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An epiphany on my mountain

She climbed until she saw: No more victim-mentality. No more slippery slope. No more stinkin thinkin. Today we reboot. Yes!

Lori-oberg10-2015Today, I climbed Oberg Mountain on Minnesota’s North Shore for morning cardio. That, in and of itself is not significant as I’ve climbed that mountain no less than 50+ times in the last five years.

However, this climb was significant for many reasons: 1) This was my first on the mountain in several months due to a back injury and chronic case of sciatica; 2) I did so weighing more than I’ve weighed in almost 3.5 years — since I hit my goal in May 2012; and 3) I did so carrying a lot of emotional burdens and some stinkin thinkin.

I had an epiphany on my mountain today. One that jump started a major life “reboot.” Yep, on this day, October 21, 2015, the buck stops here and we restart. Today is the beginning of the official  Lori in the Equation Reboot!

2015-10-21 08.01.31 2015-10-21 08.16.36 ITE_BeautifulGirl_QuoteI’m sharing my story to document it’s importance in my personal transformation journey, to hold myself accountable in a public way, and to help anyone feeling stuck, stalled, sad, worried, afraid, confused, or less than worthy. Yep, this blog is for me, and for ANYONE who’s lost hope, who finds themselves getting angry at the world or making excuses about why they can’t do it — whatever “IT” is.

I had a wake up call today on my mountain. It helped me and it might help you.

Today’s climb started like any other. I went out at first light, just before sunrise so I had the mountain to myself — just me and the critters. I usually prefer it that way, but today I carried a little trepidation about being alone because it was my first climb since my back injury and I knew I had to be careful. Since my desire to climb outweighed that trepidation, off I went.

My intent was to write a blog about the benefits of hiking as a form of cardio. It is my “go to” method of cardio and it’s also great for my mental game. So the goal was to document this climb and write the blog in my head as I often do.

Stinkin thinkin

The problem was that I started out in a tough place emotionally. My head was cluttered with what I fondly call “stinkin thinkin” and at first I couldn’t make it stop. As I climbed I thought about my worries — work and financial stress, home projects that contribute to that financial stress, a sick friend, people disappointments and heartbreak, lack of control over the speed at which my heart is ready to move on and worry over finding a partner, concern over my eating patterns of late and how I’m starting to slip off my healthy living program…

Yep, instead of writing my positive blog, I worried. I focused on all the things that were going wrong. But because hiking is so therapeutic for me, and nature so impressive, I also had moments where I was stopped in my tracks, literally, and felt nothing but gratitude. That’s when things shifted.

The power of gratitude

I began to feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I could actually climb this mountain! That I was experiencing the last bits of fall — my favorite season — in the forest. I was grateful for the little bird that seemed to want to walk with me this morning as he kept showing up on the trail just ahead of me. I was grateful for the great work and amazing clients that bring me to this big beautiful lake that I love so much. Grateful for the ability to travel and pursue a new dream in work that really matters and helps people. Grateful for these legs and this body that propel me forward in a way that never happened when I weighed 381 lbs. Grateful for everything. Just grateful.

And, I am not kidding when I tell you that as I started to list off all of the things I was grateful for, and my heart started to soften, the clouds in the overwhelmingly grey sky parted and rays of sunshine peaked through toward the lake. I started to cry softly…then sob.

Then, it hit me. And as I spoke out loud to myself on my mountain, the conversation went like this…

“Lori Schaefer, you are slipping out of your equation. This is not how you live. You know you’ve got this. And it will be okay because you know the way…

Beautiful girl — you are NOT a victim of anything. You do NOT let people disappointments stop you in your tracks. You do NOT make excuses. You do NOT eat sugar…remember? You NO LONGER throw in the towel on you when the going gets tough…

You ARE strong and capable and courageous. You DO hard things. You LIVE wholeheartedly. And you are PERFECTLY IMPERFECT, just exactly as you are…

This is a time to honor your struggle and your burdens. To feel the emotions of loss, disappointment and hurt. And to STOP making up stories in your head that aren’t true — you know the ones, those negative tapes related to your worthiness. That’s bullshit! Honor your incredible spirit, passion and strength and pick yourself up and just do it…

Not TRY, DO IT! You know the way, beautiful girl. Six months of struggle and the buck stops here. Today. Right now, October 21, 2015. This is your reboot. And it’s going to be great!…

Thank you God. Thank you world. Thank you.”

This conversation with myself was verbalized out loud amidst streaming tears. Had anyone been in the forest on the mountain, they either would have gotten a good laugh or a total pep talk.

So, peeps, today I am rebooting. I am back to a short list of non-negotiables for living each and every day with Lori in the very center of the equation and I am asking you to be witness. And, if you can relate to any of these deeply personal struggles, and/or you simply want a reason to restart, to reboot, I ask you to join me. Right now, today, put it on the line and let’s do this together!

The one thing I know for certain is that this journey is about the “head” game. When we get to a place where we can steer our own ship — emotionally — like I did on the mountain today. Well, that’s when we’ll find victory in achieving our biggest goals and dreams. As my mentor, O’Neal Hampton says, “first you must connect the head and the heart.”

For me today, it’s back to the very basics. And that’s okay because I know the way.

Thank you for being here. Please contact me here if you want to join the journey — a journey of your very own. We can cheer, console and support each other. I am grateful for my epiphany on the mountain. For the ability to “reboot” when I need to. And, for each of you who are part of the In the Equation community.

#grateful #reboot #restart #we’vegotthis!



Read some of my other blogs about mountain climbing and the significance of my MN mountain:

Mountain climbing therapy (July 2015)

Three lessons I learned on the mountaintop (May 2015)

Climbing mountains, getting strong (Dec. 2014)

From fear and dread…to anticipation & love of my mountain (Dec. 2014)

Hiking! Mountains! Happy! (Sept. 2012)

We climbed until we saw: A celebration of friendship, personal triumph and more (Oct. 2011)

My personal journey to climb the mountain (Nov. 2010)


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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anne Strub #

    Good job, It is Really so hard to get back on track…you will.
    I did Lookout Mountain couple of weeks ago, it was gorgeous and no hip pain. It has motivated me to walk more. I’m so glad your back is better.

    October 22, 2015
    • Hi Anne, Thanks so much for your note and your encouragement and yay to Lookout Mountain! Let’s hook up for a walk again soon before it gets too cold!

      October 22, 2015
  2. Ginny Belden-Charles #

    Yep- I’m with you . Also got kicked with life’s challenges, fell into old habits and made the decision to “reboot” this week. Already feeling a little better. First looking to my health, lowering my stress and doing the self-care that I need to heal from a rough couple of months. I love your public declaration- holding yourself accountable and feeling all of it.
    I did. 2 hour hike today- so wish it were on Oberg. I love that mountain!!

    October 22, 2015
    • Hi Ginny, thanks for your post and welcome to reboot team! Sorry about the rough couple of months though. Email or private message me and let’s connect personally. Finally, congrats on the 2-hour hike today. That’s an awesome start. I’ll look forward to doing Oberg with you one day soon. Cheers to the reboot!

      October 22, 2015

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