I am writing this as a “Thank You” to all of you who have touched my life, or in return, have been touched by mine.
It is easy to get caught up in ourselves; our world is very ego centric. It is easy to take things and people for granted; to forget that we are all in a symbiotic relationship.
I want to spend this post, thanking those who have imparted some influence on my course in life… which is nothing at all like I thought it would be: once upon a time ago.
Many times, I have told myself, that “I feel too much.” And it is overwhelming. However, as an empath, I just feel all the time, on such an acute scale… it is hard to describe it in detail.
For me, it has come as depressions. Luckly, I know I am strong enough to ride the storm, but, admittidly, they are annoying. No one wants to be unhappy and stifled for weeks on end.
This letter of appreciation, is for all of you who have believed in me, and supported me through my doldrums. It is for those of you, who showed up to read a post, because you needed it in the moment.
My life has been one of servatude to humanity. My work, on such a small scale, is an act of prevention and inspiration.
I know that it is realistically insane to be happy or upbeat, all of the time. Not only that… but it is hard to do. I know that we are all sorts of sensative about things, people and situations, due to our past experiences. I know that certain things can act as triggers to deeper feelings, often catalyzed in an unintentional way. I know that sometimes a stranger says the perfect thing, at the perfect time.
I write for that part of a human. I write to that part of the human. I don’t reach millions of people per day… maybe five on a really productive day. I don’t do what I do for fame or following… I do it because I have been there. Once upon a time, I needed my own medicine and there was no one to administer the remedy. Mostly because I didn’t believe in myself.
I say THANK YOU, because I know whole heartidly that there is no way we would end up connected, if we didn’t have something to connect over.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for feeling and using resources to reach connection. Thank you.
Thank you for having the strength to try and figure yourself out and do better for yourself.
I am blessed to be reaching you, who are only miles or oceans away. I am blessed to have your input and opinion based off your own personal experience.
Thank you for showing up. Thank you for allowing me space to be vulnerable. I appreciate the ability to be heard by you; my wish, is to always leave something worth thinking about; in hopes that when we leave ourselves, we leave them better than when we found ourselves.
If there are topics you would like to discuss, please leave a comment, and I will work on that. I want to bring you content that inspires you to come back for more. I would love a deeper dialog on here, and it is YOU, I am talking to.
Are you familiar with the action of a wrecking ball?
That is Sara Goossen in a nutshell. The lady is powerful, energetic, and ready to knock excuses out of the way. She is a bright and compassionate person who sees the potential in people and then helps individuals harness their inner bad ass. This talent is an imperative staple in her personal business model.
October 1, 2012, Sara opened Fit Body Boot Camp- Cheyenne, with 14 clients. Her goal is to change the lives of 5000 of Cheyenne’s citizens by 2017. As of April 2015, she has trained and cultivated a community of 1200 residents who are interested in adopting a healthy life style. That is an average of 400 people a year, getting active and aware in the fair city of Cheyenne and it’s surrounding areas. No small feat for this 5’3″ wrecking ball.
Sara and I got together to discuss her fitness past and her optimistic fitness future; how she came to start FBBC and some of her own trials and tribulations in the fitness process.
Before I jump into the interview, I would like to state that when you are looking for a gym, and a support system to help you change your habits; having a leader like Sara is imperative because she has run the gamut of unhealthy eating and body weight issues. She has children, she knows struggles and excuses. She has taken initiative on her own, in her own life in order to transcend her past hang ups. In turn Sara has turned hardships into valuable insight for those at any point in their fitness journey.
It may be easier for certain people to take her ethic very seriously because she didn’t start out on this lifestyle right after high school or college before having children; when most women’s bodies are still in that youthful metabolism. She wasn’t always healthy. It was a choice that she had to dedicate herself to; which meant a long road of challenges that led to the changes that are evident in her today.
Let’s find out more, shall we?
WEIGHT: 145.3 lbs
FAVORITE EXERCISE: RUNNING STAIRS, WORKING THE BACK, AND SQUATS
LEAST FAVORITE EXERCISE: BUILDING CLIMBERS
Let’s talk about your fitness past, eating disorders, all that stuff.
It goes so far back, it’s disturbing… so, okay, 10 years old; my mom told me I needed to stop eating granola bars because they were making me fat and at that point in time I had just finished some book, I can’t remember the title of, and it was talking abou this girl who would throw up, because she was so fat. So…I…followed suit.
Thank God for Children’s Literature, right?
Yeah, I was like, “Well, now I am well informed and I can solve this problem.
(Sara reminences with awkward laughter.)
So, at ten years old that started fourteen years of just roller coaster disordered eating; ranging the spectrum of binging and purging to just starving myself. When I got pregnant with my son, when I was sixteen, I kind of just said “Fuck it. It doesn’t matter if I am skinny; it doesn’t matter if I am fat…I am pregnant. I can eat whatever I want and have no guilt.” I gained 50 pounds when I was pregnant with him, and I lost ten. I lost some weight nursing, but after I stopped nursing him, I continued the disordered eating cycle.
Just picked it up where you left off?
Yep, just picked it up right where I left off. And I knew… I was an athlete in high school, I knew about nutrition but it’s not something that I ever listened to because disordered eating was so much easier than learning how to feed myself. At nineteen I married my now ex-husband, (my daughters’ father) and gained all that “happy weight” I maxed out the scale before we got married, at 197 lbs…. so, I looked like a cow in my wedding dress.
Thank god for girdles….
After that we were trying to get pregnant with Emma, and couldn’t get pregnant… couldn’t get pregnant. We tried for two years, and I finally went to the doctor and asked “what is going on?” I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the doctor told me that I had to make a lifestyle change, or else…. “you’re going to end up with diabetes; you are more apt to have certain types of cancer, you are just going to get fatter, your thyriod is going to peter out…” All the things that go along with PCOS… “This is your future. You either make a change now or enjoy your future where it is headed.”
At that point I sought help because I knew my disorder was no longer a sustainable way to live life. It wasn’t mentally or emotionally healthy.
So I lost about 20 lbs. and we got pregnant with Emma through a series of fertility treatments. When I was pregnant with Emma I only gained about 20 lbs and then I lost it all right away. At that point they (the doctors) said “Well you are probably not going to be able to have any more children, so don’t worry about it.” And I thought, okay, cool; I am just going to go back to doing the whole weight loss thing, because I still had fifty pounds to go.
So I lost another twenty pounds, and then I got pregnant with my daughter Ileena… BOOM! I remember going to my dads house and saying, “Well… I am pregnant again just when I was gettting my ‘sexy’ back.” My grandma looks at me and says “Well honey, maybe that’s the problem.”
Double edged sword on that one…
Yeah! So I got pregnant and did that whole thing and I only gained fifteen pounds with Ailena , and I lost that all right away. November 2009 I found Body For Life, Bill Phillips, transformation.com ; whom I heard about from my step-mom. So I thought, I am going to try this thing. (Everybody thought I was crazy for starting during the holidays.) It was pretty easy; three days of lifting, three days of cardio, all high intensity intervals. By doing that the next three months I was able to loose the rest of the weight. About half way through that three month process I was like “Ya, know, I want to help other people because I can do this as some one who has struggled their whole life with eating well and taking care of themselves … I can help some one else do this.”
I got my personal training certification.
How long did that take you?
It was about four months and about that time I was working for my dad as his administrative assistant amoung other things. I decided that I would try this training thing before and after work, and see what happens. I did that and it just blew up, so in June 2010, I quit my job working for my dad and I started training full time.
I was doing a lot of one on one training and two boot camp sessions at a local gym. I was making money, doing something I love. I worked there for two years and I left because there were some issues that made it neccessary for me to get out of that environment. I decided, I am just going to start my own place; I left and they came after me with for violating my no-compete/ no-solicitation agreement.
Looking back, I was so mad at the time. I was furious, like how could they do this? How can this stand up? Well, it stood up because I had solicited the people who had signed up with me, but were also their clients. I had to take a year off of training and I went back to working for my dad for a year and within that year I knew I needed to do something. I was miserable.
When you are following a life of passion and suddenly it is taken away; it’s like the wind has been knocked out of your sails. You don’t even feel like a human being. I started looking down in Colorado for places I could move to and open up. I was doing all this during the same time I was being sued and working for my dad; I also had gotten a divorce from my kids father. It was everything that could go wrong, did.
I was at an impass; like shit, what do I do?
I looked down in Boulder and I spent about six months driving back and forth, just looking for a location I could open up. I encountered road block after road block.
By this point I had already talked to the CEO of Fit Body, who has been a long time friend. I told them, I want to do this but I have to wait until this year is up or I am screwed.
Was that part of your Non-compete agreement? Did you have a time limit to wait?
Yes, that was the year. One year to the day, October 1, 2012; we opened up with fourteen clients. I was just so excited to be open and be able to do what I love to do. That’s it… the rest is history. Here we are today; looking for another space, a bigger place… sitting down with the bank and talking about bigger loans.
That’s pretty quick, only three years.
Yeah, less than three years actually.
How do you know the CEO of Fit Body?
The fitness industry is so small, it really is. So if you don’t know every one you soon will if you stay in it long enough. I met him doing a master mind. I was in there with the two founders of Fit Body Boot Camp, Steve Hochman and Bedros Keuilian. I was in Steve’s Master Mind and through that I met Bedros. We had several conversations and talked on the phone several times, emailed back and forth; He called me up one day and said ” What’s it going to take to get you to open a Fit Body? And I told him, “You know what it will take, you know what I am up against right now. It’s going to have to take one hell of a deal and some patience and that is where it’s at.” So he said “Alright, let’s make it happen.”
At this point it was going from licensing to a franchise, so they were looking for people and I just happened to be one of those people.
Do you get together with other gym owners?
I do know a lot of the Fit Body owners simply because we get together quarterly; every three months, usually in San Diego or Chino Hills, California. There is a great community with in Fit Body, even from a corporate structure coming all the way down to the clients. It’s nice that we can just continue to pay it forward. It’s pretty cool, and a very unique situation.
Would you like to talk about your competition stuff?
OH YEAH! Sure! I don’t want to bore you to tears with business.
I first competed in August of 2011, I also ran the Denver half marathon in October 2010, and after that I gave myself permission to never run again. (laughter.) I find it really useless and painful. It turns out I am better suited for lifting heavy things than go fast.
Did you do this on your year of sabbatical?
No, it was right before everything blew up in my face. Then I competed in my second figure show August 2013.
Did you win anything?
I did. I placed 5th in the second show, I was pretty excited about that. Granted there were only six figure competitors, so I was 5th, but I was happy to have something to take home, regardless.
My first show I did there were 36 figure competitors, and I think I finished 34th. So I was like, “I think I have improved!”
Were these in Wyoming?
The one in 2011 was in Loveland, Colorado. The Warrior Classic, and the other one was in Wyoming, and that was the Jay Cutler Classic. And that Dude, is a Big Dude. I have a picture of him somewhere.
He was there?
Yeah, he is huge! He is a moose of a man! My head is as big as his shoulder!
He could pick you up in the palm of his hand!
Honestly I am getting the bug again, to compete. I am trying to weigh out the time commitment that it takes, along with my other obligations to see what it will take… if it’s something I can feasibly do right now while keeping everything else balanced. I do love competing .
If you wait to have your own place, you could put on your own competition, in house competition. Then you won’t have to go too far.
That is one of the most fun things about competition; you get to meet so many interesting people from all over the country. People who are busting their asses just to get super lean for just a minute. It literally lasts a day. You deplete enough to have a six pack for a day, and then you gain 20 pounds the next day because you drink water. It’s crazy.
It would be interesting to time lapse a person going through the build up to competition, and then the 24 hours afterward. Once you get the tanner off, and start drinking water again, it’s like what the hell? You blossom like a flower.
You still eat, you carb load the day of to fill out your muscles because you have depleted to the point that you have taken all the glycogen and striped your body of literally everything. It’s not something you want to do often because it is kind of dangerous, BUT, it’s still fun to push your mental ability and physical barriers. That is big for me, because I love the challenge.
Are you a challenge junkie?
I totally am! I love the personal challenge. Competing against other people is fun, but figure prep is anywhere from 2-5 months.
It’s kind of interesting that you have struggled with disordered eating which is in and of itself sort of an addiction, and pushing your body to a limit and challenging it, but not in a very healthy way. And here you have turned your addiction around to a healthier way of expressing it. Yet, there are still these extremes that you go to.
It totally is. What I think helps me with competing and the lifestyle of body building is the structure that it provides. It’s like a security blanket. You take some one with an eating disorder who has struggled with that their entire life, and you say, “you don’t have to struggle, here is some structure. Have a nice day.” It’s like, “okay, this is safe.”
Then the biggest struggle, is will power to be able to keep on the regamine.
Yeah, it’s like any other fitness goals… as long as you have that dead line… the finish line at the end; it makes it that much easier. It’s not like you have to do this for a lifetime or else… It’s here is your dead line, and then you reset the goal. And that is something that is really, really exciting for me.
Through competing I learned to accept my body, where ever it is; whether I am 120 pounds or 145. I am still strong, I am still beautiful and I am still worthy of love and acceptance and success. That is one of those things that I have accidentally learned through the process. It is a by product.
I know a lot of people who compete who struggle with that mindset. Like if they don’t have a six pack they are done for. They are like “Oh My God, My Life Is OVER!”
It basically boils down to bulemia or dysmorphia. It’s all activated on the same brain wave length, same neurological pathway. It’s been nice to find freedom from that as I have gotten older. To not be stressed out about the numbers, to see yourself and be like “You look good!”
IT’s a good example to your kids, too.
I hope so. Sometimes I wonder, “am I ruining these little people?”
Instead of “You’re the reason mommy has a drinking problem,” it’s more like “You are the reason mommy has an exercise problem.”
That’s funny beacause when I took two months off earlier this year, my kids were like “what is wrong with her?” I did not feel like myself. I felt like I was insane most days; like absolutely bat shit crazy.
You needed to be exerting yourself.
Yeah, I needed that rush of endorphins and I think it was something that I had always taken for granted because I have been doing it for so long, it’s just been part of my life for so long. When I completely took it out, I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Not just physically but spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I got to tell you, the week we started working out again, my husband and I; He was like “Gosh you are so much easier to be around.” And I knew he meant that in the sweetest way possible, instead of being a jerk, and I was like “I know, trust me, it’s easier to be in my head.” I went to the doctor and I asked am I schitzophrenic, what is going on here? And she said “I think you are depressed.” And I just needed exercise.
So tell me about your favorite success story to come out of here.
My favorite one, honestly, is from when I very, very first started. He followed me when I opened Fit Body. His name is Austin, he was 16 when he came to me he was 386 lbs. and he was tall and huge. He knew he had a problem. He was home schooled so he didn’t have a lot of interaction with other kids. The reason he was home schooled was because when he was in school, the other kids were just horrible to him because he was so big and kind of awkward and quiet.
He would come, every single day to Boot Camp. At that point in time, they were 1 1/2 hour sessions, he would show up at 6:00 AM, every day. And even if he couldn’t do it, he would struggle through it.
He asked me, “what do I eat? how do I do it?”
His mom was onboard, but I didn’t see her much. Sometimes she would come and walk while he did Boot Camp. Every now and then she would come talk to me, well when I took the year off, Austin started power lifting and he took his focus off the weight loss. Then he came over to Fit Body when I opened, and he brought his mother with him, and they did it together.
It was just so, so, so cool. He ended up losing 110 lbs by the time he was 19. Then they moved to Oregon. He was such a great, great kid. It was just so cool to see how he was able to influence his mom because it’s usually the parents who influence the kids. He was able to influence his mom after two years of going at it by himself.
Was she also over-weight?
Yes, she was, but such a nice, nice gal. I look back on those two, especially Austin and I think “That kid could have made every excuse in the world because teenagers do, adults do. Teenagers learn from what the adults model.” He just was like “I am tired of this. I am tired of being the ‘fat kid’. I don’t mind being a ‘big kid’, I am 6’3″. But I am tired of being the ‘fat kid'”
The last Halloween he was here, he dressed up as The Hulk; and that involved taking off his shirt, and painting himself green, and walking around with out a shirt on. Two years prior to that you would have never seen him do that. It was so cool to see him blossom from this awkward quiet, video gamer (indoor) kid to this little ball of life and energy, and sass.
It was fun to not only see his journey of weight loss but also to see how he grew as a person. To see him evolve into an adult from a kid that just didn’t want to be fat and made fun of.
Do you stay in contact with him?
I do. I stay more into contact with his mom because he is a young adult now and all over the place.
It would be interesting to see if he takes a career in Fitness from this influence. It seems like people who a great at teaching come from a past of being ostersized.
So, we have touched on this, but obviously Fitness has a positive effect on your homelife.
Oh God, yeah! The kids are like “Mom, go work out, you are driving us crazy.” It is also nice though, because my husband and I can share it together. Every morning Monday through Saturday we go work out together, and then go to work and do our thing. It’s been a good bonding experience for us too. Although it did take us three years for him to come and work out with me. The first time we exercised together, he was having a bad day and we were just friends at the time. I was like “he’s having a bad day, just go lift, and he will be fine.” Well a half hour in, he is dry heaving on himself, and I was like ” I thought you were in shape?” Well, after that he didn’t come back to work out with me for three years. And he comes to boot camp, and he makes it through the whole thing, and after that he said “I am going to have to wait until you are ‘deconditioned’ a little before we can work out together.”
He took the oppertunity while I took two months off to “even the playing field.”
Since then it has been nice, in the last couple of months to have that morning time with my husband because we have five kids… we need that time together. It’s nice to have that time and cheer each other on.
What are some of your future goals?
Really my mission is just to help people and it always has been. I am in the business of changing lives and if I am not changing lives, then I am doing something wrong.
YOU RUINED MY LIFE THROUGH EXERCISE!
Ha, ha! Oh man, if some one said that to me, I would have to reevalute everything. I really do just want to leave an impact on this world. And, Cheyenne… God Bless it, and all of it’s citizens; (but Cheyenne) is a FAT city. Overweight, unhealthy; spiritually, mentally and physically. People are over worked and under paid, or over worked and over paid. They have little or no time for their families , no time for themselves; no time to do anything. So we have people spinning their wheels, but for what? At the end of the day if you don’t have your health, you have nothing left. I don’t want to out live my children. I see obese kids around and I want to slap their parents. I don’t want to beat the kids, but I want to slap the parents. It makes me so mad. But then I look at it, and you have to change the lives of the parents before you can change the lives of the children. At the end of the day, it is our job as adults to make those responsible decisions. It isn’t easy, but it is our responsiblity.
It’s in my heart to change the health of this community, if not the entire community of Wyoming, but that’s a long way off down the road. I want to continue to make a difference in peoples health and in their lives.
Thirty minutes of exercise might not seem like much, but it can change how a wife treats her husband. She is in a better mood, she feels better about herself, she feels more attractive… she actually wants to be with her husband instead of saying ” I don’t see what you see, at all.”
It changes how a mother treats her children because she has more energy, she will want to take them to the park, or go hiking and do stuff. Or maybe she is just in a better mood and doesn’t want to paddle their butts just for being little people.
It is just fitness, it is just a work out… but it can change EVERYTHING. I have seen it with myself. I saw it when I started my journey years ago and I still see it today. If I don’t work out, I need to work out because I start feeling ‘cagey’ inside. Anxious.
What has your biggest triumph been in your personal fitness journey?
I think just staying the course. Every day is a new day. I can’t say one event has been a real defining moment in my health and fitness journey. I think it just staying course with the lifestyle. I mean sometimes I fall off, just like anyone. I go on a little cookie diet, when I feel stressed, and then I gain eight pounds and then I have to lose it again. At the end of the day just knowing that I am doing what I need to be doing is just great. But when I am not doing that I can tell a difference. So for me, it’s just committing to the lifestyle.
Is there anything you would want to change?
No. Not really because I believe even the hard stuff is lessons. And I think I am far more grateful now toward some of the hardships that I went through. When you look back at it, it just gives you an oppertunity to learn about yourself; to learn about others and the way the world works. Hardships are often self inflicted. So if anything it’s just learning about who I am and who I want to be and who I do not want to be. It’s just about growing up.
Would you like to give any tips or inspiration?
It’s just about consistency. You have to pick and plan and be consistent. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, as long as it has some good foundation of physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Even if it’s CrossFit or lifting or body building or boot camp; whatever it is, I think it’s just about picking something that works for you and stick with it. I know Boot Camp isn’t for everyone. I wish it was. At the end of the day finding something that works and sticking with it long enough to get results. So many people just go about their life by starting a new program every two weeks, saying “But I am just not getting results.” and I am like “Dude, it’s only been two weeks. Do you know how long it took me to lose 70 pounds?”
How long did it take you?
Beginning to end it took three years. Granted I got pregnant twice in between, but it took me three years to lose that 70 pounds. It’s not going to happen over night.
After spending all this time taking other peoples measurements; when do people, on average see a difference for themselves and accept that change is occurring?
Typically eight weeks, especially for women. I call it an 8 Week Miracle. Literally nothing on the scale can change and inches may not change, but may be your clothes fit differently. For whatever reason the inches may not change, your body fat may not change, and then one day you wake up and somewhere between the bedroom and the bathroom, you realize you lost your ass. It’s like it’s just fallen off somwhere and you hop on the scale and you are down ten pounds from the night before. And you will be like “what the hell? My scale must be broken.”
So you call in a spouse or a loved one and you have them hop on the scale and it says what it always says to them, and you hop back on there and it says the same thing, “you are down 10 lbs.”
You have to trust the process, long enough. Not just “half commit.”
“Oh I am just gonna work out for eight weeks and hope that everything is going to happen. You have to have a plan. Have a plan of attack and exicute it flawlessly. Even if you have one bad day, okay, perfect; get back on the band wagon, but don’t let that one bad day or one bad meal derail you for the next six months.
So I think that is the key. Consistency. You have to be consistent, no matter what. And that goes with anything; if it’s fitness related, or business related, or if you want better relationships. What ever it is, BE CONSISTENT! STICK WITH YOUR PLAN! Things WILL change.
In summery; Knowledge, is the awareness that all action has a reaction, and Wisdom, is using that awareness to your advantage whilst utilizing all available resources.
Fit Body Boot Camp works because of the significant insight that the program lends through collaborative Wisdom and Experience.
Fit Body Boot Camp is calling out more of Cheyenne to get involved in their fitness; and during the month of May we are taking extra efforts to expose residents to the opportunity. If you have been following this blog and you are tempted to try it; COME ON DOWN! Let them know you read this blog and that it has helped you to take the first step in health and wellness; or if you are new to town and looking for a fitness community and this seems up your alley, come take a test drive.
If this article interests you and you would like to read more, check out these related blogs. And as always I appreciate “likes”, comments, suggestions and subscribers; so please feel free to interact. And remember kids, Fitness is great, but Burpees SUCK!
What is the best part of going to a gym? Getting in shape and feeling better.
What is the worst part of going to the gym? Finding the will power and motivation to create a life style change.
This is where most gyms fail their members. They may have 16 rooms and a bunch of classes, but generally they feel very impersonal, and unless you go with a partner, or have a trainer; there is a good chance you will walk in and out with out having said a single word to anyone else.
When I use to go to a “regular” gym, I avoided eye contact, and would make my way to the Cardio Cinema, where the room is dark, and there is a large screen playing a movie, helping to create the illusion that no one is watching me. I found the regular gym to be, intimidating.
At Fit Body we all know that steady stream cardio, does little to raise the metabolism for much longer than the duration of the actual exercise; but before I was with Fit Body Boot Camp, I was unaware of that fact.
So, each time I would go to that dark room, I would hop on a cardio machine, and zone out. I was consistant with it for about 5 weeks, and couldn’t see any improvements. I stayed away from the weight machines and free weights because it had been years since I had lifted, with out instruction I was wary of injury. Those 5 weeks started to get really boring, jumping from one stationary cardio machine to the next. I wasn’t being challenged physically, but mentally I was being challenged to just walk through those doors on a daily basis. Eventually I just stopped going, feeling defeated.
Fast forward to January of this year, when I joined Fit Body Boot Camp-Cheyenne’s 6 week Transformation Challenge. From the moment I signed up, I was given paper work to read regarding nutrition and how the body uses that energy through food, to build muscle. I was also invited into an online Facebook Accountability Group with all of the other Challege participants.
Right away, I knew this wasn’t some ordinary “figure it out for yourself” program. The trainers want to encourage a healthy lifestyle that will create noticeble results quicker than your average cardio class, and they also want to train people to make this a sustainable lifestyle of fitness.
In orientation I had to write down, my goal weight/size, and I was informed of an incentive that, if I get to my goal within the year of attending FBBC… They will PAY ME $300.00!
I want to look better and feel better, and wear a size 8 in jeans… I have a ways to go, but if I reach my goal within the year, Fit Body Boot Camp will be paying for my new wardrobe! See what I am saying about incentives?
Everyday that I am able to show up, I am able to look at people, and have conversations with them. I am learning about their lives; these are the people who make up my community both in and out of the gym. They are people who come from all walks of life. For me, this is an incentive. There is a sense of trust, that if you can jump around and jiggle together, then you might as well learn the name of the people next to you. You start to see who is who, and when you interact in the online accountibility group, you find a little family of people who all struggle at times, but also have triumphs. Here is where you can find 24 hour support from a community of people commited to bettering their own lives and assisting others in their desire to be better as well.
Part of the sponsored accountibility is the personal responciblity to record a food log, and hand it in. There is also a sign in sheet that one must remember to sign everyday. You must weigh in at least twice a month. All of these things are being recorded by the Trainers, and being noted in your personal file. The reason is to show progress, and trigger point what may be stunting progress. It’s also being used as part of an incentive program called “Fitty Club.”
Fitty Club is exlusive and invite only. It will include a night out for dinner with all the trainers and winners, and their families. It will Include awards, and prizes! Yes, prizes…
For the last Six Week Challenge, the Fitty Club met up on a Thursday evening at Two Doors Down, a local eatery with some great options for those who are eating clean. (The Tuna Wrap or Salad seemed to be most popular with the Club members.)
There was a lot of laughter and jovial conversation, as Challenge Winners were able to sit across from one another and talk over their meal; a pleasant change from huffing and puffing, red-faced and focused during Boot Camp.
After the meal was finished Owner Sara Goossen casually called up the winners to recieve their awards.
1st Place was taken by Amy Porter with 12.89% overall change, which took into account weight, measurements and body fat. She was awarded an Ipad mini and a $50 gift card for Itunes! She was plesantly surprised by her gift.
2nd Place went to Michelle Heinen with 10.26% overall change, and she won $200. I know right?!?!
3rd Place was hard earned by Courtney Tatum with 9.54% overall change, she won 1/2 off her next month.
One of the best byproducts of attending Boot Camp, is the people you will meet, and the stories that you will hear in regard to individual fitness journeys. It takes courage to step out of an unhealthy comfort zone and into a whole new arena of health and wellness. It can be an intimidating thought, of jumping around in a class, sweating and jiggling all over the place in front of strangers.
Knowing that each member and leader started somewhere, brings a common bond and a common mission.
The great thing about boot camp is that it is the great equalizer amoungst it’s members. No matter what journey transpired that brought each member through the door, and no matter how long they have attended, it is a challenge to every level of fitness.
There is a good chance that if you contact Fit Body Boot Camp-Cheyenne, that you will talk to the friendly and effervescent Tristin Williams. You will recognize her at the gym by her lusterious red mane, her love of tye dye and her beast mode passion for lifing extraordinarily heavy weights. Tristin isn’t your average admin, and her fitness journey is a testament to her determination.
NAME: Tristin Williams
WEIGHT: 182lbs (starting weight 227lbs)
STARTING & CURRENT MEASUREMENTS:
ARMS– 15.5″ / 12.5″
CHEST– 50″ / 42″
WAIST-47.5″ / 36.5″
THIGH- 27″ / 25.25″
BODY FAT– 47% / 36.5%
FAVORITE EXERCISES– SQUATS (max 250)
DEADLIFTS (max 265)
BENCH PRESS (max 200)
Tristin has a unique story, on how she came to Fit Body Boot Camp, and if you were to superficially judge her, you may think that she is unhealthy. Tristin isn’t tall, standing at only 5 foot; and her body is apple shaped. Often times she can be seen wearing a hoodie, so it is sort of hard to imagine what she is packing under there. She may not have the mainstream media’s ideal body shape, but she has had two beautiful children and can probably dead lift the crap out of your average fitness buff.
I wanted to talk to Tristin and find out her fitness background, and her goals going forward…
May I have the pleasure to introduce you to Tristin Williams, Administrative Assistant at Fit Body Boot camp- Wearer of The TyeDye and Dominator of Heavy Lifting-
Me: So Tristin, tell me about your fitness past.
Tristin: Well my Mom, was a power lifter and a body builder, she held two State Records for years and my Dad was her trainer. So I grew up in the gym, in the daycare (which I despies to this day.) My mom would have power lifting meets, so she was always on the (restrictive) diets, and so they felt bad, and let me eat other things… Because they knew, “what kid wants to eat chicken and broccoli, every night?” So, they would let me eat unhealthy things, like Spaggeti-Ohs. Plus, I am an only child, and I am kind of spoiled. (laughter) Just, putting that out there… So they would ask me, “What do you want?” and I would say “Spaghetti-Ohs.” I LOVED Spaghetti-Ohs.
Tristin went on to explain that the summer between her 4th and 5th grades, she stayed with a cousin. Their collective summer mission was to beat Super Mario 3, which led to a stagnant summer of sitting on the couch, indoors, playing the beloved video game.
Tristin: So we just sat inside, obsessed with the Nintendo and eating chips. All Summer, doing nothing but playing video games.
I have always been “stocky”, I guess you would call it, but that is when I really gained weight. And then it just, kind of got worse.
Me: Oh, that has got to be one of the worst times to gain weight, just as your body is sort of kicking into hormones.
Tristin: So I gained weight, and between 7th and 8th grade, I worked out with my mom and we would go over to what is now Gold’s Gym, and I lost quite a bit of weight, and I maintained that for years. I was a size 9 for years, until I had (my first born) Isaac.
Tristin was able to maintain her weight from 9th grade , despite dropping her work outs; however as she became more social, one thing led to another, and she found herself gaining 60 lbs of pregnancy weight.
Tristin: Chocolate milk, was THE THING during that pregnancy. I was drinking a gallon of it a day. I was in a terribly abusive relationship , so I didn’t have the desire to self love, or to go do anything about the weight that I had gained. I was just misrable for a while; and then I got out of that relationship and just still felt I needed to lose this weight so somebody will find me attractive, ya know?
So for may be a year I lost some weight, I am not sure how much, maybe 15 or 20 lbs. And then (May 2006) I met my husband, and (laughter) we met each other and got married after about three months. And our plan was, to have a year or so to ourselves and then have a baby… well… that didn’t happen. We were married on September 12, 2006, and found out a week later that I was pregnant. (lots of laughter) My family and such thinks we just got married because of that, but it wasn’t.
So then I had Jaylenne, and I only gained 30 lbs with her, but I found out I have Gestational Diabetes, so I really watched what I ate, and cut out all the sugar and all of that. And so I lost most of all that weight, but I was still around 200 lbs at that time. I am only five foot, so 200 lbs is still, uh, not lookin’ pretty good on a five foot person.
The first six years of Jaylennes’ life, I was comfortable in my relationship; Rod loved me the way I was, and I am like “I’m fine.” I was drinking 44oz of Mountain Dew a day.
Me: Complacent comfort?
Tristin: Hmm mmm, yeah, I was eating fried food constantly, you know, fast food and all of that. Which I think my highest was around 230. The day I came and weighed I was at 227 and I couldn’t breathe. That is one of my goals on my sheet, is to be able to breathe. You could hear me breathing, just sitting here.
Me: Did you smoke cigarettes at the time?
Tristin: I did at the time, yeah. I smoked for 17 years. I was a misrable walking piece of human being, is pretty much what I was. I was happy with my marriage but I hated myself.
Tristin was then introduced to Fit Body Boot Camp, Cheyenne, by her friend Kate. Kate proceeded to share pictures of herself over the months that she had been training at FBBC. Tristin couldn’t help but ask what she was doing to get these results. Kate gave the low down on FBBC, and Tristin sat on the information for about a month, hesitant to call the number.
Tristin: I called and talked to (owner/opperator) Sara (Goossen) and asked things like “Are people going to make fun of me?” I thought of all the questions that a person who is over weight will want to know, like “Is it hard?” Then I came in, 11/9/13 and met up with Sara, and I got my measurements and something just clicked. I came in the next Monday, and I quit drinking soda, and probably haven’t been to a McDonalds since.
Me: Tell me about that first day?
Tristin: I came in kind of cocky because I had worked out before with my parents, and because they were body builders and power lifters, I thought I knew what I was doing. It was a leg day, we had some squats and push ups… the next day I was SO SORE for about a week. When Sara tells people in consultation, that some days going to the bathroom will be difficult, brushing your hair will be difficult, she isn’t kidding. It’s not a lie. I have never been so sore before in my entire life; but I pushed through, and I kept coming and I didn’t miss a day for months. My uncle died, and that day I still came to work out. Some people may use those as excuses not to come in, but I didn’t . I thought, that might be okay for you, but for me, I was like, anthing to not come in is an excuse, and I don’t want to make excuses. I just pushed through the hard times. I had three deaths in my family last year, and I pushed through all of them.
Tristin really started to evaluate her path forward after participating in the 12 Week Transformational Challenge, and was deeply inspired by Trainer Ashley Richards.
Tristin: I really wanted to pay it forward, and become a trainer. I am not a trainer, yet, but when the Admin job became open, it was perfect because I had worked as an Administrative Assistant for years. It was scary, I went from a full time job to part time. I took the risk, but I knew I was going to be helping people, and pay it forward, and eventually I will get my training certificate.
I am content where I am at right now.
My passion is powerlifting. I love to lift heavy shit! My mom is my hero, and inspiration for that. She is tiny, she is about five foot, and when she set her record she was 118 lbs.; her dead lifting record is 300. I do want to compete at least once. I love to max out, I love to see where I am at and how I am performing.
Me: Has this been benefical to your relationship?
Tristin: Oh yeah, my husband has been doing it with me since May or June 2014 and he has lost 35 lbs. I feel better about myself, he has always been great about telling me I am beautiful and that he loves me, but I love myself now, and when he says something like that, I can, more than half way believe it. Now I could see how he could say it, where as before… Yeah, it has been really good for our relationship.
Tristin takes a moment to attest to the words on one of the gym’s T-shirts which says “Fit Sex is Better than Fat Sex.” “It’s true!” She says pointing at where the shirts hang. “I can attest first hand to this.”
I ask what her biggest struggle is, and like most people who have made huge dietary changes in tandem with reaching their physical goals, she says “food.”
Tristin: I love me some chocolate! I thought it was going to be the soda, because I was drinking at least one huge 44oz of soda a day. At LEAST, one… I don’t miss soda. I don’t eat fast food anymore, except Subway, because I can control what goes on it. No burger joints, no fried foods. I gave away my fryer; I was frying chicken at least once a week; deep fried shrimp and fries. I kept the fryer for a while because my family was not on board with the healthy eating and one day I just decided to throw out the oil and give it away.
Me: What do you think your greatest advancements have been?
Tristin: Mentally, I would say it’s that I love myself now. Am I totally where I want to be? No, but I am over halfway to the goal of where I want to be. I don’t really focus on the scale because it really hasn’t moved much since September, but my pants sizes have gone down. I was in a 22 to 24 (size) pant and I am wearing an 11 now.
Me: Are you still smoking?
Tristin: My last cigarrette was June 8th last year, and then I started vaping. My thought process is that at a year, which will be this June 8th, I can slowly start giving up the vape. I am proud of myself because every other time I have tried to give up cigarettes, I couldn’t. I know it’s terrible. And I know that the vaping may not be much better, but I smoked for 17 years, and now I feel better. It’s definitely not 100 times better, but it is better than a cigarette. And I have these girls here to keep on me, and tell me to get off of it and I love them for it. I have had people on me (in my family) about it (smoking) for years. And one day I just decided I was sick of it. I hated the smell. But I am a firm believer that I had to decide that for myself. No one could make me do it.
Great advice, from a woman who has had some pretty deep lows and heavy burdens in her life.
You see, Fit Body Boot Camp is such a great enviroment because it works not only as a support system, but also like a family. Every one realizes that by coming to the table, they each bring their short comings; but they also bring their strengths. And those strengths are used to build each other up, not tear each other down.
Tristin, came to FBBC scared that she would be rediculed and shunned for her short comings and the past of mistreating herself and her body; instead she was welcomed with open arms, and she wouldn’t be the woman she is today, with out it.
Fit Body Boot Camp is so inspiring to it’s members, that it isn’t strange that they would be catalyzed to pay it forward and to assist others in feeling better; because feeling better has a holistic impact on a human. Imagine the state of paralysis an individual feels when they hate their body, and feel shameful about being in public. All of that mental/ emotional energy being consumed by fear.
However, erase that fear?
Allieviate the problem and the body, mind and soul get their energy back to focus on the bigger picture; the example we set for our children and their future impact on the world.
If you would like to make a change, a shift, or a transformation in your life, and you are ready to take a risk for the sake of your health, give Tristin Williams a call at (307)421-7387 or check out their FaceBook Page Here, or their website at http://www.fitbodybootcamp.com/cheyennefitnessbootcamp/. Help yourself by helping us reach our goal of impacting the lives of (at least) 5000 Cheyenne Residents with health and physical fitness.
Perhaps you feel how many people feel. Fitness is daunting. It can be hard to figure out where to start. Maybe you get bored with walking, and running just isn’t a possibility right now. Perhaps you watch entertainment, and see ads online, wishing you looked like the models and actors that grace our screens and pages. Perhaps you feel ashamed of your body, and have become a bit of a hermit; unwilling to show yourself in public. Perhaps you feel incredibly alone in your struggle.
We live in a society where media is saturated with unrealistic images, photoshop, and cosmetic body augmentation; sometimes it is hard to accept the natural part of having a biological system that does not conform to the examples of what we admire. And as we know that we can be our own worst critic, sometimes it is hard taking that first step into redefinition.
Fitness advertisements are unavoidable, as health and fitness have themselves become big business. Where does a newbie start?
Sit down in a quiet place and assess your goals. What can you do, to make your transition into fitness as comfortable and engaging as possible?
First, figure out what you would like your body to be able to do. Maybe to start out, you would like to be able to do a full push up, or to be able to stretch far enough to touch your toes. It doesn’t matter how small the goal may seem, when our bodies are out of shape, it takes consistent hard work to adapt and overcome.
Figure out what you need to do, to achieve that goal. How many days a week are you willing to commit to reaching your goal? As our bodies age, our metabolism slows down; making it harder to shed unwanted pounds. Bad nutrition can aid in the bodies struggle to feel good. Be honest with yourself and what you are willing to give to reach your goal.
Do your research of gyms and classes in your area. Do you like to dance? Are you curious about lifting weights? If you are completely new to fitness, find a couple of enticing options and commit to going to a class or consulting with a personal trainer to see how you can reach your fitness goals with out injury. In this day and age, there is something for everyone. If you find you get bored easily, switch things up often to keep yourself challenged and motivated.
Find an accountability group, and become accountable to yourself. This key move can assist those of us who find it hard to keep up our own motivation. It is a great way to feel involved with a group of like minded/ similarly goaled individuals. Accountability groups can have all skill levels, and the more skilled members can impart some very important insights into the fitness journey. It can be very motivating to talk to people who have triumphed over the same struggles you may be having in your current journey. The support and encouragement of accountability can be a life saver, especially when you feel down and out or like giving up.
Reframe your attitudes toward exercise. Instead of viewing fitness as a burden or a pain in the ass; look at it as a gift to yourself. Taking steps toward your health can help prevent future illness, and each and every one of us deserves a healthy existence.
Get your family and friends involved. Talk to your family and friends about their fitness goals. Make an effort to support each other by participating in activities that encourage team work. Get involved in community events that foster Health and Wellness. Get a team together and run/walk a 5k.
Push yourself a little further everyday. Time seems to be flying by so quickly, and it can feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to fit everything in. True as it may be, it is imperative to keep the body active, to keep from later atrophy. Keep with it, your body five years in the future, will thank you. As little as 30 minutes a day of high intensity interval training can boost your metabolism for 28 hours after a work out; and that 30 minute work out CAN be the most rewarding part of your day.
Believe in yourself! Make your health a priority. If you have children, they are watching you. The example you set for yourself can have a huge impact on their future, and the future of your grand children. Encourage yourself and your family into health.
I know all the “new age philosophies;” I have even shared them. But no matter how much you think you know; can prepare you for unavoidable sadness.
“Oh Crikey, Madge! Just turn that frown upside down! It’s all perspective! Change your view, and You change YOU!”
Fuck you. Fuck you all and your optimism directly directed at a situation you have NO clue about. Fuck you for telling me that I shouldn’t hate it… or maybe I should work on myself before I try to work on others; or maybe even “everything seems worse when you are in it.”
I am well aware of this temporary situation. And I hate it. I hate that it adds so much pain to my already bucket full of painful life experience.
My life has been an ongoing struggle of appeasing my child self with my adult self. Imagine having that issue of a brain malady that makes you forget on a daily basis; what happened yesterday. And then having to daily settle yourself with an abrupt realization, day in, and day out. Yeah like that Sandler/Barrymore movie.
Only instead, the story is of a broken grandchild, whose best child hood days happened at Gram and Gramps, thirty years ago; and Gramps is gone and Grams is loosing her beans.
I walk away from all kinds of stuff; but I can’t walk away from this.
My Gram WANTS ME, NEEDS ME, RECOGNIZES ME, asks about ME and my welfare.
She has lost so much in the last three years, and her mind is starting to go; but me, despite my lackluster attitude, IS there. And I don’t want to leave someone who is losing their mind and seeks me out (despite all my flaws); I don’t want to erase yet another one of her external hard drives of relation and information.
It feels like she literally survives off the recognition of what she shares with those she has most relation with.
When I was younger, and in my more, “immortal potential” mindset; I wished and hoped my grandma would make it to the point we could de-age her, and then she could be my best friend forever. Now she wonders on a daily basis if I hate her.
I don’t hate her. I love her so much, that I hate everything about her life at the present point in time.
I hate that my uncle and I are the only ones who see her daily. I hate that no one else seems to care, because they have “their own life.” I hate how other family members can pick and choose what to do in their life, because it matters to them; and they say she matters but they never make the time, soa visit here is never on the list of “things to do,” unless things look grim.
I hate that I feel so alone in all this. I hate that I don’t have a partner or a best friends to occassionally laugh with and let sleeping dogs lie when the hour gets late enough.
I hate that I am doing this partly so my uncle can still enjoy his life, because I think he deserves that, and this job is really big, and he spent so much time with my grandpa in a care facility. I just don’t think he should have to do that twice. I also don’t think he should do it alone (because like me, he is unattached and creative.)
I hate that everyone involved has their best memories as a family, together. And that familytogether no longer exists, and is literally in it’s final throws of existence.
I hate that there is nothing I can do, to stop the process; or turn back the clock.
And worst yet. I hate seeing;experiencing and knowing all this, while still feeling completely incapable of remedy.
I hate my life.
I love my grandma.
My stupid “new age subscription” would tell me to leave, because it doesn’t suit me… but that belief would not be asking my grandma what she wants. And fuck all, she wants me here because she has always adored me. And the feeling is mutual.
Maybe I am just doing what my mother would have done have she not died at 26. Who knows.
I do know I haven’t been able to commit to anyone in my life, but for some reason I have commited to this, and it hurts, and I hate it.
Everyday I am on the brink of crying, and I hold it back. And someday, sometime down the road those flood gates aren’t going to be able to take much more. I fuckin hate that too.
I am not a martyr. In fact, I am the biggest bitch of self I have ever seen… because there is no book to read that can fully equip someone for this. And those that do exist, will break “new age” programs right away.
Remember how we were taught to tell the truth? With people who have dementia, it is encourages to NOT tell the truth about certain things. I suck at this because I lost my censor years ago, and like I said, my grandma has been one of my best friends.
I don’t lie, much less to my best friends. In fact, sometimes I really upset them by telling the truth. This is now a daily occurrence with just pone person.
What the fuck? My child self just can’t believe it. Her mantra, is “this can’t even be real right now.”
I feel like I can’t do anything right. And I don’t think it is me, being too hard on myself. I think it is me being REALISTIC about my flaws and attractions. I understand that I do the best I can, but it is never enough; solely based on the fact that this sadness seems irrational because I have learn to justify past experience. And knowing I could do more, but not having the energy is purely self defeating.
All in all, I have not truly learned to “clear it” and move on. But “clearing” is a new age thing too… and maybe there are some things that we CAN NOT clear; we just have to accept as building blocks to our personalities.
I don’t want to “clear this and move on.” I want to face it, reconcile it; and use it for the betterment of my soul. High hopes for a soul that feels so dark.
I don’t talk about this stuff, because IT SUCKS! No one wants to hear this. I want to share some sort of triumph and add inspiration to the world. This feels fruitless; but you! You creative people may find some inspiration for humanity in reading this. You may feel some spark of recognition in the feeling. If you do, follow it. The world can always use positive inspiration even if it comes from the pain of others. We are all artists, and sometimes those who don’t create enough, need to fill space for those who have lost their inspiration to create.
It’s been like that now for 3 years and today is one of those days.
I saw minutes fly by like birds in migration, flapping wings; they soar beyond sight to another hemisphere.
Only minutes forever disappear.
Fifteen of them at a time fly right on by.
Soaring near my face; One leaking shit on my cheek like a delicate opaque tear.
The next one, Number Two, buzzed nearest my ear with a fearful ticking of finality.
The Third flew into my mouth, making me choke for air; daring me to fight for a Minute.
Number Four won’t back away from my hands, as they work to remove Number Three; caught between my throat and a molar.
Minute Five arrived just as alive as the rest. Sinking claws into my scalp, then pulling away. Leaving a talon in my skull.
This is bullshit.
My ass is getting kicked by minutes- Limitless and passing
Beyond recognition, each sort of leaving their mark on my skin; my heart and my brain
I’ve lain down enough lines tonight on this subject alone. I feel like I own it.
Man, you’ve blown it. I am still waiting on you to show up.
To not, let me down, but I frown at my attempt to be with you.
I should be in my own bed at my own house.
It appears you are out for the night, I should turn out your light. I should board the bus back to my place.
I have an hour to decide; to make a decision.
I keep listening for your car to keep me glued to these sheets.
I’m defeated and tired.
Minute Six licks my cheek gently where Number One left it’s mark; then swiftly with stinging fury, smacks me so hard, I saw so many stars.
I never saw Number Seven, with a club in one hand, and in the other; a frying pan.
A single, a double, a triple whammy.
Damn, I must be the one tripping now. I can’t seem to control these minutes and their rising aggression.
I get the sensation they wish they were being used by someone other than me.
They’ve declared anarchy on my sensibilities; meanwhile I wait for you to pull me though this lonely game.
It’s so much better with you here; to smack Minute Eight in the ass when he passes gas in your nose and mine.
It would be fine to have a partner in crime at this particular time.
Especially when Number Nine pulls his shit and tries to poke you in the eyes. I would grab him from behind because I like your peepers; it’s too bad that I just lost mine when Number Nine got me with out any back.
Alone I still sit, thinking you must not want to be with me, a past regression into negative emotion.
Whoa, that must have been the influence of Number Ten; him and his rotten fortune cookie.
Look at me and Minute Eleven; Number Sevens’ twin… Again I get knocked silly, floating with stars.
Should I go back to the scummy bar for an ale before I hit the bus.
I’ve traveled enough for one night. I have been let down enough for three eves in just the matter of hours.
Mean while, Minute Twelve hid on the shelf, until I looked away in recovery.
I didn’t see him throw those books at my noggin; You’re usually blocking those too.
Thirteen beams with joy at adding to this display , by air raiding me with water balloons and foul language.
Fourteen pelts rotten apple cores, vying for my attention.
Boy, I’ve learned nothing but how to block these punches, and it’s hard when they come from every side.
Hence, Number Fifteen, sixteen times over, barks and bites like a Doberman Pincher.
Twelve Midnight and thirty minutes…
A half hour to catch the late bus, time to switch gears and quietly leave, each Minute a failed attempt at following me.
Lost minutes are no consolation for you holding me.
Remember the great writers of the most recently retired generation. The Kerouac and Thompson era. Those journalist trippers taking to the road, ( and not always the high one) making a story as they went along. The intricate weavers of an American subculture. Remnants of their lives describe eternal youth and the adventure of virility few in this day and age can experience without some hinderance. Even those books were riddled with hurdles and nay-sayers, but these writers weren’t necessarily writing with the mindset of being the voice of their generation. Instead, these creative minds were merely taking time to observe the human condition from a new perspective; brilliantly commenting on the social climate. They are the record keepers, the traveling linage of pioneers ready for change and personal breakthrough.
The karmic struggle of a writer, is to conveying a worthwhile message. Anyone can write, but few can write well enough to captivate audiences for years to come. Those literary artists stepped beyond the front stoop and took a bounding leap into the unknown. These are the characters found to be the most inspirational.
Who will be the next great writer of my generation? Who will take the open road exposing eyes to things unseen, and yet there all along. Which one will stand up with vigor and enthusiasm for the new paradigm, a master of words and action? Why will masses follow along the journey, what will make it profound and worth recommending to a friend? What is it, as a growing society, that we still need to learn and assimilate? Who is worthy of such a task? Could it be a woman?
Few know author, Joyce Johnson. She wrote the memoir “Minor Characters,” a journey of her evolution as a writer and her love affair with Jack Kerouac. Joyce, was indeed, a minor character in the underground life of some of the most recognized writers of that time. She was amoungst one of the few women allowed into the inner sanctum of those well known beatniks, Burroughs and Ginsburg. Her accounts of the time she spent learning, loving, and living in the shadows is poinant and captivating. “Minor Characters,” brings to mind the question as to how; with her writing skills, keen observation, and warrior spirit, she remained overlooked as a complimentary commentary on the day and age. Perhaps we have been so caught up in the taboo stories of fierce and flagrant men; as is common in American culture, that those softer voices have been drowned out. Just as the admired men of her time were openly defiant to the social norm, tagging along the ranks was Joyce. In a time when women were expected to get married, stay home and have babies, Joyce was expanding her mind and sexuality. Her involvement with Kerouac never turned into marriage, and though he was 12 years her senior, he highly respected her as a writer and confidant. Still, few recognize her impact on Kerouac’s musings… truely a minor character.
I took the leap into the unknown some 10 years ago now. I have traveled the open road, and talked with strangers. I have stayed in the homes of people met merely hours ago, only because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have observed the bizarre and beautiful array of life bleeding behind closed doors. Empathy is more prevalent in my life due to scenes so heart-wrenching and real, no script could do them justice. Trickles of poetry and sketch have formed from the surreal nature of observational participation. What is it I am destined to convey?
I have been treated with love and disgust, invaded and ignored. The path has been dirty but rewarding. Perhaps the only rewards are stories. Maybe it is the ability to slip into the personal lives of others. To walk, invited into all the swells of struggle that humans desire to share, and yet feel too ashamed or isolated by, to know how to. I have been there in one way or another. Crying with strangers, sleeping with soul mates, laughing at nature, embracing the sunset. The fabric of our lives is a quilt work of words and experience, a colorful co-creation in a constant state of evolution. Each of us, without knowing, are active in our participation. The blessings of momentary meetings, the rush of brilliance shown through Truth. You may not know it, and you may never realize the silent impact you can have on a writer. I could write poems about a certain strangers’ smile. Those things may never be published, the muse may never know they were influential… and yet, words however private spill forth like a fountain of expression. A writer’s “full release.” Just as life force spills forth from every man until his death, words worth writing fill the page of eager hands. Some times in life are less inspirational than others, and still it is only a sign that the wellspring is in the process of change and revitalization.
I am on the adventure, you are each adding to the journey, the goal is unseen. The struggle is to learn how to really LIVE a life of expression and integrity. Each interaction bring to light a new concept or facet of totality and unity within our humanity. May the words of sages and wise women be a spark into the flame of greater creativity in each mortal soul. Eagerly we await a greater acceptance of our bond as humans, our Universal Minds and Hearts. Each time you read words of inspiration, contemplation, revelation and resonance, heed the message, though mass produced, it was written specifically for you at that time. There is no time in Truth, and Truth is timeless. May your soul recognize your journey no matter what time it is.
Blessings to YOU, Dear Ones, of Illusive Nature and yet Who speak to Us in metaphors about the Nature of Illusion.
NOW is the TIME when WE grow WEARY of Your Illusive Illusions of this Delusion We live in.
NOW is the TIME when WE CALL TO YOU DIRECTLY, and ASK with great DESIRE and CONCERN to Speak, NOW, to Us in easily understood terminology.
We have been swayed by the loops and somewhat vague nature of your messages. Each mind, interpreting each message in their own way. Each wondering if they have done enough… if they will make it into Heavens embrace, to see the face of the Creator.
The singular I that IS, has grown weary, time and time again. These cycles of Ascension are tedious and at times very confusing. It is in those moments, I need the most simple and clear answers in order to allay my own Mortal attitudes.
As these cycles continue in their intensity, I find myself void of such answers. The Heavenly call to submit, and surrender, leaves me wondering if I am better off just laying in bed. For that feels like surrender. And yet in the same notes You can recommend we continue with our daily tasks in knowing the time is neigh.
I know, I do not speak of just the I that IS, when I bring attention to the many of Us who have felt an inability to start long term projects, and at times even finishing projects that were already started meant for the long term. You have asked us to Live with two feet on Earth, and our heads in sights of Heaven.
Perhaps you are truly unaware of how uncomfortable this can be for many reasons. However, it is, and it is disconcerting. By no means, am I that IS, telling You how or when to do Your job, as that would just be silly… However I that IS, calls to you for less metaphor and more direct lines of communication.
I that IS, understands that You speak in a language of Love, and Compassion allowing Us to wander toward Our own conclusions. And that is all in the cycle and movement of the soul. However, the I that IS, is ready for her judgment, as She is tired of judging herself and others. She IS anxious in awaiting Her call, perhaps a little afraid that if it comes, at the end of the line will be rejection… that is IF She even gets called at all.
The I that IS, is calling for divine intervention in those who are feeling the same way, but Heaven has already set them a place. May those who will be invited through the gates, be hand delivered their invitations from Divinity. Please, expedite this request through the proper channels.
The I that IS, appreciates all You do for Us, and thanks You greatly for the messages you are able to share. May this letter be taken into consideration, as a gift of acknowledgement from the I that IS of the Faith of a Child.
Who do you look up to? Why? What endearing or respectful qualities does this person carry, worthy of being a hero? Do you, yourself also harness these qualities, or do you envy them and worship them in others, whilst not embracing them into yourself?
Let me tell you about my Hero.
Now I am not a religious person. I do not buy into secular doctrine presented through Churches or religious organization. I have spent some hours in the bible, and at Bible College. I have continued my research into spirituality and faith through my own accord and intuition.
My hero is whatever the embodiment of Christ Consciousness is. And let me tell you, he ain’t no hippie dippy Jesus.
Take a moment to check out this video, to see Christ Consciousness in action.
Notice these guys and their sense of humor regarding all the useless trends out there. AND then notice the authentic looks of surprise and humility of the participants in Making Homeless People Smile, WORLDWIDE.
This video makes me cry every time, because it is genuine. And it mentally takes me back to a time in my life when I was 19.
Now I only attended MCC for a semester. I left with a 0.0 GPA, because I stopped going to classes in order to fulfill what I felt to be actual work from the level of Christ Consciousness.
It started out as a birthday trip to Kansas City, Missouri. I had a bunch of birthday money, and my new best friend, Natasha, in tow. We hoped to get into an 18 and over club. We hoped to push the boundary on this new level of perceived freedom, being away from home for the first time. Pushing boundaries.
I rented a hotel room, we called a cab… and we went into the city for fun.
The night never really panned out as we planned. Early into the evening we were kidnapped by our cab driver… who was from foreign country. And maybe things got a little weird because we were pretending to be something we weren’t… we were playing roles in this new city.
We never made it to a club. We did however walk around town on this Friday night… and I saw something I had never really seen before…lots and lots of homeless people, and lots and lots of young drunk student types. And in this situation of newness, I was witness to yet another thing I was not prepared to see. Those young drunk students, being incredibly mean, rude, disrespectful and inhumane to the homeless population.
I was shocked and disgusted. I had my own experiences with bullying, but this was like watching some sort of sick torture.
Students purposely spilling soda on sitting homeless beggars. One young (I hesitate to use the word man) maliciously kicked a homeless vet’s hat, which was sitting on the ground full of change. The snickering fools walking off as the Vet scrambled across the sidewalk to gather his lost money.
In that moment, some thing flickered inside of me, and in a warm rush it is as though I stepped aside in my own body, and the Spirit of something Bigger came into my heart. It was as though my consciousness had blacked out, and been replaced by the voice and Spirit of Christ.
First thing I knew was, these people need to eat. They need some food. I have money. There is a pizza shop. I can feed them.
So I walk up to a pizza shop window called By The Slice. The guy behind the window is named Jude. Hey Jude.
With confidence, I ask Jude for two large pizzas.
“We don’t sell whole pies here. We only sell by the slice.”
“Well, I am gonna need two whole pizzas.”
“It’s going to be pretty expensive.”
“I don’t really care, there are some homeless people out here that need to eat. I need two pizza’s and a large Mountain Dew.”
Jude smiles, while shaking his head. He tells me it will be a couple minutes before the next pie is out, and he proceeds to ring me up for $91.11. Damn most expensive pizza’s I have ever paid for. But whatever, it was birthday money… and what was I going to do? Probably buy an over priced t-shirt from Ambercrombie, just because it says “Wyoming” across the front? Yeah, probably. An Ambercrombie shirt is about as useful as planking.
While all this is happening, Natasha is in the run around of my journey while following what ever this Celestial Whim was.
I got the pizzas and walked back to the two Vet’s who had their change kicked around. I stood above them with the boxes of pizza.
“Would you like some pizza?” I ask. I am confronted with looks of horror and skepticism.
“Don’t tease us.” One responds.
“I am not teasing. Would you like some pizza?” I open the box and one of the men pulls a piece out, and hands it to the fellow next to him, and shuts the lid to the box.
“You can take more than that… you can take as much as you want.” I open the box again, and let them take out two pieces each.
The man who had not yet said anything now looks at me with tears in his eyes, and asks “Are you mad at me?”
And in this moment, I know he is not talking to ME, but to the Spirit within me in that moment. That warm Spirit which was taking over, while I stepped aside and outside above myself, watched and listened as the words “No, I am not mad at you…I love you.” pour from my lips. Something I, myself, would NOT have said. He begins to cry.
I connected with this man’s eyes. I saw his soul and he saw my sacred heart. I continued down the road, looking for the desolate hovering in corners. I shared what I have to give. Few people asked for money, which I did not give, because the goal was to make sure people were fed and monetary charity is not my style.
This all happened in September of 1999. I had only been at school a few weeks… but this trip changed my life, and it changed me. School to learn who Christ was, no longer seemed like the real way to experience what that love and compassion are. I felt stifled living in a bubble of people who tout a title called Christian… but would only actually do service in community a couple times of year. Helping people seemed like it should be a daily exercise in spiritual growth and development.
The college had some strict rules on leaving campus. So I lied, and told them I was signing out on the weekend to visit family. Really I was renting hotel rooms on credit, and using the money I made at the Christian radio station I worked at, to buy bread, peanut butter and jelly; bags of chips, juice boxes, cookies and packages of granola, plastic sammie bags, brown paper lunch sacks and napkins.
Then I would drive it all to Kansas City, and stay for the weekend walking around alone down town, looking for people to feed. I never felt like I was in any risk of danger, because I was certain whatever was working through me is INVINCIBLE! It was a huge practice in sacrifice and faith. It has been from that point on in life that I knew I was to live in Service to Humanity.
I probably took six trips to KC that semester. One of the excursions a young man, about my age was curious as to what I was doing and why. And it created the most beautiful dialog, because to him, it made sense. And in that moment of it making sense, he wanted to give everything he had in order to help.
“Should I give them my money?” He asked.
“I don’t give money. I will buy something for some one if they express need, however. I think that charity through money is like trying to build a garden without getting your hands dirty. It is easy to just give some one some money, and then they go off and buy beer or drugs… you just send them off on their way. But when you feed a person, or take them to buy something they need, then you are actually participating in service. You are sharing soul space.”
“Have you ever had anyone be mad at you for not giving them money?”
“Yes. And I don’t care. If they get mad they obviously didn’t want what I have to offer. I can’t offer everything to everybody, but I can share what I do have and try to share it wisely.”
“That makes a lot of sense.” And when he walked away, I felt certain his heart had been stirred.
Over the years my service has changed shape and form. But it is the lesson of Christ Consciousness and the Righteous power that we have through harnessing It, which can create a landslide of change in fairly short period of time.
If you believe you live a life of righteous service, and yet you have never felt the Infinite Power of True Selfless Love… you have been living in a delusion, and perhaps you should step outside of your comfort zone for a while. There is nothing wrong with Humility and there is nothing wrong with getting dirty every once in a while. Selfless service is rarely a neat and tidy procedure; but I guarantee that afterward you will feel lighter and with a new sense of strength and purpose.