Miles 11 & 12

26.2 A SERIES

Everyone has dreams. Since I was about 16 years old, one of mine has been to run a marathon. When I cross the finish line in NYC on November 5th, I’ll likely do so with a recorded time of between 4 and 5 hours. In reality though, it will have taken me much longer to get there. There are things inside and outside of us that bring us closer to our dreams. There are also things that delay us, that push us so far away from our goals they are sometimes out of sight. If we are lucky, little by little, we are often able to transform those stumbling blocks into building blocks–they become the foundation for our strength, resilience, and ultimate determination. This series aims to uncover my long journey. Each week, I’ll share the people, places, and things that have brought me to the place I am at today, and that I hope will carry me from the starting line in Staten Island, to the finish line in Central Park. Mile by mile–this, is my 26.2.

MILES 11 & 12- Lessons from my Sister: Letting go of Lack and grabbing on to Abundance

As I get older, one thing that astounds me is how one person can occupy such a different place in your life, depending on the time. At one point, my older brother was one of the most stabilizing and solid fixtures in my life. Now, it’s been eight years since I’ve seen his face. That’s a sore spot. You know, a cloudy piece of sky that on most days, I’m able to shove to the side. I’m okay. Actually, I’m really happy. Then, once in a while, all of the sudden, I am not. My acceptance over the situation temporarily floats out the window, and I feel pain.

Relationships are hard, especially with parents and siblings. My parent’s divorce when I was a freshman in high school was the first time I began to understand that these relationships weren’t just a given; the word “family” had denoted a permanence that I suddenly began to doubt. As I’ve aged I’ve come to see that I hold a unique and very special bond with the people I was brought into this world by and with. But this connection is not unbreakable; it has to be nurtured, it has to be fed and maintained in order to weather life’s inevitable storms.

My sister and I have had a few storms. We’re five years apart. She likes to tell me about an eye-opening dream she had when I was a baby. I was going to die in the dream. When she woke, she was terribly upset. She realized she was wrong–that she didn’t actually hate me like she had thought. Thirty-four years later, we’ve had plenty more ups and downs.

I hesitate to admit this, cause it might go to her head–but, besides my husband, I think my sister might be the person I’ve learned the most from in my life. In the beginning it was all about learning from her mistakes–I got away with almost everything she ever got in trouble for. She would come home from college and be livid to see me sneaking in at 4am; she’d have been grounded for months.

I did a lot of the opposite of my sister. I grew pretty tired of being compared to her. I discovered that disappointing people in a bold way right off the bat felt better than being found out or seen as not measuring up later on. It made me feel like I had control over what people thought of me. Funny, it’s taken me years to realize that we never really get that.

Later in life I’ve had more moments of really trying to emulate my sister; not so much in the specifics of her life, but in it’s qualities. She’s driven and incredibly successful, and for decades she’s had amazing relationships with some of the best women I have ever known. My sister has one of those amazing New York City stories–a midwestern girl who moved here with nothing and really made it. She’s worked all over the world as a successful model for sixteen years. When I realized I didn’t want to play the role of the fuck-up anymore and decided to get my life together, I began to feel genuinely proud of my sister, instead of just envious.

I think I learn so much from this sibling of mine because our relationship takes a lot of work. We aren’t natural best friends, we are different. We don’t let each other get away with much. Sometimes it’s tiring. Other times though, it’s the best. Sometimes we’ll have a day where we get a meal together or I go over to pick up something at her apartment and we both can feel that we don’t want to leave each other. It’ll be one of those goodbyes where I’ll end up standing at her door with my shoes on for two hours, not able to leave cause there’s a million and one things we have to talk about. She’ll always tease, “You’re really attached to me right now, aren’t you? You don’t want to leave me.”

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It’s taken me a long time to get to this marathon–you’ve heard me say that over and over again. I firmly believe one of the reasons I’ve finally arrived at this opportunity is that I’ve adhered to a way of thinking I learned from–you guessed it, my sis.

I remember when I first moved to New York, it was very hard for me to find consistent work. Each time I had a shot at a freelance job I would get so tight and anxious. I would think of all the other people more qualified than me who were probably up for the gig as well. Every thought I had was surrounded by fear and doubt. My sister would see me and shake her head. “You’re living in lack,” she would tell me, “You need to live in abundance.” My sister really believes in energy–that what you put out in the world is what you get back. I believe that now too, but back then, I didn’t believe in anything–I was just afraid.

It was hard to hear what my sister had to say back then. She told me that as long as I believed I wasn’t going to get something, I probably wouldn’t. Lack brings more lack. When you come from a place of “not enough”, you’ll never have enough. If you come from a place of abundance though, you’ll yield abundance. If you believe you will always be provided for–you will be.

It took me a long time to start coming from a place of abundance, to start believing that I would be taken care of. After all, when I first moved here, there was so much I wanted that felt so far away. A job. A career. A routine. A love. How would I create all this from nothing? That’s where my sister’s guidance really came in. “Look at all that you’ve already manifested,” she would say. “You’ve been sober for over a year, you got to New York City, you have a place to live, you have food to eat–what is it you think you can’t do?” For a long time, there were a lot of “buts” in my reply to her. “But a year isn’t really shit. “But I only have food and shelter because you’re supporting me.”

You know what I didn’t get about manifesting back then? I didn’t understand that I wasn’t in control of of how things came to be–my journey would never look like my plan, it would never follow the perfect straight line I so desperately tried to stay on. My sister supported me for the entire first year that I lived in New York City. I had an exact amount that I could live off of every month and every day was a hustle to try to earn–to try to get enough work to get to that number so I didn’t have to borrow from her. Every month that I had to reach out my hand I felt like a failure. Everyone else had moved here and made it on their own; I felt ashamed I couldn’t do what so many others had.

Then again, my sister woke me up. She told me that she had had help too. That she had borrowed money from relatives and friends and roommates–she hadn’t done it all on her own. She told me that while she was so grateful to all of those people, their aid did not prohibit her from owning her success. She did what she had to do to eventually stand on her own two feet, and she held an enormous amount of pride in that journey.

Now, years later, I have pride in my journey as well. Yes, I’ve gotten to where I am so far with help–but I’ve made the choice to take that help. I’ve said yes when opportunity has arrived and I’ve grabbed on and let the Universe steer the wheel.

An hour before they did the drawing for the New York City Marathon I knew I was in. I couldn’t even see all of the things that had gone wrong before and gotten in the way of my previous tries. They didn’t matter. I was living in abundance. The Universe had whispered, “That starting line is yours if you want it.” Two minutes after the drawing commenced, I got a notification on my phone–New York Road Runners had charged my credit card. I was in. Miles 11 & 12 go to you Jules, and to always believing we will get everything we ever need.

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35 thoughts on “Miles 11 & 12

  1. Beautiful sisters! I always wished I had a sister! My family was a bunch of boys lol and it’s true in the universe and in life, like attracts like and we get out what we put in. I believe that and am reminded to practice what I preach. Thanks 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed this post, Cat, and really appreciate your honesty and insights about having complicated family relationships. So hard to let go of what we want/think we need and see what/who is actually there. And of course, in family, particularly with parents, the needs at one time were very real and important.
    Sisters. Complicated. Like you and your sister, my sister and I were not best pals growing up. We really annoyed each other, being quite different. She had the misfortune of following her nerdy, academically inclined and socially somewhat inept sister (that’s me) through school. She was socially skilled, very interested in people, bright and not particularly interested in academics. Such different values when we were young. Now we appreciate each other for who we are and our individual gifts. We still don’t live in each other’s pockets, and we are there for and support each other–she was one of my cheerleaders at my tri a few weeks back.
    Hard to let family be diverse people. Why don’t these people understand that if they did it my way it would be so much better? And we are all feeling it at times. So relieved that doesn’t happen much anymore.

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    1. If you weren’t my blogging friend and I lived where you lived I think I’d want you to be my therapist Steph 😍. I feel lucky to have you out there in the world.
      Exactly–hard to let go of what I think I want/need from each relationship and accept just what we have. Struggle with this everyday, especially with my dad and my sister. Acceptance is key for me I think!

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  3. The lack and abundance concept is something I’m starting to understand. Over the past six to twelve months my mindset and actions have slowly started to change, and I think that’s at the core of it. Yesterday evening, I started writing a list of people who I find inspirational and motivating for one reason or another. Two years ago I would have had a skeptical and condescending attitude to such a practise, as if any positive development would have to come spontaneously from within myself. Today, I’m more accepting of it as a way to receive help from others (indirectly, just in knowing their story or life) in order for me to help myself, and as a reminder that people have struggled through greater burdens than I can conceive of to reach amazing heights. My own heights may be humble or tall – at 28, I’m not even half way through life (if health and circumstance permit) – but I won’t even catch a glimpse of those heights with a ‘lack’ attitude.

    The way you described your relationship with your sister is very honest. Family bonds are deep, so it can be hard to remember (or acknowledge) that they are still just people: as diverse in personality and character as someone you may work with or call a friend or just happen upon in some other interaction. My relationship with my family is generally without major discourse, but I definitely have a different outlook, different values. Sometimes that results in friction; it’s not always easy for me to know how to resolve as there are some character differences which frequently lead to disputes. Regardless, that’s something I need to work and think on. Reading this has given me another angle to do that from.

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    1. I know what you mean about now being open to concepts and practices you would have been skeptical to before. I’d even go so far as to say that I do a lot of corny things now–stuff I had way too much cynicism for before. I’m big into gratitude. I don’t make lists like some people do, but whenever I’m struggling or upset about something or living in lack and thinking I’m not going to “get mine” I think about all the things I am grateful for, and it really brings me back to reality.
      I used to really struggle remembering that my parents are just people. Reading your comment made me realize I probably do that with my siblings as well. Something for me to remember/think about.

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  4. Another wonderful post Cat!! I really enjoy reading your series. I have found that relationships are hard and if it is easy, be careful. I often worry about my son and his take on relationships, present and future, as his dad and I were divorced when he was 14. I believe that I have given him what I can to be successful, but none the less I worry and will continue to worry. I have found that the older I get the harder it is to find and hold onto those meaningful relationships. I think some of it has to do with being in the military and moving around some and just not being around family except on holidays and special occasions.

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    1. Ahh, thanks so much Jodi, seriously. This series has been tough, it’s really mirrored training. It’s actually made me really tired, I am kind of sick of it, and I am not always so confident in the posts, but hearing you say that is a boost, so thank you!
      It makes so much sense all the fears you have with your son. I know there are some fears that are impossible for us to get rid of so there’s no point in trying to “not worry”, but I do think we can find some relief at times and maybe trust that all we can do is our best, and the universe will take care of the rest. I hear in you what I feel about so many of my family relationships–they just aren’t quite what I wish they were. This post has been helpful for me–just hearing other people admit that. I thought I was the only one who wasn’t best friends with my sister!
      Just remember what it was like when you were your son’s age–you got through it. He will too–and he’s got a great Mama who’s there for him if and when he needs it. x

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  5. Good luck in the marathon! You will do so great. Family relationships can be complicated, but as someone who also has a weird family situation, I can tell you that the people that are supposed to be in your life will stick around :).

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    1. Thank you so much for this. I think you’re right, I can definitely trust that the people who are supposed to be in my life will be. So many people now have told me about their imperfect fam situations, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone!
      Thanks for chiming in, please come back! x

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  6. OMG I love this post! I’ve been sober seven years now and this is STILL one of the hardest lessons to learn (and keep learning), that you don’t have to constantly worry about not getting what you need.
    Do your part and then let it go; trust your higher power/intuition/inner compass (whatever you want to call it) to guide you, trust in your own works to move you, and trust in the universe to take care of you and provide for you.
    That’s so awesome that you are so close to accomplishing one of your dreams; enjoy the journey!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you kidding me, and you’re sober?! Too much. So looking forward to hearing and reading more from you!
      Yes–DO YOUR PART and LET IT GO. I have to have this in my mind everyday. Next right thing and trust the universe.
      Again, so glad to have you. x

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  7. qplourde

    What an amazing tribute. I’m jealous of your relationship with your sister – I’ve struggled with mine and I’ve only recently come to realize we just don’t have the kind of relationship I had hoped for and probably never will. Love this series.

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    1. See Q it’s funny you say that because i’ve come to the exact same realization. After you commented this I actually asked my hubs if he thought i had idealized my relationship with my sister in this post or not been “real” about it, because how you feel is similar to how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t feel more grateful for who my sister is and the relationship i get to have with her. But it’s not what i imagined–it’s not what i actually hope for. Her and I see the world pretty differently i think and it’s only recently that i realized that we might never be as close as I had always hoped. For so long, I was hoping for things in our relationship that just weren’t there, and those expectations hurt what we do have. I do that a lot–my expectations can really damage my reality–it’s not useful!
      Anyway, thanks so much for saying you love the series–that lifted me up cause this thing is dragging me down like a heavy ass anchor some days!! xx

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  8. First of all, I love the photos! What a treasure to have that relationship with her. I hope you let your sister read this. Living in abundance. What a great way to say it. I love reading your, after the run, posts. I think running ignites the mind and helps us figure out what we want to saw. I used to say, I could solve all the worlds problems during a run, if everyone would just listen. hahah. Hope you are fueled up and aren’t too sore today. Honored to be connected to you. hugs to Jules.

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    1. Thank you thank you lady. Ran 15 for the first time on Sunday. Was pretty sore, but felt good on Monday and even better today after 4 and strength training–I’m hanging in there, so far! Thank you so much for you love and support–not sure people realize how much they mean, your words and others really carry me sometimes!
      And yes, realizing through responses especially that I am very lucky for my relationship with my sis–family is complicated and no one’s is perfect. I think i’ve got it pretty good :). love to you. x

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  9. Another great post and lovely pictures. I have one brother – four years younger – and he’s pretty much been my best friend for my entire life. I can count on the fingers of about three fingers the times we’ve fought – very weird for siblings and I think the key was having separate interests almost from birth (so the whole competition element was removed). Our main crossover has always been music and words – he’s the drummer I’m the guitarist, I’m the writer he’s the poet. Him still being in the UK is the single hardest part of living so far away but we make it work. Anyway enough rambling from me – keep on with training and the writing and I hope my output on both fronts will come close to yours over the next few weeks (my blog output is languishing and I’ve got a marathon the week after yours!).

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    1. I am really grateful for what my sister and I have, but I can’t lie, I have often wished we had what you are describing with your bother. I actually think that ideal picture of a relationship hurt what we had for a while–not on her end, more on mine. I tend to have expectations for relationships and situations and tend to end up disappointed when real life inevitably can’t live up to them. Definitely something i am working on and it’s getting better–these days I am more grateful for what we do have.
      Speaking of training/writing output–time will tell if I can keep this up till November. I am going to try to keep pushing–my goal is to have a really wonderful and relaxing holiday season and to have it feel very well deserved. We will see. Thanks Nik! x

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      1. It doesn’t surprise me to hear that you are working on things and getting better at them. There is such honesty in your writing and I have nothing but admiration for the way you seem to tackle challenges head on.
        I have no doubt that you’ll achieve your goals and the holiday season is going to be a very sweet one for you.
        I managed to get out and do another 7 miles or so tonight and it wasn’t pretty – lots of work to do over the next 2 months, then a couple of weeks break before three months of hard training for the Two Oceans on Easter Weekend. Damn…when I say it like that it all seems very long and very scary!

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      2. I have no doubts in you either Nik–you will tackle all of that, and hopefully it will be fun too :). Sometimes I forget that fun is part of this :). I’m sure there will be more ugly 7 milers sprinkled among some beauties!! Can’t wait to hear about them!

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