being treated and handled with extreme care and caution following the series of events would become a new way of life. No one would blame me if I stayed in that place. No one would blame me but why would I ever choose to stay there? I think where we typically go wrong is first and foremost in the unconscious. Most of us are living and operating from an unconscious reactionary state. We are unaware of what we are thinking, feeling, choosing, etc. Things begin to change dramatically the day you become a force in your own life and create your life rather than react to it. We look at all the evidence that we have gathered from the current circumstances which are only there based on our thoughts and choices (whether unconscious or not) up until now. The second we choose to change, choose to become the force, circumstances will begin to shift dramatically. We have to give our lives time to catch up before we make conclusions about what it all means.

Let my life be living proof for you. I was not handed anything on a silver platter. No one came to save me. I screamed and yelled at God, I begged God, I ignored God. This Being, this Force, this Entity loved me enough to allow me to save myself. I can only imagine how difficult that would be to watch someone you love so deeply in such despair and not save them from it. But that is a true and deep love. A love that is willing to sit in its own pain so that the object of their love and creation can be truly born. God sat by, and I believe sat directly in front of me breathing love and strength into me while I found my own. You see….my entire life, I was seeking my own strength. On the outside looking in, it could have looked like I had had it. I had my shallow strengths temporarily taken from me so that I could discover the strengths that could never be taken or destroyed. I stand here in immense gratitude for the fruits of that battle, I stand here a butterfly emerged from my cocoon.

I say all of that to say this….Lay your burdens down. Resist the urge to continue hitting the replay button. What happened to you is just that…it happen(ed). Past tense. It was then, this is now. It is over and done. You are not your experiences or your circumstances. You are what you choose to do with and about them. You are who you become from the journey. As a coach and trainer, I am forever hearing people talk about their weak wrists, nagging ankle injury that they have had since childhood. I will never forget an amazing client I had who on day one of training with me spent fifteen minutes explaining every physiological issue they have had since birth involving both their personal and what they believed to be genetic issues. I listened and smiled and led them straight into and through those issues and watched them come out the other side without having to carry those particular burdens any longer. Your freedom is through. Your freedom is in letting go. You are not chained to your finite experiences. You are the creator, you are the author. You have a choice and you have the power. All of my love and light to each and every one of you today. Blessings. SaraMae




Victim or Victor


In any given moment, we always have a choice, and its almost always between two polarities, with the point of power always belonging to us. We have been taught to believe we are powerless, at the mercy of those with the perceived power, at the mercy of our circumstances, at the mercy of some outside source who judges our worthiness depending on our actions. We have believed that we must sit and wait for circumstances to change before we can do xyz. That we must be different, look different, do different, have different…

I love what 3x Cover Model, Fitness World Champion, Self Love junkie, Lifestyle Entrepreneur and all around epic incredible human being Lori Harder says at the beginning of her earnyourhappy.com podcast “we don’t wait until we’re ready for someone to tell us that we’re good enough, we take what we want and we anoint ourselves.” Such a true and powerful statement. We are so much more powerful than most of us have ever been taught to believe.

I am honestly so incredibly grateful for the immense struggles that I was given because they taught me how powerful and strong I really was…what I could really endure, what I could really overcome…who I could really be…what I really stood for…what I was truly passionate about. I would say they forced me, but they merely gave me a choice which to me there was only one option. While losing my feet seemed  like one of the very worse things that could have happened to me, I still clung to the blessings that I had that many others would do anything for. And to me it would be far worse to be miserable, angry, bitter and to choose to stay broken than to rise in my strength, power and potential. To not just overcome my challenges, but to eventually use them to help others do the same. I have always been motivated by helping others, and I just kept thinking about what I would one day be able to do again rather than some of the things that I may struggle with. I kept thinking about the people who I could potentially help one day rather than the things that I felt I may never have again. And to be honest, there really isn’t anything I don’t think I will be able to do, just walls to climb over or knock down.

For anyone who may be struggling, I just want to share the view from where I am today. I am still on the journey, there is still overcoming to be done, but I am far stronger, far happier, for more fulfilled and just far more myself for the process. You have far more power than you realize. There is nothing you cannot be, do or have. Don’t for one second give your power away to anyone or anything. And know you are never alone. Much love. SaraMae

Open or Closed?

Understandably in life, we encounter disappointments, heart break, cruelty and we believe whether consciously or unconsciously that the answer to that is to put up a wall, build our defenses, employ watchmen to stand guard and ensure our safety from the less enjoyable aspects of life. We believe the illusion that the world is a bad and dangerous place to live and our instincts go to work to protect us. This is born into us as part of the human experience. Our ancestors used to have to literally run for their lives when up against the elements of nature. That response is in fact built into us and for us if we ever come up against a real and immediate threat. However, we have allowed it to run amuck in our lives without any sort of supervision or guidance. We turn on the television, tune into the news, read the headlines on the papers, overhear conversations in public. So much of society is set up to focus on the doomsday reporting tempting us to believe the lie that we are in clear and present danger.

At any moment, we have two options. To be open or closed. When we shut down in an attempt to protect ourselves, we believe we are keeping the “enemy” out, the hurt, the pain, the failure, etc. It makes so much sense in the logical way if you never look deeper and question the way things are. People build fences to protect their property.  Seems legit. Here we are speaking of fences in our lives. When you build a fence to keep anything out, you are in fact, just keeping yourself in. You are shutting down the natural flow and rhythm of the Universe, shutting out the good and incredible that life stands in the wings ready, willing, able and excited to send our way. Life is for you. Life is for you. Life is FOR you. Are you willing to suspend judgement, to hesitate on your need to label things as good or bad, to take a breath and give life the chance to show you just how good it really is? Are you willing to believe that pain can be a messenger, a teacher, a wise friend? Are you willing to listen? Because your heart and soul, God, the wisdom of the Universe is whispering and simply waiting with a smile to impart all of its genius.

If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that we are powerful beyond measure. The stuff of the Universe is not in some far away cosmos, it is in our DNA. God is not some distant fixture atop a cloud, God dwells in your soul. You walk with thunder and lightening in your veins! You truly are a magnificent miracle. There is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have, nothing that you need or lack. The next time you are delivered a blow and want to batten down the hatches, I encourage you to sit with the situation. To breathe through it, to open up and allow it to flow through you. To look at it, speak to it and ask it what it is here to teach you, what blessing it has to bestow upon you. I promise you it will answer, and it is always your friend. It even carries the seeds of comfort.

The more that you breathe, relax and allow yourself to open, the more freedom you will begin to feel within yourself and your life. You will see light fragments shine on once dark and forgotten corners. You will feel joy where once there was sorrow, hope where once there was hopelessness, joy where once there was shame. My beloveds, there is nothing to fear. You are not alone unless you insist it to be so and even then….you are not alone. In the eloquent words of Rumi, “We are all just walking each other home.” Be like nature…in its essence. It does not worry nor toil, and it is perfectly provided for as it perfectly provides for us. Sending you all of my love and light.

On choosing love…

It can be difficult at times to know what direction to take in our lives. Something that I have found to be true is that there are always two paths: fear or love. They do not always present to be this cut and dry. Sometimes one path presents as security (fear), while the other presents as a leap of faith (love). One path may seem safe, familiar, reasonable, in line with the status quo while the other will cause you to grow, to stretch, to open your mind, to invest in and believe in yourself in a way that you have never done before. There will always be internal arguments for both. You will hear voices convincing you of the rightness of their argument much like that of a political debate. The rub comes because the voice of fear is so much louder than love. It is louder in our thoughts, louder in our lives, louder in the world while the voice of love whispers to us as if carried by the whispers of the wind, and can often only be heard after we ask for it and get quiet inside and out to be receptive of its wisdom.

I find that it always boils down to love or fear. Sometimes the divide seems so imperceptible by our senses, and often it is almost impossible to detect with our five senses. If one holds fast to the intention of choosing love in all things, the universe will heed our call and conspire in our favor, the way will appear, often one step at a time, brick by brick. When our five senses are not enough to detect the way, we always have the option to become quiet and still and feel our way to the truth. This often takes much intentionality and practice as we are not in the habits of feeling our way through life. Society has taught us that feelings and emotions are weaknesses, frivolities, liabilities, nonsense. So it may take some time and effort to get to a place where we can feel anything in any perceptible way.  You can get quiet and still and decide to suspend judgement and commit to just feel what comes up with an open mind and heart. When you think about one path, notice what feelings come up and then do the same for the other. Again, this can often be difficult to perceive. If your choice is between two jobs or two geographical locations, you may need to not just feel what comes up, but ask probing questions and allow your highest self, yourself unaffected by the trappings of society or ego to begin to answer for you. How would it feel if I let this opportunity pass? How would I feel if I stayed where I am? How would it feel to wake up in that new city? How would I feel by remaining here?

It helps to be willing to notice any resistance that may come up. Resistance is not necessarily the same thing as fear. In fact, resistance often acts as the very compass that will guide us to our happiness, purpose, growth, joy, expansion. All good things lie on the other side of resistance. Our egos act to keep us small and safe so they set out to convince us that staying where we are is safe and will make us happy. While good intentioned, it is not in our best interest. And if we do not turn within and begin to shine a light on the thoughts that we have been listening to for a lifetime, we will in fact believe and follow all of this misguidance. We will be reactionary robots rather than creators of our own realities. Love is what we are all here for, it is our natural function as humans, but we have had it drummed out of us. We have a bad experience with love, and we curse it away for the rest of our lives. Love does not just represent the romantic connection with another, or the sentiment experienced in the familial bond. Love represents all things light: joy, compassion, hope, creativity, kindness, open mindedness, contribution, expansion. While choosing fear represents stagnation, safety, security, hate, close mindedness, waste, violence, etc.

Love is at the very basis of creation while fear is at the very basis of destruction. It is said if we are not growing, then we are dying. It is always a choice. By choosing and leaning into love, our lives will become a testimony and example of love and all of its inherent qualities. By choosing fear, we will be another statistic of a life not fully lived. Outer circumstances do not dictate nor justify our choices in each moment. It can often seem as if there is no choice, but that is only when we do not realize the extent to how powerful we are. We are truly reality makers. We can not only change our worlds, but the entire world. Powerful callings will demand powerful choices. Powerful dreams will demand powerful actions. The point of power is always within our direct control: through our perspective, our thoughts, our choices and our actions. Do not die with your music still in you. Do not believe the lies that you are without power. You, yourself are an entire universe. You possess the power to design that universe, and every increase in the vibration of choices, thoughts and actions that you make will simultaneously affect every other person in the universe. God did not create a bunch of helpless humans, he imbued our spirits with the very power of His Being. It is not something to be bestowed upon us, it is what makes up that which we are. Here and now with where you are and what you have. There is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have. No ceiling to the level of joy, love and impact that you can experience if you continually lean into love.

How it All Began…


So by now most of you know what happened with me physically, at least the quick overview of it all. I would like to again take a moment to thank you all for the outpouring of love and support. It means more than I could ever find the words for. When all of this happened, I knew it was bigger than I was. I wanted my suffering to be of service, and in that way, the loss would be lessened, and its value would increase my strength and conviction. What I didn’t want was to lose something so precious to me for no reason. I have always been full of pride, unwilling to show weakness in any way. And as we all know, they say “pride comes before a big fall.”

For some reason, I used to believe that strength meant the ability to take a beating, withstand pain, never getting attached and a million other flawed views. We all come to limiting beliefs in our own unique ways, and I don’t think the why or how are all that important in comparison to just realizing they are limiting and choosing a different way of being. Before getting sick, I was FULL of limiting beliefs, and I mean full of them. Its crazy to look back and reflect on myself before everything. I just want to run back and hug the hell out of my old self. I am full of love and compassion for her, as well as sadness and respect. I thought life had to be a certain way. I thought I had to be a certain way…I was rigid and inflexible. I was scared and lost. I believed I was alone, and that was the biggie. And it wasn’t so much that I believed I was alone. I had tons of people in my life, some really great people actually, it is that I was too proud to share with any of them the extent of what I was going through in my life. I judged myself for struggling, and therefore thought they would too.

We are only as sick as our secrets. Looking back, I can recognize how life was trying to offer me “smaller” opportunities to “break open.” The problem was my pride and my ability to take a beating. I should mention that as you all know, I have been a lifelong runner. It truly is in my blood. What probably few of you know is that I have for a very long time been an emotional runner as well. So when life began to unravel, I would just take the beating because I thought I was so tough, and then when it felt like I couldn’t take another blow, I ran, literally and figuratively. Fitness for me always played a very healthy role for me. I come from families riddled with addiction and depression, and fitness served as my antidote and for that I am truly blessed. However, it also became my hide out. It was where no matter what I was going through, I could go and excel. Rather than having to face the avalanche of my life, I could go there to feel good about things. And while that isn’t all bad, I can see that life was trying to bring me to my knees literally so that I could let go of all of my limitations created by my flawed belief system so that I could be free to truly live out my purpose and potential. I was the one in my way. And for those of you who know me well, you know I can put up one hell of a fight. While a great asset, it has also been a great liability. We are not meant to fight all things all the time. Surrender has its vital place. Peace is preferable to war.

So when everything was falling apart (which I can see was FOR my good), rather than surrender, I resisted and eventually ran. And when I ran, I made a series of fearful decisions coming from my flawed and limited viewpoint and belief system. It became a very dark and rapid downward spiral. In a lot of ways, it looked neat and tidy from the outside looking in. I have always been someone who chooses to have as good of an attitude as possible about things because I believe sometimes that is the only choice we have. However, I have come to realize that I have just chosen to skip all of the uncomfortable and messy emotions. I was recently told that I am a master anesthetizer. You cannot skip life, or hide from emotions or issues. They do not go away. You simply delay and intensify their eventual effects and lessons. And again, this can sound scary, but I believe it is all truly for our highest good. So when everything fell apart, I shut out all of the people who loved and cared for me and ran smack dab into a very uncomfortable lesson wrapped in the guise of a relationship. And while it wasn’t pretty, it has been a great teacher. That is the beauty of all of this…the seemingly worst things that can happen “to” us, if we choose to allow ourselves to see it, can be our greatest teachers and blessings.

Because I had shut everyone out and locked myself in, I had no idea what love should be because I had barred the doors to it. I was in this grand illusion that appeared to be like a funhouse mirror. You know you don’t really look how you appear in the crazy mirrors yet you are standing there looking at the skewed image nonetheless. And if you didn’t know better, you could convince yourself of its reality. I was in a relationship out of fear…which is NEVER a way to start anything or a reason to start it. And I couldn’t find my way out yet again because of fear. And because of my limiting beliefs, I took the mental and emotional abuse that came with it because I clearly believed I deserved it. I now realize that is because I gave myself that same abuse.

“The limit of your self-abuse is the limit you will tolerate from other people.” Don Miguel Ruiz

That is a very big and hard pill to swallow. That is what compelled me to share my rawest and greatest shame with all of you. I was embarrassed for being in the relationship, and even more embarrassed for the abuse that I endured. I definitely don’t want anyone to think that I am making myself the victim here because I am not. We were simply two people in a toxic situation that had lessons to teach and lessons to learn. Ultimately it served my personal evolution. I did not speak the truth about what I wanted or felt, and never stood up for myself. I believed that it was wrong to get angry, wrong to argue back, wrong to yell or walk away, or any sort of thing. I don’t like to consider myself a quitter so I stood there and took it day in and day out. That is what I thought love looked like although looking back, I can see that I knew better, I just couldn’t hear my quiet intuition over the war zone inside and outside of my head. Add a few layers of fear to the equation, and I had simply locked myself up and threw away the key. So that brings me to the point of all of this. And that is the part that still makes my spine chill. And sadly, the hell that I was living in was far worse than the VERY REAL hell that I experienced physically when my body failed me. And let me tell you, I do not believe they are unrelated. Again, being in a relationship of that nature had many very important lessons to teach me. The problem is, my stubborn ass refused to get them. I basically just told life to keep delivering blows, and I would take them on the chin like a champ. How freaking sad is that? Life is not supposed to be painful. It is in the sense of loss, change, etc which still does not have to be painful, but not all emotions we experience in life are supposed to feel like rainbows and puppies. If you are in emotional pain, there is a problem. If you are in spiritual pain, there is a problem. If you are in physical pain, THERE IS A PROBLEM. I was in every kind of pain, and I thought that was normal. How sad is that? It sleighs my heart every time I think about it. But it also convicts and compels me to share these skeletons in case there are others who are going through something similar. Please learn from my mistakes and spare yourself.

To wrap it all up, every time and in every way life attempted to show me where I was limiting myself, where I was going wrong, I just took the hit and ignored the pain, or ran in some way. I wasn’t sticking up for or advocating for myself and poison just continued to be spewed into me without any release. It makes me cry every single time I think about where  I was at mentally and emotionally and what I was going through. It makes me cry that I didn’t see a way out, that I didn’t understand how wrong everything was and lacked the self love and understanding to get myself out. It was like a tempest was brewing and eventually all hell broke loose. And once again, I wholeheartedly believe that this is something that happened for me rather than to me. I am far better for it. And it was like every single thing had been taken from me, and I had to begin anew. It began with a choice, a choice to finally get the lesson, a choice to believe this was happening for me, to believe that good would indeed come out of it, to choose happiness, or something as close to that as I could get from where I was at in any given moment. I had an insanely long road to climb, one I am still climbing. The greatest blessing was that I let go of the illusions and limiting beliefs (though that is a process), and I am choosing to live life in my truth, my strength and with love for myself and others. I am choosing authenticity, love and peace at all times and in all things. I made friends with my heart, something that I made a conscious decision to shut off and out years before even this when too many things occurred and I just couldn’t take it without shutting my emotions off. A decision that ultimately led me here. However now I have come full circle and made   best friends with my heart once again.

After I almost died, and before all of the surgeries, I knew that I had to get out of the situation that I was in, or that I could very well die. My spirit was sick, and I knew that in order to survive everything both physically and otherwise, I had to get myself into a better environment. I did this from a wheelchair, in complete physical, mental and emotional breakdown, but my spirit initiated a spark that got me started in the right direction. While I have always been very physically strong, I believe that was taken away from me for the more important aspects of strength to be forced to develop which ultimately are the types of strength that we can keep regardless of what happens to us physically. I hope that if there are any of you who find themselves in destructive situations that this would help you to find the strength to love yourselves and to do whatever needs to be done. In losing all that I thought I was, I discovered all that I am. There is always a way. God, life, the universe are all here to support you, but they will not force you. It is always ultimately up to us. But you are not alone. Much love, gratitude and peace. Namaste and God Bless. Me.


Filling in the blanks…

Those of you who know me, know I live Forward Focused. So often in conversation or when I speak, I will forget to mention that I lost my feet. While it is clearly a significant part of my story, it is just that…part of my story. It doesn’t define me, however I choose to define it. For the purpose of providing context, I will fill in the blanks.

I am a life long athlete, runner primarily and gym rat, fitness freak, wellness warrior secondarily. I once thought it was what I did, I have come to appreciate its who I am. You find those things out, when your world burns to the ground, you sift through the ashes and find what remains. That’s the beauty in “disaster.” I have also been a personal trainer and transformational coach most of my life. I was in school finishing my degree in Kinesiology and Sports Psychology, training for a half marathon, preparing for a fitness competition, and teaching my bootcamps when something just didn’t feel right. I knew I had not injured myself, but I was in extreme pain. One day I was sprinting up the convention center stairs in Irving, TX, and the next, I ended up in the ER with extreme lower back and hip pain. It was March 22, 2012.

In the hospital, they gave me morphine and sent me home believing it to be sciatica. On March 24, less than 48 hours later, I told my family that I was dying. They rushed me back into the ER, and I was almost immediately placed on life support. I was in organ failure, my blood pressure was tanking, my kidneys were failing, I had a heart attack, and they had to place me in a coma and pump me full of vasopressors keeping the blood localized to my brain and vital organs. I was not expected to live, and they told my friends and family to say their goodbyes.

After a week to two weeks in a coma and amidst baited breath, they said I just turned a corner one day. (I will leave out the majority of the details here, but I will share them in my book). When I came to, I recall the look in the eyes of the doctors and nurses. They could only describe it as a miracle. And they credited my heath going in. I was 118 lbs with little to no body fat. I was in peak physical condition. During my time in ICU, my weight ballooned to 160 lbs from fluid retention due to my kidneys shutting down, and I walked out at sub 90 lbs having lost 30 plus pounds of muscle. My body went from a masterpiece to a nightmare. I seized feeling like a human. I had to relearn all functions, and my mind could not grasp the gravity of it all. I had no context for something like this. I remember telling my boot campers that I would see them at boot camp that night. I did end up teaching boot camp again from my wheelchair when I had the strength to be in the world again.

I wanted a quick recovery, but this sprinter with long distance abilities in the physical sense was about to convert to long distance with sprinting abilities in the spiritual sense. It felt as if I had fallen off the edge of the world. Life was going on without me as if I had never existed. Time was flying by and I was baby stepping when stepping at all. During it all, I was too sick to endure diagnostics so they had to make their best guesses of what happened to me. It wasn’t until I went to get my bilateral below the knee amputation surgery that they finally looked at my right hip in depth (where all the pain had been all along). It was essentially destroyed from osteomyelitis, MSSA and septic shock. I had my amputation surgery on Nov 7, 2013 after undergoing limb salvage for nearly 18 months. The writing had been on the wall, but I needed to lay my head on the pillow without any doubts. When you have to take yourself like a lamb to the slaughter to have not only a good percentage of yourself removed, but the very instruments of your entire identity and form of self expression as well as provision, you need to eliminate doubts. In addition, there were many more dynamics at play of which I will speak about in my upcoming book.

After undergoing the amputation surgery, I was ready to hit the ground running, or at least quickly walking. The problem was that the original pain in my hip remained, and I wasn’t willing to consume enough pain meds to dull the pain becoming a prisoner to the prescription so I was a prisoner to the pain instead. If I would walk or rehab at all, I would end up in the fetal position for days. I had to wait to have my right hip replaced because I had to undergo extensive antibiotic therapy. They wanted to make sure they killed any possible latent infection before proceeding. During the summer of 2014, they did the replacement in two steps, two separate surgeries with antibiotics in between. I was what felt like a creature for years. The sprinter in me was screaming inside. The war horse wanted to run, and run FAST. Turns out, she had to crawl, and crawl slowly.

The thing is life rarely gives us what we want, but will always give us what we NEED. It is all happening FOR us even though it feels like it is happening to us. I believe that we each have individual purposes, that we were designed for a purpose and that life supports us in fulfilling them. We also have free choice. It is my greatest desire to live up to my innate potential, above all things. You could say it is my highest value. So life really delivered me a gift. When this all happened, when life as I knew it burned to the ground, I chose to step up. I chose to believe it was all happening for me. I chose to look for the good. I chose to allow it to make me better rather than bitter. I chose to be a victor rather than a victim. I chose to be grateful. I chose to be hopeful. I could have chosen the opposite. Sadly many people do. Though I am proud to be a part of a movement that demonstrates how the very thing that appeared like it would destroy us, actually can liberate us.

We are all living below what we are capable of. That is human nature. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what is possible. When we are called to life altering circumstances, we can choose to answer the call. Grit is a choice. And grace is always found in each individual moment. We never receive strength for the entire journey all at once. We choose it moment by moment. During the journey, there were many moments when I didn’t think I could go on. I wasn’t willing to end my life because that would mean quitting, and like I said, quitting is my greatest fear. However, I did ask God to have mercy on me by taking me out of the game Himself. He didn’t, and I thank Him every day for it. If only I could share with you what a sunset feels like to my soul. I carry deep scars with me, and I’m grateful for it, because I never take for granted the sanctity of life. There was a time when I needed all of the lights off and black out shades on my window. Light was just too great a contrast to the darkness that I felt. Now, I dance in the rays of the sun and salute the One who paints the skies. I have created the Phoenix Perspective to share with you how the fire is our friend, how if we allow it to, it can free us. Obviously the hope is that none of you experience pain and loss this extreme, however in pain, there is no comparison. Pain is pain. Pain and loss are guaranteed in life. We all experience it and we all struggle with it. I just seek to provide some context to it. To allow it to burn a little less hot, and to assign meaning and yes, even beauty to it.