Awakening…Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life

The truth is, since my Gramma’s passing, I’ve not had much of an appetite. My Herbalife shake in the morning with pb, oats, flax/chia, banana and 1 cup almond milk has been my breakfast. Water and a little fruit and 1 real meal has been my diet since I returned to Raleigh. Yes, I am aware that it’s not healthy.

Last evening a friend posted about trying veganism on for size. He’s a health and fitness coach who does pretty in-depth research on things. Always makes for interesting conversation. At any rate, I commented saying, in summary, that I don’t think I could do it because I really enjoy turkey, fish, chicken, etc.  quite a lot, thank you but that the meal he’d prepped and posted a photo of looked quite yummy. Because it did. Did I mention he’s also a great cook?

Anyway, I had to go to the grocery store and it occurred to me that it was a belief that I couldn’t do the vegan thing, even on a trial basis, as opposed to a fact.

Then I did a quick inventory of the other “beliefs” I’ve held that I know aren’t true because I’ve proven them wrong or changed my mind and done something else. Let’s see, I’ve given up Diet Coke (used to drink maybe 3 cans/day), see my abs, done killer workouts, nailed the spear throw and the rope climb, completed Spartan Races this year (while in CFS/fibro regression – meaning I start exhausted and w/almost no training because existing is exhausting right now!) that last year were but a dream and that was before regression set in. I have driven by myself for hours on end, stayed with strangers (who became friends), run races and distances I’ve only ever dreamed of, grown to love avocados and cut way back on carbs and sugar, among other things. All the “I could never…” beliefs are pretty much busted through.

So, as I’m examining beliefs and truths, I’m resetting some, making new decisions and re-setting my course for the last of 2015 and 2016, too!

What are some of your beliefs you busted through? How did you do it?

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Remembering Gramma

medalMy commitment to my reader has always been the same as the one I make to myself. I will always tell the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable, heartbreaking or scary. The truth is today I am hurting in every way – physically from racing, mentally and emotionally from bearing the loss of my Gramma. She was 92. She passed away this past Friday, the day before the biggest race of my Spartan Race career.

She wanted for her children and grandchildren to do what made them happy. The fact is, there is nothing tragic about dying at 92. In fact, it’s freakin’ epic! She lived through so much. She touched many lives, bore and raised an incredible family. She loved her family, their animals, the holidays, gardening, yellow roses, pussy willows, vase heads (don’t ask, just go with me on this!), antiques and golf, among other things.
Yes, I’m reaching because honestly, I’ve been “preparing” myself for this for, oh, about 5 years. A little piece of advice: Don’t waste time ‘preparing’ for the death of someone close to you because when you get that jolt, when you get that call or that text that tears your world out from underneath you, there is no preparation that allows you to breathe easier or makes it hurt less. Trust me. I’m living through it.
I was having dinner when I got the text. “Gram just died peacefully.”
Part of me just stared in disbelief. Like I said, there is no ‘preparation’ for this. I got to my car before I broke down and just sobbed til I couldn’t breathe. I copied and pasted the message “My Gramma just died” to about 15 people. I let myself feel every tiny bit of everything there was to feel. I know it’ll come in waves. that that’s how every emotion works. My best advice that you didn’t ask for: feel what there is to feel. All of it. And if you hit a plateau where you’re feeling nothing, or there is no running, but walking, that is OK, too. Just like racing. You’re not always running. Sometimes you’re hiking, skipping, crawling, rolling, walking, or landing on your back side and sliding.
Speaking of living epically. I run Spartan Races. You can volunteer to earn your free race entries. I had volunteered on Friday, the 18th to earn my free race for Saturday at Killington.  The Beast. 13+ miles and 30 + obstacles. About 4900 feet of elevation gain.
You can train for a Spartan Race, practicing carries, running on a 15% incline treadmill (which, as an aside, is actually funny after having raced Killington with its thousands of feet of elevation gain, you’re welcome! – Thanks, Norm, for the stunning views and the workout!), practicing burpees, spear throwing, rope climbing, the whole bit. But there is no preparation for being notified that your beloved Gramma has passed away, even if she’s 92 and you ‘expect it’. It still hurts like hell, it’s still “wait – what?!” There are still tears to beat the band. Tears in the airport, tears on the race course, tears in the moments of reality where you realize you’re going to Gramma’s, only not. It’s different this time. My family has to learn to do something none of us knows how to do: live without mom, Gramma, Great Gramma.

Someone asked me why I was racing – because someday when I die, I want to have lived an epic life! Running Spartan Races stretches me in every possible way. I, as most racers do, leave it all on the course. Blood, sweat, tears, mental gunk, emotional junk and every bit of physical strength get left on the mountain. That’s the point. I can’t say losing my Gramma is “just another obstacle” because it’s much bigger than that but my Gramma wanted us to be happy and I’m happy on the mountain, racing so I raced for Gramma! And finished!

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It’s OK to Cheat Once In A While…

With food, people, with food!


One of my few cheat foods is popcorn! I’m not talking about microwave popcorn. I’m talking about melt-in-your-mouth, I-love-you-but-I’m-not-sharing gourmet goodness! I’m talking about Crunch Daddy Popcorn! If you live in the Maryland/Northern Virginia area, you might be lucky enough to find it at a store near you. If you’re not, like me, you can order it online and the owner, my friend, Dan Bazis, will get your choice of fresh, yummy popcorn shipped off to you quickly and effortlessly. All you have to do is place your order and sit back and watch your mail.

Crunch Daddy comes in 10 delectable flavors including my personal favorites Bourbon and Bacon Crunch and White Cheddar and Horseradish Crunch!


I have to say, my biggest fear with the Bourbon Bacon crunch was that it would be tiny bits of bacon. I was pleasantly surprised that not only does Crunch Daddy use REAL bacon but it’s actual pieces of bacon! And it’s the perfect, yummy blend of sweet, and salty with just a tiny bit of chewy mixed in. Hurrah!


When I ordered the White Cheddar and Horseradish Crunch, I was concerned about how much white cheddar I’d taste (love the stuff!) and how much zing there would be…oh my good-food-get-in-my-belly-ness! One word: Ah-mazing!!

My only caution is that you might get addicted, it’s that good! And I apologize in advance if I’ve just introduced you to your latest addiction.

Once you’ve picked your flavor, you can then choose how much you want. Do you want (need?) a little or a lot? Or maybe, not unlike myself, you can’t be trusted with yummy food in the house so you get just a little as a treat. That’s cool. If you have a family of foodies, there are larger sizes for all of your eating needs. Crunch Daddy also makes great gifts!

As a side note, this is a one man operation so you if you like supporting small businesses, you get great gourmet popcorn and you get to support a small biz at the same time! How awesome is that?!

If you’re in the market for some great popcorn, check out Crunch Daddy Popcorn today! You’re going to love it!

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New Direction, New Dreams, New Focus

I’ve shared just about everything about my life here, as I  believe in choosing vulnerability and honesty, first for myself and secondly, to encourage family, friends, loved ones and readers alike to do the same.

That said, I am changing the focus of my blog! What started as a blog about my life as a survivor and thriver has evolved to my life’s evolution into Spartan Racing, training for the same, traveling to races, my emotional, spiritual and physical growth, what it’s like being intuitive and empathic and the occasional post about living with CFS and Fibromyalgia, as I’m currently in regression with the same. Exhaustion is not my friend but consciously choosing to accept everything in my life as it is, is definitely making life easier! I will also be looking into guest bloggers. If we vibe alike and you want to write a post on my blog, let me know!

I will also be posting more frequently. If there’s something you have a question about, yell and I’ll happily write about it. I’m pretty much an open book!

You can also see some of my thoughts, feelings, training clips and tips and other uplifting stuff on Instagram @spartanjillie2015.

My goal is to inspire and motivate, uplift and encourage people on their journeys through life! It’s such an awesome thing, this life!

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Change is…Today is…

A year ago, July 5, 2014, I met an amazing person who changed my life in so many positive, inspiring, good ways. We were great friends. And then something happened. I triggered him. Not intentionally but, being an intuitive and an empath, my energy often does that effortlessly. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is. In this case, I pushed the person away. We are no longer ‘friends’. Maybe someday we will be again but right now, they need their space and, as much as it saddens me, I accept that.

Change is necessary and sometimes when we change, it’s not OK with those around us. They leave, their part in our story is over, for now at least.

When I started my journey in 2011, I remember saying to my therapist, I don’t care what I have to say, do, own, give up, I will do it, say it, own it, let go of it. But I cannot, cannot, CANnot, CANNOT live this way anymore. I am miserable! She was floored but said “OK” and I’ve been doing my work, letting go, dealing with stunning realizations, amazing truths, hives, more tears than I knew a 5’5″ body could hold and remaking my life, with my loves, passions, values and ideals, MY way!

As this change occurs, the purpose of this blog is also evolving. As I am no longer a survivor but a thriver, blossoming into a brand new life, so too will the content of my blog change. I am hoping to blog several times per week and inspire readers or help them in some way. This is a work in progress. Stay tuned.

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What Installing a Printer Taught Me About Letting Go!

Several weeks back I had a client ask if we could install a printer on his desktop computer. I told him I thought we could, gathered the components I’d need to install a printer on a machine with an 18-pin female port. Got as much stuff off the machine as possible to make room for the driver package and the install and finally tried to install it. The machine was not sensing the connection. So I tried to install the other, more modern printer. Same problem. I tried everything I could think of to no avail. Finally, I had to deliver the news: sorry, but you’re not getting a printer on this machine.

He thanked me for trying and that was that. I was done. I surrendered. There would be no printer on this 20 year old machine. Then I went in again while he was at lunch and, for giggles essentially, with nothing to lose, tried to install it wirelessly. I expected nothing but it was thinking…and then, suddenly, SUCCESS! I had installed the printer, the better of the two, on his very old 512MB computer. I bravely printed a test page. It worked. When he got back, I told him that we had a printer installed on the computer. He was quite pleased, as was I!

So, why am I telling you this? And what does a printer installation initially gone amok have to do with letting go?

I was resigned and bummed, having tried everything, or so I thought. So I let go of “success” because I thought there was to be none. And then, there was!

I’ve read that the moment when you are resigned, when you surrender, when you let go…that’s the moment when the magic happens. “The dawn will come when you let go…”

I’ve “tried” repeatedly to “let go” of many things in my personal life that I just can’t seem to convince my Inner Mean Girls (IMGs)/ego to be brave, trust and let go of. And then this happens.

Granted, I have no emotional attachment to the printer, unlike my personal life. But in that moment, I realized the truth of it. That when I was done, when there was no printer to be had on this computer, when I resigned myself to the impossibility of it, that’s when it happened.


Without trying to, I proved to my ego that it’s true, it’s safe to let go and that I can trust that whatever comes after the letting go is far better than what’s in the here and now. Powerful stuff.

I have looked high and low, to people I admire greatly, looking for a step-by-step “how to let go” guide and try as I might, even when I diligently followed the steps, couldn’t let seem to do it.  Then, without trying or meaning to, I did it. I let go! So, if you’re reading this, know that when you’re ready, you’ll let go on your own time, space and terms. And THAT is when things will start to transform!

Have you accidentally done something similar? Care to share?

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The last year of my journey has been particularly daunting. I never know what’s going to trigger me anymore. I keep hoping and praying that I’ve embraced, felt, cried and dealt with every last fiber of it…I know I haven’t yet but a girl can hope!

Case in point: late last night. I’m having a conversation via IM with a friend. I said goodnight and thought nothing of it. Minutes later, I blew me up like a puffer fish!

We had been talking about how exhausting this journey can be. I agreed. Yes, it can be. But it’s worth it. It is. Truly. It’s absolutely worth it.

She said, “I’m tired.” I’m saying now, admitting it: I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired. Between handling my stuff and everybody else’s stuff, I admit it, I’M TIRED! In fact, I’m exhausted.

So after the minute of lamenting about being tired, I admitted something else. I choose happiness, knowing in my heart of hearts that there is a transition coming. I’ve lived through all of this and honestly, my survival record is 100%. So, I consciously choose happiness.

I thought briefly about saying, “Then just let go!” but she’s not there yet. If you’re not familiar with the concept behind release, surrender and letting go, you’re going to read “Then just let go!” and think, “Do WHAT?!”

To be clear, it’s not her fault. Yes, she said something that triggered me but I reacted, albeit involuntarily and subconsciously. Another person’s reaction to what we say is not on us, it’s on them.

As I was reacting last night, I could hear my heart beating in my chest. I truly would love to know what was being triggered since there were no tears, nothing inflammatory or upsetting at all, as a matter of fact. My hives outbreaks are severe emotional stress manifested outward. They’re also the body’s way of releasing emotions. That much I know. What I didn’t know, still don’t as I’m editing this nearly 24 hours later, is what was triggered. Hoping I drained it completely.

Anyway, I digress. One of the hardest things about this journey is not knowing what your going to find as you go. There is nothing to light your way, neither a candle nor a LED flashlight. Nary a match. Nothing. So you’re feeling in the dark and yes, it’s scary. There is no start and no finish. No deadline. “You’ll know it when you get there.” Excellent! I’ve heard that before…

And what are you going to find? What stories? What emotions are buried there that you need to stare down and pull into the light? [Hint: if you sit with an emotion and keep feeling it, you’re through it in 11 minutes, max. That’s the longest length of an emotional arc. My worst, most painful ones have lasted less than 5 minutes.]

It requires rock solid faith and knowing your body and its reactions very well.

In my case, I honestly don’t know what I stumbled upon last night.

I hate to ask that awful question but, “God, are we there yet?”

Honestly, healing my stuff and helping others heal theirs, depending upon the energy, can be exhausting! Emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s necessary work, it’s an honor to be part of someone’s healing story but as a conduit, it can be exhausting. I admit it.

In doing this healing work, the emotion attached to the story, the space or the emotion is the crux of the issue. It’s hard to know what’s what and what’s attached to what. Something is triggered and we react. Sometimes we can choose our reaction. Last night, I didn’t react at all. I actually didn’t give the conversation another conscious thought. Until hives started washing over me.

I know many people who stuff things down because they’re scared of what’s there and the emotions attached to emotions and thoughts. They don’t want it to affect their work, their decisions or their performance. They don’t want their life to be affected. Change can be scary. I get it. I do! I used to be that way.

I can’t say I blame them. One minute you’re falling asleep, the next minute hives is washing over you like an ocean wave. Scary stuff. And I’ve been through it enough times now that I could feel it coming on.

I know my body and trust it. I took an antihistamine. This, too, shall pass.

I just wish I knew what exactly triggered it. And what the conversation triggered. Maybe my general fed up ness caught fire and brought on the hives. It’s hard to say but I am grateful for it because I definitely released trapped emotions that were toxic to me. I’m also grateful for it because it showed me how this process and my interactions with others can affect them. And that’s huge insight that no matter how much I am there for them, their reaction is out of my control.

As I finish this blog, I’m hives free. Completely. Clear skin all the way around. Clear mind and heart, too. Lessons learned.

My intuitive sense says that this was a huge learning lesson, which I got loud and clear, and and a cleansing, too. It’s a blessing in disguise, being triggered.

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