personal growth

 – – part 2/3 – –

 

THE SEMINAR:
If you read the previous post about who Tony Robbins is and how his Unleash the Power Within seminar came into my life, then you’re all caught up for this next post that goes into what I experienced — and what you would, too, if you go!

The seminar is about four days in length at around thirteen hours on average per day.

Day one of registration was filled with a super long line outside of the Prudential Center. Hundreds of people all ready to get inside and start. I remember walking in, passing security and seeing everyone high-five each other left and right as I made my way over to the check-in table. As I signed in, the volunteer handed me my packet filled with Tony’s latest book, a workbook and some goodies. As soon as he let go of the bag —I will never forget this— he smiled at me and said:

“Great! You’re all set! Now walk through those doors and make a right. Oh, and remember, as soon as you walk through those doors, life will never be the same again.”

I looked at him puzzled, but thanked him, smiling back and proceeded to walk through the door. They asked me to grab a button that would set the intention for the day. Amongst a whole wall of pins, I knew which one stood out to me the most: brave. I grabbed it and proceeded to find a seat.

And there I was, walking into the Prudential Center arena, to join 39,999 other people from around the world (42 different countries represented) for an event I don’t think many expected. Seats were all getting filled quickly. Music started to blast like it was a club. “Where am I? What am I doing here, alone?” is what I thought; I found my way to a seat and gave out a giant “GULP.” Here we go.

As the program started, it was HIGH energy. What do I mean? Well, you were told to get your butt off the chair, to start dancing and jumping to the BLASTING music and to smile like you’ve never smiled before. While I was there alone, and didn’t know anyone else, my dance wasn’t as much. But, man, you know when your favorite song comes on and you just can’t help but shake what your momma’ gave you? Well, yeah, that happened. Great job DJ!

You were asked to shake the building. To massage the person to your left and then let them give you a little back rub, too. I mean, what? All boundaries were just instantly removed and, long story short, I found myself with some new friends pretty quickly. I legit felt like I was at a club and the music was blasting like there was no tomorrow. I noticed some aromatherapy scents coming through the ventilation system and when I looked at my watch, there I was, partying like I was in Cabo on a Saturday night… only it was Thursday, 10AM.

Tony finally came out and, WOW, the energy of the room totally went up a hundred notches (didn’t even know that was possible). And there he was. The man who was going to change my life with a program he made and has been delivering around the world for years. Well, let me tell you, the man has a presence. I was seated SO far away, but, somehow, I felt SO close and connected.

The next thirteen hours were filled with Tony asking you some simple questions about your life, asking you to reflect. He made you think– hard. He not once drank a sip of water. He not once went for a bathroom break. He was on stage the whole time. This man was dedicated to you and making sure you walked away unleashing your power within.

Without giving away too much, he asked us to think about a problem in our life and to really see how that made us feel. Then took us on an exercise where he said, “You see how that has limited you? The things it has kept you from? Now fast forward. If you continue thinking that this is a problem you will never overcome, what will it steal from your life in five years? ten years? twenty? forty?” Needless to say, the pain was so intense thinking that something (whatever that something may be in your life) could stop you from living your best life ever. And then, at one point, we all overcame it. All 40,000 people in that arena just burst in screams of freedom. And just like that, the limiting belief we had was gone. It’s very hard to explain, but it was absolutely beautiful. After that moment, the music came on SUPER loud and we dance-partied for the next ten songs. Ah-mazing. All the happy endorphins you could ever imagine.

And then, at around midnight, just when I thought I was home free, Tony said something that made me GULP all over again: the fire walk.

He showed us a video of the coals being burnt throughout the day and of people laying them down in the form of a walkway. He told us that we didn’t need to walk over them and that if we were going to complain about the possibility of getting burned, then to please not go for it. It was OK if we didn’t want to do it, but he really believed we could do it. The next hour was us getting hyped for the firewalk. Next thing I knew, we kicked off our shoes and 40,000 people, all barefoot, walked out of the Prudential Center to the parking lot ready to conquer what we thought was the impossible.

I remembered seeing a video once of Oprah coming to Tony’s UPW seminar and walking on the fire. I mean, if Oprah did it, what was my excuse? Homegirl did it. She did it to set an example and I wanted to keep that example going– especially to my own self.

We chanted “yes” all the way from our seats to the hot coals. “Yes” to us overcoming our biggest fears, “yes” to overcoming what we think is impossible.

The secret behind not getting burned, many will say, is in the science. How the ash actually reduces the conduction of heat is one of those explanations. However, I would reckon that the secret of not getting burned is to not fear it, get in a positive mindset and be truly intentional with what you are doing. Ask your body to protect you. It’s kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you focus on getting burned and keep fearing that you will get burned, chances are you will get burned. But thinking positive things and keeping your attention away from the fear of something (like getting burned) will make you accomplish things that you never thought you could!

So, we finally made it down to the coals and I was up to walk on them next. I was ready, but I got suddenly got pretty scared. I placed my right foot on the coals and OUCH, it was HOT; I got a burn. But I instantly, in a heartbeat, changed my mindset, my self beliefs, and was like “I AM DOING THIS, I AM COMMITTING, I DO NOT FEAR THE FIRE– RAWR!!” and pressed my left foot on top of the coals and proceeded to walk. Guess what? IT DIDN’T BURN! It WASN’T HOT! How crazy was that?! It felt like walking on cold grass and, before I knew it, I was done. I DID IT!! The staff all made me jump up and down, cheering my success! I actually did it. Say whaaa. I, Loren, walked on hot coals. Put that on my résumé.

Honestly, I did get a little bit of a burn on the bottom of my right foot afterwards from that first step. But nothing on my left. Science can have its way with explanations, but I’m more of an emotional and physical believer. Walking on that fire meant something to me. I actually tried it and, in a moment of crisis, changed my thinking and succeeded in achieving what I once thought was impossible. It was a moment that made me prove to myself that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for; it was a moment I will never forget.

The next three days were just like this– minus the hot coals, but filled with more deep conquering exercises, mostly comprised of meditation, and totally filled with more rave music AT BLAST (they make sure to keep it FUN). Learning, listening, partying, meeting new people and being told that you are just SO kick ass was what this seminar was all about. We focused on ourselves, our goals and wishes in life, our health and, if we had a business, how to maximize it. The whole experience, at about 52 hours of working on YOU (talk about total immersion), can be summarized with the one word: amazing.

It makes you wonder, what else in life can you accomplish that you thought was impossible before? If you can walk on fire, what other things are out there for you to just break through?

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Part three in this series is up next!

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T.

The road trip that made me sob– happily.

Road trips.

Sure, they are fun to some, but after my giant anxiety attack last summer, I grew afraid of them.  So much that I didn’t want to leave NYC.  At all.  But we shouldn’t live our lives like that, right?  Because it limits us.  And fear shouldn’t limit us.  No, it should enable us.

Within the past 6 months, the only long trips I have gunned myself up to make were to Connecticut (a one and-a-half hour drive away) and then to Pennsylvania (a two hour drive away).  And, to be honest, those trips were very difficult for me.  On my way up to Connecticut, I had to listen to Christmas Carols because they made my environment seem more cheerful and pleasant.  It made me feel like I was living  in a magical world where there could be no harm.  That I wasn’t going to be harmed.  And then on my way to Pennsylvania?  I had to eat to keep my mind occupied (think: nothing is wrong with you, you have food and water –basic things humans need to survive in this world– you will not die) and want to make conversations in the car never stop (they were great conversations, I must add!), so much that I could remain ‘distracted’ with them and not realize that I was actually traveling further and further away from home.

But we can’t live that way.  I can’t live that way.  So, in an effort to enjoy life and face my fear, my husband and I ended up taking a trip to Washington D.C.  last weekend (which, I must mention, was a four hour drive), and you could only imagine my cringing.  Pre-giant panic attack, I would have never been bothered with lengthy travel times.  I looked forward to them!  But that isn’t the case these days.  And that wasn’t the case this past weekend.  So, I made sure to stock up on snacks (!) and off we went.  Interestingly enough, though, as we were on the road, I wasn’t worrying  too much about the distance away from home.  No.  I felt the benefits of leading a healthy, active life.  Which, in turn, has lead me to develop a healthy, active mind.  Because it make me think that maybe I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  And the truth is, we all are stronger that what we give ourselves credit for.  Reaching the end of the trip, I realized that I didn’t munch on snacks to trick my mind nor did I keep a conversation going for hours on end; I actually enjoyed some of the silence in the car.  And get this, I didn’t even have to crack the window open to feel the ‘fresh air’ outside (yeah, in the past, I had to do this because I would  feel claustrophobic and stuck inside of an enclosed car.  I needed to ‘feel’ the free, outside world).  No, on this road trip, I was calmer than usual.  And when we finally made it to Washington D.C., I cried.

As we drove past the Potomac River, I had a sense of awe and, in a sense, a feeling of enlightenment.  So much that I broke down and, actually, started to sob.  My husband thought it was funny at first, but it’s important to let others know that what may seem like little accomplishments to them, are actually huge, life-changing things to you.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I explained how I was so proud of myself for not freaking out on the way down, remembering to breath, and taking it easy.  I must have sobbed for a good five minutes and, interestingly enough, when I was crying, I pictured myself like those people on TV that get a brand new house built for them and their family.  I was thinking of those tears.  Because I could never understand how something that makes someone so happy could cause them to cry so much.  And last Friday, I understood what that feeling was like.  And I respected it and let it come out.  I didn’t hold it in.  I didn’t care if I looked like a ‘fool’ or thought about what anyone else would have said if they saw me.  I was living for me.  I was living in the present.  And I was taking in all of that good feeling and letting tears of stress, relief, and happiness out.

Don’t let a little fear that you have stop you from living the life you want to live.  Don’t let how you may look to others get in the way of showing yourself how you truly look.  Because it’s from this understanding of our own self that we could really start to take the steps in developing and becoming our best self.  Personally, I feel that it is at these moments of surpassing an obstacle and allowing yourself to feel ‘vulnerable’ to your own self, that you really get to appreciate what’s on the other side (and you do feel the benefits).  Imagine if I stayed home and didn’t want to venture out?  I would have missed out on all of the fun I had this weekend (some posted in the photos below!).  And what about if a future five-hour, six-hour trip comes into play?  Well, that won’t stop me.  Oh no, it will only continue to prep me for my best life yet.

loren lincoln

 

loren uscapitolLive your best life.  And if you find yourself sobbing from self-enlightenment and/or self-success, allow it to come, sob happily.

Loren.

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L.

Learning To Fall and Get Back Up – Literally

Ah, bike riding.

It was something I grew up doing and absolutely loved.  I always looked forward to the summer time because it meant my family and I whipped out our bikes and headed to the park for a long day of riding.  Many years later, the excitement and joy still rang true.

Last summer, my husband bought me a new bicycle and I couldn’t wait to ride it (I really couldn’t).  As soon as we walked out of the store with it I turned to him and said, “Can you drive home… alone?  I’m going to ride my bike and meet you there!”  And, so, that’s what we did:

newbikeI was so happy that day; it was the perfect way to kick off the summer.  I then thought about it when I got home and thought, “Hm, I can ride my bike during the summer to the train station during the work week; what a great way to be active!  But, first, I need a helmet for that!”  So we went back to the store and bought a helmet – I even got a little mirror, too! 🙂

helmet

And that was it.  I was set.

When the weekend was over, I did as I said I would and took my bicycle out and decided to ride it to my train to get to work.  So I hopped on and went on my merry way.

As I started peddling along the right side of the street (being as cautious as possible), I noticed that there was a car that came from behind me and went into my mini ‘bike lane’.  It was about 40 feet straight ahead of me and then it started to make a right turn into a parking garage.  Figuring it would keep going, I kept peddling.  I timed myself well (I was a long-time rider, after all!).  But I was wrong. So wrong.

The driver decided to stop his car (now perpendicular to me) with its butt sticking out into my lane and the other half on the sidewalk.  I needed to either slow down or change lanes.  So I looked into my mirror and tried to see if I could merge into oncoming traffic for just a little bit.  But there it was, a yellow school bus, coming too close to me at a velocity that didn’t fit into my calculations.  So I freaked and panicked.  Knowing that I was either going to (a) get hit by a bus or (b) crash into the butt of the SUV that was trying to get into the parking garage, I did what I knew best: STOP.  I reached for my breaks, but being in such a panic mode, I undoubtedly made a big mistake: I hit the front brake instead of the back and, you guessed it, I went flying.

bikefall

My bicycle flipped under a car and I was flipped in the air.  I thank God that I had on my helmet (SO IMPORTANT!) because my head hit that concrete floor three times.. bang, bang, bang.  I felt dizzy, my palms were scraped and bleeding, and I was waiting for someone to come to my aide.  But wouldn’t you know it, no one saw what happened.  Not the random pedestrian walking by, not the car pulling into the garage, nor the bus that zipped on by.  I was SO scared and just SO grateful that I didn’t get run over by a random passing car or anything.  I immediately got up and snapped the above picture with my phone.  I sent it to my boss and team in a text message and said “Guys, I will be in late.  Just had a bike accident. See you soon!”

And wouldn’t you know it, I got up (limping and all), walked my bike to the train, got on the train, and headed to work.

I didn’t think much of the fall.  I tried to play it off like it was nothing, like I was stronger than it.  I called my husband soon after it happened, crying just a little, and he urged me to go back home, but I didn’t.  I wanted to be seen in the best light from the views of others: I wanted to be a strong girl.

A few days later I started to notice my legs and, yup, they were a little bruised and boy were my legs so sore from the impact:
ouchies

But, I was still ‘strong’; I didn’t show weakness to others. It was more of “Check out my bruises!  Cool, huh?!” than anything else.

To others I was ‘strong’, but deep inside, I was weak.  No one was there to console me when the accident happened.  I didn’t know what to do.  I worried about having a concussion or having fractured something.  All I knew was that I didn’t want to get back up on that bike.

And I didn’t.  I spent a year letting it collect dust and I was OK with that, because I didn’t want anymore accidents.  I wanted to be ‘safe’.

This was three weeks before my giant panic attack last year.  Who would have known…

Getting Back On
With all of the hard work I have been putting in within the last year to control my anxiety and just let it go, I finally started to feel stronger.  So, the other day, I went into the storage room, looked at my bike, wiped off the dust, took it off the rack and told my husband, “Let’s go to the park… for a bike ride.”

When it was finally time for me to get on that bike, I broke down.  I was so afraid.  I didn’t want an accident.  I didn’t want to relive the pain.  Because I do think that me falling off the bike and how that whole situation went down gave some fire to me panicking on the train last year, because it was, yet again, something I was suppressing.  It was something I needed to just say “okay, move on with life, it’s over.” But it wasn’t.

I would ride the bike for a few spins of the wheel and then I would stop, freeze, and cry.  It was too much for me.  Not to mention that I forgot my helmet.  I just felt so susceptible and prone to another accident.  I didn’t know how to keep my balance, I would fall off trying to make a simple turn, and I just kept envisioning myself flipping forward, because that’s exactly how I got off of it last time: I flew and tumbled forward in the air.

My husband took the phone and captured my struggle:
bike 1yr later

It’s a picture that I am both not proud and, yet, proud of at the same time.  I’m not proud because it’s not exactly the most flattering picture I have and it’s a time of my weakness. But, I’m proud of it because here I am, at one of my weakest points, and I’m sharing it. And I’m doing so because I want to share that struggles do exist and they could be anything to anyone.  And you know what? Pushing through this moment was absolutely not what I imagined.  I didn’t want to cry.  I didn’t want to freeze.  But I did.  I listened to my mind and in order to grow, it was telling me to just let the feelings go.

It was me, no one else, that took the initiative to rebuild my confidence in riding a bike at this point.  I felt ready after a year.  It was my idea to go out and try it.  It was my time to do this for myself.

And wouldn’t you know it?  I had such a great time after jumping over the anxiety hurdles.  I rode that bike like I used to when I was a kid.  I mean, yes, I was still a little hesitant, but I grew confident and started to enjoy every moment of it again.

Moral of the Story
Yes, you may fall off of a bike or fail at something somewhere at sometime.  But the important thing to do is to make sure that you take care of yourself, first and foremost.  Don’t try to pretend to be something you aren’t for others.  Make sure that you give yourself forgiveness and remind yourself that you aren’t perfect, that you may fail, but that it’s part of being human.  Just remember that when you do fall, give yourself time.  Don’t rush.  And if it takes a year for you to ‘get back up on that horse’ (or bicycle, in my case), then so what?  Let it be.  Only you know when you’re ready.  Don’t let others force you.  And if you face a moment of déjà-vu, know that no two times in life are ever the same.  You are always are given the chance to do different, to lead different, to act different.

Get back on that bike, even if it’s for a short ride, because even the smallest of tries is the best of tries that will get you closer to where you want to be.  So today, I went for a short ride and enjoyed it.  I’m getting closer to where I want to be.

yaybikeride Loren.

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