adult figure skating

The Power of Determination - DreamsCo

Two weeks ago I made my 91st dream come true - I landed my first double jump in figure skating. Landing a double or an axel in figure skating as an adult is incredibly difficult. In order to make it happen you have to fall over and over and over again. And even though I wear pads on my knees and hips I worry about my hands, my elbows, and getting injured. This fear locks me in, causes me to wimp out and I get stuck doing the same dang mistakes repetitively. So what happened once I landed it? I jumped around, I sent a text to my coach, and then proceeded to lose it. I haven't landed it since. Today, my coach and I went back to the drawing board going through each and every position my body needs to hold in order to create the rotation in the air. Sometimes I think of the money I've spent just to learn these jumps. I wonder if it's worth it, but then I realize, where do I go from here if I don't go for it? I can remain doing the things I do well and be content. Or I can work hard, become frustrated, get bruised, hit exhaustion all with the chance I'll never feel it again. But to feel that rotation, the freedom, the knowledge that I overcame my fear - yep it's worth every penny and bruise.

When I think about 91 of my biggest dreams completed, it doesn't seem real. I have to look at it, to revel in it, to realize all the magical moments from the last five years that have taken place. And then I have to wonder where I go from here?

My priest told me a story one day about a man who was an alcoholic. The man didn't feel that he deserved God's love and Father Anthony said, "For one month I want you to go out each day and sit in the sunlight. You don't have to be anything to receive the warmth of the sun. This is like God's love." The man went out everyday and for the first month he didn't even feel worthy of sunlight. The next thirty days he began to heal and to feel worthy of love. And on the 90th day of receiving he realized he was casting a shadow and needed to turn and share this love with others.

I have ten more items on my list, but at this point I feel the need to turn around. I've been writing about my journey for three years; sharing all that's happened with the hope to inspire. Now I no longer want to hope, but to create a movement. It's time for people to step up, take hold of their dreams, and make them come true. For those who go and sit in the sunlight and soak up its worth have more to give to others in the end. It starts with a simple question. If you could have anything, go anywhere, or do something in the next year what would it be?

 

A Bucket-List for Summer - DreamsCo

The week before Memorial Day I still hadn't made any plans for the long weekend. To be honest, I was wrapped up in the excitement of my book. Romantic Times picked it as a suggested read. Duane Reade in Manhattan is carrying it. It looks so pretty on the shelf. The book has been spotted in Costco, Sam's Club, The Paper Store, and at Dallas Fortworth Airport on the kiosk outside the book store. People are writing to me raving about the story. Every day brings new excitement and more work. So in the craziness I forgot to celebrate the coming of summer. IMG00424-20130523-1308mainstreammay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest parts of living in Sacramento, CA is all the wonderful places I can visit: Route 1 Coastal drive, Yosemite, Tahoe, Napa Valley, beautiful hikes to waterfalls, Monterey and Carmel, and Mendocino. I can easily drive up the coast to Portland, Oregon or just a day in the bay. There are lakes and rivers to swim in and concerts to attend, but when I don't make plans ahead of time it's too easy to stay home.

I decided that I didn't want my summer to slip away caught in the undertow of work no matter how much I enjoy working. So I decided that I'm going to make a summer bucket-list of all the things I want to do by the end of August. This way I'll be certain to look back at the summer of 2013 and know that I lived it to the max.

THE LIST

Ride roller coasters

White water kayak at least five times.

Sit on the banks of the Charles River for Fourth of July.

Spend at least five days at the beach reading great books.

Go camping at least five nights.

Go to Monterey and Carmel.

Compete in two skating competitions.

Play on a trapeze.

Dance salsa in San Francisco and Boston.

Take a trip outside the state to a place I've never explored.

 

What's on your list for the summer?

 

 

Knocking Ourselves Down Instead of Building Ourselves Up - DreamsCo

Today is a rather glorious day for me. My book, THE LAKE HOUSE, that's hitting the shelves in three weeks, arrived on my doorstep. It was an incredible moment.IMG_0145 Last week I was near tears, alright if I'm honest in tears, worried about the fate of my novel. I was also stressed about stepping out onto the ice at the National Adult Figure Skating competition for fear of falling on my face in front of people. I felt like everything was falling apart, and I thought about canceling my trip and hiding under the blankets.

Then I competed and for two minutes ten seconds I let it all go and I flew across the ice. My skating felt wonderful and everyone told me that I was beaming to the rafters. I took the bronze medal out of fifteen solid skaters.

The next day I had marketing meetings with Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster and found out all the incredible work that had been done behind the scenes. By the time I took the ice on Friday night for my second number I was beyond emotional as I realized that all the years I spent hoping, dreaming, praying, and keeping my vision alive had really paid off. The emotions came harder as I skated to the song, "On My Own" and the judges obviously felt it because they awarded me the silver medal

It's strange how we believe the worst is going to happen. We fear all the things that could go wrong that we don't even wish to take the leap. It's a weird part of human nature - the fear of imperfection or failure will keep us knocking ourselves down and hiding from our biggest dreams.

Last night I saw Dove's Youtube video "Sketches." It had women sit in a chair behind a curtain and describe themselves to a forensic artist. Then the artist sketched another photo of the same woman using a strangers description who had seen the person very briefly. Ultimately, the description from the stranger was more beautiful and true to life. Watch the video.

What if we saw ourselves not through our perceived flaws and fears, but through the beauty of who we really are? What more could we accomplish in life and how much happier would we be?

It's not easy to walk past fear or old beliefs: you're not good enough; no one in your family has done it so why should you be able to; I'm too fat; too ugly; I hate this about myself; I'll make a fool out of myself; I might fail. What if we turned that into: I'm grateful for everything I am; I'm going to enjoy this moment and have fun no matter the outcome; I'm going to go for everything I can because if I don't there's no chance; I believe in me and it doesn't matter what other people think.

Imagine what your life could be if you believed in you. That's what I did and it wasn't easy, but wow was it worth it!

The Power of Discomfort - DreamsCo

You would think that after accomplishing almost 90 of my 101 Dreams Come True that I would be comfortable jumping off cliffs wondering if the parachute is going to open or heck if I have enough material to sew the wings mid-air. But to be honest, going after my dreams doesn't seem to get easier. I wish I could say that the fear has stopped, that the nerves are just excitement, and that I now know that I can do anything. If I told you this, it would be a complete lie! I remember just a few months ago, telling you how afraid I was to go to South America for two months as a solo female traveler. I actually felt sick to my stomach and couldn't sleep, yet it turned out to be one of the most magical experiences of my life. So how come, as I stand here, on the brink of going after what feels like the biggest dream of all am I losing my confidence once again?

9781451686722My book, THE LAKE HOUSE, hits the shelves and online in four weeks, and I've never been more afraid in my life! What if no one knows about it? What if no one buys it? What if it hits the shelves, gets back-listed and I don't get the second book deal? All this work, all this dreaming my entire life to fizzle out in the end. I wake in the middle of the night afraid. I constantly google my name and the book to see if anyone knows about it. I realize every moment that I have no idea what being a fiction author really entails.

Top it off, I'm headed to the Adult National Figure Skating Competition this week, and though I'm excited to see friends and to skate the thought of more adrenaline has me exhausted. Why can't I just stay in a comfort zone?

But there is one thing that I've learned in the last five years - discomfort means that I'm reaching for bigger things that I can see myself being. Fear is the emotion that tells me how badly I want something and that it will actually hurt to not get it.

Someone asked me the other day how to make going after your dreams more comfortable. As a society we want instant gratification because we don't like the unknown or discomfort. We want the quick diet or exercise solution - the knowledge that everything will be okay right away. As humans we don't like the in between state. But the truth, pushing hard and taking risks, living in fear for awhile, these are part of the steps to achieving your dreams.

So for now, I have to relish in the discomfort, and know that I'm going to be terrified of failing. But in the end, it would hurt more to have never taken the chance!

Showing Fear Instead of Confidence - DreamsCo

I'm embarrassed to say that it's been two months since I've blogged. It hasn't been for want or lack of things to say, but work has kept me incredibly busy. I've been working hard to launch my new business, writing my second novel, still working on readying my first novel The Lake House for publication, and all and all taking care of the things that need to get done. I did have an incredible moment when a box of my advance reader copies of The Lake House showed up on my front door (Isn't the cover pretty). Then there was the moment when my friends realized my book is now available for pre-order on Amazon and everyone ordered it. You can also catch my guest blogs on Women's Fiction Blog about what it was like to become a writer with Simon & Schuster. I've been going through a tremendous amount of doubt lately. First of all, there's the worry about writing a second book within a years time. I've finished my full synopsis and I'm waiting on my agent to say yay or nay. It's a vulnerable time and fear has taken over my brain like an unwelcome house guest.  I'm starting my new business and I keep wondering what the heck I'm doing. Who am I to think that I can sell high-end fashion? Then there's the doubt that I can make the rest of my dreams come true. Between the money needed for travel and the time because of work, I just can't see my way through to finish. I've been in a funk of depression even when I take the time to go out dancing. I just can't see how it's all going to work out.

Last Sunday I competed in figure skating and as we took the ice for warm-up I realized all the other competitors were a level higher than me. I watched them fly around the rink with surety after so many years of competing and I lost all confidence. My coach called me over to the boards after a few minutes of warm-up and asked, "Where's the woman who goes after everything with everything she has? I know what you can do, and I'm not seeing you out there I'm seeing your fear." Well that was a smack of cold water to the face. I went out and found my legs and my confidence and things improved greatly. I missed the silver medal by one judge and was happy with my program.

In some ways, I think I've been showing my fear to the world and to myself lately instead of the woman who's made over seventy of her biggest dreams come true.

I've said before that our dreams are the road map to lives we are meant to live. As I went through my week I realized how much my life has changed since making my list of dreams. I now write fiction for one of the biggest publishers in the world. My work day includes finding high-end artists of beautiful products. I go to private parties in Napa at wineries on a regular basis. I dance and figure skate and I'm surrounded by people who support and love me. As my book goes to publication I will be writing a second novel, launching my new business, traveling domestically and internationally, figure skating and competing, and trying to make almost twenty of my biggest dreams come true. This is the life I was meant to live and though my confidence gets shaken, all it takes is that cold water to the face to remind me to enjoy the ride.

Skating At Adult Nationals - DreamsCo

"Do your athletes sometimes wonder why the heck they do this?" I asked Kris Sherard, my stand-in coach at the Adult Nationals Figure Skating Competition, as I stretched in preparation to step onto the ice. "They all do. Dorothy Hamill didn't want to take the ice before the Olympics because her nerves had gotten the best of her. Then she went out and won a gold medal. If you weren't nervous I'd be worried," Kris said.

I'd arrived four days before in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'd only had ten weeks to work with my new coach Kris Amerine to choreograph and learn a new program. This was only my fifth competition and my first at the Silver level. I'd trained as hard as I could learning to eat as an athlete, to push through fear and my mind's limitations, while striving to improve. As I stood at the boards, ready to take to the ice, I looked at the other competitors; All powerful women whose lives were so much like mine. They held full-time jobs, some had families, and yet they found time to be on the ice to practice. Many of these woman had years of experience competing and skating and knew each other from other events. Though they were all competing to win, they were supportive and friendly making me feel welcome as the newcomer.

As they called my name for warm-up, adrenaline pulsed making my legs quake. I ran through the elements of my program - warming up each move's precise technique. I stepped off the ice after six minutes and then had to wait almost fifteen minutes till my turn. They announced my name and I skated to the center. My heart raced and I took one last deep breath before I posed to begin. The music started and I found myself lost in movement. My skating felt shaky but then I began to find my flow as I smiled at the judges. Then I did one move too quickly which put me too far down the ice and I backed myself into a corner causing me to lose focus on my lutz loop jump combination. For the first time I fell in competition. I stood wondering how to get into the next move since I was against the wall. I tried my sit spin and fell again. I stood, took a deep breath and thought, this is my moment, my dream come true, I'm going to enjoy the rest of the program.

I began to skate again finding my edges and speed. The pure joy of being on the ice radiated from my smile and I stopped caring about perfection and just skated. I finished strong, but it was only enough to place twelfth.

Two days later I was back at the arena. This time to perform a program I knew well. Nerves still got the best of me but I thought again, this is my dream come true - live it to the max. This time, I skated my program with passion, emotion, and most of all love for the sport. I glided across the ice taking in the experience and when I finished, the energy I radiated made me feel as big as the ice arena. People came up and congratulated me on my performance and told me how it had moved them. I'd skated well enough to be awarded a Bronze Medal.

If there's one thing that I've learned on this journey it's that nerves, butterflies, and fear will always be there when you go after something you want with all your heart. I'm beginning to understand that those feelings mean you're really living to the max. I've also realized that going after my dreams always gives me more than I expect: I met incredible new friends; bonded deeper with my dear friend Kathy, who in her sixties competed at her first Nationals; and I was showered with love and encouragement by someone very dear to my heart. It was an inspiring week that will remain with me forever.

photos by James Tennery

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO0zcNwoniw&feature=related

 

Hard Work Pays Off - DreamsCo

The sun is setting outside my office window and the yellowing birch trees look the color of sparkling gold. Another day is passing into night and I wonder at my life and the 101 dreams I want to come true. Today I went skating and practiced for my test on Saturday. One of my dreams is to complete a series of skating tests to the senior level. The senior level is what you see at the Olympics. I won't be trying for triple jumps, but I will be trying to have the edge quality and grace of the actual skating (time spent moving around the rink). To test, I must go in front of certified judges and complete specific skating patterns with speed and power. As I practiced I noticed that my stamina and strength have increased by going after this dream.

I think in this era of ideas like The Secret and our 'need it now' mentality, we forget how great it feels to work hard; to have a goal and go after it no matter what gets in our way. I've fallen on my butt many times trying to learn these patterns. I've even broken my hand, but as I skated today I felt deep pride in not letting those falls get in my way.

It's great when something comes easy. When those miracles happen....like my mom winning lottery tickets that will allow me to go after my dream of seeing the Patriot's at their home stadium. But it's even more rewarding when I've fought and worked hard to make something happen.

We want things now and we want them to be easy, but hard work makes us grow. And today, I'm really proud of how going after this list of 101 dreams has changed me: I'm stronger mentally; I've learned about technology; I've pushed through fear; and I'm happy to say, "This is me and I like myself."

Don't shy away from something that's scary or hard. It might just lead you to everything you want.