Cycling Through 50 & Beyond

I will be turning 50 in 2010.  As a way of marking the significance of the year I am planning a bike touring trip with friends in Croatia.  I have entertained the idea of a fancy bike tour in Europe for years.  Many things have stopped me from making the trip happen.  I did not want to ride alone and the last time I did any touring in Germany that was the case.  Now I have a partner and some friends who are game for riding as long as we have a sag wagon and comfy places to rest at night.  Since I am turning 50 I too think comfort and ease is a good idea.

Biking has been a part of my life since I was five and was able to take my first breakfast ride with my father and older sisters to Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House.  I was proud and thrilled to pedal my way to food and have memories of this being part of our family route throughout the first decade or so of my life.

I was not always so joyful about biking with my Dad.  Sometimes he would get us lost or take the longest route between two points possible, and as a young kid, I thought that was unnecessary.  However, my dad is turning 90 and still bikes, actual these days he rides a fancy recumbent trike.  So I am thinking something must right about his biking style.  I can only hope at 90 I am still riding.

Over the years between five and forty-five I have had a variety of biking moments.  I became a bit of a biking snob for a while, priding myself in having the best gear and using my bike as a primary means of transportation.  I had a brief desire to bike across the country, but after a few treks down the east coast, found biking on America highways not so great.  I stayed off the road on trails for awhile after that.

Throughout my biking life I have continued to take a few rides each year with my dad.  He has gotten out on his bike most every day since retirement.  On his 80th, the whole family gathered to take the big bike ride to the local ice cream parlor, instead of Aunt Sarah’s.  Following my dad’s path, the ride took considerably longer than the five mile distance between where they live and parlor – but it was his day and it was neat to have three generations of family riding along with my dad leading the way.

A few years ago I invested in a nice road bike.  In many ways I feel like I did when I was five.  I love riding these days.  May be it is the bike – it is light, sleek and fast.  Or may be it is that I am approaching 50 and no longer feel like I need to compete or ride hard.  I simply ride to enjoy the scenery, the freedom.

I sometimes get lost and often take the longest path between two points.  I am guessing I am more like my dad than I ever wanted to admit growing up.

I am about to turn 50 and can’t think of a better way to celebrate than taking a bike ride.  Of course, the tour needs to provide great food and hopefully an ice cream parlor on the big day.  My dad won’t be in Croatia, but I am fairly certain on his 90th this year we’ll be taking a ride somewhere.

Collective Consciousness: Montana Style

A few years back I had a chance to listen to Bruce Lipton speak.  Bruce is a macro-biologist who thinks quite differently then the rest of his peers about what is really going on inside cells.  At that time he was focused on our beliefs and how our beliefs impact the cells in our body.  The idea that  basically cells are either defending or growing and that our beliefs are what give the signal to the cell.  Most macro-biologist believe genetics has more weight in the growth/defend life cycle of cells but Lipton has been challenging that idea for quite a while.

Now he has gotten interested in humankind as a whole.  His latest book is looking at humanity as a living being.  I quite enjoyed some of his ideas.  As someone who ‘miraculously’ healed from cancer, I could easily relate to his idea that healing comes through a paradigm shift in thinking.  I also loved the idea of applying what we are learning about a single cell and an individual to the broader human kind system.  The idea that our world is in a crisis is easy to accept.  It is also pretty clear that trying to ‘fix’ the crisis or attack the problem by cutting out the ‘bad’ parts is not effective.  His answer is simply that we must shift our thinking from that of being individually conscious to becoming collectively conscious.

Now this is not really a new way of thinking. New age folks and various other indegenious people have been thinking this way a long time.  However, it is pretty new and unique in the world of science.

I am also thinking this idea of collective consciousness is not quite what most of us are thinking it is.  I hear a lot of people talk about oneness and collective consciousness and often interpret what I hear as a need for us to all harmonize and come together in some unified concrete way.  However,  if Lipton’s idea has any validity and we look at how our cells work together in the body,  I would say it’s not about being more alike and unifying in that way.  It is more about being okay being different and unifying through our differences.

Montana is an example of what I mean.  Montana is a state that has more variety of beliefs and opinions then many large cities.  In any little town like Whitefish or Butte you can find diversity in thought and opinion in any cafe or bar and instead of fighting and separation there seems to be a Montana code:  you accept me and I’ll accept you and let’s live in this great space together. Now I think that is movement towards collective consciousness and is something worth considering on a broader level.

I have my thoughts about how people need to change; however, I am pretty clear that would be the hardest and least effective path to creating a global shift. That was Lipton’s point.  Cells either grow or defend – it’s the same with people.  Try to force someone to change and all they’ll do is defend; accept them and who knows.  May be it is okay that we are all different.  Maybe that’s the way it was designed.  Once we are okay with that,  well, then we could live in this great space together!

My Cardinal Rule: Own My Gossip!!

Couldn’t sleep. Lots of thoughts running through my mind and it is a full moon. I have also heard that Mercury goes to retrograde sometime very soon and even though I do not live my life dictated by star charts I do respect the fact that anything as vast and uncharted as our universe can indeed impact and breakdown communication channels. I do not know know enough about astrology to make that a subject of this post, however, I do have some thoughts about communication.

What’s foreground for me today is some crucial conversations I need to have. I like to think of myself as a fairly good communicator willing to engage in tough conversations as needed and equally willing to be vulnerable and own my part in communication breakdowns. People often tell me this is a strength of mine. However, my sleepless night tells me that I am resting on my laurels so to speak.

I know this because I am breaking one of my cardinal rules for keeping my energy clear.   The rule:   Own my gossip.  Meaning if I am saying something about someone else I want to know inside myself that I have, would or will say that same thing to them in person directly when I get the chance.

Living by this rule as been instrumental in keeping me healthy and in building better relationships.  But like anything good for me it is not always easy to live by.  I have many ways of rationalizing my need to gossip.

  • I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings
  • I need to clear this up myself first and really it is no big deal
  • I’m not gossiping I am just venting
  • Mercury is in retrograde so it’s not a good time to have this conversation

There are more I could add to this list and each of us has our own spin on the reasons we don’t clean up our gossip.  The point is, I know that when I start drawing on this list I’m walking the slippery slope down a path that leads to broken down communication, dishonest relationships and unhealthy, sleepless nights for me.

I know people have all sorts of reactions to the word gossip.  Personally I think we all do it and that gossiping isn’t the problem.  Gossiping can actually be a very good thing.  I often talk about folks who are far away with friends that are present and we laugh and get in touch with our warmth and feelings for the person we both know.  That’s one form of gossip.  In other words, of course I talk about my friends, colleagues and family ‘behind their backs’ (when they are not around)   I would hope so,  they are the most important people in my life!  The real issue is have I had the conversation I need to have directly with them.  Shared directly the good stuff andthe not so good stuff.  When I have,  gossiping is a great way to keep my heart open to those I love who I don’t always get to speak too directly.

Back to today and me:  I am not owning my  gossip.  I am saying things about someone I care about that I know I have not said and don’t really want to say directly to them.

Yes having the conversation now will be harder because I broke my rule so the job just got tougher.  Still the sooner I have the crucial conversation the better.

I am hoping by tomorrow’s post I will have cleaned up my communication channels and if not I sure hope I am not blaming Mercury.  This is my own doing.

Blogging Blues

I have been offline now for two days. It all started when I tried to put video into one of my post. Seems there was a problem with the image files, they looked uploaded but never made it to the screen. I probably could have lived without the images, however, I soon discovered there were a few other little issues happening somewhere inside the code or in the interface between WP and my hosting company. End result – Blog down.

Fortunately my friend who got me up and running took charge and managed the effort going on behind the scenes. She worked with my hosting site and someone and India to eventually resolve the issues. I do not quite know how it got so bad or what is really fixed now but I am back online.

What I learned from this brief shutdown is that I have grown attached to the blogging process. I don’t have a huge following but the folks who are reading have become important to me. I enjoy tossing out my ideas and hearing back your comments. I never would have thought I would be someone who would suffer from Blogging Blues; however it seems even with only a few weeks under my belt I have become a Blogger!! And when I’m offline I miss the connection.

Thanks for hanging in even when the page was shutdown. I will do my best to get back up to speed!!

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

How to decide – to tweet or not to tweet? to join Linkin or Plaxo? Facebook or Myspace? These are the questions that are running through my mind.

Now that I am blogging, I can not help but want to take the next step and link myself further into the world, wide web. Yet I find myself overwhelmed with the choices. Plus I admit I am in fear of becoming someone who sits in front of my computer screen all day commenting, posting, tweeting and networking without ever getting out of the house.

This possibility of becoming totally connected and feeling responsible to reply or tweet whatever and wherever is intimidating.

Just a little over a year ago I moved to Montana to get away from the big city and enjoy open space, big sky and life in a ski and summer resort town. I love biking, hiking and just driving through beautiful country. My friends worried that I might become a gun carrying hunter who smokes and votes conservatively. I had no worries of anything like that. But I never thought the real concern would come from becoming too linked into to the internet.

I’m not there yet but I can feel the pull. The plugins call to me whenever I login to my dashboard in see that indeed my blog could be linked to more tags and search engines if I comment, post and tweet throughout the day.

I am a slight introvert so the pull to be able to remain here in the comfort of my own home and reach out and touch the world is tempting. But so is the sunshine and so far getting on my bike is more appealing then creating a Facebook page. But fall is coming and winters in Montana are an easy invitation to stay, sitting by the fire, plugged in to the web for contact and connection.

Yes I will have to make the leap. Tweet and post, comment and link but for now the open space of Montana still wins out over the world, wide web, face to face contact with people who’s names I recognize beats nicknames and RSS feed for communing and socializing.

But I see the day coming …. what will I decide…. to Tweet or not to tweet?

Leaking Fire

As mentioned in previous blog I have an avid interest in The Five Element Theory of Chinese Medicine.  The five elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood and the model is an energy model based on the meridians that run through the body.

You may be asking, what meridians? and why doesn’t my doctor ever talk about these elements or the meridians?  Well, though these ideas crossover into many healing traditions our western medicine model is not one that works in the same way.  Western medicine was largely developed out of WWI & WWII, which is based on treating acute injuries and accidents.  As a result it is  a more cause and effect model.   Western medicine is actually quite good at that – fixing a broken bone, taken out a tumor or growth,  stopping a bleeding wound etc.  However, western medicine is not so good at diagnosing or treating chronic illnesses or taking preventive measures that require a deeper look at the dynamics between mind, body and spirit of a person.  Thus, there is a need to sometimes look beyond the western views and into ancient ideas.

Lately, I have become aware of my own tendency to ‘leak Fire‘.  Fire is the element that relates to the heart, to my passion and vision to name a few key words that reflect Fire. When I spoke to an expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine imbalance showed up in Water and Wood.  However, what I know is that Wood feeds Fire and Water controls Fire.  So it makes sense that if Wood is getting burned out and Water is working equally hard at controlling Fire – then may be the issue is Fire.  I’m feeding my passions and my vision and at the same time spending time trying to control the outcome.  So I think the problem is ” leaking Fire“.

Personally, I think this is a very common problem in today’s world.  As a coach I have worked with many people who seem to be pretty good at having the energy and thrust to bring forward new ideas (Wood) but spend a great deal of time controlling the flow of that vision and passion through fear (Water).  Often the folks like myself are too busy protecting the Heart.  Fearful of getting hurt, rejected or failing.  Think of Fire and picture a forest fire – a natural burn.  Fire burns wildly, it is not a tame, calm event.  There is lots of heat and lots of intensity, unpredictability and a need for space to allow for the fire to move and find it’s path.  Natural fire may seem quite destructive but burns what is decaying, old and allows for new life and possibilities.

Our Fire is the same.  To be in balance (alignment plus flow) we need to let our passion and heart open and burn.  Yes, sometimes that means feeling a tremendous amount of heat, pain and living through some destruction.  But trying to control and constantly put out our Fire simply denies who we are and our potential.

I have moments where I am fully engaged in my passion and purpose and then I settle for less.  I believe the ‘leaking Fire‘ results when I spend too much time settling for less.  My Heart is crying for more space and yes that just might mean I have to let some of old forest burn.

Blogger’s Block!

I seem to be suffering from bloggers block.  Honestly I don’t know how ‘real’ bloggers do it – write daily, some multiple times a day.  I will say I am enjoying the process.  I love getting comments and thoughts from readers.  I enjoy writing when I have an idea.  But sometimes I am just sit staring at the screen or worse typing and deleting without ever landing on something worth finishing.

I know this place when it comes to exercise or learning a new sport.  I seem to easily find the discipline and commitment to go for a run and know it’s okay even if it is a slow jog or get on my bike after a few days without riding and overcome the critic and my head that says -” you’re never get better like this – you must ride every day.”  In that world I seem to be able to laugh at the tyrant and stay true to my real goal of exercising to connect to my own flow and aliveness.

Writing isn’t quite like that yet. The tyrant seems to have a bit more power.  I listen and start to believe that indeed I have failed because I missed a few days or that this little piece about Blogger’s block is stupid and a waste of time.  It is usually about know that I select all and delete.  But I am going to stay with this, ride through my critic.  I am guessing I am not the only one that faces some type of inner dialogue that stops forward progress.

Back when I was an avid and quite talented  tennis player I still had days when I would walk on the court and instead of the seamless relationship I generally felt with my racket, the ball and my body I would be caught in the separation and not be able to hit anything well.  Those moments (and sometimes longer periods) were very challenging.  But because I had a felt sense of grace not to far in the past I could laugh at myself and carry on.

I am guessing true writers are like me when I was playing tennis.  They are enough in touch with a ease of grace and ease with words and story that they ride through the rough spots.  They laugh at the less the perfect blogs and they wait for the next moment when the words come with ease.

Maybe tomorrow!

The Green Tea House Opens!!

Today is the first official day that The Green Tea House (TGTH) in Whitefish, MT is open for business.   TGTH is not my business though I am very excited and engaged in making it a success.  My friend, Vickie Kelson, had the inspiration for TGTH over ten years ago.  Last year she really started raising cash and breaking ground.  Over this past year there have many, many reasons why TGTH was not practical or viable.  TGTH is a gluten-free, organic, vegan cafe and tea house in the center of Whitefish, MT.  Nothing about the place is cheap or inexpensive.  In the current economy it is not looking like the best time for such an endeavor.  However, the opening day is proving that it is worth holding on to a dream even when the winds of resistance and frequent storms and obstacles get in the way of manifestation.

TGTH, is bright and colorful, the food is wonderful and I do believe it will inspire even the dieheart meateater to try a few vegan meals.  For anyone who has discovered the importance of taking in healthy food that nurtures the soul,  TGTH will be a naturally sweet surprise in a world too focused on fast-food, refined sugar, carbs and red meat.  For me it is the energy of a dream that I tap into whenever I come through the doors.

As I sit here today with the doors open and folks coming in for tea, I actually believe I will write my book.  I may just do it sitting here.  The place is alive with excitement.  Of course there are still many bridges to cross before The Green Tea House is solidly on it’s financial legs.  That the doors are open is a miracle and reminder that we do live in a world of unlimited possibilities.  I want to celebrate and spread the word – miracles happen when someone has the inspiration and courage to dream and stay with the dream through the storms that come with bringing a new idea to life. Way to go Vickie and all who have been a part of making The Green Tea House possible!!!

If you are interested in learning more or even in offering financial support to The Green Tea House you can find out more at

Of course what I most highly recommend is stop by for tea!!

Balance = Alignment + Flow

Today, I attended a great workshop combining the Ancient Teaching of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga.  I have had an interest in Chinese Medicine for many years and though no expertise, love the concepts of Chinese Five Elements.  These days I have become interested in yoga.  I admit I have had resistance to yoga – primary because I have interpreted yoga’s emphasis on ‘balance’ as a transcendence of the ‘ugly and messy’ aspects of being human – such being angry, jealous, pissy or proud.

However, I have been practicing more recently with a friend who has helped me get over my own judgments and give it a try.  She also happens to be a masterful teacher who is okay with not being a ‘perfect’ yogi.

Today I got that the definition of balance is not some inner peace – no – balance is simply aligning so that flow happens.  In our dualistic universe that means movement or energy flow between opposites such as positive/negative, hot/good, perfect/imperfect and even balance/imbalance.  There is not one without the other.  Yoga is about alignment, which allows the free flow of energy or ‘en-ligten ment‘,  or enery flowing at the speed of light.   Buddha did have negative thoughts, however, he was aligned so that the energy  flowed so fast, there was no internal resistance (i.e. judgment) so no external visable evidence.

So a true ‘yogi’ isn’t without the ugly and messy but is simply aligned and allowing the flow of energy to happen so fast,  the experience is quite different.

Now that idea excites me.  I think of child that ‘flows’ through emotions rapidly without getting ‘stuck’, one minute crying and another laughing.  We come into this physical form with that type of flow and aligning much more gracefully.  Then we get more caught up in the dualistic mental constraints and before long our bodies are far from ‘balanced’.

In Chinese Medicine the information is systemic, dynamic and when I was dealing with cancer I discovered the Five Element Model allowed for me to see the patterns and energy flow or lack of energy flow in my life that was contributing to my “stuckness”.  The ancient model allowed me to discover a story and way of looking at ‘cancer’ that allowed for unlimited possibilities and engaged my curiosity. I was no longer attached to a ‘cure’ but to discovering how my energy was flowing or not.

Now I see yoga offers a new level of discovery in the realm of alignment which allows  increase in the rate of energy flow.  I don’t have to be flexible and graceful, perfect and peaceful.  I simply need to be willing to practice noticing when I am aligned and when I am not and through that awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance, I can discover an action that allows for greater flow.

In closing I leave you with the quote offered by the day’s instructors:

‘Water that flows does not decay’ .  Balance is embracing the dualist universe we live in through aligning and allowing the free flow of all energy.

Being in the Change – When Wow! mets Whoa!

As I mentioned I am just returning from being fully engaged leading an intensive program at The Haven.  Now back home I find myself feeling a bit lost and disoriented.  It’s not like there isn’t tons to do.  I have bills to pay, household projects friends to catch up with and Thrive! work such as coaching and consulting.  Yet I am still swimming and uncomfortable.  I know this is classic transition stuff.

I love the work I get to do at The Haven, being present and engaged with people , not to mention I get fed and all basic needs met while I do what I am passionate about.  Back home I don’t have the same structure and though I have a great partner both at home and work, the practical day to day things like food, bills, marketing and financial oversight, don’t happen unless I play my part.

So I miss the ease of having all the basics taken care of and I miss the intensity of a residential program.  Indeed there is a letting go process that is happening.  I also believe being away,  my homo status shifted and I find myself in chaos or the neutral zone.  A wonderful time for creativity and new possibilities but equally filled with uncertainity and discomfort.

I don’t have the answer or the ‘right’ path yet.  I want to find a way to bring some of the energy and juice I generated while working at The Haven back into my life and work here.  I don’t want to change everything and I don’t want to lose the new seeds of possibility that got planted.

I guess I believe this happens whenever we go through an intense emotional experience. There’s often a wow! moment and then there the re-entry back into our more familiar world,  “whoa”.  I believe it is that phase when “wow!’ meets  ‘whoa’ – that has incredible potential for change and transformation.  I also know it’s not easy staying in the chaos and discomfort long enough to really listen and figure out what needs to stay the same, what needs to change and what is up for creative synthesising.

What I do know is I am in that phase now.  The writing is helping and I want to figure out an answer.  Best that I wait but that isn’t easy!

Still I do think ‘being’ not ‘doing’ in the change is what will create the more creative, intersting outcome. For now Wow! meeting Whoa is a touch uncomfortable – best I breathe and stay with it!!    I’ll keep you posted!!