Archive for July, 2010

Rain is a Good Thing – Luke Bryan

My daddy spent his life lookin’ up at the sky
He’d cuss, kick the dust, sayin’ son it’s way too dry
It clouds up in the city, the weather man complains
But where I come from, rain is a good thing

Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey
Whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky
Back roads are boggin’ up, my buddies pile up in my truck. We hunt our honeys down, we take ’em into town
Start washin’ all our worries down the drain
Rain is a good thing

Okay so anyone who knows me… and I mean really really knows me, knows that deep down, way down – I’m a country girl at heart.  I can two step with the best of em, I know what “boot scootin boogie” is, and i’ve had more than one long summer night listening to “fishin’ in the dark”.  I learned to shoot a gun in elementary school, know what 4-H is and I just can’t help but fall for a guy in a cowboy hat 😉

So when I heard Luke Bryan’s new song (above) I loved it.  It was simple, it was country cheesy (I mean, there was no talk about losing his wife, home and dog but still…), and it is true-  I mean, a little rain leads to a hot night out!  One thing (rain) creates another (corn, whisky), which results in a night ripping up the main street drag.

One of my best friends, Mae, is such a great example of this.  She’s been trying to find a job for about a year and because of that, has held off on a bunch of things that she wanted to do.  She kept waiting for the job to come in order to figure out the rest of her life but she totally had it backwards – this proving true when she spontaneously adopted a new puppy.  Literally as soon as actually followed her heart and got the puppy she’d been yearning for, she got a job offer.  Coincidence, maybe, but I doubt it.  There is something about doing what you feel is right, regardless of your circumstances, that I believe is the key to getting the circumstances you want.

Which is why I’m a bit at a loss right now.  I am waiting for my circumstances to come together to move forward.  It feels like the right thing to do… feels like the safe thing – almost like I’m waiting for a sign.  But I think what is instinctual is not necessarily the way it works, because I think that instinct is sometimes created by fear.  Maybe I need to move forward and choose something regardless of my circumstances,   and then the circumstances would present themselves.  Mae wanted a settled, financially secured life where she could have a home and a dog.  So she skipped the financially secure part and headed straight for the result… and life filled in the blanks.  Luke Bryan wanted a night out, so he appreciated the rain.  Seems unrelated but is it?

It really comes back to two stepping.  Do you choose that guy that doesn’t really know the dance steps? The one who you know is just trying not to F up the steps and lays his hand stiffly above the small of your back.  He tries to turn you but is so indirect that he just kind of pushes you and you hesitantly spin, missing the beat, almost stepping on his toes and ended up nose to nose and unsure how to get back into step?  Come on, you’ve ALL been there!!!  OR, do you just go with the guy who knows how to lead?  He may not be the man of your dreams, but the certainty of his steps allow you to get lost in the moment and just live  the dance.  You turn, you move together, you may spin once or one too many times, but at the end of it, you know you left it all on the dancefloor!  And you can then choose to dance with him again or not, but at least you know exactly what you are choosing cause you danced full out 🙂  With the other guy, it would probably take 5 dances to finally get some rhythm.  Not that either choice is bad, but my gut right now is that guy #2 is the best option for me.

Which in real life means that I need to just choose boldly my next step and see how life lines up to allow it to happen.  Because being unsure and “open” causes confusion and I never really know what I am choosing between.  So time to let it rain, and grow corn, and make the whisky.  Cause I like my men a little frisky 😉  [insert line about losing my house, my wife and my dog here]


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My story of miraculous healing is one that I’ve told very few people.  Maybe it’s because I think that it seems to “out there”, or maybe (and more likely), I still struggle to believe that it happened to me, because it doesn’t make sense and I can’t explain it at a physical level.

In April 2009 my 2nd pro beach season started.  The previous year my partner and I had been extremely successful and so we began the season ranked #1 in the AVP qualifier.  I had spent most of the offseason training like crazy for the big year I was predicting.  To take my game to the next level, I decided to throw out all of the training methods and principles that had taken me to this place, and replace them with a new training method that I believed had the potential to take me to the top.  Looking back on this choice, it seems crazy.  What I was doing was working but for some reason, I was worried it wasn’t enough.

So April rolled around, and our season was starting in two weeks.  I was nervous, excited, unsure, and even though I’d been training like crazy for 7 months, I didn’t really feel  quite ready.  I’m not sure what the missing link was, but I worked harder.  And harder.  Like that was the answer…  I worked so much one week that while in the gym I was doing a really tough workout and something happened in my body.  It wasn’t much just this sense that I wasn’t in control of it.  Like I had met exhaustion.  After what I thought was the end of a brutal workout, a coach gave me one more drill to do.  I remember having this total repulsion to doing it, which was so unlike me.  But I did it anyways, because I thought that’s what champions did.

It’s probably not too hard to figure out what happened next – and I finished the workout with such acute pain in my left foot that I went home and iced 3 times.  I woke up and did the same thing, and continued that regime of icing 6-8 times a day for the next 3 months.  Sure, I couldn’t walk for the first hour I was awake, but if I was just a little stronger, more committed, and more strict about my diet then it would all be okay, right?  I called my injury “a little plantar fasciitis” (based on my internet research) and struggled through three of the most painful and frustrating months of my life, quietly trying remedies like massage and acupuncture to heal myself.

I don’t think that anyone can ever understand what long term pain can do to a person’s sense of self and their happiness until they go through it.  It was a dark time for me, where I felt hopelessly alone, and I alienated myself from my coaches, partner, friends and family because I thought I had disappointed them.  I can honestly say that there was not one person that knew what I was going through.  To me, injury was weakness and I was doing everything I could to prevent looking that way, including continuing to train 9 times a week and play a tournament each weekend.

The following September, after I finally told my mom what was going on, she insisted I come home to see one of the best orthopaedic surgeons in the country, Dr. Jack Taunton.  I found out that I had so many tears in my plantar fascia that the doctors stopped counting after 20– my plantar fascia had literally been tearing itself apart and was 3x the width it should have been as a result of my continuing to play on it. After getting that news, for the first time I allowed myself to truly feel the pain, the numbing, the throbbing in my foot and I cried for hours.  Less because of the diagnosis- although of course I knew that my life was about to change significantly.  There was this feeling of relief, that there was finally truth around this whole situation that really impacted me.  In finding out the truth, I had freedom to be honest about what happened last season, and in some small way, it gave me the opportunity to stopped blaming myself.

This all being said, with the removal of the blame I had put onto myself for having such a rough season, I replaced it with this belief that I deserved the injury.  I got very adamant that I SHOULD have gone to a doctor, SHOULD have taken time off at the beginning, and SHOULDN’T have changed my training program.  And I believed that because I had done so much damage, the path to health would be a long and steep one.  I bought into the prognosis.  I was injured.  I owned being injured like it was my name – I’m Leah, and I’m injured.  And I kept saying it and saying it – mostly to describe why I was back home in Vancouver, why my season had sucked and why I didn’t know what was next.  Because as soon as I said it I was off the hook and people “understood”.  It really gave me an opportunity to step back and just let life take me… and take me it did.

I underwent a new therapy called Prolotherapy starting in October.  It’s a painful injection of glucose into the site of the tears that stimulates inflammation and healing.  By February I had gone through 4 injections and had only a little bit of improvement.  I was frustrated a really resigned to the fact that nothing was working.  Then, things changed.  On March 1st, one day after the closing ceremonies for the Olympics (and, for the record, a 3 week Olympic sized walk/dance/stairclimbing fest), I woke up unable to move my foot.  It was totally numb to the touch, and I could feel nerve damage through the bottom of it.  It was the worst it had ever been and within a week I had a new diagnosis – I had retorn it completely, and had also compressed all of the nerve endings in my foot.  I was back at square one.

I’m not sure how to describe the next 24 hours except that it was the closest to depression that I think I am capable of getting to.   By myself I cried, yelled, blamed, fought.  And when it was all over, I just laid there, in nothingness.  It was as if every feeling had been used up and this extreme peace came over me.  In this peace, I began creating.  I imagined how health would feel, what it looked like, who I had to be to have it.  I got this really strong image of a sparkling white light, regenerating and healing my body with every breath in.  It was so clear that it felt real, like I was pulling it in from an outside source.

For the next four weeks I was a ghost to the people in my life.  I had one thing on my mind, and it was regeneration.  Every movement I made I was connected to the feeling of health, every morsel of food I put into my mouth, I imagined giving my body energy to heal, and during workouts, I would picture breathing in white sparkling light that would restore my foot back to health.  I can barely remember those four weeks because I was totally in the zone.  Nothing could faze me as I was on a mission – and I wasn’t attached to a specific result, just who I wanted to be in the process, and what I wanted to feel like.  My joy came from noticing what I was able to do in a workout, knowing I had a team of doctors enrolled in my recovery, in finding moments and opportunities to help my body heal just a little bit easier.  I had a newfound appreciation and love for myself, and I spent most of the day feeling very grateful.  Especially for the experience of being injured, as crazy as that sounds.  I decided and completely believed that I was lucky to have gotten injured.  It caused me to take a step back to reflect on why I play volleyball, to have the opportunity to take care of myself (because this injury was just a symptom of me not taking care of myself on a larger scale), and to truly connect with others once again.

I knew that no matter what happened or when I would be healed, I would be okay.  And then, at about five weeks, I realized something.  I hadn’t felt pain in a while.  In fact, I couldn’t even say when the last time was, as I hadn’t been paying attention to that, I had been paying attention to the process and had been so busy creating the feeling of health that I didn’t realize that it was already present! A week later I went to the doctor for an ultrasound and injection, and was shocked to read an email later in the day from Dr.Taunton “there are no visible signs of a tear”.  I read and reread it over and over. In six weeks I had completely healed my foot.  The impossible was possible.

I think that this quote signifies why my injury continued to persist for as long as it did…

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.”

Fulton Oursler

The second I let go of the past, and let go of the future, and just totally engaged myself in the moment… in what I could do right NOW, I was healed.  Was it the white light I imagined, or the massage, or the physio?  That had something to do with it for sure, but the truth as I know it is that it was about being okay with what is.  There was no other way than the way it was, and I appreciated that and worked with it.  At the end of the day, it’s about gratitude.  True, complete gratitude for whatever life brings us.  Because in accepting it all, a path is created where anything is possible.

The Guest House:

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you

out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

–Rumi, “The Guest House”

Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

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