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Tears on the mountain – an epiphany

Today I climbed Oberg Mountain – my mountain. I set out early (before the tourists hit the trail) with the goal of experiencing fall peak in the Sawtooth Mountains for the very first time, and celebrating my 10-month FN anniversary and 150 lb weight loss.

This climb was particularly noteworthy because I had climbed Oberg for the very first time exactly 10 months ago to the day. And, today marked my 10th climb during the last 10 months. Of course, I didn’t climb mountains prior to Fitness North. Or so I thought…

Today proved to be an unexpected emotional journey on the mountaintop. During the first half of the hike, I was determined to beat my best time while experiencing some of the most breathtaking fall color I have ever seen. Because I got up early, I had the mountain all to myself.

About half way through the hike something clicked inside of me and I said out loud: “I am soooooooo proud of you and all you have accomplished. You are amazing!” (Speaking to myself, of course.) And, the truth is, I really meant it.

Then I started to cry. And I cried the entire second half of the mountain.

I cried … because on this mountaintop, on this day at my favorite time of the year, I accepted deep inside that I have accomplished something truly amazing and I am sooooooooo proud of myself. The truth is, I never really let that in before. I certainly felt pride when other people commented. But I moved forward and continued the journey out of sheer grit and determination. Somehow I never really accepted what an amazing accomplishment it is. Until now.

And so, I cried.

I cried … because I literally found myself on that mountain and feel more like Lori today than I think I have in the last 20+ years. Wow. That is incredible. Can we just pause and celebrate that?!

I cried … with tremendous gratitude for those who have guided me on this journey – mainly Leif and O’Neal, and my FN 2 pals who I wished were with me during this epiphany. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all of those who have been with me and supported me so outwardly and consistently through this journey. I  stopped to thank each of them – my mom, Jimbo, Dennis and Jolita at the top of the list – and so many, many more.

I cried … because I am now absolutely certain that I can accomplish anything. Absolutely anything. For the first time in more than 30 years, I am free from the burden of my weight and the emotional baggage that has been holding me back.

I cried … for Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Norman. I miss them so much and wish that each of them could see me now. I imagined myself sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of black coffee made on the stove with egg shells talking to my beloved Grandmother about all I am learning and experiencing. She would be so proud. There is so much of her in me and some of the spunk and determination I have exhibited during the tough times, no doubt comes directly from her genealogy. I cried because Grandpa Norman died so long ago that he never saw me bloom. He continually tried to be my friend, a role model and father figure. And to some degree he was, but as much as I loved him I never really let him into my life in full. I want him to see me now in this wonderful place, soaring to new heights, appreciating all he taught me including about the depth of unconditional love. Oh how I wish I could take him up on his offers to travel across the country to visit our relatives in California and see the countryside from his perspective. I miss him every day. And yet I know that each of my grandparents is are looking down on me now from heaven and smiling. They are cheering me on just as much as they ever were on this earth. Who knows? Perhaps they have guided me from above more than I know.

I cried … for my mom and dad. They each had so much pain in their lives that they struggled to be married to each other and struggled equally to be good parents to me and my siblings during some difficult years. But I truly believe that they did the best they could and I am incredibly grateful for our individual relationships now. We have grown and evolved as individuals and as a family despite a rocky start. They are to be commended each in their own way for what they have personally endured and overcome, and their love for me has indeed shown through as I have embarked on this journey. Today I am grateful for where we are and for their love and support. For us, too, perhaps the best is yet to come.

I cried … because I want nothing more than my beautiful sister Kristine to experience the same joy and breakthrough that I am experiencing and I am not sure how to help her. I want to spare her the years of pain and lost moments of trying to meet deep emotional needs with food. I want her to be happy and to reach her goal before she faces the dread of skin surgery as I do now. I believe so much in her beauty, strength and determination and I wish for her the same opportunities that I have had this past year to reach her potential. With that help, she will soar. I am determined to do whatever I can to make that happen for her. And I trust she will get to where she needs to be as she is extraordinary in every way.

I cried … because I miss my friend and colleague Blair. I wish that he could see me now…at my best – a glass half full girl – passionate about work and life. Saddened because past mistakes and differing values will keep us from ever realizing the dreams of those early days together — dreams of building our business and supporting each other while doing it.

I cried … because my heart is full and my life so happy. I am on a path toward leaving all of the baggage behind…shedding pounds of physical and emotional weight one pound, one thought at a time…on my mountain. Today.

I cried … because I am finally ready to open myself up…to find a soul mate and life partner. My head, my heart and my body are all finally ready! Yeah. The porch light is on! And deep inside I am certain that I will meet that person and my life will change forever…most likely sooner rather than later. I can’t wait to explore the options! What a blast.

Finally, I cried as I looked up through the fall leaves swaying in the trees and experienced a spiritual moment. Looking toward the heavens, I thanked God for giving me just what I needed exactly when I needed it. There were so many gifts. O’Neal, Sheryl and Fitness North. The strength and courage to fight through the boot camp and to give up control, following the lead of my program director and trainers. The gift of Leif on the mountain top that first day and in all the days that followed with his skill, compassion, love, support and strong encouragement. My Twin Cities trainers, Julie and Sandra, at Balance for Life. The shoe lady at Shueller Shoes who had lost over 100 lbs and inspired and calmed me as I prepared for the journey. My boys from the seminary on the mountaintop the first time I hiked Carleton Peak who befriended me, gave me a hand up, and guided me home. My beloved mom and sister who have been there for me at such critical times during the last 10 months with unconditional love and support. My FN2 group, particularly Shari, on a day-to-day basis. My sorority sisters and all the other lions in the den. I cried as I thanked God for the strength, courage and willpower to fight through the tough emotional stuff, to tackle the demons, and continue to learn and grow and evolve as a human being. For the determination to reach my goal and the certainty that I will.

Yes, I cried the whole way down the back half of the mountain because I know I will never, ever be the same. Life has changed for me forever. I am free. I am free. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. And I can’t wait to see what comes next!

This time, my tears on the mountain were tears of joy, accomplishment, gratitude, pride and love for myself and for all of those around me – present and past – who have influenced, guided and held my hand.

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