"Your ancestors called it magic but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same." - Thor (the Marvel Movie)
As I look into the beautiful blue eyes of my baby boy Michael James (MJ), I know that I am grateful to both science and magic for bringing him into the world! They both were needed on our epic journey to parenthood.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I want to share our story, so others have hope if they are struggling to conceive. Our journey and this blog is long. Grab a snack, a cozy blanket, and start reading…
I love the quote above. I distinctly remember it when we watched the movie, “Thor” on our plane ride to Fiji back in 2011 when Mike (my then boyfriend, now husband) were first dating. It was one of our first trips, but I knew if wouldn’t be our last. 😊 Mike and I were married in August of 2013. We honeymooned in Bora Bora in January 2014 and began trying to start our family at that time. He was 37 and I was 39 at the time. I had a feeling we might be challenged, but I had no idea what was in store. I’m actually glad I didn’t, or we may have never even started.
After 6 months of no luck using “the old fashion way”, we reached out to a fertility specialist, InVia. It was the summer of 2014. We learned all was good on Mike’s end. However, I had a polyp in my uterus, so we needed to remove that asap. I was also diagnosed with PCOS, so that was a hurdle with my ovulation. After my first procedure to remove the polyp, we decided to start with IUI (intrauterine insemination.) I think of it as encouraging the boys and girls to meet in the gym at the same time for the big dance. Sadly, we had no success with IUI. The boys showed up at the dance. However, all my girls (eggs) were no shows. Honestly, IUI was the worst of all the routes we took. I couldn’t stand the hormones I had to take. They made me the most hormonal. For example, spontaneous crying outbursts on my daily commutes. I couldn’t take it anymore after two failed rounds. No more of this route. On the bright side, after the 2 IUIs, I needed a break for me. I went to visit my dear friend Nichole in Boston. She is my enrolling sponsor in Isagenix (my home based nutrition business.) We took our business to the next level going forward, so that was a big silver lining…especially of what was in store the next few years.
In January 2015, Mike and I took our 2nd annual January trip to warm weather…Hawaii. It was a wonderful get away and we decided it’s time to bring out the big guns and start IVF. This introduced some very important changes…most important….we changed insurance. Even though I had insurance through my employer, it stunk. No IVF coverage = no dice. We did our research and switched to our own independent coverage. It included at least 4 egg retrievals, and more if still needed. I highly encourage women and couples to research insurance and be your own advocate. There are options out there, but you need to look and ask questions. No one does it for you.
I did my 1st egg retrieval in April 2015. I had 5 great embryos sent for PGS (preimplantation genetic screening). Due to my age, I knew that many of my eggs may be old and not the healthiest. It was our personal choice. I knew I could handle the embryos not taking and not becoming pregnant. However, I couldn’t handle having multiple miscarriages due to unhealthy embryos. Every journey is personal and unique. You and your partner need to do what is right for you as a family. This was our choice. I’ll never forget the day I found out the results of our 1st PGS testing. All 5 embryos were inferior. I was in Hong Kong for business. I checked my online patient portal while I was alone in my hotel room. Talk about a blow to my core. I was devastated. Even worse, I wouldn’t see Mike for a week or more. After Hong Kong, I was going to Taiwan for a few days of business meetings and then visiting my brother who lived there at the time. This I’ll never forget. While visiting with my brother, we did a special blessing at a temple where I could make a wish. You can guess what I wished for. Then I got to pick a fortune from the temple. I had an elder interpret it for me….something like this, “You will be on a journey. It will be long, but you will prevail in the end. Stay strong. Keep going.” Ummm, that felt appropriate. As sad as I was, I took comfort in the blessing, and carried on.
Now it starts getting interesting. A few weeks after I returned from Hong Kong and Taiwan, I was laid off from my corporate job. Some might think this is a big bummer, I was relieved! The Universe was telling me it was time to stop commuting and stressing over a job that no longer served me. It was time to live my passion of health and fitness full time! Thank you Universe! Once again, thank goodness for Isagenix. I already had an additional revenue stream coming in by helping people live their healthiest life which allowed me to live mine! Talk about being grateful that I had my own independent health insurance. Love how life works out.
So, carry on, we did. In July 2015 we did our 2nd egg retrieval resulting in 6 embryos to send for testing. We did our 3rd egg retrieval in Sept 2015 resulting in 2 additional embryos to send for testing. In efforts to save a few thousand dollars, we batch tested all 8 embryos together. (fyi…embryo testing is NOT covered by insurance. It’s approximately $6K each time you test 8 embryos. Batching let us test the two rounds together for the bargain price of $8K vs.$12K.) Of our 8 embryos batch tested….0 were viable & healthy. Devastation. At this point in the process, my specialist started talking about other options, like egg donor and/or adoption. I was in a daze. I felt like I had been holding onto a rope so tightly, and suddenly it was slipping away. When I was about to let go, I had a thought and fortunately I asked a very important question...
While reviewing the testing report explaining the issues with each embryo, I learned that each and every defective embryo was a result of the egg, my egg…except for one. I asked our Natera genetic counselor about this. She told me this one embryo had a quality egg, but the sperm was the culprit on the defect. Immediately I said, “So…you’re saying there’s a chance??? I AM capable of healthy eggs. They just haven’t met their perfect sperm yet.” She said, “Yes! I’m saying there’s a chance.” The sun started shining again. I received the greatest gift….HOPE. Our dream was not over, just delayed. We needed to try again. Keep going we did.
In December 2015 we did our 4th egg retrieval, I had 8 embryos ready to send to Natera for testing. Of the 8 sent for testing, 1 came back healthy, strong, and viable for tranfer!!! It’s a miracle!!! I knew that we could do it!!! So exciting!!! We were thrilled!!! We planned to implant in the spring of 2016. Carrying on tradition, Mike and I got out of Chicago and traveled to Argentina and Brazil for 3 weeks in January 2016. We figured this would be our last trip before baby, so let’s make it epic. It was! Absolutely incredible!
We planned our 1st embryo transfer for March 2016. We did learn some interesting news as we prepped for the transfer. My doctor could see that I had a fibroid in my uterus. It wasn’t affecting the lining (or so we thought), so we proceeded with the transfer. I did everything perfect. However, when we got the news on Good Friday, it thought I had died. Good... it was not. Not pregnant. Totally devastated again. Why didn’t the embryo take? What did I do wrong? Should we have removed it first? Was that my only good egg? Is all lost? A fertility journey is such a roller coaster of emotions. So many high hopes, and then the lowest of lows. Fortunately, I had Mike by my side. I couldn’t have done this without him. I kept telling myself, be grateful for where you are and what you currently have. As sad as I was, I was so grateful to have Mike. I reminded myself that "single Dooley" would gladly trade places with "married without child Dooley." 😊 When I gave thanks for what I had, I always felt better. I also would dive deeper into my business and help others in these tough times. That always made me feel better too.
So, now we have fibroids to think about. There’s at least one, maybe more. We’ll have to weigh this when we have more embryos to consider. That leads us to Egg Retrieval #5 in July 2016. It started off great like any other retrieval. We only had 2 quality embryos to test. I was a little shocked it was only two. However, I got a really great sign from above. Later that day it rained and something compelled me to go outside. I screamed for Mike, there was a double rainbow!!! I knew it was a sign from my dad. (he always shows up in some version of rain to let me know he’s thinking of me and that everything will be ok!) We may only have 2 embryos, but they’ll be good ones. , You’ll never believe this. When we got the genetic testing results, they both came back healthy, strong, and viable for transplanting!!! Even better, a boy and a girl!!!
Now, I mentioned this started like any other retrieval. It was my 5th, I knew the drill. However, this time something felt off. I usually recovered in a couple days and was back to my active self. However, not this time. I felt off. A very strange unfamiliar pain started building in my belly. I went to my doctors and no one could figure it out. About ten days after, it came to a head. I was on my way to a friend’s family funeral, and only 5 minutes into the drive, I screamed for Mike to turn around and take me home. The pain was unbearable. Long story short, the next day I was admitted into the emergency room for my 1st CT scan. Turns out my ureter had been damaged during the egg retrieval and my bladder had been leaking urine into my body for 10 days…hence the pain. YIKES!!! Now here’s where this story gets a little silly. It’s a Wednesday and my doctor wants to do the surgery that night. However, on Thursday (next day), I’m supposed to do my Sing-A-Long Body Pump class at East Bank with my amazing friend Leslie. I had been dreaming of this event for years. No way was I going to miss it. I told my doctors, if I could handle this for 10 days, what’s an extra 2? I know, I’m crazy. However, I missed out doing my Anchor splash lip sync with Hulting back it college and I was depressed about that for years. (I mean come on…we rented Carmen Miranda dresses and everything!) I was NOT going to miss this! So, the show must go on. Leslie and I coached THE MOST EPIC Sing-A-Long Body Pump class EVER, and I had my surgery the following morning. My urologist inserted a stint to help my ureter heal. I’d have it removed in 8 weeks or once it was healed. Side note...(and now a word from our sponsor...LOL!) another reason I love Isagenix...Obviously, I had to take off work to go to all these doctor appointments, hospital visits, and surgery. No class= no pay. However, with Isagenix, I enrolled a new member while I was in the waiting room of my urologist!!! How crazy is that! Gotta love a home based business or should I say phone based business. Where there’s WIFI, there’s a way!!!
So one really cool thing came out of this crazy busted ureter or as I call it, “my broken pee-pee” incident….my doctors realized there wasn’t just 1 fibroid in my uterus. There were at least 7 (or more.) I definitely needed to have fibroid surgery to remove all the fibroids if I wanted to successfully transfer my good embryos in the future. Game on….schedule the surgery. We did, I had fibroid surgery in August 2016, and they found not 7, but 12 fibroids!!! Fun fact: my uterus was 1/3 smaller after the surgery. No wonder little “Fitzroy” couldn’t take…it was a jungle in there! So grateful we chose to do the surgery. Now we had to let my uterus heal for 4-6 months before can transfer again.
While my uterus healed, my ovaries still had more eggs to give, so we scheduled our 6th egg retrieval for October 2016. We got 6 more embryos to test resulting in 1 healthy, strong, & viable embryo and 1 no-call. Another little boy. More good news… the stint took nicely. My ureter healed, and it was removed two days after the egg retrieval.
Now we just had to wait and heal. Mike and I had 3 quality embryos on ice. We should be set with a big family in due time. So a few months went by and my uterus is healing beautifully. We decided to transfer our best embryo, our little girl in January 2017. My HCG elevated slightly, then stopped. No pregnancy. We were devastated. Why didn’t it work this time? My uterus was perfect. The embryo was perfect. My little girl was perfect, but no luck. She is gone. We went back to the doctor for an HSG (hysterosonogram) to reevaluate my uterus. Everything looked great. Just no baby. I was at a loss.
Fortunately, we have more embryos. We decide to transfer one of our boys in February 2017. This time I did everything: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, anything I could think of. However, nothing. Not even elevated HCG, nothing. I was devastated. WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING??? We did everything right from the science standpoint. Medically speaking it was all perfect. Just no pregnancy. This truly was the worst. I had been pretty open with many people about our journey. However, I couldn’t bear to speak of our loss this go around. Everyone was so hopeful and caring, yet it felt like so much pity when they heard it didn’t work. I know intentions were good, but I just couldn’t bare speaking of it any more. We knew we had 1 last “at bat” with our final little boy and no call. However, I refused to speak about when we would transfer, if we would transfer. For the 1st time in my life, I shut up. LOL!
I was pretty down that spring. Fortunately, I have some amazing friends who show up just when I need them. One was my friend Jasmine. We hadn’t seen each other in a year or so. However, I saw her post on FB about some incredible meditation she was doing. I wanted to hear more, so we met up for coffee to chat and catch up. It was a wonderful visit and she explained the meditation, “Close your eyes and watch the show go by. Do it for 1 hour, and then write about what you saw.” That’s all. No special focus, just close your eyes and watch the show. I made a commitment to do a 1 hour meditation every day for the month of April. This was a game changer. I even documented each meditation with a short FB live video each day to keep me accountable. This practice was liberating. I was able to let go of some crazy baggage I didn’t even realize that I was holding on to. It basically allowed me to “let go” of expectations of how things were “supposed to be” and let them “just be.” I felt free and was ready to try 1 more time.
Mike and I decided to do our final transfer on May 2nd, 2017. We didn’t tell anyone. I kept saying that we’re taking the summer off to have fun, regroup, and maybe we’ll do the final transfer in the fall. I didn’t want to speak of this final “at bat” to anyone. I decided to release control. Mike and I always play music at the transfer and name the embryos. I let him have full control as he played the theme to “What’s Happening?” while the doctors transferred “Dwayne and Rerun.” 😊 (fyi…our previous embryos were Kale-ee and Brocc-Lee…yes, Kale & Broccoli.) I was prepared to have negative news and to be ok with that. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst. Mike was prepared in case it would be negative that he reserved a trip to New Zealand for us. Ready to pull the trigger once we heard the bad news.
On May 12th, I took the blood test at 7am and then coached 3 classes at OTF. Now every other time my doctor called around 3pm. I have a feeling she was putting off making the call till the end of the day. I mean who really wants to deliver such bad news…over and over again. However, I saw there was a VM left around 10:30am!!! I didn’t listen as I wanted to listen with Mike. Well, he stopped by during my break at 11:30am. We listened together, “Congratulations!!! You’re pregnant!!!” It was the most wonderful VM I ever received!!! I’ll never forget that day!!! Fast forward to December 29th, and Michael James Sieman was born!!!
I tell everyone, the hardest part was getting pregnant, everything else is a piece of cake. Pregnancy was easy, my c-section delivery was a breeze, and MJ is the best little boy ever. Worth every shot in my belly and butt. LOL! Funny, it all faded away as soon as I heard his first cry and now when I look in his beautiful blue eyes.
So, to sum it up:
So, the lessons learned from our journey:
I used to think, “Why? Oh, why didn’t the other embryos didn’t take?” We had all the science figured out. However, it was that touch of magic we needed to find in the journey. When I look into MJ’s beautiful blue eyes, I now know why. Life is about divine timing. If the earlier embryos had taken, he wouldn’t be here today, and I can’t imagine a world without my little MJ. He is my magic, and I wouldn’t change a thing!!!
With smiles & sparkles,
Hi friends! In class this week we started promoting our upcoming Transformation Challenge at OTF LIncoln Square starting January 26,2017. I couldn't help to reflect back on my incredible experience with my 1st OTF challenge in January 2016. This is a repost of my original post:
Yes, I am!!! On Wed 3/3/16, I completed my 6 Week Orangetheory Fitness Weight loss challenge. I walk away from the challenge feeling happy, accomplished, and inspired. It was a total success!!!
The challenge involved committing to participating in at least 3 OTF classes per week at the Lake Forest location. Additional classes at other locations were allowed, but did not count toward the challenge. I also paired up my training with my superfuood nutrition program to support and compliment my journey.
I hope this doesn't sound arrogant but when people found out I was participating in the Weight Loss Challenge, many commented, "But you don't need to lose weight!" My answer, "I'm participating for many reasons. Weight loss is just one of them." Here's some of those reasons and lessons I learned along the way:
1. Having a Goal is FUN!
I LOVE programs. Whether it's training for a half marathon or prepping for a fitness competition, it's so fun to have a big goal that you are striving for. I love "doing the do" and taking daily action. It's amazing what transformation can happen, when you are consistent and persistent! With the OTF Challenge I had to do the work. Class after class. Week after week. Each Sunday, I planned out my weeks to ensure I made my 3 workouts in Lake Forest. (fyi...I live in Chicago, but frequent Lake Forest often for teaching and my family.) Fortunately, I had my incredible nutrition program that made eating clean easy, convenient, and delicious. However, it definitely took some planning to get my workouts in as I'm always on-the-go. Fun side note: I got so hooked on OTF, I even located a studio in Omaha, NE when I was there in February. Ain't nothing gonna break my stride!
2. OTF brings out the best in you!
Over 6 weeks, I did 21 OTF workouts. Each workout was different, and I pushed myself to new personal bests. Honestly, my improved running speed and stamina were bonus prizes! I started the challenge with a base pace of 5.5mph/ a push pace of 7.0mph/ and if I was feeling crazy..an all out at 8.5mph!!! At my final workout....my base was 6.5mph/ push 8.5mph/ all out 10.0mph!!! Seriously, 10.0mph??? That's a 6min mile pace. I haven't run that fast since the Presidential Physical Fitness test in high school. I NEVER thought I'd run that pace again. Ever! Fortunately, OTF workouts bring out the best in us. They encourage us to go for it...even just for a few seconds...you'll never know unless you try.
3. Friendship is a Prize
Another awesome reward of this journey are the friendships I've made along the way. When you take that many classes, you start to see familiar faces. I met so many great people...from the members to the OTF staff to all of our incredible OTF coaches. I love going to a place like Cheers, "where everybody knows your name. And they're always glad you came." I'm always glad I did my OTF workout! However, here Instead of a cold beer, I always had my water bottle full of Hydrate!
4. Skinny Jeans = Success. Progress = Happiness
When I originally started the challenge, I had a goal of losing 15lbs, so I could be back at the weight on my driver's license. I was there a few years ago, but I've had some medical things going on these past two years. When you're taking medicine...it's sometimes hard to get the scale to move, as you're not exactly sure of how it affects your body. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat, and my plan was to put on muscle. I knew the scale may not change a bunch, and that is fine. My personal motto with clients is, "Answer to your pants!!!" You could tell me I weight 115lbs, but if my pants are tight, who cares??? I am thrilled to report I finished the challenge releasing... 7.2lbs. More importantly, I lost major inches in my arms, hips, chest, thighs, and waist!!!
And best stat of all...my skinny jeans fit!!! I put on jeans last week that I couldn't wear over Christmas! Skinny Jeans = success!!! I may not have made my license weight goal, but progress equals happiness! I'm not complaining while I'm dancing in my skinny jeans!!! Even better, my body just feels amazing. Leaner, lighter, and stronger! I love it!!!
5. Nutrition is Key!
Nutrition plays a key role in any weight loss transformation. Isagenix is the perfect compliment to the OTF challenge and a busy, healthy lifestyle. It is an all natural organic standard system that I swear by. I have seen massive transformation in myself, my friends, and my family. In fact, my brother-in-law recently won the OTF Park Ridge Challenge by adding Isagenix to his challenge. The system adds so much energy and ease to my life. It curbed my cravings, sent my energy levels through the roof, tastes delicious, and is so convenient!!! I especially love that it gives me time freedom instead of shopping and cooking all my meals. It’s not a magic wand. It is a tool of perfect nutrients that when used correctly and daily, offers life changing results. Isagenix recently launched the AMPED performance line. I paired this with my OTF challenge and was WOWED by my energy and performance!
All in all, I am blown away with my results from the OTF weight loss challenge. I highly recommend OTF and Isagenix to any and everyone! It's effective and fun! My favorites!!!
Two days ago was Friday June 24, 2016. It was the 25th anniversary of my father's death. Over the years, I've stayed connected with my dad. He has made his presence quite clear to me in the form of rain (I'll share our wedding story in another blog. LOL!) ...and at other times (to quote my favorite band, Duran Duran) when he would "...hold back the rain!"
On this anniversary weekend, my dad did not disappoint. We were at our friends' outdoor wedding in Door County, and the weather was starting to look a bit iffy. I looked up to the sky and said, " Daddy, can you help us out?" I kid you not, the sky cleared up and the sunny started shining. It was a picture perfect wedding! Thanks Daddy! ;-)
Yesterday afternoon, my Facebook feed reminded me of a previous blog post. I reread it, and it made me smile. I wanted to share it again with you in case you missed it the first time around. Enjoy!
"Hello Friends! It’s June 22nd. A bit of time has passed since my last post on April 1st. I’ve been taking yoga classes here and there, but not as consistent as I originally hoped. No worries. Yoga at times for me is like that dear friend we all have. We may not talk every day, but when we do reach out and call each other, we pick up exactly where we left off last. We click and our amazing friendship continues without missing a beat.
Today I was blessed to attend an outdoor yoga class on Maple St. Beach in Winnetka. The free community class was a gift from Lululemon Northbrook Court, taught by four of their most awesome ambassadors. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Lululemon NBC!!! I LOVED IT!!! This class was exactly what I needed today.
A little back story…My father passed away 22 years ago, almost to the day. I miss my dad every day. Even though our time together was short, he loved me dearly and taught me so much. His passing shaped so much of my life too. Most importantly, I got into healthy eating and fitness because I want to make sure I live a long and healthy life, see my kids gets married, and meet my grandchildren.
More back story, six years ago my friend and I hiked the Lares Trek in Peru to Machu Picchu. It was an incredible hike. On the first day, it looked like it was about to rain hard. We knew it wouldn’t be fun to hike in the rain. I looked up to the sky and asked my dad to guide us and protect us. I kid you not, we hiked 10 hours and not a drop of rain hit us. However, 10 seconds after we made it to camp, the sky opened up and it poured cats and dogs. I knew my dad was watching out for us and protecting us the whole way.
Ok, back to the beach today. As we were in pigeon pose, a great hip opening pose, our instructor Jenny commented to the group that the hip area holds “the tissues with the issues.” Yes, lots of people hold stress, emotional or physical in their hips. Funny, as soon as she mentioned that, I thought of my dad. Oh, how I still miss him. In that moment, I felt a little release (yes, a tear or two rolled down my cheek), and I thought, “Daddy, give me a sign.
Show me that you’re still with me. I miss you so much. I just want to know you’re still here.” I
put this intention out to the universe. I love the immediate response he gave to me.
Just like the on-the-verge rainy day back in Peru, it was so on the verge of raining for today’s outdoor beach yoga class. It rained before class, and it started to sprinkle immediately after our class ended. However, it did not rain during our class. Years later, my dad is still there guiding and protecting me. I know he is always with me.
I am so grateful to yoga and especially to Lululemon NBC for helping me connect with my dad TODAY of all days. The loss of a loved one is a deep wound that never fully heals. It leaves a scar. However, I love that I can look at my scar and remember all of the love my dad has for me. I remember all the nights he rocked me to sleep. I remember how he taught me to be a project manager and break down big projects into smaller tasks, so I could get the job done. He empowered me to achieve any goal and gave me the confidence to do it. He taught me if something isn’t working out that you can take actions to improve yourself and fix it, never seeing quitting as an option. He’s taught me to live, laugh, and love and to take good care of myself, so I’ll be there for my children and grandchildren. And even today, he taught me that a real love lasts a lifetime. It extends beyond space and time. All I have to do is call for him, he’ll be there. To quote Ace of Base, “I saw The Sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign!”
Jenny also asked us to set an intention on the mat today. I recommitted to taking 1 yoga class each week for the rest of the year. I’m committing to it again. I may not write about it each week, but I know when I do, I’ll have something good to share.
Let’s Dooley this!!!
With love and gratitude,
Back to June 26, 2016...After reading my blog post, I realized that it's time once again to add yoga back into my life. I am again recommitting to taking 1 yoga class each week for the rest of the year. I'll make a point to write about it again. I have a feeling it's going to be just what I need right now, and I can't wait!!!
I can't believe it's been almost 2 years to the day, when I hit my personal health "rock bottom." In that dark moment, I found the most incredible solution that changed my life FOREVER!!!
Here's a repost of my Isagenix 30 Day journey from 2014...
Today is July 1st, 2014. I just joyfully completed the Isagenix® 30 Day (Cleansing and Fat Burning) System from June 1st-30th. I have been a fan of “programs” for years and years, but this is one of my favorites by far. It is also my most successful and enjoyable program. Want to hear about it? Here it goes…
Why I joined?
It was 5/26, Memorial Day. I had just gotten back from a 3-week work trip to Asia. After the past 8 months of a new demanding job with long hours, long commutes, and less frequent workouts, my pants were tight. Also, I was turning 40 in 17 days. I was cool with being 40, but not weighing 140lbs. (my personal healthy weight is 125lbs). It was time to answer to my pants. That day I saw the post on my friend's FB news feed. It showed her friend’s before/after photos from her recent 30 Day program. I was wowed! If she could do this, I could too. Guess what, I DID IT!!!
Why I LOVE the Isagenix® 30 Day System?
So, that’s what I’ve been up to for the past 30 Days. I had a blast and feel phenomenal! Remember, I can show you a thousand before/after photos of others, but I’d rather show you yours!!! If you think this is for you, send me a message or give me a call. I have a spot waiting just for you on my team!
With love, gratitude, & sparkles,
Ps…Enjoy a few photos documenting all of the birthday fun & fabulous food of the past 30 days!
In September 2011, I was blessed to go to Fiji for Life Mastery (a Tony Robbin’s event). It was 5 Days to stop the poisoning (emotional, physical, and environmental), cleanse & detoxify, and revitalize & regenerate to live my best life!!! It was an incredible experience on so many levels. I learned so much, and met the most inspiring, dynamic people from all over the world!
One of the most powerful events during the week was the infamous pole climb. We were to climb a 58 ft tall telephone pole without a net (just a harness) , then stand on top, and jump for a trapeze target 10 ft or so in front of us. Again, NO NET. We were supposed to do this on the 1st day, but due to rain it was postponed until Day 4.
I tried not to think (or stress) too much about it. I just focused on completing it. No expectation on whether I caught the trapeze or not. OK, I lie! I was freaking out inside. I was hesitant to climb. I kept thinking if I didn’t catch the trapeze, then the jump or shall I say journey was a failure. OH DOOLEY! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? I realized the truth there. IT’S THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION! Whether I catch the trapeze or not, I MUST CLIMB & JUMP! My new friend Karen reminded me, “Just jump, whether you catch the trapeze (ie your initial goal…or what you thought you wanted), you will be supported (and get what you need). You always will. So jump.” This hit home, I have a business I want to grow, but don’t know if it will “catch” or not, so I have been timid on jumping. I must JUMP and know I’ll be supported.
So, I decided to climb and jump for the trapeze. Not labeling it good or bad whether I catch the goal or not. JUST JUMP. (see a theme here???)
I start my climb. It’s fun and easy at first. I visualize the climb is my life and then I switch to thinking it’s about my relationship with my boyfriend Mike. (And by the way, he’s brilliant! Mike and I met this past June. FYI…I’m 37 and Mike is 35. Great guys ARE out there. BELIEVE! We clicked right off the bat and I invited him to Fiji. Funny, I had enough miles to fly myself business class to Fiji. However, I the idea wasn’t settling well with me. When I asked myself what would be better, I answered flying to Fiji with my boyfriend. I didn’t have one when I booked my ticket, so I booked coach. I booked Mike’s ticket soon after I met him…just a month later!) So, Mike was here with me in Fiji until Day 3. We came together for a week before the event. But I digress, back to our story…
Now I’m climbing higher and higher. Like a relationship, the beginning is super fun, carefree, and easy. However, the higher you go, it gets a bit challenging. We know the journey is worth it, so we move forward. On one step, I lose my footing a bit. Old fears sink in, “Can I do this? Does he really love me? All of me?” YES! So I breathe, remember how fabulous I am for even putting myself out here, and keep going. What pulled me to the top was the phrase, “All that I need, is within me now.” I probably said it 50 times while taking the finals 2 steps that got me to stand on the top of the pole. It’s those last two steps that get you…so close to your goal and so challenging. I think this is where many people give up…not realizing how close they are to victory. I thought about Mike and then about many of my previous relationships. In the past, when that tricky step came up, I got scared and climbed back down (or tumbled down in a few cases.) But not this time, it’s different. I’ve enjoyed every step with Mike. I know it won’t always be easy, but the hard work will be worth it. And even when scary stuff arises (like tough conversations and communicating feelings…not my favorite pastime), I must face my fears and
keep climbing. It will be worth it!
Honestly, I had to turn OFF my head, and focus only on my heart. I wanted to get to the top. That’s the only thing I could focus on. To turn off the distractions of my head, I went straight to my inCANtations. My favorite being, “All that I need is within me now!” I said it over and over and over again. “All that I need is within me now! All that I need is within me now! All that I need is within me now!” And with that, I found the courage to take the last steps. Knowing if I slipped, I’d be ok. Something would catch me. But I didn’t slip…I took those two steps and stood up on top of that 58’ high pole. Hooray!!! I let go of the wire from the harness, and stood tall and proud!!! OMG! It’s GORGEOUS up here from the view at the top. Why didn’t I try this years ago? What was I so afraid of?
I had a few major “breakthrough” moments on the trip. Here's what I learned:
Lesson #1: Never focus on fear, get in an empowered state and ROCK IT! (for example, use inCANtations on stage for my next show.) It’s never as bad as you imagine it to be, usually, it’s pretty easy. JUST DO IT! So, I’m at the top, and it’s beautiful! I noticed when the others before me climbed, they were so focused on catching the trapeze that they didn’t stop and enjoy the view. They got to the top and instantly jumped for the trapeze. Not me!
Lesson #2: Appreciate all that you’ve accomplished and created. Don’t immediately rush to the next thing. Pause, celebrate, and enjoy! This is especially true in dating! Don’t worry about rushing things. Enjoy the climb and getting to know each other. That’s my attitude with Mike.
Ferris Bueller said it best, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So I stayed up top for a minute or so. I enjoyed the view. I gave gratitude to Fiji, my friends cheering below, and to the universe for blessing me with my outstanding life. It was good fun! But we can only celebrate for so long…then it’s time to grow some more. You know the saying, “we either grow or die.” Time to grow with the infamous trapeze! However, I was no longer concerned about catching or not catching the trapeze. I just knew I HAD TO JUMP, and I’d be supported. I found my strength from Madonna and her song called, “Jump.” Lyrics go like this, “There’s only so much you can learn in one place. The more that I wait, the more time that I waste.” I shouted this from the pole top, adding, “I’m starting my business, and I’m starting it NOW!” And with that, I leaped off into the sky, not knowing where I was going, but knew I was where I needed to be. Sometimes our only form of transportation is a leap of faith. And guess what… wait for it…wait for it…
I CAUGHT THE TRAPEZE!!! WOO HOO!!! The crowd goes wild!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then the crowd shouted, “Let go!” WHAT? Let go??? I never thought that far. I have to let go? And drop? I hung there for a minute. I forgot…even when you make your goal…there’s the next goal…which can be scary too. Fortunately, I had another inCANtation in me, and I let go to float gracefully (who’s zooming who, I added a little jazz hands) to the ground. I was met at the ground to so much love and hugs from all! It was incredible. I realized in that moment
how powerful this activity or shall we way journey was. If I could sum it up in a word: JUMP!!! Or as Nike says, “Just DO it!” Life loves you and me. It will always be there to support us. If you want something, go for it. Talk action and do it NOW. Whatever you need, will catch you and support you. You may not hit your initial goal or what you thought you wanted, but you will discover such rich treasures along your journey. Any you’ll usually find, it’s so much better than your original goal anyways.
Ps. My last lesson was the most important of all. I’ve been wanted an amazing boyfriend for a long time. Mike came to Fiji with me and our time together overlapped with my Tony Robbin’s Event for 3 days. On Day 2, we spent my afternoon break together with a relaxing couples massage at the spa. It rocked! I realized I didn’t want to go back to the event while he was still here. That night we were learning about relationships. Wait a second…I’m actually in one, and it came with me to FIJI! Instead of learning about relationships, I chose to live it! I took a day break from the seminar and played with Mike until I had to drop him off at the airport on the afternoon of Day 3. We had an amazing time, and I was back just in time for the pole climb on Day 4….funny how life works out!
Lesson #3: Implement! There’s a time to learn and a time to DO. Realize when everything you strive for is in front of your face. Pause, breathe, and LIVE IT! Or as I like to say, “Just DOOLEY it
This article was originally written January 2012. Mike is now my husband and best friend! Since my jump in Fiji, Mike and I took our biggest and best leap together when we got married August 29, 2013. I can't wait to see what new heights and leaps of faith we'll take together in the future! With Mike by my side, anything is possible!