Posted by: Elle | August 22, 2010

Go for the Goal has Goal’s

Regretfully, Go for the Goal will not see it’s first year until June 2011. It takes a little while for big things like this to get off the ground and surprisingly, I’m not too upset about it.

I’m committed to quality, not attached to the race happening this year. However, I’ve set some Goals around where I want it to be in 2011.

Goals for 2011

*organize a 5km run that draws 120 participants

*have it so that 95% of the entrance fee goes directly to the cause

*develop and deliver a goal setting workshop to 15 local schools for kids in grades 6-12. (ultimately leading them up to training for the race) -this will happen by March 2011

and now we’re off to the races to get it going (no pun intended)

Chin up, life is good!

Posted by: Elle | July 31, 2010

Taking On Life

I haven’t been here in a while. Life’s been up and down, but I’m LOVING it.

I’m in the Self Expression and Leadership Program with Landmark Education. Every single class, they ask you if you are “Someone who is living powerfully and living a life you love.” It took me over half the class to be able to finally declare it, but now that it’s something I can declare life is so different. And the thing is that it’s a commitment, so if you declare it once, you have to keep doing it.

To be clear, living powerfully and living a life you love doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect. It just means that you have integrity, power, that you are a leader, and that you can generate possibility in the area’s that aren’t going so great. It took me awhile to get this.

I really got that I’m allowed to be upset with the things going on surrounding my mom. I also got that I’m allowed to plan! I love planning, but it’s alright if things don’t go the way I was expecting them too. I can cry my heart out for an hour, and then just let that be. It’s not bad or wrong, they’re just feelings. It doesn’t make me like her.

I’m planning a race. I’m going back to school.  I’m not selling myself short. I’m coaching the next SELP. I’m transforming my environments. I’m living in the present. I’m generating possibility in areas I’ve never been able to generate them before. I can see people as possibility. I’m taking life on fully, regardless of my circumstances.  Figuratively giving them the middle finger.

I’m doing amazing things, and I’m genuinely happy.

From nothing, who I am, right now is the possibility of life, unconditional love and courage.

Posted by: Elle | April 29, 2010

Watch this guy…

I’m in awe of this guy.

He is amazing. Take a gander.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9026810297916989221#

Posted by: Elle | April 21, 2010

In Retrospect…

You know how it is, everything is clear in retrospect.

I wish I would have said this, or I know I shouldn’t have done that or I can see what they saw.

And now that I can look back and see some of these things, i’m actually pretty excited. I’m actually going to make a declaration and say that everything that happened was for the best. Everything in life but espeially the things that have happened over the last few months.

I had a really big goal that involved school, and hard physical work and was convinced that it would take me atleast three years before I could get there. Not to mention that I was so comfortable where I was, that it didn’t matter when I got there.

Now that I’m looking at it, the next application process begins in December, and I am confident that I can have all the qualifications that I need in order to be hired.

So, soon I’ll be able to check off “Firefighter” from my bucket list. And I’m so so excited!

Posted by: Elle | April 5, 2010

Comfort Zone

The amount of things I did to stay in my comfort zone when taken and literally tossed from it, but with a promise of a fair chance to stay there, is incredible. The night this all happened, I broke a promise of going to crossfit with a friend. I texted my Aunt and avoided answering the phone like a plague. There were only a few people I could talk to. I drove and drove and drove. I sat in parking lots and almost got kicked out. I called the lady at landmark sobbing. I stopped making plans, and making excuses.  I just did. There were so many emotions I was feeling, but the biggest one was sheer terror. “What am I going to do without this place?” I kept asking. However, I was determined to never have to find out. I set boundaries, I set things into action.

Everything was uncomfortable. I went and attended advanced, which, aside from the forum, was probably the most uncomfortable 3 days of my life. Well maybe 2, because the last day pretty much rocked. The boundaries were the hardest ones I’ve ever had to set. I had to be bold. I had to stop living for everyone else, and start living for me. I had to start loving my life. This was it—it was do or die. A matter of life or death if you will.  

I had been told this so many times in the past. “Elle, do you know how ridiculous this sounds? You can’t take anymore? You need to LOVE your life.” Eventually, that same person who told me this constantly was the one who threw me out of my comfort zone like you would throw a drunk out of a bar.

Now, here we are four months later, and everything is still uncomfortable. But it’s sort of that exciting, don’t know what’s going to happen next kind of uncomfortable. Being outside of my comfort zone simply makes it so that I’ll reach my goals faster, and my dreams faster. And most days I can put up with that. If you get comfortable, you stagnate. And what’s the point of a life that’s not moving and changing.

Don’t get me wrong, some days I yearn for the familiarity of being comfortable. For things to be a little bit easier. But then I remember that it is what it is. And that I’m in this for the long run. Loving life doesn’t happen overnight—and I’m committed to loving my life.

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0yetHqWODp0&hl=en_US&fs=1&”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0yetHqWODp0&hl=en_US&fs=1&” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

What are your thoughts on this video?

Posted by: Elle | March 31, 2010

What’s the Point?

What’s the point? What’s the point of living a life I don’t love?

It’s so much easier to be the old version of myself. Seriously. It doesn’t involve tears or pages of writing or goals or really feeling at all. But what’s the point? Why should I just “survive”? Why should I go through the motions? Where’s the fun in any of that.

I’ve recentely met this new version of Elle, and I’ve been telling everyone who I used to know that I was to introduce them to “this new Elle girl”. She’s most present and most excited when she’s excited about life. When she’s got things she wants to do and things she loves to do, and loves everything about her life.

“It is what it is,” is another thing I’ve learned pretty recentely. Mom goes into the hospital? The voice says things like, “She doesn’t love you, she’s trying to leave you, EVERYONE is going to leave you”, when really, all that is true is that she is sick and needs to go to the hospital. If I let those little things eat at me all day, it’s going to drive me crazy.

I’ve also found out that work is just work. It’s not supposed to be your whole life. I have the next two weekends off, and have no idea what normal people do with their weekends, since I’ve been working full-time since I was 14. I’m picking up another job, but I know that it’s not where I want to be in 2 years. It’s a means to an end, but while I’m there, I’m just going to enjoy it. Enjoy meeting new people, making new connections, and just loving it.

I got really present to my own power last night. I went into my old place of employment. Let’s just say I swore I’d never ever go back in there. I’d get my running clothes from a different location. I was just going to have coffee with a friend, and she pushed me to go in. “This is the best time to go in, Elle, I’m right by your side”. And so I pushed myself through those doors, and had great conversations. I got a lot of “you look so different, I don’t know who you are anymore,” and I told them of my adventures.

So, I got a long way to go. Sometimes things aren’t exciting, and sometimes the voice screams things that overpower everything, including logic. But I’m not giving up, and I’m not stopping the fight.

I LOVE MY LIFE. I love everything I do. Now if I could just convince that little voice…

“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed along the way from each new vantage point.”–Harold Melchart

Posted by: Elle | March 26, 2010

It’s A Process

I generally love the process of things. I love that I can have a final product in mind, and work backwards to achieving it. I love checking things off the list. I love that feeling of stress. I love seeing how things change and the end result of it is so neat.

The process of learning to be fully and truthfully 100% Elle, however, is hard. For the past month or so, I’ve been Elle 95% of the time. Wednesday evening, however, all of that turned around. I was that person who was talking to herself. I was so distracted I would miss my turn on the way to work. I was a little concerned, because I was being 100% this person.

I tried just sleeping it off the first night. It must have been because I was tired. So I did.  And when I woke up the next morning, guess what? Still no Elle. Time for the no fail ways of getting Elle back. A run with D and baby snuggles.

I met up with  D after a short day at work.

“WOW, Elle, How are you?” she inquired. I dodged the question, and took her giggling baby from her. This was sure to make me feel better. And it did, for about 3 minutes.

We started out on our run, and she asked again. “How are you, Elle?”

“I’m just tired. I worked today too.” I wasn’t trying to convince her, honest. I was more trying to convince myself.

She saw right through it. So we started chatting. She’s one of my favourite people to talk to, and one of the first people I had ever had authentic conversations with. More than that, she’s the one who convinced me about landmark. It was nice to have an outside view on the whole concept.

That helped. Until we stopped running. And when I got in the car, I went right back to that person. I was almost panicking at this point, and I sent Paula a message. She insisted it was all part of the transformation, and told me to go back to writing. And so I did. It was draining, and by midnight I was ready for bed.

This morning I woke up. And I’m Elle 50% of the time (like right now). I’m sure that it’ll be easier to get from breakdown to breakthrough in the future. It’s still really hard right now. And I hate the process. But like I’ve said before…”Nobody said it would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.”

And I’ll leave you with a quote.

“Take chances. Make mistakes, that’s how you grow. Pain nourishes courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”—Mary Tyler Moore

Posted by: Elle | March 24, 2010

The Bucket List

A good friend of mine recentely pushed me to make a list of everything that I want to accomplish in my lifetime, a bucket list of sorts. I’ve made lists like this in the past, but it was always a someday, oneday, maybe. This list that I’ve drafted recentley, and add to every now and then is different. It’s something that I’m fully invested in completing.

I’m not there yet, but since I know that this is all there is, I want the moment to dictate what I do. I want every day to do as many of these things as I can. So, here is the current bucket list. There are absolutely more, and this will be kept as a “page” and updated on occasion, so check back to see what I’ve completed, and what I’ve decided I want to do.

  1. Complete Ironman World Championships
  2. Work on a cruiseship for 6 months
  3. Plan my own marathon benefiting Children’s Aid Society
  4. Spend a summer planting trees in British Columbia
  5. Fight forest fires
  6. Take a road trip across America
  7. Run the Boston Marathon
  8. Swim with the Dolphins
  9. Go on a Yoga retreat in India
  10. Patent an idea that will change the world
  11. Save someone’s life
  12. Bungee Jump in Costa Rica
  13. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
  14. Be on television
  15. Meet someone famous
  16. Train world class athletes
  17. Have children
  18. Get married
  19. Take the train from sea to sea in Canada.
  20. Own my own house and car
  21. Go to Australia and New Zealand
  22. Live out of my suitcase for 3 months

And the list goes on and on and on.

What’s on your bucket list? Grab some paper, write it down, and then share it with me! Sharing makes these things real!

 And I will leave you with a quote that helped me realize some of these things I want to do.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”  –Howard Thurman

Elle

Posted by: Elle | March 23, 2010

Where I’ve Been…

The following is a post that I wrote for a friends blog on February 17th.

I walked into the store, my heart beating a hundred miles a minute. ” It’s just goal coaching, Elle. You’ve got this. You love goals, and yours look great.”

 I thought back to the first goal coaching session I had, and I left crying. And this was with someone that I a)didn’t know, and b) wouldn’t be able to see right through me.

The little voice was talking so loud, I thought that the people I passed might be able to hear it. You are stupid, why do you want to work on yourself? “Nobody wants you to truly succeed, she’ll probably just sabotage you.  You’re stupid for even setting up a goal coaching session. You’re going to sit there for an hour, and Paula is going to judge you every second your sitting there. It’s not going to help. You’re surviving just fine the way you are. She knows too much, Elle, cut all ties. She’s out to hurt you.”

The voice had been saying things like this since I had woken up that morning. On my way into the store, I thought about the first time we had a conversation like this.

————-

“I’m fine,” I responded without missing a beat. The smile I ad pasted on from ear to ear would make her believe me without a doubt.

Truth is, I wasn’t okay. For such a long time, I thought I was doing great.

When I was eleven, my whole world had fallen apart. My mom picked up her five children and moved them into a women’s shelter, and kept us there for two months. Being the oldest, I was constantly told “Big Girls don’t cry.” “Take Care of your siblings. They need you. They need someone to be strong”. And I took it to heart. I held crying siblings, and pretended nothing was wrong. I convinced myself that nothing hurt me.  I took comfort in the fact that she promised that she would never leave us.

“I’m fine,” I responded when asked by teachers. It’s December 17th, and we’re moving into our new home. Four bedrooms-I didn’t have to share. Maybe things would turn out okay. They were. That was, at least for the first two weeks. After we all started our new schools, things started to go down again. I had my own room, but didn’t get to spend time in it. “Everything’s fine,” I repeated to myself, when strange men would come to our house at night and leave before the morning. I’d make sure to find out when we’d be having this visitors show up, so that the little one’s didn’t have to see them.

It’s February 10th. I’m half way through my grade 8 year. Things had calmed down for the past month or so. That’s what I thought, at least. She had her things packed at the door. She took everything that she might ever need. I didn’t want to believe that she was really leaving. My dad had been staying with us for the past week and about noon, a car pulls into a driveway and picks her up with all her things. She broke her promise. She left us. “Everything’s fine,” I repeated over and over again, as I snuggled up to my younger siblings, as they cried.

Fast forward a few weeks. The house is trashed. A half eaten birthday cake on the floor. Beer bottles, vodka bottles, bottles full or rum. He’d relapsed. “We must be really bad,” I thought to myself. I took my siblings, and went for a nice walk, reassuring them that they did nothing wrong. It’s Tuesday now, and I show up at home from lunch. There’s a police car, the pastor’s van and a car I didn’t recognize. We all got scooped up, and removed from the home. “Everything’s fine,” I told them. We were going to be okay. And we were. We spent eight months, split up in Foster homes. Mom never tried to get us to come stay with her. She never considered moving back. But we were still okay. We had families who took care of us, who made us believe in love again. Who came to my grade 8 graduation, and took my sister and I on our first vacation. Who saw me off to my first day of high school.

Two years exactly after moving into the new house, we got to come home for good. Just in time for Christmas. And everything was fine. Everything was calm for a record month. And then my dad got angry. I got blamed for everything. I drove him to drink, I drove her to leave, and I drove him to yell at me. And so I left. I knew it would be the hardest thing I’d ever have to do to leave my friends that kept me sane through it all, but I knew it was the best thing. My brother was already with my mom, and I knew that my dad was much nicer when I wasn’t around. I knew that the babies would be okay without me. The house would be calmer, there would be enough to eat, they would be happy. I promised them I’d be home in a second if they needed me, and I left to go to my mom’s that weekend, and never went back to that place.

I was past it all. All the hard stuff. Everything was okay. I still resented my mom for everything she did, and would do everything I could to keep control. I ate if and when I wanted to eat. I worked full-time. I did what I wanted to do, with whom I wanted to do it. I was in control, and was way past what had happened.

It’s September, 2007. It’s my 3rd day of University, and I am home for the day. I am going to be the first one in my family to graduate University. I’m exhausted and have a bad feeling in my gut, so I ignore it and take two gravol. The phone rang an hour later, and it was the babysitter, saying that nobody had picked up the youngest of my siblings. I was so angry. “Can’t she do anything?” I asked out loud. That night I found out she was in the hospital, but nobody would tell me why. “Everything’s fine,” I repeated to myself. It wasn’t until a few days later when I showed up at the hospital that I had found out that she had tried to kill herself. I immediately went into the mode where I was the protector, and made sure I was helping take care of the baby, that I was making everyone’s life as easy as possible.    

I had been through a lot. Each event went into the little boxes of things that were not okay in my head. These things I had hidden for so long, and now it seemed as though they were unavoidable.  I had survived for so long without having to deal with them, and I had made it so that people thought I was okay. I ran marathons, I was passionate about things, I made it seem as though I was excited about life. There’s no way that these things were going to stop me now.

————-

“Why didn’t you sleep?” she asked, inquiring more than anyone had ever bothered to before.”Just a busy brain,” I lied again. I had spent the night awake in bed, crying and shaking. I was trying so hard to avoid everything that was coming up.

She mentioned something about the little voice in my head, and told me to listen to what it was saying and write it down. I was intrigued, until the moment I started hearing it. “You’re stupid. Unlovable. Ugly. Unwanted. Not worth it. Not good enough,” it screamed. And so I immersed myself in the goings on around me, trying desperately to ignore the voice that screamed all these negative, hurtful things. She could see right through me and wrote her number down before she left.

 I don’t remember exactly how it went from there, but I know we had an msn conversation, as I refused phone contact, and from there we became “bbm” buddies. I was so resistant. “Why do you think you’re head is saying that,” she’d ask. Whenever I said I didn’t know, she would push more. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be easy, but I didn’t think that it was going to be that hard.

 ****************************************************

“I can see that you’re not here,” Paula said right off the bat. “What are you thinking?”

“Nothing,” I insisted. “I’m not thinking anything. We’re just here to do goals. Why would I be thinking anything?”

“NO, What’s the voice saying? I can see it on your face that you’re talking to yourself and that you don’t want to do this. What’s really going on?”

And so I started listing off the things. I would say there were no more, but she kept pushing and pushing. I fought back tears. She took a look at my goals, and zeroed right in on the personal goals.

“Elle, what’s really up? I can tell that this is uncomfortable, but there’s never going to be any progress if you don’t talk to me about it.”

And through much coaxing and talking, she got it out of me. I didn’t go into any specifics, and spoke of the past in a very broad sense. I spoke of the far back past.

She told me to write it down like it was happening, and read it until all the tears were gone. The process started easily enough, but after a paragraph, I was crying so hard I was in panic mode. The voice inside my head was not willing to see what was there. I left that goal coaching session holding back tears, and took a few minutes to compose myself before spending the day at work.                              

******************************************************

Through working through this stuff, I got to a place that was really dark. That voice inside my head was not going to let me deal with this. It wanted to live through all the things that I was hiding from. It got to a point where I thought a lot about how nice it would be if my car crashed, and how nice it would be if I accidently took a few too many of the sleeping pills in my mom’s medicine cabinet.

Every day I survived I considered a success. I wasn’t doing anything amazing. I had stopped running. I continued to not sleep. I was constantly in my head worrying about going home and finding my mom on the floor, or in the hospital again. I was trying to find a way to hide everything that was going on in my house, everything that was going on with me from everyone around me. I wasn’t present, and it was affecting so many areas of my life. It was affecting my work performance, but I was enveloped in this darkness, and couldn’t see it. It was putting a strain on all of my relationships.

I loved my job. It was safe, and secure. I loved everyone I worked with. The thought of losing it with the downsizing of my location was the worst thing that could happen. I had a goal coaching session with Paula, and she ripped my goals apart. “These look so good,” she said, “But they’re bullshit. I can see right through them.”

Aren’t you sick of this yet? Are you so sick of the voice inside your head that you’re willing to do anything to get rid of it? Are you ready to take the next steps and finally get complete?

And I was.

When it came time for them to let people go, it ended up that I was one of the ones that wasn’t performing up to their standards, but had the option to take some time off before a final decision was made. That was the last straw. That voice wasn’t going to win anymore. The real Elle was in there, and she was about to make her debut into the world.

I signed up for the Landmark Advanced Course, and started work on myself. Setting boundaries, setting real goals, creating real possibilities. The advanced course was incredible. I sat there for 2 days with what I thought was an open mind, but didn’t see how closed minded I was until the last day. I opened up new possibilities for the relationships I had ruined. I was going to show off my true, authentic self. I got that I am whole, complete and perfect, and that the only thing that is real is right now. I got that I am nothing and everything and I can create myself every moment.

I started seeing the world as it actually was, not as I made it up to be. I saw snow for the first time. I connected with the people in my life. I figured out what it is like to actually be present. I figured out that the feelings that normally would overwhelm me are just feelings, that they’re always going to be there but they don’t have to define me.

Elle was there. She was happy and free. The world was empty and ready to be filled with things that she wanted to do.

Just recently, another thing happened in my life, that threw my back into the voice in my head. I thought that Elle was always going to be there, that I wouldn’t have to worry about falling back into the old me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case. Phone conversations with Paula helped me see the light-that this is just me getting kicked in the ass to leave the safe and move into the unknown. To make my life what I want it to be.

Nobody said it was going to be easy, the just promised it would be worth.

Posted by: Elle | March 23, 2010

Welcome to my World

To get the introductions out of the way, my name is Elle. Pronounced like the letter, but spelled with a little more flair.

I come from a family being the oldest of many siblings, what today’s standards consider borderline outrageous, with a mother who has a history of self-destructive behaviour. I’ve been through a lot in the past ten years, and had ignored how it made me feel for eight. Through some supportive friends, and the landmark forum, I started to recognize and deal with these things, but it was very unsuccessful, and debilitating at times. The next year, as the hard things in life continued, I fell further and further into this dark bubble. It cost me so many things. Friendships, relationships and what I considered to be the best job in the whole entire world. January 8th was the last straw. I had a chance to save my job, and I put my whole heart and soul into doing so. I wasn’t going to lose the only thing that made life okay. I set real goals, real boundaries and made some pretty tough decisions. In the beginning, it was to save my job, but in the end, all the energy that I put in to saving my job ended up saving my life. February 16th ended up being the official day that I was no longer employed for that company, and was able to pick myself up within and be employed again within a week. It was then that I think I truly recognized my own power.  

Join me on the journey to truly loving life. It’s one thing to be told that, but another thing completely to get it! I’ll talk about the past, it’s neat to see how far I’ve come. I’ll talk about the future—the dreams and goals that keep life interesting. But mostly I’ll talk about the present. About the everyday challenges that life is throwing at me. I’ve found that it’s not always easy to be present, to be myself, but the more you work a muscle the stronger it gets. According to statistics, I should have a few kids, be addicted to drugs and drink way more alcohol than is recommended. But I’m not. So I must be doing something right.

I’m finding that it takes courage to overcome your fears and failures to teach you things, but I know that as I continue it’ll just keep getting easier and easier. Grab a journal, and join me. Hopefully we can support and inspire each other along the way.

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