It’s not about the pain – it’s about the push

avonwalk2015
   This past weekend, I took a pretty long walk. I didn’t have to use my pedometer or my calorie tracker to tell me how far I went; my legs and feet, back and shoulders, and even my hair could tell a story of each step. I was lucky enough to participate in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk; a 39-mile, two-day walk that my team – Team Mount Peter – walks in every year or so. We walk a different city each time we participate in the event, and although it’s difficult and we all swear we will never do it again, we keep coming back for more.

When someone says they are going to walk 26 miles in one day, it doesn’t seem so bad. But by mile 9 or so, reality stomps on our toes and locks up our muscles. It’s more than eight hours of continuos walking at a 3.3 mph pace. It’s blisters and muscle cramps, sweat and tears. It’s every inch of your body screaming to stop, to sit down. Even your hair follicles protest.

It’s my job as Team Captain to keep up the motivation. To pick one of my friends up when they have fallen off the curb. To let them pick me up when I am frozen in a stretch position, gazing at the bus that could carry us the rest of the way like it was a my ride to heaven. Here is what keeps me motivated: I have two perfectly healthy legs, my cells are healthy and I have no disease that weighs me down. I walk because there are so many that cannot. Because there are so many that have done so much more, and for me to stop walking because I am in pain does not honor them. I think of people being marched to concentration camps and know that my walk contains none of these horrors. I think of soldiers marching onto the battlefield and know that my walk is safe. I think of what the women of our country once went through so that I had the right to walk where I want, say what I want, and talk to whom I want. I push myself to honor the people before me that fought so hard, and suffered so many horrors. I walk for the future, yes. But I also walk for my present. I walk to feel just a tiny piece, so small it would barely cause a ripple in a still water, of what those before me have felt. Of what those battling a terrible disease today are going through. Of what our soldiers are still facing.

This past weekend, at our 13-mile mark as we sat down in the grass with our brown bagged lunch, I was hurting. I was gazing at that bus with a little extra longing in my eyes. My sister – who has been on every walk with me, right by my side – asked, “what are you going to do?” She asked, but she knew the answer. “I’m going to walk until I can’t take another step,” I answered. And so we did.

We all have to push ourselves from time to time. It doesn’t have to be my way, but in some way that is special to you. It’s how we keep moving forward.

Namaste. -Amy

girl power

Stop and see the beauty

tulipHow often do you get so wrapped up with the chatter in your head that you don’t see the beauty that is all around you? This used to happen to me all the time – some thought would take hold of me and make me a prisoner, making me blind to the beauty of life, putting a hazy outline on even the sunniest of days. Thoughts can become pretty scary – something as simple as someone you love saying the “wrong” thing can snowball into our minds making assumptions that are not real, and one thought turns into another, worse thought, and so on. Before we know it, we are having an internal argument with someone who had the misfortune to not say what it is we wanted to hear.

The only difference between myself a few years ago and myself today is that now I am aware when this is happening to me. I know when my runaway thoughts are becoming runaway trains, and I know that the haze that surrounds me can turn pretty dark if I don’t stop it. Mark Twain once said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” And it’s true – most of what we worry about will never happen, and if it does, we deal with it.

Sometimes just the awareness that we are stuck in this loop is enough to make it stop. Now when I feel myself getting upset over a runaway thought, I say to myself (sometimes out-loud), “STOP it, it’s not real,” and I clear that energy away from my body and feel myself go back to normal. I have found that taking pictures will help me to see the beauty around me, because in putting the camera in focus, I put myself in focus as well.

Take a moment and look around you. If you are inside go outside or look out a window – there is beauty everywhere. A spring flower, a child laughing, the smile of a stranger. One of the first steps I had to make when I realized I had some pretty big life changes to make was learning not just how to see the beauty around me, but to notice it for long enough to change my thinking. It’s more than smelling the flowers, it’s touching the petals, seeing the miracle in one tiny flower growing through a patch of concrete, and letting your mind relax.

Change is coming. The way we see the world and our place in it will bring nothing but clarity. But before we can do that, before we can get down to truly feeling peace inside our hearts, we have to relax our minds. We have to let go of the distracting thoughts we cling to. And we have to do it every day, until we begin to see more beauty, and less darkness.

I’d love to hear where you find beauty. Namaste. -Amy

© 2015 Amy Sampson

My intention

A funny thing about stating your intention is first figuring out what that is. I have started so many tasks – be it at work, at home, or even making a life change – without really defining what my intention is. My success rate when this happens is generally, I don’t know, 2 percent. If we don’t know what the purpose or goal is in what we decide to do with our time, how do we know when we have accomplished our mission? Or how do we really know where to start?

My intention with this site is to have a conversation about how we can escape the pressures that ourselves and others put on us to be someone who we are really not comfortable being; who we were not meant to be. Others may try to put us in a box, but it’s really ourselves who takes out the packing tape, seals the top and sides, and smacks a “do not open” sticker on top.

I have opened my box, peeled back my sticker, and started a whole whirlwind of trouble! But as the dust settles, I find I can see so much more clearly. And do you know what is funny? I have spent so long trying to be the person that I thought others wanted me to be that I didn’t realize I was already the person who I was inside. You can’t hide who you are. Just ask my sister – she knew I was “weird” and a bit unconventional all the time I thought I was nodding politely and saying all the right things. The difference is that now I can own who I am, be who and what I want to be, and jump out of my box like a stripper in a birthday cake. Because the truth is that everyone else wants to break free as well, and the ones that are giving you a hard time are the ones that are having a hard time themselves.

So this is my goal. I have my beliefs but I can’t say for sure if we have this one life, or a million and one lives, but while we are here we need to be true to who we are. I want people to wake up from bad relationships, stick up for themselves, and be authentically honest about where they are, and where they are going. We all have the power to give someone else permission to treat us badly, and we all have the power to make them stop. My intention is simply to help you see that.

About a year ago I started writing a book about pulling myself from a depressed state without the help of medication (disclaimer – I am NOT saying people with a true imbalance or having psychological trouble should not be on medication. I’m simply saying it wasn’t for me), and how modalities such as acupressure and Reiki have saved me. I will share some of that on this site, in the hopes to help the conversation to begin.

Thank you for reading.

Amy

Something I have realized about myself while writing about my journey: I love metaphors. I’m stuck in a well (of sadness), I put myself into a box (of where I fit in society); I’m sure it will go on. I am also a little sarcastic and I am a great lover of all things punny. I’m not sorry – it’s who I am 🙂