At the request of a dedicated bike commuter and client, I hosted an open house for my current and recent past lady clients. We met at my house and shared stories while eating Hawaiian-style luau grinds (food to you haoli's). The menu was an adventure to us all, and everything tasted ono (delicious); although some took longer than expected to make and some didn't take shape as the recipe promised (user error OR Sam Choy expertise absent). We had things such as kalua pork, poke patties, haupia Squares, Spam musubi, grilled hala kahiki (pineapple), and mango bread.
A big Hawaiian mahalo to Miranda, Pat, Gretchen, Danielle, Sarah, Lori N., Lori H., Kate, Victoria, Erin, Lucy, and Ceecie (who traveled all the way from North Carolina to attend!) for honoring me with your smiles and laughter on September 30th. A special mahalo to Lori N. for making Spam Musubi and roasted sweet potatoes to share. We are lucky to have Lori as our resident Hawaiian who helped create our luau-style menu. Mahalo to Matt for making the kalua pork and grilled pineapple and helping with the shopping and last minute details. My resident chef, Nicholas, helped with the poke patties; they didn't turn out as expected, but his ingenuity earns him an A+ and all of us, satisfied tummies. And Ceecie, what an honor to receive the pleasure of your company for the few hours you spent in Minnesota just for this occasion, a heartfelt mahalo nui loa to you.
Mahalo to everyone for talking story, laughing, and eating! I feel truly grateful.
This past December I purchased a Surly Instigator; a mountain bike extraordinaire. I rode her for both commuting and playing in the snow during our winter months here in Minnesota. Then in May, I took her to Montana for a real mountain bike experience. I was not disappointed! I have found the most challenging workout of my life in the mountains of Montana!
What freedom to ride any terrain! Though I prefer challenging, technical courses with obstacles, while riding in Montana frequent breaks were a necessity as these trails proved most demanding. I have a lot of admiration for the people that passed me while grinding up the switchbacks and loose rock at high altitudes.
After riding a mountain bike, it didn't take long before narrow tires, such as those on my road bike, carried no interest for me. Who cares about going fast when you can surmount logs, rocks, mud, and sand?!
Labor Day weekend, I was up north with my family and had the great fortune to do a lot of mountain biking. And as a bonus, I learned about a mountain bike race right at the resort at which we were staying (http://www.racethegrind.com/). We rode much of the course, which was a muddy mess due to overnight rain, and found a diverse, arduous landscape. And of course, after watching the race, I began thinking it might be a fun adventure for next Labor Day weekend! After all, I have the perfect vehicle.
Back in May, while NOT looking for a new two-wheeled friend, I saw my dream bike. She was the most beautiful bike I had ever seen; a Salsa Cutthroat. Uh oh, instant obsession. So, I set forth to find and own this new love. Except I couldn't. There were none to be had — anywhere. She was sold out in my size. But, since my mind was made up and I was willing to wait, I sold my road bike and pre-ordered my dream bike in June for a sight-unseen, ride-unridden, all-new fall 2018 edition.
My fantasy bike was unveiled on September 8th (the day of my board exam!) and delivered to me on September 23rd. She was worth the wait — more gorgeous than last year's model by a LONG shot. I have never had a more comfortable, easy to use, versatile, sturdy bike. My maiden voyage lasted four and a half hours, and the only reason I stopped was that I was hungry. Designed as an adventure mountain bike, she's perfect for bike packing in any terrain - including mountains! Load her up with all the supplies you need and take off for anywhere! And in the absence of adventure, she's a perfect commuter bike. Who could ask for more?!
Now, I'm the proud owner of two adventure giving, comfy riding steeds (yes, I know they're not horses, but I love them like they're living creatures); my dilemma is choosing which bike I'll ride in next year's Long Grind at Giant's Ridge! Hmmm ... how about I just appreciate all the exploring I get to do in the meantime?
This summer will be one year ago that I began commuting by bike. Reflecting on when I made this decision, I can't quite recall when or why I made the leap. However, I do know who my inspiration was and still is.
I had worked with Kate and Victoria for about a year and a half, and during that time they shared and demonstrated their passion for bicycle transit with me twice a week. I watched in awe as they rode to the gym all winter long and always with smiles on their faces. I envied their courage to investigate a route and implement it — no matter where they were going.
Sometime in June of 2016, I decided to stop using my car to get to the gym. I added fenders to my hybrid bike, so I could ride in sloppy conditions and a functional moderate-sized saddle bag to carry my essentials. I quickly found the joy and convenience that Kate and Victoria raved about and found freedom in avoiding traffic lights and road rage.
My first big test was riding to NE Minneapolis for an appointment. It's only about nine miles, but it would be on bike paths that were unfamiliar to me, and though a part of town I have only traversed via car. So, I mapped it out, brought my new bike lock and made it in 45 minutes! And then, while I was at my appointment, my bike was stolen.
Stranded and wondering if my stolen bike suggested I am not meant to commute by bike, (after all, I had just lost the only bike designated for such a task) I called my dad to rescue my sidelined butt. Being the compassionate human being he is, we drove straight to a bike shop, and he replaced my lost wheeled friend with a new Kona; which is WAY better than the Bianchi it replaced. (My favorite thing about my Kona are the words "Be The Engine" printed on the frame.) So I was back in the business of exploration by bicycle.
My Kona has undergone many additions to make it as user-friendly as possible. For instance, I added fenders and a rack, panniers for groceries and waterproofing, and lights in front and back. An indestructible lock, and a saddle that is more comfortable than a favorite chair. A frame pump because I (finally) learned how to change a flat, and backpacks for every occasion. I bought rain jackets and waterproof shoes for a myriad of conditions. And for winter riding, I added studded tires and bought winter pants, boots, jackets, goggles, and a winter helmet to keep me warm.
The first year is certainly an investment in supplies to make bicycle commuting possible, but I am saving money on gas and car maintenance in spades. The most significant improvement for me is the endorphins that come with movement; this improves my quality of life every day (whereas sitting in a box with wheels increases my cortisol, no thank you). Commuting is no longer a drudgery, and I can always find a convenient parking space. I hear the birds and feel the air while I fit in exercise without beating the crap out of myself – check-plus!
There's a camaraderie amongst commuters, excitement to chat when we see each other on the road or trail; shared freely are encouraging words and helpful ideas. There's appreciation for the personality of each other's bike as an extension of the rider. The excitement is not in the name or expense of your bike, but why you love it and how you make it yours; it becomes a reflection of its owner. There is a non-competitive feel to commuters, rather a comity within the bike community. I have met and continue to meet intriguing, authentic folks that are excited to share experiences, ideas, and smiles.
I am proud to say I have officially made the transition to bike commuter. It has become my goal to ALWAYS ride my bike to my previously mentioned appointment in NE Minneapolis, which I have, in snowstorms and sleet, and despite having my bike stolen on my first trek. And now, I'm elated to tell you that I fill up my car's gas tank just once every two months!
Our bike community is rich with love and curiosity, and I thank Kate and Victoria for sharing their prosperity with me. Who knows, maybe reading this will inspire one of you to give bicycle commuting a go? I hope so.
I just returned from California where my longtime friend, Lori, and I attended two Enneagram courses. They were Lori's first and my last in a series aimed at certifying as an Enneagram Professional in the Narrative Tradition.
I have been utilizing the Enneagram for my personal development since 2011 and have incorporated it into my professional coaching since 2015. For those interested in making lasting changes, I believe the Enneagram is the most valuable and honest tool available. I have seen both open-minded folks and skeptics alike connect with and learn from the mirror the Enneagram offers. And both in my course work and with clients I have witnessed physicians, business executives, nurses, occupational therapists, and psychologists thrive.
What is the Enneagram? We all have a lens we see and experience the world through. The Enneagram illuminates the lens you use, thus broadening your view. With the Enneagram, you will see your lens rather than merely seeing through your lens. Rather than running on auto-pilot and being asleep to personal responsibility, you will see your patterns and habits that serve you well and those that keep you stuck.
At this time, I am developing a plan for an Enneagram study group in Saint Paul honoring the Narrative Tradition. I am also coordinating with my instructors to bring Narrative Tradition training to the Twin Cities for those that aren't able to travel but are interested in enhancing their use of this powerful tool.
I hope many of you will join our community and commitment to uncovering your lens. Even if you're merely curious, please consider learning more through the upcoming study groups and courses. And you can always contact me directly to schedule a typing interview or to find out more about how I incorporate this into my coaching.
Mahalo, my curious readers for patiently waiting out my silence. Though some of you know, for the rest of you, with the help of many medical professionals, I have been investigating some health inconveniences the past few months. One of them being pressure in my head that seems to reduce the efficiency of my thinking at times, thus making it difficult to find the energy to write. My windows of clear thought have been random. However, with the support of many people, including friends, family, and clients, I am finding the help I need to sort this out. And in the process, I am learning a lot about the intricacies and delicate balance of human physiological function. For more about this, please visit my most recent blog.
My clients continue to amaze me with their support and patience as I explore the uncertain nature of my symptoms. The wisdom and perspective they offer lead me to explore new solutions. The honor of coaching others inspires a positive mindset.
My AlohaConnection group began another 12-week journey recently. We have a dynamic group of women eager to face their challenges with the support and insight of one another. They each bring a different perspective and offer unique viewpoints to life's successes and struggles. If you're interested in joining or learning more about AlohaConnection, please connect with me.
Please join me in the Great River Coalition's 1st Annual Bee Run/Walk/Cleanup on Saturday, April 23rd. Held as part of Earth Week, it takes place at Boom Island Park along the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis to support and promote the rivers “Pollinator Pathway.” The Coalition welcomes runners, walkers, and volunteers and asks us all to support their goal to "create a Pollinator’s Pathway beginning in Minneapolis, our only National Park along the Mississippi River. The plan is to extend the trail from Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico."
I have created a team for those of you that would like to join me in the run/walk. Our team name is alohacoach (of course!) and you can register here: http://www.greatrivercoalition.com/events/
Happy Birthday to Gerry, Dad, Rachel, Charlie, Victoria, Hoef, Mom, Joey, Danielle, Michael, and Kate!
Aloha and I hope to see you in April!
Happy snowy December!
I hope you've all enjoyed fall and are excitedly anticipating the holidays and new year!
I would like to begin this holiday newsletter by expressing my gratitude and appreciation to all my clients. I am the luckiest coach/trainer in the world (Yes, I'm aware of just how corny that sounds. Get over it!) Every day I am inspired by the people I have the privilege of supporting on their personal journeys. Every day I am blessed with learning from their strengths and struggles because they are brave enough to share them with me. To all of you — Mahalo for the honor of sharing your time and trust with me. I am forever grateful.
My fall has been busy and filled with surprises. Having three boys in high school, simultaneously, has proven to be an adventure. Who knew? Though I appreciate their exploration of independence, the drama that accompanies some of their choices is both frustrating and frightening. I'm learning a whole new world of boundary setting and limit testing. It's helpful when I remember myself at their ages and find gratitude in having boys!
Since my last newsletter, I'm excited to share the completion of my Tibetan Buddhist Meditation course. I didn't know what to expect and was surprised and pleased with the depth of research involved. The class linked history, neuroscience, and practical exercises utilizing many teachers. Though it required a lot of time, the variety of topics and flexibility kept me engaged. Now more than ever, I recommend meditation. The science unequivocally shows the short and long-term positive effects on our emotional, mental, and physical health. To learn more, please connect with me.
In October, I attended a workshop on love and relationships; how our personalities influence their potential and development. Our instructor is the Head of Psychiatry at Stanford University. He has been a pioneer of personality research, professor, and therapist for the past 40 years. Along with lecture style learning, part of the training included learning from people sharing their experiences as it relates to their specific personality traits. I was the only soul brave enough to represent my personality for the seventy attendees during the weekend. I didn't plan to be the poster child for my group. I was unprepared for the intense vulnerability that accompanied working with a great teacher. I learned more than I could have imagined putting myself on display and staying receptive (not an easy task while on a stage). Through my discomfort (which is necessary for growth), I connected with and affected many people that weekend. I feel extremely fortunate having the opportunity to attend one of the last workshops David Daniels will give before his retirement. The best reward by far is the opportunity to share what I've learned with my clients and those close to me.
My women's group, AlohaConnection, endures, and we're having a blast incorporating personality theory (The Enneagram) into our weekly topics. These women are on a mission to learn and grow and take charge of their happiness and confidence. I am SO proud to be a part of the amazing work these ladies are doing. We come together each week, and they open to sharing and receiving insights from each other. Their transparency and humor create a safe space and empathy — the foundation for development. Through the coaching and teaching I provide, I'm learning and growing right along with them. This is the best gift ever, thank you, Ladies!
In closing, I would like to tell all of you that are not my clients, but rather friends, supporters, family, acquaintances, strangers, and those of you considering coaching or training in the future, Mahalo for reading my newsletters and blogs. Mahalo for staying interested. Mahalo for your feedback and for sharing me with others. Mahalo for reaching out and staying a part of my life. I am so grateful to you all.
I look forward to connecting with you all in 2016!